Wednesday, October 31, 2007


There is no doubt we're different. And thank goodness. I love men and embrace diversity. Depsite their collective propensity to not realise that empty toilet rolls go in the bin and the toilet seat really should be left down . . .gotta love their bones!

Seems only fair after the Venus post that the girls reveal what they like in a man. And we're not all shallow, not all of the time anyway. I'm certainly not turned on by the incessantly cute yet hapless males in the feminine hygiene commercials or the well oiled and chiselled Armani types in razor blade ads. Sports figures generally leave me cold and a broken nose or angular jaw is not my scene. I can't stand the Beckham types all boofy and beautiful then open their mouths and all that exits is the "Pepsi" squeak.

I've gotta say, I'm a bum girl. Love the glutes . . . I like a bit of 'roundage' and can't stand saggy pockets filled with stuffed wallets. Let me carry your wallet for you darling! Money really is an aphrodesiac.

Faces are important but don't have to be screamingly handsome just nice looking with happy eyes and a willingness to smile. I'm more into personality attributes such as good sense of humour, intelligence, broad general knowledge, good conversation, fairness, and an ability to fix electronic things. As you get older, your priorities change somewhat.

I take notice of hands as well. They don't have to be soft but nails have to be clean. Teeth, also important . . . must be the horse lover in me but I like a man with a good set of his own pearly whites. They don't have to be straight, just well maintained.

Lips . . must have them . . .that's a given.

Not too hairy, not too svelte . . . not keen on facial hair.

Straight talker, no boardroomspeak, no silly games, a WYSIWYG man but gentle with it. Must remember birthdays and anniversaries.

Then again 'shallow me' will settle for buns so tight you can bounce 'em off the walls.

So, my vote for attractive men? I had a crush on (would you believe) Richard Harris when I was in my teens - what was I thinking? that's possibly sharing too much and you're now worried about my complete lack of judgement.

These days . . I like younger men . . . men my age seem to have lost their sense of humour and their humility. They tend to be serious, self absorbed, patronising and set in their ways and are strangely compulsed to remain in the 70's and 80's at all costs. They are reluctant to have their beliefs challenged.

So at the top of the list is someone like Christian Bale, now there's a man! Just that right amount of 'lispage' when he talks and an ever-changing body shape. Not to mention the rubber suit. Hugh Jackman's not bad either . . got those impish good looks and a cheeky smile. Plus he can act, sing and dance . . . I even saw him on a cooking show once so he's the well rounded package. Ahh Nananoo . . . OK not a lot between the ears but he's a killer in a long leather coat. . ."Whoaa . ."

Men my age . . .maybe my Gyno - er maybe not, that's a bit freaky. He's good looking enough but I couldn't deal with what he does for a living, knowing where those well manicured and steady hands have been.

Denzel Washington . . ahh now there's a smile to melt an icy heart!

In the mature stakes . . . I used to like Harrison Ford until he had his mid-life crisis, pierced his ear and affixed a prissy diamond and now looks like a real knob going out with Calista 'hang-on-to-me-in-case-the-breeze-knocks-me-over' Flockhart,

Best Senior heart throb? I can't really go past Anthony Hopkins - seriously spooky and ultimately huggable, he reminds me of my Dad!

What I want . . what I really really want . . .

What I'll get . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Tuesday night is my dread night. The kids are out. The TV is horrendous. I've flicked between Dancing with the Stars on Channel 10, CSI on Channel 7, Terrorist Tuesday on SBS which might have been worth watching if it wasn't for the interference as a legacy of our spring storms and ABC is playing The Bill. Ok I went shallow and settled for the Aussie version of Dancing with the Stars which poses 'celebrities'(dubious use of the word), poncing about in sparkly outfits, shaking ther maraccas and getting their Bon Bon on or off whatever! Tonight was Bollywood night . . God awful. Pretty ballroom dancers in skimpy Indianesque outfits and men who would rather be having a beer with the boys. But . . in the ad breaks, loads of skin care, cosmetics, fashion . . .so it got me thinking . . what do men like? I hear a lot of you referring to women as dogs, eggs and other derogatory comments but really are you so into looks that you fall for Maybelline's glistening lilps which looked so greasy that the chick would simply slide off your face and as if you'd go out with anyone wearing 'don't take home to mother' purple. Kate Moss is an imaciated freckle face who does a great impersonation of a cheap dry cleaner's coat hanger, Megan Gale . . now a real woman but does look a bit like a horse. Rich coming from the tubby mummy I know, but do you blokes like these women with fabulous Pantene hair and glistening lips with beautifully separated eyelashes or are you all looking at their complete lack of tits? What on earth appeals to you. The ads tonight confirmed to me that women do this tortuous stuff to themselves to compete with other women. And since I'm no longer competing, I find it really funny. I have frizzy hair, hate greasy lips, OK I'm partial to a nice Estee Lauder mascara and a bit of bronzer but . . .I just don't get it. Who's hot? Who's not. If I was a man . . .I'd be picking: Scarlet Johansen, pouty and pretty with flawless skin. Kate Blanchette, the sophisticated man's muse. Amy Lee from Evanesence for the Goth beauty . . . Lauren Bacall for the older set . . . so what gets you going guys, lips, eyelashes, blush, boobs or bums . . fishnets and suspenders or Bridget Jones big knickers . . . flanny jim jams or sauce neglege's . . . tarty leather or flouncy frills. If I was a man . . and I hasten to say I am not, this woman would capture my interest as pure, virtuous, natural selection kind of way, she's designed for all the things a woman personifies:

Although I see myself more like this . . .
Ah delusion is a comforting feeling.

Cacophany of Dissonance

I can't stand peace and quiet. Not total quiet. I need music, even background noise of the TV. I love a house full of people and laughter and raucusnous.

However there are some noises that grate on me big time. Late night/early morning revellers shouting loudly, egging my cars and tipping up the sulo bins on their destructive path home from the Tav on Friday nights. Noisy Minors, Cockatoos and Kookaburras at 5.00 in the morning. It's dark, no bird should be cackling away at that time it's too early to get up, too late to doze back off. Or kids 'creeping' around the kitchen in the wee hours trying to be quiet but actually crashing crockery and giggling loudly.

Then there are the mechanical irritations. Builders noise that isn' supposed to start until 7.00am cranking up at 6 on a Saturday morning. Trail Bikes and Pocket Bikes. Chain saws and dune buggies. Burglar and house alarms and late night barking dogs.

But the most insidious noises are the ones you hardly hear . . . the chomping noise that a colleague makes when eating their lunch, che plate chinker and the soup slurper. The habitual sniffer the indiscreet sneezer. Then there's the guy who spends all afternoon sucking the sesame seed from between his teeth and the throat clearer, the stomach rumbler . . . and one of my pet hates - the keyboard banger and without doubt the constant inteference and incessant warbling of TMAPITW! Seems noise upsets quite a few people. Look what I found.

. . .the little anal noises that nobody seems to care about but you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Am a Time Lord Baby!

Johnny Dodge has long finished his dinner by the time I’m thinking of knocking off work. Shifty’s snuggled the snugglepot into the cot. South Africa aint that far away from Perth but it’s still yesterday there and Vanilla is plotting her latest novel . . . Pennsylvania is 16 hours behind and just getting home from work when I’m planning lunch.

So just how do time zones work? It’s all about longitude. Think of the earth as a segmented orange, you’re holding the orange so that the segments run from top to bottom. The navel where the orange was attached to the tree in your forefinger, the base of the orange in your thumb. Rotate the orange from left to right, east to west. That’s the effect of timezones.

