Monday, January 30, 2006

the high road

4WDs, you either love them or hate them.

I am in the latter camp and am heartened to find I am not alone. On The Continent, eco vigilantes are finding an effective way of sharing their displeasure – by deflating the tires of these ugly, gas guzzling, unsafe vehicles. They may have turned it into a sport, competing to see who can let down the most tyres in a night, but at least they are polite. A note is left on the windscreen to tell the owners they are selfish motherfuckers what has happened and why.

A SMH article highlights the common stupidity that afflicts some drivers with more money than sense and a misguided belief in status. But trying to explain this to a mother of 2 who is a self confessed bad driver how driving one of these makes her less safe on the road, tends to fall on deaf ears.

Let’s just see how good they are at changing tyres. Or come to that, do they even know where their spare tyre is?

Ironically, a flat tyre or 4 is no issue for a true off road 4x4 owner. There will be a compressor in the back to pump them up. An essential piece of equipment for any legitimate driver of these kinds of vehicles.

So who’s up for a bit of sport?


source: indymedia

Saturday, January 28, 2006

i will survive

More heart warming blasphemy appropriated from God is for suckers - a video that made me laugh so much I almost wet myself. About bloody time too!

Friday, January 27, 2006

get me a sack and a brown paper bag

Harry Potter may have been on optometrist’s wet dream, making spectacle wearing not just acceptable but even trendy, but authorities aren’t happy with the latest fashion craze in Thailand.

It seems wearing fake braces is now, if not high fashion, a popular trend. However the Consumer Protection Board has outlawed the selling of these colourful fakes and are imposing up to six months imprisonment on those caught selling them. Strangely, they aren't suggesting even longer for those found wearing them.

Who’d have thought that a mouthful of metal (albeit colourfully accessorized) would ever become so trendy? Though the fake ones don’t appear to come with the usual pain of teeth being pulled in new directions, ulcers or the metallic clashings of pashers, they do carry a few risks of their own. Due to their poor attachments, fakers may cause death by swallowing.

But that’s a small price to pay for fashion.




perhaps not quite the look the fashionista had in mind

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

and we think our mob in Canberra are weird

I must have slept through this thrilling piece of TransTasman news last year, but it is so stunning it is worth a belated mention. The National Party of New Zealand, currently in long term opposition, appointed a spokesman for the eradication of political correctness. Last October Wayne Mapp officially became the party’s Political Correctness Eradicator, kind of like the Terminator but with even less of a sense of humour.

New Zealand has been the land of the long white black, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender, disabled, immigrant whale for some time and ‘ordinary folk’ seem to be getting sick of it. Sick of multiculturalism, ‘gay marriage’, Rastafarians in parliament. Yup, the whole shaboodle.

So what is the spokesman actually speaking out about? The banning of Agapanthus. With such a massive portfolio, from my frenzied googling, it appears the protection of common garden plants has been one of his first important missions.

I wait eagerly for the news any day now of who the national party will be appointing as shadow minister of Silly Walks.

between a rock and a hard place

Pet rocks seem to be having a revival in Moscow. But the British embassy there is saying nothing.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Feeling fruity




The things some people do with fruit

(The heat is going but the house is still hot, this is the best I can do with a melted brain for now)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

puddle

If you have been perusing the Eastern Australian blogshere, especially those of us in Melbourne and our Adelaide cousins, you may have noticed either:

1. We have disappeared for the duration
2. All we can talk about is the weather

Today we are edging up towards our 43c (109.4 f) predicted high. That’s fine if you are acclimatised to such condtions, but most of us don’t have any real cooling in our homes. This terrace house, typical of the era, is double brick and built to retain heat. For the first 2 hot days it remains blissfully cool, then does sauna impersonations until the cool change has come around, taking at least 48 hours to cool down.

Of course nudity is one of the only options, to bare bear this weather (though beer too has its uses). Other survival techniques include.

