Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho, Halloween!

Despite there being no tradition of Halloween in Australia, you can't blame a few kids getting it into their heads that donning a witch's hat, a ghoul's mask or some such, and dashing about with a plastic bag screeching "Trick or Treat!" mightn't be such a bad idea tonight, if there's even just one apple and a tic tac to be made out of the venture. After all, Halloween's not an Aussie tradition, but begging and opportunism is well ingrained in the Aussie psyche.

So I wasn't surprised to find a ghoul, a goblin, a witch and some other creature - not quite sure what - turned up at Maria's doorstep with not-too-threatening giggles and a very Halloweenish chant of "Nice house you've got here!"

Y'see, the Aussie version of trick or treat seems to have been adapted to suit our culture even more - instead of threatening, suck up amazingly and it'll get you further.

Impressed I was; unfortunately, I wasn't prepared. Last year two boys in zomblie clothing had turned up and I gave them muesli bars and eucalyptus lollies.

This time I was lucky enough to dig up a nutri-grain bar (at least it's got a choc-topping) and a Cherry Ripe Bar for each of the kids. I thought I'd better come up with something sweet, because they were being chaperoned by a taller witch who, while she didn't beg for sweeties, might have not been so pleasant and calm had I not given her underlings sugarcoated treats.

I hope it were enough. If I never blog again, you'll know I've been mutated into something that can't blog.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Books, glorious books!

I don't know where it was first coined, but I first saw the word "biblioholism" in the book Biblioholism (whaddya know?) by Tom Raabe, describing the addiction of buying books. And of reading books. Hmm, that sounds like me, I thought at the time. Except I was a bit put off buying too many books at the time because I hadn't that much money and a big percentage of it had been locked down in my Commonwealth Bank Dollarmite account.

But I could well attest to many of the sensations and habits described by the author.

The feeling of headiness when you walked out of a bookstore laden with books?

The sneaking of books into class and reading them under the table?

The feeling of discomfort when you're caught on a train, in a restaurant, in a doctor's waiting room WITHOUT A BOOK? (nightmare nightmare nightmare)

So when I met Mr Coffee one of the most attractive things about this gorgeous figure apart from that sweet candystriped shirt and the fact he insists on wearing one green contact lens and one purple contact lens out to parties, was that he's afflicted with the same addiction.

We both can relate to it, which is great because we don't judge each other and we're perfectly understanding, and it's bad because we don't try to help each other, instead we feed each other's habit to buy lots and lots of books.

On the other hand, what's wrong with lots and lots of books?

Except for the fact that my bookshelves are showing a distinct curve where they aren't bearing the weight so well, it's all good.

We've been compiling lists of books we haven't had time to read because we're too busy buying more, and the list is rather long.

No matter, I say. Look, there's a 35% off sale! Can't miss out on that!

Besides, who'd want all your books READ?

Then you'd have to go out and buy more if you wanted to read! It's essential to have a large number of unread books on the shelf. Makes plenty of sense!

I'm planning my next romp on Borders for Thursday. Just for them to be warned.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Railing against CityRail

Now as a non-driver I've always relied on public transport and walking, much to my detriment.

My feet show huge sores that are mocked by car-drivers, and I have been psychologically scarred by exposure to inane meaningless mobile chatter while aboard rail.

Some people have asked me about my refusal to drive a fuel-chugging car. Is it environmental responsibility? The more cynical suggest it may be lack of money and me wanting to imbibe lots of alcohol on late nights out.

In fact it is none of these . It is sheer laziness and incompetence. I can't drive.

Oh and a bit of fear. Who knows what might mappen when you hit the accelerator? Doesn't that mean the car moves fast and then anything could happen couldn't it gosh you could die or worse still you could crash Mum's car and hit the neighbour's cat and never hear the end of it.

These kinds of fears keep me from ever testing the wheel.

So I ride the rail and the buses and let others take my life into their hands. At least they can have it out with Mrs Harris if they run over Mitzy and that is a load off my mind already.

Anyway this dependence on public transport means I am alert to the price of tickets, constantly.

Fares have gone up recently which is disgusting and outrageous stuff.

I am very much in favour of the low-cost ticket, or in fact free public transport.

I think there are many good arguments for this.

Actually there always are if you can get something out of it, however I believe this is a special case. For instance, we already pay taxes, unless your name is Jamie Packer and I think he owns his own private rail system so he doesn't count. So having very high tickets is unnecessary unless you're an incompetent and foolish government.

Oh well they've always got an excuse.

Also, the CityRail experience is not exactly a thing of beauty and a joy forever. In fact it is not even the basic standard I would expect from a Government.

