Friday, October 28, 2005

So, what is the connection between Apple and Scientology? I'm glad you asked

This one's for Mr Mabootoo.

Found in Bunda Street today, though by the looks of it, it may have been there for a while. I walk that way most days but I can be pretty unobservant. Luckily I had the camera out in my hand (it's always in my bag), which tends to change all that.

From across the road the Apple logo shape was pretty convincing - at least at first glance - then I had a closer look:

It's a collage made of Scientology leaflets. The Scientologists have a big tent set up in Garema Place this week, and I was kind of surprised to see some people in there apparently succumbing to the "free personality tests" et al. I don't know if the timing of this art was deliberate - hard to even guess, given that I don't know how long it's been there.

So, you want to know what it's all about? There was an artist statement right beside it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Working for peanuts is all very fine, but I can show you a better time

This construction site used to be a carpark. One day, something like ten years ago, Kam and I went back to this carpark and walked around it several times, trying to find the car. I'll admit sometimes I don't remember exactly where I parked the car. I can usually figure it out if I don't think about it too hard. But this particular time I was quite sure where I had left the car, and it simply wasn't there.

We reported the theft to the police and caught a bus home. Dad got on the phone and put the word out with lots of people, and the very next day one of his friends spotted someone driving it.

When the police approached, the guy got out and ran away, leaving the engine still running. There was no damage. I was allowed to take it home straight away. The police knew who had taken it. They thought he owned one of the same model, and had probably nicked it for parts.

If you're going to have your car stolen, this is a pretty good way for it to go. Better by far than having it go for a joyride with a bunch of unsavoury yoof, which is what happened the second time a couple of years later. Still, I'm a pretty lucky person. I got it back again, but with broken rear and side windows. It had been dumped off-road in some bushes. Probably the worst part was that they had doused it in motor oil, I guess they intended to set it alight, though for some reason they didn't get around to that. Because of the broken windscreen, the oil made a huge mess inside the car.

I always kept a bottle of motor oil in the boot, because the engine leaked like a sieve and I had to continually pour oil through it to keep it running. It was the kind of car that you shouldn't ever park in a tidy person's driveway. (It took me a while to realise that it wasn't exactly normal for cars to drip oil; I thought all driveways had those stains.)

I got new windows from a wrecker, and painstakingly cleaned out the oily mess as well as I could. Even after that I still got a good bit more driving out of it. It was a '76 Corolla, I bought it in '94, and drove many, many kilometres as far as Melbourne and Noosa on various trips. The engine finally died in '99. On the way back from a Sydney Eurythmics concert, near Goulburn, unfortunately. Thanks for the 3 a.m. rescue, Mum.

I loved that car. It gave me independence, adventure, and the abillity to do a perfect hill start. It meant being an adult who could come and go as I pleased (and deliver pizza). No car will ever be as cool as my first car.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gormley's School for Lion Tamers

If you'll be in Canberra from the 3rd to the 13th of November, come and see Demelza's show at Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka (19 Furneaux St). It will be very cool. Works including, but possibly not limited to, photos, drawings, prints and paper dolls. We've got some great wacky alternative circus music to play during the opening. Melz has been working really hard to bring this show together, and I can't wait to see it all set up.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Mairzy doats and dozy doats

Things are good.

Today I had a lovely visit, with a lovely friend, to the Old Bus Depot Markets. On my way back to the car I took a few photos of the old power station and another nearby building, and put them in my Flickr album. I also added some photos of the same buidings, from back in June.

My good friend Bertie is blogging heaps, after a long absence. I have to agree with him about those damn ads.

I bought some comics today, from my favourite comic shop, where else?

There are still a couple more hours to the weekend, and dinner's made already.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Now, I just want to play on my panpipes, I just want to drink me some wine.

I bought an Ipod. After a year with my no-name MP3 player bought cheap at the computer fair, I was ready for more. More functions, and A LOT more capacity. Much more than my computer, in fact. (Yes that says 60 GB. No I haven't filled it yet.) I'm not going to retire the little one though. Being small and having no moving parts, it's great for running jogging and other active pursuits.

Ever since I got my first Walkman I've always loved being able to take my music anywhere and listen to it privately. It's especially important when I'm away from home. I have a lot of different favourites, a lot of CDs to rip, a lot of songs that form the soundtrack to my thoughts, ideas and daydreams. Hence the engraving (free if you order from the Apple online store).

In other news, the magpie saga might not be over. Apparently the pair were spotted mating yesterday. Don't know if there is still time but maybe they will get another chance to raise some babies.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The end of the Best.Toy.Ever

This soccer ball squeaky toy lasted years longer than any other puppy toy in this house. Possibly because Mia was Chief Toy Deconstructionist, and it was always Elvis who was more interested in this one. She would occasionally make a show of nicking it off him. Then she would lie on her back with the toy in her mouth, lazily biting it to make it squeak, while Elvis jumped around barking madly at her.

