Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This page was looking hideous when I got here - apologies if you happened to sight it today. I was playing with the template yesterday and must have forgotten to reinstate the original (and it seems that the published changes don't show up till the next day, which is a bit weird). Sorry to you in particular, Gerry: your Blogger comments have disappeared. I put one over into HaloScan, but the others have gone :(

If anybody else also left comments using the Blogger system, I'm sorry, they're gone and I didn't see them. Could you come back and try again?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Summer afternoon...

...and the first real storm we've had this season. These shots are from around the edges (before and after).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thoughts while walking

Thought (from out of the blue): The point of living is to do the things that make you feel alive; and if you're not doing them, to find them; and if you can't find them, to keep looking.
Thought (from my head): Why don't you live like that then, smartarse?


Statement 1: I can't be bothered with NaNoWriMo. I shouldn't have started.
Statement 2: I'm going to make an effort with NaNoWriMo. I want to finish.
Statement 3: (the sound of flip-flopping between Statements 1 & 2, about every five minutes)


Q. What's the point of standing in a cool breeze and feeling the sun on your skin?
A. To stand in a cool breeze and feel the sun on your skin.


Me to brain: Shut up.
Brain to me: YOU shut up!
The smartarse: Brain and self aren't separate, fool!
Me & brain: SHUT UP!!


Bloody hell.

It was a nice sunset, though:

Friday, November 25, 2005


You are about to enter a Dopey Stereotypes Zone.
DO NOT PROCEED unless equipped with adequate levels of willingness to laugh at stupid jokes.

From Ned Martin's Amused:

A Beer Before it Starts

A man came home from work, sat down in his favourite chair, turned on the TV, and said to his wife, "Quick, bring me a beer before it starts."

She looked a little puzzled, but brought him a beer. When he finished it, he said, "Quick, bring me another beer. It's going to start."

This time she looked a little angry, but brought him a beer. When it was gone, he said, "Quick, another beer before it starts."

"That's it!" She blows her top, "You bastard! You waltz in here, flop your fat ass down, don't even say hello to me and then expect me to run around like your slave. Don't you realize that I cook and clean and wash and iron all day long?"

The husband sighed. "Damn, it's started."

NaNoWriMo: 4

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals... except the weasels.

- Homer J. Simpson

Word count = somethin' pitiful :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,301 - 1,400

From The 5,000 Question Survey 2.0 part 27 and part 28:

1353. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
1354. Do you still have imaginary friends?
1358. What would make you happy that money can buy?

1353. Two: Gary and Judy. No idea where their names came from.
1354. Yes. And years ago one helped me get through a hard year. I was at uni, doing a course I hated and should probably have quit but didn't. Every day of the first few weeks felt like torture. I didn't know anybody, didn't want to be there, and couldn't find anywhere to sit for lunch that didn't seem festooned with "Loner!" and "Loser!" flags. On the worst day I ate a sandwich while standing in a toilet cubicle. Thinking of that now makes me want to cry - the fact I was being so stupid - but at the time I wasn't thinking straight and just wanted to hide somewhere (but was hungry, hahaha...) Then at night in my ugly little flat I used to look out the window at the wall of the shed next door, all of one metre away, and the strange stick-like tree that grew in the gap. For most of the year it was like a skeleton, with no leaves. One night I looked at the tree and remembered an animated film I love, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. One of the characters has a bundle of sticks which are planted in the snow and grow into human-like shapes, and they look very much like that tree. And before I knew it, Stick-man was born, an imaginary friend. In my mind I carried him around in a pocket every day, and whenever I started to get anxious or worried, I'd think of him and feel better. I don't know why this worked, but it did, and bless it for doing so.

1358. It was definitely a one-off thing and wouldn't work again, but... At uni (not the Stick-man one) I lived in a college and hated going to meals in the dining room (a huge place, hundreds of people at long tables). One morning instead of going to the college breakfast, I walked up the hill to the uni cafeteria - one of only two times in three years I ever went in there - and bought a coffee and two doughnuts to take back to my room. And walking back down that hill in that cold morning air - sun on the trees, a spring in my step, coffee and doughnuts in hand - was one of THE happiest moments of my life. Cheap thrill; lasting impact.

NaNoWriMo word count = 7,610

Skimming the 5,000: 1,201 - 1,300

From The 5,000 Question Survey 2.0 part 25 and part 26:

1211. What song, CD, or band is a 'guilty pleasure' for you (meaning you know it sucks but you like it anyway)?
1231. What song is in your head right now?
1264. What song would you like to hear spontaneously in a public place (like a store)?

