Saturday, December 23, 2006

christmas cheer

well it's that time of year, when i need to go and cook a bunch of food* and get a headache. no, really it's nice, it's exciting, the kids are going mental.

but this is for you.

go on, open it up.

and tell me what you've found in the comments.

i hope it's what you wanted. and don't give me any world peace shit. we all want that, that goes without saying. what would YOU like?

have a good one.

peace. love. happiness. good health. and not too much indigestion. these are my wishes for you.


* menu for tomorrow, 20 people (12 adults/8 kiddlings) = antipasto platters, arancini, roast pork, potatoes au gratin, kebabs with fillet of beef and italian sausages, crunchy noodle salad, green salad, trifle, pavlova with berries, semi fredo. leftovers on christmas day i believe.

Friday, December 15, 2006

friday bits and pieces

1. recently i have been torturing myself with this book, called dear charlie. it's a series of letters written by a grief-stricken father whose 13-year-old fresh-faced full of life daughter was hit and killed by a train at a crossing in england. this happened last year, december 3. i haven't finished the book yet but i cry as i read, often, and am filled with all sorts of dreads and fears and catastrophic imaginings. i'm not quite sure why i am doing this to myself. it's like an obsession.

2. yesterday i found out my little nephew will be entering prep with son of chopper. believe me when i say if there's any chance of being at a kid birthday party with the dad, i'll be there.

3. i keep seeing parents out and about with tiny little newborn type babies.


4. we have 2 hours of neighbours to watch tonight. oh, happy, happy friday.

5. i will be working in january. i have two research things on the go. there is a junket in february. i've never really been on a junket before. don't get too excited. i think it's to inverloch.

6. on monday i am going to see borat again. i will be with my mother, my sister and my brother-in-law who couldn't watch the office without putting his hands over his eyes. and found curb your enthusiasm even more difficult. i am going to be torn between concentrating on the movie for all those little bits i'm sure i missed the first time, the layers, and watching the others in my group. i am particularly worried about a masturbation scene and a defecation scene with regards to my mother. everything else will be ok i'm sure. she insists on seeing it, even though i've told her how bad it is.

7. i was most excited to see scallops with roe off in my fish store today. so tonight john and i will be dining on: a dozen oysters each, split half tassie, half south australian. don't eat sydney rock oysters - they are not clean.

then a wonderful spaghetti marinara made my moi with olive oil, garlic, parsley and scallops, rockling and prawns.

i think we'll need white wine as well.


8. on tuesday next week, my sister and i are going into the cbd. this will be a pre-wedding festival of dresses, looking at hotel room, looking at the ceremony venue, maybe going to tiffany just to look at the wedding bands, lunch, fun, sore feet, annoyance with the crowds, and perhaps a wee hot chocolate at max brunner's. or is it brenners? what do you think?

9. i'm wondering what to plan for our mega-christmas eve lunch where we have so many people coming we need to break out the trestle tables and folding chairs from event management central (john's parents). last year i did cold roast chicken, lasagne, and salads. i think for dessert we had the double-nut choc torte and perhaps the upside-down pear cake.
any suggestions?

10. my dad told me he is going to burn his diaries. i'm faced with a similar dilemma. i have diaries going back to when i was about 16 or 17. if i stacked them in a pile they would reach my upper thigh? anyway, there's over 20 volumes. i know cause i numbered them. i stopped writing them shortly after having princess, so that was 10 years ago. dribs and drabs since then. there is so much shit in them ("i'm reading the accidental tourist and went and bought gym boots at dimmy's. also tomorrow night we're going to the corner. had a twins souvlaki last night after we were out in carlton. we fit 8 people in the beetle and went back to bbqs galore in richmond for a party. the assistant manager let us in...") but there is also some pretty full-on stuff too. really personal stuff. i am pissed off at the idea of my dad burning his history, but then i'm thinking about doing the same. do i want princess to read this shit? where i say things like: "ali was a fucking idiot today, why do i put up with him treating me like shit, i deserve better." he did this, he did that, etc. so, i said to dad if there are any that aren't too personal but have stuff in them other than:

1. re-run dunlop data tapes; mainframe reels blah de blah, changeover at 0900 hours

2. book car in for service

3. go 20 H collect mail

4. book dinner at tabener's

5. pay po box fee

then i would be very much interested in having them, just because. i know there are secrets in his family, there was whisper of a rape, mention of mental illness, suggestion of stillbirth, but it's all withheld, no one will talk about it. what i need to do is try and somehow engineer a meeting with helen garner. strangely she is related, and i bet she knows shit about my family. i would need to befriend her in a non-stalky manner (possible, yes?) and then extract, pump and relieve her of certain tidbits. i was a born snoop/detective.
i don't like finishing on 11. it's just so a-symmetrical. however, i went to the school principal this morning and reported grand larceny in princess's classroom. on tuesday they had italian day (this is where my silent reader danny katz's ears prick up. my kid's italian day was on tuesday as well, he thinks.)
during the day, classes moved around into and out of rooms. by wednesday it was apparent that no less than SIX girls had been robbed of one of the most highly-valued, top-status possessions an 8-12 year old girl can own.


this morning i noted down the details as princess related them. i took my list to the principal and he indulged me by listening. i wouldn't have made a big deal about it if it was just one thing (princess's pack of 8 SCENTED gel pens) HOWEVER also taken was a pack of 12 highlighters, 3 erasers, loose textas, from tubs under desks, and from inside smiggle boxes which were closed.
the principal is getting back to me.

have a good weekend. eat fish. it's good for you.

Friday, December 08, 2006

dear ali

it's that time of year again, isn't it dear ex-husband? remember last year? i do, with great fondness as i rushed around, right about this time, or even a bit later i think it was, even closer to christmas, making bookings for princess to go and stay with you in america.

remember those wonderful days, when you would text and call me at all hours, impatient and derisory, saying things like "if only you were professional and good".

well, listen, bucko. i aint a travel agent. and i aint your wife anymore, so you can fuck off with your professional and good.

so it's around this time you come into my life with your texts and your phone calls and your demands. and i can't tell you to fuck off because the person we both love most in the whole wide wonderful world hovers between us, like human fairy-floss, both of us wanting to hold it and adore the pinkness.

so, you two have made a plan to go to brisbane. great. no really, i mean it. GREAT. why wouldn't i be happy for my daughter to go to all those worlds up there, movie, wet n' wild and sea. and why wouldn't i want to help out with flight bookings and accommodation. after all, i want her to travel and stay safely and pleasantly. i do want to smooth things, keep things cool. why would i want to tell you to fuck off, make your own reservations?

but please, just stop telling me that I'M making things difficult, when you don't see me on my little hamster-wheel, spinning spinning to try and work things out for you. i work really hard over here, i'm busy as anything, yet i prioritise your demands to keep things smooth. so you go to your fucking james bond movies, you go and get drunk over there in london. i don't mind. but please be polite to me. thank me for my efforts. don't cut me down. when i call you to ask if your drivers' licence is current, and what the address is on it, don't tell me i'm causing problems, and why haven't i managed to finish all this in the 2 days you've given me to do it.

you've given me to do it?

i must have missed the fact that i'm a slave to your schedule, how could i have possibly not realised?

so don't make with the nice with me one minute and then turn on me like that. try and be civil all the time, and don't make it seem like you're doing me a favour just because you control your temper, you don't get angry at me because i might not understand straight away what you are saying in your thick fucking accent over the phone.

so enjoy your trip to brisbane. i hope you don't stay in melbourne long. i hope we can get through this without an argument. or without me getting that familiar sick feeling of hotness and nausea when you are around and you are not happy.


your former wife

Sunday, December 03, 2006

big catch up post

this will have to be in list form. but before you turn away in disgust, thinking i'm being lazy, bear with me. often these can be the real doozies, the beautiful posts, the stream-of-consciousness check-this-out kind of spiel. it's just i'm under the hammer, the december hammer, where my life spins out of control. it all begins with:

yesterday: my birthday. i got lots of creams and lotions, a splurge at the chanel cosmetics counter, chrissy amphlett's autobio, the bio on kerry packer and a book about a female gp about all things health-related. you know i'm old, i've told you before. i also got flowers, funky glass tumblers and a loverly candle. we ate oysters, prawns and fillet steak, followed by a cake from patterson's. say no more.

