Thursday, June 29, 2006

She wouldn't dare

Or would she?

Meme time

Pinched from Quirkie @ Sanctifiable ...

(grandfather/grandmother on your father's side, your favorite sweet/lolly):

Ethel Peanut Butter Cups

or, after the fashion of Geena Davis as the Commander-in Chief or J.K. Rowling's baby daughter, I could use my grandma's Scottish surname and call myself

MacAlpine Polly Waffle

(first initial of first name followed by "izzle", first two or three letters of your last name followed by "dizzle"):

Erm ... Pizzle Cadizzle

Does this sound like a special kind of intimate waxing technique or what?

(favorite color, favorite animal):

Teal Otter, Dusty Pink Leopard or Buttermilk Meerkat, depending on what day it is.

(first 3 letters of your name- last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name repeated twice):

Pav-Kay MadMad

Works for me.

("The", your favorite color, the automobile you drive):

The Aquamarine Accent

And my superhero weapon of choice is a rolled-up copy of Vogue Living.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"I thought we had 'em"

... said a rueful Mark Viduka to ABC RN's Rafael Epstein on the car radio late this afternoon as I drove into a flamingo-pink sunset that seemed highly symbolic of the whole Socceroo trajectory thingy: gorgeous, but about to disappear.

Now ask me if this is the first time in my life that I've started to get interested in something just as the arse fell out of it.

Pavlov's Otter

I've always wanted to be one of these things ... and now they tell me it's already been and gone.


You Were an Otter

You are a faithful friend who guides others toward success.
You are also light hearted, and love to play around.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tell us how you really feel

A friend has just sent me a '40 Things You'd Love to Say out Loud at Work' email.

Fortunately these days I can say anything I like out loud at work and only the cats will hear me (though I must say I'm thinking of setting up a dirty words jar at 20c a shot; good superannuation would be nothing to it). But this list did remind me of my days in academic life and here are my favourites.

Things I Would Have Loved to Say Out Loud at Work:

* I can see your point, but I still think you're full of sh*t.

* How about never? Is never good for you?

* I see you've set aside this special time to publicly humiliate yourself.

* I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.

* You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.

* Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

* Do I look like a f*cking 'people person' to you?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why would you do this to your daughter?

She can't be more than seventeen. Small, slender, red-lipped, skin hasn't settled down yet. Straight cornsilk ponytail held back by an Alice band, and the coffee-shop job sure didn't pay for those glasses.

She makes me an excellent strong latte with a fern-frond pattern, to get me through the next few hours of the bookshop sale. (Apparently the reason coffee grounds kill snails and slugs is that the caffeine makes their heartbeats speed up till they die of exhaustion. You heard it here.)

If she's working at a coffee shop in the city on a Sunday morning, and in rough old Hindley Street at that, then she's probably an enterprising seventeen, temporarily out of school uniform and into franchise ditto, which is at least a bit cooler than the school one: black and tight.

The uniform also involves a name badge.

'Brenton', it says.

Okay. What happened in 1989, when someone gave birth to a little blonde baby daughter and called her Brenton? What family dramas were behind it? And what family dramas have ensued?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hospital strength

I've been thinking about Barista's wonderful hospital post (see link in yesterday's entry) and fretting about the gap between belief and inclination when it comes to healthcare. Ideologically speaking I know I should prefer the company of my fellow persons in a two-or-more-bed ward during a hospital stretch. I do know that.

But the truth is that if I'm sick enough to be in hospital then what I want more than anything else is to be left alone. Even if I wasn't the sort of person who inevitably barfs post-anaesthetic, this would still be true. I don't want to hear anyone else barfing, groaning or crying, either, much less some of the other hospital noises. It's not about disgust; it's about intravenous vicarious distress.

But that's the least of it. If I really were a cat and got sick or wounded, I would crawl away under the house and hide until I was either dead or better. My experience has been that if you're very ill or recovering from major surgery then every ounce of energy and attention you have is ideally focused inwards: visualising the medication in the blood and the blood going round and round delivering its druggy burden to the places that need it most; calming and silencing the turmoil of infection and disorder; listening to the whisper of violently sundered flesh as it knits itself painstakingly back together.

You can't do this in a room with other people. Their lives, their visitors, the smell of their oranges and perfumes and body odours good and bad intrude. Sucked in: before you can say 'nosy cow' you're sitting beside their beds handing them tissues, patting them on the back, chatting with their mothers, holding the bowl while they throw up and listening to the story of their lives. Then the nurses come in and tick you off for being out of bed.

