Monday, February 23, 2009

oh you idiot

harry nicholaides is out of prison, where he'd been sent for the crime of lese-majeste, insulting the thai royalty.

i really haven't had much sympathy for the guy thus far anyway. i figure when in rome, don't fuck off the romans. when i was in turkey, i didn't smoke hashish, and though i was once asked for id by a policeman who thought i might have been a russian prostitute, other than that i played it very carefully. i didn't criticise turkey, and i didn't call ataturk anything other than a Very Nice Man and didn't refer to public transport in terms using adjectives other than Reliable, Punctual and Efficient.
you find out about a country, their rules, laws, social norms etc, and you don't fuck around.

nicholaides, it seems, fucked around.

so then on the weekend, he was released after getting a royal pardon and having to bow down before a picture of the king.

and then also on the weekend, yesterday, we learn that he had mentioned the lese-majeste caper as a way of getting published. create notoreity and publicity, get published and sell more than 7 books.

there is something so pathetic about this dude.

first, he's got no hair.

second, he only sold 7 books.

third, he fell into a sewer or something half an hour before he heard news of his pardon.

fourth, his mum had a stroke a few weeks ago and can't talk so he has to try and catch up with her. at least she's alive; it could have been worse.

so, am i the only one to have lost patience with this whiny person quite a while ago?

hen, a friend comes out and says that he had said he might do the lese-majeste thing. if this is true, nicholaides knew about it, he knew the possible consequences, and he planned to use it to get famous.
and now he's going to write a book about his trials and tribulations in thailand.

of course he is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the letter F

i've been tagged by squib to do a meme. remember them?

so it's 10 things starting with the letter F.

easy peasy. here goes.

F is for Fire. The last 10 days have been awful for Victoria, regardless of whether you've been "in them" or not. I have never been so teary in my life over something not directly involving me.

F is for Fire-fighters. Fucking heroes the lot of them. I'm one of those people who hates the bandying around of the word "hero". Sports stars are not heroes; people who save drowning children are.

F is for Fear. I can't imagine the fear of the people trapped, and as they were dying. It must have been very painful. Fear is something I conjure for myself most days. If anyone is familiar with the World According to Garp (novel) the central character is a catastrophising parent. I am sometimes that parent. I think I figure if I think about it, there's no way it will come true. Silly I know.

F is for Fortitude. Yesterday, I was telling my daughter that the guts and courage of the CFA as well as others who fought the fires was incredibly inspiring to me, and symbolic of not just the Australian character, but the essence of humanity. We have hope, we don't give up, we keep going. Generally, this is true of all people, and it moves me to tears at times.

F is for Friendship. As Jerry Seinfeld said, "I'm not hiring." I know that sounds ridiculous and self-obsessed, but at my age I don't need too many more friends. The last couple of years, after losing a couple because they just weren't working (what is it about keeping these relationships going when they make you feel shit to be around them and you really don't even like them/have much in common/understand them?) Life, I've realised, is too short to be having high-maintenance friends. I'm the only one who's allowed to be high maintenance, but that's in my intimate relationship, not with friends. I behave with them and am really quite good. I think I am a good friend, I'm a good listener, I care, and I always try to help people, even strangers.

F is for Fish. I love it. What can I say? I could eat fish every day almost. I love fish 'n' chips, but not often. I love salmon, whole schnapper, flathead. Hell, I even like anchovies. I thought Anne Anchovie in Snugglepot and Cuddlepie the most glamorous creature I'd ever seen when I was little.

F is for Flummery. When I was little, my mum used to make a dessert that was a mint blancmange concoction, which resonated with my literary world at the time (Enid Blyton jolly good hijinks etc). This flummery was mint flavoured, and while as an adult I'm not a big mint fan, my memory of this dessert is that IT WAS SUBLIME. On top I think there was cream and then some GRATED MINT AERO CHOCOLATE BAR.

F is for Fool. I like to think I am one of those people who don't suffer fools gladly. I am intolerant of what I see as slowness, or stupidity, or intolerance. But really, deep down, I think I am probably a fool, one of those I condemn. I bear all the hallmarks. I talk too much at times. I can't be quick to judge, very opinionated, and stubborn about being right. I think I am right all the time, can be boring to other people, selfish and rude. I'm not quite sure how I arrived here, I think it's to do with being hurt alot but I am devoting the second half of my life to trying to not be a fool.