then today princess had her ballet concert and i ran into peter rowsthorn. when i say "ran into" what i mean more precisely is that i saw him videoing one of the acts, and went and stood next to him with my video camera, and politely waited until he finished. then i said hi. we knew each other oh years ago, and so we chatted briefly and i managed to make him laugh. what was it about? well, amway actually, and it was a cheap shot against a formerly-mutual friend. bad i know, i am not above betraying old friends to make a comedian laugh. especially one who is in kath and kim. you'll see me on thank god you're here yet.*

last week also i heard about my thesis. for those who don't know, at the end of may i submitted my master thesis. i'd done it full time for 12 months + a 3 month extension. then about 3 months after that i received word that one examiner had loved it, and the other had hated it.


as in, had nothing good to say about it and refused to give it a mark.

now, this is not good. i kept my cool, i told my supervisor that i was standing by my work and taking out a contract on the examiner. she told me not to be rash, and that they would find another person to review it. so it went to a very eminent canadian academic, who has reviewed it and passed it.


clink goes the champagne.

i've also picked up some more research work for melbuni lecturer re "creativity" - sheesh what a narrow topic, do you think we could broaden that out a bit? - which will see me busy over the rest of december and all of january. it involves a literature review and powerpoint presentation, to the level of teachers, ie "make it intelligible and not overly wanky" i'm guessing.

but, to the burning point of interest for all readers.

the hair.

john and i went down to port fairy last weekend, had monday off, it was delightful, it was de-lovely. and i washed my hair on the sunday. and...


it's still ok. it's a good cut, and i am happy with it.

the stylist was BRI (pronounced br-eye, not brie cheese as i said it when i went in there) down at simrod hair in carlisle street, balaclava.

so, much thanks to ccm who recommended her. i'm thinking i might try her for colour next.

and after that, move onto the next suggestion.

i will work my way through the list.

other news:

beazley must go. that is all.

other other news:

the gigi turned 2 last sunday.

* this brings my tally of making professional funny people i admire laugh to a total of 3 for the year. there was danny katz earlier in the year - my quip was about jamie oliver and his double-nut choc torte - and ms fits, something inane about farting on someone. and we'd met about 2 minutes before. maybe it was a nervous laugh. (you look surprised. well, with me it's a class act all the way, baby.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

mean girls - some weekend reading

so i'm reading this book called queen bees and wannabes: helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolescence, written by rosalind wiseman . as someone pointed out before, it inspired mean girls.

it's kind of funny because as i'm reading it, i'm seeing the rules of girlworld still apply to me and some of my friends.

i mean

[shouted in lleyton way, or g.o.b way*. take your pick depending on what kind of reader you are**]

so, i figured, now that princess is well into tween-dom, and on the cusp of not quite a woman and not a girlness [apols brit] i would take a stroll into some of the literature, and try to gather some knowledge, read some of the current thinking and basically get a head start on her. i know this isn't possible, this girl is Smart, and quicksilver fast when it comes to figuring stuff out. my old brain plods behind hers like the tortoise to the hare; and i'm pretty intelligent.

guess what? things are so much worse than when i was a teenager. it seems. maybe i was in a bit of a bubble, but being at an all-girls school, which apparently are seething masses of champion bitchy behaviour, you might have thought i would come across the occasional bitch who would try to put me down. from memory, i met no such bitch, and there was no such put down.

one answer to this was that I, yes moi, was the bitch.

impossible. no, really. i was nice and polite. still am.

bevis, close your mouth right now.

the other reason was maybe this sort of thing only happens in movies, especially american movies, where people like lindsay lohan enter an underworld of teendom, where there are rules about who talks to who, who is cool, who is a dork, where you are allowed to stand or sit or eat lunch, who you can date [fuck, when i was at school, we "went out" with someone.]

but i'm aware of the pack mentality that girls can get into. [still sorry about that, steph. maybe i'm not that nice?] i'm not sure if it's the same with boys. i'm talking when applying social controls to peers, not gang bangs.

anyway, this book tells us the following:

here are the different roles our daughters and their friends might play [also read us and our friends]

queen bee
torn bystander

now, straight away we can see that we don't want to be the target. but what do the other ones mean?

you or your daughter is a queen bee if...

- her friends do what she wants to do
- she isn't intimidated by any other girl in her class/girl at the bar/girl at work
- her complaints about the other girls are limited to the lame things they did or said
- she can persuade her peers to do just about anything she wants
- she can argue anyone down
- she's charming
- she can make another girl feel 'anointed' by declaring her a special friend
- she's affectionate and can use that to demonstrate rejection of another girl
- she won't, or is very reluctant to, take responsibility when she hurts someone's feelings
- if she feels she's been wronged, she feels she has the right to seek revenge; an eye for an eye.

the sidekick
- second in command to queen bee and the closest to her and will back her no matter what.
- dresses and looks like the queen bee; helps queen bee to wield her power

the banker
- almost as powerful as the queen bee, but it's easy to mistake her for the messenger
- the banker creates chaos wherever she goes by banking information about others and dispensing it in a way and at a time that works for her
- gets girls to trust her when she pumps them for info because it doesn't seem like she's gossiping. they spill, then she uses the information

she is
- extremely secretive
- she thinks in complext, strategic ways
- she seems to be friends with everyone
- she's rarely the subject of fights
- she's rarely excluded from the group

the floater
- she moves around between groups and she's really quite nice

the torn bystander
- constantly conflicted between doing the right thing and her allegiance to the clique
- most likely to be caught in the middle of a conflict between two girls or two groups
- tries to accommodate everyone
- not good at saying no to her friends

- bends over backwards to be in the group and not get kicked out

the target
- the victim, the one set up by the girls to get picked on.
- can be a member of the clique

so, at this stage i'm thinking "girlworld" is just a little too benign a term, a little too close to spiceworld and the colour pink, ms wiseman. how about "girlmafia"?

next up, we have the "act like a woman" box, where we are told that high social status is forthcoming when a girl has certain characteristics, and of course low social status is attached to other states or behaviours. these are the attributes that girls themselves listed and rated.


i can't draw a box here, but the author has a box with the following characteristics in it:

hangs out with the right guys
nice on the outside
in control

and, outside the box:

too opinionated and cause-oriented

so, you can work out which are the high status ones, and which are the low.

a couple of things jumped out at me here.

"nice on the outside"


so, fake it and that's all that matters in girlworld. so what about the years, and it's still ongoing, of me teaching princess that it's important to be kind, generous and accepting of other people. to share, to be tolerant, to care for and look after.

also, "too opinionated and cause oriented." it's interesting to see this here. i've had a private little theory, perhaps shared with the germaine, that girls or women who are too opinionated cause discomfort to the kinds of people who are inside the "act like a woman" box. so does that mean that intelligent thought, and having opinions, and sharing those opinions are lowering the personal social status of girls/women who behave like that? i see it happening all the time. it's connected to the idea that some/alot of boys/men don't like strong women.

as a strong woman with mad hair, i find that kind of annoying.

and also as a mad woman with strong hair.

before i finish, i can hear some of the male readers smugly chuckling.

well, as it happens, boyos, there's a box for you guys too.

check it -

inside the "act like a man" box:

in control

and outside it:

mama's boy
trying too hard
acts like a girl

as wiseman points out, "acting like a girl" is the basis for every characteristic outside the box. as she says anytime a boy's behaviour was perceived as weak or sensitive, the boys' automatic perception was that the behavior was inherently female or gay.

apparently most if not all of boy social behaviour is enacted with the underlying consideration/control of not seeming gay. what the hell is going on?

what the hell is going on?

have a good weekend, and be nice to each other.

[*secretly hopes there are more g.o.b people reading than lleyton peeps, but isn't fussy.]

