Saturday, May 29, 2004

did the earth move for you too?

I'd love to have a look at this book:

It has been called the most beautiful book in the world, and the most unreadable. Its hero has sex with buildings. It also has a nearly unpronounceable title, The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Published in Venice in 1499, it is written in many languages, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, invented words and hieroglyphics, and it was not even fully translated until 1999, when the first complete English edition appeared. There are perhaps 260 copies in existence, among them one at Princeton University. No one is sure what it is about, or even who wrote it.
This much is understood: a character, Poliphilo, dreams of his beloved Polia, and of his journeys in search of her. The title can be translated as "the struggle for love in a dream". Poliphilo has dreams within dreams, and when he has sex with buildings in at least one case his ecstasy is returned. The book is illustrated with exquisite woodcuts of the swooning hero and heroine, enchanted gardens, strange creatures, cherubs and nymphs.
The key to the true authorship of The Hypnerotomachia may lie hidden in the beautifully ornate letters at the beginning of each chapter, which spell out the words "Brother Francesco Colonna greatly loved Polia."(Mystery and complexity form simple code for publishing hit, Sydney Morning Herald)

I love that, 'in at least one case his ecstasy is returned'. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

reality tv is dead, long live reality tv

Heard a rumour today that there's a talk show in the pipeline to be hosted by Australia's two most famous fish'n'chip shop owners. Scary.

hopetoun springs eternal

If you're looking for live music in Sydney tomorrow night, you might like to go see my friend Steve Griffiths who is headlining the Hopetoun Hotel (corner of Bourke and Foveaux Streets). As well as his performance:

The most wonderful Christa Hughes [from Machine Gun Fellatio] will be performing a solo set for us; this is good reason to come all on its own. Nutloaf ("Rolf Harris crossed with Syd Barrett"), who haven't performed for simply yonks, will be doing their special thing that they do....y'know, that thing. There will be giveaways, including Jelly Bellys...The show starts with Christa at 6.30 and we'll be going on at about 8.45.

I'm biased of course, but I think he's amazing. Go see it if you can.

Monday, May 24, 2004

neck and neck

On television Mark Latham arm-wrestles a radio jock (gee, that must have made for great radio) and they show photos of John Howard in the Seventies, looking unbelievably dorky. I guess it was the Seventies. In the paper, there’s an image of him dancing with Janette at his 30th anniversary party, the two of them in their own little world.
The pundits say it’ll be close. Much is being made about the fact that Latham hasn’t been prime minister before whereas Howard has, but Howard had a first time too, and he managed. Howard doesn’t seem to appreciate just how bad for him the American prisoner abuse scandal is. Everyday it just gets worse. I’m starting to wonder if the Americans involved were getting their revenge for September 11, there's something sort of vigilante about it all.

one in a million

The deadline for this year's Microstories Project, e-published by Scribble Press, has been extended to June 15:

We invite you to take one statistic from your life and create an essay about it [800 word limit]. Pick any number you want: your cholesterol count, your bowling average, today’s pollen count or air-pollution index, the number of American GIs dead in Iraq, the number of syllables in a haiku, the projected population of Earth in 2015, Ted Williams career batting average, any data point you choose. Just pick one—and only one, please—that speaks to you, that moves you to arrange words into meaning.

If only my eyes didn't glaze over at the mere sight of the word 'statistics'...

i feel better more secure now

So this is what the Government has spent our $21 million on. The ads look ridiculous. The slogan is Strengthening Medicare, and there's all these silly reinforced steel borders. (I hear they wanted to use the barbed wire Clip-art as well but the ad agency advised against it.) Anyway, we get the message. “Liberals = tough, secure, strong”, even on health.