1211. My Mum's Christmas albums. They SERIOUSLY suck - imagine chipmunks doing Christmas songs on a Hammond organ - but until the point where it's all too much and I just want to tear my hair out if I ever have to listen to that sound again... I really love them. I might even secretly (in my head) sing along.
1231. Dropkick Murphys "Auld Triangle" (a very good "Would you just get going?! It's been morning for hours!" sort of song). And available FREE from the mighty Amazon.

1264. Any song, if everybody in the whole place was singing it. Can you imagine? It'd be amazing!

NaNoWriMo word count = 6,253

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,101 - 1,200

From The 5,000 Question Survey 2.0 part 23 and part 24:

1156. Did you ever meet a celebrity? Who?
1171. Who can you only handle in small doses?
1195. What is one luxury you refuse to live without?

1156. (Gossip please, reader. You'll go to hell for it, but I for one will appreciate your sacrifice.) While working in that vego café, I made a smoothie or a juice for a customer who seemed quite superhumanly beautiful. I found myself beaming at her like an idiot, almost against my will, as though she was an angel or something. According to the boys in the kitchen, it was Elle Macpherson. She was there on her own, seemed quiet and polite, and was not at all "star" like.
1171. The rest of humanity.

1195. Hot showers. Or, at a pinch, cold showers. Or if things are really desperate, enough water in a bucket. I can live with dirt and mud, but can't stand end-of-day sweat/grime/oiliness.

PS. It's remarkable how urgent blog posting has become now that I'm procrastinating my way through NaNoWriMo.

Word count = 3,735

Monday, November 21, 2005

NaNoWriMo: 3

I've been trying to write about my first proper job - a small shop in a small town, three co-workers, pleasant conditions, Monday to Friday for about eight or nine months.

The part I remember is that behind the shop was an alley, and I loved it. The walls on either side were about two-storeys high, dark brick, no windows, and it felt like a very narrow shady canyon. It was like walking into another world, always dark and cool.

But as for the shop, and what exactly I did there, or what the other people did, or what they were like, or the specifics of the place and the tasks and our daily conversations...? I could write a very long list of all the things I can't recall, and you'd swear I'd never been there at all.

This personal little NaNo quest has already shown me something important: I don't forget things because my memory is crap, I forget them because I never notice them in the first place. I'm floating through life without ever touching down. I'm stuck in a bubble of my own thoughts and feelings.

And that can't be good, reader. Stuck in a bubble? Bloody hell.

Word count = 2,632. (Laugh and you die.)

NaNoWriMo: 2

I spent most of Sunday trying to sort this thing out, trying to find characters and a plot and all the rest of it. And I tried different techniques, too - freewriting, outlining, asking questions, working from random words, writing with the screen black (to stop myself editing all the time) - trying to observe myself as a scientist would, investigating which method works best. All in all, the key word was "trying". It was very.

I can't think in stories: I tried and I can't. I couldn't do it last time either. So I'm going to change tack. It's not actually NaNoWriMo-ish (stupidly, the National Novel Writing Month is supposed to be about writing novels) but I'm going to write a memoir instead, or bits of it. (And this has something to do with suggestions from Anan, so thank you Ms Genius!)

I haven't written much yet - "I was born. I'm still here." - but no problem. That's about all there is to say anyway. The rest will be just padding.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 1,001 - 1,100

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 21 and part 22:

1013. Would you rather be a police officer or a criminal?
1071. Has anyone ever tried to kill you?
1085. Do you have any interesting scars?

1013. Police officer. I think everybody should stick to the law, generally speaking, so I'd have a hard time being a criminal. Plus I used to watch The Bill, so if I went to Sun Hill I could qualify straight away. Plus this blog has "plod" in the address.
1071. A truck once knocked me off a bike, but the driver probably wasn't aiming. It was a meat truck though, and I was on my way to work in a vegetarian café. (I do love that bit.)
1085. One on my hand from when I was two and tried to peel an orange with a sharp knife (two stitches, traumatised parents), and one on my elbow thanks to that truck in 1071 (broken bone, pinned).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

NaNoWriMo: 1

I just signed up to do NaNoWriMo, which is a bit surprising really. Back in October I was thinking about it, but gave up because I couldn't think of a story. I still can't think of a story, or any of those other troubling details like characters, setting, or... other stuff. I haven't let myself think about these things yet, because (a) it would have stopped me signing up, and (b) when I do look at them, it's going to scare the shit out of me.