** if i have to explain who g.o.b is, then you are clearly not one of his peeps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

haircut - warning to boys. girly whining inside. you will find emotionality and other boring non-male stuff.

long-time readers will know that i have a hair thing. my hair is very thick, and out of control, and is possibly the bane of my life. i should probably just keep it short, but in a weird way, it's something i hang on to. i've got to have something.

when i was little this was the kind of hair i liked:

this was the kind of good hair that girls wanted. nothing's changed much, has it?

in this hair-angst regard, i seem to have much in common with african-american girls. i'm reading a book called queen bees and wannabes - helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolescence.

i tell you, it's fascinating.

even though princess is only 10, as i've said before, she's 10 going on 16, and so i reckon the earlier i arm myself with some insider strategies and knowledge, the better.

the author of this book is an educator working in the united states, and says that amongst teenage white girls, it's all about weight; skinny is better. with the black girls, it's hair. who has good hair and who has bad hair. good hair is like "white hair" - hair that is soft and swings and is straight, and not "nappy" (whatever that means.)

a while back i asked all of you to recommend some hair artisans. i said i had a final solution i was considering. well, since talking to phillip at the hair place in malvern central, i've decided against a perm. before you scream, it wasn't going to be a frizz perm; no no no. my hair doesn't need a perm to do that. i was thinking some sort of reverse, taming perm, to get some definition. you see, i don't want to straighten - i want to embrace the volume. but the dryness, the frizz. it's killing me.

anyway, phil said not to perm. so i have to get tong things which will straighten when i want, or i can do different things with them, he can kindly show me, to get different looks.

this is so wannabe.

so you all kindly suggested cutters. and i've chosen one and have an appointment tomorrow, with someone who apparently is good with crazy, thick hair.

i promised then to report back, and this is a semi progress report. and then i guess tomorrow i'll let you know how it went. and i tell you where i chose.

boys, i don't expect you to understand. but that's ok. the girls are getting me.

and just to make the boys feel included, what is the male equivalent of hair anguish for you guys? and don't say penis size, we know all about that one.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


this post was inspired by gianluca's thorough and very apt treatment of english grammar.

when i was living in japan, i taught what we called "pilot's english". this would involve sometimes going to the airport and testing pilot applicants in their level of english. we would sit there, me and two other guys also from australia, called mark and paul. to relieve the tedium of listening to rote interview responses, for hours and hours over a period of days, mark came up with the idea that we teachers were all POWs, being held in japan, and being forced to work in an english school.

this led to us having names, i was nurse melbournegirl, and would have to look out for dysentery and fever and mark was lance corporal. the senior teacher, jay, was the major-general and the director of studies, alex, was the brigadier.

this also led us to leaving elaborate notes for each other in the pigeon holes back at school, some of which i still have. things like:

dear nurse melbournegirl. we're on rations now, and the buggars have extended my contract so i'm here for another year at least. troop morale is at an all-time low. damn this war!

dear lance, supplies of penicillin are getting low, and there's been an outbreak of typhoid. i just don't know how long i can keep going. damn this war!

sometimes we would have the pilot applicants come to the school for the interview. it was one of these that provided me with a memory i've never forgotten.

as part of the interview, we had to ask about interests and hobbies. we would always get the same old fucking answers - i like rock and roll music. i'm interested in baseball and soccer. i enjoy very much playing the guitar.

the applicants would bow into the room, and sometimes bow out of the room, backing away from the table behind which i sat, slowly inching to the exit. it was excruciating to watch.

so here i was in one of the interviews. going through the motions. nothing spectacular about this one, i'm thinking. ordinary, blah, boring.

until we get to the hobbies and interests part of the interview.

me: so, what music do you like?

[stifles yawn. looks out window. wishes window would open. i'm dying here. i can't breathe. i hate japan.]

pilot applicant # 86: do you know billy joh-el?

me [interest piqued]: yes, i do.

pilot applicant # 86: i like billy joh-el.

me: so do i.

pa #86: my fabrite song honesty. do you know honesty?

me: yes, i love honesty.

pa: may i sing it for you?

what could i say, dear readers. of COURSE he could sing it for me.

If you search for tenderness
It isn't hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

me and pilot:
is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

i expect him to finish here.

he doesn't.

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

me and pilot:
is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

now we're done. no, we're not.

I can find a lover
I can find a friend
I can have security
Until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me
With promises again
I know,
I know

When I'm deep inside of me
Don't be too concerned
I won't ask for nothin' while I'm gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
Because you're the only one that I depend on

me and pilot:
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

i gave him the top mark. and told him, honestly, that he would make an excellent pilot.

Monday, November 13, 2006

master costello

sebastian costello, 19, poses with one of the country's "merchants of death"

i'm just a humble boy from the burbs who pays HECS, drives a mazda 1990 and works in a video store. i'm also ravishingly good-looking and sleek with the ladies... i'm kidding, really i'm kidding.

so, costello the younger has a sense of humour.

it becomes real when you're walking around and see photos of johnny and your old man looking like merchants of death.

i'm liking him more and more.

yeah, my old man still hasn't discovered board shorts. he wears his budgie smugglers to the beach. it's a bit sad.

heh. nice one.

no, dad doesn't have a dart-board with howard's face on it, but i made him one once, as a joke.


howard's been around since whitlam's dismissal. he had a few cracks at the top job but always lived to fight another day. dad understands that, he doesn't sit at home plotting a coup.

mmmmm. i think you'd better shut up now, seb.

they (the young liberals) are a bunch of wankers...

actually, no, keep going.

i met a young liberal once who told me his most prized possession was a polaroid photo of him and my dad.

errr, better stop now, seb. a polaroid?

i'm not sure whether this is good for costello's image, or not. but it's funny as fuck. it appeared in the saturday herald-sun, the bit with johnny depp on the cover.

Friday, November 10, 2006

henn and who?

i am seriously obsessed with this blouse.

it's the "betty gable" confetti spot blouse, it's by henn and hoo, and it's $229.

and i want it bad.

you can't see it properly in this photo. i have a clipping from a newspaper magazine from about 2 weeks ago.

pray for me.

update on mahir vs borat

my brother told me about this. listen to an audio clip of interview with mahir on bbc uk. (you'll need real player).

he's in london, he's got lawyers and he's angry that cohen "used" his identity without permission, and makes "very bad" against jewish people and kazhakstan. he says he likes jokes, he likes borat, he likes everyone, but that it is very bad to joke about other religions and countries.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the real borat

i've been wondering when the bok* would hit the fan about borat and his origins.

the real borat is taking action against sacha baron cohen, and will be flying to england to confront the comedian and get a piece of the action. mahir cagri, 44, a turkish freelance journalist, was one of the first people to enjoy world-wide internet fame. he posted his website, or a friend did without his knowledge, i can't quite remember the details, and it became an instant hit, not with the ladies as he hoped, but with people who thought it was hilarious and started sending the link around the world.

this is the original site:

and this is one slightly modified, after mahir's celebrity took off:

i first heard about mahir in 1999, which i believe was well before borat surfaced. apparently, sacha baron cohen has said the inspiration for borat was a doctor he met in southern russia.

"I can't remember his name — he was a doctor" Baron Cohen said. "The moment I met him, I was totally crying. He was a hysterically funny guy, albeit totally unintentionally."

while i'm sure there are many borat-type individuals around the world, authentico or not, i suspect that there might be a few too many similarities for this to be a coincidence.

consider, if you will, the following points of comparison.

1. ping pong.

mahir was playing table tennis way before borat

2. sunbathing

and sunbathing in fetching togs - granted they are not those lime green godawful over-the-shoulder things, but still. you can see the pattern here.

3. disco dancing

enjoying the disco dancing

*bok = turkish for shit

article where i got this from:

Turkish man says he's the real Borat
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press WriterTue Nov 7, 9:16 AM ET
A Turkish Internet celebrity is so convinced he was the inspiration for Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" character, he's traveling to London seeking an apology and a way to get paid from the film's surprise success.

Mahir Cagri 44, became a cyber celebrity after posting a personal Web site in 1999, featuring unintentionally amusing photos of himself playing pingpong or the accordion and sunbathing in a skimpy bathing suit. Fans were captivated by his broken English and hilarious invitation to women: "Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate ... She can stay my home."

"The world knows he is copying Mahir," Cagri told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his hometown of Izmir on Monday, minutes before he was to board a plane for Istanbul to appear on a talk show.

"I am not saying this — the world is. I have received so many e-mails from people in the United States who tell me he is imitating me," he said.

Cagri, a freelance journalist, was scheduled to fly to London on Tuesday for meetings with his manager and lawyer there to discuss his options and hold interviews with British newspapers. He hopes to receive an "acknowledgment or an apology" from Baron Cohen.

"The bombshell is going to fall," he said of his London trip. "(Cohen) is making money by using me."
The title character in the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" was first developed for "Da Ali G Show" on HBO. The 20th Century Fox movie took in $26.5 million in the U.S. its opening weekend, more than any other film.

On the commentary track to the DVD of "Da Ali G Show," Baron Cohen says Borat was influenced by someone he met in southern Russia.

"I can't remember his name — he was a doctor" Baron Cohen said. "The moment I met him, I was totally crying. He was a hysterically funny guy, albeit totally unintentionally."

