23 December 2006

Consumer day

Quick update for all you webheads out there. Aunty B and Mr B are staying at their gorgeous sea-side pad, having a few Christmas orphans with interstate and overseas rellos here for lunch. I'm feeling a little bad that my folks are missing one of the two precious offspring this Christmas for the second time in a row. But I'll be there in just a couple of days .. we can still drink Baileys and eat mince pies.

Today we went shopping at the enormous retail chain recently located in Bondi Junction, and remarkably didn't get crushed in the stampede to buy hams, cake and bon bons. This weekend's summary:

Reading: Clash of the fundamentalisms - Tariq Ali
Shopping: For cashews, cherries and cases of beer
Watching: God on My Side at Moonlight Cinema (24th Dec)
Drinking: Too much.
Looking forward: To having little sister here for one whole week in Jan

See you all around in the silly season. I hope you all get to be really silly.

19 December 2006

Stop, wait, go

I read a quote by Momus the other day about public disobedience and self expression. Something along the lines of "its okay to walk around naked in Berlin so long as you stop at the red man." I Was at the bus terminus near my place the other day, waiting for a special express bus to the city. Lets call it the 666. The said bus has a moving LED display above the windscreen that says alternately "666 to Circular Quay/ Pre Pay Only" and a giant triangular yellow sign on the front that says "No tickets sold on this bus". It runs about every 10 minutes in the summer and tends to sit on the curbside at the terminus for up to 10 minutes, before drawing up to the actual stop so it starts the journey on time.

I rocked up to the stop while the bus was sitting there, flashing silently, bus driver calmly waiting behind tinted glass. Two other men were at the stop. After about five minutes standing man has answered the mobile while looking at the front of lurking bus and made arrangements to meet them at Circular Quay. Then standing man asks sitting man "Do you know when is the bus leaving?". "Sitting man says "they go about every 10 minutes, did you know its pre-pay only?". He actually volunteered this extra information, unlike many residents of the Emerald city, who it would not have occurred to do so, as this was an Aussie-speaking dude. The reply: "Oh, really, no [mild panic, adopts righteous tone] and how would someone who's just a visitor to the city get a ticket?" Answer from both of us in unison "just there at the Newsagency."

In clear line of sight from the stop there is also a sign that says "Tickets for 666 sold at Newsagency, not 10 metres from where you are standing, pillock." Lesson for this week: Never assume someone will read something just because you put it in front of them in 100 point lettering on a yellow background.

5 December 2006

Bodies on the street

On Sunday night, me and my beau were strolling back along our moonlit street after a very satisfying veggie thai meal with our local GE campaigner and AC/DC fan. We came level to what looked like an old futon that had been dumped on the street several days ago folded in a sloppy kind of roll and somewhat water-logged, when I noticed the soles of a pair of dirty but very much real, human feet sticking out the end. I kind of froze, and Biz looked around as I said "er, there's some, er, feet in that." I just had an immediate vision of it being a dead body, and worse, a body that had been there for several days without anyone noticing.

While thoughts are running through my head like "Should I just keep walking? /Should I call the cops? /an ambo?/How will I establish if its someone passed our or just sleeping? /Oh my god am I going to have to touch a potentially dead body??". Meanwhile Biz takes a few steps closer, he tells me later, to get a better smell as that will give a good indication of what's going on. (By the way, he's an aid worker, not pyscho serial killer). After I think I said "should I call someone?" the feet wiggled, and the person probably sighed at the idiot locals, then rolled over. This triggered an immediate wave of relief - oh its just a homeless guy. Not dead. Nothing to worry about after all.

You can't stop the scavengers

Sitting over a boozy Christmas lunch the other day I heard such a blogworthy tale. It's set during curbside collection - or hard rubbish day - as some of you may know it. It involves a mother of 2 kids under 3 and her sister touring the suburbs of Sydney's North Shore and Northern Beaches area. Said Mum just loves hard rubbish day, and according to her husband is pulling out toys for the kids and household items for days after, with an uncommon glee at the volume of free stuff you can get, that people were just going to throw away! To emphasise just how dedicated she is to this scavenging, hubby tells us she peed in the bushes that day. "What?", we ask - yes, well she really needed to go and realised she was too far from home to go back to use the loo, it would have meant the end of the trip, so she just stopped and went in the bushes, so she could keep on going and get more stuff. After this I was wiping my eyes with merriment and we were all congratulating this woman in her absence on her stoic determination. The best part is I know her too - used to be in the same team at work. She is a paragon of style and cool, and this just puts her even higher up in my estimation.

4 December 2006

By popular demand

Thanks Betty Sue. I've been a bit bereft of blog ideas the last two weeks. Posisbly it was due to funneling my ideas into various proposals and plans. Its a sad fact of being self-employed that your most creative work goes into telling people just what they're going to be paying for. And thats the bit that you don't get paid for. Sigh.

Anyway, my alter ego, Missy B, attended the workchoices rally last week, cunningly disguised as a Radical Cheerleader. Me and Miss Stacey were attached to a union group and help with a pre-rally rally, (sung to the tune of hot!hot!hot!) .. "no way no way no way no way, work choices suck suck suck". Comdey Gold. Bit of a light hearted approach to yet another profoundly disappointing episode in Aussie politics. Yes, you may all see the irony, nay, possible hypocrisy of a sole trader attending a rally to protect worker conditions and collective bargaining. Shouldn't you been joining the Chamber of Commerce these days BSharp?

But I'm cool with it. All my working life I've enjoyed great conditions won by those before me - paid holiday, sick leave, super, etc. etc. and really can only do what I'm doing now thanks to a good start. And I might want a real job again one day, and will be slapped with an AWA quicker than you can say "40 hour week". And "if you don't accept it there's someone who will".

And even worse, according the unions, there are special conditions on the building industry, whose workers can be fined or gaoled for attending stop works or workplace meetings. Ok so the building industry can be a horrible bunch of protectionist bully-boys, but they can also do amazing things like the green bans of Sydney in the 70s. Anyway don't listen to me on it , check it out for yourself at www.yourrightsatwork.com.au.

23 November 2006

I sea the C

And some Sculptures by the sea. There's a bunch on my flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/bee_sharp/ I'm too lazy to work out how to send them from flickr to blogger, but here's one:

18 November 2006

Miscroscopy nightmares

Maybe I just need to post this image here to try to purge a brand-new neurosis. So a bit of warning.

Here's a good link (for time-wasting): the willfully obtuse blog - now linked in the sidebar for your convenience. Exactly as the name describes, compiled by a lovely bloke in Finland.

Here's a bad link, found on above blog: its electron microscope pictures of the mite things that live in your follicles, especially in your eyelashes if you aren't careful with cleaning your makeup. I really don't recommend clicking this thing. I am having trouble getting this image out of my inner vision - a wormy body with its head jammed into a pore - no exretory organs, just living on your face. I'm now troubled by the idea of these things, even though I know the whole world is a whole soup of microscpic organisms.

Its okay, you'll find your niche

Oh just gorgeous, someone found this site by searching for "preppy people being misjudged". Takes you straight to this post, about observed social heirarchy. I'm sorry preppy person - just hire some foreign dvd's and say you like Conner Oberst or something, you'll be right mate! Glad to see I was several rungs below the top google listing "Why I am no Longer a Christian - My life as a Christian".

12 November 2006

About your face

There are some lovely things about living by yourself and some not-so-lovely parts. Like, for example, when you spend all morning tidying the flat, dancing to Juanes then singing along in bad phonetic Spanish to various Tango classics, enjoying the the sea breeze making the indoors all fresh and breezy, and pretending you're actually in Montevideo. That's nice. Then you go outside with a giant bag full of dirty clothes for the laundromat, and decide to take advantage of a bit of time to ask the hair-dresser across the road how much a half head of foils and a blow dry would cost ($135 in case you're wondering, I live in la-la-land).

Yesterday at about 11 am, the hair dressing girls were sitting around doing nothing, and I was vaguely considering trying to muscle in for an appointment there and then if the price was right. The conversation went a bit like this:

BSharp: Hi, I just wanted to know what you'd charge for a half-head of foils?
Bleached blonde hairdresser: With a cut?
BSharp: No, just a blow dry thanks. (At this point you need to imagine my unwashed and unbushed heavily layered hair that is kind of coiling around my sunnies on one side, and pointing out at right angles on the other)
BBH: So what are you doing with it at the moment, darl? Do you style it often?
BSharp: Er, sometimes, it was actually cut recently. (I hate the way hairdressers always say that. I push on and start to explain my exciting plan for a kind of corporate/punk hairdo)
BBH: Right, well I would do that just a bit at the ends, but then I would blend it up with the top section too, and sweetheart you've got toothpaste on your face.
BSharp (thinking): No, the whole point is to create a line, dammit, you are so not getting it ."What?" (Looks in mirror, rubbing at one side of mouth. Yes I really do.)
BBH: Oh, there on both sides
BSharp: Haha, I guess thats what happens when you're alone all morning. Thanks!
BBH: That's ok, I do it all the time (Lie), I just thought you'd want to know before going outside
BSharp: Yeh, thanks, well I've got to do my laundry now, bye!