The trains are always late and there is no government-supplied entertainment in the bleak waiting periods. John Watkins really ought to be strapped to a train and see what happens to him. It probably doesn't leave the depot, it stays there because that week was scheduled for trackwork and buses replaced trains "allow 30 minutes extra for travel time please".

After trackwork everything looks worse than when the trackwork started.

The voices which announce train timetables have irritating lilts.

The graffiti in CityRail is unoriginal and unamusing. I have read "Rave naked near a blue light" too many times now.

Train seats are not wide enough to accommodate Australia's obesity problem. Too many times I have got into a train to see a large person plonk down on a threeseater and take up most of the seat, and watch their flab expand over into the aisle. Then they chomp at a chocolate.

It is at the times when I watch this that I think about whether I ought to risk running over Mitzy.

P.S. I have been railing against the trains for awhile, but the writing of this post was prompted by a terrific post by TimT at Fastest Underwear in the West

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

"The Used Ink Tank is Almost Full"

Message from my printer.

Phew. And I was starting to get worried about all this artificial intelligence hype.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

The Biggest Number in the World

Column Eight (Sydney Morning Herald) mused a bit about what's the biggest number in the world. "There's no biggest number" said one reader ...

because you can always think of a big number, then double it.

And give it a new name. Like googolplexplex or something.

Column Eight suggest "Frank" to be one more than the largest number you can come up with; someone else suggested a "maximillion".

I suggest a "Jones". You can never quite keep up with the Joneses.

P.S. The Mathemagician and Milo were discussing this in The Phantom Tollbooth years before I came across it in Column Eight. The smallest number too - thinkof the smallest number you can think of - then halve it.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Election '07: I like worms

Mr Rudd has just agreed to an election debate with Mr Howard, and there's going to be a worm. At first Mr Howard didn't want the worm, but Mr Rudd said, "Why punish the worm? Everyone likes the worm."

Hmm. Well, there's a song about going eating worms, but I know lots of people who don't like worms. They haven't been given a good wrap in the past. All this stuff about being slurmy and slimey and grubby and dirty. Like that was a bad thing. However I was just browsing through some pictures the other day and I thought about how unfair a generalisation that was. It's a bit like the one the Liberal Party is spruiking about union leaders - they're not all grubs. There are some, in fact quite a few, who look quite down and groovy to get with.

What we need to do is divest ourselves of some of the common worm myths we have in society. Not all worms are scary worms, like this:

Some, in fact, are very hardworking, congenial worms, who contribute a lot to Australian society and ought to be celebrated. The fact that they wear rather cool hats helps a lot:

Speaking of cool hats, a worm with this hat on has to have a keen sense of humour:

Some worms just keep smiling and keep the whole world smiling too!

And some just are trying very hard to assimilate into the Aussie way of life ...

Truly give them credit. There are some very cool worms out there. Vote 1 The Worm!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The whimsical contradictions of pollies pushing for power; or Election '07: now even I've started a diary

I just received an email from Senator Steve Fielding of Family First, urging us to put Family First. And to give him my telephone number so we can have a good natter about it.

Note to Senator Fielding - giving a pollie my personal number so he can pester me all day long, 'specially round election time, is not my idea of putting families first.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Ode to the dastardly less or fewer Coles Express Lane

When it's 12 Items or Less,
When it's Coles Express,
The signs are so meaningless
They should say FEWER!
What they garble is senseless
Why can't they write FEWER?
I shop in the fast lane less and less
I want them to write FEWER!
I'm getting more depressed
In God's name just write FEWER!
Please just put my mind to rest
How hard is it to write FEWER?!
And there'll be less poems like this I guess

They got to me now.


Sweet Ever-child

Is it just me, or does the word "child" seem kind of incongruous here? Apparently she's a young, early-twenties inexperienced junior.
When I was that age I wore rounded glasses, a daggy T-shirt, baggy jeans and a Swatch watch, had a jagged thick fringe, pimples, and no hips, and thought joining the chess club was ultra cool. And I thought make-up was pretty cool - if you were a clown or a mime-artist. I had to put socks down my bra to fill out a Double-A bra. Actually, that hasn't changed that much except I finally threw the light-blue and white striped shirt away. I've changed it for a green T-shirt, it cost $5, which was a major outlay for me. It's so mega-hot.

Maybe I'm a Neverland kinda girl, but I get on buses, and I find girls on child passes who look more developed than me. Or so I think. Either school girls grow up quickly, or someone's cheating the transport system for a heck of a lot.

And then these young models who look ... erh, more worldly than me. Hmmm. Am I weird to say I feel rather inadequate in many regions?

If my child looked like that, she'd be using me for her Cabbage Patch Doll.