Thursday, August 31, 2006

Coyle and Sharpe

I have just come across these guys, they were "early masters of street pranks and puts-ons. Using hidden microphones, they clandestinely recorded their bizarre encounters with unsuspecting citizens on the streets of San Francisco in the 1960’s" to quote their site. According to their bio "In 1967, Coyle left California to pursue a career in tunneling. He died in 1993 while burrowing under the City of Barcelona."

Their stuff is just such so fresh and funny. Its the mid sixties, pre-hippies, all the targets they talk to are so naive and square. They have got one of the very first portable tape recorders hidden in their suitcase. I'm amazed I had never heard of them before.

The link above takes you to their site, some audio samples are here

The Brazilians are coming

Marcus was trying to remind me of our visit to the Alexandra Batttery the other day. It and the other riverside batteries and forts were built in the 1890s to repel a possible invasion by the Russians.

"You know, we went to that place where the cannons were and the Brazilians were going to take the land from the Australians."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cows and Peas and Paris Hilton

I have been reading The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. It's a fantastic exposition of the idea of evolution. It came out in 1987, and suffers a bit from describing DNA using a lot of IT metaphors that have dated badly. His state-of-the-art example was the Macintosh II.

Nevertheless, I was blown away by this DNA fact - cows and peas share a gene (probably many genes) called Histone H4. The gene is 306 characters long in cows, just very slightly different in peas (304 characters). The position of the characters is exactly the same (except for the 2 missing characters).

Somwhere about 1.5 billion years ago, there was a common ancestor of cows and peas (and Paris Hilton - I have thrown her in to make it bang-up-to-date). After approximately 20 billion generations, its varied offspring still contain the same DNA data reproduced at better than 99% accuracy. Is that staggering or what?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This week Marcus is interested in...

Mammals (still)
Being famous
The movie Cars
Planets and their moons
Roman Numerals

Rank questions

Has a kernel of corn ever been promoted to brigadier?
Has anyone who has just been a little bit naughty received lance-corporal punishment?
Are Generals demoted if they get too specific?
Are Petty Officers promoted if they demonstrate they can rise above all that pettiness?

And as a counterpoint to the above idiocy, here is a true fact:
The lowest rank in the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, British Army, is not private, it is Kingsman.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Michael vocab update

MJR loves asking questions where he knows the answer will be "yes".

This morning he came in while I sat on the toilet, pushing his new favourite thing, a ride-on plastic car that has been mouldering outside for several years.

Are you reading that book? Yes
Is this the bath? Yes
Are there words in that book? Yes
Are they on the page? Yes
OK, well I have to be getting along now.

As I left for work this morning he asked
Can I have a big hug? Can I have a pat on some head?

He has started repeating admonishments he hears Elf say. I have heard;
What were you doing when I came in?
and Don't even THINK about it!

Bus adventure #4

We were low on petrol, and with no particular plans for the day, decided to go by bus out to Moonah to look at electrical stuff. Bus trips are fun for the kids, and at $4.40 per adult day ticket (both kids still free) it possibly pays for itself, as long as you buzz about a bit.

Two buses out to Moonah. First we went into a Building Supplies place that happened to be opposite the bus station. There were bootscrapers at the front door, a sure sign that this place concentrated on Tradespeople. In the door aisle (stacked three high) I had a flashback to that scene in Monsters Inc that everyone with kids must have seen.

Marcus was drawn (hyuk hyuk) to the carpenters pencils. They were in 3 baskets, blue (hard), red (soft) and green (medium). After I read the labels to Marcus I waited to see how long it would be before he insisted on putting them in the right order; Soft, Medium, Hard. About six seconds.

Next we went down the road to Clive Peeters, a brand new Superstore. We didn’t realise one is supposed to a) come by car and b) enter from Derwent Park Road. We walked along Main Road. I have never seen an unfriendlier retail building. Grey concrete, no windows, no signage at all except various words like BATHROOM and ELECTRICAL in blue capitals. We walked along this wall in hope, then came to a very pedestrian-unfriendly concrete canyon – the driveway. We walked up the driveway hoping for the best, still expecting to see “Fabulous Bargains: THIS WAY!!!” or something, but it was all down to blind faith that we rounded a corner and found the carpark, and at last some glass, a door, some products.

