Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Hallo" Ween!

Unlike the frenzy that seems to be taking over America, Australian's are very ho hum about Halloween this week's Theme Thursday topic. Sure there's the bored looking Chinese guy in the 'Scream' Mask carrying a billboard outside Castle Lighting at the Victoria Road Supa-Centa trying to convince those browsing furniture and electronica that the "Halloween Superstore" will scare the bejeezus out of you and your friends. But he's competing heavily with the skinny Indian Santa Clause spruiking for your custom at the Christmas Warehouse.

The odd department store has whacked a few pumpkins and a bit of straw around the place and are promoting their 'thriller' genre in the book section or displaying orange and white kitchen ware and pumpkin soup recipes by Donna Hay. The toy shops are playing on its commercialism to convince you that if you're seven year old doesn't dress up like Freddy Kruger and throw a handful of gak at his victims, he's going to miss out this Saturday.

There are even suburban mums, preparing bowls of tooth destroying gooeys for the few optimistics who knock on the door in the hope of a treat rather than a trick but unfortunately, this Halloween celebration thingy generally falls cold down under . . . .

So, for your viewing pleasure and because I am at this very moment constructing a wax effigy of my boss (Thanks Annie for the hot tip with the hat pin). The song by Ween seemed to fit the bill.

For those who love it (Melissa! I know you're all dressing up and pouncing on Pennsylvania!), put on your best and - as they would say in that fabulous movie "Hocus Pocus" run "Amok, amok amok!"

Oh and if you're at home with littlies . .do hire Hocus Pocus . . just the right amount of scare and comedy . .I'm heading out for my copy on Saturday night! The zombie is a cack!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Should they Stay or Should they Go Now?

Sri Lankan Refugee Camp . .

Since when did a leaky boat full of Sri Lankans, found by Australian Customs in Indonesian waters get to choose their refugee destination?

I must be getting grumpy in my old age but lately we've been visited by four or five little boats intercepted in Indonesian or Australian waters, jam packed with Sri Lankans claiming to be Tamil refugees afraid of returning to their homeland in fear of their lives.

The 78 asylum seekers were rescued open international waters and are subject to an agreement between Australia and Indonesia which means they will be 'processed' in a detention camp in Indonesia
by the United National High Commission for Refugees. However, the Indonesians won't 'force' them off the Australian Customs ship - Oceanic Viking. All have refused identity checks and medical assistance and do not want to disembark. Their intended destination was Australia. So after 10 days aboard the ship being fed, watered, translated and represented, we have reached gridlock.

The asylum seekers, 10 of whom are women and children, are due to be taken to an Australian-funded detention centre on the Island of Bintan, where some detainees have alleged they have been beaten by guards. Well this is Indonesia and I have no love of their corrupt system.

The bottom line is that illegal refugees have no choice as to where they can claim asylum. We picked them up, we rescued them and now they're getting picky about their accommodation!

Then the compassionate person screaming in my head says that this smacks of shirking responsibility by Australia. Being institutionalised and processed in Australia would be more humane, quicker and in the interim, although the refugees are incarcerated, they are receiving medical attention, English lessons, free legal representation and a comfortable, dry place to live.

The consensus seems to be that if indeed these people are 'genuine' we would accept them into Australia on compassionate grounds. The facilities at Christmas Island are being expanded and they should be lobbed there for processing.

Get them in, process them, if they're refugees give them protection, if they're not send them back.

These are desperate people who have resorted to desperate measures to escape desperate times:

These stories courtesy of Ruth Fremson/ The New York Times:

A 25-year-old former computer student, S. Indra Meenan, described long periods of shelling: “In the village, every house had a bunker. Five or six people sitting inside, sometimes for three or four hours.” He said that the Tamil Tigers sometimes fired from areas close to where the civilians were residing, putting them at risk from retaliatory fire. “We left [by boat] on April 20 because we were scared. There was so much bombing and shelling. Every day, at least three or four hours, there was shelling. The firing was coming from the Sri Lankan army.”
A motorbike taxi driver, S. Indra Kumar, told Human Rights Watch that his family went to Putumattalan on the coast after the Sri Lankan government declared the area a safe zone: “We were living in such fear. There was constant shelling. On April 5 or 6, our neighbors were injured in the shelling. A shell landed inside the bunker. Ten people were injured, and of them, five died. There was no anesthesia. The doctors had to cut off a girl’s hand without any anesthesia. My six-year-old daughter was crying and scared. I decided then that we had to leave.”
Jagdeshwaran told Human Rights Watch about the journey by boat that included his wife and two children and his wife’s relatives: “My son died on April 24, four days after getting on the boat. He was four-years-old. We had no water, no food on the boat. Then her father died. Her two brothers jumped into the sea. My wife was in shock. She was weak and not even able to move. That morning, April 29, she asked for some water. We gave her seawater. She vomited and then she passed away.” His eight-month-old baby boy Kubera survived because he was on breast milk.

These are just three of their stories . . now you tell me, do they deserve a place here?

Christmas Island Detention Centre under construction - now finished it's still a detention camp but much more comfortable than the camps from whence these people came!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I haz no internetz

Sorry folks. No posting for a little while. I have a line fault on my ADSL so waiting for a technician to fix things next week. Hope to catch up with your shenanigins then.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Fuckwit - "Look Mummy . . Flying Bunny"

A small rural town in New Zealand has been forced to cancel one of the highlights on its social calendar - a rabbit-throwing contest. (Oh dear, no sack races?)

