Monday, December 22, 2008

... reading...

wow, i've been reading a lot lately.
  • eragon, christopher paolini
  • twilight, stephenie meyer
  • breakfast at tiffanys, truman capote
  • the jane austen book club, karen joy fowler
  • the gargoyle, andrew davidson
  • notes from undergound: zines and the politics of alternative culture, stephen duncombe
...and they're just the ones i've finished!

i'm also working on (albeit infrequently or haphazardly):
  • how to eat, nigella lawson
  • war and peace, leo tolstoy
  • type, david silverman
  • easy riders, raging bulls, peter biskind
  • intimate ephemera, anna poletti
... and, of course, the Bible!

all this in the space of the last three and a bit months, since i began my new job. imagine if i were working in a video store!

Monday, December 15, 2008

... do we really think they'll be left out anyway?

bloody telstra!

how long did they have a monopoly (virtual or otherwise) in australia? under whatever name?

so if all there is to the report is what appears on the face of it, why should they whinge and moan about being left out of the tender process for our national broadband network?

this is classic. what is the thinking? "wow, we live on this huge island and we're so far away from each other! why don't we just try and make more people talk to each other on those really long pieces of string with tin cans attached instead of making new strings with better tin cans?"

it is yet another example of what happens when responsibility to the stakeholder is superseded by obligation to the shareholder. the consumer is consulted only in order to find some new product or service to sell back to them!

with better communication lines, broadband, satellite services, whatever, the need to clump people together like a tonne of marbles on one corner of a giant trampoline is reduced further. large-scale administration can be decentralised and opportunities for growth can be passed to rural and provincial cities, such as grafton, dubbo, cobar, broken hill, griffith, shepparton, warnambool, mildura, ballarat, bairnsdale, mount gambier, mount isa, cairns, longreach, cunnamulla, port hedland, geraldton, albany, kalgoorlie. why not encourage the growth of as many of these rural cities as possible, instead of contributing to the ridiculous urban sprawl that is such a blight on our country?

wow... perhaps with better communication and people moving out of the capital and satellite cities, there might be a greater demand for better rail and air connections? (oh don't be an idiot! people will simply bitch about having to sdrive their cars so far! what were thinking?!)

i don't know. telstra sucks. we could have had a far better network if we'd invested more in it decades ago. of course, that would have required a bit of foresight and that was so abundant in the 1980s...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

... not quite in the club yet

i watched the jane austen book club today, just now (about half an hour ago, in fact), and i really enjoyed it. i think i'm tempted to actually read through the jane austen canon. pretty scary, given my terrible experience of jane austen at high school.

we had to study persuasion and i really didn't enjoy it at all. i enjoyed less that austen had lengthened the book from 29 chapters to 44! that said, i always felt guilty that i hadn't given the book a better chance, especially since our teacher was such a huge jane austen fanatic - i always worried that my dislike for the book was received more as a personal insult and less as coming from a sci-fi nut having to read period romance and social commentary.

so i'm going to get the novel of the jane austen book club, read that, and then perhaps read the novels afterwards.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

... i am wrong


i was told today that i cannot be discriminated against.

not that there is a law that says discriminating against me personally is illegal but rather that, by virtue of my skin colour, sexual preference, religious preference, socio-economic background, personal tastes, age, country of birth and place of residence, it is a political-logical impossibility that i should be discriminated against.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

... things to do when you're home sick

well, when you're home sick, feeling nauseous and dealing with diarrhoea, sometimes you end up casting about for things to do to pass the time. here's a list:
  1. sleep;
  2. read a book;
  3. watch a movie;
  4. follow the united states presidential election on various tv channels;
  5. play dune 2000;
  6. make a zine;
  7. do some washing (if you feel confident you can get to the laundry without needing the loo!);
  8. update your weblog;
  9. clean the bathroom;
  10. trawl wikipedia and other websites, trying to understand how the u.s. electoral processes work.

of course, i could call refund home loans and try to find out how on earth buying into a home loan provider franchise could possibly be a good thing for anyone but me (maybe). o me! o life!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

... and among other things, i took a test!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

1 Islamic, -2 Impressionist, 1 Ukiyo-e, -2 Cubist, -4 Abstract and -12 Renaissance!

Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and  Chinese influences .  Islamic art uses many geometical floral or vegetable designs in a repetitive pattern known as arabesque.  It is used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah.