The character Borat has caused outrage among Kazakhs over the way their nation is being jokingly portrayed.

Cagri set up his Web site in the hope of making foreign friends and welcoming guests from abroad to his home. The Turk quickly became a celebrity, much to his surprise.

this article, however, indicates that borat might have been around before 1999.

"In 1998 he came to the attention of the producers of Channel 4's 11 O' Clock Show. He had already perfected Borat..."

so who really knows? life imitating art?

Friday, November 03, 2006

truth for today

it is really really really difficult to find good non-wheat muesli.

oh, and we're going camping.

it was almost like this last year, so this year am trying to keep positive. it rained for 29 hours last year. i've been telling people it was 72.

me and my exaggeration, khuh*

back later.

* i've always wondered how to write this sound. it's in the sheesh range of exasperation utterances, however it's not a word. it's the sound john cleese makes a couple of times in life of brian, and i think also in fawlty towers. it's in the back of the throat, like the ch in l'chaim. it's like a self-scraping of the throat. i would really appreciate any suggestions on how to write this sound. it's a sound i use a lot, even if in my head. it's a sound i need in my life, and as so much of my life is written these days, i need to know how to spell it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

quick quiz

about whom is the following quotation:

"My understanding is that he wasn't wearing any undies, his fly was open and some of the lunch meat fell out of the sandwich,'' Jabba told Confidential.

1. that dude from one of the idol shows a few years ago. or was it big brother. i can't fucking remember.

2. axle whitehead

3. this guy

this has to be one of the most unpalatable things i've ever heard and i love derek and clive.

where did this incident occur:

1. the arias

2. that music show that people in australia make a big deal about

why do you care about this:

1. i don't

2. who gives?

me either. just trying to keep off the hardcore news.

Monday, October 30, 2006

final derek and clive. warning: language and violent concepts

but my favourite bit is when peter's voice goes dangerously quiet and he says: "dolly, you've tested me in the past."

i also love it when dudley gets the laughs and has to hide his face. and just tries to keep up with the psychotic genius that is peter cook's mind.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a very special day, the best in 7 whole years.

1. daniel chirico. you make the best bread in town. thanks for breakfast.

2. my dentist, you do the best fillings in town. thanks for the no-pain session.

3. thanks jane for being at malvern central today so we could run into each other, have a quick coffee and chat, and set a night for our inaugural writers circle meeting next week.

there was one cloud: no thanks to you, dude on your mobile, who i gave way to so you could do a u-turn in the middle of glenferrie road, malvern. you in your green jeep, with rego omu 782.

where was my thank you wave?

you didn't even have a spare hand, did you?

but the best news, the best thing follows. i want to share it with you, for this is my journey and you are part of it now.

the best thing about today was hearing something i haven't heard for 7 years, had given up wishing and hoping for.

when i got home from my busy day of having teeth filled, eating fantastic toast, running into friends, there was a message on the phone from mum. she was at the hospital, peter mac, and said the scans were all clear.



this is a woman, my mum, who has fought and battled and survived and worked so hard to stay alive. we have ridden the rollercoaster, my family and i. for seven long years. she has had periods of wellness, and times of terrible illness. she has lain in intensive care, so pale and thin, hallucinating that there was a little girl sitting on the chair by her bed, who when mum felt very, very bad, came and got into bed with her.

she hasn't given up. she has been so strong. she is amazing. i feel very lucky that we still have her. one of my friends, her mother was diagnosed with cancer after my mum, and she died a couple of years ago. different cancer. my mum has one of the better ones. but still, her type has killed a king.

so, i told princess and she did her happy dance. she shouted her wish had come true. turns out one of her friends had told her, write your wishes on a piece of paper. fold up the paper and put it in the garden, cover it with flower petals. and the wish will come true. so she did it. i helped her, but i didn't see what the wishes were. she is so sweet using up her wishes on her grandmother, instead of wishing for a pony, a lolly shop, different hair. every birthday, every star-light, star-bright, first-star-i-see-tonight, princess and i have been wishing on granny. seven years of wishes. that's a lot of wishes.

if i could tap dance, i would.

if i could fly, i would.

if i could give each and every one of you a big, squeezy hug, i would.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

when a girl loves horses

it's the melbourne racing season, oh joy. we get to see regular visions of loveliness in their frocks, shoes and fascinating headwear, spewing, and stumbling along the road with goosebumps on their arms from the cool melbourne breeze.

stallions and fillies, aka tools and toolettes.

but for me, the real interest lies in the stories about relationships between man and beast. as a young girl, i owned picture story books about horses, i endlessly drew them, of course i wanted a palomino, but my second choice was a bay, around 14'2 hh. i was thrown at 7 years of age and got 12 stitches in my leg. it was my fault, i'd never ridden, talked the kid out of having to lead me, joined the trail ride unsupervised, and tried to turn my plodder who was homing home, to get him to go back into the wood we'd just passed through, so we could jump over a log. of course he fucking bolted. and of course i fell off. onto a log, with a sticky-out bit of branch. branch meet upper thigh, leg meet branch.

i got back on the horse, of course.

i read jill's pony books, i loved bill in malory towers. i rode whenever i could. my aunt agisted a couple of old nags at her property in woodend. i rode them. i travelled to cairo, i went out one day with my friends and we rode all through the hot day, a day so hot that even though i drank 3 litres of water and wore a hat, i still weed dark orange. i went through three horses that day, each one faster than the last, until finally, i was racing across the sands, galloping as fast as i needed to. i learned to do jumps, i hated children who had jodhpurs and went to pony club. i took carrots to whichever horse i could get to; the paddocks near my grandparents' house in barwon heads, my friend's sister's horse which was on a block in ashwood, where the smorgy's is now.

and when i was a little older, i read all my father's dick francis novels, wonderful books where the protagonist is always connected to horses in some way: jockey, artist of horse portraits, horse vet, trainer.

and i never have really given up my dream of one day having my own horse.

this is why that photograph of tommy woodcock, lying in a stable in 1977 with reckless's large, gentle head on his lap moves me every time i see it.

this same man was phar lap's strapper and by all accounts had a very special and close relationship with the giant champeen -

"He loved him just like a, your pet dog would. You'd go in the yard and he'd just, he'd follow him everywhere without, he didn't have to put a, head collar on him or a lead or anything like that. There was a tremendous rapport between them. Just trust and love. " - Tony McSweeney

trust and love. it's all any of us need.

phar lap died in 1932, hemorrhaging over woodcock, who held his head.

"I don't think that Tommy Woodcock was ever the same after it. He died in his arms. He had his head cradled in his lap. But I think that all Australia wept when Phar Lap died." - Tony McSweeney

a few months ago, my dad told me a fantastic story he'd heard on the radio about an old jockey. this jockey had ridden 39 races in his career, and had 40 falls.

how can that be? you ask.

well, after one fall, they were carrying him off on the stretcher and he fell off that. so they counted it as a fall.

i'm laughing at this right now, remembering my father's laugh as he told me this story, laughing and gulping, he could barely get the words out; my dad's laugh is large and wild and so infectious.

the story runs like an old vaudevillian take-my-wife routine.

there was some fund set up for jockeys and they had to tell him to retire from it cause he'd cleaned the fund out.

more laughter.

he used to ride alot around the country, and some of the nurses in hospitals where he was going to ride, they'd look up the form guide, and if he was racing in their town, they'd make up a bed for him.

i can see the nurses, can't you, standing in their starched white uniforms, having a smoke and reading the form guide.

i found this jockey after much googling. his name is les boots, and there is another story that his wife would pack his pyjamas for him on racing day, so that when he inevitably went to hospital, he'd have them with him.

i love stories like this. don't you?

back to phar lap, you know the story about how his heart was so big and heavy. so much bigger than any other race horse which had been, i guess, autopsied? people would cite the size of the famous horse's heart as an indication of his greatness, as if it were so big it made him some super horse, some freak of nature, and it was because of that heart, its size, its power, that he could not only perform such physical miracles, but he also gained a special personality, a form of anthropomorphism which we saw, again recently, with makybe diva.

let me tell you something about race horses and their bodies. i spoke to a vet who was involved in research at melbourne uni a couple of years ago, and this vet told me that hundreds of horses die, collapse, without warning, on racetracks and in training around this country, every year. that they are pushed and pushed and then their hearts and lungs can just stop, and they die on the tracks. of course, there will be more figures for races [lower] and less or none kept for training [higher?].

this explains, taken from an online animal liberation document

Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage

Between 1% and 2% of horses have blood flowing from the nostrils after a race. The first time this happens they are banned from racing for 3 months, the second time they are banned for life.

