Friday, September 29, 2006

Weird but compelling
Create a world, then destroy it. Or at least, mess it up pretty good. My advice is, get rid of the zombies early. They aren't very aesthetically pleasing. (It needs Java which may exclude some of you with old computers or browsers.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I have leafed through A Short History of Bosnia a bit lately, which I bought back when Bosnia had the misfortune to be news. The author discusses slavery among the people of the Balkans, many of whom are Slavs. It is amusing to read his contortions as he tries to avoid writing "Slav slaves". He eventually just gives in to the inevitable.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The shepherd was in leopard jeopardy.
The leopard ate the shepherd rapidly.
Even peppered he tasted very shepherdy.

Any suggestions to how I can work "tepid" into this?

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A recent Dave Graney blog consisted of a big whinge about how young people can't play guitar properly, all pose and no actual riffs. I commented that there should be a national Fender Buyback Scheme, funded out of the export earnings of the Savage Gardens, Peter Andres and Kylies. Dave thinks there is merit in this.

In a spirit of rusty old codgerhood I also propose that funding be earmarked for the following buyback schemes, to make Australia a better place to live.

- Skateboards
- McLeods Daughters
- Ringtones other than "ring ring"
- Personalised numberplates
- Automotive subwoofers
– Eyebrow rings
- Very small dogs

Tomatoes out, pears in

The new diet Elf has imposed on Marcus seems to be working well. We have been concerned about his temperament - he will blow up suddenly over very small things. Elf is following a book called Fed Up by Sue Dengate, which says on the back;

"Added and natural food chemicals can cause
• irritability, restlessness, 'a short fuse' when things go wrong
• poor reading or school performance
• 'restless legs', slow to fall asleep or night-waking
• headaches or stomach aches
• itchy skin rashes or bedwetting
• disorganisation, lack of energy
• some symptoms of ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder
• frequent ear infections, asthma, stuffy and runny nose"

Marcus has shown the majority of these symptoms at some stage in the last twelve months. He is doing fine at school but we are aware that his reading ability goes up and down with his mood. So far a few food exclusions have seen an improvement. Elf thinks tomatoes might be a main culprit. The book also advises to feed kids a lot less fruit than we generally do. The safest fruit is pears. I have not read the book myself, and I acknowledge that the author may perhaps have shares in pears, but Marcus is certainly pleasant company more of the time at the moment.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bare bum at the brewery

We had a homely day on Sunday. It was wet and cold. We have just heard that the Cascade Visitors Centre up the road is now doing lunches, so in a break in the weather we walked up there. Its only about 200 metres from our house, and very, very nice. They have beautiful old gardens with mazy paths where you can get lost, fountains, a great view over the brewery to the dense bush beyond, and a to-scale but mis-shapen thylacine standing behind the bar. The beer on tap comes through pipes from the brewery across the road. Marcus was atrocious at times this weekend and topped it all off by baring his bum at Elf in the Visitors Centre, when she asked him to get his shoes off the upholstery.

It looked like we were going to get saturated on the walk home, then a hole in the rain opened up and we got back unscathed. Marcus was in such a stupid mood that he threw a Level 2 wobbly because the rain had stopped. Logic is not a reliable child-rearing tool. In fairness, he paid us back by being angelic all day Monday.

A house lot of towels

On Saturday Elf left the boys up at Rob and Mel's for a couple of hours while we worked things out with Greg the Builder and had a look at his house up at Neika. We took lunch things with us when we went back to Rob and Mel's, and settled in for a very pleasant yak and nibble. Rob's Mum, sister Colleen and nephew Phil arrived at the same time as we did.

Mrs Bellchambers has a thick Scots accent. We were talking about building and floors, slabs etc. She said her brother had built a house and and put down towels everywhere. "Yeah!" I said, but I was thinking "Towels??" A bit later I worked out she had said "tiles".