People that like Islamic art tend to be more traditional people that appreciate keeping patterns that they learned and experienced from their past.  It is not to say that they are not innovative personalities, they just do not like to let go of their roots.  They like to put new ideas into details and make certain that they will work before sharing them with others.  Failure is not something they like to think about because they are more interested in being successful and appreciated for their intelligence.  These people can also be or like elaborate things in their life as long as they are tasteful.  They tend to prefer geometric patterns and vibrant colors.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Saturday, August 23, 2008

... what have i been up to?

  • i've been reading war and peace... but not as regularly as i'm supposed to be (i've fallen a little bit behind, partly because...)
  • i've been reading the penguin history of the u.s.a. and i've been learning a great deal about the revolutionary war, the declaration of independence and the years and conditions leading up to the civil war. i'd heard of andrew jackson but knew little of him. i'd never even heard of alexander hamilton until about a month ago, when i read a book by gore vidal about some of the figures surrounding the early years of the u.s. constitution and became interested in learning more.
  • i've been looking for a new job. i have had a couple of promising leads and may have more to say about it in the near future!
  • i'm off to church camp next weekend. my new church is friendly and interesting and i'm still working out how i'd like to be involved in church life. i was so long out of a regular church context it feels kind of weird and a little artificial trying to acclimatise myself to a new church environment.
  • i've got several ideas for stories and screenplays that i'd like to get stuck into and i'm exploring some new software i've downloaded to help me do that called celtx - it really is chock-full of writing goodness.
  • i bought some language learning software and i'm teaching myself spanish. i learned the days of the week a couple of days ago... lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo!
  • it's raining in melbourne (quelle surprise, i hear some people mutter) and i'm really enjoying the melbourne-ness of it. winter actually is winter here and while it's my second winter in melbourne it is still a heartwarming thing for me. i adore the cold weather and melbourne has been most generous in warming my heart!
  • a few weeks ago some of the buildings in melbourne that you don't normally have the chance to see up close and personal threw their doors open for guided tours. i wandered around the city a bit with a friend from the library and ended up seeing less than i expected to see (some of the queues were extraordinarily long!) but it was very cool looking at the capitol theatre (i think it was) that had been designed by walter burley griffin, the same man largely responsible for canberra! such an obsession with geometry...

... and that's about it for the time being...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

... time for a change

i've resigned from my job.

talking with people about it has yielded a few interesting remarks but the general feel is that i shouldn't be quitting my job without having one ready to go into. i agree that such a course of action is a wise one but it isn't one i feel works with my current situation.

for starters, when it comes to work i don't generally flitter from pillar to post. in the last eighteen years i've had three main jobs, with a couple of other jobs here and there. i also feel (whether that comes across in my work life or not) a genuine commitment to my workplace, to make it a better place for the long term and to be able to say that when i leave it will be better than it was when i arrived (and, no, not because of my arrival and departure!).

the time has come for me, in my current work environment, to leave. i have my reasons and i'm hoping that i'll find a new job sooner than later. contacts in the industry i work in have already been very encouraging and i will be following up on at least one of them tomorrow! if you feel so inclined, please pray that i won't be looking for very long and that the place i'm meant to be at will be quickly made apparent to me.

several people have asked if i'll move back to sydney. my answer (at this point) is no. my reasons for leaving sydney have not changed and nor have my reasons for moving to melbourne. i love this city. the weather suits me down to the ground, it's easy to get around and people here are so friendly. i love my involvement with sticky (at sidebar, right) and the great friends i've made through it. i'm gradually getting to know people at my new church and i'm looking forward to church camp and joining a small group Bible study very soon. i started my current job because i was moving to melbourne - i didn't move to melbourne because i had found my current job.

