Plumbing the Deeps of an Eye

... tread softly ... because you tread on my dreams ...

Sunday, November 30, 2003

  ... phallicage ...

The penis extensions were out in force along Bondi Road this afternoon. I was driving back from St Scholastica's in Glebe where I was in the audience for Christine's latest concert. On the way back I figured I would do some fruit'n' vegetable shopping at the Fruitolgists which is half way down Bondi Road (this is one of the main ways of getting from the city, and all points west, to the beach). That was cool. I parked in Wellington St near St Patricks crossed at the lights and spent an enjoyable twenty minutes mulling over delicious options (I'm not my father's daughter for nothing ... he had a f'n'v wagon immediately post war ... mmm ... aw shuddup ... WW2 ... for you youngsters). Came away with apricots, white peaches, a mango, three bunches of asparagus and a delicious looking bunch of spinach ... hee hee hee ... love summer in this city.

I handed over my plastic and nearly had a swoon when it all came to $78 ... until I realised that I also had a bunch of lillies. They are beautiful at the moment ... okay, so back I struggle to the car. At the lights, brmmm brmmm burble burble ... a shiny shiny shiny pillar box red Honda with chrome wheels lowered suspension, side flap extensions that brush the road, smokey-grey sunglass windows, rear extended spoiler, enlarged exhaust pipes, big big big woofers ... with four young lads fingers laden with gold rings, necks bedecked with multi-gold-laces ... hair shaven half way up back of head ... small goatee ... very very proud fingers tapping on the rim of the lowered window ... the inevitable lag dangling, glued to the bottom lip...

I grinned ... he grinned ... "noice car, maite" ... "gee, thanks" .... burble burble ... brmm ... the lights change ... scrrrreech ... and the penis extension disappears up Bondi Road ... to be followed by a white Toyota Supra ... a grey 3-series Beemer ... and on it went.

If the first cuckoo heralds the Spring ... the penis extenson heralds summer in Bondi.


  ... fragmentation ...

A fascinating discourse between Des, Birgitte and PF (I think David Rothkopf) about the definition of peoples and whether the rules under which this can be language based should be EU based or UN based.

I learnt a new word "indigineity" ... mmm ...

I am totally out of my depth but appreciate the opinions ... and the information. American bases in Greenland and the impact on the Thule peoples 50 years later with Denmark as the colonising power.

Engrossing. Even with the obvious language problems that I face being totally anglo-centric. But I persevere.

Take the link on the right to Des and then read his entries and his guestbook.


Saturday, November 29, 2003

  ... a stance wittily expressed ...

Lexius has repelled an unwelcome invader with passion, compassion and wit. I value her approach.

Des invariably produces a wry smyrk of acknowledgement and, indeed, the odd guffaw of appreciation. His postings repay attention.  

  ... life is full of one closet or another ...

This article by Richard Ackland put me to thinking about the little control we actually have over the world around us. Not so much the world of going to the IGA to get some bread'n'milk. Not so much the world of feel-like-goin'-to-the-cinema-luv?

But more the world of "are we allowed" to do these things ... and by whom ... and just what exactly are the parameters within which we DO go to the shops or to the cinema ... and is the milk double the price because we are competing with producers in Dunedin and Kansas City ... and just who are those faceless people on the Film and Literature Review Board who categorise, cut and cull that which shows at a cinema close to me?

Who is it that is in charge of the "allows" in my world? Is it the people whom I elect to parliament to represent me? And just who chooses who is presented to me as part of my subsequent voter's choice? My choice is nowt but an engineered choice. Take what happened today in Australian politics. The Leader of the Federal Opposition, Simon Crean, announced that he was standing down as leader of the Australian Labor Party. Fine. If he does not have the numbers when the party meets he is obviously not going to lead anyone. But ...

Who puts forward other candidates to take over the chain of command? This is important to me. This is the person up against little-johnny-turdface. I keep hearing names like Kevin Rudd; like Mark Latham; and, for heavens sake, Kim Beazley. But what of Jenny Macklin ... Carmen Lawrence ... Julia Gillard ? I shake my head in consternation.

These members of federal parliament are the people empowered by the Australian Constitution of 1901 to make acts of parliament to govern the citizens of Australia. I don't even get a say here ... the lowest representative level . And yet others effectively "make" laws by giving those acts of parliament agreed to by my representative parliamentarian, length, breadth and depth. The apex of these "others" is the Australian High Court. And yet ... and yet ... we accede to international treaties that have moral standing ... as well as legal teeth, as Milosovec is discovering. So the United Nations impacts directly upon my life; not my milk and movies life; but my life of morals, ethics and thoughts.

So what Ackland is peeling back, and what Kirby willingly acknowledges, impacts directly upon the individual citizen. Upon me. There is a layer of law emanating from the federal government. There is a layer of law emanating from the judicial system, be it interpretative or common law. There is a layer of law emanating from international treaties that we choose to acknowledge (that is not the exact word ... but I am struggling in my little black brain to come up with the word I want!).

So ... whence my control?