1. Driving around in the car with the air con on full
2. Visiting friends/relatives with air con
3. Shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, restaurants – you guessed it with air con

More ecologically friendly options include:

4. Dampen a thin sarong and place in freezer for about 15 minutes, then wrap self in it
5. Sit in front of a fan in above sarong watching dvds
6. Large quantities of Mogadon to stay asleep til it cools down
7. Sitting in any cool body of water – bath, shower, pool, lake, river, sea
8. Spending a lot of time looking in the fridge
9. Long cool drinks with lots of ice
10. Booking into the ice hotel




Some really dumb things to do in this heat are:

1. Baking (and yes I know at least one person who did that yesterday)
2. Walk to a picnic in the gardens carrying a large esky
3. have sex – though it takes your mind off the weather, it’s only temporary, unless while at the movies….

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jenny Craig eat your heart out

Put on too much weight over Christmas? Want to shed a few kilos?

You have heard of the South Beach Diet – now from Sydney, Australia we bring you the “Long Bay Diet”. Robert Cole, unemployed of NSW, managed to loose 14kg of his unwanted flab while serving time in one of the country’s finest Maximum Security jails. He didn’t use points or a special exercise plan to do this, he signed up to our new Long Bay Diet special incentive scheme.

With the help of our "new free self" coordinator, Cole managed to chip away at a crack in the wall and with time and a little starvation managed to escape through the crack between the bars and the brickwork.

This diet does not only reduce you to a shadow of your former self, but improves brain power and ingenuity!

Don’t delay! Call us today on 1800ESCAPENOW.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

stuff

I may have been a bit lack lustre of late here at Otherrants Central and am just warning that that state of affairs is likely to continue. Or at best expect them to be erratic.

I have resisted as much as possible the pull to make this an openhearted online self-indulgent sob fest. But out of a sense loyalty to the odd souls who regularly pop by, I thought you at least deserved an explanation.

The one that I love is 99% sure he is moving cities next month. He is doing it for all the right reasons – a great opportunity to study and to also meet some familial obligations. He will be gone, at this point for 3 years, to life – and like the prison sentence it sounds, my heart is not leaping for joy. Though if he was doing time, I doubt I would feel as proud of him as I do now.

For equally good reasons, I cannot easily relocate my life. My inner romantic self feels very guilty for such headstrong reasoning, but that is just the way it is. I was talking to someone today who catalogued the horrors of the year that had just gone and she ended with “what is, is”. I am considering adopting such a fatalistic approach, because fighting the situation is becoming rather tiring…and tiredness and blogging do not make for good bedfellows, or anything else.

In the meantime the “1%” possibility is driving me nuts. It brings up all my hopes and insecurities, which then play hide and seek with a pervading sadness.

I read something recently about optimism – basically it claimed that being an optimist didn’t mean you wake up each day believing in some kind of Disney Utopia (or that’s the way I rephrased it), rather you awake with the belief you could cope with whatever life throws at you – good or bad.

Right now I am embracing my own optimism. I do not feel optimistic about an open ended, long distance relationship, but I do about my ability to make it through the days and weeks til I find resolution.

Not fishing for comments on this one, merely explaining a few hiccoughs in transmission.





sunset Wilson’s Prom

we need an Australia card

...like we need a hole in our head.

ATTORNEY-General Philip Ruddock is doing little Johnny's dirty work for him, flying this old favourite which was severely dumped by the electorate last century.

A bit like Americans blaming Saddam for September 11, our government is hinting that an national ID card would stop acts of internal terrorism, like last year's London bombing. Wrong. These guys were citizens and happy to be identified, afterall they were only taking this journey one way. An ID card would not have stopped the event.

What does the government (and other allied powers) really want to do with all our personal information? In this era of outsourcing could such precious data be trusted to a large corporation to manage? With the upper and lower Houses of Parliament run by the same mob, what chance do we have of defeating this civil liberty endangering notion?

But something odd is going on in Canberra. Perhaps on holidays some of the polies actually *gasp* start thinking for themselves? Strangely liberal MP's and Senators seem to be revolting. The Defence minister, Robert Hill, finds the whole ID card thing dubious and alarming. What's more there is a whole heap of women in power who are getting miffed at the party's own child-care policies (and Jacqui used to one of Johnny's best mates when he used her as a poster girl for working women.)

*Sniff sniff* Costello is siding with the girls. And the ID card? Is this the year little Pete creates enough division in the ranks and makes his run for power?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

If you can stand the heat...

...get into the kitchen!

I've been cooking.