i have a cold. my video recorder is kaktus. a friend from school got married last weekend (yay!). God loves me. my life is pretty good.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

... the end of an era?

imagine my surprise to find when, in a fit of public-spiritedness and interest in current affairs, i decided to turn on channel 9 on the tv while i was eating breakfast this morning, only to find that it's the last broadcast of the sunday programme.

sunday has been screening since i was six years old, its first broadcast in 1981 featuring laurie oakes interviewing then-prime minister malcolm fraser. today, in the last broadcast, laurie oakes is interviewing kevin rudd.

it came as a complete surprise to me that sunday is winding up. all tv programmes come to an end sooner or later - i imagine even 60 minutes will end one day - but i had no idea, had seen or heard nothing about its end in other media outlets - until this morning as ellen fanning reiterated for newly-switched-over viewers that today's is the last broadcast for sunday.

what will come next week? what programmes on australian television will now pick up the baton for investigative, "who knows what we will find?" journalism? helen dalley (now on sky news) commented that the difference between sunday and 60 minutes schools of story production was that on the latter, journalists and producers had researched the stories to the point that when they went into production they would know exactly what they wanted to say and exactly what they were looking at; on the former, journos and producres might not know what they'd find - only that there was a story there worth pursuing. who will do that now? (by the way, how gorgeous is nell schofield??? i think she's even more beautiful now, 27 years after puberty blues, than she was back then...)

it's difficult to get myself excited about news and current affairs programmes on australian television. a current affair and today tonight are barely worth the name of "current affairs" and much more like... the magazines they sell on the shelves nearest the checkouts at supermarkets! for mine, shows like dateline, landline, and the 7.30 report are genuine current affairs programmes.

perhaps it's even scarier that the 6 o'clock news programmes are advertising stories they're going to run (so-called "special reports") when i would've thought there's plenty to report in the news on an ordinary day without using stocking stuffers that they could put into their 6.30 current affairs (sic) programmes...

peter thompson commented that the australian film industry at the moment is in "deep schtuck". i don't think it's just the film industry. when decisions to cancel programmes like sunday come down from the people who are supposed to be far-sighted about such things, i fear the continued dumbing-down of australian television. calling it "making tv relevant" is a cop-out. in a world that wants to talk (it seems) in a language of icons, top 40 soundtracks and emotion, television seems to be leading the way to letting people slip back into a common baby-talk, instead of encouraging critical thinking and thoughtful consideration of the world around us.

our forebears' fears that television would make people stupid seems to be coming true.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

... from watership down

my heart has joined the Thousand,
for my friend stopped running today...

Friday, June 20, 2008

... new comic

i know it's been a long time since i posted but i want to assure everyone that, regardless of how i've been feeling from time to time, i'm not doing an enobarbus anywhere! i've been flat-chat busy with work and exhausted pretty much all of the time, neither of which i'm happy about but feel that won't be the case for much longer.

church-wise, i've been going to st mark's anglican church at camberwell, where the minister is actually one i've known in a past life in my early days of faith (from dapto). it's good but i've been slack in following up queries about small groups and i've been patchy in attendance. that being said, it's probably the most comfortable place i've been so far since i moved to melbourne. the fact that it's about 35-40 minute trip from my place to there (if i leave early) is about the worst thing i can think to say about it. apparently there's a lot of pigeons but going to the evening service, i haven't seen any.

to round out this entry, though, i linked to a comic strip called unshelved from my regular reading at phd comics. quite entertaining.

Friday, May 02, 2008

... iron man

i have to say i was very impressed with this film. it lived up to my expectations from the previews and tv spots, the effects were great and seemed to me to be rooted in an kind of organic reality which is much sought after in special effects movies these days (see transformers).

right from the outset i said that on character alone, robert downey jr was born for this role. take a character who is an egotist, alcoholic, wealthy, brilliant, philandering, ne'er-do-well only child prodigy of workaholic parents... who else do you get to play tony stark?!