Margo Kingston is thinking along similar lines. I am horrified to think that Mark Latham is being considered as representative of the younger generation. Latham considers only the impact that Mark Latham will have. He is a bully. He is not inclusive. He will neither unite the party nor draw the country with him. The only vision he has articulated is a pugilistic form of control.

Given that only last month was Carmen Lawrence elected as the new President of the party, it would seem that the most obvious choice would be Macklin. She is Victorian which is a balance to Howard who is from NSW (Latham, too, is a NewsouthWelshman). She has articulated thoughfully and deeply on both education and health. She has been involved with some engrossing interviews with Laurie Oakes, especially the one two weeks ago on the Sunday Programme.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

  ... go out in the midday sun ...

As I was going up the stair

I met a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today

Oh, how I wish he'd go away!


  ... listen here for a while ...

Y'all know I have two cats. I love my Sylvie in a sylvie-way; I love my Sapphie in a totally-sapphie-way.

Yet ... I love the tales told by Jane about the cat that lives in the same house she inhabits ... a house also lived in by Sarah, defender of cats.

This latest episode be but one in a long line. Look back into her journal and guffaw.

Whilst there ... admire the writing style. I do.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

  ... getting the drop on god ...

grumble ... bumble ... mmmgggrrrrrr ...

Okay ... so ... I took a deep breath ... thrust my shoulders back ... tits out ....

'scuse I ... can you tell me please ... why the hell didn't those pathetic shit-for-brains-rugger-buggers storm out and cream that bloody yorkshiremun before he got the damn shot off. Huh? Tell me that, hey!!

Well, Jools ... you see ... ses he, reaching for the white-board-marker ... it's like this ...for us Poms, rugby is a science ... we know about tactics, and skill ... we can do patience ... we can employ the rules to our own advantage ... your lot ... well ... to them ... rugby is simply running with a ball tucked up their jumper.

oooh ... ses I. huh?

"As soon as a ruck or maul is formed it is no longer considered 'open play'. In this situation the team defending must be no further forward than the hindmost foot of the ruck or maul. Our wee Jonny was able to stand far enough back to ensure that, without the assistance of rocket propelled shoes, the Wallabies would not get close to him before he had time to slot the kick. They can only run past the ruck or maul once the scrum half has his hands on the ball at the back of said ruck or maul ... hence, the feet fiddle-faddling ... tease em here n there ... get them to infringe ... keep em on their toes ... You are right regarding them concentrating wholly on Jonny. This is what enabled our scrum half to actually gain 15 or so extra metres in the plays preceding 'God's' Drop Goal".

The WBM is getting up a head of steam now ... an arrow here, a circle there ... everywhere an englishmun ...

"Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player must not hold, or push, or charge into, or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball. "

aww ... but ... but ... but ...

"In general play a player is off-side if the player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball or in front of a team-mate who last played the ball. Off-side means that a player is temporarily out of the game, such players are liable to be penalised if they take part in the game."

the smell of metho pervades the air ... the board is awash with wee-jonnys and ugly-martins ...

"In general play, a player can be put on-side either by an action of a team-mate or by an action of an opponent. However, the off-side player cannot be put on-side if the off-side player interferes with play; or moves forward, towards the ball, or fails to move 10 metres away from the place where the ball lands."

mmmgggrrrrzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz .... ...

... To England and its Sports Fans ...

On behalf of all Australians we would like to admit:
You were not too old (although we hoped you would be when the game went to extra-time0.
You were not too slow.
You scored as many tries as we did.
You kicked no more penalty goals than we did.
You ran the ball as much as we did.
You entertained as much as we did.
You did it with one of your own as coach (even though he did spend some formative years playing at Manly).
You are better singers than we are (and just quietly "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is growing on us, as is Jonny withou an"h").
You played with class, toughness and grace.
You were bloody superior ... and
You are, for the first time in 37 years, winners of a football World Cup.

... SMH ... Monday 24th November, 2003 ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

  ... don't time go quick when you're having fun ...

I have two brothers ... I be the meat in the sandwich. My big brother, Barry, is 58. My baby brudder, Ross, is 53.

Ross celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary on Monday. He married Robyn in 1973 ... Nixon was still beavering away splicing tapes; Charles "knew" Camilla but not Di; the Beatles had split but Elvis was still alive; and, England had only won one World Cup.

Ross'n'Robyn met in Newcastle; married in Newcastle; and, live in Newcastle. Robyn is a teacher. Ross is a "bloke who knows about metals and mixes and shit that I know nothing about". They have two kids, Leigh who is at university and Christopher, who is in his senior years at High School.

Well done, you two. You have more stick-with-it than I have, gungadin!!

Hip ... hip ... !!! 

Monday, November 24, 2003

  ... don't take just my word for it ...

Des has a Proper Football view of The Match.

Peter Fitzsimmons was a Wallaby in the deep, dark past and has an insiders' perspective. I like his quote from The Times in 1966: "If perchance Germany beat us tomorrow at our national game, let us remind ourselves that twice this century we have beaten them at their national game . . .".

And I thought we were a smidge bitchy!!


  ... yikes ...

Sylvie has a grasshopper.