About 400 people live in Waiau in the South Island. This weekend the town will hold its annual pig hunt. (Ah . . .getting the picture . . not a fully toothed mouth in the entire community I'll bet *cue theme from Deliverance*)

In previous years a 'rabbit throw' has been organised for the local children, who compete to see how far they can hurl a dead bunny. (sweet little things - suffer the little wabbits)

But the event is now off, after New Zealand's equivalent of the RSPCA got wind of it.

Animal cruelty inspector Charles Cadwallader says throwing bunnies is sick. (Hang on, they're dead bunnnies, they're feeling no pain!)

"Do you throw your dead grandmother around for a joke at her funeral?" he asked. (Well maybe they would but these are children remember . . granny's a bit on the heavy side!)

The organiser of the pig hunt, Jo Moriarty, says it is political correctness gone mad.

"You know, the children of the community here are fantastic, they love their animals," he said. (Hahahahaha! Anyone else see the irony in this statement?)

New Zealand has more than 30 million wild rabbits. (and 4 million sheep shaggers)

Personally, and you all know my hatred for the feral perils . . .what's wrong with throwing a dead bunny? They're DEAD. If I could catch the little bastards that are undermining my shed, pool and concrete verandah I'd chuck em. Anyone got a ferret?

Sorry if you've had problems accessing the site, Blogger has been misbehaving today. Oh, and congratulations on your retirement Suzie C and Happy birthday Dame and Kate! I'm getting better!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Renee Lawrence . . one of the Bali Nine upon hearing her sentence

Someone was going to do it this Thursday but . . I don't understand what makes young, everything-to-live-for people, become mules in the drug trafficking world. I can almost understand a young South American rose processor living in abject poverty being tempted to take heroin or cocaine into the US for money that might save a family member's life. I can understand an Afghan poppy grower who makes his livelihood growing a crop where he never sees its deadly consequence. I can understand the same of the Burmese Triangle . .simple men who grow a lucrative crop of innocent flowers to feed the world's addiction . .I don't like the processors, the manufacturers, the traffickers who take advantage of these people to finance their own ends.

What I don't understand is an 18 year old Australian who takes the stuff into Indonesia thinking for a minute that they won't get caught.
Even now, the Bali Nine . . kids, not the smartest tools in the shed . . cajoled by the promise of a holiday and a few thousand dollars strapped kilos of heroin to their bodies with the intention of bringing it back to Australia and of course were caught at the Denpassur departure gate. Much has been made of the Australian Federal Police because had they been arrested on entry into Australia, their sentence would have been lighter. But no, they were tipped off in Indonesia and that's where they are today.

Bali is a popular Indonesian holiday destination . . especially for Australians. It's cheap, it's close, it's beautiful, it's corrupt and it's politically and ideologically dangerous. These guys thought they'd get away with it. They were arrested on April 17, 2005. Four years later they're still awaiting their fate when they should be partying hard and enjoying life.
These nine are now languishing in a foreign country, in a prison where money talks and awaiting a range of sentences from life to death. Three of the nine - Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and Scott Rush - are on death row, while the other six were handed sentences of 20 years in jail or life imprisonment. You'd think that just months after Shapel Corby received a life sentence for importing kilos of cannibis within a body board bag, they'd have more sense. All nine, caught together.

When my son and his girlfriend ventured to Thailand in 2008 he was totally paranoid about someone putting drugs in his bags or being arrested for trafficking even though the most toxic thing in his luggage was toothpaste. Special combination locks were installed on their bags to prevent access and he was seriously freaking out in case someone 'planted' something in his bags.
Not so these 9 who thought about the quick buck and now have to deal with the long haul. Whilst these kids await their fate . . .3 years later . . we're no closer to catching the real culprits. Who are the traffickers . . the mules or their masters?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Memelicious Monday

You know I love my tucker . . I really do enjoy food, good food so when the Jelly tags . . I must comply. I'm not much for singling people out but consider yourself tagged if you fancy . .

1. Whats your #1 comfort food?

You're going to think this really weird but if I'm not well, bluesy, I go for Arnotts Mint Slice biscuits or white bread and fish paste! I know, disgusting but reminds me of children's birthday parties when I was a kid. I'm also partial to fish and chips with white vinegar, a strong cup of tea or a glass of Creaming Soda . . again . . back to Thursday nights at home . .late night shopping and fast food. We had a great chippy, perfect potatoey chips, none of this reconstituted perfectly sized chippy bizz.

2. If you were stranded on a desert island what food would you want to have with you to survive on? Mangoes, crusty bread and brie, not necessarily together . . .that's the five food groups almost covered!

3. What are your signature dishes? (What dishes are you known for making?)

Plain but a favourite, Bacon and Sour Cream Potato Bake, Beef Stroganoff, Thai Chicken Curry, Beef Carpaccio and Watercress Salad, Mussels in Tomato Garlic sauce, pancakes and crepes, Fresh Fruit Platter with warm Chocolate dipping sauce. Sounds fancy but I'm a lazy cook so they're all massively easy.

4. It's Friday night, you don't know what to cook. You opt for?
Whatever Adam makes usually . . pizza . . .Thai Chicken Curry or a ham, cheese and tomato toastie.