Inside we were asked to hand over our backpack. Inside the next eight minutes no less than six salespeople approached us and asked, in a bouncy, just-hired kind of way, if we needed anything. Well, just yell if you do, guys, they all said. Some of them offered us muffins.

I have a hard time thinking straight in these situations. I don’t think I learned anything new about electrical stuff. Their prices seemed OK. The muffin was alright. They had a café, but it was empty. Just around the corner in the coffee machine department a lady was making coffee with one of the products, fancy little Proper Coffees. It was a bit unclear whether you could just waltz up and order one or if you needed to be seriously in the market for a Braun or a Breville or even a Krupp.

We reeled out and caught a bus back to town. Our two outward buses were pretty light on, but this one was full. We were out beyond the “flannie curtain” and the people on the bus had come from further out still. Elf saw a 20-ish year old woman who had hardly any teeth left, but mostly they were all unexceptional individuals. As a busload though, you could write an interesting thesis about their clothes and language, and the difference between these and what you’ll encounter on a Strickland Avenue bus.

Michael fell asleep on the bus, but we still had some shopping to do. Marcus had the excellent idea that Elf and Michael should catch the next bus home, while we sorted out a present for Jacob’s birthday and got the following bus. This we did.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The fatsia and its umbels

I am thrilled to have learned about a new plant, the fatsia. They apparently have stout, sparsely branched stems bearing palmately lobed leaves on a petiole up to 50 cm long, and small creamy-white flowers in dense terminal compound umbels.

Why has no-one told me about this before?

Pluto "too squiffy" to be a planet

Pluto has been sacked. After 75 years in the Planet Club, its been blackballed. And all because it's too dusty and insufficiently round. It has been put into the category "Dwarf Planet".

I say that is semantically ridiculous. If you are a dwarf azalea, you are still an azalea. If you are a dwarf juniper, you're still a juniper. If you're a dwarf tosser... hang on. But if you're not a Planet, how can you be a Dwarf Planet?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

More about Haier electrical goods

All the following comes just from their top-loading washing machine range. I am saving the rest of their product descriptions for special treats when I am feeling low. These have not been translated by me, they are right there on the site. I am not intending to mock - I am awestruck by what engineers can do. But they do need a bit more help than they are getting to describe it in English.

Unique sculpt and Fuzzy control and changeable program.
Sweet Face outlook make you washing breezily
more efficient wash Fuzzy control, convenient operation Soak wash
Plastic inner tub, stainless forever
Easier operate as designer with Top-head
21 century new science and technology, full plastic shell, never rustiness.
Strong and weak currents for selection
Wash with water bubbles, explosive clean
Wide-rang voltage design, defying any voltage wave.
With functions of washing, rinsing and spinnning, and selecting different programs as per the dirt degree of the laundries.
Music buzzer technology.
Big cubage, saving space
Design by jumpness and streamline
Basinning pulsator
Design of braille
Limitation design technique(the distance among inner tub,outer tub and shell is the least)
Mini magical child having big capacity, wind dryer function
New luxury top lid, enjoy happy life .
Popular appearance design makes your washing more pleasant
With the circumrotate of the Basin type pulsator produce strong water flow and the concave basin design can reduce the tough of the clothes and the pulsator, lower the abrasion effectively
Popular appearance design makes your washing more pleasant
With memory when breaking off


Ever thought about sinks? Sorry, food preparation centres. I will quote a few brochures. The Francke Pamira is "ideal as the ultimate corner solution, and the complete food preparation centre, only imagination limits how to utilise this complete system”. I am intimidated, and feel I might fail to live up to this sink.Transform your kitchen from just a sink, to a fully functional and integrated workstation, where food preparation and a total kitchen centre are the key ingredients.

From the Abey company comes a catalogue entitled A WORLD OF SINKS. Choose from The Swan, The Daintree, The Leichardt and The Double Leichardt (both laundry troughs) The Todd, The Zenith. My favourite is The Moonee, at a compact 160x280mm it’s the perfect size for the lonely single washing up the occasional cup, plate or teaspoon.

A day off among the twin tubs

Elf and I took the day off today to do house stuff. We talked to a mortgage broker, then visited the council to ask them politely to pull their heads in.