Now ... a grasshopper, it must be universally acknowledged, is a beast of little brain. However ... it is besting my poor darling ginger

... it jumps and she nearly has a heart attack ...

It was half-way up the back of the sofa and for the life of her she could not get it down.
Now she is sitting inside an old wooden wine-box (Chateau La Fleur de Jaugue - Saint Emilion Grand Cru) whilst el grashope shimmies around the top edge.

This will occupy her all evening. In the morning I will find a poor legless body in the hallway. Is this what Darwin called "survival of the fittest"?


  ... 1385 ...

One of the things you should know about Rugby in this country is that up until recently it has been regarded as a "toff's" game. That was, however, until Rupert-baby got his grimey mitts on Rugby League and fucked it totally. Rugby League (int parlance "league") was a working man's game. Then Rupert repackaged it for the betterment of Rupert and destroyed loyalty. Now there is nothing more endearing to your valiant working man, than loyalty. He will stick with a team through thick'n'thin just cause he was born t'it. As was his Dad, and his Dad's dad before him. Rebadging does not go down well in this territory. And Rupert was heavily into rebadging. Change the name. No problem. Change the colours. Makes sense. Merge with the despised "local derby". Economic rationalism. Move the homeground to Gosford. But, of course.

Well, fuck you Rupert-baby. We'll give "union" (more parlance) a go.

So what if it's only played in NSW and Queensland. So was league, but at least with union you get to play other countries, too. League is the Maroons, the Blues, St Helens and a couple of other has-been teams in the Old Dart. At least with Union (note the swelling chest now mandates a capital!) you get to play the Poms, the pseudo-Poms (otherwise known as Scotland), the pissed Poms (Ireland) and the Poms who reckon they can sing (take a guess). And to put the icing on the cake, you throw in the bloody Frogs as well.

Hence, the Wallabies became the team of choice and lads down at the local were boning up on line-outs and mauls. Nothing could put this into more stark relief than the realisation that over the weekend the Kangaroos (we Aussies (puke) have a proclivity for wildlife in our sporting nicknames: Wallabies, Kangaroos, Boomers, Hockyroos, Socceroos) played the final test in the UK for a 3-0 series whitewash and nobody gave a rats arse!!

So ... Aussie Aussie Aussie ... oi oi oi ...

So what was the man-in-the-street opinion of the game? Shame we lost. Wasn't it exciting. Didja loike the amosfere? Boy, din't we play like shit! Fuckin' rain! Bloody full-back went walk-a-bout. I heard both sides of this today in my own small workplace. I have come to the conclusion that we are, indeed, shit losers. And who better to exemplify this than Johnny-fuckin-Howard. What a mean little turd that man really is. Here have a medal. Chuck. Aw, round your neck? Do it yourself ... I'm Littlejohnnyhoward ... friend of Dubya. I've gotta rush back to the Lodge 'case the phone rings.

However, the atmosphere WAS nice. The rivalry WAS friendly. The winners WERE gracious. The losers WERE accepting. The masses WERE entertained.

Very much like what prevailed in September 2000. Outdoor loungerooms in the rain. Partying till all hours. Them'n'us. Nice.

And the 1385?
The number of days 'til France 2007.


Saturday, November 22, 2003

  ... we band of brothers ...

What an absolutely terrific, and thoroughly exhausting, game. By the end I did not really mind who won. Actually even part way through I was secretly hoping that England would win ... they played more intelligent football than did Australia. And certainly, those two little subterfuges before sending the ball back to Wilkinson for the denouement were really, really clever.

Wilkinson got all the MoTM awards that I could hear, but I think the game was actually won by Martin Johnson. Lordy, what an ugly bastard he be. Dallaglio played well as did Robinson on the wing ... but he could ditch the white shoes for mine. Loved it when the mikes caught the ref's "Millions watching and you're stuffing it up". And when, at the end, some inane journalist stuffed a mike up Woodward's nostril and caught "Who cares what I thought - we won!". The rolling mauls from England were magnificent. The line outs which we had dominated suddenly fell to pieces. Wendell Sailor was nowhere to be seen. The most passionate Gregan became was singing the anthem at the beginning.

There were just under 83,000 people at the Olympic Stadium. And 40% of them were English. Just proves where our base-stock is from. And to have it at 14-14 after 80 minutes and then the tie only broken with fewer than 30 seconds to go ... most enjoyable.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispan Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world ,
But we in it shall be remembered -
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

... Henry V (IV, iii) ... William Shakespeare ...

Had to come back and add more to this post ... this is such a noisy suburb right now ... there are currents of pissed pomms flooding along Old South Head Road singing ... I think that is what they are trying to do ... ole ole ole ole ...ole ole ... and if that bloody chariot swings any lower ... The buses are having to dodge them outside here right now ... I live on quite a dangerous blind curve ... hope the bus drivers take them all into consideration ... sounds a smidge like NYE outside right now ... car horns and screeching tyres ... mmm ... methinks they be happy little backpackers ... lordy now Bellevue Hill be awash with fireworks ...


  ... shooting through like a Bondi tram ...