After lunch Marcus and I went to see Peter Pan at the Playhouse Theatre. It was Marcus's first live theatre, and he really got into it. We were a bit worried he would take Captain Hook's nastiness too much to heart. He had no trouble at all, even going up to shake the Captain's hook at the end of the show. Marcus was sitting next to his buddy Keiran, and they both had the rows in front and behind us in stitches with their timely interjections and very loud questions. When the goodies triumphed at the end, they were practically standing on their seats, shouting "Woo-HOOO!"

I deliberately put thoughts of football aside for the afternoon, but the minute the crocodile ate Captain Hook I was struck again by symptoms of Finals Fever. We scurried home to catch the end of the West Coast v Adelaide match, which was a corker. West Coast have been the come-from-behind kings this season, and did it again. But... I think they have won their last match for the year. Five days out from the Grand Final I am going to tip the Swannies to go back to back, breaking it open in the last quarter to win by 22 points. One of their Invisibles will win the Norm Smith Medal, maybe Jarrod McVeigh or Ben Matthews. Oh, and the Brownlow Medal tonight, just has to be Scott West.

Flat pack our sunroom

Further house-moving news: Elliott Brothers, the crane people, reckon it will be a doddle to carve our place up, put it on trucks and send it down to the coast. Elf tells me a representative visited today, walked up and down and said "Yep". They'll slice off the sunroom, flat pack it (!), dismantle and discard the brick fireplace and chimney, chainsaw down the hall, and swing the halves onto two trucks with their 100-ton crane. Then, break for a cup of tea, before driving our house over the Tasman Bridge and into the sunset. Yes, I know that's the wrong direction for the sunset. When we make Bye Bye House, The Movie we'll just film the sunrise and run it backwards, OK?

We have a builder!

We have just signed a contract with Greg Sheedy to build the new house. There are (as always) a few things that need to happen before any sod can be turned, but still - we are creeping closer. We have not got a mortgage approved yet, so that's a little scary. The builder, council and bank all basically wait for the other two to tick something before they will. Luckily our builder decided near enough was good enough with the bank.

A fella with a block at Carlton River is very interested in taking the house away, which would save us $10,000 on the demolition. He is looking into it, which might take 5 weeks. We will go along with this and keep on eye on his progress - we are really keen for the house to survive intact, apart from the money, but we don't want to buy into a major delay.

Greg took us up to Neika to see an unfinished house has has been building, specifically the solid timber floor. Like ours it is Tas Oak boards with secret nailing. It will look beautiful, I just hope we don't need to sign a confidentiality agreement over the whereabouts of the nails.

Snakes on a Beachball

Elf and the boys were at Home Hardware a few weeks back and they were giving these beachballs away. Printed on it is sage advice on a range of matters, from two snakes. I think it might be a Chinese Year of the Snake thing. This bit says;

FEELINGS. The middle-aged couples will get into difficulty, they maybe have something hard to say. Take care, your extramarital romance will probably be exposed. And it is not easy for the single to get married.

Its penetratingly honest, not something snakes are always renowned for.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Michael: Where is Marcus?
Dad: In the bathroom.
Michael: What is Marcus saying?
Dad: I don't know, I can't hear him.
Michael:He is saying stuff and things.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


From an excellent book I highly recommend, The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman (no relation to the Tasmanian political dynasty).

A bestselling author on the subject of “negotiation” reminds: “Negotiation requires compromise. Each party must gain something, and each must give something up. Before you begin your negotiation, privately consider what you are willing to give away. Now gather all of that material together and put it in a sack. Hide the sack in a secure location, such as a cave that is laced with explosives that you can detonate by remote control. Take the remote control in with you to the negotiation. As any experienced negotiator knows, in order to succeed, you must be willing to walk away from the deal at any moment, and then blow up the cave. Note: The sack should be made of velvet.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Michael shops

Michael was shopping with Elf when he saw a Wiggles wetsuit: "Look - the Wiggles on a swimming jumper".