F is for Fiction. Recently, I've realised I've gone off fiction quite a bit. I was puzzled for a while, wondering if I'd simply reached saturation point, or whether all the stories and plots and characters were starting to repeat. Anything that goes like this:

So and so returns to the house of her childhood, and with her siblings who have each been on journeys of their own, she starts to make sense of the memories that keep returning. As she rebuilds the chook-run, so she rebuilds her life.

I know I can't go there. I can't seem to stand most popular fiction, though don't get me wrong, I can lose myself easily in the crap. I just read a book on the Jaidyn Leskie murder.
I crave literary fiction, but as it seems to be hard to do well, it's hard to find. I don't want to discover new authors, but I do want to read retrospectively. So I am looking up the golden oldies slowly; I want to read more Hemingway, I want to read the Russian authors, the French and more Australian authors, ie Patrick White. I want to read books that either aren't anything like what I want to write, or ones that are, but I'm always scared of stumbling across one of my stories that's already been done. Stephen King, who wrote one of the best books on writing said that reading is research. Read, read, read. Well, I've been doing that since I was little, voraciously. When is the time to stop reading, and start doing? I've been doing since I was a teenager - first the cruddy, autobiographical stories, then the ridiculous plots with one-dimensional characters, no dialogue and too much description. So I am learning. Learning to be very sparing with adjectives, to show by doing not telling, how to craft believable intersting dialogue.

I think really if I keep cramming my head with fiction, then there's no room for my stories to grow. There's no room for me to keep in mind that I'm trying not to be a fool, and trying to grow up more myself.

F is for Food. Interesting that I got this far without even thinking of food. I guess I did the Fish one as a separate thing. Could I combine them? Then I get an extra berth for my ramblings. No, best push on.

So, food. Anytime I think I'm definitely a savoury type of person, I come across a special sweetness. I do like ice cream, sometimes it talks to me from the freezer, but mostly I can ignore the voice. If there is a certain cream sponge party cake in the fridge, left over from a kid's birthday, that is the voice I can't ignore. It is the best cream sponge cake in the world. Yes, even better than the Patterson's chocolate roll sponge cake, which used to be the standard birthday cake in our family, until I discovered this other one.

At the moment, I am doing no carbs after 12 noon. It's going well actually. For while I do eat healthily, and don't have a junk food problem, I do have a struggle with portion control. So I will cook pastas and rice dishes, and find it very hard to eat small portions of those dishes.

I adore eggs. I could eat eggs almost every day. Poached eggs on crumpets are ace. Scrambled are good, avec les fines herbes which my aunt gave me, a mix of dried parsley, tarragon and chives.

I do love a good steak, but tend not to cook it at home. When we go out, I often order steak. Other people might order seafood when out, because they don't cook that at home. I'm the other way. I cook lots of seafood at home - it's something I can do well. I'm not scared of cooking seafood.

If I had to list my favourite carbs in order it would be:

1. pasta

2. rice

3. potatoes

4. bread

I'm not one of those bread addicts. I can take it or leave it. Rice and pasta are probably very close equals on the list, but pasta has more variety. Potatoes beat bread only because you can mash them, with butter and milk and then eat little bits straight from the pot which still have melty butter in them. There is a fabulous Nora Ephron scene in one of her books where the narrator's marriage is falling apart and she consoles herself with mashed potatoes, and eats every mouthful with a slice of butter on top of the spoon. And it always has to be butter, never margarine, or even that spreadable shit. We do have the spreadable, and I do use it on my toast occasionally, but butter is better for most everything else. On the subject of butter, my dad always uses butter on his toast, sandwiches. Butter which is rock hard, and he cuts it a certain way, so if you share his butter, you'd better do it right otherwise he will get shitty. He kind of slices off thick slabs of the stuff and rests them on the toast, maybe pushes them down a bit but doesn't even try to spread them. His mother used to do this, I remember being in awe of the butter and vegemite toast at my grandmother's place when we were kids, so obviously this is where he got it from.

If I had to choose vegetables or fruit I would choose vegetables hands down. I kind of have to remind myself or force myself to eat fruit. Strange, I know. But maybe something to do with that savoury vs sweetness thing. I love salads, and my idea of heaven is some cooked rice, topped with tinned salmon and salad. Or rice and steamed vegetables with some olive oil and salt. I also love cooking a single serve of spaghetti and tossing it through pan-fried spring onions, chopped fresh tomatoes, melted anchovies, olives etc - puttanesca is one of the most heavenly pastas you can have. Puttanesca is to carbonara as water is to mud.