5. What's your ultimate food weakness?

Seafood . . .love the shellfish. Not so fussed about the bits with suckers on them. I know, I know, they're bottom feeders but fresh rock oysters, mud crab and tiger prawns . . .add a little dipping sauce, mix with linguine or stirred through risotto . . .bangarang! Oh and creamy mashed potato. Oh oh and kalamata olives . . oh oh oh and Maggie Beer Pheasant Farm Pate . . . Oh oh oh oh and Connosiur Coffee Grand Marnier Ice cream . . .STOP! I hasten to add I rarely eat these things but they are delish.

6. What food can you soooo not eat?
Anything with too much coriander in it . . .tripe (my Grandma used to love tripe, vinegar and onion), pigs trotters, offal, or any 'unusual' cuts of meat or fatty lamb (frenched cutlets are OK). I am not a lover of lots of oil of any type on any food.

7. You need a drink, you grab a.....?
If it's a special occasion. . . a bottle of Billiecart Salmon Champagne. More frequently? Cleanskin Semillon Chardonnay $5.99 a bottle, or a nice Goundry Unwooded Chardy- erm a little more a bottle and Christmas is not Christmas without Mango Daiquiris, Caiparaina or Gin and Tonic and Baileys Irish Cream on ice. Non alcoholic? Tea . . I love tea . . Twinings Irish Breakfast with a splash of low fat milk and one sugar . . .

8. What's the most decadent dish you've ever had?

Tough really because when I go out for dinner which is rarely, I try to order something that I either couldn't be bothered making or simply couldn't make myself.
In terms of total guilt . . sticky date pudding with triple cream . . . Jayne's uber gooey chocolate cake and strawberries or any beautifully presented 'tasting' plate that gives you a little sample of everything and looks like a work of art.

9. What's your favourite type of food?

French, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Nouvelle . . . Tapas to Tagliatelle I don't have a favourite but I don't like Lebanese food . . .and I can pass on Greek . . .sorry Marianna . .just too much olive oil although Moussaka is to die for and smashing plates is fun. I love a good authentic Rogan Josh or Madras or Korma with all the trimmings.

10. Favourite Dish?
Seared Atlantic salmon with new potatoes and baby peas, a really well done seafood platter or a simple rare fillet steak with green peppercorn sauce and creamy mashed potatoes.

11. If your partner could take you to any restaurant, where would you go?
Partner? Hahaha . .you jest! The Watermark at Balmoral Beach for their 9 course degustation menu. Clare and my next culinary adventure when I can afford it

12. Soup or Salad?
Soup in winter, salad in summer . . .Leek and Potato, Creamy Butternut Pumpkin, garlicky mushroom and Minestrone soups (all home made of course). Caesar Salad, Rocket and Pumpkin with a shaving of Pecorino or Semi Sun Dried Tomato and rocket with balsamic vinegar . . oh too many to mention . . . Then I pretty much like every salad as long as there isn't too much olive oil in the dressing.

13. Buffet, Take-Out or Sit-Down?

Sit down . . that's the point of dining out . . being waited on hand and foot, good conversation with friends without being distracted by getting up and down all the time.
Or a family lunch al fresco barbecues. Love, laughter and good food.

14. What's the most impressive meal you've ever made?
Without doubt, Christmas Lunch/Dinner, mainly because there are a lot of us. It's warm here at Christmas we have a formal entree, usually a little tasting plate of prawns and oysters with lime dressing, baby Filet Mignon with Bearnaise sauce, pork fillet and sweet onion jam and satay chicken skewers followed by apricot glazed baked ham, potato bake, Caesar salad and a chocolate fountain to finish with marshmallows, rock melon, mango and strawberries.

15. Do you consider yourself a good cook?
I'm a basic cook. A lazy cook that lucks out by keeping things simple. I haven't time to be faffing around baking so cakes and puddings aren't my strong point. Produce here is amazingly varied so good fresh ingredients, light delicious dressings and sauces and not too much embellishment . . it's also all in the presentation.

16. Do you know what vichyssoise is?
Well if you're a Celt, you know it's leak and potato soup! Serve it cold and give it a French name and it sounds exotic! Love the French for making everything sound better than it is. Red wine Jus for gravy, Bouillabaisse for fish soup! Coq au Vin for a chicken casserole!

17. Who's your favourite TV cook?
Jaime Oliver. Not because he cooks particularly spectacular dishes but because he's entertaining. And the boys on "Surfing the Menu" because . . well . . they're hot! I'm also totally addicted to Master Chef. A competition where normal people face off by cooking gourmet dishes to win over a 12 week period. It's compelling viewing!

18. Can you name at least three famous cooking personalities?

Jamie Oliver, Maggie Beer, Keith Floyd (RIP), The Two Fat Ladies (RIP one), Curtis Stone, Mark Gardiner and of course the pock-marked potty mouth Gordon Ramsay . . twat!

19. Homemade or homemade from a box?

Never, never from a box unless it's one of those pretty American Style Chinese containers . . . (Although I might cheat occasionally and buy tomato 'stir through' sauce or Curry Paste in a jar and I did have a "Lean Cuisine" phase for a while)The only thing I buy in a box is frozen raspberries because fresh ones are too expensive.

20. Tag three more foodies...
No tags but feel free . . . whatever you do, remember your manners, use your cutlery from the outside in and just don't play with your food . .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Optimum Prime Weekend

All over bar the shouting for another year, officially 53, a prime number . . let's hope it's a prime year and it pisses me off no end that I feel about 25. I will be able to watch prime time on digital channels thanks to the gift of a set-top box and my most precious gift this birthday, your kind wishes, three virtual birthday cakes, two e-cards, loads of emails and lots of well wishes on and off the blog. So for someone so forgetful of others' birthdays I am very grateful, thank you - I never really expected anyone to be interested in the banality that is Baino when I first started this blog. I'm continually moved by the sweetness of my commenters, friends and my sister and my best friend Thommo, who never forget a birthday.