More news about zero

Marcus was in a foul mood. He was sin-binned for thumping Michael. After a while he was allowed out of his room to have breakfast and was sitting quietly, thinking. He suddenly announced excitedly "Mum - zero, two, two, four, six, eight! Zero is an even number!". Apparently he had to say two twice "because zero plus two is two".

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wags the Dog - does he have the power of speech?

Dorothy the Dinosaur was once played by a hairy-armed man in a garbage bag. Now she is a large professionally made green foam suit with a trained dancer inside. This is fine, this is the evolution and refining of an original concept. Captain Feathersword was formerly played by any brother of a Wiggle who happened to be around. Once it was played by Anthony himself, who the other Wiggles all pretended not to recognise. Then they engaged a full-time dedicated pirate, (with magic buttons) in the role. Once again, this is all well and good. The other causal Captains never really convinced, and sometimes they were actually disturbing.

Now we come to Wags the Dog. He has been dark brown, he has been light brown. He sometimes has had a big W on his chest, sometimes not. On occasions he is pranced about by Waggettes. Usually he does that dogs-on-tv thing where he says "Woof woof grrrrrr bark!" and someone will reply "Yes Wags, the Big Red Car does need a tune-up and wheel balance".

Then out of the blue - he speaks! No one says "Good heavens, Wags can talk!" Suddenly he is asking Captain Feathersword around to babysit the Waggettes, and discussing how much he likes bones. In the Wiggly Fun Book on one page he goes missing when he is due at Wiggle Studios, and when they find him in a boat on a lake, he says "I was a bit worried about being in the show, and I thought a spot of fishing would calm my nerves".

A few pages later, he is in Paris with Captain Feathersword on their tour of the world. He points to the Eiffel Tower and makes climbing actions." Sure Wags, we can climb right to the top", says the Captain.

In closing I ask: Wags the Dog - is he a hollow sham?

Monday, September 18, 2006

No Mum Weekend continues

Today after breakfast we went to ride bikes on the concrete top of the water tank in the Domain, with a visit to the pool to follow. Marcus is too big for his tricycle now but still loves to ride it flat out, his knees pumping up around his ears. Michael loves to get on it but has to be pushed about with the optional long handle designed for that purpose. Marcus was grumpy at losing his wheels, so I let him stand on the axle behind Michael, and at low speed we all had a lot of fun.

Michael spent most of the time haring around pushing his blue ride-on car, also designed for someone much smaller. He covered a lot of territory on foot, not much slower than Marcus on three wheels.

At the pool Marcus met his mate Huon. I had not met Huon and his mum Abby, but had heard about their get-togethers with Elf and the boys. Huon and Marcus were strangers who just hit it off in the park one day. "Hit" is the operative word - they just love to pummel, biff, cuff, thwack and pound each other. I had to go over a few times and point out that the half-nelson, the flying mare and the toe-hold takedown were all against pool rules. Huon and his family are all lovely people but my job was a lot easier once they packed up and left.

I coaxed the boys out of the pool and into the shower, and into dry clothes. We bought some potato cakes and went up to Parrot Park in Glebe to eat them. I have looked the parrots up, and they are red-headed Eastern Rosellas and either Swift Parrots or juvenile Green Rosellas. It was such a mild day with a light breeze, it was delightful to sit and do very little. The boys did their own thing. Michael found a nice dustbowl and covered himself and his apple with grey. Marcus studied parrots.

Rohan Smith's Last Woof

Stan Alves (ex St Kilda coach unkindly sacked) on the sacking of incumbent Grant Thomas - "... it really gets under my goat ..."

Fremantle bundled Melbourne out of the finals on Friday night. I battled to stay awake, as I have for quite a few night matches lately. Melbourne stayed in it for longer than they had a right to.