However, the situation is actually much more serious than people have realised. Researchers at the University of Melbourne have shown, through the use of an endoscope inserted into the horse's throat, that 50% of horses have blood in the windpipe, and 90% have blood deeper in the lungs. In post-mortems of racehorses, one fifth have bruising at the back of the lungs, with the bruise more prominent the more recently the horse has raced. Racing regularly causes blood vessels around the lung to rupture.

The speed at which horses run makes a difference. When horses were tested within 2 hours of racing, 75% had blood in the upper respiratory tract, and 9% had blood at the nostrils. However, when horses were examined after only cantering, 38% had blood in the respiratory tract and 2% had blood at the nostrils. Those that bled at the nostrils did not always have the most severe internal bleeding.

In another study, 44% of horses had blood in the windpipe within 2 hours of racing, but only 0.8% showed blood at the nostrils. Horses over 5 years old were more likely to have haemorrhaging, possibly because the lungs could not repair damage during continued training and so, over the years, the problem became chronic.

One theory is that it is the force transmitted through the legs which damages the blood vessels in the lungs. In humans, lung trauma is common after an impact to the front of the chest, as in a car accident. Such an impact can lead to pulmonary oedema and localised haemorrhaging. In horses, a very large impact force is transmitted through the front legs to the shoulder blades and chest wall, and then to the lungs. The faster the horse is running, the greater this impact force, the more damage is done to the small blood vessels, and the greater the bleeding into the lungs and airway.

so basically, horses are bleeding internally more than people (trainers, owners, riders, all those people with a vested interest) will admit.

so, if you're the type to get dressed up and go get pissed and trip around in your frippery, please think of the horses. who are trying their hardest to win races, noble beasts that they are, for people who want to make money and have a day at the races.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

me and the media

i have decided to part ways with the daily newspaper and the wireless radio. i will no longer be listening to jon faine while at the gym. nor will i be reading the age over my breakfast each day.


because it all makes my head hurt too much. i need to turn away, in order to preserve myself. some people might be able to read about all the things in the world, and not feel anything. but i can't. things stick in my head and my heart. i want to fix the world, and i can't. things make me angry - politics and all sorts of social and environmental issues - and i can feel the toxins in my body. i waste energy thinking over things, getting frustrated by things. energy that i really need to save so i can smile at my kids, help them with their homework, play the occasional grippy ball game with them.

so i have decided to be kind to myself, and leave the things that make me feel like this.

on the weekends, however, i will be buying the age and the australian.


i'll see how i go with the australian. i stopped reading it cause it was too right-wing, but as i will be avoiding articles that shit me, i'll just keep to their interesting life style sections.

i still want to be able to access the articles on literature and the arts, and the human interest stories. i will avoid the stories on iraq, terrorism, george w, howard, children dying, bombs, racism, murder, mayhem.

i will turn my eyes to the light.

i will concern myself with what really matters in my life, with my family and friends.

things like:

1. why oh why the fuck can't the neighbours scriptwriters do a better job when integrating the new characters of fraser, pepper, wil and rosetta into the show.

why oh why the fuck couldn't they have come up with a better name than johnny smith, JOHNNY SMITH, oops BROWN FOR FUCK'S, as the unseen person who rosetta and carmella's mother wants rosetta to marry.

2. should i start having brazillians again?

3. i wonder whether ebay has any how and why books?


ps. i have rejigged my blogroll, and included a few new players.

pps. i am waiting to see whether i will be the inaugural big blogger winner of 2006. check it. i can probably get you an invitation to the finale party if you really want.

ppps. final derek and clive is coming soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the black owl

3 minutes ago my mother and i were standing in my kitchen. she told me about a dream, and then went back outside to cut some roses.

and i rushed in here.

she said she had a dream a few weeks ago, about a native american woman sitting in the dirt, connecting with the earth. there were large birds walking around her. and there was a black owl to the side, a huge black owl, that would stand hip-high to a human. the owl had a wide wing span and was moving its feathers in a motion that swept up dirt over itself; it was giving itself a dirt bath.

mum sees a dream analyst, who talked it through with her. he thought it might symbolise connecting with the planet and the ground, those sorts of things. he said he would look it up in his big book at home.

next session he told mum he'd found the black owl. apparently native americans believe that a black owl is a harbinger of death.

are you getting shivery?

mum had no idea about this metaphor. neither did peter, he said he'd never heard of it before.

i am shivery.

but he assured her he thinks that rather than her thinking death is imminent for herself, that death is close to all of us, it's in all our lives, but that she more than most might have it a little closer to her mind than others, as she continues to live with cancer.

but how freaky is that owl? where did it come from? is there such a thing as archetypal memory?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

whales, and derek and clive

this is quite charming, i think. i just love the way dudley kind of sees where peter is going with this, and then hooks into it.

this is the second-last one, i'm building up to the one that probably made me laugh the most.

you know, you tube is fantastic just for the fact that this stuff is there, available. it's like having a personal archive of my life, my history.

i wonder if there are clips of adventure island, the magic roundabout, and the original bill and ben the flowerpot men?

i could take you all on a personal history of mg's media delights, starting from when i was 4.

first ipods meant that you could have your ultimate collection of music, all in the one place, all accessible at the touch of a finger.

now it's anything you might have seen on tv. or, as is the case of derek and clive get the horn, heard on a crappy cassette back in the early '80s.

and i have my own youtube ideas, oh yes i do. but i won't be telling you about them. i'll give you a hint: lipsync.

but it will take me a while to get my project up and running. john thinks i'm mad, i think, but i am creatively excited.

just about to take the gigi down to elwood beach to meet a friend. i've been to the gym, and i had a job interview yesterday as well, so my lovely pottery life of "leisure" may be about to change. more details as they come to hand.

Friday, October 13, 2006


but i'm sorry, i find it hilarious.

what gives you the horn?

i love dudley's voice right at the point when he lists all the things that give him the horn, after stating that his wife DOESN'T, he says "everything gives me the horn."

i have never seen this footage. we had it on tape, so obviously i had no idea dudley leaves his seat and has a crack at the blow-up doll.

it is crass. it is distasteful. but it amuses me muchly.

so tell me. do you hate me?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

you've got to be joking

WACKY but semi-serious nonetheless. One of Melbourne's leading architectural firms has proposed a radical redesign of Parliament House, complete with rooftop public park, lollipop-like solar collectors and John Batman's immortal words, "This is the place for a village," in lights.

this is the first paragraph in the age today, on page 3.


lollipop-like solar collectors?

just put a fucking dome on top, or leave it alone.

bloody architects. tools. if they're serious. and if they're not, if it's just a game, a race to be more and more controversial and provocative, then WHY ARE THEY IN CHARGE OF THINGS LIKE BUILDINGS?

more derek and clive to come. be patient, my pretties.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Derek and Clive week part 1

warning: this might be offensive to people who are religious and don't like swearing. but i love it.

when i was in my late teens, early twenties, somehow i came across derek and clive, aka dudley moore and peter cook. dudley moore had appeared in crap, but at the time funny and enjoyable, movies such as 10 with multi-braided bo derek, and arthur, with wife of director blake edwards, julie andrews.

so it was a delightful, and a very, very adult thing, to stumble across this highly offensive and irreverent material.


ps. there are so many political and social issues this week that are shitting me big time, and i want to comment on them, but it's taking time to get posts together. so i guess this is a kind of stay tuned.

