Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blip

Of course I still post to this blog!

Problem is that it's less a diary of things I now put on Facebook and now a repository for either photos (which are easy to publish, but increasingly personal and so I don't post them) or for ideas I have which are either ill-formed, so why would anyone want to read them, or just plain boring.

But Bloggy is always in my heart.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Here's how everyone else should parent

The little boy, Charlie's size, but younger came over a few times to check out Charlie's Matchbox car. Then he came over and gave Charlie a series of little punches, right on the side of the arm. I didn't see it, but I saw the little boy scamper back after his name was called at his own table.
Then he came back and did it again.
'Can you stop your child from hitting my son?' we asked, loudly enough for everyone to hear.
Charlie wasn't hurt, or even that bothered. But the boy's mother dragged him over to our table and told him to apologise.
Then it began.
Charlie sat there and waited. All four adults at our table sat there and waited. The boy's mother crouched next to him and told him, goaded him, asked him, pressed him and nagged him to say sorry. But the boy did nothing. He didn't move his lips, he stared anywhere but at Charlie, at the wall, into the middle distance. He leant back into his mother, snaking his little arms up around for a cuddle, a hug, a chance to bury his face, and each time he was gently unhooked and told to say sorry. He was immediately ready to move onto the part where he was assured that everything he did was okay. This went on for minute after minute. No one spoke but his mother. There were no tears, no raised voices, just firm whispering and denied affection. The closest the kid got to verbalising anything was trying to kiss Mummy's ear.
Waiters squeezed by, Charlie became bored and still the snuggling and whispering went on. And on. Still the whispering and urging went on. The tone never changed, neither did the boy's facial expression - if vacant denial can be called an expression.
Finally, I think he managed to mutter 'sorry' to Charlie audibly enough that the ordeal ended. Hugs all round. Hand-holding, playing with cars, kissing goodbyes and the other table left.


Here are your questions for discussion:
  1. Why did it take five minutes of snuggling and explaining to get a kid to say sorry?
  2. How does a kid with no other obvious social impairments arrive at the idea to repeatedly hit another kid his own age?
  3. Why was saying sorry to someone's face the worst thing that could happen to that kid, as opposed to say, anything else?
  4. Are there any moral downsides to teaching your offspring to, when physically abused, retaliate with a single jab to the nose and a threatening catch-phrase, ie. "Don't mess with the Moose, motherfucker"?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Death throes

Sometimes you can spend an entire weekend doing something by not really doing it.
The 3 people who still read this blog know that I'm very very close to the end of my PhD. I'm actually at that point that I know other PhD students have reached where they chuck a hissy and submit it.
'Good enough!' they cry, dropping into the mail chute. Or giving it to the office. Or whatever ceremony goes along with it. I generally like to imagine an office admin pulling out a bell and giving it a few shakes. Nothing massive, but something out of the ordinary. Then we could all use a community-shaping euphemism:
'You rung the bell yet?'
'Nope, still got my conclusion to tidy up.'
That kind of thing.

My obstruction to 'ringing the bell' (maybe it'll catch on!) is the abstract. 500 words, what's the thesis about.
Easy, right?
Sort of.
It's a summary of a summary of a summary of my thesis.
I'm sure, once I get the wording right, I'll be asked to summarise it again. Maybe I'll just remove everything that's not a noun or a verb:

Thesis. 
Class. Literature. Metaphor. Australia. Power. Novel.

At least I won't have to spend long on it when that time comes.

I spent the entire weekend thinking about it and not very much time actually doing it. Even less productivity came out at the end. I'll get there. Go, me. Go.

And, of course, the final absolutely last bit is (I think) the acknowledgements. I'm thinking of doing it year-book style with little portrait photos of everyone and awards underneath. But that could just be the procrastination talking ...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Racism

Something I've learned in the last week: The only thing a white Australian seems to hate more than being called a racist is seeing a black Australian being told 'sorry'.

It's the same objections that came up before, during and after Kevin Rudd's Apology. All these people rumbling away in the background how it wasn't them, it wasn't their ancestors, why should they have to feel bad?

I think there's some specific white terror that, if we say sorry, then we'll have to give everything back. I think the fear of apology is borne of an implicit knowledge that, boy, did we whites really get away with absolutely everything. And it's so close to the surface, that the merest suggestion that, perhaps, we should all take some responsibility for the current thinking on race in Australia, suddenly everyone's throwing up their hands and wagging their heads and generally behaving as though white privilege does not exist.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bogan haiku

The boy shouts 'fuck you!'
at his sky-bound red balloon.
Mum slaps his hot tears.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Plagiarism green pasta

I stole this recipe from a good friend of Mele's. It's my go-to dinner party recipe for when shitloads of people need to be fed.

Ingredientes:
Basil pesto
  • Basil (duh)
  • Nuts (almonds, pine nuts, cashews, whatev) - dry fry in a pan and don't burn
  • Salt
  • Pepper (grind it up or you'll have peppercorns)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - the stronger the better
Put it all in a blender. Leave the oil out.
Turn blender on. Then pour oil in. Boom. Pesto.

OR

Buy a jar of basil pesto. Your choice.

Cherry tomatoes (chop in half)
Zucchini (sliced in pretty half moon shapes)
Broccoli (chopped up into bit sized bits)
Peas (handful)
GARLIC (crushed into little bits)
Avocado (about half per person, chopped)
Baby spinach

More EV olive oil
Chicken stock powder
Maybe like, white wine or that verjuice stuff

Pasta (whatever you like)

Methode:

1. Cook pasta in a big pot.
2. While it's cooking, throw in the chicken stock.
3. When it's nearly done, or just done, throw in the chopped up broccoli and the peas. If you can't be stuffed with these two, just forget about them.
4. Pasta done. Strain it with the broc. and the peas. Set aside. Keep a splash of that chicken stocky water in the pot if you can. If it all pours away, so what it's just salty water.
5. Put the pot back on the heat. Same pot. Less washing up like that.
6. Put in a big slug of olive oil. Hey, take a bloody shot of olive oil at this point. You're gonna be fine.
7. Put in the crushed garlic. Swirl it around until you can hear it making a little noise.
8. Pesto in.
9. More swirling.
10. Zucchini in. Let that fry up a bit. Basically until it's hot.
11. This is the bit where you can throw in the white wine or verjuice. Just a little bit. For fanciness of flavour. Or, so you can blame me if it doesn't taste right: 'Bloody Franzy! He said to put wine in it!' Seriously though: don't put heaps in. You're just ruining wine you could be drinking. Don't drink the verjuice though. It's not alcoholic.
12. Wine/verjuice steamed off? Pasta back in. Cherry tomatoes in, baby spinach in, avocado in.
13. Stir it up until everything is touching everything else. Give the whole mix some cracked pepper while you're doing this.
14. Serve it up and eat the rest for lunch.
15. Parmesan cheese, of course.

You can pretty much forget everything except for the pasta, the pesto and the tomatoes and it's still going to look great. But you shouldn't. Who doesn't have some cracked pepper and at least one vegetable you can either fry or boil in the pasta water lying around?

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32