Thursday, March 31, 2005

Paul Hester

A special post here just about Paul Hester, who died this week. He always impressed me with his warmth and humour. He drummed in Split Enz and then in Crowded House, and I think was an essential ingredient in the success of the latter. I saw Crowded House play once at a free "Save St Kilda" concert. At one point apropos of nothing in particular Paul yelled out that he was "the shah of Prahran", which still makes me laugh.

He appears in one of The Wiggles videos as a chef with a huge floppy white hat, mugging and mucking around and it is always a nice relief from the omnipresent purple, red, blue and yellow gentlemen of whom we see a bit too much.

I didnt know him and certainly know nothing about his personal circumstances. But I do know that no-one knows how things are going to turn out. Being depressed doesnt give you ESP. Sometimes it might seem that if you weren't around, it would be better for yourself and for others too. But we don't have the power, or the right, to decide that.

I wish he had given himself a chance for things to get better.

Walking to work

I walk to work once or twice a week. I walk down to the Hobart Rivulet, then along the rivulet track to the big hill where Boags wouldnt sell their riverside land to the council. Then up to the point where that track heads back down to the rivulet, and onto another track even steeper, up many steps and dirt ramps to the top of Liverpool Crescent. Up here people build stilt houses where only their front doorstep touches the ground. I guess on the other side of the road its their back doorstep.
There is a beautiful overview of South Hobart from here. Then along to Forest Road where there is a stunning view downriver to Bruny Island and Storm Bay. Then down and up and down and up through West Hobart to the old red brick church where I work. It takes about 40 minutes, its just about the only exercise I get and its nice. I'm pretty lucky I think.

Marcus is having little manic episodes where we have to shout to be heard, and it is very frustrating. He is wrapped up in his own world, muttering, cackling and blowing raspberries. If you ask "would you like some juice?" as a distraction, you get "Bood boo bike some boose!!!" and more cackling. I think it is "age appropriate" as the pundits say but it drives me nuts.

I asked the Tooth Gods for help and they responded. Tooth 3 appeared yesterday in Michael's mouth.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lunch convergence

Although Michael still only has two teeth, its seems that the lunches we pack for the boys are getting more and more similar. Marcus has 20 teeth but he's still quite a fan of the mushy stuff. I guess Michael's jaws are getting bigger and stronger, and he is learning how to better use the two teeth he has had for about 6 months now.

Still, we are getting pretty frustrated at Michael's slow teething. It really limits the foods we can introduce, and adds to preparation time of every meal because we have to put a lot of Michael's through the mouli.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I was listening to the footy on the radio with Michael. It was Richmond's first game of the season after claiming the wooden spoon last year. Our perennially disappointing full forward Richardson took a mark. "RICHO!!" said the radio. "Richo!" said Michael. Richo missed the shot, Richmond lost by ten goals. Our new coach said they might as well have spent summer in the pub instead of training, for all the difference it had made.

Easter was exhausting. We didnt really plan any activities or excursions, and we didnt do a big pre-easter shop, so we had to make it all up as we went along. I must not let myself get so micro-focused again. On Thursday I honestly had no idea that the next day was Good Friday and I wouldnt be at work the next day. I went to the corner shop for lunch and couldnt understand why it was bursting at the seams with eager shoppers.

We are thinking of covering up the full length mirror in the bathroom. When we are trying to get Marcus to stand still while we dry him, or use the potty, he dances about and makes gruesome and inane faces at himself.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Funny, funny, funny yoghurt

Marcus brought home a very nice painted egg from Allison's yesterday that he did himself. I asked him what the process was. "We drew on the egg with crayons really hard so the colours would stick then we splodged them with funny, funny, funny yoghurt. But its not yoghurt for eating. If you eat the funny, funny, funny yoghurt you get sick".

Michael is reading books. Just sitting leafing through them on his lap like someone browsing in a bookshop. He is amazingly agile - he is climbing up onto the quadcycle on his own, and onto his little chair in the kitchen. We don't immediately rush out and grab 3 cushions to surround him with any more.