i thought gwyneth paltrow as pepper potts was great, although her "action" sequences in the third act of the film weren't (for me) set up very well. had she had one or two more active sequences earlier in the film i might have believed in her a bit more. as it is, she felt a bit more to me like "pepper puppet" at the end of the strings in tony stark's hands. i don't doubt that the character is capable but i pepper as presented in this film was not.

jeff bridges and terrence howard were good, bridges much better than howard in the skin of his character (i had trouble believing rhodey being such a close friend of tony stark's but none at all buying obadiah stane as the family friend turned nemesis).

i watched the film to the very end of the credits and my final thoughts on the film were these: i love the movie but i feel a bit dirty - tony stark's final revelation was poor... and that is NOT nick fury.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

... i love nigella...'s cooking!

upon being told of a cookbook worth investigating, i went into my local angus & robertson bookshop to investigate. they didn't have the title i was looking for but they did have the new nigella lawson cookbook, nigella express.

i flicked through it a little and about five recipes in i found this one for mustard pork chops.

hopefully it'll taste as good when i make it as it looks like it does when nigella makes it!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

... i love my back

it's been a while since i blogged. it's part procrastination, part i-have-no-internet-at-home(-and-seem-unlikely-to-in-the-near-future), part my life feels very blah at the moment... but i love my back.

this weekend just gone i was away from melbourne, in sydney for a trade show. the fair was ok and i was pretty tired from having to be out of bed at 4.30am to get my 7.45 flight from tullamarine. there was a harbour cruise dinner in the evening that i was ready to leave about two hours prior to docking, simply due to fatigue.

the biggest problem was that i had another back spasm on sunday morning while getting dressed. i've been waking up as "pretzel man" every day since and while i'm recovering faster and feeling less sore as the days wear on, it's still frustrating. i wasn't able to be as quick on my feet and people i wanted to visit i wasn't able to - very, very frustrating.

back in melbourne, i had yesterday off so i could at least have one day of lying down, which was what i did. then around 3pm we had a blackout as part of the big windstorm that came out of the low pressure cell from the south. power wasn't restored to my part of town until about 5am today. blah.

all things considered, this is about as interesting as it's been. as for the title of my post?

as i was crossing the road near the slip inn on my way back from breakfast at cockle bay wharf, i noticed some people crossing against the light. i turned to watch them go and noticed a woman standing very close, closer than people would normally stand if you're the only two people at the lights. she seemed equally surprised. "i suppose i should introduce myself!" she laughed. i commented that this was the kind of conversation i enjoy in melbourne (randomly with strangers) and she mentioned that she might have already crossed. i remarked that i was a bit slower than normal due to my back spasm and she replied that she was a healer (i assume a reiki therapist or some such) and she offered to give me a go.

five minutes later i'm standing besides the slip inn, bag on the ground and eyes closed while she did... whatever... to my back. afterwards, she said, "i'm feeling a lot of dark energy there... what i really need you to do is to love your back. do you love your back?"

i really love my back!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

... still alive

i'm sitting here at sticky, marvelling at how tidy the desktop on the computer screen is, trying to think about what's been going on in the last few weeks.

it's been pretty busy. after almost a dozen weeks of looking, i'm now in my new place. it's pretty small, but i guess that makes it "neat and cosy" or some equally real-estately euphemism for "small enough to swing a young cat, maybe". i quite like it. it reminds me a lot of my old place in kogarah (something i think i mentioned before) but after some discussion with mum on the phone a few nights ago i realised it also reminds me of my grandparents' last place in unanderra. the direction of entry into the flat is different from theirs, and i have no backyard, no outside toilet/laundry... similar then, but not the same.

the neighbours that i've met so far have been very welcoming and friendly. a couple of them have taken to semi-regularly going on walks of an evening in an effort to boost fitness levels, something to which i've been given an open invitation i've yet to take up. and so on...

i'm currently without a fridge, something i'm hoping to remedy this weekend but how successfully remains to be seen. i moved out of my family's home in may 1994 and this is the first time in all that time that i've been drinking powdered milk! (it's actually not as bad as i might have anticipated...) i have some uht milk in popper-portions but i don't like to open them unless i'm going to drink the whole portion in a sitting. good for breakfast cereal, not so great for a cup of tea at the end of the day...