When I was a kid (just shut up and listen ... ) when I was a kid my grandmother lived at Bondi. She moved to Bondi at the end of 1956. She was a broken, devastated woman. In June of that year her adored youngest son, Athol, died in London. He was an actuary. He was a dreamer. He was a traveller. I have his diaries from 1949 to about 1954 which cover his time in London and his trips to Spain where he hitch-hiked. From reading these, my guess is that he was homosexual ... but I have never mentioned this to my father. No point really. In London, in the summer of '56 he stepped onto the road-edge to cross and had to hastily retreat to avoid a cab; he stumbled, fell and cracked the back of his head on the curb. He died within 24 hours. I was eight at the time and only remember a lot of yelling and screaming ... and my father clambering out a window ... no idea why. Within months my grandmother (paternal) moved to Bondi. She was ... mmm ... 61 years old. My grandfather went with her. He was a lazy bastard. At that time he was 78. Yeah, well, at that age why should anyone be other than a lazy bastard. Well, he had been a LB when he was bloody 28! He used to leave in the morning and tell her he was going to the markets (she ran a corner store) and stand on one of the George Street corners and just watch all the people passing by.

Where was I? Ah, yes ... Bondi. So, Grandma moved to Bondi. Not long after, my family and I moved from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. Each summer (December / January) we would go to Sydney for a 'holiday" ... being a dysfunctional family, holidays were a blessed relief because we were "diluted". We holidayed at Bondi. Sometimes we stayed with Grandma. Sometimes Dad rented a semi. We would go to the beach a lot ... walk down and back within about 7 minutes. This was pre-skin-cancer-scardy-kat days. We always caught up with the latest Elvis movies, too. Would go to these lovely art-deco theatres in Pitt Street in the City ... all now gone the way of Whelan-the-Wrecker and into oblivion, being replaced by concrete and glass monstrosities. Shit and derision ... why am I telling you all this crap? Grandma lived in Blair Street which was not far (200 yards) from the North Bondi Tram Terminus. We walked down and caught a tram into the City ... Elizabeth Street just opposite Hyde Park. Great memories. The trams were all yellow and green. Patriotic bunch of wankers we were in those days. Although, bloody hell ... I watched the ABC 7pm news this evening and it seems that half of Sydney went to work with a Wallabies jersey on, with green hair and yellow / green shit all over their face. The group that makes the jerseys have sold 100,000 Wallaby jerseys in the last two months. What a sad bunch of fuckers we are.


Friday, November 21, 2003

  ... yeeeeetcccch ...

Geez ... what the hell does this mean? I am struggling here folks ... I cannot cope with this sort of shit.

This is a game of bloody football ...  

Thursday, November 20, 2003

  ... Bledisloe Blues ...

There are some situations where "them" become "us". When the real "us" is not involved ... then "them" is allowed to become a pseudo-"us" ... just for the duration you understand.

Got all that? Goodo ... there be a test at the end!

Howlett looked pretty okay as he stormed onto that pass from moolie-unpronounceable-hyena ... mmm ... six tries to one ... smidge of a drubbing ... 40 - 13 ... I guess the score-board says it all ...

I guess it is the Southern-Hemisphere vs the Northern-Hemisphere. Bloody oppressive here this evening. Started the morning with fog, fog and more fog. That burnt off by elevenses ... and the day reached ... mmm ... probably 29C ... with towering cumulo-nimbus ...

Trying to find out why the All-Blacks use the fern in their logo. I think it is based on the silver fern. To start with I thought it was the national plant which is a Kowhai fern, but no. I like the stylistic design. A good logo ... like the Canadian maple-leaf. Very simple without being simplistic. I guess the "all blacks" is not only because of their uniform but also because so many of the team members are usually Maori. I like "Tall Blacks" which is the common-name for the NZ basketball team. Clever.

  ... summer in the city ...

When I was a kid (in the middle of last century) I lived on a farm in the Hunter Valley in the middle of the state of New South Wales. I had two brothers; one older, one younger. We were a dysfunctional family and pretty much left to our own devices. Every summer we collected cicadas.

We mostly ended up with discarded shells. We would be out and about at 5am (in the morning, nonetheless!) collecting the shells from the base of trees and from the base of fence posts. Just to see who could get the most. We ended up with hundreds each week. However, the biggest kudos were awarded to he who could collect the widest variety of cicadas themselves. Preferably alive. Preferably angry; and hence ... drumming.

We had Yellow Mundy, Cherry Nose, Floury Baker. And the omnipresent Green Grocer.

Back to the present. I have two cats. I have a garden. My set of apartments have common gardens. My cats, especially Sapphie, roam. They bring their conquests into the living room to show me. I have been presented with cockroaches. With geckoes. With lizards. With a mouse.

Now I am being presented with cicadas. Drumming. Under my dining room table.

Enough already, sweet things. I know about cicadas.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

  ... a chance to catch up on my ironing ...

Tonight I saw the first part of Prime Suspect 6 with Helen Mirren. The second part is on tomorrow night.