Aside from the outrageous price I can clearly never show my face in there again. So I went for an eyebrow wax instead which is cheaper and fulfils the desire to look a bit tidy on return of my peripatetic boyfriend from a four-month work trip. So aside from all those other nice love-nest things, I'm very exciting about having Biz back to tell me if I have two giant white blobs of goo on either side of my smile, before leaving the house each day.

9 November 2006

7 November 2006

Crappy day

Happy Melbourne Cup day, Aussies. It also seems the stars are aligning to crank up the cranky factor today. Meri Risa has put her finger right on the mark by naming it National Enforced Gambling Day.* Nice post there. You are so right about our bullying culture for placing a bet. Shudder.

My day so far has been bollocks in a load of little ways.
Tried to call indsutry magazine abou a 400word story - got machine
Tried to call Victorian Minister's office - dur its Melbourne cup day
Tried to book roach control - all full till next week, after Mr B is back
Tried to book hair appointment - Friday is my new girl's day off, no other time
Tried to call primary school volunteer coordinator - can't find freaking diary.

I'm about to give up entirely on today, as it's clearly not working for me, and I won't be able to get any sense out of anyone after 3 PM anyway. But happily Miss J has also just encapsulated a whole world of bullshit. Her litany of the actually useful add-ons to a mobile phone says it all really. Brava!

*Although I have to sneakily confess to having a bit of a soft spot for the break for melbourne cup in Sydney offices, precisely because it is so stullifyingly dumb, that by national consensus we've put aside about an hour to have a champagne, wear a hat made of waste paper and staples, and yell at the TV on paid time. The place I've been in that did it to the most extreme was the big consultancy charging mega-bux per hour. Enforced betting is pretty nyeh though.

4 November 2006

tis the season to be jolly

Or, alternatively, creeped out. In Australia , we start Christmas on November 1. And the city's official overseer of decorations makes sure that all the kiddies get nice, wholesome entertainment in the shop windows.

3 November 2006

A groovy thing is made

Check it out here on the web .. This is posted on behalf of Miss J, as the guardian of the digital image making machine.

31 October 2006

Stuck in the cell

Extracts from an article on the newest fad of "torque-ing" from New Matilda.

'We were flying blind, really,’ says Dr Grevious T Wishbone, Berkeley-based information theorist and former bassist for the Grateful Dead. He may well be the first person in the world who ‘torqued’ when he and three colleagues gathered at a San Francisco juice bar and shockingly turned off their laptops.

We’re speaking on the phone — a popular torque-ing plug-in — and Wishbone remembers that his first contribution was a three-minute piece on why he didn’t like George W Bush, and did like Mission Impossible II. ‘All the time I was thinking “but there’s no record of this! What if someone in Toronto wants to know that I’m irritated by razor scooters?” And then my friend said something, so I had to “listen” and “pay attention” [two software extras developed in the wake of the torque-ing revolution] to him.’

Nb. I saved this as a draft to blogger a couple of days ago when I was chained to the desk working solo into the night (as I am now). But today I got two invitations to two seperate company's christmas parties! An unexpected benefit of visiting more than one workplace. Yippee. I'm going to go to both.

30 October 2006

Shipping by Kite

Maybe the future is early 20th century technology with retrofits for 18th Century technology. Like this test of a giant kite to pull a shipping frieghter along. They reckon they got a 10% gain in fuel efficiency. Not to be sneezed at really. And it looks wicked. Steam punk, man. Yeah.
"Deployed from a retractable mast on the ship's deck, the kite is controlled by a central console that operates like a plane's autopilot system, monitoring and recording over 100 measurements in fractions of seconds to keep the kite in its optimum position.

Once up, the kite flies at between 100 and 500 meters above sea level where the winds are around 50 percent stronger. In these conditions it's designed to take on the optimum aerofoil shape that ensures that the kite can maximize thrust whatever the conditions."

28 October 2006

Nick Cave

I clearly need to have a bi-annual top-up of hearing several hours' worth of my favourite artist. So right now I'm charging up some obscure battery stored in the hypothalamus which runs on dark urban mythology, messy passion and a bass voice. But there is a double purpose, because at the same time I'm compiling a Nick Cave intro CD for my friend, Lou, who has a deep love of both Sisters of Mercy and AC/DC. Of course, is very important that this CD contains a selection of songs from a good scope of albums in chronological order. Now it's a personal belief that one should be a little careful of normal sensitivities when pushing new music, and not push the unlistenable stuff. So for a true purist, a couple of tracks off From Her to Eternity* should go first. And my personal faves are From Her to Eternity and Wings off Flies (he loves me, he loves me.. not). But I'm thinking: too difficult. Too much for somone who might not even know The Ship Song (she's Scottish).

So anyone, thoughts? ** And, Read, you know that means you. Is it better to blast someone into the hardest most challenging part of a new world, or just reveal a little at a time? Actually I should rephrase that as I already have an opionion on what's better.

Do you prefer to unload all both barrels right from the start, or just let fly with a warning shot over the bow first? Take your new lover to a full blown bondage club or just bring out the fluffy toy cuffs when you're alone? Hit your audience with the full force of climate change disaster predictions, or just talk about efficient lightglobes?

* Yes, I've got Door Door and Birthday Party Hits albums from pre-Bad Seeds era, but that's just excessive.
** Any new readers especially welcome

Oh and while I've got the playlist set up, anyone else want a copy of a Nick Cave Retrospective, Aunty B style? [I.e. enough songs to make you sick] Be cool if you could burn something for me in return..

27 October 2006

Other web stuff..

Next Saturday , November 4 is the Walk Against Warming. Starting at Martin Place at 11AM. Calling for the government to finally get into gear and get some real tough legislation in place. "We put in the lighbulbs now you can clean up industry" kind of vibe.

Now I know marches can be dreary depressing things, "what do we want" .. "someone to just please listen for a change".. "when do we want it" "..now!" And it gets pretty cringey to see those marchers who think its still 1976 and are wearing their best indian skirt and carrying a plam frond, and who've given their kids some placard that's too clever for them to understand.

Well this time, at least there'll be some visual stimulation (and maybe viceral too... ) at a big debut of the Radical Cheerleaders! -- of which your humble narrator Aunty B is one. So come along, hang out, march, hide behind our block of black and hot pink if you don't want to get caught up in any embarrassing chants. And the buzz on the street is that Kochie and the girl from Sunrise program are going too. Wow, mainstream media on a protest rally, I'll be durned. Maybe see you there.

Oh yeh and if you dig petitions - here's a groovy animated one - that shows the locations of all the people who give a shit about climate change on a map on Australia. I think they've hit 40,000. (It doesn't publish your name, just suburbs and tallies).

23 October 2006

Night time

I think my neighbourhood can look a bit like a Turner painting at times. Sunsets can be melancholy things but this one was just showy and flash - its knows its postcode.

Let that be a lesson to you

Reasons why you shouldn't check your stat counter and try to make breakfast at the same time.

18 October 2006

Stacks of green paper

"There's a song called 'Red Right Hand', and a sanitary napkin company back in New Zealand wanted to use it, which was tempting ... but that was the closest I've ever come."

Nick cave, speaking in a forum of musicians led by Javis Cocker in the weekend Observer about not selling music to be used on advertising. I think I would have seen his humour in letting that one go through.. but would have been in tears had The Weeping Song been used for eye-drops or something. The whole piece is a really good read. Link via Null device.

17 October 2006

Kind of like water toture

It was late. I'd been in the office since before the sun cracked her heavy-lidded eyes over the horizon. If yesterday were a broad, she woulda still been wearing her make-up from the night before that morning when I went to work. I went to collapse into bed in my rooms, hoping that tonight would be one of those nights when that same dream didn't come creeping in through the upstairs window. Just when I started the slow waltz with Princess of Night, in comes a sound to chill the hardest man to the bone. It started innocently enough, a knock, a greeting and a cheerful click of bottles. Then it happened. Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News. I was frozen, braced for the worst. Just as well, because worse was coming. Our House. Madness. I put in extra strength earplugs. They didn't block out the horror completely. Oh god, please.. You Can Call Me Al. Paul. Simon. Noooooooo..


Hi team, thanks to those of you checking in regularly. After a very slow start to last week, things have picked up on the consultancy front with a job that was going to be Thursday/Friday stretching out to Sat and Monday too. Lovely. Just be nice if they paid, now. And that last invoice would be handy, too.

To keep you amused, in lieu of any original writing on my behalf - here are the notes from a recent boozy discussion on how to spot fake boobs. (A common passtime in my neck of the woods)
  • A bony rib-cage then a round globe majestically rising out and up over the neckline
  • Boobies that stay 'saluting the sun' when a lovely lady lies on her back on the beach
  • The seemingly magic 2 half-melons of "inner cleavage"- the part between the breasts with no visible support
  • Something about the way they move when jogging - that was from a local guy - I don't really get it though.
We're tackling all the big social issues here on buzz. If you have a pressing issue of national importance that you'd like analysed here, live, drop me a line in comments.