Weirdly, I really like being in hospital. I like not feeling guilty, for once, about all the things I'm not doing. I like knowing I'm being looked after: water, morphine and a warm soapy face-washer all to be had for the asking. And I really, really like it that for once I can give in to the knowledge that someone else is in charge.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome back

Belatedly (me not him) (well, him too), David Tiley is back at Barista, recovering from a sort of nightmare underworld journey through the hospital corridors after a domino-effect series of escalating medical events -- obviously still rocky and fragile physically, but with his intellectual and verbal powers undiminished. If you've got a minute, go over there and read this cracker of a comeback post.

Oh dear God make it stop

I have nothing against soccer. It's just that I'm the sort of sports fan who thinks 'thrilling draw' is an oxymoron.

But tonight the ABC, my ABC, led its 7 pm news broadcast not just with the *&%$#@ soccer, but with seven minutes of the @#$%*& soccer.

And at the end of the seven minutes, they said 'And we'll have more on the soccer later on in Sport.'

Sure enough, after two minutes on the crisis in East Timor, one minute on the dead-at-Australian-hands Iraqi bodyguard, and seven seconds on Roger McDonald's $42,000 Miles Franklin Award win, back we went to Stuttgart. Wow, I thought, Eddie McGuire will be pleased. Oh, wait.

After the weather, time for Stateline ... and bugger me sideways, there was the @#$%&* soccer again, in the lead spot and taking up half the program.

I almost wish Croatia had won. Personally, I'm with these blokes.

Carn Italy!

I'm not a praying sort of woman as a rule, but ...

Headline from today's edition of

Gusmao's resignation could end in chaos

What does he mean, "could"?

What does he mean, "end"?

And what on earth will Gusmao do if Alkatiri calls his bluff?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good for a modest new car

My blog is worth $27,097.92.
How much is your blog worth?

Well, it's better than a smack behind the knees with a piece of wet lettuce, as an old acquaintance's grandma used to say.

Pinched from Gianna.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bloggers Without Borders

Hie thee hither and chalk up a contributary comment towards a donation to one of the worthiest causes around.

MSF homepage here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The definition of tragic irony

The lovely news that Port Power have given the West Coast Eagles a six-goal bath tonight is dampened somewhat by the effect it will have on the premiership ladder. West Coast were previously at the top, but now that Port have beaten them, they will be replaced there by the team who were previously coming second ... the Adelaide Crows.


Not the soccer

Let's Do the Time Warp Again department:

Heard on the radio while driving home at the end of the day -- 'And the goal scorers for Geelong: Gary Ablett, 6 ...'

In other oven-fresh foopball news, the APY Lands clobbered Maralinga this afternoon in what was apparently a cracker of an all-Indigenous curtain-raiser down the road in West Lakes at Pleurisy Park, where the main event, Port Power v West Coast Eagles, got going a few minutes ago.

Carn the Power, she said, but her voice was weak and unconvincing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Weatherpixie, Adelaide, 7.50 pm

At the moment, the Weatherpixie's wearing warm socks and a Fair Isle jumper and behind her there's a clear sky full of stars, with a cold white almost-full moon. The temperature is 7 degrees Celsius and falling fast. I feel cold just looking at her. Every heater in this house is on, and it still isn't enough.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

If you can't say anything nice ...

It has been a rugged couple of weeks and I learned long ago to shut up about such things. Every time I haul out an old diary, I think Oh my Gahd I've spent my whole life being miserable, and only then do I remember that one (well, this one) is prone to diarise mainly when unhappy. What this looks like on the cumulative pages, decades later, is a lifetime of unhappiness, whereas in fact I think that on the whole I've been a bit luckier/happier than most. (Felicitous may be the word, and how satisfying for a cat lover that felix should be the word for a hybrid of happiness and luck.)

Anyway, over the last few months I've had more than my fair share of reminders that eventually we'll all get old, get sick and die, and that somewhere in there there could be quite a lot of dependence and debility. With winter well in force, this began to get to me big-time as the cold seeped into damage done twenty years ago, but I was jolted out of it yesterday by a one-sitting read of Philip Roth's new novella Everyman, which I found both technically brilliant and morally appalling. Its burden is pretty much what I just said up there (old, sick, die etc) but I got so annoyed with the character to whom this happens and his whole attitude to it that I felt my own lifting like a windborne kite, simply by virtue of the contrast.