I had lunch with my old workmates Monica V. and Marcus M. yesterday which was great. Then last night we inspected a house with an agent called Marcus Freebody.

And - it was the best house we've seen so far, but right at the limit of our price range. Its in Union Street, a steep very narrow one way street in South North Hobart (ie very close to town). There is no parking on either side all the way up, but the house has a garage. Its a federationy 4-bedroom weatherboard in good nick, quite a good yard. The midweek yacht races were happening on the river and it was hard to discount the view from considerations. The location is a minus but the hoiuse itself is a gem. We will look at it again on Saturday and if we can muster the minimum asking price we will put in an offer - although its unlikely to succeed.

We are actually talking to our man Jonathan about drawing up plans for a 2-storey 4-bedroom weatherboard to replace our house. Demolition. We are talking about razing the little house we love and letting someone drive the bits away on the back of a truck. Its very hard to get my head around that aspect.

Nice new bigger house right where we are sitting now - GREAT!

$100,000 worth of character home full of happy memories pushed over by bulldozer and taken to the tip - ah, sorry, can you explain that bit again?

STOP PRESS: Our money man Alan (with a pattern of ice creams on his tie) says the smartest thing to do by far is to build. Maybe we need to start finding something to rent for 9 months while Casa Fantastica is built. Jonathan can't even start drawings for 4 months because he is so busy. We need to find a builder.

I'm a teapot! I'm a teapot!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Brain Fog

I'm in the grip of some kind of mind-scrambling fog. Nothing interesting or amusing to relate. If I wasn't drawing maps at work today I'd go home sick. But maps are fun, so I'll stick it out.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Marcus is learning to use the potty. We make a big deal about it and give him a dinosaur sticker when he does. Lately he has started sending us out of the bathroom so he has some "privacy", but then yells a running commentary. He has been counting the poos, which is interesting and educational. Now he is yelling out "this one looks like a seal!" which is neither, but still funny. I will have to take him aside and explain that we don't describe poo in those terms.

He is building marvellous symmetrical mega-blok creations. Often they are crcodiles, or birds, or dinosaurs. Yesterday he made a tall structure with lots of holes in it, like windows in a house. It was in fact a bug house, then he made a bewildering array of striped bugs out of the multi-coloured mega-bloks - every one perfectly symmetrical.

He made an E out of blue and purple blocks on Saturday. It had two little black bumps on top. "They're the horns. Its a cow E."

Friday, March 18, 2005


Its my 37th birthday today. Marcus bought a couple of Ernie and Bert Pez© lolly dispensers, one for me and one for him. I chose Ernie. No way. He wanted Ernie so I got Bert. Why does everyone want Ernie?

He likes to ask me what I did at work, when we are on our way home. Yesterday I told him, then he said that today at work he had done an invitation for my birthday party. While I was digesting this he added that today he had also done an animation at work, which featured a frog.

Last birthday Sally gave me an anatomically correct model of a Holstein bull. He has recently joined the Roar Film fish in their tank - they like to swim around his bollocks, apparently. Like all workplace pets, the fish have jokey names (Happy and Larry) and I thought after a year as a nameless (but anatomically correct) model, it was time to name the bull and bring a bit of warmth to our relationship.

So he is now Oceancrest Chubby Dominator TX8243.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Invasion Plans

I'm keen to start negotiations with Andrew and Sharon next door about buying a wedge of their land. They have heaps and its just a paddock really, wth a bit of fennel infestation near our fence. I'm sure there is something in the Fennel Act (1924) about neighbours being allowed to seize unloved bits of backyard. Also there have been recent acts of aggression by their border troops (cat) against our homeland defence corps (cats). In a John Howard-like spirit of pre-emption I think we would be justified in establishing a buffer zone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bad Mans

Michael seems to have an essential scampiness. Elf has a photo of him when he was still in double-0 growsuits, and he has the most "Look out, I'm a scamp!" look on his face. This morning he slept in until it was time to get him up to go to daycare (This never happens, he is usually up at 6). I was sitting next to his cot lacing my boots, he was apparently still deep asleep, then he suddenly opened his eyes and broke into a mad grin. Arise, Sir Scampy! Scampy from the word go.