Friday, October 06, 2006

you probably think i was kidding

when i said i bet martha stewart never had to tape shut her oven.

well, i wasn't.

it's taped shut now. with clear tape, instead of the brown stuff that was used last time, which i had to scrub off.

fuckitty fuck. it has to be the worst oven i have even had. even the one in osaka was better, because it was a toaster oven and therefore i had no high expectations.

now before you feel too sorry for me, i have this to say. along with there being trevally in little alfoil parcels in there, with tomatoes, tarragon and oil, around the house there are vases and VASES of freshly-cut fleurs that my wonderful garden yielded me today.

birds of paradise. which i'm not too partial to, but john adores. on the mantlepiece above the fireplace.

pink blossom in a fetching japonois arrangement next to the ceramic buddha in the entry space.

gorgeous peony roses, of scarlet, with their blowsy petals adroop in the bathroom.

and overblown and fullsome peach roses (usually i abhor peach, but in a rose it is charming) nestled with some jasmine beside my bed. our bed.

i enjoyed the garden today. while the gigi lolled in the shade, i tidied up the bird she had somehow caught, plucked and chewed. i sprayed the roses for aphids. they weren't there last year, why now? and i put on gardening gloves, so retro, and pulled out suckers that were attacking my roses. i picked lemons, six of them. filled the wheel barrow with weeds and flowers. and i was so happy.

need to tackle the tennis court yet.

and i am flirting with the idea of a great gatsby type partay sometime. on a sultry, hot night.
i see gin and tonics, white dresses and hats, and some badly played tennis. fluffy i think has suggested such an event, and it is very much to my liking.

what do you think?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

my inner hoon

true confessions time. last night i went to get the next dvd of lost from the video store. i can't wait until we are up to date with them, because then i can go and read the reviews bevis has put together.

i took john's car.

this is john's car:

my sister and i call it electric blue, only when we say it we actually sing it, like in that icehouse song.

so i drive out into the night. window open, cause it was so warm. this would ordinarily be an unspectacular moment. and it was. until i put on the radio.

this is what was on:

now, i grew up in the 70s listening to my cousins' black sabbath, led zeppelin and deep purple albums. when i listen to wolfmother, it takes me back to my childhood, times spent running wild, playing with scalectrix cars, cb radios and skateboards. and listening to this type of music.

yes, it's derivative. there's kind of this status quo riff running right through the back of a lot of the songs.

but i find it intoxicating, especially when driving that car. so intoxicating i dragged off a man in a station wagon who tried to take me on, at the lights on nepean highway, but then i missed my turn. and had to do a u-turn, which wasn't very wolfmother.

there. i've said it. i didn't think i would, but in much the same way that i have crossed over after taking the piss out of john's car, now it's happening with his music.

but it will never NEVER happen with the football team. i will never, ever barrack for collingwood. again.

do you have an inner, or indeed an outer, hoon?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

learn some street sign with filthywhore

something for you to work on over the weekend while i'm busy.

test will be monday morning at 10am.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

happy days

the day before yesterday, princess and i had a bath together. it must be over a year since we did that. the bathroom got all steamy and we laughed about how we weren't really fitting in that well together until we found a position where my legs were over the edge and she was half lying on me.

then i read her storm boy. my mum had given it to her for her birthday, and had prophetically bought it before colin thiele died.

what a magnificent story it is.

this is a 40th anniversary edition, and has a section in the middle with illustrations.

when i got to the part where storm boy releases messers proud, ponder and percival as he and his father can't afford to keep feeding them, i cried. then of course mr percival flies back to them, and stays with storm boy and hide-away tom, his father.

princess stood up while i read and wrote in the steam on the mirror



we haven't finished it yet, but we sat there in the bath, for over an hour, putting more hot water in, and letting some out, until we were wrinkly and overheated. princess hasn't asked me to finish it, i think because she smells a sad ending. she gets so into the story it really upsets her when sad things happen. so she likes to put them off.

then yesterday we went into the ngv for some art. we saw the picasso exhibition, we wandered, me loving the way princess goes so close up to the pieces that i just wait for a guard to tell her off. i stop myself from telling her to move back, i want her to get close, to really see what's in front of her. i love that she's interested. i love that she predictably says that "i could do that!". we marvel at how guernica evolved, we are interested in the negative photographic prints of picasso, taken by dora maar. we smile over the scraps of notes and doodles that are displayed, especially the small piece of paper with dora, dora, dora written on it over, and over, and over.

i love the holiday movie, taken when a group of them were somewhere warm and relaxed. picasso clowning around.

but we both agree that his art is not to our taste.

we check out the rembrandt sketches. she gets bored.

we look at a few rooms of european art. i get teary over a couple, particularly the one with the mother sheep standing over her dead lamb, the crows circling them. also the beauty of the potato picker's face. i stand under her. she is glorious, with a little beauty mark that makes me think of the same mark on the face of my daughter.

and finally. i saw on sunday al gore's movie, an inconvenient truth.

i want you all to go and see it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

and she cooks a cake

it's ten years ago today since i squeezed out my precious one.

i'm feeling all martha stewart, with baking and whatnot for a family dinner tonight.

but i bet martha never had to gaffa tape her oven closed, did she?

other domestic news:


that is all.

have a loverly, sunny day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

some random sunday thoughts

this morning i woke up thinking about germaine greer and the whole steve irwin controversy that she sparked with her newspaper article. i was wondering why it is that so many people hate her. why do we fear the greer?

this is a theme that i visited early on in this blog's life, with a promise that i would write something on it. germaine has long been a prickly figure, who seems to make everyone pissed off when she opens her mouth. i want to explore the reasons why this might be, and why she seems to have the status of someone who's embarrassing and you roll your eyes whenever she publishes. it reminds me a bit of the former saint helen de garner who fell from the pedestal when she published the first stone. it became apparent to me how much vitriolic reaction she was attracting because of it when i was at a party and tried to discuss the book with some friends. they were all most hateful, and totally condemned her, while i said things like, well she tackled a difficult subject, she admitted her weaknesses and was brutally honest, not the least with herself and i love her candour. but no one would give me an inch. and when i asked, none of them had read the book.

i started writing the greer thing this morning, on my laptop in bed, feeling like carrie. then i got out of bed, had some toast and then john returned back from a trip out to get a birthday present for princess (next tuesday everyone. TEN YEARS OLD.) he brought the papers home with him.

i had a quick look at the front page of the age, and wondered why my reaction to peter brock's death has been so neutral verging on not-much-sympathy, in comparison to the croc man's death, where i felt sorry enough to encourage the kids to write cards to bindi.

i can say what the reason was. put simply, brock recently left his partner of more than 25 years. i'm being a hypocrite when i say that i felt sorry for steve because although he was flawed, you could say he had a good heart and was a very authentic "bloke." but why am i more accepting of his flaws (which were kind of in the "tool" basket) than brock's?

we are all flawed human beings, but i guess we tolerate some flaws more readily than others.

then, also on the front page, there's an article, small, bottom left corner, reporting that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT SADDAM HAD ANY CONNECTIONS TO AL-QAEDA.

let me ask you a question. did you at any time think there were links? why did you think that?

when i disussed it with john a while ago, with me saying, and there's no evidence that saddam was connected to al-qaeda, he said oh, i thought there was.

so people obviously thought there was. because it had been suggested, repeated, by governments around the world, the media dutifully reported what the pollies said, and just like that, with a wave of the wand and a shower of glittery stuff, an idea is planted, and grows in the public's mind. if you read the news thoroughly and follow stories, you can get a glimmer of what might be the truth. but if you rely on talk with others, and reading headlines and/or first paragraph stuff, then you are missing out. likewise if you read the herald-sun. i also think that the australian, being a murdoch paper, is much more tabloidy and less solid than people realise. the australian has the formerly-deserved reputation of being the most high-brow, generalist paper available in melbourne, which i think is bunkum. it's getting more low-brow by the day. look at their selection of images, and their use of headlines and you'll see what i mean.

i couldn't read the article in full, i was already feeling the pain. then i turned the page, and there's an article about a school reference book which contains text about state-sponsored or organised terrorism, with mention of the united states and israel amongst several other nations. and about how the government is demanding it be withdrawn from schools.

if this isn't attempted censorship, then what is?

if this isn't evidence that our government, like all governments around the world, is trying to creating its own history by taking certain perspectives, and by doing this, manipulating us, then what is?

i just had to leave the paper. i can't stand it. i just can't stand it. that people either can't see it, or just cry conspiracy theory when you try to talk about this sort of stuff.

does anyone share my brain ache about all this?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

the three things meme

sublime tagged me for this meme. so here it is.

1. Three things that scare me

- someone I love dying.

- spiders.

- the majority of the voting public of australia. hopefully, this is no longer a current concern.

2. Three people that make me laugh

- my brother.

- g.o.b. on arrested development.

- princess.

3. Three things I hate the most

- people who drive aggressively.

- people who abuse children, either mentally or physically.

- people who are intolerant of difference, ie racists.

4. Three things I don't understand

- maths beyond year 11 vegie-type.

- why the liberals got voted in again. this is not flippant. I really don’t get it.

- people who don't love reading.