My prized pressie was a 50mm lens which is fantastic for close-ups, macros and I am told, night photography. Great for when Adam is playing because I struggle capturing the rock vibe with my existing lens. I think the nicest thing, has been spending quite a lot of time with my children this weekend. I feel weird calling them children because I think of them as my best friends and housemates (except when they're naughty then I'm the fat controller!) Although both have their child-like moments and that's what keeps me young. I managed to catch up with old colleagues/friends on Friday night and we've vowed we won't let another 7 years go by before meeting up again . . I can't get over how quickly the time flies.

Saturday morning, Clare drove, me, Adam and Amy out to meet my sister and her brood at a nursery in North Ryde and shouted us all a fabulous buffet breakfast before a walk through the huge nursery which was more like a mini botanical garden. Lovely place.

Well we started with a few of these little mini-delights . . .

Then had to splosh a load of this on the plate . .

We walked off breakfast and I stretched the new lens' legs . . .this is a tiny native bee . .

The more traditional bees loved the daisies

Then today, we attended the Family Picnic. Special thanks to Adam who drove home from a midnight gig in Canberra, went to bed at 4:45 and fronted up all smiles.

My lovely in laws Betty and Arthur. He's 80 and I'm sorry, but the cutest grandad in the world. Way better than yours. Your glass is never empty! They are wonderful and I'm blessed to have them in my life.

More food!

Feeling a little pogged after a lunch of salad, fresh bread, prawns, ham, chicken . .far too many paddle pops and a caramel mud cake! (Clubbing until 3am had nothing to do with it)

Rejuvenated . . .a game of backyard golf . . .

One of the advantages of living on acreage even if the fairways are a little rough . .Adam has no problem with them.

Can you spot the obstacles . . whoever hits the dog or a horse has to feed them . . .

Finished with . . no . . not a rubbish collection but a mini golf course . .but then you knew that!

All in all, a lovely weekend. Thank you darlings for your lovely gifts and to my dear friends for their kind wishes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Fuckwit or "How to be self-deprecating on your Birthday"

Quickie tonight.

I've managed to escape from this week's self-inflicted shit fight at work that saw me reprimanded for lack of attention to detail to the point where I'm checking everything 100 times and looking for a new job just in case I'm asked to walk through the revolving door of the Executive Suite.

All my fault and getting used to new systems and ways of doing things without any mentor to shadow my every move. I've made a few boo-boos this week. Nothing to have a cow about but someone thought they were a hanging offence . . well lesson learned I guess.

Not all bad, they sang happy birthday to me as I left this afternoon so I guess I'm still employed for a while . . . but the Friday Fuckwit definitely goes to ME who not only printed out month old Action Items for my GM's Peer Review but also this afternoon, spent about 20 minutes wondering why my key wouldn't work in my car door before realising that it was not my car!

Someone else with an old Honda Accord had parked next to me, same colour, same age . . .it was only when I noticed it didn't have seat covers that I realised my mistake. Normally, I can tell my car by the thick layer of dust on the duco but since my Nephew detailed it a couple of weeks ago, it looks half respectable!

Slunk into my own car and pootled home. Fucking fucktard fuckwit! Perhaps she who doubts my attention to detail has a point! Managed to get the board papers out tho! Ner!

Have a great weekend folks. Its a nothing-worth-celebrating birthday for me today so I'm out for dinner with a couple of friends I haven't seen for a decade . . so, so, looking forward to it. Breakfast at a 'secret' location tomorrow, organised by the kidlets and the Outlaws Family Picnic day on Sunday so posting might be sparse.

Other October 16th birthdays ironically are in Irish Rector's families - Happy birthday to the pseudonomically named Hannah Montana - kiddywink of the Rambling Rural Rector and to lovely Rev. Ian Poulton! See, sometimes I remember.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Fragile We Are - Blog Action Day 2009

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and also Theme Thursday and the kind little elves who choose the theme each week decided to meld the two . . . brace yourselves . .

While Governments meet in far flung places to debate the need, viability and means of reducing our Carbon footprint via carbon trading initiatives, others question whether carbon dioxide is the issue at all. I'm not going to make a judgement call on that because I'm beginning to put two and two together. We can effectively, as nations, reduce our carbon footprints through carbon trading with countries who do not produce mountains of C02, it's a neat and simple political solution to a much wider problem . . the problem of over-consumption, economic greed and excess in the west and total poverty and depravity and no desire to assist the underdeveloped world. It's about waste and want and a singular unwillingness to take the technologies already in place because we don't want noisy windmills or compost heaps in our back yard. We are all NIMBY's . . myself included.

It seems, it is too hard for a nation who makes it's fortune out of energy-producing raw materials (Gas, coal, uranium) and the production of traditional meat (beef, lamb, pork) to re-engineer their industries to produce clean, green agriculture and power on a large scale or farm their natural wildlife that is culled with regularity to make way for million acre cattle stations. So, we, as the largest per capita producers of C02 continue to sell our resources abroad because our economy depends upon it. We don't want nuclear power stations on our soil but we'll happily sell yellow cake to those who do.