We received a notice that planning permission was withdrawn until we changed our drawings to include a 1.2m high screen around our deck, with 80% opacity, to protect our neighbours privacy. Elf called and invited the council to come around to see why this was ridiculous, but they declined. If we were dwarves or Ewoks maybe they would be on to something.

So today we dropped off photos of the site and letters from neighbours either side, saying such a screen would not make the slightest bit of difference to their privacy, about which they have NO concerns, and if later some problem arises we are capable of sorting it out without the council being involved.

Then, we went to look at ovens, dishwashers and rangehoods. Elf and I have lived without a rangehood for a combined 74 years, but now we need one. We’ve had a spice cupboard as a rangehood for the last six years.

In the electrical shop we were very amused to see that people still buy twin tubs (generally old folks apparently). There was a Chinese brand called Haier (I think they are trying to sound German). I used to have a twin tub and there was a little round mat you had to flop on top of everything when you used spin-dry. Haier call this part “the gland” and there is a helpful notice on the underside of the lid saying “NEVER FAIL TO USE THE GLAND”.

This was at Electric World, a very old-fashioned shop. Despite having all the latest DVD hard disc recorders etc the place always seems very 1977 to me. The ceiling is low and the home-made shelves are overcrowded, and wobble when you walk past. While we were upstairs looking at ovens, someone downstairs put on some yodelling-style music and began yodelling along.

For comparison we went to an even wonkier shop called B & B. I would guess this stands for Barry and Barry. They took over an older Hobart institution, Danny Burke Electrical. Danny Burke was up for sale for so long that the sale itself became an institution, Before Danny, it was a theatre, and the interior is wonderfully over-the-top art deco meets neo-Assyrian. Wingéd lions. The fluted EXIT signs are gorgeous. The service was desultory and the prices not particularly sharp, but the atmosphere of the place was marvellous.

The music in here was pure country. I see your sweeeeeet face every mor-or-or-ornin… Two older blokes in zipper tops and slacks, and two burly younger blokes in fluoros and stubbies, yarned away between the freezers, listening to Merle Haggard and Jean Stafford and watching six different channels of daytime plasma screen telly. It seems poles apart from my workplace, but it has surprising similarities. One of my workmates has over 14 days worth of continuous music in his i-Tunes, and fully one third was recorded by people named Hank. I myself work in ugg boots.

Sandwich through slot

A few weeks ago Marcus' class at Friends built a tower around him. I believe he stayed in there for quite a while, and was fed food and drinks through a slot. Thanks to Laura at Friends for the pictures!

New tools corrrection

Apologies - in a recent post written from within a cocked hat, I claimed MK of Summer Hill had the fattest Macintosh computer ever assembled. I misunderstood him - what he said is he wants to have the fattest Macintosh computer ever assembled. So I am still king of the heap.

Bus adventure #3

As Elf and I both had the day off yesterday, I was able to pick up Marcus and go off for an outing while she did the 5.00 Michael pick-up. Marcus often asks if we can go on a bus ride on one of Wednesday afternoons, but we usually don't have time.

We caught the bus from kinder into town, with his very tall classmate Tamasin and her dad. Tamasin was tickled pink to have him along, and wanted to take him home but we had to defer that for another day. The four of us walked down Macquarie Street holding hands (dads on either end - we're don't know each other that well).

After fond farewells, we caught a bus to Sandy Bay beach. I discovered I had $1.40 and no ATM card, so when Marcus said he was hungry we bought ourselves one small biscuit. Fortunately I had an all-day bus ticket. We walked down to the Boat Park, and Marcus went nuts on the slides. He found many different ways to land on his bot, knees, head etc. Then our friends Greta, Eve and Thomas appeared, so we had a scamp about with them for a bit. I had promised Marcus we would have a look at the old Alexandra Battery, where I believed we would find a number of big old cannons.

There was in fact only one small cannon, which I suspect was brought from elsewhere. Marcus dutifully climbed on it. There was a very exciting sloping tunnel. When you stepped into it, there was no visible end, then after four or five brave strides the light appeared. It was narrow and about 20 metres long. Due to the lack of cannons I think it should be renamed the Alexandra Tunnel Place.