It's not that I don't have my own share of rage about what happens to us all. Roth said in an interview about this book -- and the man is 73 years old -- that what inspired it was a wake-up call when his friends started to die, to which I can only reply that his friends must be a particularly well-preserved bunch. I lost a friend to suicide when I was 40 and another to cancer when I was 45, seven months after the death of my mother when she was still younger than Roth is now. It's bloody late in the day for him to start being surprised by death.

Being surprised by death, in fact, is the wellspring of this book, as Roth pointed out himself in an interview, quoting the 15th century morality play for which the novella is named. The allegorical character Everyman meets Death coming towards him on the road: 'Oh Death, thou comest when I had thee least in mind.'

Those of us who have had close calls remember having said this, or something very like it, at the time.

Not being any kind of religious person, I'd expect the prospect of death to be a grim one but in fact I don't find it so. Maybe growing up on a farm has something to do with this, a sense of the cyclical, the seasonal, and the properness of birth and death. Because if the Roth book hadn't snapped me out of it, the solstice would have. A week and a bit from now, the shortest day will come and go and the sun will start rising a fraction earlier, and setting a fraction later, every day. And the older I get the more clearly I feel the seasons turning, a bodily feeling, in the bones.

Friday, June 02, 2006

There are far too many people in the world already who want to be fiction writers ...

... but I really think this woman ought to have a go.

From the Age this morning:

'A BURMESE dissident has successfully fought a decision refusing her asylum in Australia because the word "oogabooga" was typed into the Refugee Review Tribunal's ruling.

The word appeared next to the heading "Definition of 'Refugee' " in a document outlining tribunal member Wendy Boddison's 2002 findings in the case of Burmese woman Khin Wut Hmon Win.

In overturning the decision in February, a federal magistrate quoted film critics on the King Kong remake and snippets from James Cook's account of his voyages in finding the word appeared to have "overtones of mysticism and racism in its more modern uses". He ruled that its appearance in the document would cause a "fair-minded" observer to conclude the tribunal was biased in its deliberations.

Ms Boddison claimed she inserted the "nonsense" word to test her spell checker as it had been malfunctioning. She had overlooked it when proofing the document.'

Now try this little test. Type the word 'oogabooga' into some document you are working on. Print the document and proofread it. See if you can manage not to see it.

I wonder why it is that when confronted with irrefutable proof of our wrongdoings, so many of us are tempted to make goofs of ourselves with truly bizarre porkies rather than say 'Yes guv, it's a fair cop, you caught me bang to rights.' Is it some dim memory of the knowledge that if we do bad things, Mummy will send us to the naughty room?

And yes, you read it correctly. This woman was (and for all I know, still is) a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal. Do they screen these people, and if so, for what? I wonder who appointed her, and by what criteria, and under whose directions.

Follow the link and have a read if you have time -- it's a longish article but it's very good.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More usage whingeing

I don't care what consenting adults say or write in the privacy of their own homes. I really don't. But people who make their living writing or talking for public consumption have a duty to the rest of us and to their employers, especially if they are TV or radio 'stars' making squillions of dollars, to be or to become fully literate. Then they would not make, as so many of them currently do, the following errors quite so often. Ahem:

Hypocrisy is not spelled 'hypocracy'.

Publicly is not spelled 'publically'.

Accidentally is not spelled 'accidently'. (There's a rule emerging here. The word 'accidental' exists, but the word 'publical' does not, hence the difference.)

Heterosexual is not spelled either 'hetrosexual' or 'hetrasexual'.

Et cetera (which is Latin) is not pronounced 'ex-etra', much less 'ix-etra'.

Co-operate is not pronounced 'coo-woperate'.

Co-incidence is not pronounced 'coo-wincidence'.

Koala is not pronounced 'coo-wahla'.

Thank you.

Goodbye, Norma Jeane ...

... though I never knew you at all.

Today would have been Marilyn Monroe's 80th birthday.

The things you find out

As I drove home from the vet's a little while ago with the cats singing a duet of post-shots protest in stereo (one in the back seat, one in the front), I heard something on the radio that made me blush for shame at my own ignorance. Apparently 'drop kick', when used as a noun, is rhyming slang for, well, you know.

I'd always thought it was a particular kind of figure of speech (and I'm sure there's a name for it in classical rhetoric, but I am too lazy to look it up), referring to what one would like to do to the person in question. Whenever I've called someone a drop kick in the past, I've had this very satisfying mental picture of dropping them onto my sturdy boot and punting them out into the traffic. Whenever I say it in future, all I'll have a mental picture of is, well, you know.