5. Three things I'm doing right now*

- wearing new shoes which are blue, velvet, round-toed ballet flats. I am so pleased with myself.

- waiting for john to come home.

- feeling pretty damn good in my tight, mid-calf jeans.

6. Three things I want to do before I die

- finish writing a novel. just one of the fuckers. is that too much to ask?

- walk the bridle paths of england and scotland.

- become a grandmother.

7. Three things I can do

- ride a horse.

- make a fantastic vodka martini.

- tie a cherry stalk into a knot with my tongue.

only joking. i can't.

- what i can do is listen really well to your problems, and make you feel better.

8. Three ways to describe my personality

- introverted

- intense

- complicated

9. Three things I can't do


- keep my mouth shut when I really should. i'm learning though.

- make pastry.

10. Three things I think you should listen to

- my ideas. all of them.

- oum khoulthoum, egyptian singer.

- all of evita, both albums. the version with julie covington.

11. Three things you should never listen to

- anyone who puts you down and tries to completely dismantle your self-esteem.

- howard and costello bagging muslims. and yes, that is what they are doing. you see, the more they can make you fearful and scared, the more they can control you. read 1984. go on.

-bad talk-back radio. just turn it off. same goes for shows like today tonight. they are messing with your mind.

12. Three things I'd like to learn

- how to play the piano.

- how to become more self-disciplined.

- more about australian indigenous culture.

13. Three favourite foods

- pasta

- ice cream

- seafood

14. Three beverages I drink regularly

- water

- wine

- coffee

15. Three shows I watched as a kid

- i dream of jeannie. i wanted to be jeannie.

- get smart.

- the partridge family.

16. Three people I'm tagging



i’m not craig

* these were all true when I wrote this the other day. but they are not true now.

so an update of this question:

three things I am doing now.

- procrastinating about doing work.

- wondering how much it's going to rain on saturday and how that will affect princess and her birthday party.

- trying to remember I have the dog-washer coming to make gigi a beautiful, fresh-smelling pooch at 2.30 today.

Monday, September 04, 2006

put simply

who is the best hairdresser in melbourne?

apologies to male readers who have recently started joining me here. if you are going to hang out at all with me, you need to just put up with my occasional girly-whinges. bevis copes, i don't know, maybe you could email him for tips.

no, i really want to know. who is the best?

i think i have come up with a "final solution" for my hair. readers who have been with me for a while will know of my hair iss-ews.

think phyllis diller on a good day.

no. it's not that bad.


i embrace its "volume" and ignore the "strength"*

hairdressers have told me they have never seen such thick hair. the most direct one, a man but not gay, told me it's like horse's hair. i laughed it off but inside, yes i died a little. they have fucked up the colouring, they have fucked up the cutting, they have complained about the weight of it, the way they always run out of colour and have to re-load the little trolley.

i have had a brilliant idea about what to do with it, which i will keep to myself for the moment.

but can you tell me?

who is the best hairdresser in melbourne?

i don't care about cost. i need someone who can take me in their capable, professional, experienced hands, and tell me, nay assure me, they won't fuck up my hair when i explain to them my bold plan.

other bits and pieces:

1. what do you say to an-almost-ten-year-old child when they tell you they want to make their will, and want their "body to be burned" and half the ashes to be scattered at a particular park in istanbul and the other half "you can keep, mummy."

2. what the fuck are howard and costello on about with their fomenting of fear of muslims etc?

3. does fomenting mean what i think it means? i can't be bothered looking it up.

4. are optus going to charge me another late-payment fee, because now i haven't paid the last late-payment fee by the due time?

5. i confess to being possibly the only person who has never, until now, watched an entire ep. of sex in the city. you see, i read about it when it was headed our way, in um around 1998? and rubbed my hands together and cackled at the thought of it, knowing i would adore it. then i went overseas and they didn't have it on the tv where i went. when i came back a year later my world had been turned upside down, and i'd missed a year's worth of shows. the other night we got the first shows on dvd. i am really really loving it.

6. princess has gone to camp. for two nights. it'll be a piece of cake considering how i coped in january. remember those days, dear readers?

7. removed

8. i went out with a group of girlfriends on friday night. we ate indian and then went to a bar. our bar bill was $460. we were only slightly out of control. only one of us vomitted the next day and it wasn't me. i had to co-host an 8th birthday party. boys. football. say no more.

9. i'm cooking spaghetti bolognaise tonight. i'm off wheat and dairy, but the soy milk looked very strange in my coffee this morning. we'll see how long it lasts.

* euphemism for "similar to horse's hair"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

naguib mahfouz

egyptian nobel-pize laureate for literature naguib mahfouz, the "balzac of egypt" died this week.
i read his cairo trilogy [palace walk, palace of desire, sugar street], he wrote so beautifully, his arabic translated into english still with a lyrical and poetic fanfare.
he would have certainly been a fan of oum koulthoum, egypt's most famous singer. people would sit on the streets, in shops, around dinner tables, listening to the radio, or watching her tv appearances. cairo would stop for her music.
here is a sample.

i am so shit at sewing

recently the delightful fluffy asked people what they are bad at.

i forgot to say i really suck big time at sewing. this can even be sewing a simple, simple thing.

just now i did princess a favour and sewed up the two gaps in the teddy bear she made at aftercare on monday. she is going on school camp next week and had the great idea of taking it, along with a message written on it from moi, saying love you, have a great time, etc. and then getting her friends to also sign it.

so, i sewed up the seams which had been left after she had shoved the stuffing in. this went well. see, i can do some things like this, and then it gives me confidence, so then i try something a little more complex, and get myself into a "situation."

then i thought i'd do her another favour. she's sewn on a button on the teddy's front (why are bears always boys?) and a bell somewhere near his belly. she said she wanted to make his nose, in a triangle, with brown thread. you know, like the traditional bears.

so i thought i'd do that for her and give her a surprise.

i couldn't fucking do it.

i tried.


both times i got myself into such a knotty place that i had to cut the thread, swear, then try to get the tiny knots out where i'd sewn through the thread.

i'm so good at bad sewing.

ps why won't blogger load more than a couple of pics at a time? it's bothering me something awful.

Monday, August 28, 2006

monday crush

on saturday, in the age good weekend magazine, there was an article which featured several men of different ages being interviewed about their lives, and specifically about the male experience.

now, i've always liked danny katz, but i've never fancied him before. i've enjoyed his wry form of observational humour, in his columns, for several years. but in the paper, there was a photo of him, with very nice, smart glasses, that gave me a small frisson of something-or-rather. and he wasn't holding his chin. you look. most photos of him, he has his chin in his hand. don't know why. but if i ever get into conversation with him, i will ask him and tell you straight away.

when princess moved schools last year, she moved into the grade of mr katz's son.

earlier this year, i went to a parents' morning tea, held at the house of the writerly one. he wasn't there. i'm sure he shipped out, expecting it would be insufferable with all these loud women standing around eating cake and gobbing like turkeys about school and the like.

or maybe he was there, listening at an ajar door, gathering material.

anyway, i cooked this to-die-for chocolate torte, and then gave out the recipe at school the next week. i went up to him, as he was standing with someone who had been at the morning tea. i was introduced to him as danny, and he proceeded to prove the following:

what do you like most about being a man?
i adore women. i adore flirting with women. in fact, i don't think i can talk to any woman without flirting, even if i'm not attracted to her.

and he was a bit flirty. kind of just looked right at me, big smile, handshake. i even made a joke that he chuckled at, i can't remember now what it was, something about the torte. you know, tortes are hilarious. and he made a crack back. can't remember his either.

anyway. he's often at school for pick-up, more often than mitch, his loverly wife. and she is tall. something he referred to in the interview, in a most charming way:

if you could make a major life change, what would it be?
i need to become a better partner to my wife. we're best friends, we get along famously but i'm absolutely appalling at romance. i have no sense of romance whatsoever. i know she needs it because she says it to my face, not even hinting. it doesn't come to me naturally. i'm not a hand-holder, i'm not a hugger. i'm not an intimate person. i wish i could be like that for her, and yet i can be like that with my kids. i don't know why. part of our hand-holding problem is that mitch is considerably taller, so i always feel like i'm holding hands with my mother.

so in a slightly stalkerish way, i look-but-don't-look at him at school, as he lingers mostly on his own, the creative, wordy smallish man, the loner. i usually am on my own too; not being there from prep means i have kind of missed establishing myself as one of the gobblers at the gate. but we have about two degrees of separation, as one of the mothers who chats to him sometimes also chats to me. but not at once, so i can't engineer an opening for that question about the photos and the chin.

have you ever met someone, and pretended not to know who they are?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

what are you having for dinner tonight?

soup and bread rolls always complement each other nicely, don't you think?

want to come over for tea?