The real problem with climate change is that I believe it is inevitable. For many reasons, the climate warms and cools in natural cycles. Yes my friends. Most of the statistics you see are gathered since 1850 . .but carbon dating of ice cores in the Arctic tell a story of constant climate fluctuation and high levels of C02. Sorry, but the Polar Bear is a poorly adapted species and unless he learns to hunt in the woods is doomed. Just as surely as the urban Black and Grizzly will survive on our excessive waste. Look at foxes . . perfect examples of adaption to loss of habitat.

Just as El Ninio winds sweep across our wide brown land and produce drought, or the earth's crust collides in clusters as it has recently in the east . . .these are things over which we have no control. We live on a volatile and dynamic planet. Not just the third rock from the sun. The climate will warm, and cool until finally that bright star explodes and we will be no more.

We can however, gain control over population, water conservation, food and energy production and distribution, wealth distribution and a plethora of 'green' alternatives that can equalise us all, reduce waste and the impact we have had during our short lifespan on this wonderful blue planet. Believe me, in archaeological terms, it's minuscule. Our enemy is not climate change but human nature.

We need to change attitudes. We need to convince the SUV driver that a Hummer is not a family car, that an electronic pepper grinder is not essential. I once met a devout Christian who had no compunction throwing garbage out of his car window . . "Don't throw your litter, that's pollution even on a small scale" I shrieked . ."I don't care . ." he said, "I will be in heaven when the planet goes down!"

Attitudes are hard to change. Change of any kind is difficult to manage but manage it we must.

Does it not strike you as odd that the average American/Australian eats 120kg of meat a year when just 100 years ago there was little more than meat on Sunday. Lifestyle diseases such as premature heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity were almost unknown. Furthermore, natural resources were not exploited unnecessarily.

Does it not strike you as amazing that in a country so short of water, we don't have a suitable covered irrigation system for our drought ridden farms . . we 'allocate' water from already over salinated rivers. In Sydney's case, despite water restrictions, we still want our little patches of green European style lawn and are prepared to build a desalination plant to achieve it? None want to drink perfectly clarified water made out of their own sewage . . this technology is available NOW!

Does it not strike you incredible that a planet barely capable of supporting 6 billion with millions dying in abject poverty from starvation and AIDS, the devastation of war and weather, entertains the possibility of 10 billion by 2050. Many of whom will not reach their third birthday, and many who will be so obese they will need medical intervention to survive their fourth.

Does it not strike you as ironic that we pillage fossil fuels yet provide government grants to scientists and innovators to produce alternatives then refuse to implement their innovations or won't install wind farms on our rocky coasts because they make too much noise?

Does it not strike you as pathetic that we can spend billions on war and blessed little on greening our environment. What is the point of victory over Islam when our own nations are dying by our own hand?

I have researched this in the past. And recently, in preparing for this post have ventured upon sites, blogs, books and articles with such misinformation and conflicting views that I despair in our ability to act globally on this issue. Then I found this. And with little editing and all credit to it's author Mike Treder, I offer a solution. A difficult solution. No 'ten easy steps to save the planet'. The task ahead is far more difficult than power saving light bulbs or water saving shower heads:

Simply put, nuclear weapons have no place in a bright green future.

In order to have a resilient and peaceful planet, we must first meet the basic needs of all the people who live here. Each person deserves clean water, adequate sanitation, and access to health care.

This involves transparency and accountability in both business and government. It also includes tools that let us easily see and understand the backstory of the products in our lives, from the homes we live in to the food on our plates. Open-source approaches are excellent tools for promoting transparency, since these collaborative problem-solving systems increasingly eradicate hidden agendas and exclusivity.

Have a large scale disaster plan. Particularly if you live in an area prone to dramatic geographical and meteorological events. Communicate and coordinate with each other to create plans that provide food and shelter for communities. And on a larger scale, states and nations can create response plans that effectively deliver aid, as well as short- and long-term shelter solutions. Essentially - bring back 'community'.

Equality for women is more than a justice issue. By giving women equal rights we also help create a more sustainable world. Women who have access to education and rights over their own bodies choose to have fewer children and are empowered in their own environment. Overpopulation is a serious issue, with huge implications for problems like climate change.

Decrease our environmental and social footprints by eating locally, organically and mostly meat and dairy free.

Scientists estimate that our planet is home to somewhere between 10 and 100 million species. We’ve described only 1.8 million: the rest are yet to be discovered.

We need a global treaty that holds all players accountable to decreasing their carbon emissions and their general consumption.

Design cities that allow people access to their greatest potential within a framework of sustainable prosperity. Bright green cities are designed so that residents have access to public parks, basic goods, entertainment, services and jobs within walking distance. Bright green cities include transit systems and mobility options to allow people to get from one place to another comfortably and on time without the use of a private vehicle. (I work for an organisation who lives by this mantra - to their credit, yet I've never seen so much photocopying in my life!) Yet every day, I sit in a traffic jam . . one car . . one driver.

It’s time to stop building highways and focus resources on improving the streets and infrastructure that is already in place If we redefine the model for growth, density and transportation in the industrialized world, we will help rapidly growing nations avoid the problems associated with auto-dependent development.

These are difficult things but not impossible. They don't particularly impinge on our current way of life, in fact they bring back the sense of community and support that we so sadly lack in modern urbanised society.