I have been a Mirren fan from way back and a Prime Suspect fan from the very beginning. I have PS 1-3 and 5 on tape. I did have PS4 (considered by many to be the best) on tape but I suspect I overwrote it at some stage. I do not watch a lot of television. When I do it is rarely drama ... and hardly ever comedy. I watch a lot of news bulletins. I used to watch current affairs but they are more a form of entertainment now that they are an avenue for information and investigation. I do watch documentaries (I saw an enjoyable couple of episodes about the life of Eleanor Rooseveldt about a month or so ago). Mostly what I watch on television is sport. I watch the Premier League replays (the live coverage is a smidge too late for me even though I am a night owl). I watch rugby. I watch cricket.

Tonight, however, I watched drama ... and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love the character of Jane Tennison. She is so black and tortured. And such a bitch. Yet she cares deeply. And she has that sardonic Mirren smirk. At the beginning of Part 1 there were some great scenes during the autopsy. The pathologist was, I think, an Indian woman. Great sense of black humour. And the interplay between her and Tennison was enjoyable. She did not take herself seriously as Sam Ryan in "Silent Witness" does. I used to very much enjoy SW (have many of them on tape too) but the character is getting more and more boring. In fact, the character has no character any more.

I reckon that Channel 7 missed a great marketing opportunity here. Sure they put it on during the week where all things English are being given a run in Sydney. But this, I suspect, was simply because it was shown last weekend in the UK ... I think. However, why not run Prime Suspect from the very beginning. Every Tuesday night ... as a promo ... as a lead up ... to suck us all back in. If not each PS then a couple of the very best of them. So long as PS 4 is one of them ... cause then I could tape it again.

Most annoying thing is though ... tomorrow I have to be at work from 6pm till 830pm for our 20th Anniversary. I am working the cocktail circuit ... what a laugh!! Shall really test my vcr challenged brain ... and K is going to her father's for dinner ... mmm ... might get Lesley to tape it for me in the Library at school. Phew. Problem solved. 

Sunday, November 16, 2003

  ... golly gosh No. 2 ...

Who'd a thunk it, hey?

An England versus Australia Rugby World Cup Final.

Golly gosh ... 

Saturday, November 15, 2003

  ... them vs us ...

Golly gosh ...

I think we bested them in every department except the haka. And ... dare I say ... we played with discipline ... we had commitment ... we had passion.

Golly gosh ...


  ... unions of nations ...

Between what David and Des have been discussing there is a helluva lot that is out of my realm of knowledge. However, I enjoy that sort of conversation and the way David can pose the man-in-the-street thoughts and Des come back with the facts, as he interprets them. Thanks, guys.

David mentions at one point that the EU was set up to "prevent future wars in Europe". I did not realise this in the least. I would think that could be a futile aim. It seems to me that the EEC (is that the name for what is commonly known a "the common market"?) was set up for a raft of political, social and economic (PES) reasons. From my distance, I consider that one of the founding principles was to balance the PES of the USA. Some of this balancing was apparent earlier this year when many members of the EU voiced their opinions on the invasion of Iraq.

It seems to me (remembering that I am "uninformed" but that distance provides some of, albeit limited, perspective) that the social dimension is one of the major frictions to forward progress. The currency rationalisation was relatively straight forward as citizens of member nations were immediately aware of its usefulness to them as an individual. Because of distances there is just so much travel between member nations and having one currency meant that you at least could calculate when you were being ripped off. However, even then there was an insular backlash against the demise of the franc, the lira, the guilder and the deutschmark. Other social rationalisations (like one flag or one anthem) will provoke much more hysteria because there is no immediately apparent benefit.

The other issues you mention (inter-nation work permits, language requirements, restrictions on "persons of ethnicity") are people protecting their own. It occurs world wide. It is the haves keeping the have-nots down and out. As soon as the have-nots join the haves they adopt the self-same stance. I am a smidge taken-aback by the passion you both show about the public-smoking-ban. We have that here in Australia. The claims, from the unions and from individual workers, that were verified via the justice system, for compensation for smoking-induced illnesses made it absolutely essential that smoking in enclosed areas was banned. This means restaurants, cinemas, theatres, government work-places and many many private workplaces. The rate of smoking here in Australia is down below 25%. The highest rate of increase is for teenage females, sadly enough. I guess my stance is in support of this legislation because of the discomfort it causes many people. I pub-smoke only and even that I have only taken up this year.

As you are probably aware, Australia is essentially a WASP country with strong ties to the UK but which exists within Asia. We are a small nation (20 million) among larger, more economically prosperous nations. We endeavour to join together with neighbouring nations in organisations like ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian nations) which is essentially polical and social, and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) which is essentially ... economic. However, neither of them produce legislation and it is totally up to the individual national leader to implement whichever "bits" he likes when he returns home (oops ... sorry, Helen Clarke & Megawati ... that should be he/she!!).