It seems crazy I know that with daylight saving time, we’re two hours behind New Zealand (bastards get the news first) 16 hours in front of the Eastern US states, 10 hours in front of Western Europe and 9 hours in front of South Africa. Weird, you bet, but there’s something kind of sweet in knowing that while Absolute Vanilla is having breakfast in Capetown, Brianf is finishing his late night Vodka and Water and lamenting the latest baseball loss. Kate has just put down her knitting. Jefferson Davis is posting his last pic and poem and getting ready for bed in the US of A and I’m in me jimmy jams and about start the day. Daz is finishing his last game of Halo for the night. Grandad’s sipping his last drop of cocoa and disposing of the day’s evidence just as I’m cranking up the leaf blower. Grannymar is dusting the bedroom for stray spiders before hitting the pillow. Nonny’s . . .well she’s either being thrown out of a pub or making sure she’s still in possession of her knickers and K8 is away in the land of Nod . . . Anonymous has been up since sparrows fart for obvious reasons. ClareBear and Drummer Boy have just arrived home . . Damian is driving to Melbourne for coffee because . . .well that’s actually got nothing to do with time, that’s just him, apparently it’s worth a ten hour drive to find a decent Barista.

Pretty cool . . . reminds us that we’re in a global village and somehow tenuously clinging to a spinning sphere. And if that doesn’t blow you away, if I flew to New York today, I’d arrive two hours before I left. Yes! Yes! Yes! . . I am a Time Lord! Crank it baby!

Easy out . . World Clocks on your Google Home Page!

A Look at the Yarts And Hedgehogs

Portrait of Clive James by Jeffrey Smart - Brilliant

Clive James once said “Paintings don’t scare people, words scare people . . .paintings are friendly.” Clare Bear once said “I don’t get the point of paintings.” this coming from a Graphic Designer and a graduate of the University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts shocked me a little. I think she was having a bad day. I still have a framed version of her year 10 linograph tryptic on my wall and I love it. It's dark and industrial and yet draws you in.

I love paintings. I particularly love paintings with people in them but I envy the artist. The true artist, the one who is evocative, colourful, interesting, different. One of my top ten things to do before I die (beyond go to Paris) is to spend days wondering around the Louvre or the Hermitage in St Petersberg. I could ensconce myself within these hallowed halls pointing at one and saying “What a waste of canvas - a sheer block of PMS 640! What's the point?” and another saying “God, brings me to tears.” I don’t know what it is about a painting - oddly enough I get the same reaction to some paintings as I do to Barber's Adagiio and bagpipes (and I hate bagpipes). You know that well up in your eyes, heart wrenching, I just have to cry feeling. Then again, I get it whenever I hear The Circle of Life . . .so . . .my little emotional idiosyncracies aside - I wouldn’t give you a cent for a 3 metre canvas drizzled in paint aka Blue Poles but when you understand the complexity of the artist, it all of a sudden makes chaotic sense.

There’s a little known painting in the Art Gallery of NSW Briton Rivière (England, b.1840, d.1920) Requiescat.

Lets face it, by the time we started collecting all the great masters had been raped by the imperialists and all we’re left with is well ‘left-overs’ or generous gifts. This particular painting is a It’s a 19th century painting of a dead knight, all dressed for burial on a bed with a heavily embroidered bedspread and at his bedside a forlorn hound . . . It is one of the saddest and most evocative paintings I’ve ever seen. I go there just to look at it but haven’t for a long time. It really moves me. I remember when I first saw it, I was about 15 and with my dad, his company were a patron of the gallery so we visited for free and used to go often. It is an extremely loyal painting both in its technical depiction and emotion. I love it. This and the sons of Clovis. Two Frenchmen, punished by their mother for insubordination, she boiled and broke their legs and cast them adrift to await their death as a lesson to others not to go against the will of their parents. Such beauty and brutality. Very emotional.

Evariste-Vital Luminais, Sons of Clovis

But and it’s a big but . . we have some stunning contemporary and 20th century artists from Sydney Nolan and the members of the Heidleberg school to Arthur Boyd, Margaret Olley and Brett Whitely and a zillion others, too numerous to mention here.

Heidelberg School's Fred McCubbin Bush Burial

Brett Whitely - Arkie Under the Shower

When I first moved to my current abode, we built a shed. It’s actually a double garage up the back. Half was intended for the tractor, the other half for me to start a studio. I've never painted much by the way. I always did Art at school and my major work in year 12 toured the country with Art Express but I always fancied having a bash. It wasn’t to be. The acquisition of horses meant my painting nook was turned into a haystack and tack shed . . .further purchases of motor bikes and tools saw the shed definitely deserve its title.

As I wonder through the plethora of creative blogs available, there are some amazing artists out there, from the cute and kitch to the pretentious and try hard to the considered and careful. Photographers, painters, sculptors, jewellery makers . . . There’s so much talent (and quite a lot of rubbish) But it is something I’m going to attempt. Yummy Mummy yesterday told me of her excitement, nay exuberance at having been accepted into an elite little life drawing class. She charcoals the naked form like no-one I’ve ever known yet her etchings remain hidden in some closet in the Blue Mountains, never mounted, never displayed. She was too shy to give me one that I particularly liked years ago. I bet it's hidden under the bed. I’m a bit like that. I want to paint, draw, create something beautiful, just for me . . . there . . . another thing to do when the apron strings are torn and working full time is no longer a necessity.

Having said all that, the most artistic thing I've ever done is a birthday cake that looked like a Hedgehog and another that resembled a smiling tiger . . .(a mighty fine specimin of a hedgehog I might add! God Bless the Women's Weekly Birthday Party Cookbook)

I really must stop watching Sunday Arts . . it’s doing my head in!

Photo courtesy of
We didn't have digital cameras in the novelty cake days!

Stop laughing . . I mean it . . .you try making chocolatey cakes in the middle of December . . . it's hot! it was a lot more successful than Hickory Dickory who's fondant mice kept melting. Thank God the little angels are more interested in vodka jelly shots these days!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We're Always In Front! (Except for Antarctica and New Zealand and . . .)

New Zealand's had it for a while. Tassie's had it for a month. NT doesn't have it. Queensland won't have it. WA is behind anyway. South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capitol Territory get it tonight! From 1300 we put our clocks forward. Daylight saving . . yeay. . . . no more noisy minors at 4:ooam and sunlight till late. I just have to remember who's behind and by how much. Estern USA now 14 hours behind, England and Ireland now 1o hours behind. South Africa 9 hours behind. Why we can't get our act together and live in the same timezone, I'll never know, something about cows needing milking . . . and then I found this:

"WE, the people of the broad brown Land of Oz, wish to be recognized as a free nation of blokes, and Sheilas .. We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand) and, although we live in the best country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like.

We are One Nation but we're divided into many States.

First, there's Victoria, named after a queen who didn't believe in lesbians. Victoria is the realm of Mossimo turtlenecks, café latte, grand final day and big horse races. Its capital is Melbourne, whose chief marketing pitch is that it's "liveable". At least that's what they think. The rest of us think it is too bloody cold and wet.

Next, there's NSW, the realm of pastel shorts, macchiato with sugar, thin books read quickly and millions of dancing queens. Its capital Sydney has more queens than any other city in the world, and is proud of it. Its mascots are Bondi lifesavers who pull their Speedos up their cracks to keep the left and right sides of their brains separate.

Down south we have Tasmania, a State based on the notion that the family that bonks together stays together. In Tassie, everyone gets an extra chromosome at conception. Maps of the State bring smiles to the sternest faces. It holds the world record for a single mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try.