It's not about C02 as a single item. Do not be distracted by the political agenda that claims reducing C02 will be the 'be all and end all' . . the panacea to our ills. It's a Furfy and a political diversion. It's not about Governments 'reacting' to the latest trend and singling out one solution to a diverse and global problem. It's about rebuilding community, sustainably, carefully, considerately. Do I think it's possible.
Yes. Is it likely. No . . not in my lifetime. Why? Because none of us really believe that one person can make a difference, none of us are really prepared to give up our creature comforts and because we don't step outside the square, none of us really believes just how fragile we are:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Willow Manor Ball

I think we're all Princesses under the skin and the opportunity to attend the ball at Willow Manor was an opportunity to escape into what for me would probably be a perfect event and to design a total fantasy. After making some major mistakes at work this week, fantasy land is where I'm feeling very comfortable.

Already there's a plethora of patrons a swirl of skirtage and a collage of kilts on their way to Willow's Ball. My main men are taken so I'm gunning my luck and arriving alone . . . In which case . . I need a major overhaul.

But it's not about the finished result. Frankly it's about achieving it . .

First, book into a day spa and have a pedicure. Doesn't matter if you have ticklish feet because you soon get used to that wonderful massage, fragrant oils and having your toes painted.

Then if you're like me and go a little au-naturel during the winter . . .wax on, wax off until you're as smooth as a baby's bottom. And it doesn't hurt. . . for long!

Manicure . . .perfect, short, polished, French manicured nails with just a little natural gloss. No red claws for this vixen . .

Massage, exfoliate, and a warm mud masque so that your skin is alive, tingling, soft and touchable. Just try not to snore as you drift off into wonderland.

Finally, after all the moisturising, manicuring and massaging, a shower, hair wash and a colour and cut.

Time to get dressed in the bra that feels as if it isn't there . . c'mon girls, you know you want it!

A daub of this, incredible, seductive, distinctive perfume, behind the ears, on the pulse points of the neck, behind your knees, on your ankles and on your wrists. Devine.

Schparkly shoes . . .not too high but pretty enough to leave one behind and Prince Charming chasing you to find it's better half.

And a little touch of lip gloss . . not too much, just natural and alluring . . .

And the gown . . one for the 'mature' woman. Inspired by Ingrid Bergman and Princess Grace. Ok not much flesh but it keeps you wondering and man I smell so good, feel so smooth, who can resist!

Can I be on your dance card? I'm warning you, I can only really do the Bus Stop! Or I have been known to hoik the dress into the knickers and do the Time Warp . . it's just a jump to the . . .

Monday, October 12, 2009

Peeling Back the Layers

I've been tagged with quite a few memes over the past couple of weeks and as usual, time has been enemy mine so, I thought for the next few Mondays, given my affection for alliteration, I'l post a Monday meme, peel back a few layers, remove some of the fuzziness and clear a few things up about me!

Fun with Photoshop!

The first is Five Words - designed to help you get to know someone or confuse the pookanooie out of you. Rowe at Societe Amore gave me five words to explore . . she's a relatively new blogger to me but as a fellow Aussie, I was drawn. I don't have many Aussies in the Baino Blogroll . . .she picked some doozies actually and this was a bit of a challenge.

So here goes with the five words.

I'm not a fan. I like to look smart but I'm no trendsetter and my comfiest fashion items are a pair of black yoga pants and a T shirt and of course the ubiquitous pair of Havianas. I wear corporate suits and shirts to work so getting 'loose' on the weekend is a joy.

Perhaps if I was a size six, had more money than sense or an iota of an idea how to accessorise, I might be a fashion plate but for now . . comfort wins.

Interestingly I had a chat with Heather over at Hokgardner who's children go to school in civilian gear. Out here schoolchildren wear uniforms. They're well priced, good quality and reduce the amount of fashion oriented competition in schools. At least that's our take on it. In the US however, uniforms are considered to stifle creativity. I dunno, I'd rather have kids in school uniform and not distracted by who's wearing the latest gear.

Oooh . . .fwoaaar! I told you she was a n00b. I don't have a spiritual bone in my body except for the awe and amazement I have for the natural world but religion? Nope. Mind you I'm not one of these atheists that has turned my disbelief into a religion either. Each to their own I say. If it's your cup of tea fine but having been brought up a confirmed Anglican with a Welsh Evangelist mother, a Catholic Husband, two children who went through the Catholic education system,and the usual dabbles in Buddhism and whimsy, I think I've seen both sides of the fence. I find organised religion divisive, political, contentious and destructive. I dwell in the Church of life and I like it there.

I'm also not your bungy jumping, heli-skiing, fast car dangerwoman. Sadly, I'm very dull and generally play it safe. I don't even jay walk! Despite that, life has been a huge adventure and hopefully will continue to be so. I have not lived a charmed life . . but then I have. Every time I lament the loss of friends and family, my financial situation, the fact that I feel like I'm treading water and going nowhere . . whenever I have those moments of self-indulgent self-pity and absorption, my daughter is the voice of reason and tells me to look at my experiences as an adventure that some will never have and to be grateful for the ride because I'm so much better off than so many others. I hate it when she's right! Let's face it, I've moved continents, been to 11 schools and 2 states, raised two pretty awesome kids on my own. I can ride a horse, ride a bike, fix stuff, sew stuff, cook stuff. I've travelled large, met people from all races and creeds and am planning the next big trip so . . maybe I'm a little more adventurous than some.