i have rent due in about a fortnight and i'm trying very hard not to send any more money than i need to on things, not because i want to have money to pay the rent (obviously i want that!) but because i'm still saving towards going to the u.s. in august for the portland zine symposium. i have a stash saved towards it but moving house meant that i had to dip rather heavily into it. I'm not too concerned - my tax refund and the return of my bond over the coming months will greatly assist my savings in this regard again - but i am a touch worried. anyone who knows me will tell you that i'm not very good at saving and i secretly suspect in my heart of hearts that portland may end up getting carried over to next year. i really don't want it to, though, and if i can get there this year, i will.

that's about it for the time being. i've been having a lot of trouble trying to get internet connection at home and i think at the end of the day i may have to go with some kind of wireless broadband option. until then i'll be relying on free wi-fi at cafes and public spaces, along with my lunch times at work...

oh well... i get the feeling that God saved this new place for me as an opportunity to prune my life of extraneous crap. i guess news will follow as it comes to hand!

Friday, February 15, 2008

... not long now

i pick up the keys this afternoon. i'm still quite excited, even though i know the actual moving part is going to be a touch difficult, given the way the balcony is laid out and how far along from the stairs my flat is. i'll pick the keys up, come back into town to go to the zine event for the festival of the photocopier (follow the links from sticky), then go back there and measure the place up for the fridge.

i'm hoping to move some stuff in over the weekend, bibs and bobs that i can get there on my own steam, and i have removalists taking the bulk of my stuff later. my housemate is moving out mid-week, so i'll be without a fridge for a bit but that's no biggie - i'll get some uht milk in the small-format six-pack and use that on my cereal.

anyway, i have to get back to work. i'm here early to make up for leaving early this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

... new digs

well, i have new digs. i signed the lease today and i pick up the keys on friday. it's pretty exciting, actually, and i think it's the first place i've actually the signed the lease on for about five or six years. a while. it's a nice place, reminds me a lot of my place in kogarah, although this is only a one-bedroom and not a two-bedroom place.

there's a bus stop just outside and across the road from the block of units i'm going to be in, which is a mixed blessing: one route takes me up to the next station but far less frequently than the other route goes into the city. the flip side to this is the nearest station has trains which only take about 15 minutes into the city, while the bus directly to the city takes almost an hour. bus-train beats out bus-only in peak hour (i tested it this morning). i'll be interested to see how the weekend traffic affects the times.

it's taken quite a bit of time to find. i've been looking more or less for two months now, since my housemate decided to move east, nearer to church. i've looked at one- and two-bedroom places at ofis (open for inspections), which seem to be the main method of property managers scooping up applicants, and about a dozen various share places. i didn't remember this being this hard, back in 2001. when i found my place in kogarah, i think the whole process only took a few days... although, once i saw the place, that's about how long it took for this new place.

i had seen the unit advertised as being ofi about three or four weeks ago but through prior arrangements and mischance i didn't actually get to see it. so last saturday i had planned to look at three places - one in richmond, two in st kilda east - but i felt too tired to hit the richmond one up and decided to go to elsternwick instead and see if i could snag the keys to see a unit on glenhuntly rd in elwood, just on the other side of the nepean highway.

well, after having a long and involved conversation with the receptionist about her injured finger ("it was just a little cut but two weeks later i woke up at 1 a.m. and all there was in the universe was the pain at the end of my finger and "nursesonline" said, 'you have four hours to get to the emergency room' and now it's bandaged out to buggery..."), i discovered that the unit would be unavailable to view for another week while they did some painting and carpeting work. with some time to kill, i ducked across the road to another real estate agent, where i discovered to my astonishment that the unit i'd missed the ofi at was still available to view! i paid my fifty bucks and hopped a cab to go check it out.

first floor. wooden floor boards throughout. wooden slat venetians in the east-facing lounge room. pokey little kitchen (my words - in real estate speak it would be classified as "neat"). two sets of four powerpoints in the lounge room and two pairs in the bedroom. built-in wardrobe in the bedroom. gas hot water. good hot water pressure! communal laundry downstairs with big-arse laundromat washer and dryer for a dollar a load. car space (oh, the irony). great neighbours.