10 October 2006

Greasy elbows

So I'm right in the middle of a nuclear clean of the kitchen. And I don't mean the usual quick wipe of visible surfaces either. This is inside the cupboards, inside the hinges, the front and back of the cupboard doors. And so on. I will starve those darn roaches out godammit. By the way - the roach bomb apparently triggers all the females to drop their egg sacks (deduced by observation). The adults apparently go off and die, but a couple of days must allow the mist to clear and hundreds of dewy-eyed hatchlings appear to explore the world anew. Along the way of all this cleaning I discoved the stove top rings were actually meant to be silver, not black. Who woulda thought it. Oven cleaner is a freaky evil yet wonderful contraband substance.

In the words of bloggosphere super-star, dooce,
People asked me how I keep my house so clean. I call it 'having a mental illness'.

Now those of you who know me or shared a flat will know I'm not a paragon of tidy or clean virtues, and I freaking hate vacuuming. But due to the warm weather and age of this building and its abundance of crevices - Aunty B is turning into a compulsive surface-wiper and floor mopper. Bizarro be warned. Oh, no political metaphor hiding in this post either.

Astro down under

Astrobarry is coming to Australia, from, like, this Friday. OMG! MissJ got me on to his freakily prescient horoscopes. I love them not for some cosmic vibe that he is tapping into to predict the future, but because he retells myth, stories and narrative. I think I'd be happy to pick any sign and follow it (especially as he has been nagging me incessently recently about "breaking free"). Anyway, so its like $145 to see him in person -- whoa -- but, that's like a posh salon hair cut with foils and a blow dry. It'd be a wacky experience - seeing as I don't actually believe in astrology but just like good stories.

8 October 2006

Old time rock/n/roll

Word on the street is a band containing Aunty B's only male nuclear family member is doing a whistle stop Adelaide tour! They're fresh from amazing live gigs in Rio, Tokyo, Seattle and Reading, so if you live in that fair city* go on git your good self down to the Jolly Miller Tavern Hindmash - Fri 13 - 8PM, or Sun 15 Oct or Sun 22 Oct after lunch. Their combined ages may be a little higher than you're used to for a pub band but I hear they KICK OUT THE JAM. Going by the name of Iron Chefs for these exclusive fans only gigs. You heard it here on buzz...'

*with a very special shoutout to Ivy and Geetar Boy - MissI - I don't have yr email addy.

5 October 2006

High on Iron

This morning's breaking news on the ABC website is that Pie Company Mrs Mac calls for a new law to increase the percentage of real meat in pies. Yup, that's the urgent need for changes to Aussie legislation. Our refugee laws, our climate change response, our stupid terrorism measures . . just fine. Bring on the meat. Just so you're fully up to date, the call is for:
"meat in a meat pie to be defined as "real meat" or flesh attached to bone." because "At the moment the Australian icon only has to include 25 per cent "meat" and meat is defined as any body part from a range of animals including goats, deer, camel and even buffalo or rabbit."
If there's anyone reading this from overseas, feel free to laugh at my island nation right about now. Athough Mrs Mac does do a nice "beef" pie mind you.

4 October 2006

They're coming to get you..

What time in Australian history might you find public opinion pieces talking about "the fangs of the left" . . . "it became the height of intellectual sophistication to believe that people in the West were no less oppressed than people under communist dictatorship." . . ."the world would luckily see the emergence of three remarkable individuals whose moral clarity punctured such nonsense: Ronald Reagan; Margaret Thatcher; and Pope John Paul II." and that "we should not underestimate the degree to which the soft left still holds sway, especially in Australia's universities, by virtue of its long march through the institutions."

During the cold war perhaps? Or maybe - in this morning's newspaper written by our own Prime Minister. I'm frightened. No really, I'm not just trying to be funny.

But it kind of falls into place that his over-riding world view is that of the cold war. Looks to Aunty B like he simply can't imagine a different kind of world to one where there is one bad ideology (commie-terrorist) and one good ideology (capitalist-the "free world") and that the two will forever be locked in a bloody battle to the death. No room for an imperfect world where we try to make the best chances for everyone.

Maybe thats why we give people a "prize" of $4,000 when they have a kid - rather than than produce good tax-funded child care and maternity leave conditions for everyone. Well done - little breeding working person! Congratulations for giving birth in the right country at the right part of century, under our political ideology. You want to spend it on drugs or a new car? Well that's ok because you live in the free world and have just exactly the same opportunity as anyone else to live by your own choices. Off you go now.

3 October 2006

The kids are alright pt 2

The other thing that happened with youngsters last week was a Tuesday night party in the flat next to mine. It started at 10pm just as I was logging off the computer (my sole source of electronic entertainment by the way*). Tuesday night parties just scream "hospitality industry" to me and I thought, oh god, here we go, a whole summer listening to speed freaks playing hard house at 2 am on weeknights.

What in fact happened was there was much stomping up and down the stairs, and when the door opening an intensely loud blast of "ROCKET- yeah, satellite of love.." poured out through the walls of my flat. Bwahahaha. That's not .. it can't be.. Def Leppard? I got in the shower, and when I got out some other guest arrived, door must be oppening to the shared corridor again "POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME.. (in the name of love)". Yep. Dep Leppard. Hilarious. It was a glam rock bonanza for about the next hour.

As I tucked myself up with a novel there were more beautiful hits like "Time After Time" by Cindy Lauper and "Sussudio" by Phil Collins. WTF? These kids look about 23 - those songs were ancient when was 18 for gawds sake, what is the world coming to? I just popped the old ear plugs in and dozed off chuckling. Although if next time its Ronnie Size I'm calling the cops.

* well electronic from the mains anyway.. heheheh

28 September 2006

Famous sydney hugger

As described on this blog a couple of years back, Juan Mann is now internationally famous after his clip has appeared on the YouTube front page. Can't find the buzz and words original link, but weirdly, I saw him today in Pitt St Mall and clearly with the SMH cameras there too.

John Birmingham

Writes a blog once a fortnight over at The Bullentin. And its free!

27 September 2006

The kids are alright

I am enjoying the glimpsed lives of the late teens (early 20s?) recently. Tonight on the bus there was a large gaggle of indy kids all heading to some event together, I think it was this, actually. Shakespeare by the youth, now that's enough to make you grin for starters.

Being a bit of a starer and evesdropper, I then was watching a gorgeous triangle dynamic unfold between a young bloke with a ponytail and hat covered in esoteric badges and safety pins, a chick with short ginger hair and an op-shop fashion aesthetic; and a preppy kind of girl with a pink top and white cardie and faux pearls. It was a discussion of films, where redhair is lucidly describing two recent films (neither of which I recognised and didn't catch the titles - one may have been called Subliminal.) White cardie says "oh is that an arty film?" but her comment is missed by the other two at that moment. She pauses, to see if she's been heard, her face forming into an expression of someone who is smelling dog poo on their own shoe.

The boy and girl carry on to another recent film, so she repeats herself "Are they arty films or something?". Red hair notices this time, looks up, thinks for a second, and says "No, not really, they're in regular cinemas." and continues on. White cardie has to wait another two stops or so for a new conversation opening, and still with sneer intact says "Oh I don't watch many movies." What? I'm thinking you're about 16 what else is there to do? "I think they're a waste of time actually". The unspoken response from the other two may well have been "Ok, whatever" .. at this point ponytail boy had become quite interested in what redhair had to say and wasn't really engaging with the other girl. He carries on with asking about favourite films, to which she has a ready and passionate reply that starts with "At the moment.."

Cardie then pipes in with a comment about French film being depressing. Ponytail is reminded of the Three Colours trilogy and starts telling redhair about them. "There's these films that have a theme of depression but they're really beautiful, you might like, they're called Red, White and Blue, . . . or maybe Blue, White and Red". "Three colours, yeh, like the french flag". While they're trying to recall which order the tricolour goes in, cardie adds in "Isn't that green, pink, and er .. white"? I look out the window so as not to laugh. No malice to preppy girl, but she just really misjudged the group's social norm this time. A fleeting moment triumph for the indy misfits - that magic one when suddenly its ok to like what is a bit different, or something you found out about for yourself.

26 September 2006


I'm not talking about the bit left over at the end of the doobie/spliff/etc, but the 6 legged beasties with the indestructable carapace and the "fuck you" look on their little insectoid faces. I'm not sure how that is possible, but its true. Try looking one in the eye one day.

The issue is that some genius of modern architecture put this flat's water heater inside one of the kitchen cupboards. Of course, creating and ideal warm dark roach habitat. A little like those preferred by fleas.

A week ago my little sister came to here to stay, and I didn't want her thinking that your Aunty B could not manage the number of species living in the flat. So before her visit, I set those you beaut bombs off, one right in front of the open cupboard which had become Roach Dorado.

