Wednesday, April 9, 2008

News and a half

We are moving to Queensland.

And let it never again be said that I beat around the bush for the sake of a story build-up.
Not all the time, at least.

Those of you who know us personally will understand completely the reasons for moving. For those of you who only know the humbly-represented superhero versions of us depicted on this blog, I will give a brief explanation: health reasons.

I did say brief, didn't I?

I'll expand a little. Mele suffers from eczema, w
hich is exacerbated by a dry climate. We live in Adelaide. Adelaide happens to be one of the two worst places in the world for sufferers of dry skin-related conditions (the other is Tucson, Arizona) - this is according to Mele's brilliant (and rather dashing) dermatologist. The pain caused by her dry skin is so great that moving states is actually a reasonable and sensible solution as opposed to the alternative of remaining here.
Eczema and dry skin dermatitis are common ailments. Until I met Mele, I never realised how common. Everyone has it. However, no one has it like Mele does, except for a nineteen-year-old fellow from Port Pirie. You might think you, or your mate, or your Mum, or whoever, gets it really badly, but those people can still go outside and don't need expensive drugs that require monthly check-ups in order to simply keep it at bay. Strong drugs and buckets of petroleum jelly are the only things that work for her. Others may find relief in natural remedies, olive oil, steroid cream, altered diets and any one of the thousands of off-the-shelf moisturisers containing everything from vitamin E to stem cells and piss. Not Mele. Moving to Queensland is one of the last options for relief on a much-shortened list.

So, in the spirit of turning
lemons into lemonade and cow-shit into hypo-allergenic roses, this blog will become something of a travel diary. We don't plan to remain in Queensland forever,* just over the Adelaide winter until the dry, cold winds have blown themselves out and the Unbelievably Stifling Heat returns. (Those thinking along the lines of increased evaporation in summer vs increased precipitation in winter being better for dry skin can think again - Adelaide never gets so much rain that it actually becomes humid and the cold winter winds make a girl's skin seize up, whereas warm weather aids in movement).

The first step in the journey has been Moving Out Of The Tiny, Dark, Loud and Frequently Odorous Flat. It was nowhere near as traumatic a move as last year's was, complicated as it was by the multiple factors of:
1) Me being away for my week-long buck's show at the Byron Bay
Bluesfest during the time in which I should have been packing, finding a new place, etc.
2) The mansion at Second A
venue dividing into two separate households in one day of moving with a truck.
3) Smallacombe Real Estate being arseholes
4) There being other things going on in our lives.

Trent and Ben turned up, dealt with the discouraging fact that the espresso coffee I had promised had already been packed away, like the granite-jawed hombres they are and swiftly set about the manly business of tossing heavy articles of furniture into the back of a cheaply-hired three-tonne truck. We didn't even smash anything expensive.

The furniture is at Nonna's farm (along with the possessions of at least three of her other grandchildren who are all in the process of either moving or building houses), the valuable gear and heirlooms are at a secret mountain location and the rest of the miscellaneous crap that I thought I wanted, but now can't remember why I kept it in the first place has travelled with us to the house I grew up in to join the rest of the miscellaneous crap that my mother and I have insisted on storing and saving throughout the years because you never know when you might need fourteen cloth bags from various sociology conferences or an envelope full of receipts from an overseas trip which show that you paid 15,000 lire for lunch! I did manage to eBay a few items to lighten the load. My old Garfield comic books were hilarious when I was eight, but are now sliding into Fred Basset territory and are interestingly becoming the target for increasingly creative post-modern critiques. I flogged them off for forty bucks and now I've started sizing up everything around the house, weighing it, making mental notes to check the average eBay price, wondering if my folks would really miss this or that. I can't find a reliable buyer for the fourteen conference bags, however.

The best part is that we're in. Step one to Queensland is the most pleasant. Living in a place wit
h an actual garden and in which you can't hear Cantonese soap operas between 11pm and 7am is truly the meaning of happiness. Throw in a loving parent, adequate bench space and the thrilling access to more sunlight than a winter in north Finland and you have a heady combination. Mele and I traipse around the house in blissful ecstasy, skipping down the hallway and spinning around in the middle of rooms, arms outstretched crying to one another 'Look! I'm not touching anything!'

Ahead of us we have much to look forward to:

* Finding a place to live on Bribie Island which isn't either a temporary carpark or the rented-out cavity under a Queenslander.

* Acquiring transport which will fit more than one person and a second pair of undies (hopefully a station wagon).
* Continuing PhD research remotely and from the various as-yet-unsuspecting university libraries of Brisbane.
* Fishing.
* Finding some kind of employment up there that doesn't involve faeces.

Wish us luck and please join us on our travels. I promise more rambling anecdotes, run-on sentences, pleading for charity, self-indulgent photos, videos of questionable taste and value and a slightly-embellished account of what happens when two writers embark upon a journey north to a place where almost everybody is retired, although, let's hope, not retiring.

*Not a guarantee.

The winner is the largely brilliant, yet puzzlingly scoreless, Brocky, not for guessing that the header was a picture of me as a child used to symbolise the assumed age of most of those who enjoy the comic arts, but for linking the brilliant xkcd in one of its many well-timed, perfectly-weighted, nerd-alert pieces. Before T.O.o. Sam did. Brocky, welcome to The Board.


  1. I wish you both well and hope Mele's problem improves. When are you leaving? Will your blog title remain the same so I can keep reading?

  2. Staring down the barrel of an Adelaide winter I am a little jealous...of the weather. Not so much the hell that is moving or the reasons that necessitate it.
    Enjoy the fishing.

  3. I hope that Mele's skin improves while you're there and that you both continue your PhDs and writing. My Sapphire has excesma that flares up all damn year so maybe we'll end up joining you 'up there' some day....?

    Love your work mate and will continue to keep checking your blog. Stay in touch with us, your faithful readers and I'll make sure I eat enough Vili's, Haigh's and FUIC to cover your absence.

  4. Everyone has it.

    My skin blisters on contact with detergents, but compared to sufferers of eczema it's more of a minor annoyance (and a fine excuse to dodge washing up... unless gloves are provided).

    Good luck with the move and your peripatetic lifestyle.


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