We hiked back to the bus stop, and caught a bus back to town. A few stops before the end the bussie jumped up to change the destination sign on the front. We got off at Franklin Square and I led Marcus around the corner, looking for the Strickland Ave bus to take us home. Hmm. Couldn't find it. Turned around to look back the way we'd come and the bus we'd just been on sailed past us, with its new destination STRICKLAND AVE plainly visible.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Our backyard is a good birdwatching spot. I don't know if its good for variety, but its good for observing behaviour. This time of year the wattles attract big greenish parrots who shred the flowers - I suppose to get at some kind of grubs. There are little rubbish piles of wattle flower everywhere. A team of them were doing over the tree outside the boys room on Saturday.

A couple of weeks back we saw a mop of herons. I don't know the collective noun for herons, but that sounds right. The flew over quite low, and just as they passed us they saluted with a collective "whhAAAAAAAAAAAAARKH".

Later the same day we saw two little birds harrying a big hawk. They were driving it away from their nest I suppose. They kept at it until it was way over the other side of the valley, then we saw one break off and fly back to resume home duties. The other one, emboldened by success, kept pursuing the hawk that was four times its' size, until I lost them in the dark background of the opposite hill.

New tools

I am writing this on a new Mac Pro. Its pretty swish - Roar Film have bought it for me to use. I've been working on my own G4 for four years, and now I can use it at home. Its good timing as our aged iMac melted down a couple of weeks ago, probably from over-exposure to the same three or four Wiggles games.

Now I have a computer at home I can conceivably work on, I can start to put into practice various ideas that have been simmering on the little gas burner at the back of my mind. I would like to do some large monitor-sized digital paintings, introduce some very slight ambient animation and make screensavers of them.

My Mac Pro is certainly fab, but while I was admiring its sleek lines and enjoying life as The Guy With The Newest and Fastest, an email arrived from MK of Summer Hill, announcing he has one too, but with every possible option ramped up to the max, knocking mine into the proverbial cocked hat. He has terabytes. Sigh.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Michael acquired a new one this morning: Small Business. This joins the following established names;

Scampy. Schnitzel. Schnitz Bitz. Flute Boot. Snooty Persnoot. Squiggle Wiggle. Floop de Floo. Snuffy Snoo. Little Pants. Perms and combs of those.

Marcus makes do with just Sausage, Soddidge, Sport and Buddy. Having a super-cute little brother (who accumulates cutesy names) must be very hard for him sometimes, but he never complains.

We have a builder

Well, we haven't signed a contract yet but we think we have him cornered. Greg Sheedy is his name, and he only builds a few houses each year. He seems like a good egg, and comes recommended by a couple of people we know in the business. His main business is constructing double-glazed windows. We are investing in a house-lot of these, in the hope that it will save us on energy bills, and also cut out the 6.05am truck traffic from Cascade Road.

We have a long list of "exclusions" that we will need to go shopping for. If we were natural shoppers, this would be the exciting part, but we aren't. I am sure we will get into it as excitement builds, and the awareness that the new house might actually happen creeps up on us.

Have I posted these impressions of the new house here? Can't remember.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Influential Rees Family

I said hi to the state Treasurer yesterday. Or maybe g'day, I can't remember. He said hi to me. He and a swag of minder types were here at Roar Film to launch or announce something or other to do with optic fibre cables. This is the second time the government has done this - last time it was the State Development minister launching something to do with ICT subsidies. They seem to think we are a good look - small, creative business in a groovy old church. I was away at a parent-teacher meeting with Marcus' kindergarten teacher, and arrived back just in time to step out of the way as the suits filed out.

It reminded me of my momentous meeting with the late Jim Bacon when he was premier. I opened the front door at our office to go and get lunch, and Jim and some heavies were clustered on the doormat, having a last minute confab before coming in to brief us on some election ads. I stepped aside and held the door open, as I assumed they were about to come in. They ignored me for a few seconds, then the great man said, irritably, "Get out of the way".

Going back a few premiers before that, my sister Jacki was once dancing in some sort of extravaganza at West Park in Burnie, as Robin Gray was stomping around inspecting everything, with a scowl probably. She lost her footing while doing an arabesque or a sashay or something, and slipped to the ground. The top man stepped over her without lowering his eyes from the horizon, and continued on in his tank-like way.

So remember, if you need a favour, let the Rees family know. We'll try to mention it while we are being snubbed.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New planets

In my lifetime, there has always been nine planets. I know Pluto only came on board in 1930, and its maybe a bit small and fluffy to really be a planet, but I have always welcomed it into the fold. In illustrations of all the other stuff floating about orbiting the sun, only the Magic Nine are ever given that fat, round, planety look.

