Sunday, May 30, 2010

With two sugars

And in the black fountain of hot, fresh coffee, I saw the scalded, drowning souls of my enemies.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kath, get ya lippy out

It's becoming more and more difficult to resist just posting photo after photo of young Charlie. I realise that the writing blogging is fairly non-existant these days and the things I do write are almost like shouting into a ravine. The only blog-worthy thoughts I've had recently are to do with the over-all foolishness of making cigarette manufacturors re-package their product in plain brown boxes, as though this will stop people from buying them.

Idiots! These are drugs. The bestest things about all drugs aren't the pretty boxes they come in. Ask anyone who has ever tried any kind of drug why they wanted to and I can guarantee their first answer won't be "The enticing packaging".

(Nb. As I have never knowingly met any drug users myself, I am only alleging this based upon a movie I saw once in which several background characters appeared to have been drug users in the past)

Okay, fine then. I'll stop blog-whinging about what a blog is or isn't lately and just make with the baby photos.

Kath, you were warned.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Burqas, priest's collars, skull caps and digger's hats

I've been thinking about this issue for a while now.
I think I might have boiled it down to something equating to ideology vs culture.
Yes, burqas oppress these women and are a symbol of that oppression.
No, I don't have to understand it to accept. I understand the cultural significance of the burqa (and dozens of other religious/cultural symbols), but that doesn't mean that it doesn't offend my own cultural sensibilities.
Burqas are bullshit. I say so. I hate what they stand for and the fact that they symbolise ownership and control of women.
I can feel like that and say it because that's the cultural attitude I was brought up with and I've considered my membership to my own culture and accepted it. If I was convinced that the culture which supports the burqa is the right way to go, then I would pop over and join in. That's Australia - I can pretty much do what I like and wear what I like. Like people who wear burqas.
If we start banning burqas, don't let's kid ourselves that it's about safety or any of that other propgandist garbage. Unless we ban all cultural and religious symbols, no matter how benign or offensive to our own sensibilities (think priest's collars, skull caps and digger's hats), then a burqa ban is pure xenophobia. And that's not the Australia I want.
We're not going to effect a cultural change in the people who expect women to wear burqas (wearers included) by banning one expression of that culture.

Glenfiddick, in case you were wondering

Help! I'm trapped in an exegetical treadmill!

I know they all this the Golden Hour, when everyone has gone away and the door is closed and the internet is quieted and the work flows, but it's cold and my neck is sore and my brain keeps tugging at my trouser-leg like a little boy I know and whispering "Hey. There's a nice warm tumbler of whisky in the next room. That would help you define why the critical concern among children's literature scholars is in fact limiting their discursive scope!"

You ever get that?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Got any good sarsaparilla?

Sometimes (most of the time) sitting down at 8:30pm after dinner to work on the PhD is like pulling teeth. Not my teeth - somebody else's. But somebody unrestrained by leather straps or high-dose chemicals. Somebody who can have a real swing at you if you loosen that headlock.
All you come out with at the end of the nightly ordeal is a few teeth and sore eyes.

I did actually have a meeting with both supervisors last week and, unlike the black days of The Proposal, neither of them used the phrase "read the riot act". They liked some bits I'd written. They gave me the "Keep it up, sonny" usually reserved for the newest coal miner who learned how to heft a pick in a tight space.

Unfortunately, I'm back at the beginning. And all my enthusiasm got me a deadline. Not some vague "let's meet when you've got something to say" type deal. June 2nd. 2pm. Have something readable. I feel as though I should be muttering this into a shallow dish of whisky while some slab-faced bartender pretends to listen. That would be pretty darn sweet. The Great American ideal of alcoholism is an alarmingly attractive one. Ask any non-American bloke who's ever read a detective novel or heard of Moe's Tavern.

Problem is that my head is cold. And I've got a great idea for a new book growing like a face-hugger implant and the only time I'll ever get to start squeezing out the ideas is between now and when I'm genuinely overcome by the need watch the latest Boondocks.

Wish me luck.

I hope you all enjoyed the photos.

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