so great, in fact, that when i was leaving the block i ended up having a bit of a yak with them and they (hilda ("i moved in in 1982") and sharon ("i think about getting fit while i'm lying down with a block of fruit & nut") were on their way out for the day) gave me a lift back into elsternwick! how great is that?! so i applied for the place, ditched my plans for the rest of the looking-at-units, and wandered into town.

they phoned monday to say they were offering it to me. hadn't spoken to any of my three referees... i guess my application spoke for itself in ways that the last dozen applicants' hadn't. so i signed the lease today (tuesday, even though i know it's now wednesday) and i pick up the keys friday. so i'll be out of lovely carnegie by the end of the month.

i'm rather looking forward to the whole thing.

my housemate's blog included this little tidbit, upon settling on the new digs further east:
and where was God in all this? as it turns out... here the whole time... there were plenty of whiny prayers from me, i admit, but i've slowly come to pray more and more "i shall trust you whatever the outcome, and trust that all of this will make me more like Jesus."

as for myself, i didn't pray very much about my own search. i was fully confident that i would find a place, somewhere God was happy for me to be or (perhaps slightly more accurately) where he wants me to be from now on (for whatever reason that may be). i've been feeling pretty distant from God lately, not because of the search for somewhere to live but because i haven't been giving our relationship the attention it needs. i continue much encouraged by the passage:
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.
[ 2 Timothy 2:8-13, ESV ]
in those times when i find myself drifting, more or less actively, away from God, knowing that he is unchanging in his love and faithfulness is the most tremendous comfort to me. that is what keeps bringing me back to him. when i fall down, it's always shame and selfishness that keep me from getting up again but it's the unchanging word of God and the power of the cross that break through that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

... happy accident

i found this while i was trying to get an earworm out of my head. i went looking for a piece of music from the u.k. talent show "the x-factor" (and "kill bill") called "battle without honor or humanity". i looked on youtube for a film clip that accompanied it, found an interesting one cobbled together from bits of the star wars movies...

and then found this:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

... qfs

i'm very sad to say how utterly unsurprised i was to hear/read about the out of control party at narre warren over the weekend. i can't help but hear the voice of v in the background as i think about it...
how did this happen? who's to blame? well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
how do parents instill in their children a sense of responsibility toward others when everything in the world around them tells them only to think of themselves?

i've heard people say that there comes a time when you have to think of yourself, which leaves me to wonder if it ever really need be true... after all, if you can have two people looking out for one another, making sure they're safe, why can we not have 22 million people in this country looking out for one another? why can we not actively seek to make sure as we step into the future that the person beside us is not left behind?

we talk about being "the lucky country" as if we are somehow different from other nations but the more i see our newscasts and read our papers, the more i see advertising and billboards, the more i hear people on trains and see them on streets, the less difference i see between australia and the rest of the western world. this is the effluent affluence that developing nations are aspiring towards? so they too can afford to crave the things we have? type-2 diabetes, spiralling divorce rates, people unable to build things or repair things but wonderfully trained to create web pages complaining about why the water pressure is poor or why new houses are so expensive...?

our very success is the albatross around our neck: our prosperity makes us targets which need to be defended by men and women with guns; our growing population weighs our economy down with credit card debt being paid to overseas interests while we import food because we cannot support our own appetites; there is no apology without the expectation of damages; there is no forgiveness...

when i started writing this i wanted to come up with a rant about irresponsible young people who could probably do with a good thumping when it comes to being punished for damaging people's homes and our community's police cars. i want to see the people i perceive as being the cause of this be punished.

what i want is wrong. what i should want is not recompense but redemption, not judgement but justification - not payment for past mistakes but a changed direction to a better future.

i read that some party organiser said that this young man's party organising skills would be worth $10,000. so heart warming that such public if deniably tacit approval of defying one's parents can be so rewarding; such a pity that that only comes halfway to paying the bill for cleaning up such a wonderfully well-organised party last weekend! one person thinks he's hot; another described him as having raided doctor zhivago's wardrobe.