Marcus loves log trucks. And he loves flags. He loves OUR flag. He says "There's OUR FLAG!!". So we have discussions about big log trucks and the union jack on our flag and one day I'll have to break it to him that I'd rather have half as many log trucks and no union jack.

Yesterday we followed a police car for a little while. Slightly exciting for Marcus. Actually a police van. Marcus counted all the lights. Red, white, blue, red, red (brake lights), and a big white light inside the van. What is the big white light for? Er.. so the man shut inside can see. Conversation moved on to bad mans (which I can't resist calling them too). Bad mans stole our telly a few months ago. Marcus was pretty sure one of those bad mans was the one in the van. I said he was going to stay in jail for a while and he wouldnt be allowed to go home - Marcus thought that sounded pretty bad.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Expanding vocab

Michael had an amazing burst of new words over the weekend. Previously he had mummy, daddy, no, EIEIO, cooee and one or two more. Suddenly he can say Michael, Lily, water, honey, brother, sock, baby.

It was a long weekend due to Labour Day. Quite exhausting. I am contemplating going back to working 4 days, to spend more time with the boys and Elf, so I had better get used to more exhaustion and a few less sushi rolls and nice blueberry bagels.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Temporary families

I'm find I am thinking a lot about what happened to Erwin Kasterberger. I guess my musings about that don't really belong here. Have you ever had a happy "temporary family" of flatmates or workmates? You spend more time with them than your real family, but they come and go and you may or may not keep an attachment. It was a fairly happy little family at the printshop in Melbourne where I used to work with Erwin's wife Robyn. After I moved back to Tasmania I popped in to see everyone there once when I was in town but I havent kept in touch at all since. Even so - its hard to see someone you have known pretty well, even years ago, suffering publicly as Robyn is now.

Home Computer

We have got an E-mac at home now, and got onto the internet for the first time the other night. Elf is using it to hunt for a new house for us. I don't think I will be able to stand the slow speed of a dial-up connection, being used to broadband here at work. Marcus has taken to it, he loves typing and is quite a deft hunt-and-peck typist. We write his name and the names of friends and family , then get the computer to say them out loud. Haw haw.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Leaf Blowers

Has there ever been a more useless appliance than the leaf blower? I just saw someone chasing a few leaves around with one.

There is an excellent denunciation of leaf blowers in one of Bill Bryson's books, maybe Lost Continent.

Its not something you see very often here. I couldn't help thinking the man could have made just as much noise to a similar leaf-tidying effect if he had been playing a tuba. And it might have made a more interesting post too.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Erwin Kastenberger

Erwin Kastenberger was a security guard for Chubb, in Melbourne. Yesterday he was delivering some cash to a bank when it was robbed. He did what he was told, but was shot dead anyway.

When I lived in Melbourne 15 years ago I worked with Erwin's wife Robyn. She was a great workmate and Erwin seemed like a very nice guy the few times I met him. He found me a rent-free place to live at one stage, in an art gallery in Toorak Road owned by a friend of his (I was supposed to deter burglars). It didn't work out though, the place gave me the heebie-jeebies and I wasn't allowed to have any visitors.

Now Erwin is gone and Robyn is wondering why. I wonder too.

I have been thinking more about Erwin and Robyn and now I remember meeting their son Mark a few times. He was my age, and I think he was their only child. I had just moved to Melbourne from Tasmania, and Robyn did quite a bit of transferred mothering while I was working there.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Yellowly white

We saw a white volkswagen this morning. Marcus loves volkswagens, so I pointed it out. It was kind of cream/off white, but of course, with a just-3-year-old, you keep it simple.
Me: "Look, see the white volkswagen?"
"Yeah! Its yellowly white!"