The major difference between our situation (I include Australia and NZ in the "our" ... even though today of all days it is "them" and "us"!!) is that we do not share national borders and that the distances involved are so much greater than those in Europe. I believe the cultural and racial differences would be insignificant if the borders were shared and the distances smaller. However, many Asian nations are vociferous in their denunciations of Australia as a white-nation who thinks it has superiority on morals, ethics and way-of-life. I am too close to be other than subjective. I don't know if either of you has visited Australia, but we are increasingly a nation that is wedded to Asia. Our population is expanding in that direction. Our vision is increasingly focussed on Asia. it has to be. They have the markets and the population that keep our industries afloat.

The area of greatest interplay would seem to be education. Our tertiary institutions have welcomed students from Asia with open arms because they can charge them the full cost of a degree and not have to worry about voter-backlash. The same is happening with secondary education. Working in a school I am painfully aware of the need for some families in Asia to obtain a western education, mainly famililes from South Korea and Thailand. Children anywhere from 8 to 16 are sent to
Australia to live with "aunties" and enrol in my school, even though we are Jewish and they are, say, Buddhist! Often this is a ruse to keep a visa valid.

Good lord ... desist Julie. Let the poor chaps get a word in sideways.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

  ... R .. E .. S .. P .. E .. C .. T ...

So ... a post without images ... I can do this!

Something happened this evening which has made me really angry. Not completely sure why. But angry and ... cheated.

My stepmother has been in the UK for a month visiting her son and his family who are over there on secondment to Westpac Bank. Colin is a commercial negotiator. Peggy returned to Sydney on Sunday night. My father had been living by himself for that time. My father is 82. We had been in touch every two days ... sometimes he would ring me, mostly I would ring him. Tonight when I got home about 9:30 after helping Kirsten move out of her apartment and back in here until next June, there was a message to ring him.

He told me that last Tuesday he had had a stroke and had been in hospital for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Nothing major. Nothing to be worried about. He wanted me to finish the final essay for my Masters and did not want me to get side-tracked. Twice ... twice ... he phoned me from the hospital for a chat. Twice!

I phoned him on Saturday and he told me he was puffing because he was ironing. I phoned him on Sunday and he said he was puffing because he had just returned from buying the paper. I phoned Peggy on Monday morning to see how she was. She chatted away. He had not told her either. Not while she was in London. Nor immediately upon her return. I spoke with Dad and he sounded really really tired. I know he had slaved all weekend vacuuming and cleaning the apartment like it had never had been cleaned before. He vacuumed the bloody skirting boards. It was only this evening that he told me. I suspect that Peggy made him.

Now I know how it feels to be lied to by someone you love. I am angry. I feel cheated. I have been treated like an idiot. He has been disrespectful to me.

Now I understand.


Tuesday, November 11, 2003


I work in a lovely old sandstone building atop a hill in Randwick which is in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Australia was only settled by Europeans in 1788. We were not settled by volunteers and we were not settled by wealthy people. It took many many years for the settlement to be firm ... probably till the end of the governorship of Lachlan Macquaire in 1821. The building in which I work was constructed for a family in 1863. It was their home. My school bought it in 1983 from The Little Sisters of the Poor. They moved across the road and built a very modern retirement village. They still come over and visit us every few months.

This photo is facing east. On the left of the photo is a paved area outside what was the chapel and is now our Performing Arts Centre. This area is where the flagpole is (we fly both the Australian and the Israeli flag - dangerous I know, but we don't cower). This is our official "entertaining" area. This verandah is where we sit and have lunch. Immediately on the right is the office of the Deputy Principal. Further along the verandah is the Reception.

Sydney is built upon a massive sandstone deposit. It was used frequently to construct public buildings in early Sydney. There is an island in Sydney Harbour that nearly disappeared so much sandstone was quarried from it. Sandstone is a beautiful rock. I will show you the entire building tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 08, 2003

  ... on being assertive ...

You know, character still adapts into that goodnight ... yesterday I stood up for myself; I argued my case ... and the holiday situation was adapted to suit my needs/wishes ... whatever ... *beam*

If you recall, School was going to reopen 5th January ... except it seemed that everyone (except two of us) had "organised" their holidays and hence could not come in. Hence, it fell to Christine and I to man the phones etc for that week (Jan 5 - Jan 12). Knowing this, the powers that be declared School officially closed for that week ... but I don't WANT three weeks off at that time. And ... I was told that if I did not use my holiday leave, I would lose it. Even worse, Christine was told that she had to take that week without pay because, only having worked there for 9 months, she had not accrued enough days!! Very high-handed ... and a case of the oil rag telling the engineer how to run the train!!

I went straight to the top and had a whinge. But I was very polite, as ever (Kirsten said that the email I'd sent sounded "really pissed off" ... well ... I was). Result: school is still closed but I am allowed to come in, no phones, no gates, no loss of holiday entitlements ... ever! He was upset that I was upset. I was very pleased that for once I had stood my ground and not just gone along with the herd. I keep my holiday entitlements for later in the year. Two weeks off at any one time is tons.

So, with encouragement, comes confidence and a sprinkling of courage.

Take up this seed, it is most beautiful,
Within its husk opening in fire and air
Into a flower's stem and a flower's mouth,
To lean upon the wall of summer
And touch the lips of the dark wind.
Lift up this seed; life from its circle
Spins towards light,
Full-voiced from many seasons' sounds
And, in a fruit's fall or a bird's fall,
Is one with all plants in the earth's well,
Such is its miracle.