Effects: Sticky floor, and many roach cadavers in a localised "zone of impact". Sucessful strike to by Aunty B - huzzah! Unintended side-effect: A whole army of teeny tiny roach scouts looking for somewhere new to set up a homestead and make babies at the rate of approximately 1,287 per 24 hours. Places I have since found roach re-con include: crawling across my keyboard; inside one of my transparent plastic document sleeves for a client meeting; on the stove; on the bathroom cabinet; on the kitchen splash back. They are possibly some level of instar, to dredge up a bit of entomology for you, dear readers, and are only about 5-10 mm antenna to rear. Not too threatening now, but they will be in a couple of growth cycles.

The effect is kind of like that of the Iraq war on global terrorism, in a way.

24 September 2006

Point of clarification

Most of you know that for about two thirds of the year I live with a bloke. You may also know that we do a lot of talking. In private and in public. We talk about political systems, about environmental activism, about charity, about renewable energy, about lots of things. We rarely agree on any of these things, but I love having my boyfriend as an equal in a debate. We laughed long and hard after knowing each other for a couple of week about our repective blogs, and the dorky double life lived on online.

Anyway with that as a kind of disclaimer, I just wanted to point out something. That I respond to my compañero and his political ideas in text sometimes. And sometimes, I disagree with a theory, or a rant or a postulation. I put forward another way of looking at it, maybe a silly way, maybe one that tries to turn the topic inside out. It might look a bit like ridicule from a distance. It's not really. Its just the way I know how to love. To hear, to consider, to disagree, to opine, to continue the conversation. To engage. Te escucho, te contesto, te extraño.

23 September 2006

DeWitt., Dewho?

I am halfawy through reading The Last Samauri by Helen DeWitt. I chose this one grazing in the bookshop Gertrude and Alice, looking at actual paper pages, rather than its mention in some Hirbernian corner of the Internet. DeWitt may possibly be completely bananas. I like her immensely. Has anyone else read this satisfyingly chunky book? It appears to be her only one published, and the reading world nearly lost her there, but there's a tantalising piece on the website about another one coming.

Someone else's words today

Surprise surprise, once again it is Momus.
.. you shouldn't mess with the Strong Force. There are all sorts of "repressed repulsions" between the particles of our society, and deep in our own psyches. Sometimes we release them in the form of controlled explosions. Some of these controlled explosions are in art (think of Aristotle's idea of the "catharsis" provoked by tragedy), some in sport, some in sex. Some, less controlled, erupt into wars, murders, riots. The most fearful are shaped like a mushroom cloud.

. . . Generally, my attitude to the Strong Force is to avoid its excitements (though clearly I have a weakness for sex, if I have to choose one "controlled explosion" from the list). I'd rather be the kind of person who finds pleasure in rather tiny, boring and everyday things (hello John Cage!) than the kind of person who demands or seeks out controlled Strong Force explosions. I think that the dynamic harmony of repressed repulsions is underestimated. Just as, when things seem still, we're actually on a planet rotating at 1670 kilometers per hour, so when things seem boring, quiet or weak, there's actually a dynamic of opposing tensions at work, massive forces in miraculous equilibrium. The Strong Force is sleeping, the world is at peace. Hush, let's not wake it!
This is a post from back in June, during the world cup. Today's Momus (real name - Nick Curry - makes him sounds less unapproachable) musings are on Beauty - as if it were something completely other. Funny as I see a cetain beauty in the craggy and eye-patched.

22 September 2006

And another thing

Shout outs to Miss Max Volume who is schlepping her way around the States, soaking up cultcha on both sides of the coast from hippies to preppies - and writing Haiku about it. As you do.

On the B front - the sea is an amazing glass-like blue today, looking inviting. Yesterday was one of those days to acutally hit "send" on a media release, and some print things, and wear the consequences. Not my favourite part of being in promotions, but kind of important. Yesterday was also the day or submitting the last of a series of reports from a huge pile of data, then wrapping up my bleeding stumps that were once fingers, hoping they would grow back soon. Ah the life of a consultant - I guess I should have factored in writing about residents' lack of sports grounds and their worries about migrant integration until midnight every night for a week.

But just to share a wee secret - its still worth it when people say "what do you do" to be able to reply "oh I work for myself actually".

18 September 2006

Two bits of good news

{...especially for Bizarro}

1. I found your "Carajo!" CD. Well actually, Dad found it. Yay.

2. There was in actual fact a pretty woman with a Euro accent wearing a bikini and studying on the roof this very morning. Mind you, there are 100 more women wearning bikinis right outside the window also. On second thoughts maybe this isn't really such good news, just at this moment.

Mateship, my arse

This bloke, Jack Marx, does one on the Sydney Morning Herald blogs, and has put two cracker posts up in response to both Howard and Beasley's stinking piles of bilge on mateship the same paper last Friday. Thats a link to the second one - the originial is good too - but I realise not everyone can surf at their leisure between 9 and 5. I checked this guy out when he started and was suspicious that he was just obnoxious as a style marker, not as a real talent. But I'm starting to warm to him.

Also, the eds at SMH placed Hugh Mackay in the same edition, in a rather timely fashion. He argues that we mouth our Australian "values" as basically the same as those of the French revolution - liberté, egalité et fraternité - in the form of "the fair go", "egalitarianism" and the dreaded "mateship" - but in reality our values are Materialism, Pragmatism and Nationalism. He should know he listens to thousands of people every year talking about this stuff. Just goes to show you don't need a funny hat, dreadlocks or a motorbike to be a radical thinker. Thank god.

12 September 2006

What you readin' for

Not "What are you reading", but "What are you reading, for" - Bill Hicks

So all of youse get on over to the newly renovated Booklub and post (or comment), dammit! We have a latte-sipping literati reputation to uphold here. I don't even know who some of you are, but get to it, I wanna hear about what you're reading.

Back to butchers

I've been up to my eyeballs in butchers paper this last week. Flashbacks to last century when I was a timid young junior in a very new suit, drowning under a mountain of the stuff and wondering why I'd moved to Sydney to be a glorified copy typist. But those hours of transcribing what every stressed out community member said over a chicken drumstick at a dingy room in the town's Four Seasons was worth it. Its a bit like Karate Kid, with the wax-on wax-off, you don't understand what you're doing at the time, but later when you have to think quickly in a room full of people you realise the knack for synthesising ideas is just - there. So on Monday night I cracked out the coloured textas on my own free time to help out a bunch of vounteers do a plan. Then the rest of the week, I've been dumped with a huge mountain of write-ups done by some other poor junior sod to make sense of. By Friday. For money, which is good. I might put skype on later - will probably be around in computer land quite late the next few nights, and not posting for a while.

Meantime, to keep you amused, here's a new blog from my flaming curly-haired friend Bianca, who is currently in China - taking lots of great photos and writing stuff. There's a link on the sidebar too. She'll be in Buenos Aires in January - Mi Buenos Aires, Querido...

10 September 2006

In favour of pedestrians

It's always seemed to me that a society's respect for humanity might be better measured by the length of its pedestrian crossing signals than by any number of abstract declarations of support for "universal human rights".
- Momus, on the inbalance between pedestrian facilities and cars in the world's cities.

8 September 2006

Useful advice

Don't spit into the wind. Don't park in the handicapped space. Be kind to your mother. And c/of Wikihow "How to treat a stingray sting" .. If you believe that the stinger may be imbedded in your heart, refrain from tugging out the stinger no matter how interesting the resulting video might be.

New kid on the St

The small island nation of Sao Tome in Central Africa is selling the .st domain name. And promoting the island as a tourist paradise at the same time. Grab a bargain on easy.st or sunnysideofthe.st or sesame.st.

5 September 2006

shot thru the heart..

Bon Jovi song and real life underwater incident.I'm so un-Austrayian didn't know Mr Erwin had died until the day after when I was reading What's new Pussycat, a girl who blogs from Scotland, dammit!. Being killed by a sting ray really is just stupid.

The day it happened I heard people near me in the office responding out loud when they were sent an email, with thing like "Steve Irwin! What this about?", and I even heard the word "sting-ray" but I just thought it was one of those dumb animations or mocked up video that go round the net like like a nasty gastro bug. Sure he was a bit of a wally, but there's got to be people more deserving of a death from their profession than him.

Speaking of gastro bugs, went to see a kooky naturopath yesterday. Got Bowen therapy, stinky herbs, the whole shebang. As a (ahem) scientist, my natural inclination is suspicion when someone reckons they can "realign" your nervous system by jiggling a few pressure points. He was a very calm and trustworthy sort of bloke though, and didn't charge any extra for the Bowen business. And I realised just now that I paid far more for an ultrasound and a stomach x-ray about a year ago that revealed precisely zippo wrong with the old digestive tract, and didn't actually do anything to make the random, very real, pain go away. So what they hey, if the herbs help I'm all for it. Apparently I have a very emotional liver. Or the liver responds to emotion. Or something. And craving pickled food says something about weak digestion. And one doesn't necessarily have to suffer pain or freakouts with one's period, oh no ladies, period pain is actually not natural at all. While the man spoke some sense, I did have to stifle a large snort at that one, though, having experienced that dull thudding ache from the very first time. Which was about 16 years ago, mind you. But bugger me, if he can make it go away and fix my unruly stomach - I say bring it on!