Last night it was West Coast Eagles v Western Bulldogs. It was terrific game, in particular the third quarter. In the first half West Coast were superior but inaccurate, so the Dogs were still in with a woof. They came out with steely resolve - they didn't really look like kicking a goal but neither did the Eagles. The pace of the game was frenetic. The play just bounced from half forward line to half forward line, with intense pressure always causing the last link in the chain to fail. In the final minutes the Eagles scored, and resistance crumbled. The last quarter was a procession, the Dogs were a rabble, and Rohan Smith wept copiously as he was carried off in his 300th and last game.

No Mum Weekend

Elf has been away all weekend, for a wedding in the Victorian high country, at Dinner Plain. Not a convenient place to get to from Hobart, or from anywhere really. Best wishes to Scott and Sally.

Elf left at 5am yesterday, and I will pick her up later tonight at the airport. Hopefully the boys will sleep through being loaded into and out of the car, and the drive out and back.

Coincidentally Anna is away all weekend too, so Nick and I hatched a plan to get together and cooperate in herding the children about. We started with a look at Goulds Lagoon bird sanctuary at Austin's Ferry. A good roll-up of ducks, herons, native hens and some geese who may have been local backyard bludgers. I don't know if you should throw bread to birds in a sanctuary but Nick thought it was OK, so we gave them a good serving of (still frozen) sliced white. Marcus and I will come back one day without Michael and have a better look.

We moved deeper into Austins Ferry to a pleasant playground next to a cricket ground, with a giant slide. We shared the playground with three brothers. The eldest sent text messages while advising the younger ones that if they $%#n wanted to go %$#n home they could just ^&%*n keep going the way they were. It made me think home must not be all that flash. Michael tumbled down the spiral slide blissfully unawares.

Lily asked if the boys could come to her house to play, so with no other plans at all for the day, we did. Lily's little sister Katherine is only about 15 months old, so Nick had a much tougher assignment than I to manage alone all weekend. I soaked up the sun and ate too much. The boys needed the occasional corrective barking-at, but were pretty good. I finally got them to come home, using time on the computer as bait.

Michael was fiddling with my radio during the afternoon, and turned it on as someone discussing the media in Indonesia said that after a journalist had stepped out of line the government "punished the paper". Marcus said "How can you punish paper?"

Child care and vegies up, plasma screens down

"Since 1996, prices for TVs and computers have fallen 68 per cent, small electronic goods 14 per cent, and motor vehicles 19 per cent... During the past decade, fruit prices went up 11 per cent, vegetables 70 per cent, health care 50 per cent, public transport 49 per cent, and bread 48 per cent. Child care has risen 91 per cent"

ABS figures quoted by the Australian Greens, quoted in turn in The Age

Friday, September 15, 2006

80,000 year old giraffe carvings
These are wonderful. "Located at the top of a sandstone outcrop in the Air Mountains in the Sahara is the unique & exceptional petroglyph of two life-size giraffes. The petroglyph is thought to have been created between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago. The site itself contains 828 engraved images [704 animals, in majority bovids, giraffes, ostriches and antelopes, rare lions and rhinos and camels, 61 human figures, and 159 indeterminate figures]."

Why aren't these better known?

Don't put the spider in the blog

Michael was having a grizzle yesterday. He stomped out of the room and grizzled past Elf in the kitchen. I heard her say "Oh no, Michael - aaaaah." He had seen a large huntsman and stomped it flat. Later, he picked up a spider card from a game, and waved it around saying over and over "This is the spider I stepped on."

I said, mostly to myself "I will have to put your spider in my blog". Michael squealed "NO! Don't put the spider into the blog!" I think he thinks a blog is kind of like a bag.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tax, bugs, slimy mud

I took the day off to mind Marcus, as kinder is closed for 2 weeks for school holidays. Next year he will be a full time student, and school holidays will require serious planning.

Anyway, yesterday we dropped of Elf and Michael (we would have had to pay whether he attended family day care or not, so we let him go as he really loves it). Then we went to see Jill who does our tax each year.