South Australia is the province of half-decent reds, a festival of foreigners and bizarre axe murders. SA is the state of innovation, where else can you so effectively reuse country bank vaults and barrels as in Snowtown, just out of Adelaide (also named after a queen). They had the Grand Prix, but lost it when the views of Adelaide sent the Formula One drivers to sleep at the wheel.

Western Australia is too far from anywhere to be relevant in this document. Its main claim to fame is that it doesn't have daylight saving because if it did all the men would get erections on the bus on the way to work. WA was the last state to stop importing convicts, and many of them still work there in the government and business.

The Northern Territory is the red heart of our land. Outback plains, sheep stations the size of Europe, kangaroos, jackaroos, emus, Ulurus and dusty kids with big smiles. It also has the highest beer consumption of anywhere on the planet, and its creek beds have the highest aluminum content of anywhere too. Although the Territory is the centerpiece of our national culture, few of us live there and the rest prefer to fly over it on our way to Bali.

And there's Queensland. While any mention of God seems silly in a document defining a nation of half-arsed agnostics, it is worth noting that God probably made Queensland. Why he filled it with dickheads remains a mystery.

Oh yes, and there's the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra). The less said the better.....

We, the citizens of Oz, are united by the Pacific Highway, whose treacherous twists and turns kill more of us each year than die by murder.

We are united in our lust for international recognition, so desperate for praise we leap in joy when a ragtag gaggle of corrupt IOC officials tells us Sydney is better than Beijing.

We are united by a democracy so flawed that a political party, albeit a redneck gun-toting one, can get a million votes and still not win one seat in Federal Parliament.

Not that we're whingeing, we leave that to our Pommy immigrants.

We want to make "no worries mate" our national phrase, "she'll be right mate" our national attitude, and "Waltzing Matilda" our national anthem (so what if it's about a sheep-stealing crim who commits suicide).

We love sport so much our newsreaders can read the death toll from a sailing race and still tell us who's winning in the same breath. And we're the best in the world at all the sports that count, like cricket, netball, rugby, AFL, roo-shooting, two-up and horse racing.

We also have the biggest rock, the tastiest pies, the blackest aborigines and the worst-dressed Olympians in the known universe.

We shoot, we root, we vote. We are girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime.
And even though we might seem a racist, closed-minded, sports-obsessed little people, at least we're better than the Kiwis."

So there . . . all this from the only country in the world that eats the animals represented on its coat of arms. (mmmm rare Kangaroo in red wine jus . . .)

Diamonds in My Eyes

Many years ago, I worked for a multi-national Direct Selling company that had an in-house art department. They produced more magazines than Vogue, newsletters, packaging, labelling, promotional posters bla bla bla . . . I was priviledged to work in that department doing their corporate copywriting with a host of talented graphic designers, art directors and typographer. They were happy times with the Happy Mondays playing on Fridays and the Gypsy Kings Bombalayaying after lunch.

Times were happy, not because of the money grubbing multi-national but because of the amazing people in the Creative Department. A few of us have kept together and have our long lunches each quarter. This time round, it's been a while but today Overall, Yummy Mummy and her two princesses, and BikerGirl came for lunch. I love a long lunch and one with these three is a treat indeed. They are nature's gentlepeople. Fun, reminiscent, talented and each very different. The Greek couldn't make it sadly, working on a Saturday, that's a bummer! We have no problem connecting after months apart and I love their bones. Biker Girl is doing her instructors course in between racing and work commitments and is all loved up once again which is fantastic. She looks great, happy, pretty, serene. I love her to bits. Overall is busy doing curriculum pieces for the Abu Dabi Educational council and as usual turned up with another novelty T shirt, her hallmark. Although we all want one that says "I'm very important and I'm extremely busy". Yummy Mummy is working on her own designs in greeting cards, TShirts and has a market stall on Sundays in between raising two rambunctious fairies and baking lemon citrus tarts and making the best marmalade I've ever tasted.

As always, the company was great as we lingererd over brie, olive bread and tapanade, tomato and basil bruschetta, chicken filets with basil pesto and a balsamic salad, finished not with my raspberry tarts but with YummyMummy's lovely home made citrus tart and a delicious dollop of King Island Dairy's best. A good measure of the bubbly stuff and great conversation, good company and a shit load of washing up. We reminisced over the Designer who is now working overseas and PurpleGirl with whom we've had no contact for a long time. These girls are salt of the earth, honest, funny, sincere, irreverent and time with them is time well spent. Thanks ladies for a lovely day. Seriously, I don't have a load of 'friends'. I'm a bit of a loner but I can count about 20 people who I seriously care about outside my family and these three are definitely amongst them. Bless you ladies . . .you're diamonds in my eyes.

The only downer is the fact that I don't have a dishwasher . . (being eco friendly has its downside) how four people can make so much washing up amazes me and the fact that I chipped a tooth on a friggin' pecan nut! How do you break a tooth on pecan? Damn my 30 year old fillings. I think I'm paying for Painless Pete's Christmas Holiday!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Take Yer Knickers Off!

No, you're not imagining things, I deleted last night's post. Whilst it was written as only semi-serious and the comments were hilarious, my version events was of course skewed to my way of thinking and perhaps I took a little too much poetic license. I know, it's my blog and I'll rant if I want to but he who was the target of my bile wasn't impressed with my 'version' of events so to keep the peace I have instigated the first piece of self-regulation since the blog's inception. So . . having self-regulated, lets move on:

I grabbed this from the ABC site Friday afternoon:

A campaign is underway to chastise Burma's military regime, not through dialogue or sanctions, but by flooding the country's foreign embassies with women's underwear, an activist said.

A pro-democracy group based in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is urging people all over the world to "post, deliver or fling" their undergarments to Burma's international embassies.

"The Burma military regime is not only brutal but very superstitious. They believe that contact with a woman's panties or sarong can rob them of their power," the Lanna Action for Burma group said on its website.

The generals who rule Burma provoked international outcry in September when they violently cracked down on peaceful protesters, killing at least 13 people.

Europe, Australia and the United States led the chorus of disapproval, announcing new sanctions against the regime. Despite the outcry and a United Nations statement deploring the crackdown and urging dialogue, the junta has shown little sign of moving any closer towards democracy or freeing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Those behind the so-called "Panty Power" campaign hope that lingerie can succeed where international diplomacy has so far failed.

"We want to raise awareness first, and we want to target the Burmese government officials, letting them know we are against them abusing their power," said Tomoko, an activist with Lanna Action for Burma.

Tomoko, who goes by one name only, said she had heard that Burma's embassy in Canberra as well as others in Thailand and the United States have been targeted by the Panty Power campaign, which began last week.

"We are sending [the generals] panties as a symbol of putting their power down," she said.

Is that why women throw their knickers at Tom Jones to get him orff the stage?

C'mon ladies, you've been looking for a form of activism that's easy, cheap and possibly effective. If only all inhumanity to man could be solved by chucking a pair of undies. Not to make too light of this, it is actually a concerted effort by those concerned.

I won't be posting my Bridget Jones' best but I am tempted to send a couple of pairs of ClareBear's 'wasteofpegs' to: Burmese Embassy, 132 Sathorn Nua Road, Bangkok 10500.

And for the record, no, that's not me in the photo!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Faeces Fighters

So you think you're privacy is safe on Facebook . . .that only your friends can see you? Not if you write in notes . . there's a glitch that shares your information with anyone. Now there's a more insidious way to capture a new demographic via Facebook . . pitched and personal appvertising. (God I wish I'd thought of that).

Many youngsters and some wannabes like myself are joining social network sites like Bebo and MySpace but the flavour of the month, at least in Australia is Facebook.

I joined mainly to checkout ClareBear on her travels but since she also has a blog, I don’t use it a lot. It seems that since the introduction of the Throw app . . .the one where you can throw sheep, cows, food . . you can even throw poo .