2 September 2006

Tom Long indeed

Last night I went to see The Book of Revelation. A very self-consciously arty piece, with a couple of familiar faces, and some great still shots of urban Melbourne. But unless you really have a deep abiding interest in the flaccid willy or seeing a well muscled man writhing in chains, I wouldn't bother. The verdict by the erudite miss D was just - , clunky. We could see what the director was trying to do, we could see that you rarely get highly stylized pieces in Aussie cinema, that this extreme set-up had something to say about power and abuse and maybe gender. But the dialogue just hit the floor like a big damp bag of sand. And I always just feel embarrassed for the actor in simulated masturbation scenes.

Also, if you're like me and respond to boredom with a bit of banter, and attempt to be a bit too cool for school, especially don't go and see it in a small art-house cinema. Not that you'd have much choice in a film like this. I got shushed for the first time in a while, and wasn't even really drunk, which I think was the case last time I was shushed in the cinema. Strangely, the two men with matching shoulder bags in the row in front didn't appreciate my real time critique. I thought the point about Australian accents jarring in stark moody cinematography was quite insightful, actually. But it was after the scene with the hooded woman making use of a giant strap-on, that I was just casually asking my lovely companion if you could get them in silver these days? I didn't even think it was that loud.

31 August 2006


"A mat was where the cat had been sitting."
- The cat sat on the mat.

"Where the cat has been sitting, and will continue to sit, weather conditions permitting, is on the mat."
- On fine days, the cat sits on the mat.

"A legislative framework will be required to allow the cat to be able to sit on the mat, at the local, state or federal level."
- We need a law before the cat can sit on the mat.

I'm not resentful of convoluted writing these days. In fact if I can untangle it and help a few more people undertand the author's point, it makes me quite happy. If I could untangle all the world's confused and over-complicated manuals that would be just fine. So I've just been making up fantasy tutorials for technical writers to pass the time. That is one above. Hope you like it.

28 August 2006

All talk no trousers

You may have come across this group before. They're called Improv Everywhere and they stage "scenes" in down town New York with volunteers. Its seems like they're into public surrealism and a bit of stirring. A couple of months ago they pulled a now annual pantless on the subway stunt, and had a train stopped by confused cops. Sounds like fun. There's youtube video on the site.

26 August 2006

Gorgeous beautiful books

Be careful, you'll get hairy palms reading this. Ooh libriaries. Edit - if you tried the link on the weekend, I've updated it, now it goes to a site with actual pictures from the book.

What I learnt this week

So I'm trying out a volunteer thing right. A bit of "giving back to the community" as they call it. Once a week I scoot over to a southern suburbs primary school in my share car, and do reading exercises with one of the childers for 45 minutes. Its pretty cool. We practice phonics, which is the way you would have been taught to read if you went to primary school before 1985. Phonics lets you break a word up into its component parts if you've never seen it before, and work out the sound so you have more chance of recognising it in the written form. So the letters "aw" can equal an "or" sound, or "ai" can sound like a long "a" , for example.

The curriculum for early education changed a bit in the 80s and 90s and kids learnt a method called "whole language" where they were encouraged to read whole words and get the gist of English that way. But it seems this only works if you're immersed in reading and writing all the time, and kids who don't get much practice outside school end up faced with longer words, with no way of breaking them down into component parts. The course coordinator told me that they actually see a word differently to you and me - a bit more like an 8-digit phone number, if they haven't learnt phonics. You'll be pleased to know that schools are switching back to a mix of phonics and whole language, so the wee tackers have more of a chance to get the tools in place to help them later on.

But to the really interesting thing I learnt. This teacher wants to move on to do practice with descriptive exercises. Basically, "what I did on my holidays". Communicating something you've seen to someone who wasn't there. You see, nowadays, any kid with a mobile phone camera can send a photo of where they are to a friend. If they're doing that a certain learning stage, they may not ever use or possibly even learn written descriptive language.

Mind you, probably make for a lot less boring blogs, down the track.

25 August 2006

20 August 2006

Now it makes sense

Ah ha! Guitar boy replies about 8 weeks too late to my invitation to watch the football. Oh well, better late than never. Ok you're almost excused for the complete lack of any social contact on my last visit on grounds of a technology problem. There will be some drinks buying involved for total redemption though. Oh , yeh you can change your template to one that allows comments maybe?


Hi there. Sunday night catch-up time. I've had a pretty darn good week. On Saturday I commited one of the great faux-pas of modern life and turned up to a costume party, in costume while not really many other people were. And it was in a pub, not a private home, where we had to mingle with the hoi poloii after getting kicked off the deck area. But as I was ostensibly a gypsy (read: head scarf, eye makeup, hoop earrings, beaded hip scarf over black skirt and black top), it kind of passed for just boho. And after an initial discomfort.. you know what? Didn't care. That's being 30 for you.

Monday saw two meetings in a row with my favourite client. Design work is progressing to schedule, and the team seems pleased so far. Did my first week with 2 days in the city in an actual office (gasp! First time in a year, nearly to the day). You'll be pleased to know it wasn't too traumatic to re-adjust to the culure of quiet, airconditioning, water filter, and needing a code for the door. Bit like riding a bike (or wearing clothes, with er, darts). Mind you it was a grreat feeling to come back to the flat er, i mean, home office, crank on the Tori Amos and do the projects I'm in charge of in between days. Trakkie daks and Tori and breaks to go the laundromat and havea coffee in the sun - how could anyone work any other way? Tuesday night caught up with Johnno of world cup blog fame, in the classic ex-scholar blowing through for one-night-only style - always a pleasure.* Also had a lovely suprise visit from Miss J taking advantage of the fishbowl's relative proximity to the city to get some late night work done.

And just got back from a 2-night mountains sojourn, complete with a visit to a great couple moving back into their newly renovated cottage. Not a cottage anymore! Its got a cunning northfacing back rooms and deck to make the most of the winter sun and shade in summer, a 9,000 L water tank, cross ventilation, insulation, a no-electricity insulated cold store for use in winter (this is the Blue Mountains with sub-zero temperatures), and other tricky bits and pieces. And they have a funny new big- eyed baby to share it with! Aaw.

Just checked in with the folks darn sarth to tell them to bring their togs on their visit to the emerald city next week, the sun is amazing. The ocean here is warmer than ever recorded for this time of year, but not to worry I'm sure the annual fish migration and spawning will adapt to us messing with the East Australian current. Somehow.

And.. word of the week: Inveigle:
  1. To win over by coaxing, flattery, or artful talk.
  2. To obtain by cajolery: inveigled a free pass to museum
*that will make sense to a certain few who did a certain course in canberra in a certain year.

16 August 2006

Marketing sins

No you haven't just had six pints too many, no the acid you took 10 years ago isn't causing flashbacks. The urinal cake is actually talking to you. I completely fail to be excited about this new form of "interactive mens room marketing". Does that make me unsuited to being a promotions consultant?

14 August 2006

Walks around town

Described two years ago in this post, part of the city's infrastructure exposed and vulnerable.

And other scenes from the big city.

9 August 2006

Van Gogh and me

I may not have mentioned before that my ears ring. All the time. It used to be after gigs and clubs. Not anymore. Its like my own personal, high pitched dial tone. So if I see you, in real life, and seem to be a little apart or didn't respond at an appropriate moment - I don't hate your company. I'm not wishing I was somewhere else. Its probably because I was distracted by the bells and didn't hear you.

8 August 2006

art imitates face

At Boston University, two boffins have created empathetic art.

"The program analyses the image of eight facial expressions, such as the position and shape of the mouth, the openness of the eyes, and the angle of the brows, to work out the emotional state of the viewer," Dr John Collomosse of the University of Bath in south-west England said.

7 August 2006

Forum question

A special hello to all those "real time" friend of mine who are linked down the side of these esteemed pages. Question - do you mind if I give out this site address to real people? People you might even meet one day? Like, what if its a journo I met who is interested in blogs in the "traditional media" like I did on the weekend after few wines? Is that ok? Do you mainly put your words out into cyber space as an anonymous experience to be found by strangers searching for random things like "1.5 litre engine" or "redgum lyrics" for example? Do you see it just a private forum between mates, who have all actually met and shared beers at some point? Would you rather I protect your privacy, and not hand out the url willy nilly? Or are you happy that what you post on-line you would pretty much talk about down the pub?

In reality I'm only maxing out at about 4-7 indivuals a day on the old statcounter (I think the same 7, honestly). I kind of gave up on the old blog being a bit mysterious and aloof - as everyone is connected to everyone these days and, you know, now my Dad has the address. I don't think he drops in too often though. Of course now I also have a dedicated librarian readership (who are all hot stuff on the net, and masters of the IT milleu). Tell me your thoughts sister and brothers. Comments open .... NOW!

6 August 2006

Ve haf vays

Perhaps she should have called Joe Hockey?

Police in the German city of Aachen received an unusual call for help when a woman telephoned to complain her husband was not fulfilling his sexual obligations.

"The police officials did not feel able to resolve the dispute, let alone issue any kind of official order," Kemen said.