While Jill depreciated and so on, and I sat like a stunned carp as usual, Marcus did a beautiful series of drawings of bugs. After Jill somehow wrestled my tax bill to half what I thought it would be, we went back up to the car.

We had parked on the 6th floor of the car park, so after we dropped off our stuff we went up a couple of floors to the top storey, and looked at the view from each corner. For some reason, only the parts of city buildings that are visible from ground level are maintained. A building may be surrounded by vantage points for viewing its little weatherboard rooftop shack, but do they put money into painting the shack and fixing its broken windows, or restyling the ground floor? Guess.

When we got home we scanned Marcus's bug drawings and emailed them to everyone. With dial-up it was taking a long time to send, so we left the computer doing its thing and went exploring.

We went for a walk up the bed of the Hobart Rivulet. It was a great thing to do with just Marcus - I tried it with both boys a few weeks back and it was hair-raising and awkward. I was happy for Marcus to trust his own instincts and forge ahead. Sometimes we tried to step from stone to stone, and sometimes we just walked with water swirling around our boots. Occasionally we would stop, sit on an "island" and pour the water out.

We got as far as the brewery, then the course was too narrow, and the banks were too overgrown. One day we might try another stretch a bit higher up.

The rivulet was actually pretty yucky. There were plastic bags and lolly wrappers and so on. The part we were in runs through the Cascade Gardens, so picnic and barbecue rubbish is always drifting into the water. There was a lot of slimy mud.

We squelched home, quickly changed out of soggy stuff, and went to pick up Michael a little early. It was still really warm so we went down to Kingston Beach. I dug a shallow hole in the sand for each boy - Marcus needed to fetch and carry water to fill his (after which it would all drain away), while Michael's filled with the tide. Michael was very happy just jumping in and out of his pond. Marcus was happy running up and down with completely futile urgency. It was all very satisfactory.

Burnie c. 1991

Old Burnie Police Station

The Club Hotel ($10 deposit when you get a pool cue from behind the bar)

Port of Burnie from the Crown Street lookout

I grew up in Burnie and remain very fond of the place. It was very industrial and sometimes accused of being "The Dirtiest Town in Australia" in those days. It seemed at the time that there were no old buildings left, the whole place having been "smartened up" in about 1970.

Then I found these photos in the National Library of Australia Collection. There are quite a few pleasant old red brick office buildings, iron-lace verandahed pubs, and the old police station is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Asian Cup - Kuwait 2 d Australia 0

H.G. Nelson: "Once again I ask, how is Kuwait part of Asia? It's all very well having black bean sauce in your sweet and sour gear one night a week, that doesnt make you part of Asia." (The blog ban is over already).

Monday, September 11, 2006


Moan. Today I discovered that I was sleepwalking at work last week. Three things I either didn't notice, forgot or just got plain wrong. My boss is a very easy-going man. He actually went as far as saying that the document I sent out for printing (the wrong version with a logo that should have been removed) was BETTER the way I had done it, as it added a certain cachet to have that logo on it unwarranted.

He is off to LA and the UK tomorrow with these wrong documents, and they are quite important. I stuffed them up, yet he was able to deal with it to save my feelings. What a guy.

Anyway. I think one thing that distracted me last week was this bloody blog. So I am going to punish it by sending it to Coventry for a week and concentrating on my work.

Finals Fever 2006

I have come down with a bad case of Finals Fever, as always. Symptoms include mowing lawns with headphones on, sitting with family with headphones on, watching live TV while children are awake (never usually happens), and random shouts of "Oh ho HOOOOOO you BEAUT-eeeee!".

The radio was on in the car during our outing on Sunday, as the fancied Magpies were eliminated by the unfancied Doggies. I didn't realise Marcus was listening all that much until he said "Dad, what does 'they're killing them out of the middle' mean?"