It seems that Facebookers would rather pelt each other with virtual faeces (Daz' fave word) than safeguard their personal information. At least, that's the word from Seth Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Social Media, a company that enables virtual doo-doo tossing.

Social Media introduced a Facebook application called Food Fight which they creatively call a "Throw app" (rocket scientists these geeks), Typically, the app allows Facebookers to purchase virtual food items and throw them - at virtual friends. It plays off the Facebook "poke", a kind of online hello.(Well hello- o-o haggis!)

But you don't pay real currency for this virtual food. You pay virtual dollars. And you acquire these virtual dollars by giving up personal information. (Did you know that kiddies? I wondered why I had so many $ in my growing gift app.) Food Fight is part of a larger network of tools used for "appvertising". That personal info will eventually be used for marketing purposes.(so if you don’t want to be bothered by virtual junk mail – be careful!)

What happens is the advertisements you receive will not only know who you are but also your friends, your spouse or those you are in a relationship with. Providing an opportunity for ad networks to provide the holy grail: personalised advertising.

An example might be: "Christmas is coming soon and Baino would lov a special gift from Qantas, like a round-the-world-air-first-class-air-fare or a holiday in Vanuatu!” (can’t blame a girl for trying) The thing is . . . all the information is given up voluntarily when you’re on Facebook.

Throwing poo however costs more virtual dollars than a quick chuck of a ruminant - $20 to be exact . . Apparently people are more than happy to pay the premium and the response rate has gone through the roof. There are a lot of people out there throwing poo at each other! It’s surprising how willing people are to give up their personal details for a faeces fight . . . perhaps you'd better put your poo where it really belongs. . . bless you little monkeys!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spring Is Here, The Grass is Riz . . .

It's getting very nesty here . Spring is here, the grass is riz and there's no doubt where the birdies is. I'm woken at 4:30, yes 4:30 by angsty Kookaburras whose giggle often precedes rain but in this case it's all about sex baby. Then Cheeky Charlies (native minor birds) feeding their cheep cheeps. There are wood ducks nurturing a clutch of 7 ducklings within the safety of my pool fence, although I know that in a matter of weeks, if they've been able to raise three to adulthood, they've done a sterling job. Channel Beak Cuckoos have been and gone, depositing their own eggs in Magpie and Kurawong nests and the silly birds will raise the enormous things without noticing they are not only huge and noisy but bear no resemblence to their good selves.

Hatchlings will soon followed by Kurawongs and Crows chasing the cheep cheeps. The yellow breasted black cockatoos have retreated to the cooler mountains but the Sulpher Crested remain all year round with their rawcus squawks and destructive behaviour trying ever so carefully to mingle unnoticed amongst the Corellas. Early in the morning we can hear the ever shy King Parrots, beautfully emerald with red feathered heads but they are then bullied by Rainbow Lorikeets who's voice is heard long before they're seen. I have no idea how something so colourful can be so well camouflaged among the gum blossoms. Here' they range high and are rarely seen near the ground but the colours on these aggressive little punters are amazing. If you want a decent look at Eastern Coast bird life, take a look at Bird Anonymous blog. She's not much of a talker but her photos speak volumes and she should take part in the Foctober celebrations.

Ah that reminds me of another story; Once upon a time, we had three horses in our back paddock. One, a particularly handsome thoroughbread who was well trained in the art of dressage was on full grain feed to maintain condition. Sadly, he was shithouse on trails. Memories of the track still in his head as soon as he saw a patch of green, he was uncontrollable and wanted to race. Upon his departure to a happier home (no we didn't green dream him - he was sold on to a nice lady in Vaucluse) the mice had inhabited our shed even though the grain feed was no more and gradually became savvy and moved down to the house. So . . being the animal lovers we are, we bought a humane mouse catcher. The mouse goes in after the bait, gets trapped without being squished and we take it over the fence into the wilderness and dispatch it quietly into the grassland. Well, one morning we had trapped two of the little dears . . dutifully walked about 250 metres down the road, found a great spot, good habitat, released the little furballs and within seconds of the mites hitting the ground they were swooped upon by two Magpies and swiftly devoured . . . nature is cruel but maybe a baby bird survived that day thanks to our sacrificial rodents. And my minors in the plant pot . . all three fledged and two are still being cared for . . .awww

The little dude has been stuffed full of Huntsman Spider which took about
15 minutes to digest

Grumpy Old Folks

Today there was a surfeit of angry old people roaming Castle Towers at ‘Elevenses’ eager to have their loyalty card stamped so they can have their free decaf, soy latte and complementary scones whilst plonked on a table for one with their large bags and zimmer frames blocking the aisles. They were out in force when I went to grab a decent coffee this morning. I was buffeted and glared at for having the sheer audacity to say to one old biddy that I thought I was in the ‘queue’ before her as she barge arsed me sideways..

I once said that when I get old (no lip from you younglings!) I’m going to wreak my revenge and do all the things that some grumpy oldies have done to me and mine over the years. Visit my kids and spill red cordial on the carpet, fart when I bend over, push small children out of the way, argue about who was first in the queue, crash through shops on my three-wheeler motorised trike, complain about ‘young people today’, pay for everything in five cent pieces, complain habitually about being ignored or not getting a senior's discount and tell everyone about every ailment I’ve ever suffered in graphic detail . . but after this morning . . I don’t think I will. I'm a reformed old person before I even get there! I will remain one of the many dignified old people who appreciate the young, like contemporary music and refuse to resort to crimplene and those half leg stockings that sort of wrinkle below the hem of the skirt when one reaches 70. I won’t be mutton dressed up as lamb but I won’t be a smelly old St Vinnies op shop slipper wearing shopper either. I'll know how to turn a PC on and use it, I'll remain in touch, positive and uplifted . . . I'll be as cool as some of the elder statespeople I've met through this blog.

Now before my older friends become affronted . . . of course there are many wonderful, witty, intelligent and entertaining older people as well. Perhaps because they're like that, they don't receive the attention they deserve. People with fantastic stories and memories that should be shared in a narrative and non judgemental way. My apologies to these marvellous ladies and gents who share their wisdom without too many repeats, don’t lecture but embrace the young, are interested in other people, don’t say too much about how much better things were in their day and can remember the glimmer of youth . . I will join you in asking questions of the younger generation, retelling stories, and highlighting jokes. I will also absorb information from those younger than me and learn from their attitudes and opinions. I will stay current whilst enjoying nostalgia, and remain aware of trends and schools of thought, yet be available if advice or experience is sought . . . but you grumpy old farts of the perpetual whinge have it coming to you! (and I might add, some of them aren't THAT old!)

I remember once going out west with the kids and we stopped at Wellington Caves. We cruised in just as a bus load of purple rinses and blue safari suits disembarked and crashed purposefully with steely resolve to toilets where they monopolised the stalls and basins with their ablutions, dreadful perfumes and incessant complaining about the bus driver’s choice of music and the lack of toilet stops.

We all pressed on into the caves. I propped ClareBear who was only 6 at the time, on a sort of ledge so she could see above the penguin like flock of seniors who had closed their ranks so tight there was no way even a kid could have pushed to the front. DrummerBoy was a babe and sitting firmly on my shoulders. Within seconds, another diminutive wrinkly came charging toward us – looked right through us and pushed my kid off the ledge so she could adopt the vantage point. Revenge was mine, when for a split moment our guide demonstrated how dark the cave would be without the artificial light. . . I pinched the hag’s stick while she was squarking about being left on a ledge in the dark. I think everyone forgot about her and she is now covered in calcite and called “The Glistening Virgin” or something.