... Take up this seed ... Dylan Thomas


Thursday, November 06, 2003

  ... the fine red single skein of love ...

Two Muses is a log that I read on a regular basis - well nigh daily. The imagery exhibits a passion for the peripheral. The caption (which in twenty words can convey what many need 50,000) is both surgical and poetic. The combination shows an insight and an empathy that I can only envy. This post of Lynn's from earlier this week put me in memory of a photograph of my own son. It took time to locate and prepare ...

Alastair was in Year 2 when the image on the left was taken on the balcony of our house in St Ives. He was off to a Christmas choir performance at his all boys school. This captures his character to a tee. Middle-class cleanliness enclosing a shotglass full of devilment. Alastair was in Transition (the year between Kindergarten and Year 1) when the image on the right was taken. He was Captain Pugwash in the end-of-year musical extravaganza.

Today Alastair works for a medical software company on the North Shore of Sydney. He shares an apartment with a friend. He is a salesman. He did two and a half years at university before tossing it in and bumming around a bit. Whilst at uni he bought and pranged a Honda motor-bike. After uni his first job was selling trucks. During this time he bought a Porsche of some sort. It is about 20 years old. He is now trying to sell it because he could never keep his foot off the floor and lost his licence. He also realised how broke it constantly made him. He is considering returning to university next year to do a Marketing / Finance degree. Would suit his personality. Originally he chose to study Aeronautical Engineering ... because he liked fast engines and was very good at Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. It bored the pants off him. To quote him, "Just because you are good at something doesn't mean you enjoy it". He is a fascinating amalgam. Captain of Rugby at 12. Captain of Basketball at 18. Reached A.Mus level on his clarinet. Devotee of head-banging heavy metal.

He seems to be making the transition ... gradually.

Before you were then you were mine
Dark honey of my honeycomb
I laboured patiently and long
To fashion out of flesh and bone
The form to keep you housed and home.

The pulse still beats upon your head
For me, though bone may shield the vein,
The world divides - and yet we hold,
An end to each, the seeking skein,
The indestructible thread of love.

... To A Child ... Rosemary Dobson


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

  ... where trees flower, and springs flow ...

Had a feeling of entrapment today. We were asked to nominate our summer vacation period. Turns out some people have already applied for and been given holidays. Then they have booked and paid for cruises and plane tickets. I have done nowt. Therefore I have nothing that needs to be taken into account. Turns out that noone was available to work from January 5 to January 15. Lucky me. I am no stranger to lying but a falsehood in this sort of situation is beyond me. My last day is December 19. I start back on January 5. Come the beginning of March I will have 10 weeks of unused vacation. Julie doormat, that be me.

Need to plan a cheap vacation for December 27 to January 3. Car touring somewheres. Staying in caravan parks. Not easy over the summer. But between Christmas and NY is not THE busiest time. Howabout Sydney, Albury, Shepparton, Ballarat, Geelong, Great Ocean Road, Warnambool, Mount Gambier, Mildura, Hay, Orange, Bathurst, Katoomba and then home. Might work it out on a map and see if it is driveable over that short a time.

Need to see what alternatives I have for converting my Europe ticket. Don't want to waste $2,500!!

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again.

... Ash Wednesday ... T. S. Eliot


Monday, November 03, 2003

  ... The Big A ...

This was a remarkable story and a wonderful piece of understated journalism. The people were allowed to tell their own story. No interviews. Lots of candor. Sure it was edited. Sure we only saw Hazel when she was at her best and the stories told by her daughters gave all the balance necessary.

Hazel was allowed her dignity. This is important.

She led a very positive life when she was the wife of the Prime Minister. He was a rogue who became a bit of a caricature of himself. A bit of a sad case of someone being unable to age gracefully. Even after they divorced she earned tremendous respect for her own self.

Well done, Australian Story. 

Sunday, November 02, 2003

  ... that is sooo eighties ...

Part way through this episode there was a video of an early Crowded House song. They were just cracking the US market and the video looked like it was shot in the area of Venice Beach. Kirsten expleted "That is sooo eighties". I made no comment ... yeah ... yeah ... unusual ... Then she looked at me and queried "You probably can't tell the difference between 80s music and 90s music. Can you?". Ah, nope.

But then when she is in my car and NKC comes on she says "Geez, not that 20s music again!" ... and everyone ... everyone knows that Nat King Cole was 50s!! I can tell the difference between 50s and 60s music ... but that's it. From there on out it is all one long juke-box.

Back to this tv show this evening. It was very good. I guess we came in half-way through. Got a whole swag of Crowded House plus the last song ("Don't Dream It's Over") of the last show before 200,000 on the steps of the Opera House. Then into interesting comments by Savage Garden. I have CH greatest hits, plus two cds of Savage Garden. Love that guy's voice. And he said some intelligent things. Then we entered upon and extended paen to Kylie. Turns out she is not as stupid as I thought. Sorry, Kylie. Not sure that she has a massive voice, but she has certainly used it to its full advantage. The bum and the short shorts help too. Not sure I will bother with the double cd of the show. Better off to get a full cd of any groups I like that I am still missing. Have lots of Midnight Oil. Enough Yothu Yindu. No Kylie ... but that slight voice singing disco ... really doesn't do it for me. But the show was memorable.