Monday, February 09, 2009

oh, victoria

edit 10/2/09: what a catastrophe. i've just seen the toll could possibly reach 300 people.

i'm sorry to my daughter who i snapped at this morning and called her "bratty" saying angrily that i am not her slave, her servant, to do her bidding at the precise moment she demands it.

i'm sorry that i then told her it's my job to point this out to her, and not let her go out into the world with this attitude, because then she will think it's ok to treat others like that.

i'm sorry that there's no one to hold me accountable for my badnesses. i know i have to do that myself.

i'm sorry to the same daughter, for my tears in the car while listening to the radio, driving her to school. i'm sorry to have upset her with my sadness, and sorry to have seen her red eyes as she got out of the car. i'm glad i kissed her, told her i loved her and to enjoy art.

i'm sorry for all the people who lost their lives, or those of family members, friends, neighbours, community people. i'm sorry for those people who lost their dogs and cats and other animals and homes and land.

i'm sorry for the people who have nowhere to go, and nothing left.

i cry at the idea of the old people, the terrified children and animals. parents trying to keep their children safe, the man who lost his wife and child. the panic, the fear, and the sound of it. people say it sounds like a train, that there's a roaring. it must be so terrifying.

i was in a big earthquake in 1999, and beforehand, if you'd asked me whether an earthquake makes a noise, i would have said no.

but it does. it screams, and moans and roars as well. it's the sound of buildings and roads protesting, being unsettled in a most violent way. it's an unearthly sound, a devil sound, and it was the sound that was even scarier than the sensation of being up in the air on the 4th level of an old building, and having everything shake around you. the other misconception i'd had was that an earthquake would shake you side to side a bit, and that it would be like swaying, but it doesn't. a big one shakes you on every plane imaginable. up and down, side to side, back and forwards. roughly and viciously. so you have absolutely no sense of stability or grounding. you are completely without your normal referencing of balance and senses. i imagine a big fire is similar in that it is so foreign to you, so strange in its behaviour, like a live being, that it would scare the shit out of you. and hurt you with its heat, and sting your eyes and melt your skin and burn your throat - a complete assault.

after the tragedy will come the hard words, you'd better believe it. like all tragedies, there is a cycle of behaviour in reaction. like with grief, there is shock, sadness come first. then will come denial. then anger, and the blaming mentality. just watch the letters in the paper for the voices that start about any number of issues, using this awful happening as proof that certain things are being neglected. i don't know, it might be climate change, it might be bushfire prevention and readiness. it might even be that white man shouldn't have colonised this wild, savage place.

but for the people who lived through it, or died, i feel so sorry. it would have been a hell on earth. and here we were, sitting in our place, watching episodes of friends, laughing and trying to keep cool.

life truly is a bitch.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

thinking of you, victoria.

i've just cried looking at the photos on the age website of the places the fires have devastated.

i am so sad, and shocked to know that so many have died.

sad that brian naylor and his wife have died, along with more than 80 others.

i don't know what to say, except that i hope you are all safe and your loved ones are safe.

just a short post to get the irreverent and inappropriate ms joplin of the top of the page. she is not fitting for today's sombre mood.

hugs to anyone who needs one.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Announcement: a bit of a hiatus

I have to focus on other writerly things, plus some paid work, so for now, I'll leave you with this mammoth piece of cuteness and also the promise that there will be '80s diaries regularly posted, as well as me being around in comment boxes.

These pics were just emailed to me from Clokes; apparently they were taken during extreme heat in SA last week. A little koala wandered in to a woman's back porch and she filled a tub of water for him. I don't usually do cute, but these managed to turn me, just this once.

look at himmmmmmm

so cute!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

sundry sunday matters

too busy to do anything other than a list-type post. my princess starts secondary school tomorrow and it's all just a little too much.

so, let's get into it.

1. does anyone else think that olivia newton-john's new husband, john easterling, bears quite a resemblence, possibly helped by some surgery, to her old, disappeared boyfriend, patrick mcdermott?

i put it to you, now, that they are the same person.

consider the facts as we know them:

- old boyfriend patrick mcdermott was 48 at the time of disappearance

- new husband john easterling is 49 or similar

of course, this could just mean that olivia, in her late 50s, likes 'em young.

- old bf "disappeared" owing child support, court cases against him pending, the usual story.