Clearly food had now become the overwhelming objective. The biddies poured into the dining area as if they’d just arrived from the desert and were parched beyond quenching and proceeded to assault the simple but tasty buffet. We resolved to let them feed feeling they would be less aggressive with their stomachs full. The greedy cows, piled their plates as if it was their last meal and the dismal stream of men in the troupe had headed straight to the bar for a liquid lunch, or lurch - lured by a brassy looking 30 something with big tits. Dirty old men.

There was no need to have been so enthusiastic, within minutes of the Jerry Hatricks piling their plates and being seated in their ‘coach only’ area, out came the good stuff, prawns, cold cuts and a bain marie full of warm food, freshly made salads and a plethora of desserts. Their looks were black – they’d had to settle for shoulder ham and coleslaw as their lunch was obviously included in their day tour price and clearly the budget end of the scale. We, who had paid full fare and were patient, despite the tender age of the children, were well rewarded! All things come to those who wait!

So, when you’re pushing kids off shelves, whinging about young people today, knocking over others with your motorised shopping trolley, gorging at the buffet, lamenting that you’re ‘invisible’ or having a wobbly because you’re cappuccino didn’t come with cake . . . remember, there’s always someone watching who might take your stick and shove it where the sun don’t shine!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Zig Zag

When we studied maths, we were made acutely aware that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Then, many years ago, I took my children onto the Zig-Zag railway at Lithgow and travelling back and forth has obviously made an impact. . . ClareBear now takes this to grandiose proportions by zig zagging across three continents . . . This is her travel map for the first six months of next year . . . .to make it worse, her travel companion gets all the Frequent Flyer Points because she paid for the tickets on her mate's credit card . . .

My little trip to Melbourne in November may not be quite as exciting but I have managed to take the direct route . . .

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Family, Ham and Vodka

I love my Outlaws. I've known them for 28 years. ChattyBetty and SpunkyArt are as much a part of our family as anyone and even though I've been widowed for 20 years, we keep in touch. They love their grandchildren and ClareBear particularly as the only granddaughter holds special charm for them. But there is one event that we attend each year out of loyalty that we loathe. The Melville Family Tree. Melville was ChattyBetty's maiden name and it's a gathering of the clan. But there's no caber tossing or highland shenanigins with this lot. It's water bombs and geriatric races for a paltry 50cent piece.

ChattyBetty was one of 14 children. Country family, good Catholics. A close knit family who lived through rural hardship before moving to Sydney from Wagga and establishing lives of their own. I started going to this event, usually held on the second week of October when I was 'courting' (now there's a quaint word) my lovely Ray. It was fun and used to be held on an Uncle's airstrip. Warm weather, picnic food, silly games and the chance to catch up with family. There seemed to be loads of people my age at that time, early 20's and it was fun flirting and chatting. Then with small children, it was a hoot watching the little tykes stuff themselves stupid with icecream then worrying about them throwing up on the trip home.

But these days, some have passed on - old and young. I have little connection with other members of this enormous family and we gather beneath a galvanised corrugated iron roof for lunch, more silly games and raffles to raise money for next year's hire. Don't get me wrong. I love the opportunity to catch up with my Outlaws and a few of their friends, but I simply don't know these people and my kids are even more distant. There are obviously families who socialise outside this event and find it pleasant to have a day out together but they stick to their cliques and I hardly know their names. Ray's brother's children haven't shown for years with the exception of LankyJack who also gets dragged kicking and screaming by his parents.

I know all attendees are important to ChattyBetty and Spunky Art, I even know some of their names but being greeted continuously by a string of elderly people who insist on crunching their water crackers and talking at the same time is well . . laborious. Not to mention the times someone says "Owww, is this AdamJ? My he's grown into a lovely big boy!" or putting pressure on ClareBear "Awww there's plenty of time yet to find a husband. Maybe you'll meet a nice boy overseas." (she's 23 for goodness sake, no biological clock ticking there just yet!) It's only one day a year so we make the sacrifice. I've missed it once in 28 years because thankfully it once fell on my birthday and I'd made other plans . . . I know it means a lot to them that we make an appearance and it's probably not as bad as the expectation when I'm there but as the kids get older, it's harder and harder to force them into this family obligation. I sometimes wish I'd remarried just to avoid the event but nobody asked me!

And my contribution to this day of coleslaw, ham off the bone,barbecue chicken, Woollies nibbly bits, ice cream and lollies? . . . Bread rolls! That's right, I am the bearer of the bread. So I'll show off and bring neat rapeseed knots, wholemeal batons, pumpkin and olive bread and they'll all say "Oh, this bread is unusual . . what are those seeds on top and what are those brown bits". It might be a humble offering but I'll do it in style . . .

Post script: actually it was a really hot day 35 in the shade. I met Doris, Aud and Barb, had a few champers . . .joked with Spunky Art who was on great form with viagra jokes. Hugged Aunty June (who my daughter had no idea about) and left gracefully. Once home, DrummerBoy made wierd cocktails involving bitters, lemons, Red Bull and Vodka and we spend two hours chatting and dipping our toes in a slightly too-cold-for-mummy-to-get-in pool. Finished nicely with two slash horror flicks. All in all . . a good . . . well rounded . . . family day.

What We're Searching For

Research shows Australian internet users are the world's most frequent searchers for websites using the keywords "Nazi", "Tom Cruise" and "marijuana" on Google search engines. Now what on earth does that say about us? And any agressive comment on Godwins Law will be deleted!

The top searchers for other keywords were as follows:

Jihad - Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan - what, no Iraquis, Iranians or Palestinians

Terrorism - Pakistan, Philippines, Australia . . .Paki's harbour them, Phillippines train 'em Aussies are paranoid about them

Hangover - Ireland, UK, US - . . Aussies know how to hold their liquor!

Burrito - US, Argentina, Canada - US deport them, Argentina grows them, Canadians want to know what they are.

Iraq - US, Australia, Canada - coalition of the "We were too scared to say no"

Taliban - Pakistan, Australia, Canada - Supporters and detractors . . .

Tom Cruise - Canada, US, Australia - Why, oh why, oh why?

Britney Spears - Mexico, Venezuela, Canada - Shy ugly men looking out for themselves.

Homosexual - Philippines, Chile, Venezuela - Well travelled ugly men looking for little boys.

Love - Phillipines, Australia, US - Ugly Australian and US men looking for a ping pong jugglers and housekeepers.

Botox - Australia, US, UK - vain little wankers we are! I am smiling - permanently

Viagra - Italy, United Kindgom, Germany - haha . . now we know why Italians are great lovers, we all knew the Brits are wound tight and the Germans . . .I have no idea

David Beckham - Venezuela, UK, Mexico - well that goes without saying - all soccer nuts!

Kate Moss - Ireland, UK, Sweden - Coke heads!

Dolly Buster - Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia -Ah we all love a skimply leather-clad, botox lipped, techno porn queen!

Car bomb - Australia, US, Canada - what the?

Marijuana - Canada, US, Australia - Yeay spliffers of the world unite! Thanks K8 I love that word.

The Pharyngula Mutating Genre

BirdAnonymous has tagged me for The Pharyngula mutating genre meme. Now it’s a little confusing but I finally figured it out (bloody science student I suspect). She's one of my few Aussie bloggers so I can't refuse. I had a go last night but endured a brain bleed just reading the instructions. It was a little clearer this morning . . . so I'm having a bash never let it be said I am short of being a good sport!

There are a set of statements below that are all of the form:"The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…". Copy the statements, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

You can leave them exactly as is.
You can delete any one
You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. (this was the bit that confused my simple brain last night!)

For instance, you could change "The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…" to "The best time travel novel in Westerns is…", or "The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is...", or "The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is...".