it comes as no surprise to me that the community outrage that some might have expected to see about this incident hasn't much teeth. for the appropriate level of community outrage i suspect there needs to be a certain level of community responsibility felt within the community itself by its members towards each other, community responsibility that would have meant this would never have happened in the first place. five hundred people would have been fifty, who would have accepted that the police were there because the community as a whole empowered them to say, "you have gone thus far - too far".

so we have an acceptable level of debt, when any debt was something to be worked off rather than lived on; acceptable levels of unemployment, homelessness, divorce, scandal, corruption... what a lucky country we are! what? are we a lucky country? compared to others, perhaps. compared with what we could be, no.

we are some of us living on the verandah of a mansion, scorning the people on the stairs, ignoring those at the bottom of the driveway, and all of us together refusing to turn around and bring everyone inside the house.

... i love blogs like this

i came across this blog as i was logging in to upload my last entry. very cool.

Monday, January 14, 2008

... bicycle! bicycle!!! (1)

i want to ride my bicycle!

i did, yesterday, and so i took myself off to chadstone, shopping centre of the one-bike-rack kind. i ended up locking my bike to a light post outside, being warned off so-called "dumb" signs, those posts that are simply slotted into holes in the ground without being cemented in at all.

chadstone is busy! in a very terry-pratchett-it's-all-quantum kind of way, it exerts a strong socio-economic gravitic force on the area around it... distorting traffic movement, parking areas, public transport, property and rental prices, green grocery prices - the works. scary to see that kind of thing up close. i expect any large shopping centre would have that kind of impact but chadstone seems to be a bit more pervasive than most i've seen.

i did some exploring on my way home and by the time i'd put my bike away my thighs were screaming that they were about to cramp up at any moment! i had as hot a shower as i could cope with, scrubbed hard at the sweat that had caked my body (ewww, i know, but it also kind of felt good to have exerted myself that much), and took a great deal of pleasure in washing my hair.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

... no resolutions

well, none but this - i want to go walking for half an hour every day.

it's been a while since i blogged but nothing terribly exciting has really happened. not that i only blog the exciting stuff... it'd be the world's shortest blog, given my preference for avoiding (chinese curse-style) interesting stuff.

new year's eve last night was the first one i've had for about 13 years where i wasn't away on a camp of some kind. what did i do? i watched fireworks on telly, caught up with some filing on my computer, and watched a film on sbs. not a whole heck of a lot. i had sausages and baked beans on toast for dinner. i'm told the temperature yesterday maxed out at about 42 degrees here in melbourne - after so many steamy summers in sydney, it totally didn't feel that hot without the humidity i was used to over the Christmas period. anyone who saw me last (or was it the year before) new year's, when sydney had all those bushfires and it was one of the hottest new year's days we'd had and it was so dry, will agree that it's definitely the humidity that knocks me about, not the heat so much...

my mum and sister were over here on Christmas Day for lunch. that could be filed under exciting, i suppose, but from my point of view it was more scary than exciting. i made a slow-cooked lamb shoulder with mint and pomegranate, peas and parmesan, zucchini slices sauteed in olive oil, chilli and garlic, and potatoes with whole spices, with a variation on eton mess, serving meringue, whipped cream, cut strawberries and pomegranate seeds and juice piled up in a big heap for dessert.

i've never slow-cooked anything before, let alone 2kg' worth of lamb, so i was very glad to wake up and find the house had not burned down overnight. in fact, the cooking had filled the house with a yummy sweet, meaty aroma.

no surprises here either - i used nigella lawson's recipes for the lamb, the potatoes and the pomegranate meringue mountain (her name, not mine; i like the succinctness of "eton mess") and jamie oliver's recipes for the peas and zucchinis... truth be told, the green dishes didn't require much in terms of recipes but when you're uncertain of how even to cook frozen peas a simple recipe goes a long way. at least i could already boil water - i know more people than i'm happy to who claim to burn even that!