Now, its seems that "planet" is on the verge of being redefined. Soon we could have around 53 bodies in the planet category. Hats off to anyone who can write a good mnemonic for that list. Especially when some of them have names like "2003 UB313".

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Decision time

We have three good detailed building quotes now, all fairly competitive. We have a very tough decision to make. It will be hard to tell the unsuccesful builders, as they have all put significant time into the quoting and consulting, and two will not get a cracker out of it. We will ruminate for a few days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Boys reading techniques


Marcus is doing well with his reading. He sounds out words fairly well. He has a huge speaking vocabulary, so when he has sounded out half a word he has a good chance of guessing the rest. His lazy right eye is improving slowly, but it is certainly hampering him a little. He had a test with the orthoptist yesterday, and she said is seeing the beginning and end of words clearly but the letters in the middle are a bit hard for him to distinguish.

Michael is not sounding out words yet, however he has learned to read about a dozen words, mostly concerning The Wiggles.

THE, WIGGLES, JEFF, GREG, MURRAY, ANTHONY, DOROTHY, CAPTAIN, FEATHERSWORD, WAGS, and DOG he will recognise in any context, Wiggly or not. But he also likes STOP and GO, MICHAEL and MARCUS, MUM and DAD, NO, YES. I'm sure I have forgotten a few.

His pattern recognition is astoundingly good. He picked up a plastic funnel with "FUNNEL YOUR BUSINESS TO PHILLIPS" on it, and said "Stop! That says 'Stop!" It took Elf a few seconds to see it - S TO P. He does this sort of thing all the time. On Saturday I had to grab him to stop him touching a hot barbecue. The dial said "hi" and lo" - Michael was yelling excitedly "Ten!" We always start thinking he's mistaken, then gradually see it as he sees it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Big Bed: Big Day

We have had the Michael's Big Bed set up in the boys room for a couple of months now, and have only been able to get Michael into it while asleep. Its pretty crowded in there with Marcus' bed and the cot too. We have promised the cot to Sharon and Andrew next door, and time is ticking away - she's about 4 weeks from delivering.

Elf had the inspiration to paper the walls with Wiggles paraphenalia. We did it this afternoon, and this evening we could hardly hold him back. Michael hopped onto the bed, lay back with hands behind head, and said "put a blanket on me, Mummy". He is sleeping there beautifully as I type.

The automatic swing

Marcus has entwined the garden hose in the swing set. He gets on the double swing, cranks it up, and soon the baby swing is going flat out as well. Its hilarious, and ingenious. We coaxed Michael to be a test pilot. He is a polite boy, and started saying "I have had enough now Daddy" after about 1.5 swings.

Party exhaustion

This is my first laptop blog. We have a temporary surfeit of laptops at work, such that I can take one home for the weekend. I am typing in front of the telly, as Richmond flog Brisbane.

Yesterday was quite gripping at work, We have a bit of intrigue going on. Roar Film are in a shotgun marriage with a small Melbourne multimedia studio. We both pitched for a federal government job and the public servant in charge decided to give us two-thirds and Thingo Media one third of the job. Now Thingo are trying to crib back some parts of the job that were awarded to us, by stealth. We feel like we have the high artistic ground, as the design they have submitted (unasked) is hideous. After a flurry of emails they seem to have conceded defeat. We are determined to wear the design pants on this one. It promises to be a lively collaboration over the next three months.

The boys piled into bed with us this morning. They are getting bigger and its getting squeezier. Once we were all crammed in with a bit of doona and a bit of pillow each, Michael said (through his dummy) "This is nice". He said it in a wonderfully offhand grownup small-talky way.

It was a gorgeous sunny day today, and we had back-to-back birthday parties. Eve Kerschbaum turned three, and her party was at the same lovely riverside church hall in Sandy Bay as her brother's a couple of months ago. It has glorious large windows overlooking an expanse of the Derwent, with yachts at anchor you could easily swim out to. Our Michael was delighted by the ripples of light on the ceiling reflected off the water. As usual for Greta's parties the food was terrific and plentiful, with the occasional oddity. There was a plate of crumbed chicken schnitzels. '"Croatian party food" said Michael Kerschbaum.