Michael tells the time

Michael has always been very keen on clocks. He liked the numbers, and the hands and the tick tock were just a bonus. Now he is taking an interest in their time-keeping abilities. He has been repeating overheard comments, with a gradually growing understanding of the meaning, like "The big hand is pointing straight up". I'm pretty sure he now grasps that if the big hand points straight up, its something o'clock, and the little hand tells you what o'clock.

This morning he wanted to wear my watch. It was about 2 minutes to 7, and he said "The hand is straight up. It's seven o'watch". And technically, he was spot on.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rent in twain

We are looking at rentals now, so once again we cross swords with Agents and their wit and wisdom. This falls into the Push A Mediocre Feature Too Hard category.

This old lady has been dressed up with fresh paint, new carpet and curtains, heating panels in every room and a fabulous built-in wardrobe in the main bedroom to cater for all your clothing items.

Scandal - Salmon Ponds Actually Full Of Trout

We visited the Salmon Ponds at Plenty this morning - great outing. About half an hours drive up from Hobart. Ponds full of big, big trout, eager for our handfuls of fish pellets. They jumped out of the water and did fosbury flops and western rolls to get at them, although they must be pretty full of them already. Manicured lawns, lovely coniferous trees. Settled in under a Douglas Fir. Marcus made up a fircone throwing game and Michael rolled, and rolled, an rolled in the needles. Actually sunbaked for a while. Incredibly relaxing. The boys were walled in by a long hedge, with us between them and any water. I was expecting it to be nerve-wracking but it was the most relaxing couple of hours I have spent out with the whole family, probably ever.

The Ponds have been in the care of the same two families since 1880s. Elf asked a waitress in the cafe if they still own it. "Dunno".


When you watch your kids doing something fabulous, its natural to fondly imagine the genes at work come from you. This morning Marcus was doing a scintillating dance/harmonica act all around our bedroom as we sat in bed with cups of tea, enthralled. I was fondly thinking of my own excellent musical genes and loose-limbed moves, replicated in my son. Elf shattered this by saying "Look at him multi-tasking - he certainly doesnt get that from you".

It reminded me of when I was a trombonist in a brass band in my youth (Keenest Learner 1981-82, remember). The downside of trombone is you have to be in the front row when marching, or hats get knocked off. I would do trombone mime - the slide went up and down in time with my fellow trombonists, but I never honked a note, as I was too scared of tripping over or being out of tune. Can't multi-task. And the wife knows it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Thermometer Guys 2

I should add to this that My Wife would like to see the Ultimate Battle of Hot and Cold played out in an arena a bit like Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef.

I should also add that "lukewarm" is a term invented by Anders Celsius in 1742, to describe the exact temperature of his friend, Luke. Celsius also invented the phillips-head screwdriver as a cruel dig at another friend with a cranial deformation.

We're in the van

It's a bit of an old fashioned expression, "in the van". I think "van" is short for "vanguard", so it's saying someone or something is at the forefront, at the cutting edge, a leader, setting the pace. A book I am reading, written in 1984, says that the evolution of the human brain is speeding up rapidly and that "computers are in the van".

I don't know about you but this makes me think of a spotty IT operative who has been given the job of picking up the old busted laptops and pulling out all the useable bits. Far from its intended meaning.

And - wake up word buffs, there's more. I did notice in Wiktionary that "vanguard" came into English from French, where it had been hanging around for a while as a contraction of "avant garde".

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Elephant gender

Marcus was doing a crossword. I was providing hints.

Dad: A mum elephant is a cow, so what is a dad elephant? Well, think about ordinary cows. A mum is cow, a dad is a...
Marcus: Mister Cow?

Trophy afterlife

I have just taken apart my old trophies. Most went pretty well, except for one with two nails where you usually find one bolt. I twisted the pieces apart. That one probably won't ever go on display again. They are pretty simple and unglamorous things when you break them down to their constituent parts. Green plastic flashy sparkle stuck onto wood. Gold plastic man with a screw protruding from his feet. They came apart so easily in my hands. I never imagined I would do this to them.