The apple of my eye, who goes by the relatively normal name of Harley, is now three months old and weighs almost six kilos. His hair is two-toned because he's going blond, so he looks a bit like a little possum. This week he rolled for the first time, and yesterday he laughed out loud (best sound ever). As I said below, I've been discovering some of the perks of the job, like toys, lullabies (moon and me...moon and but the moon and me), and being allowed to be madly in love with the boss.

that syncing feeling

Guard stood down after toddler in horror trip without mother. That could easily have been me. We caught a few trains last week and had a few close calls. It's not a lot of fun using trains with a stroller, especially one like mine, which is the size of a small car. The trains announce STAND CLEAR DOORS CLOSING! before the train has even come to a stop. There’s huge gaps between the train and the platform that were never there before. Half the stations don’t have lifts or ramps, and you're expected to carry your stroller and baby up hundreds of steps. You can't expect that rail staff will assist you. At one station, a guard hanging out of his Guard’s Compartment nonchalantly turned away when he saw me.
“What do people do?” I said to a ticket lady who had to close her window to come and help me, and she rolled her eyes and said, “They don’t come here.”
I know people talk about stay-at-home mums, but I didn’t realise it was meant quite so literally.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

blogged nose

I have a cold...and about ten half-written posts, dammit. So far Harley seems fine, although he was a bit grizzly through the night, and I'm a bit nervous about him getting his first cold. That's my biggest worry. So, more later. (Lucky "later" is such a relative thing.)
Meantime, Sedgwick cooks up his first batch of jam over at webdiary. Mmmm...yum.

is a man

I couldn't help watching the new extreme reality show There's Something About Muriel the other day. Shame, Gianna, shame.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Oh, cool, I get to play with toys. I don't, however, get to blog. More soon. No, really.

postmodern spam

Re: When sp@m is overwhelming and what to do about it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

she rents sanctuary

Ah, it's good to be home. Took Harley down to Sydney for a whirlwind tour; more later. In the meantime I seem to have lost a few earlier posts, but it's not like they were anything I was particulary fond of or anything. So anyway...see you soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

meet your quaker

Um...was it something I said? According to Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic (via greeneyedmonster), I'm not an atheist after all. Apparently I'm a Liberal Quaker. Worse, I'm closer to being New Age than to being a Secular Humanist. Quizzes sure do move in mysterious ways.

and the beatles go on

Here's something for fans of the Fab Four:

June 2004 is the 40th Anniversary of The Beatles one & only tour of Australia. THE BEATELS are proud to announce, in association with, a HUGE national tour celebrating those historic shows. So far, the following dates have been announced:
Melbourne: Her Majesty's Theatre - June 15, 16 & 17
Sydney: Cremorne Orpheum - June 20 & 21
Perth: His Majesty's Theatre - June 23 & 24
Brisbane: Brisbane Concert Hall - June 29 & 30
These shows will feature footage of The Beatles live in Australia, as well as live perfomances by THE BEATELS. The show on June 15 will be a special Gala show where we will share the stage with none other than Pete Best, the original drummer for The Beatles, as well as Russell Morris, Daryl Cotton & Jim Keayes.

And here's something just for my mate Neil, who performs as Ringo in the Beatels: Beatallica (the Beatles in the key of Metallica). Songs include "Blackened the USSR", "I Wanna Choke Your Band", and "Hey, Dude":
Hey, dude-it'z true not sad
Take a thrash song and make it better
Remembah! That metal iz in your heart
Then you can start to be a fretter

Argh. (Via transbuddha)

caught faking it

It's a pretty gloomy thought to think that people in such positions of trust turn out to be playing us for fools:

They are safety engineers at nuclear power plants and biological weapons experts. They work at NATO headquarters, at the Pentagon and at nearly every other federal agency. And, as CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, they're employees with degrees from phony schools.

(Link via Media Dragon.)

the war on tiara

Despite the cynicism of some around the blogosphere this morning regarding a certain royal wedding, I have to say that even as a staunch republican, my chilly heart's warmed by the romance of it all. I mean, how poetic is Our Fred:

"The joy and the strength you give me is like the sun in the daytime which, with its radiance, melts all doubts and darkness on earth. And like the moon at night, you shine with a watchful and delicate beam of gentleness, which extinguishes the mischief and deceit used by the symbols of darkness. I love you Mary. Come, let us go, come let us see. Throughout a thousand worlds, weightless love awaits."

Important to distinguish between the sun in daytime and the sun at night, see. Do you think maybe he put this through Babelfish (Danish to English)?
Anyway, makes a nice change from all the beheadings and such-like in the news lately.