Monday, March 07, 2005


Michael has started leaping. Not quite really walking. He stands up, then leaps in the air, lands on both feet, then does it again and again. Its not meant as a method of getting around, although he sometimes ends up at the other end of the room. He's very close to proper walking, certainly doing a lot more cruising.

Marcus was annoyed with his cup-with-a-straw this morning.
"I'm indicated with this cup".
"Do you mean irritated?"
"I'm IRRITATED with this cup".

We went down to South Arm to visit Monica, Jonathan, Lena and Elise yesterday (I think to save time we will just call them the Cruikshanks now), and Nick and Anna and Lily did too. Its about 45 minutes drive. The boys had a great time, it was very noisy though. We used to have three kids between us, now we have five and another due (Anna) in a couple of months - things just get noisier and noisier.

The Cruikshanks have a very different lifestyle to us - lots of land, lost of space inside too. When we went for a walk Jonathan detoured at one stage to crush the skull of a sick rabbit. Quite a few differences to us. J built the house himself, works from home as a draftsman. They spend a lot more time with their kids than we can. Sigh.

On the way to South Arm we dropped in at Meadowbank vineyard to have a look at Anna's exhibition. The opening was on Saturday - we were supposed to be there but it just slipped out of mind. We forgot dinner at Jeremy and Emma's place on Friday night too - we are both feeling snowed under by the social calendar I think. Anna's paintings and etchings looked great, Elf and I both particularly like the etchings. I'm annoyed with myself for forgetting, particularly because we missed hearing Nick give a speech. Its something he stresses about enormously but does really well - it would have been nice to be there to support them both.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Marcus: Yak yak balloon yak...
Elf: "mmm..."
Marcus: Yak yakkity yak balloon yak yak...
Elf: Mmm-hmmm...
Marcus: Do you want this balloon Mummy?
Elf: No, not really. I'm busy making dinner.
Marcus (sadly): Its lovely. But you don't want it.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Michael had a couple of vaccinations this morning, one in each thigh. He wasn't fussed at all. He made a tiny wumfle at the first one, so tiny that I didn't realise Dr Thompson had done it until he asked me to hold his other leg out. Another tiny wumfle then he turned his attention to the plastic car on the floor.

Song lyric for today:
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us
The nicest of the damned

- from Road Movie to Berlin by They Might Be Giants


Marcus just won't stop talking. Yap yap yap. Some of it is quite interesting - that's the stuff that is usually related here. A lot of it is repetitive, annoying and impossible to reply to sensibly. This is all completely normal for a 3 year old. He is not a good listener which is probably also completely normal. I shouted very loud at him last night, I was so enraged that he wasn't listening while I told him something I thought was important.

Then this morning at 2am I was selfish when he had woken from a bad dream, and when he was heading off to get into our bed I told him to stay in his bed. I have a private rule that unless absolutely necessary he can't get into bed with us until after 3am - it just makes the night very long and uncomfortable. But Elf rightly pointed out that if he is scared he should feel like he can get into bed with us.

I sang "Hit me with your rythym stick" to Michael this morning and now he can say "Hit me". Great.

So - not a good 24 hours of dadness.

On the radio as I walked to work this morning Richard Adey interviewed Prof. David Flint, ex head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, mate of John Laws and prominent monarchist. Listening to him is like having lukewarm smelly sump oil poured into your ears.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A little italian

The animation I am working on has this in the script: "The proprietor was a German, who spoke no English but knew a little Italian."

I have to listen to it over and over as I tweak the animation. Every time I visualise the proprietor's short Sicilian acquaintance.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Washing the car

We followed a very muddy car down the Southern Outlet this morning. Marcus said "When it rains it will wash all the mud off". I said that was how we got our car clean too - I think I have washed it once, just after we got it nearly 3 years ago. I told Marcus I didn't think washing the car with soap was important, and I'm too busy to do it. He said "I could help you daddy because you are too busy. But can you wash the top because I can't reach the top".

Other questions this morning: "Why do doctors wear gloves?" and "Why don't you sneeze when the sun shines like Mummy does and I do?"