Then we went to a quite different outdoor party up at the Waterworks Reserve, a great place to be on a nice day. Taylah from Marcus' kindergarten turned five today. She is partially blind and has few other difficulties due to a very rare congenital condition.

When I was a kid there was no-one like Taylah for me to learn about face-to-face. She seems to be a nice kid and gets on pretty well with everyone, but I also think its a great learning experience for everyone who gets a chance to spend a year in her class. I hope the kids are getting to know her as a person, and her disability (which is still the first thing I see) will just be a secondary aspect to them.

Her mum did a good job with the party. Taylah has a couple of loudmouthed girl cousins (or older sisters ?) who on cue would shout "Getoverhereyouse! 'Stimeferpasstheparcel!" and so on. Kids threw bread to monster geese and normal ducks. I gave Michael an aeroplane spin, One of the big cousins was on the spot as soon as his Michael's feet hit the ground demanding a go. Once I got her off the ground it was fine, but takeoff was hard work.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Likes/Dislikes for Friday

+ My Name is Earl 8pm Thursday
+ Sending "personal" messages from Samuel L. Jackson
+ Cascade Export Stout as a relaxant

- Giving way to cars turning right, when I am turning left from a slip lane, and being honked wildly by the moron behind
- A4 (Small) paper size - is it A4 or not?
- CSI Autopsies and dumb dialogue in my lounge room, every weeknight.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gas Burners

They are unexpectedly beautiful. Click an image to look at an online museum of them. (I found it while I was looking for images of the Vietnam War Memorial in Canberra. That's just how the web works, folks).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fine Dining

As Elf will tell you, I pronounce this "Foin Doining". She comes from a family with impeccably crisp dipthongs.

We went out to dinner on Saturday night in honour of Anna's birthday. When we thought back to our last dinner out, it was actually Anna's previous birthday. So, we have work to do on our social life.

Rob and Mel had kindly offered to look after the boys, and Marcus particularly had been looking forward to it all week. He gets on famously with their daughter Olivia, and Michael tags along with them quite happily, so we were optimistic it would work. It was a complete success - they didn't get to sleep until 9-ish becasue they were all gabbing like mad. Michael ate all his dinner, something we rarely see at home. Rob and Mel said they would be happy to do it again, so, if not for the fact we are skint, a happy phase of eating out might open up before us.

Dinner was enjoyable and tasty. We ate at the Hope and Anchor, one of the many claimants for Oldest Pub in Australia (est. 1807). One of the drawbacks of its age is obviosly fitting modern toilet facilities into the heritage-listed fabric.

To wash your hands in the gents risks being clobbered by the opening door from the hallway outside. I imagine collisions must happen, with occasional fisticuffs if the clobberer and/or clobberee are drunk or of a naturally thumpsome nature. I didn't get into a fight but I did have a terse exchange with a bloke who told me to move out into the hallway when I had not yet pulled up my daks.

However - generally a great night and something we are keen to try again.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book cover chosen

Here is the cover Pasty and Redhill Books have chosen to print. Its very exciting - can't wait to see them in the bookshops.

Dog bites man

I was bitten on the leg by a small dog in Nth Hobart at lunchtime. Didn't penetrate my jeans. Hippy stoner people, weren't very contrite. I just let it go and got on with eating lunch. Shortly after, the dog had a go at someone else's leg - I raised the subject again and the weedy little jerky guy started getting all nasty about it. Girlfriend dragged him away.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Portrait of Giz, c. 1997

By Jacki McTaggart


I decided to take off my radio headphones and just listen to the world on my walk this morning. Its a bit silly to tune in to morning radio - I call it the Stress Along With Fran show - and tune out the babbling rivulet, tweeting birds, whistling builders etc etc.

There was a rubber chicken at the side of the path in Forbes St yesterday. It has gone now. I wonder if there is a Department somwhere responsible for removing the small pieces of light relief that people might find as they struggle through their day. Its sounds like the sort of thing Senator Vanstone might organise.

Michael asked "Where is Giz?" at the table last night. We said he's gone. Michael was sure he was sleeping, having dreams, and "soon he will stop having dreams and wake up!". We have already started transferring our worry about Giz to worry about his grave - keeping blackberries down, proper headstone, will he be disturbed by the builders etc etc. Its ridiculous.