4 August 2006

Internet offerings

Again, from my new favourite eye-patch wearing euro-denizen, momus, speaking as a self-proclaimed ex-satirist,
"Satire ties you in to your enemies, puts you on the same page as them. If I tied my intellectual agenda to the latest bomb explosion or military incursion, even to decry them and call for restraint (as if terrorists and generals would be listening, anyway!), I'd basically let hate and aggression come to dominate my worldview. And it's likely that, subconsciously, whatever my "high moral ground" position on these events would be, a little part of me would be secretly thrilled to be where the action is, and secretly delighted every time some spectacularly violent escalation took place, just as a satirist is when the people he attacks do something which shows them at their most ludicrous, hateful and stereotypical. "
Listening to: Door, door, the Boys Next Door
"Does a rain-dance, in my room, then assumes, the dive position"..... "hear the taps, fill the bath almost dark, in the dive position" " .. I sigh, to you, touch me, touch me, touch me."
Could I just love Nick Cave any more?

Most fucked up thing today - the quote from Human Services Minister Joe Hockey:
"We are a target, we always have been a target and we will be for a very long period of time."
I'm not going to link to the full article, in a teeny-tiny-almost-silent gesture of protest. He's talking about Australia here, in case I have any international visitors. I'm sure that there is an almost corresponding line in 1984, and don't really have the inclination to go hunting for it. Always have been... pardon? Always? What is a human services minister anyway? Is he the man I should talk to about the leaky toilet? About whether I'm getting enough, er, human servicing? I mean, really.

2 August 2006

The problem is me

Solo living is a potential environmental time bomb according to the University College London.
Dr Jo Williams, UCL Bartlett School of Planning, said: "Current trends show that one-person households are growing more rapidly than other types of household. Previously, the typical one-person householder was the widow, often on a tight budget and thrifty. The rise in younger, wealthier one-person households is having an increasingly serious impact on the environment. But we have identified possible opportunities which arise out of the group's expansion and diversification.

"'Regretful loners', who are forced into living alone by circumstance, create demand for more collaborative lifestyles, such as more widespread co-housing schemes, where you have private space such as a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen but share some living and storage areas. It allows people to share household chores such as cooking; DIY and gardening; share goods such as tools; and consume less energy."
Beachside eco-village, bring it on!

1 August 2006

Two new words

Here are two words that I had heard but didn't know the meaning of, till I looked 'em up on dictionary.com. Love new words. I previously thought the second one meant kind of cranky and disaffected*. But then I also used to think Pakistan was to the north east of India.

  1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.
  2. Relating to or overly concerned with masculinity.
  1. Walking about or from place to place; traveling on foot, itinerant
  2. Of or relating to the philosophy or teaching methods of Aristotle, who conducted discussions while walking about in the Lyceum of ancient Athens.
*as in..what is my peripatetic boyfriend up to today? Works with the real meaning as well though. (Hi baby, keep up the good work..)

30 July 2006


Remember when you went to eat chinese food as a little kid? Always ordered the crispy noodles with everything? Well I did. On the weekend I discovered how to make them, by accident. Was a bit hungry for a proper meal before going off to a real party, with dress ups and everything. So here's the selection of veggies from the bottom of the fridge.

Imagine a regular pot of water boiling water for the rice noodles, and a frypan with oil heating next to it. When dropping the noodles into the boiling water a broken bit flies of and lands in the oil. I turn my back, to get the veggies, and lo! its puffed up and turned into a crispy noodle. So I tried some more.

The trick seems to be to get the oil so hot its smoking, and nearly burning the pan. The the noodles need to touch the hot oil, and they magically puff up. Its like popcorn! But they don't fly out. I would normally try this is a wok, but I am currently wokless due to housesitting constraints.

Anyway, here's the end results. Mmmm...

29 July 2006

I'd rather be alone

..insert overblown Za Za Gabor germanic accent here . . . than participate in a 10 minute conversation about leg waxing. Thats what the two women at the adjacent beach-side table next to me talked about for a good solid 10 minutes this morning. Frequency, comparison to laser (doesn't work apparently), and pain management tips. Pop a couple of neurofen before you go was the independently verified conclusion. Right, insert synthetic chemical at one end to mitigate pain of follicles being yanked at the other end - to meet a western male paradigm of beauty. Nice.

But then I guess I'm happy to spend a few minutes blogging about it. Just as shallow, but with no friend to share it. Oh, for the record, I shaved 'em last night - there's no moral high ground over here - just a cranky conversation censor.

Skulls and fashion

I liked this post, about the fashion of the goth aesthetic.

"It's a mistake to think there's only beauty in pain.

Fertility religions celebrate life, whereas Christianity and Islam celebrate death and resurrection."

"Joy Division were quite a good band, but New Order are better, ne?

Because, finally, it's better to be alive than dead, and happy than sad."

28 July 2006

Today at the seaside

(can anyone detect a bit of a running theme here?)

. . . I saw a pink and white galah fly into the local primary school playground. It screeched, landed, and immediately drew a crowd of little tackers to check it out. Moments later the JP teacher was calling out "leave it al-own, kids leave it al-own", follwed by "it must be very frightened, don't get too close", while Mr Galah strutted around for a while with his crest fanned out, looking around like he was the school landlord or something. I dawdled around the perimeter for a bit because I love watching animals in any setting, but refrained from actually stopping outside the playground fence at lunch break because I don't want to be mistaken for a creepy molesterer. So I don't know what it did after that. Nice little reminder about empathy from the teacher for the kiddies though, I thought.

and then . . . looking out the window later I thought I was seeing a couple of ususal swimmers who do laps of the beach, and sometimes wear black wetsuits. Then I wonderd why they kept disappearing under swell for more than a few seconds. Then I saw a fin loop out of the water in a classic dolphiny manner. And goodness me if there weren't about six of them making their way across the beach between the heads. I reckon only about 10 metres behind the line of surfers. I was a bit paralysed to know whether to try to run down the beach for a better look, or try to find where the video camera was hidden, to capture it. It was only a couple of minutes show in the end, but I was sqeaking with excitment up in my little fishbowl flat.

26 July 2006

Pass me the capers

So while I am temporarily a solitary lady of leisure* (except when I'm frantically tapping away to meet a deadline of my own making) I can eat all the salty, stinky, spicy, pickled food I want! Its no wonder that I nearly gave myself an ulcer about a year ago with all the brine and vinegar and Chili I consume when left to my own devices. When you're in the flat all day, and you do shopping whenever you feel like it, meal breaks comprise of whatever you darn feel like at that moment. For dinner I had a base of tinned tuna on bread, the lemon cracked pepper kind, and topped it with fetta and hmm, what else.. ooh.. pesto out of the jar... flavoursome - yes indeedy! Other faves are Polski Orgorski pickles, hot salami straight from the packet, bitey olives, and capers with everything. I can hear Miss J yawing at all this, she who is well used to the freedom of the self-managed kitchen. Other ladies like icecream but not me ! Pass the dolmades.

Oh and maybe they are friendlier here by the sea.. but its reasonable to decline to tell the boy who makes your coffee in the morning exactly *which* apartment you're in, isn't it?. Especially when he can see the building from his workplace. I mean he's only made my coffee twice. That's not just inner west paranoia, its common city cageyness.

*Mr Biz is off wearing the white good guys' outfit again for a bit. And he doesn't like some of the more, er, pungent of my culinary tastes.

23 July 2006

Dog faced boy

My imaginary husband, Richard Kingsmill, is doing his sunday arvo spot on the radio, and just played 3 or 4 live tracks from the Eels - songs off their Shootenanny album. A moment of (almost) synchronicity.. as this lovely band were the subject of one of my very early posts. Three years ago in September. Anyway, it feels a bit like coming full circle since that, now I am set up in a flat, with all my digital technology plugged in, and re-united with my very lovely CD collection. The small wall'o'music does lean rather heavily into the early nineties melodic rock with somewhat introspective lyrics. Since cultivating a smidgen more a extrospection in past years (its the opposite, ok!), your Aunty B had a nagging doubt that the old passion for the collection was fading, along with some of those wacky tees that have been packed in mothballs for a year. But happily a beachside neighbour's recent interest in burning a whole lot of the more classic gems (Billy Bragg, Patti Smith, Cat Power, Desmond Dekker, Joe Strumer, PWEI) has brought out the cd geek from her hiding place, and I'm re-delving. Particularly chuffed with the the more unlistenable like Laurie Anderson and the Slits. Mr Biz and me are united in our love of this a-tonal album and stomping around singing at top volume.. Nu-town, nu-town, nu-town, noo-towen!. This was originally intended to be a music blog, so it all kinda fits together.

22 July 2006

Noses run in our family

The thing about having a head cold is it makes you stupid. There's a pressing behind the eyes that seems to slow the thoughts down and only allow one into the occipital lobe at a time. Then there's the breathing through the mouth part which gives you cracked lips and makes you sounds like the kid with asthma and allergies from your year 6 class when you try to talk.

21 July 2006

We have a winner

Regina Sutton has pipped Bec and Leyton Hewitt for the most searches that brought up this humble blog. Go Regina! Probably all those nervous nellies at the State Library googling away down in the stacks, now that they have a kick-ass, IT savvy new boss.