- new husband kind of appeared out of nowhere, and they got married quickly, with little or no dating recorded in the celebrity pages

- old bf apparently turned up at livvy's house with flowers and an "i'm sorry, you're dropped" the day before he disappeared

- according to this website, set up by an investigator into his disappearance, there are suspicions and even evidence that he has been sighted in the pacific rim area generally, mexico specifically

- new husband has a nickname "amazon john" and his website - while reading like a j peterman catalogue - details his interest and travel experience in south america.

i know these are tenuous suggestions, but maybe not so. look at the pictures:

olivia and patrick 1

olivia and patrick 2

o and p 3 - he has long hair in this one, note extent of greyness

now, we turn to olivia and john, her new beau-come-husband:

olivia and john 1

olivia and john 2

olivia and john 3

now, i ask you. is there anything you are seeing that can't be accounted for with cosmetic surgery? sure, john looks a little taller than patrick, but that could be lifts or onj has had some leg length removed.

i rest my case

other points the flitted through my head before:

1. [writer in paper] seems like a prat. i didn't like her answer to one of the questions in that 5 mins q&a in the age yesterday. it went something like this: i don't bother writing anything if i'm not going to get paid for it. i am paraphrasing, and she was quoting (perhaps wryly, but it came across arrogantly to me) another writer, can't remember who, but even in doing that, she placed herself on the same level as that writer. there was another answer that i thought was dicky as well. so, i've decided she's annoying me, starting from now.

2. brendan fevola should get his hand out of his wife's arse crack. if it's true that they're separated, he shouldn't have his hands on her. not in that way anyway. even if they weren't separated, he shouldn't be touching her like that. it's so undignified and shows him to be the neanderthal that we all have come to know him as.

dude, a bit of respeck, please. and i admire her for not hitting him, she would have been steaming.

3. good to see some silver tops coming out of the woodwork. i've stopped dying my hair, and i've started cutting it as well myself. this saves me about $350 per 3 or 4 months. i'm lucky that my silver is a lovely white, not a witchy grey, but it's still a big step for a woman to 'let herself go' like that. after 20 years of dying (i started to go grey young, not as young as my mum - 21 for her!) i said enough. sick of regrowth - interestingly, i have none now, it looks like a fresh foil job), sick of the chemicals and worrying they'd give me tumorous lumps, sick of the labour. so it's great.

excellent work, comrade.

4. while i've let the old hair go au natural, it seems i have counterbalanced that with a newfound obsession with nail polish. three little letters, man. O P I. they have such gorgeous colours, they last well, go on well, and are only $20 per bottle, which means in my current attempts to be parsimonious means that it's a little treat which is a lot cheaper than a new anything else.

i've got two: a pale, pale white pink and a bright, bright, pink pink.

5. finally, on friday when it was simply too hot to do anything, i spent hours trawling through a blogger's archives. i went right back to the beginning and 'got to know' her. i still have a few months to go until i'm up to date. this isn't weird and stalky is it? she's someone who's been around for yonks, and i read her now, but wanted to go back in time. it's funny, but when i read her early stuff, it makes me think of my '80s diary posts - the boy angst etc - but her posts are only a very few years old. i am addicted to her words and will be sorry when i catch up.

6. again, today, we had iss-ews in the car park at the rear. we recently bought a new car and the fucker is too much of a tank to easily get out of the car park, so we've taken to parking on the streets. this has been going fine, until today when it was the pride march. so clokes couldn't find a park on the street - of course he couldn't. he drove it round the back to our off-street and spot and some fucking stupido girl had parked there. she was a friend of a resident, visiting here, and said resident doesn't have a car park out there but had obviously let her in to park.

here were the things that were said to us once we found out whose car it was and that we needed them to move:

"this is the first time i've ever done this, and i've been living here three years"

"it was only going to be for a short while"

"i've lived here three years"

"there was nowhere to park on the street - she was driving around for 30 minutes!"

listen to me: i don't fucking care. it's our spot, you saying it's the first time you've ever done that is about as mollifying to me as if your mangy rotty had just killed my toddler, and i had you standing there in front of me, crying saying "oh, but he's never done that before!"

i hate it when people use the old "oh, i've never done it before" as if that makes it ok.

it doesn't.

nowhere to park on the street - fuck off!

lived here three years? - FUCK OFF. i've been an owner for more than 12. so just fuck off with your three years.


on a happier note, because i can't leave it there, i am thrilled it's a bit cooler and happy because the place is tidy and clokes is out doing supermarket shopping. he is such a good boy.

and his beard is gone. i let it go, i let him shave. i could only be a tyrant on that matter for so long. he looks younger.