So easy, even a fool could make 'em.

Friday, January 13, 2006

karma

Man breaks leg while kicking spider.




What big boy's scared of this little bity spider?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

amen

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mac Help

The problem: I want to do something very simple with my trusty Mac – print client receipts merged with a simple accounting program. Currently I do my accounts on (don’t groan) Excel. Why? Because it is so simple. All the well known accounting packages I see do a billion times more than I want. It’s far too complex for such a tiny job.

The answer: Any thoughts? Are there any really easy solutions (like something in Excel already)?

Brain boggling.

I would prefer to write prose.

puff piece

What I did in my holidays part 1:

McClelland Sculpture Park has a delicious biennial sculpture exhibition. Am far too tired to write more about it than that so will show you a few pics instead. If you are in or near Melbourne pack a picnic and head for the outer suburbs for some artistic fun.



i just loved the pretty patterns



white ape was the winner



ok tilt your head to the side if you really want to view this authentically



there was a whole pack of these cute doggies in the glade


he was suspended from a tree and didn't look too happy about it

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Me and Joni

As I musically came of age in the time of punk, mercifully I have never been a hippy, have found the Beatles mediocre and the Stones passably better. As for the Beach Boys, what was it with all that lollipop, good vibrations rubbish? I just didn’t get it.

Thankfully as much as flowing cheesecloth kaftans seem a very practical summer apparel option, I am not going to have a late in life hippy conversion. But I have over the last few years cherry picked a few songs from a bygone era and saved them from the bathwater. So this is my humblest apology Tim Thorpe for abusing you every time you played Neil Young and all those other old men (but I’m still not forgiving you for the 20 minute tracks!).

These are:
Neil Young singing Lennon’s Imagine at the post 9-11 telethon. I got it.

Brian Wilson’s “God only knows”

Shruggie Otis “Strawberry letter 23” (if you have never had acid, this song is the next best thing)

Nick Drake – almost anything he wrote. Certainly the antithesis of the trippy Shuggie, a melancholy genius.

Joni Mitchell – When I was living in London in the 80’s I discovered a cassette with “Blue Motel” on it just after a relationship ended. I revelled in the blue motel with its blue bedspread for a few days then felt so much better. I finally got a copy recently and like reading Monkey Grip when I am at the contemplative end of coupling, this song suits the mood and brings comfort. Some days the words never seemed more relevant than now:

“I've got a blue motel room
With a blue bedspread
I've got the blues inside and outside my head
Will you still love me
When I call you up when I'm down..”

But that’s it! Absolutely no Yellow Submarine, Ok maybe a little Sympathy for the devil, but that it…definitely it…no more prepunk music ok.


Photo by Jon Ragel

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

AOFs festival of sleep

It appears today (or lets be honest, it seems to vary between January 2 –4) is a very special day. It is the Festival of Sleep. What the hell is it? Wikipedia makes no mention (is that a bit like the koan – if Wikipedia doesn’t know it, therefore it doesn’t exist?). It appears to be a Hallmark holiday, something there is a plethora of e-cards for but not much else. I suspect it is some dreadful cult-ish Christian thing, conning kiddies into prolonged moments of silence.

However, real or imaginary I seem to be having my own festival of sleep at the moment. I am a very delicate sleeper. Just like the Princess and the Pea I can feel a tiny lump that would make me feel like I am sleeping on boulders and like Goldilocks if its too hard/soft/light/dark/quiet/noisy whatever – I just can’t sleep. Sleeping with others takes weeks of adjustment and insomnia and a new relationship go hand in hand – just as well all those happy hormones kick in to ride it through.

Holidays are never presumed to be a sleep fest, even when there is no morning agenda to wake for. When camping, the sun shines through the tent at dawn after the predawn symphony of bird life that it, shining a spotlight in my eyes and heating the canvassed home up to that of a well functioning sauna. So I don’t sleep much. A motel has all sorts of sleep opposing joys – radio clocks going off at 5am (I have lost count the amount of times this happens, I think some cleaners must have a universally sick sense of humour), noisy sex in the next room, cars coming and going outside all night. No that’s usually the ingredients for insomnia soup.