Efficient is sexy

Alt title, Whats the deal with Aussies and Big Cars?

With the fuel price currently tipping out at $1.50 a litre following the latest Middle East "instability", I thought my car-owning readers may appreciate a little background reading in popular Australian model car fuel economy. (Source: NRMA Motoring and Services)

Ford fairlane - 4.0L engine, takes 11.6 L to drive 100km.
It can accelerate from 0-100 in 9.1 s

Holden commodore - 3.8 L engine takes 10.6 L to drive 100km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 8.9 s

Honda CR-V - 2.4L engine takes 9.6L to drive 100km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 10.1 s

Toyota Yaris - 1.5L engine takes 6.1 L to drive 100 km.
Accelerates 0-100 in 10.7 s

So lets see, 2,000 km, at 1.50 a litre of petrol, in a Ford equals $348, while in the mighty Yaris (now available in auto) equals $244. Goodness me, when the western world starts going down the road of allocating a carbon allowance to each citizen, like has been proposed in Britain this week, this will be very useful information indeed! This community service brought to you by Aunty B eco-services Inc. I shall return to posting about dreams, period pain, and/or Hugh Jackman next time.

19 July 2006

Seaside dreams

Well I guess my coastal abode is only temporary luxury, according to the report in today's Herald about the latest UN report into climate effects.
"Australia was already experiencing the effects of climate change and a sea-level rise was "virtually certain" to cause greater coastal inundation, erosion and salt-water intrusion into freshwater sources as well as damage to infrastructure and coastal resources, the report said
Meanwhile our flat is being buffeted by a series of squalls and storms. The rain gets thrown against the windows in rythymic bursts, as the wind seems to cycle round the bowl of the ocean and the cliffs. At night its a little like being under the ocean, as you can hear the waves crashing in time. The night before last I dreamed I was helping a dolphin give birth. She was on a human bed with sheets, on dry land, and writhing with the effort. It was a vivid experience of her grey, muscled form , larger than human-sized. When the baby was born it was having trouble breathing and the mother performed a kind of mouth to mouth. And in the same night, on the Northern beaches, a day old whale was stranded when separated from its mother.

18 July 2006

Just call me Nero

John Howard is 67, so he'll be nearly dead when we run out of oil, have to move our cities 20km inland due to sea level rise, have no barrier reef thanks to coral bleaching, and abandon tracts of farming land due to permanently changed weather patterns. And until then, he'll be laughing.

"As an efficient, reliable supplier, Australia has a massive opportunity to increase its share of global energy trade," he told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Sydney.

Mr Howard gave a nod to fossil fuels' contribution to rising global temperatures and changing weather. But he continued to reject both the Kyoto Protocol and carbon emissions trading or a carbon price as a way of dealing with climate change, preferring instead to rely on as yet commercially unproven carbon capture and storage technology.

"The Government's energy policy framework unapologetically emphasises the role of new low-emission technologies to deliver a sustainable greenhouse outcome and it unapologetically seeks to preserve the economic value of our energy resources at a time of soaring global demand," he said.

I would make some scathing commentry here but really he just says it all himself, plain as day. Bugger the rest of you, me and Janet will be dead so my kids have enough trust money to run really expensive air conditioning.

15 July 2006


Rain. Overcast with rain. Northeast winds, fresh at times. Great day for a barbeque on the roof, overlooking the ocean. Hmm, do I bother buying sausages or just give in and go up the road for pizza? Its a day for hunkering down in front of a movie with some creamy liquer rahter than beers and snags on the roof.

11 July 2006

Librarians set to take over the world

I was reading about the new State Librarian, Regina Sutton, in the weekend paper. Apparently, there's been a bit of whispering around the stacks that she can't do the job, because she hasn't been a certified member of the pencil-skirt-and-horn-rims-wearing profession. However, she has been an exec at IBM and Kodak - and a bit of a whiz in the area of electronic imaging. The library is actually well on the road to taking its massive collection, including documents on the discovery of Australia and the Pacific to the whole world, via the internet. According to their media release the collection contains over 5 million items including photographs, manuscripts, journals, maps and books and is valued at $1.9 billion. While the physical copies may be locked in temperature controlled sarcophagi, the copies on-line can be zapped into anyone's loungeroom. Woohee. Information wants to be free.

Leviathan and all that

I saw a whale today. I saw it flip is tail over in the ocean. I saw it from my window. I interrupted myself mid-sentence while speaking to the insurance broker..oh sorry Tracey I, uh, just saw a whale. Apparently its not that amazing becuase "as many as 150-200 pass the Sydney coastline every day" at this time of year according to the Australian Musuem's Living Harbour website. Getting into the swing of this working from home thing. Pretty much full time this week, creating some nice spreadsheets of schedules and developing a nice teal and black stationery set.

5 July 2006

How to deal with an existential crisis

From Wikihow, some step-by-step instructions for facing the long, dark, teatime of the soul..
Turn on a light, preferably 75 watt or brighter
If necessary, clean whatever room you're in. Changing your surroundings for the better both clarifies your power over the world and gives you a few minutes to do some problem-solving on a less grandiose scale.

Imagine several *different* people you like or respect giving you advice. Don't pick anyone abusive. Or try Mr. Rogers, your first grade teacher, and that girl (boy) you had a crush on in 9th grade. They don't help very much, do they? But it's fun talking to them.
I knew a tidy house was the answer to a crisis of the meaning of existence. Also includes tips, warnings, and things you need, such as:
  • Freedom
  • Individuality
  • To know yourself
  • To know what it means to be human
This website contains other gems such as How to Deal with Being in Prison, How to Look Sexy when Naked (I assume not concurrently) and How to Audition for Americal Idol Without Making a Fool of Yourself. - "Don't be shticky, kooky or just plain insane. Showcase your beautiful voice, but keep the voices in your head quiet."

We call it RE-cy-cling

Its what we do to limit use of the earth's. finite. resources. I'm talking to you, Harvey Normal print section service dude. B: "Do you have recyled paper?" HN: That's not going to produce high quality prints. B: "But its my job to write about environmental issues, so I'm only going to get recycled." HN: Well it bleeds more than regular paper, I'm just explaining why its not very good for presentation printing. B: [more slowly this time] "So you don't stock any, then?" HN: No. B: "Ok, thanks, bye."

Also visited a shop called "Pepe's Papiere" they had two whole walls devoted to fancy A4 paper products. They had 3 aisles of journals, notebooks, photo albums, invitations, envelopes. Recycled? Nup.

2 July 2006

Paging Aunty B

Friday night. Weigh check-in luggage to ensure it meets the weight limit of budget airline that flies Adelaide-Sydney once per day. (And crossing a 10 year time-zone in between ha ha). 19.5 kilos, perfect.

Saturday morning. Discover unpacked CDs, suncream, shampoo, reference book, thongs, and bolivian pillow covers, that must be added to bulging pack.

Saturday 1.15 pm. Bsharp and mjs arrive at airport, as they call for all passengers to check in immediately. Proceed to check out desk. Pay Aus$21 for the extra weight. Bugger. Informed that flight boards at 1.20.

Saturday 1.17pm. Team sharp proceeds through security carrying the *other* 20 kilos as hand luggage. Pause on hearing .. "Paging Miss Sharp, will Miss Sharp please proceed to .. mffle mffle mffle grrble". Mjs helpfully comments "oh that's you! they're paging you, I've never been paged before.. well my ex-boyfriend did once".

Saturday 1.19pm. Remember how if you're delaying the plane, they just take your luggage off, no more pages. Start jogging (in skirt, boots, and carrying unwieldy file box).

Saturday 1.20pm. Approaching boarding gate - the last on the concourse - gate is still closed, just to hear second page..."Will Miss Sharp, Miss B Sharp, please return to check in counter 39, to pick up your ID card. Miss Sharp please return to check in counter 39." Faaaack

Saturday 1.23pm. Back past 10 gates, double back along check-in counters, get ID ("It was up on the top counter" - yeh right, I know how you budget airlines like to play with people), back through security, down to gate, and mjs waiting diligiently with all unwieldy hand luggage. Get into last place in queue.

Saturday 1.30pm. Boarding plane, and a country lad now sitting in the front row with his parents says "you got your id then?" Big grin. Grit teeth, smile, laughs, "ah yes thanks".

Satuday 4.00pm (EST). Waiting at baggage carousel at Sydney Terminal 2. Glamorous blond about to take large lime green faux croc skin bag off the belt smiles and says "oh so you got your ID then?". Yes I did you horrible, organised, blow-dried person. Now LEAVE ME ALONE.

28 June 2006

Zzzrt !

That's the familiar old sound that brown packing tape makes when its comes off the roll. Just got back from my Nanna's place again today to take out the dozen or so boxes that have been stored there for nearly a year. I managed to unpack and sort out 3 tubs and 1 bag to take to Sydney. Its almost all clothes. Its a melancholy experience seeing things inside boxes that have been out of daily use for a long time. Shirts become discoloured, favourite fabrics are now soaked in mothball smell, making them slightly repulsive to hold. I re-called 2 important things:

1 - Its almost impossible to throw clothes out or give things that are still "wearable" away, but once they're disappeared out of sight you don't ever conjure them to mind. If anyone in Argentina asked me the contents of those boxes, I wouldn't have been able to answer except for a few framed postesrs, and a favourite platter maybe. So if you have to cull 2/3 of your stuff.. don't worry, you'll never know its gone.