You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…". You must have at least one question in your set, or you've gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you're not viable.Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

My Ancestry:

My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-great-great-grandparent is archy.
My great-great-great-grandparent is Why Now?
My great-great-grandparent is Hipparchia.
My great-grandfathers are Archaeopteryx and Kiefus.
My grandfather is Catnapping.
My mother is BirdAnonymous

My statements:

• The best “bad” movie in comedy is: Black Sheep.

• The worst earworm in pop music is: Never Again by Kelly ‘makes my ears bleed’ Clarkson

• The best alt-country album in country music is: Murder Ballads

(Ok I sort of cheated, I hate country music!)

I tag the following poor saps:
Because she's way smart
K8 the Gr8
Because he's a good sport Jefferson Davis
Because he's got lots of readers who might pass it on Grandad

Now next time someone tag me with something easy like . . ."10 Things You Should Know About Me . . ."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Walk Right Through That Door

It’s Friday, nothing of note has happened which is a good thing after the ‘excitement’ of the past week. Lunch with Thommo who is also ailing thanks to a nasty rheumatoidy thing so we compared notes over a nice piece of John Dory and a chardy. We’ve had the weekly admin rant about Themostannoyingparaplannerintheworld who is still up to form. Sleighted our bosses for being patronising grumpfarts completed the filing (except me because chose to browse You Tube instead.) It’s 4:50 as I write and 10 minutes before I pick up sticks and walk right through that door . . . ah . . .Jane's Addiction just popped right into my head . . .enjoy - Happy Friday chickens!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hysterectomies are Hysterical

There are few events that lead to me eating Conoisseur Gand Marnier Ice Cream with choc coated almonds from the tub and alternating with Weiss Passionfruit and Cream icecream or washing my curtains. These apparently are my deep stress release valves.

Why am I indulging in these mad antics? Well I don't talk about my health, I am rarely unwell apart from moaning constantly when I get a cold and I don't particularly like old people who go on and on about their varicose veins or sit at the table rubbing their tennis elbows and arthritic knees. I can't stand being peered at over bi-focals and listening to complaints of failing eyesight. Of course I'm sympathetic to the frail and ill but there is the tendency to go on about it just a tad too long, just a smidge too often. And, in my lifetime, I've only ever been in hospital to have my tonsils out, a quick de-coke and valve grind after a miscarriage and two babies.

However today I have had to absorb a lot of information - too much information. Besides the Crimson Wave turning into a Sunami over recent months I've enjoyed rude health. However, recent examinations into the explosion of mensus have revealed that my reproductive system, useless as it is, is in fact not worthy of being carried around by me any longer. I wanted to lose weight but this is ridiculous. A decent sized lump on my left ovary and a thwacking great fibroid in my once productive womb have necessitated a number of humiliating probes and prods and more blood tests than I care to admit to. Now that I have tracks on my inside arm and the digging and delving is over I have finally acquainted myself with a rather handsome South African gyneocologist who has seen more of me than any of my lovers ever did and managed to smile through the process and talk about old times.

Apparently, I am to have my womanhood removed on 29th November (I checked out his hands to make sure they weren't shaking) . . . so look out Thommo, Struth Ruth, TheTeacher, Arky and Sparky . . . my visit with you next month is the last big bang and I intend to behave badly.

At least 6 days in hospital and an inability to drive for 4 weeks will be long enough to kick the bad habits. Who knows, I might finally achieve my New Year's resolution of losing weight, giving up smoking and getting laid (well the first two are on the cards). If I ask him nicely, I wonder if he'll throw a tummy tuck into the bargain. And, I avoid that menopausal thing apart, I am told, from a tendency to flush hot now and then. Oh joy and in the summer heat to boot!

So don't feel sorry for me. I'll do plenty of that myself. But here's your big chance to get it off your chest, compare scars, tell me your stitched up stories . . . I want this to be light and entertaining so no staff infections please.

. . .now . . .who's gonna lend me a laptop six days without blogs or email and I'll go ballistic!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ginger Spice

I am embroiled in a battle regarding the pros and cons of being a readhead. Strange actually because I'm not . . . at least not last time I looked and whilst I had a tinge of auburn as a girl, I have no idea what colour my hair is these days. That then qualifies me to be unbiased and sit on the fence in judgement of the 'bluey', 'ginger' , 'red-head' and 'carrot top' . . . I have red-headed friends, I also have friends who are in love with red-heads, friends who would like to be in love with red-heads and even friends who hate red-heads. Love 'em or hate 'em everyone has an opinion. Apparently, if you love redheads, you're in luck because red hair is the new black . If you're not so keen, you probably need to move to the southern hemisphere or Asia where there are fewer about.

Redheads do have some special attributes. It’s true . . . redheads feel pain more acutely but respond to morphine more readily, are less likely to tan and more likely to burn, have fair eyebrows and eyelashes and low tolerance for sunlight. They also age more slowly due to lack of exposure to sun. They have the highest risk of skin cancer and the chance of being deficient in vitamin D. They are also said to be 'hot tempered' although if you're a readhead who's been brought up teased and bullied, no wonder you've got a temper! They are also generally regarded as having a high libido so that's a good thing surely?

What brought on this polarisation over redheads escapes me. Red hair was very popular with the Elizabethans. Reubens would have been lost without his swooning Gingers and Botticelli's Birth of Venus a disaster. Tori Amos wouldn’t be famous and Julie Anne Moore wouldn’t look so good in green. Hell our own Nicole Kidman is a redhead beneath. I have had difficulty coming up with handsome redheaded males hough, unless Mick Hucknall counts - I dunno - Malcolm McLaren isn't my idea of a hot date any more than Robin Cook is and Rupert Grint is a little too young to work out quite what he's going to look like.

So how did they get red hair?Red hair follows what geneticists call an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Each parent carries a recessive 'red' gene. The same MC1R gene responsible for red hair in humans crops up in other red creatures: red setters, chestnut horses, highland cattle and red squirrels. It is estimated that versions of the MC1R gene that cause red hair have been around for 20,000 to 40,000 years with the highest proportion being in Scotland, and 35% of Irish citizens carrying the gene,10% in England. All united by their Celtic past.

And if you believe the latest internet hoax about red heads dying out, don’t. It’s just a rehash of a similar article published about blondes. The genes will still exist regardless of where the people go. It only takes two carriers to find each other attractive for there to be a chance of a new redhead being born.

Oh and remember to eat your vegies. Poor nutrition can result in hair turning red. This is seen in third world countries particularly where severe malnutrition affects the pigmentation of hair that is normally dark brown.

So next time you’re tempted to harass someone whilst circling them on your BMX bike shouting 'Ginger! Ginger! Ginger!' The redhead can comfort themselves knowing that their harrassers could quite easily be carriers of the ginger gene . . . and remember the words of the Boss "you have not lived 'til you have had your tyres rotated by a red headed woman". Make of that what you will.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bottles of Bubbly and Blancmange

Sad isn’t it that birthday’s don’t have the charisma or oomph that they had as a child. I remember organza covered party dresses with tulle underskirts, in 'don’t-take-home-to-mother colours'. My Nana bought me one in lilac with a satin bow belt and shiny black patent shoes – the sort that would have been banned at prissy girls schools because they were enough to mirror my underwear! My mother hated the dress and fretted over the shoes. It was dry clean only and I remember getting an almighty stinger of a slap across the back of the legs for walking along the brick wall adjacent to our house and smearing it with creosote from a telegraph pole . . .minutes before we were to leave the house. My ‘other’ party dress was purchased by my Grandpa. Gorgeous black velvet with a red panel down the front and little shiny pearlescent buttons. Again, dry clean only . . .I think they were doing it to piss my mother off!