Mostly it was Elvis who liked to chase it and pounce on it like it was alive, eventually settling down for a good squeaking session. But one day last week, Mia finally got her teeth well into it, and that was that. I'm keeping an eye out for another one.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

If you want to know what's really going on in a war or disaster zone, read the on-the-ground blogs. Of course personal blogs are not edited or regulated like the mainstream media, that's part of their value. I don't think it's exactly a replacement for old fashioned journalism, but what a fascinating supplement. Sure you can't believe everything you read on the internet... but then you need your bullshit meter switched on just to watch the news on tv anyway.

Photographer Clayton Cubitt's Operation Eden is his ongoing story of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina in his home town of Pearlington, Mississipi, where the home he bought for his mother and younger brother was wrecked along with most of the town. Let the whole page load and then start from the bottom. It's an amazing read.

Josh Norman and Mike Keller, journalists with the Sun Herald in South Mississippi, in Mike's words: "two guys too dumb to get out of the way of what is turning into one of the most destructive natural forces to hit the mainland U.S. ever", hunkered down in their newsroom to ride out the storm and then got on with documenting the aftermath - both for the paper and their blog - and helping with relief efforts (and apparently subsisting on Spam). Eye of the Storm is their personal outlet, way of keeping in touch with friends elsewere, and a place for their many photos that don't make it into the paper.

While we're on bad news, remember those magpie babies? Sadly, last week, we noticed the nest was empty. On Monday I looked out the window during a thunderstorm, and the mother was sitting on the nest. Tuesday, nest empty. There is no way they were ready to leave yet. I hadn't even been able to get a photo that showed more than an undistinguished pile of fluff. We think something probably ate them. Nature at work.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Good news everyone! You don't have to eat meat. I made enough gazpacho for all! It's tomato soup served ice cold!

I would hate to seem like a whinging vegetarian; there are enough of them around. I don't eat meat, for my own reasons; but I don't preach it as a way of life or even know for sure what I think is right for people as a whole. I don't think of myself as a persecuted minority group like some vegetarians do.

Kam and I still often retell (to each other, if no-one else will listen) the story of a couple we met, friends-of-friends at a restaurant, years ago. They had only recently decided to become vegetarian. When the seafood platter came out, they went into raptures about how wonderful it looked and how awful it was that they couldn't have any. We both - me vego, Kam not-so - were amazed and annoyed at this. Just eat the damn seafood already, or shut up about it.

People often ask me if it's hard to get vegetarian food, generally, or in certain places. When we pick a restaurant for lunch, I'm always consulted - can you get anything there? I shrug off these concerns because I don't find it difficult. I'm used to having just a few choices, and actually get paralysed when faced with an all-vegetarian menu. I also don't mind at all if I have to resort to the side dish consisting of an enormous bowl of potatoes in some seasoned or beer-battered form. I've only really had trouble in more fancy restaurants. Generally, cheaper restaurants seem to have more choices on the menu overall. So the fancy place with only three entrees and five mains on the menu is very unlikely to have more than one vegetarian option. Sometimes it's not even on the menu, you have to ask specially. Also, some fancy places seem to exude an attitude of 'why are you bothering with our gourmet food if you won't eat meat?'

For last year's ski trip we spent a bit more than usual to stay in a lodge in Thredbo, instead of driving up from Jindabyne every day. The package included a hot breakfast every day (bliss) and two dinners. The lodge's restaurant was known as one of the finer dining establishments in Thredbo. I noticed when we first got there that there wasn't anything vegetarian on the rather short menu, so I mentioned it at the check-in desk. They asked if I could please let them know the day before if I was planning to dine there. I agreed but privately was pretty unimpressed. It's not that rare to be a vegetarian! Even if they don't have something on the menu, I do think any restaurant should have the capability to come up with something on the night. I guess there's no law that says they have to. I just don't think it should be that hard. It's not unusal for meat-eaters to order meals that don't contain meat, not for any particular reason but just as another option. It has become much more normal and acceptable.

Not so much in Poland. Before I went there, I made sure to learn how to say "I don't eat meat" in Polish. At least I think that's what I was saying... Family were willing to indulge me in this strange diet, but I think they most likely thought I wasn't allowed to eat meat. When we went to a wedding, my cousin said, "Surely you can, just this once." It was difficult, through the language barrier, to explain that I didn't actually want to! But they goodnaturedly kept on piling up my plate with potatoes and salad, and mostly (some aunts better than others) remembered to leave the chicken bones out of the soup, with much urging from my Grandma.