2 - There's no point putting things away for best. They go out of fashion. I could already see some of my stuff packed away in a box for another 20 years to become a teenage girl's discovery, being cleaned up and worn as "retro". Possibly they will already be retro next week, when I'm back in Sydney.

27 June 2006

When grown men cry

It was Lucas Neill, realising what had happened after he tried to defend in the penalty area. Within ten seconds the team were out of the tournament after fighting their way into the top 16 for the first time, ever. And was that a sweaty face, or was that a fit young australian choking back the tears while the world's cameras took a tight close up of his face? I was in a crowded terrace house lounge room in the city centre, with 2 people I know and 10 people I didn't. In the stunned silence after the whistle I could feel the welling in response. After saying hurried goodbyes, I jumped into the Camry (thanks Dad) and zoomed off through the streets - much busier than usual for 2am on a Monday. The cold night air froze any tears forming in their ducts. Today: feeling particularly blue, hollow and emotionally wobbly. Is this normal when your team gets World Cup sudden death? Oh, hang on, it is normal for the day your period is due, which mine is. Boys out there, if you're sharing this feeling, record it for future reference. A warm beverage and a cuddle isn't too much to ask, perhaps.

24 June 2006

Its just about the round ball

Love it when the Poms give their sage wisdom about the Australian pysche, as in this article in the Guardian. Its even more annoying when those clever tea-sipping intellectuals are more or less right.
"This intense passion of Australians for a football code they are still trying to decipher is part ambush, part national sporting fanaticism. Many Australians absorbed every moment of every sport in every Olympic Games since Melbourne in 1956 because of national pride in their own men and women contesting something considered important by the rest of the world. . ."

"With the southern and eastern European migration came soccer, a game derided as 'wogball' by the chauvinistic and racist society of the late 40s, 50s and 60s. It was played in dirt paddocks, not on groomed sports ovals. There are anecdotes of immigrant schoolboys being caned for daring to play the game, as well as for speaking in their parents' tongues to each other, in the playgrounds."

Thanks to null device for the lead
And while on the topic. Its a tad lame when normally decent Aussies try to take the piss out of the game. Like the Chaser last night on TV, doing a re-enactment of the over dramatic drops players do when there's kick to the ankle/calf etc. Cute when guys who usually parody aggressive Aussie culture get sucked into the "toughness" cliche, which is supposed to be part of all our national endeavors.

One of my most vivid memories of watching (SA)NFL* was when one guy literally walked onto his opponent's head in studded boots, while the other guy was on the ground. After the play has moved on. Actually in the old days of the league when there was only one or so cameras on the enormous pitch, the real men used to take a leak out on the field during play, up a sparsely populated end. Now that's Aussie. Aunty B will chuckle heartily on the day when our culture manages to make a subtle shift. Imagine applauding our boys' dramatic skills when trying to encourage a penalty on the field. Lord knows, actually appreciating the Arts might not be far behind, then... Viva Australia Latina!

*Bet you eastern states types didn't know we had our very own footy league down here. Yeh and the player was from Glenelg Tigers, I think. Thats Australian Rules btw. I still can't understand that Rugby business.

20 June 2006

Wanted: Slave to the overtly wealthy

Check this out. Its a real, true, I'm-not-making-this-up job ad for a "life-style consultant" for American Express. You see, when you have a Platinum Card you get access to this super special service called a concierge. They basically do whatever the hell you ask them to. Send a suit back to Milan for repairs? Certainly, sir. Book a 5 star hotel suite with spa for my mistress and a trip to Disneyland for the rest of the family? Right away, sir. While you're at it Matthew, cancel third world debt for me, will you? Er, is that the whole globe or just sub-sarahan Africa you were after?

I read about this service as the ultimate example of marketing that aims to constantly jack up people's concept of what it is to "have everything you really need". Hence making us endlessly dissatisfied with life and desiring more stuff. In a book called Affluenza. At the linked site you can download the first chapter where the author points out:
Ten years ago the gold credit card was a mark of distinction, a sign that you had made it—or at least that was the message the credit card companies put out. But too many people began to qualify for the gold card and its symbolic value became diluted. So the credit card companies invented the platinum card, designed to be accessible only to those at the very top of the pile.

Determined to stay ahead of the game, American Express has now introduced a black credit card known as the Centurion.

Lies damned lies

.. and statistics. Yes I have fallen. Sucked into the vortex of statcounter. But I have paid Karmic penance for the addiction. The only search that has appeared more than once and brought readers here is "bec and leyton hewitt". Or "leyton hewitt pics". Oh the humanity. As mermaidgrrl aptly puts it they're like Australia's number one Arayan pin-up kids.

Hello tabloid fans.. not much celebity gossip here, sorry. Except maybe about Harry Kewell. What was that altercation with the ref after the Brazil game? Keep your hair on Harry. Us aussie chicks and nary a few blokes are hanging to see you play again - and a charge of "professional misconduct" might keep those toned thighs relegated to the bench for the Croatia match.

19 June 2006

Oh well

Nice try boys. another late night lined up to see the Croatia match now. Hi Johnno and Toby if you check in tomorrow!

Half Time

So what was with Ronaldho missing that clear kick at goal at about minute 30? Have the AWB got onto the the case? Is there some backroom contra deal going to protect their sugar exports or something? Zero all so far. Nerd house is tentatively breathing out. And here's the run down on yellow cards - I had to look it up.

17 June 2006

World Cup

Being in the cup rocks. For all those a bit foreign to the round ball...this is the best place to look up match times, click the mousie on the time to get a little auto-conversion to wherever you are in the world. Ok so our house has traditionally been fairly non sport-oriented. (Except for Mum playing the North Adelaide SANFL matches on the radio on the weekends while doing housework and occasionally watching the grand final). Dad always had a preference for the round ball, being a Pom and all, but I think in a more intellectual way. He's more your book readin' type. I think I picked up Ma's enthusiam for the crowd mentality or the hive mind. I'll never forget her yelling the loudest when watching the AFL final on the bigscreen in a certain National Science Museum theatre in my years as a student. It was the Crows playing for a second-year-running win and I think the phrase bellowed out over the heads of my post-grad classmates was "C'mon stop playing like a bunch of gerrls" .

Anyway, I love the shared mindless celebration. Call me populist. I love being a in a pub with yelling happy people all staring at the screen. I especially love when the screen shows other people all over the world with the same level of interest in their team. I like to think that the World Cup encourages a kind of global solidarity, where everyone is chuffed to see other countries' supporters in their colours, there is such a global diversity that very few get riled up with that viciousness born of binary frustration. (Celtics-Rangers, Boca-Juniors, Blues-Doggies, Liberal-Labour, for example). So I bear no ill will to Mother. Her genes helped me get absorbed into the last world cup while in the other hemisphere, together with countrymen of my second nationality. It has also been useful in at a couple of live Port Power matches in Sydney, and a running of the bulls in Central Spain.

Finally, check out my mate Johnno's blog. He's actually over there catching all the Australian Round One games. Now that's good value Buzz.

15 June 2006

Where in the world is Aunty B

Well today, in Adelayed. From sometime in the first week of July AT THE BEACH. A well known beach in Sydney - the Southern hemisphere's Emerald City. Me and Mr B have scored a flat from a friend who will be changing the world from State-side for while. It has two whole rooms (count 'em) plus a kitchen. You can gaze out on an uninterrupted view of the waves crashing on the shore from the front windows. And of course hear them too. You can also use the roof do yoga, drink beer, hand washing, or practice belly dancing if the mood takes you. The word is a hot French chick uses it to sunbathe nude, not minding the former male resident to hang out and chat. Haven't told the boyfriend that, but maybe he'll get a pleasant surprise one day.

Have been given the run-down by the current resident on the characters who regularly use the outdoor exercise gym right in front of the window, sounds like an extended eccentric family. I am unbelievably excited about all this. And the phone has even started ringing on the work front, maybe there's something in the stars. So today the divine mjs and I went to Officeworks, and submerged ourselves in a veritable wet-dream of coloured folders, recycled paper reams, card holders and the like. You see, I don't want to actually do any work from a home office, I just want all the beautiful stationary to match.

14 June 2006

Time in motion

Does anyone else find that with every airport upgrade they increase the distance to walk from the plane, to the gate, through the airport to the luggage carousel? I approve of this. It seems that human beings are much calmer if they are moving, as if towards some final goal, than if they are made to stand stationary and impotent to the timing of the bags dropping out of that vinyl covered flap. Even if the time it takes to have your bag in hand and be waiting for a cab is identical.

9 June 2006

Ready read read

New post over at Booklub. Yes, I can hear you all screaming "for gods sake woman, get a life". I'm currently officially working on Project:Life.*

*One novel at a time.