Friday, May 14, 2004

three atheists in church street

Next week when I go to Sydney, I'll drop in on my former neighbours Jo, 70, and Jean, 90, to show them the baby. Our three terraces had adjoining walls, and there was always at least one of us playing the devil's music at any given time. It was a bit of competition for the opera singer over the road, who tried our patience with his scales.
I used to go for a walk with Jo occasionally. We'd walk up to the shops through the park where the Laughter Club meets, and I'd get paranoid sometimes, imagining they laughed a little harder as we walked past. It's the park where I bought one of my cats. I was sitting reading a Sunday paper one day, no kidding, reading the Pet of the Week page and wishing I had a cat, when at that precise moment a fat, old woman dressed in black appeared out of nowhere carrying a cardboard box by a string. "Psst," she said (honestly, she did). "You want a kitten? Ten dollars." I looked into the box to see a petrified small black face and our fate was sealed. But strictly speaking it's a doglover's park.
My old street had a Buddhist centre and welders and panelbeaters at one end, and then up the other end, the church that gives the street its name. The church itself didn't get a lot of business from me, nor from Jo, nor even Jean, who you'd think at ninety might have a bit of an incentive to go.
On the crumbling wall that goes around the church and the park, there was a mass of overlapping graffiti; amongst it someone had painted in huge letters, HERION = EVIL. Further on, someone who could spell better had etched into the concrete footpath the suggestion to EAT MORE PUSSY. Well, it's Newtown, after all.
Newtown is like Chatswood for dykes. But there's character beneath its new upmarket glitziness; it's not like the bland and polished malls of the North Shore. There's cafes with windows that open onto King Street and spill out tanned backpackers fresh from Khao San Road. Nearby you'll see an Aboriginal girl begging, pushing a pram with a baby so curiously pale you think she has borrowed it as a prop. You'll see the alcoholic dancing alone outside a bar, the boy sitting on a milk crate selling short stories outside the 7-11.
Very different from the lakeside streets that I traverse now. But I don't miss the city. Or so I say...

more fool me

I got a bit carried away in my eagerness to sample the new Blogger features, and overlooked the fact that their new comments system is completely ridiculous, given you can only comment if you have a Blogger registration yourself, or as "Anonymous". What sort of pathetic comment system is that? Why can't people comment under their own name, with a link to their own site whether or not it's hosted with Blogger? With its little plan to get commenters to link to their Blogger profile, Blogger seems to think it is Friendster.
I guess I'll be adding code for Haloscan comments to this template. Which means they won't be integrated with post pages after all. Oh well. Either that or people can go ahead and comment as "Anonymous", manually typing in their site details. But that seems a bit of an ask. Besides, the whole thing would look a bit 'Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich'.
Someone asked me why I didn't just enable new Blogger comments on my old site and pick a new template to get the new bells and whistles. Well, I guess I could've, but I had customised the last template so much, I would've had to start from scratch with a new one anyway. So I figured it would be just as easy to keep the old archives as they are and start anew.
I thought wrong, obviously. Never mind...soldier on, I guess.


What's so good about blogging?

"[Blogging is] a medium that permits citizens to challenge the media monopoly in determining what counts as newsworthy and what the narrative frame for those stories is. We are all media critics now. They've been able to tell us, for decades, which stories count as news and how those stories should be told. Bloggers can say: Wait a minute. What about all these other stories? Why aren't you covering those? And what makes this narrative frame self-evident? Doesn't this one make just as much sense? And why did you leave these details out?"

From a fascinating interview with several "blogologists", including Jill from jill/txt, over at Online Journalism Review.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The labour party

Me and the kid went round to my folks' place today, as we do every Thursday, except today was my dad's 68th birthday and I shlepped along the white chocolate and pecan cake I made last night. As we ate cake and sipped champagne we got the call telling us that my sister had just given birth to Benjamin Elijah. Congratulations to Giulia, Isaac and Raphael. Great timing! Another cousin for Harley - Calista was born to Marco and Nathalie in Hawaii last week. So looks like me and the bub will be making a trip to Sydney in the next week or two, which will be fun.

fooling around

Hmmm...we seem to be crashing everytime I try to update the new blog. Hope this is just a temporary Blogger glitch and not because of all my faffing around in the template.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Extreme makeover

Hi there. My blog is currently undergoing renovations in order to take advantage of the new Blogger features, so apologies for the tweaking and for any strange behavior while I get it all sorted out. If you are new to my blog you may like to check out its previous incarnation over here.
By the way, anyone know how I can get everything in the righthand margin to be lowercase?