I am happy. Well most of the time. When I'm not happy. I'm very unhappy. I would like more 'joy' but yes, when I think about it, we try too hard to chase happiness. It's constantly punctuated with loss and sadness, pain and remorse, difficulty and obstacles. However, those moments in our lives, make the snippets of happiness that we experience more memorable and important. I'm happy that I'm healthy, alive, employed. I'm happy I've experienced people, marriage, childbirth (well the bit afterwards not during). I'm happy that I have a large family. I'm happy that I have been loved, cuddled and adored. I'm happy that I've had opportunities of birth that others are denied: education, health care, running water and parents who imparted their gentleness and wisdom.

I'm not seeking any high point of earthly bliss or material gain. I just want a comfortable life and a little cash in my pocket. Money will not make me happy but it will help me dispense with most of the things which make me unhappy.

Can't live with 'em . . .can't kill 'em. Simple creatures really. You just have to let them think it was all their idea and they're very clever to have come up with it. Massage their egos and they'll massage your back.

I like men, I love men of course I do! I'm not sure I want to live with one again but I enjoy their company. I'm an outrageous flirt which simply doesn't work with women and I often feel more comfortable standing around the barbie talking about lawn mowers and leaf blowers than handbags and hair do's. I do look around me though and see many women who 'settle' for a man because they need one in their lives. I don't unless it's to take out the garbage or mow the lawn. They're handy for changing light bulbs and carrying eskys.

One thing I don't understand is why so many hot men are gay! I've wasted good chat time on lovely looking men with interesting conversation only to have their 'boyfriend' turn up and ask to be taken home! These days, the men in my life are all either related, married to my friends, a very long way away or are far too young to be contemplated as anything other than 'friends'. And you all know who you are!

Did I do OK? I only managed this because the man of my house, being the one with the shortest working hours, has made a fabulous spaghetti bolognaise for dinner and I haven't had to cook after sitting in a car for almost 90 minutes on what should be a 20 minute drive!

No tags from me because I couldn't possibly single any of you out but feel free to have a go at this one and let me know so I can give you five words to ponder! Email me if you're interested and I'll try my best to throw you a challenge!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Forgetfull Fool

I forget birthdays.

I am a lousy friend, a forgetful daughter-in-law an inconsiderate sister and a lazy rememberer. I forgot my nephew's, best friend's, mother-in-law's, brother's birthdays. It's not that I didn't think of them on the day, I did. "Oh must ring Betty and wish her a happy birthday!" or "Must remember to buy Joel a pressie" Don't get me wrong. I care about these people but demonstrate my affection in more offbeat ways. I blow their leaves, babysit their children, have dinner parties or barbies for them, listen to their woes and tribulations. I bring their washing in off the line when it rains, maintain their pool, mow their lawns, make them coffee. I would walk over broken glass if they asked me to, or donate an organ - but send a birthday card, make a call? I am hopeless.

I just don't ring or email or send them a card. I think about them, I love them . . so why is it so hard for me to just buy a friggin' present or call on their special day? I don't give a rats arse about birthdays myself and don't understand why others find them worthy of remembering. I'm so, so, sorry - family, friends. . .I have the best of intentions but don't follow through.

Then I remember birthdays of people who aren't related or friends or bloggers or long lost acquaintances with verve and passion. I guess the bottom line is I would die for each of those who's birthdays I missed, hug them until the breath leaves their bodies . . .but remember their special day? It's not that I don't care about you, or think about you, or mean to ring . . I do - deeply. I just love you ever day so remembering just one seems pointles . I'm sorry. I really am.

So to: Annie, Mark, Joel, Mick, Peter, Betty, Kenton . . forgive me and I hope you had a happy day . .I love you . . .really . . . I do.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Fuckwits - Ant's Pants

Now you know we love big things, prawns, bananas, pineapples, beer bottles, but we do them so badly. Out here we just keep propagating the myth, creating the tacky and the desperate . . . sorry country Queensland but you've hit a new low with this one:

Govts will spend $200,000 on a meat ant tourist attraction for Augathella. (Murweh Shire Council) Where the fuck that is I don't know,

A small town in south-west Queensland will build a 'big meat ant' statue in an effort to attract more tourists.

Augathella is known as the 'home of the meat ants' and it is planning to initially spend $200,000 on a meat ant tourist attraction and gardens.

The local council and the State Government have each contributed $100,000 towards the project.

Murweh Shire councillor Cecil Russell says it is hoped local Indigenous groups will also have input into the project.

"We hope to have this big meat ant in the park," he said.

"We've engaged an architect to look at it and he is going to come up with some ideas. We really don't know at this stage whether it will be steel, or fibreglass or what it'll be.

"One of the things we'd like to do is see if we could light it at night-time, maybe with solar lights, just so there's a big sculpture there outlined with the lights."

Cr Russell says the statue and gardens could help attract more tourists.

"If you can stop tourists for a short time in these little communities, I guess it's all you can hope you can do," he said.

"We're not a big community, we are part of the Murweh Shire and they've got their Cosmos Centre running very well at Charleville.

"If we can create another tourist arm off that just to keep the tourists in our shire a bit longer then we must benefit from it financially.

I know these ants and yes we have loads on the property. They're no big deal, they don't bite but I never knew they were called 'meat ants'. Apparently they may be the new natural predator of the Cane Toad . . brought here years ago to eradicate bugs in sugar cane and now an introduced menace . .so go you little meatysauruses . . . so unplug the duke box and grab yourself a cane toad!