Then there was the party . . . always the predictable games. Pin the Tail, Musical Chairs et al. Food was specific. Fish paste sandwiches, egg and cress and occasionally something we actually liked such as spreadable cheese. There always seemed to be a pink blancmange in the shape of a rabbit. Little waxed dishes, brightly coloured to match the paper serviettes, filled with multi-coloured jelly and of course the cake. The taste of which was not important. It was all about colours, candles and cream! My two aunts professional in patisserie did me proud with crinolined ladies, and a variety of animal replicas.

The presents were inexpensive and either broke within minutes of opening or were as durable and predictable as the knitted jumpers that I used to get from my Grandma . . . she of the practical ilk (not the one who bought party dresses), reliably sent brown paper packages which squished disappointingly as only hand made garment wrapped in brown paper can. And all I wanted was a horse riding lesson and a pair of pink sparkly Cindarella Slippers was that too much to ask?

The birthday parties I hosted for my two when they were young were quite different. Both have a birthday within 11 days of each other so as children, they were combined affairs. Not a fan of screaming children, resolving “he took my lolly. . “ fights or dealing with petulant “my mother won’t let me eat chocolate” smart asses, I used to consider an ‘entertainer’ to keep the little mights out of trouble. We had a succession of Fairies, Magicians and face painters but the food was decidedly different. The kids chose . . . savoury dips and crudites or little party pies (a strictly Australian thing), tiny savoury mince pies, fully encrusted with pastry and dipped into lashings of tomato sauce. Little boys (baby frankfurts) . . equally doused in sauce. Sometimes served with matching sausage rolls. Fairy Bread – another Aussie stalwart of white bread triangles sprinkled with 100’s and 1000s. Fruit, lots of fruit. December being summer, there’s no shortage of strawbs, kiwi fruit, rockmelon, mango . . .all to be dipped inI warm chocolate sauce. Gifts were practical and since their birthday is so close to Christmas, it became the 'expensive' present event with Christmas being 'stocking only' and usually comprising practical items.

The games have changed as well. It’s tie your hands behind your back and try to eat a doughnut on a string, Marco Polo in the pool, or musical statues to some American R & B rapper and because of the size of the block, a treasure hunt was always popular and gave mum and friends a chance to have a quiet drink and a chat before the mele recommenced. Don’t worry, we knew where the marauding hoard was because the treasure was planted inside inflated balloons which had to be burst to grab the booty!

Today is my birthday. I have now had 51 of them - if you include the original rite of passage. Feels like 25. It’s not a particularly significant one and it’s a Tuesday so no cause for great celebration but some lovely people have wished me well and for that I thank you. It’s nice that even virtual friends somehow find these things out and wish me happy returns.

It's not that I didn't celebrate at all. I had a lovely lunch on Sat'dy with the InLaws and a beauuuuutiful breakfast at Regels Rendezvous with ClareBear, DrummerBoy and the Fringelet on Sunday morning. I also now have some sweet smelling melts for my oil burners and a voucher for $100 to spend at will . . . I suspect that when I get home DrummerBoy willl have bought my favourite Iris and something very ‘useful’ like oven gloves or wooden spoons or perhaps a permanent chain and shackle emanating from the kitchen sink. I’ve splashed out on prawns for a pasta to die for at dinner and TheBoss has just walked in with a tell-tale foil bottle bag and a very elegant tipple of Grant Burge. OK so I haven’t got a mauve organza party dress but I feel pretty spesh. Thank you everyone for making me feel so!

Monday, October 15, 2007

OK if the post's a little long, at least watch the video . .

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

What follows, is the gist of an argument DrummerBoy put forward during a University debate on the feasibility of sustainable energy and the cause of carbon footprints. His is the serious bit. The jury is out on whether I agree with him.

Fossil fuels are the remains of plant and animal life that are used to provide energy by combustion; coal, oil, natural gas. Almost everything is derived from fossil fuels. The shirt that you're wearing, the paper you have in your bag, the bag that’s holding the paper, the plastic that wrapped the bag, that holds the paper, which was also probably once wrapped in a petroleum based product. The car that you drive, the train you ride, or shoes that you wear. Not to mention the computer in your back room, the food you eat, the movies you watch, the milk you drink - all have been created, processed, pasteurised or affected by fossil fuel utilisation. Whether it’s the transport powered by oil products, coal used to provide your electricity, or gas used in your kitchen, fossil fuels have infused the very fabric of society.

Some renewable energies may be a cleaner alternative but what is renewable energy. Where do we get it and is it the panacea to our ills are they really renewable?

Hydro: Not enough rivers to supply current population levels
Nuclear: still relies on a natural resource (Uranium) and brings a huge disposal problem
Wind: Limited in it’s application and effectiveness
Solar: dependent on the sun, fine weather and improvements in solar technology to make it more affordable and compact
Ethanol/Recycled Oils: Not enough production capability to supply heavy users of petroleum.

Fossil fuels are needed to provide the heat required to smelt and manufacture components of renewable energy plants. Plastic and metal componentry used in systems such as hydro-electrical plants, solar panels, hydrogen cells or hydrogen power units.

Model predictions claiming fossil fuels or more directly their carbon emissions are the precursor of global temperature rise, have been used as weapons of proof of causal effects on climate change. However, reviews by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) agreed that in several sections of reports written on the last 100 years of climate change, there are still huge uncertainties associated with claims that fossil fuelled carbon emissions are causing climate change. They agree that one model on its own can be quite convincing but when other factors are considered, the evidence becomes unclear. Trends overlap, making it impossible to draw on one certain conclusion. Even the IPCC cannot PROVE that climate change is caused via fossil fuel emissions.

Despite all of the current models, an article by De Freitas in 2002 has shown in fact that temperature changes PRECEDE CO2 changes, bringing even more uncertainty with the current models.

So do fossil fuels create the pollution that’s driving climate change? It is unequivocal that climate change is occurring.

From 1910 to 1940, the global temperature rise was at 0.4 degrees, and fossil fuel usage produced 2 billion metric tonnes of carbon. From 1940 to 1970, global temperature declined by 0.2 degrees. It’s fair to assume (based today’s models and evidence) that fossil fuel usage would have increased exponentially with population and industry . . It did, to 4 billion metric tonnes of carbon.

From 1970 to 2000, the temperature rise was the same as 1910-1940, however the carbon output rose to a staggering 9 billion metric tonnes. Leading me to believe that the two figures (temperature rise and carbon output) are not correlated. If they were, we could safely assume that carbon output would reach 9 billion metric tonnes and a temperature rise of 2 degrees..

Ice core carbon testing has provided us with much historical truth. 13,000 years ago temperature increase rates of 10 degrees per 50 years were recorded, many times more than today’s figures.

This is a statement from the IPCC:

“It can only be concluded that there is no demonstrated evidence that links fossil fuel use to global temperature increase, and that the dominant effects of natural factors are still in play.”

OK that's the serious stuff . . . my own experience of climate change is as follows:

The Day the Tarmac Burned My Thong

New Year's day, 2006. We knew it was going to be hot. Sydney in January is usually around the 30 - 35 mark, high humidity and a cooling thunderstorm after a couple of days or a southerly buster vapours through after dark to bring things down to a temperature where sleeping with out being draped in a wet sarong is possible - I don't have aircon, just standard fans so the best way to get a good night's sleep in the heat is to wet a sarong, lie stark bollocky naked prone on the bed and cover you're entire body with the wet sarong - crank up the fan and enjoy the cool.