I want to stand with you on a mountain
I want to bathe with you in the sea
I want to lie like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me.

... Truly Madly Deeply ... Savage Garden

Saturday, November 01, 2003

  ... Australia 17 slaughtered Ireland 16 ...

Phew !!

Could only watch snippets of this. Kirsten is on the dining room table doing her thesis on refugees. I am in the study, supposedly, doing my essay on "Collegiality in a K-12 School". I had the SMH tickertape going in a window. The lovely Mary Black warbles in the background. A nice stiff Baileys, Butterscotch Schnapps and milk to hand. Drive K over to the Churchill to watch ManU slaugher my Pompey later this evening. Bitchbuggerbum ...

One more weekend of this ... and then I am free when the semi-finals are on. Goodo.

Had a lovely little win with my boss on Thursday arvo. I drove him over to Kings Cross to pick up his car and as we drove through Taylor Square at the top of Oxford Street he asked who the chap was in the billboard poster for Pepsi. So I gave him a potted bio of Harry Kewell. He grinned and said I was a constant surprise to him. I do like to have him on the back foot ... best place to have one's boss ... *grin*.

Hah ... Sapphie has just jumped on my lap for her evening cuddle ... but if she keeps pumping away on my leg with her claws she will be out on her ear real quick!!

Mary warbles "Dimming of the Day" ... back I go to the coal-face. 

  ... mmmgggrrrrrrrrr ...

I think I have been "bloggered" again. All the rest of the code in my log (from partway down the sidebar onwards) has simply ... disappeared.


Gone ...

Saturday evening: hah! ... went to the archive and retrieved it all. God knows what I did. Not a good night last night. 

  ... parathesia ...

I actually felt sick in the stomach as the appointment came closer. The specialist at St Vincents was on time for once ... but only because another patient did not front! He did all the normal prodding to check that the gross motor nerves were not impaired. This, I guess, is my big concern. To a large extent I can cope with the numbness ... but the onset of the shooting pains ... scared me. These pains are in two areas. Firstly, in my right wrist and in my left thumb and first finger. He said this was the nerves and the tendons interacting, being inflammed and pressing on each other. I now have something to take for that. Why this happens? Who knows ... just does. He gave no explanation. I suspect it is in the realm of research. The other shooting pain is from my right buttock down my leg. He said that this was a small tear in my hamstring. Did I do that at the gym? Possibly, but more likely to be the serverity of the nerve reaction tearing a tiny bit of the muscle away from the bone. If I were an All-Black I would not be playing this weekend ... Bloody Kiwis ... who let them into this country!! He gave me whatever the footballers use to fix their hammies. He said a couple of weeks and it would ease. Goodo.

So then into the nerve conduction tests. I never enjoy these ... you lie on the couch. He puts two electrical loops ... one around my index finger the other around my ring finger. He puts a tie around my lower arm to compress it ... glues a measuring device into my inside elbow. Then using a pencil wand he turns the current on his machine up ... and up and up ... until there is a throb of electricity through that set of nerves every half second. I lose count but I guess he does this ... mmm ... maybe ten times. Every so often he adjusts the measuring device ... the wand he moves all over the lower arm ... all this information is recorded graphically on his computer ... he writes down coordinates ... and sometimes takes out this variation of a carpenter's rule and measures the distance from the wrist to the wand. He then repeats this procedure on my right leg. He only ever does the right-hand-side of my body ... that being the most affected.

We started just a smidge after 3:30pm and I was walking out to get my blood test at 4:40pm. The results? The parathesia has not progressed. There is no additional impairment to the nerves since last he measured. I am in the mild to moderate category. Sure the side-effects (the pins/needles/numbness) has increased but not the damage. So ... where to from here. He gave me another medication, one which we talked about last time but did not get to because it had not made it to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) as yet and was exorbitant. It still is very expensive so he gave me a wholesaler to buy it from and then when I claim that back it will be a similar price to other PBS nerve-control medications. It is called "Neurontin". He claimed that it had no interactions with other drugs, so alcohol (in moderation) is not off the agenda.

So, why have the side-effects (the parathesia) appeared to increase dramatically in the last, say, three months? Could be something to do with the raised para-proteins which are indicative of the MGUS (Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance) ... one of those grey areas where they are not sure of cause and effect. So ... off I traipse to have a few phials of blood removed from my right arm. This then is sent off to the haemmatologist and he and the neuologist monitor it from here on out ... until I get right pissed off with all this and refuse to go again for a couple of years!

All this is very well ... until I get home and the poor little nervie-poos having been stimulated out of their cotton-picking brains decide they have to let off all the additional energy ... and they ping away for the rest of the evening ... sending me into paroxysms of twitches and hence to bed at 11pm ... unbloodyheardof!!