Sorry shitty visuals but I did actually buy this album. . hey it was during my yummy mummy need a little excitement period . . .have a 'meaty' weekend!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I'm cheating a big time this week. Mainly because I'm not a collector . . well I have a few things that I collect but nothing that would stand out as a series or a set . .
Theme Thursday's focus today is "Collections". I'm not a shoe person at all. I own a pair of silver Haviana thongs, a pair of black heeled ankle boots, a pair of comfy black flats, a pair of ASIC Gel cross-trainers and a pair of soft leather Moroccan sandals . . . .I've never understood the obsession with shoes and handbags, I guess I'm just not a girly-girl

Marcos Shoe Collection Saved from Phillipine Floods

ABC News, Australia, 8 October 2009

A museum guard's quick thinking saved part of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos's infamous shoe collection when huge floods devastated the nation's capital.

The 200-pair display was moved upstairs just before flood waters swamped the ground floor of the Marikina Shoe Museum on the eastern outskirts of the capital, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

"A guard was able to take most of the pairs to the second floor," city mayor Marides Fernando said. "We will account for them in due time, but our priority right now is still the affected families.

Marikina, the Philippines' shoe production capital, was among the hardest hit areas when Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped record rains in and around Manila on September 26, killing almost 300 people.

Ms Marcos's shoe collection has become one of the most notorious symbols of the luxury and excess she enjoyed during the 20-year reign of her dictator husband, Ferdinand Marcos.

About 3,000 pairs of shoes were found in her quarters at the Malacanang presidential palace after she and her husband fled to US exile amid a bloodless "people power" revolt that ended Marcos rule in 1986.

The former first lady, who returned to the Philippines shortly after her husband died in Hawaii in 1991, has long maintained that she collected so many shoes partly to promote the Marikina industry.

The museum showcases the Marcos collection and an assortment of other footwear worn by former Philippine presidents, senators, ambassadors and Marikina mayors.

Well nice to know something as useless as a shoe collection has survived the ravages of tragedy in the Phillipines! At least someone has their priorities right! *NOT*

Now that's my idea of a shoe collection . . stolen from Maiurkirikilla

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Dust Storms One Week - Hail The Next

I'm alive and well but work, life and everything in between is hampering my blogging this week. I'll be back for Theme Thursday and hopefully manage to visit before then. Meanwhile, just so you know it ain't all sunshine and lollipops in Sydney. . our second big storm in two days! Dust storms last week, hail this!

The dogs instinctively know there's trouble brewing and sit in the doorway looking freaky!

Hail begins with torrential rain. . .no it's not 'fall' here but
the Japanese Maple has autumn coloured foliage

Then it slams down just as I arrive home and manage to get the car under cover!

The horses aren't so lucky and cop a pounding

As quickly as it came - it went - leaving snow on the ground and rising mist!

Now excuse me, I have to go and brush piles of hail from my laundry!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Fuckwits (Well Not Really)

Well it's Friday . . not before time and with a wet and windy long weekend ahead I thought a little fun rather than pointing the finger. Tonights Friday Fuckwits took their silly but rather ingenious inventions and discoveries to the 2009 Ibnoble Awards in the hope of winning the coveted 'spoof' prize for amazingly ridiculous research:

2009 Ignoble Awards (Reuters)

Engineers who invented a bra that converts into a gas mask and Irish police officers who mistakenly wrote tickets to "Driver's Licence" have all won spoof IgNobel prizes.

The IgNobels - a play on the name of the Nobel prizes awarded every October from Stockholm and Oslo - are given out by the Harvard-based humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

Prizes also went to Zimbabwe for issuing banknotes that ranged in value from one Zimbabwean cent to 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars, to Mexican scientists who made diamonds out of tequila, and to the leaders of four Icelandic banks that suffered spectacular collapses.

The Public Health prize went to Elena Bodnar of Hinsdale, Illinois and colleagues who designed and patented a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.

Ireland's police won the literature prize for writing more than 50 traffic tickets to a frequent visitor and speeder named Prawo Jazdy. In Polish, this means "driver's licence".

Pathologist Stephan Bolliger and colleagues at the University of Bern in Switzerland won for a study they did to determine whether an empty beer bottle does more or less damage to the human skull than a full one in a bar fight.

"Both suffice in breaking the human skull. However, the empty ones are more sturdy," Mr Bolliger said by email.

This is because the pressure of the beer, aided by carbonation, makes a full beer bottle explode quickly.

The economics prize went to managers at Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank and Central Bank of Iceland "for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa".

Donald Unger of California was honoured for a lifelong experiment in which he cracked the knuckles of his left hand but never his right for more than 60 years to prove that cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis.

Other winners included farmers who showed that naming your cows makes them give more milk, researchers who used panda droppings to break down household trash, and a scientist who calculated why pregnant women do not fall over.

Have an amazing weekend. I don't care if it rains, hails or shines
. . I'm going to relax!

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Whilst my inspiration is returning, sadly my time is not . . time flies as they say and I am unprepared for Theme Thursday! I'll have to start writing these earlier in the week!

I was going to talk about the time I nearly crash landed on a flight from Copenhagen or that I have a bigger fear of flying than Otin or post some pretty pictures of birds or go into a diatribe about wishing I was more flighty or tell you about heli-musters on huge outback stations . . . but that will have to wait.

So for your comedic enjoyment . . another clip from my favourite comedians at the moment . . .Flight of the Conchords. Two New Zealanders who seem to have made it 'small' on the American Market . . .They're not for everyone but I love this laconic humour, not to mention the accent.

Don't forget to visit the other Theme Thursday nutters who have without a shadow of a doubt embraced 'Flight' a little more thoughtfully than me