When I was little I burned up with a great desire for trophies. Mum has some beautiful swimming cups from her youth - proper engraved silver cups, with a foot and handles. When I discovered there were such things as trophy shops I dreamed about going in and buying myself a big one. I guess I dreamed about winning one legitimately somehow, but those dreams haven't stayed with me.

Jacki, my older sister, racked up an awesome number of trophies dancing. After a while I think even she was a tiny bit embarrassed to come home from every dance graduation with another clunking shoulderbag full of silver pirouetting ladies.

I finally jagged a trophy, Keenest Learner in the Burnie Municipal Band, 1981-82. I wasn't going to go to the award night but someone hinted strongly to Mum that I should. The trophy is metallic blue and features a screenprint of a monkey, holding its tail, carrying a basket of fruit on its back on which perch two herons, a lion and perhaps the sun, with a worried looking face. An allegory of keenness, I imagined at the time.

After a while I started to win some soccer trophies. I had a twenty-five year soccer career of limited success and in that time collected I think seven trophies and a few medallions on blue nylon ribbons. The ones I won as a kid were just stunningly beautiful at the time, and I loved to look at them. The occasions I received them were high points in my fairly uneventful teenage years in Burnie.

For a long time they lived in the shed here, jumbled in a basket. I still thought they were pretty great, but like most pre-kid stuff, they were sidelined to concentrate on baby things and few totally unbreakable reminders of adult life.

Six years later we are preparing to demolish this beautiful old house. The shed has been gone about a year, it was the first victim of progress. Shed stuff was shoved under the house or on top of wardrobes. The trophies caught Marcus' eye and he was determined to take them to show and tell. Two went to kinder yesterday and two went to daycare today. Now that they have come to my attention again, I have had to weigh up whether to store them when we move or chuck them.

I chose to pull them apart and store them. That way no protruding angel wings will be snapped off, and one day perhaps I can re-assemble them. Or maybe I will cut myself free from the past, take them to the tip and just swing the bag around my head and fling it. As someone said, deciding not to decide is still deciding.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Tits Group

Named after the Belgian/French mathematician Jaques Tits, as we all know. Come on, get the sniggering out of the way now, as we will be dealing with his work regularly for the rest of the semester.

® The Thermometer Guys

I had always found science a bit dull, until I read The Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. One of my favourite things I didn't know is the Mr Fahrenheit and Mr Celsius came up with their scales only 25 years apart, in the Netherlands and Denmark respectively. I will now dedicate my life to answering the question - DID FAHRENHEIT MEET CELSIUS? I think it could be made into a gripping one-act play, maybe set on the hottest day of the year, Spike Lee Do the Right Thing style. They will have a mighty last-man-standing battle of wills. Ice cubes, mercury, boiling kettles - it could be great. Do you think?

Wildebeeste, again.

Just about every time I turn on the TV these days, there is a huge herd of wildebeeste massing on the steep bank of a great river. They know they need to cross to get to new grazing lands, but they are frightened of the crocodiles in the river. Eventually the pressure of the herd behind is too great, and they plunge in. Inevitably some are dragged under, drowned and devoured by the crocodiles. Sometimes the zebras go along with the wildebeestes, taking advantage of their bulk for some protection from the crocodiles. This is all very interesting.

But why is it on every channel, all the time?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Absolutely last bit of Coyle and Sharpe for a while


Sharpe: Could we go through a transformation right now and have Mr. Coyle become a werewolf for you on the street just to prove that he is a werewolf? And we can do it now. Can we do this?

Huffman [innocent bystander]: I don't particularly care to see something like that.

Sharpe: Can we go ahead?

Huffman: I don't know. I certainly don't have any particular desire to see this. I don't know if it's going to prove anything by becoming a werewolf on the streets or anything.

Coyle: I have showed it to the people at the radio station, I'll show it to you.

Huffman: I guess it's all right with me.

Coyle: May I go through a pre-wolf intensity?

Huffman: All right go ahead.