So the best sleep I have is after a few days, or weeks at home alone. I have now had almost 2 weeks of living without wearing my watch. I eat, socialise and go to bed when I choose. As a result I have fallen into a delicious pattern of falling effortlessly to sleep sometime after midnight and waking after 9am. It is a joy. A joy that only other insomniacs can understand. And I have another whole week of my festival of sleep to look forward to, til I go back to work.

Interestingly giraffes sleep for only 2 hours a day and bats a staggering 20. Cats are the only mammals that do not consolidate their slumbering time and spread it out deliciously through the day and night, whenever they darn well choose.

Some things you don’t want to happen while you are sleeping:
A Science article on sleep paralysis. Very nasty.

“Night Terrors” – unfortunately something that I have experienced episodically, but not recently thankfully. At times would wake up mid scream, or post scream bolt upright in my bed with my mouth wide open having no idea what had happened. Or sometimes I just slept through it. Once, unbeknown to me I made such a blood curdling sound my upstairs neighbour sprung out of bed and checked the doors and windows of my apartment to see if I had been broken into.

What chance did I ever have of having a good night’s sleep when a lover with a sick sense of humour gave me this to put above me bed?




"Sleep”, Dali

Of course now just writing about this happy, insomnia free festival, I'm going to jinx it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

some good news

2006 is getting off to a good start. Not only have I had 10 hours sleep and fully recovered from that New Year Shabby feeling, but little Johnny and his mate The Shrub are starting the year a tad tarnished.

A Newspoll survey last week showed that across the board Aussie voters are getting pissed off with the government’s decision to send troops to Iraq. Even his own camp is deserting him as it showed “fewer than half of Coalition supporters now believe the Iraq war was worth it”.

In the US The Shrub still can’t seem to shake last month’s revelation that 'he can bug anyone’s homes that he wants to and bugger the protocol'. The poor man can’t understand why people are quibbling over the legality of the whole affair after all ”We’re at War” he says.

In the meantime in an attempt to make him look like a good guy again he has spent New Year’s day visiting soldiers, mostly wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a Texan army medical centre. I am sure the amputees and badly damaged amongst them would have found his witty speech very comforting.

The president had a two-inch scratch across the left side of his brow.

"As you can probably see I was injured myself, not here at the hospital but in combat with a cedar," Bush quipped. "I eventually won."


The soundbite, which I awoke to on ABC Newsradio,was better as in his usual eloquent style it is studded with ums and hesitations as he laboured towards his punchline. He really shouldn’t be allowed out in public while his speech writer is on holiday.

Johnny on the other hand is remaining mercifully silent.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

..and a happy new year

I have peaked far too early this morning. After 4 hours of sweat soaked sleep I staggered out of bed for large quantities of chilled mineral water and a mango. I remembered that somewhere in the house I had a fan. I plugged it in and listened to Michael Moore read from Stupid White Men and dozed back to sleep for a while. Got up, found a couple of delicious, buttery croissants I had thoughtfully stashed in the freezer a few weeks back. Heated them to the perfect temperature and consumed with homemade plum jam and a strong black coffee.





This photo shows the scene of the crime at sunset 31.12.05. At 8pm the thermometer had dropped less than 1 degree which meant I cycled in 42c heat. Very dumb. But I arrived in time to admire the new rooftop garden and see the sun go down on Melbourne for the last time in the year. A collective sigh was uttered, then earnest cocktail making* ensued. As darkness fell the little rooftop held so many people that it caused palpitations for the owner/architect, who sat getting paler in the corner. The city kindly put on 2 fireworks shows throughout the night for our amusement and very pretty it was. Sometime early in the new year some festive cookies were bought out and more merriment was had by all.

I do not have chrystal clear recollection of the trip home along the bike paths. I remember the slight breeze made the journey more pleasant than struggling through the inferno earlier. It was still darn hot and groups of happy people could be seen lounging in the cool grass on various traffic islands, who sent their greetings to the lone cyclist wending home many hours into the new day.

The cool change is coming. Bed beckons, I think it's time for a bit of a lie down.

Hope your year got off to a pleasant start.

*Cosmopolitan: Take huge quantities of good quality vodka, add half as much cointreau and the same measure of cranberry. Squeeze as many limes as you are able to. Add ice. Stir. Consume by the jug full.
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