The day started like many other with hangover breakfast of fried bacon and eggs, the verandah protecting the house from direct sunlight but already the crickets were chirping, cicadas making their deafening buzz and birds had already retreated to the shade . . . always a sign that it's gonna be a stinker. ClareBear was at Muwullimba on the Sunshine Coast with friends so only DrummerBoy and I remained at home with BabyBro and Stressany next door. They have the luxury of ducted air conditioning and I could dull hum of the aircon fan blowing already.

The temperature was rising significantly. Hot Tip: never have a thermometer on your verandah post, the temptation to watch the mercury rise is overwhelming and you psych yourself ito physical exhaustion long before the temperature justifies it.

So, curtains were drawn, doors were shut, we hunkered down with Monty Python and a couple of Sci Fi DVD’s and switched on the fan. It was tolerable until the temperature reached about 39 at midday. We started to sweat, BabyBro invited us next door for lunch and to bask in the aircon but we were mid-movie and motionless so we declined.

By about 2.00pm, the mercury had risen another few degrees and by 2.00 it hit 45 . . .we have daylight saving in the summer so this was just about the middle and hottest part of the day. Birds were perched in the plant pots, their beak’s agape. Dog were comatose, hugging the toilet bowls to keep cool. We dipped in the pool, dried by the fan, dipped in the pool, dried by the fan. Direct sunlight on the pool meant that it was impossible to stay outside for any length of time without burning to a crisp and being no fan of melanoma, we just wanted to get ‘wet’.

Suddenly we were overwhelmed with a need for icy watermelon Of course, it’s New Years Day. Nothing is open except the servos and no watermelon satisfaction there. Even the ice has run out. So who doesn’t celebrate New Years? The Chinese bless ‘em so about 40 minutes in an icy Corolla and feeling cool as cucumbers we pull up face the oppressive heat. The breath of satan hit my face and the tarmac was melting onto my thongs. I mosey through the wilting bok choy and cabbage, glancing at mine host and say something lame like “Hot isn’t it?” Talk about stating the bleedin’ obvious. Yeay, watermelon a plenty! Make the purchase along with a couple of chocolate Paddle Pops and back in the car.

By the time we returned, the mercury had stabilised at 46, in the shade on the verandah. The aircon next door had packed it in and Stressany is submerged up to her chin in the pool. The giant liquid amber had nicely shaded the pool by now and BabyBro was in the throes of making Mango Daquiries. That’s pretty much how the rest of the afternoon went. We submerged like albino hippopotamussess. Drank daquiries and literally turned into prunes.

The Chinese factor came good at about 7:00pm when we all decided we were very hungry and staying in the water a moment longer would constitute a health hazard. DrummerBoy was sent up to collect the order, no delivery on NYD. We ate outside and as dark encroached were blown away by a stirling southerly buster. Windows and doors were once again opened to receive the cool and the wind swept through the houses bringing relief. Within about an hour, the indoor temperature had dropped to 'comfortable' and the mercury to 25!

This might be a sweet anecdote but it is unusual to see temperatures over 39 in Sydney and that's considered bloody hot! Last summer, we had 3 days over 40 and this year, our Winter was cold but much shorter than usual, Spring is already unseasonably hot. We are in our 11th year of drought and NSW is under permanent water restrictions. No longer can we blame it on El Ninio or his contrary sister.

It is a fact that the planet is warming, temperatures and sea levels are rising, humidity is declining. Whatever the cause, it's vital that we unite, recognise the problem and do everything in our power to reduce it's impact. So peeps. Think about your level of consumption, your carbon footprint, your habits, your needs and wants . . . whether natural or man made, we are in an environmental crisis and the footprint we need to reduce . . . is ours!

And if you read all that . . .well done, give yourself a gold star!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Positive Note on Siblings

This blog is a journal, a reflection of my moods, my woes, my joys, my recollections, life in Australia and random blitherings. It's honest and it's personal. I received some sage advice from a friend not to write about family or things personal and whilst I understand where he's coming from, that defeats the purpose of maintaining this record. However, I need to be mindful of the effect such writing might have on others.

This blog is not intended to amuse/entertain others although if this is a side product of it's existence, I am delighted. I want something for posterity no matter how humble. I don't structure it's contents or rewrite. I rarely edit anything other than spelling errors and it's written in the moment, from the heart and sometimes before my brain is in gear. Stream of consciousness without the pretention so sometimes, just sometimes, I am over critical and hurt someone's feelings. For this I'm sorry. I have had contretemps with BabySis, a misunderstanding combined with a black mood. Fortunately, because we are close, we have been able to sort it out and remain close. It struck me that I can be vitriolic about my siblings and despite being a positive and optimistic person for the most part, I am also a cynic and can and do articulate the worst in people. It's so easy to be critical, especially if I'm succumbing to other pressures. "You always take it out on the ones you love" and what might remain pillow talk if I had more than a labrador to talk to in bed, is sometimes expressed here. However, this weekend I have enjoyed the best of my family. So this is a tribute to some of them because without them I am nothing and completely alone.

BabyBro is a wonderful neighbour. He respects my privacy. Sure we borrow milk and coffee and tomato paste and soya sauce occasionaly and sometimes forget to put the garbage out or face off after a few to many but we don't interfere with each other's lives. We trust each other, we share our emotions, our opinions, no matter how different. Our children have grown up together, attended the same schools. We share financial issues, personal issues. He is strong willed, in control, often funny. He rarely sits still. He has rewired our outdoor area, refurbished our pool room. We use his Barbecue, tables and chairs, we shade under his massive pool umbrella he shares expenses without the blink of an eye. We delight in twighlight drinks in the summer whilst dipping our feet in the pool. We enjoy spontaneous lunches and dinners together, we've holidayed together, celebrated and mourned together and by and large, we get on extremely well. He is a good husband, a great provider and a loving father. He respects my children and their achievements and is a noble and moral person. These are his strengths and I applaud them in him.

BabySis is possibly the most cheerful person I have ever met. She's bubbly, chatty, funny, irreverent. She has impeccable taste and is the life of the party. She is intelligent although often self deprecating. She is well read and more openly emotional than me. She is a loving mother and a supportive wife. She doesn't let the anal get her down. Where I scream like a banshee and can't relax until the house is clean and the washing done and benches free of clutter . . . she spends time fund raising for the school, reading to and playing with her kids, working on her friendships, because the other stuff isn't as important. She feeds and waters my horses, she makes me coffee every Saturday morning and takes the time to chat about children, life and the things that matter. She loves my kids. She loves her family. She is married to ThePlummer who also values the principal of family and all it entails. Both appreciate the importance of siblings and the notion of family in spite of our failings. She is forgiving, very forgiving. Especially when I'm bossy or controlling and believe me, I can be. She is my confidant, my rock and my shoulder to cry on as I am hers and the nine year gap between us is nothing now that we have reached maturity.

HippyBro is a difficult one. I love him but I rarely see him. He's entrenched in an alternative lifestyle and has no need for the closeness of family. He's always been the one running ahead, the one squirming out of an embrace but that's just him. And though we have grown apart, he was wonderful when my boy was a child. He took every neice and nephew to the snow each year when their turn arose. He spent hours doused in mud from mountain bike riding with DrummerBoy. He bought thoughtful gifts for birthdays and Christmas. He babysat along with Grandpa whilst I went to Europe with ClareBear for six weeks spending hours playing cards and monopoly. And despite the distance between us now, the importance of that involvement during DrummerBoy's formative years was invaluable.

So in a nutshell these are just some of the strengths of my siblings. They are not perfect, neither am I but without them, I am not complete. I guess it's true, families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.
Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often taking our family for granted, complaining about their failings rather than focussing on their strengths.

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible -- the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
-- Virginia Satir