Friday, August 18, 2006

where were you when...?

for me there are three specific events that define the origins of my internet use.

the first time i think i ever went online was using my dad's laptop when he was away overseas. this must have been around 1997 or something.

i don't have any memory of email or the internet before sitting in my mother's kitchen while staying there when princess was a baby and we'd just come back from overseas, with the phone cord plugged into the laptop. i would cruise around, checking stuff out. i remember the search engine of choice was alta vista i think, and i remember i had madonna's ray of light playing in the computer at the same time. to me, this was the ultimate techological sophistication. i remember going into a chat-room associated with dad's isp, i can't remember the name* i remember there were these chat-rooms with different names, like hot-tub and barstool. in one of these rooms i watched someone do a strip-show. even though there were no visuals, it was so erotic and the atmosphere was so charged. i felt like i was peeping at someone, and i backed out of there, heart thumping.

the next lot of internet use was around the monica lewinsky scandal. by this time, i had an office set up. i was doing freelance work at home, and spending hours and hours at night playing games such as harry the handsome executive** and warcraft which my brother had put me onto. i also read for hours and hours about monica and bill.

also around this time i read an article about jonbenet ramsay, a 6-year old "beauty queen" who had been found murdered in her family home basement, on boxing day 1996. her father found her, there was a ransom note demanding $118,000. because the father, john, had found her and carried her up out of the basement to where the police were searching other areas of the house, much forensic evidence was destroyed. rumours began, and people thought the parents had done it, either separately or together. or that the older son had. or that blah de blah had done it.

occasionally over the years i would google jonbenet to see what there was to read. amazing conspiracy theories.

which have been put to rest today, i guess, as i see a man has been arrested in thailand. this man is a teacher, who said that he loved jonbenet and her death was an accident.

a thai policeman is quoted as saying:

they fell in love with each other... so he kidnapped her and killed her by accident.

this sentence is so, so wrong. they fell in love with each other? excuse me, at 6 years old, little girls fall in love with kittens and puppies and the colour pink. they have probably fallen in love with their daddies around the age of 2. they do not fall in love with 31 year old men.

the saddest thing about this is jonbenet's mother, patsy, died of cancer 2 months ago.

things like this freak me out. last night i had a conversation with princess on the edge of her bed about how she says she is scared someone is going to come into the house and hurt her. she said she felt very safe when we moved in here, and she doesn't know why lately she's been scared. she told me she had a dream about her cousins being in a toilet and a man hiding behind the door, wanting to hurt them. i told her it was clear to me that she has been upset by what happened to the girl in perth, in the shopping centre toilet.

what do i say to a 9 year old who is the same age as a girl who was raped and murdered in the space of ten minutes in a shopping centre in our own country? not somewhere overseas. then at least i could consider a lie, and say "that wouldn't happen here."

how do i reassure her, when i myself worry about these things happening too? how do i respond when she asks me whether it would be better to scream, or to try and run away, or to play stupid, or to pretend to be asleep if someone comes into her room? or to fight.

i don't think i could fight a man, mummy.

so i try to tell her about the flight or fight instinct. we talk about david***, and how she's seen him talk about animals running away or fighting. i tell her she's smart and she would work out what to do. as i'm saying this, i'm wondering whether i should be telling her not to worry. am i indulging her by responding? am i feeding her fear, making it credible by not cutting her off and saying "don't be ridiculous. nothing's going to happen to you"? because that's a lie, i can't guarantee that nothing will happen to her during her life? how can a parent say that?

so i tell her i don't think she needs to worry about this. that i don't know anyone who this has happened to. that she is safe safe safe in our house, with john and me to take care of her. i tell her that bad things can happen in life, but we can't worry about them too much. like granny getting cancer. you deal with it. like mum and dad getting divorced. things work out.

then i tell her the best place to kick a man is in his private parts. she laughs, incredulously and tells me about a boy at school accidentally banging himself there and rolling on the ground.

the scary mood is broken and we smile as we acknowledge the male vulnerability.

and then today i pick up the paper and see the story on jonbenet. i will be making sure it's not lying around for the kids to see. she doesn't need to know that some crazy fuck somehow brooke into a little girl's house and raped her and murdered her. even if it did happen almost ten years ago.

* what are some names of early ISPs in australia other than bigpong. it wasn't those fucks. something with "super" in it i think.

** can someone please validate me here. has anyone else seen this piece of superb gaming?

*** david attenbrough, whose docos have been, and continue to be, a staple of princess' life education.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

not an ordinary day

this morning i thought i'd cook a chicken curry for dinner. nothing especially outrageous about this.

i got the recipe out, mr oliver's book, the first one, where he's in a blue shirt on the cover. from way back when, before he became jamie DOT com. i still have a soft spot for him.

so i turn to fragrant green chicken curry, which begins on page 122 and crosses to the next page.

page 123.

this is where fluffy's meme comes in. not that i knew it at the time.

look here.

so following the instructions here is my meme response:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people*

let me confess, i did pick up one of the two closest books, which is "getting started with microsoft frontpage". i turned to page 123 and saw it was a really boring corporate web page blurb.

so then i reached for the other closest book, just next to my computer. it was already open. to page 123.

if you think i'm fucking with you, get your copy out and check. or call whoever it is you know who has this book. you will find the second half of the fragrant green chicken curry on page 123.

and THEN, when i find the fifth sentence [3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil] i think to myself, huh, how weird would it have been if it had been about the limes? [see previous mini-post]

well fuck me dead, i have just had another bizzarro world coincidence.

look at instruction 4 above.

i have to post the text of the next four sentences...

here they are:

zest and juice of 4 limes

Put all the green curry paste ingredients in a food processor and whizz to a smooth green paste. Marinate the chicken in a little of the paste for 30 minutes, then add a little oil and the chicken pieces to a hot casserole-type pan or wok. Fry for 4 minutes, then add the remainder of the marinade - it will sizzle and spit.

but that's not all, folks**

before i realised all this weird meme stuff, i went and did my food shopping. i went to safeway. i bought the ingredients. while shopping, and getting lemon grass stalks, fresh coriander etc. i was thinking to myself, this is fairly blogworthy. comparing how much it would cost to make a curry from scratch, to getting a ready-made jar of curry stuff.

so what i did when i got home was add up the ingredients for the curry. i got to limes and saw that i was charged $16.98 a kilo. do you know how many limes i got? 4. do you know how much they cost? $9.90.

$9.90 for 4 limes

so i went back up there with my limes and my receipt and got my money back.

i came back home and got lemons off the tree.

i did the mini-post about the cost of limes. i'm not craig and fluffy kindly responded.

i sat down and read fluffy's blog.

i marvelled at the weirdness of the meme and the recipe being on page 123.

but that's not all.

i went into the kitchen. i chopped up the curry paste ingredients. then i tried to whizz them with my bamix. no good. then i tried to pound them in my seriously large mortar with my seriously large pestle. no good. i knew i needed a food processor.

i have never had a food processor.

there, it's out. i've said it.

a few years ago i bought one for my mum, and have had long borrowings of it when i needed to. i used it more than she does.

yesterday a myer catalogue came and it had a nice beville food processor in it. i liked the idea of something that is just a food processor. not with a milk shake maker. not with a cake mixer. just a food processor.

so i went to good guys and bought one. they're pretty good, those guys. and you know what? there was a woman there, and she bought exactly the same one as i did. she had all her research written down on the back of an old envelope. i think we affirmed each other's choice.

so all up, even factoring in returning the $10 limes, i figure this curry has cost us:

four freerange chicken breasts - $24.93

bits and pieces for curry paste (spring onions; basil; coriander; ginger; lemongrass; lime leaves; green chilli) - $13.11

handful of pistacchio nuts, i don't know how much, but i got a bag for $8.92

i got some roti to go with it, 2 packets @ $3.67 each = $7.34

food processor - $235 (they undercut the myer price by $4, down from their own price of $269.95)

so, this curry has cost $280.38 without the pistacchio nuts.

and i figure a jar of ready-made would cost about $4 something?

tell me you have moments like this as well.

* i tag whoever wants to do it.

** i bought some steak knives today as well. i really did.