Sharpe: I make a wolf sound which brings this out in him and Mr. Coyle will start turning into a werewolf. Are you ready? gr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r (he growls). Now there are some sounds coming from Mr. Coyle, the transformation is beginning!

Coyle: (fierce sounding growls)


Monday, September 04, 2006


At dinner (bangers and mash) I noticed on the back of the bottle that "Heinz © Tomato ketchup makes food taste ketchuppy". What copywriting genius is responsible for that?

Dog dairy

Michael lolloping on bed with Dog at bedtime. "I am milking Dog. But I haven't got a bucket".

Tortured genius

Sometimes we go on an evening walk, which has always been known as a baby walk. Sometimes as we walk along Syme Street an old feller comes out and offers us a couple of bananas, a mandarin, or once, some christmas candy canes, for the boys. He's quite taken with them.

On Sunday night Marcus wouldn't eat leftover veg lasagne at dinner. Whinged for a while. During bath, changed tune to whinge about going for a baby walk. On and on and on about it. While getting dressed admitted he was hungry and hoped if we went on a baby walk that the old man would give him some food. Sad, silly, but devious and possibly brilliant.

Gumboots, rosellas,

Elf had to attend a work function for most of Saturday. We dropped her at the casino, and scamped awhile at the boat park. Saw a fish farm being towed very slowly downriver, presumably still full of fish. Rosellas in the trees.

Dropped in on Nick and Anna and accompanied them to another transport-themed playground, the train park.

Bought the boys new gumboots. Had lunch and watched Pepa Pig - her friends mocked her for riding a bike with stabilisers. We took the new gumboots down to the rivulet, and got ourselves muddy and wet. Not recommended unless grown-up:kid ratio is 1:1. Picked up Elf.

Boys and I made interactive Flash buttons, faces of four of us with tongues that poke out on mouse-over. Had a crack at the Wiggles online game, painting the big red car. Michael said "i am painting stabilisers".

Boys next door came over for wierd football/soccer hybrid in backyard.

During the Lions/Saints match Channel Ten segued from the footy to an advert by playing "Funny Little Frog" by Belle and Sebastian, an extremely fey and un-footy-like band.

Friday, September 01, 2006

More Coyle and Sharpe

Mal Sharpe actually dropped me a line to thank me for the link. To thank him for thanking me I am going to infringe his copyright and ram some more of his work down your throat! Here is a small snippet of transcript.

Coyle (to passerby): The nature of the job is, it's a little unusual, just like anything else there are certain risks entailed in it. You would be working down in a pit, in which I have created, through scientific endeavor, I have created intense flame. People throw objects into the flaming pit, you go through, you pick them up, they name the objects and you pick them up and I charge them admission.

{snip to later in conversation}

Sharpe: Have you ever had any experience with snakes, large snakes?

Passerby: No.

Sharpe: See the bats actually they're foes down in this pit. The reason why the bats are there is because there are snakes in the pit. The bats attack the snakes and the snakes will be curling around your feet as you're trying to handle the maniacs...

Passerby: I'm not scared of snakes though.

Sharpe: What?

Passerby: I'm not scared of snakes.

Coyle: Are you at all, be honest, are you at all afraid of the maniacs?

Passerby: No, not really.

Coyle: What're you going to do with them if they start attacking you?

Passerby: Fight them off.


® Poonie!

Its fact recycling time! I just came across an old cache of emails, containing various gold nuggets that came and went, without getting the attention they deserved. Apologies to anyone who has had to sit through this stuff before. Anything recycled I will mark with a ®.

Hunter Poon
(Played one Sheffield Shield match for Queensland)
Full name Hunter Robert George Poon
Born May 14, 1894, Pimlico, near Ballina, New South Wales
Died January 25, 1980, Greenslopes, Brisbane, Queensland (aged 85 years 256 days)
Major teams Queensland
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak googly

I was looking for some stats for a work thing and came across him.