So. Hum-de-har-de-ho-de, etc. I'm going to have to actually start writing pretty damn soon, I suppose. There are 11 days to go, and I need to write 50,000 words. Another one of those troubling details. In a minute I'll get a cup of tea and prepare myself for the shock of facing these things. But first I had to put this post up and seal my fate. I've signed up. You know about it. Time to get going.

It's not like this is something new: I did the whole thing last year. And it was a pitiful effort, too - a complete load of crap, not a story in sight. But I did manage to make 50,000 words, and it felt good to finish. This year I'm leaving it really late to start, that's all, and I didn't want to do it again unless I could do it properly, with an actual story instead of just notes.

There's a good chance that this year's effort will be even worse than last year, and usually that would stop me from trying, or even thinking about trying it. Well it DID stop me, until now. But I don't want to be like that. I am going to try this, and if it doesn't work, no real harm done. Maybe I'll learn something. Plus I've got more free time than anybody else on earth, so what's there to lose? Plus, the idea of starting this late only occurred to me about 90 minutes ago, and it seemed really funny. I rushed in and signed up straight away, before my normal self caught up with events. It's so out of character, it's going to get scary any time now.

Yes... yes... I think that might be regret I can hear marching in already. Bloody hell. Better get that cup of tea and start writing. Here goes nothing, etc.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Modern genius

Donald Rumsfeld (US Secretary of Defense) is currently visiting Australia for talks with our foreign and defence ministers. I'd like to play my part in honouring the fellow by bringing one of his little-known skills to your attention: Mr Rumsfeld is a poet.

Until now, the secretary's poetry has found only a small and skeptical audience: the Pentagon press corps. Every day, Rumsfeld regales reporters with his jazzy, impromptu riffs. Few of them seem to appreciate it.

But we should all be listening. Rumsfeld's poetry is paradoxical: It uses playful language to address the most somber subjects: war, terrorism, mortality. Much of it is about indirection and evasion: He never faces his subjects head on but weaves away, letting inversions and repetitions confuse and beguile.

To confuse and beguile... His work embodies the very spirit of our times.

The Situation

Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

- D.H. Rumsfeld

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

They DID it??!!

Australia v. Uruguay in the play-off for World Cup qualification, and it goes to a penalty shoot-out? Bloody hell.

But they did it (no thanks to me: I gave 'em a snowball's chance in hell).

Australia goes to Germany in 2006! World Cup, World Cup, yay!!

PS. The crowd noise during the Uruguay National Anthem? Bad form, Australians. Boo.

Skimming the 5,000: 901 - 1,000

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 19 and part 20:

911. What the hell is your problem?
927. In ten years someone else might own your house and the room you are sitting in now. Someone else might be standing right next to where you are sitting now. So that means you could be standing right next to someone but you can't see him or her because they are ten years away. Ever look at life like that?
938. What do you tend to see in black and white, rather than in shades of grey?

911. Never knowing what to say when someone asks a question like that, then thinking of the perfect reply, hours, weeks, years too late.
927. No.
938. Arguments. I'm right, they're wrong; I'm smart, they're stupid. Simple. Case closed.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 801 - 900

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 17 and part 18:

802. When you ask people how they are doing, do you actually care about their answer or are you just being polite?
818. Which group generally annoys you more, people older than you, or people younger than you?
826. What is the one way you wouldn't want to die?

802. Usually I don't ask unless I care about the answer, but if I'm nervous and somebody says, "How are you?" (meaning Hello) I just go, "Fine thanks, how are you?" right back at them, without even thinking about it. I hate this, but what's worse is when the other person says "Hello" (meaning Hello) and I say, "Fine thanks, how are you?" (meaning I am an idiot).
818. All of them. Everyone on earth is too annoying to be tolerated.
826. Now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


In his article today [see online pages 3 & 4], Alan Ramsey refers to a sermon delivered to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, Texas, by Rev. Dr. Davidson Loehr, who argues that the modern USA is "Living Under Fascism":
I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying. [...] fascism is a word that is completely foreign to most of us. We need to know what it is, and how we can know it when we see it.
The sermon draws on ideas from an article by Laurence W. Britt, "Fascism Anyone?", who analysed seven fascist or protofascist regimes, proposing "fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power."

Some of those threads might sound familiar to Australians:

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights: Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause: The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice - relentless propaganda and disinformation - were usually effective.

6. A controlled mass media: The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite.

7. Obsession with national security: [The actions of a national security apparatus] were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

According to Davidson Loehr (my emphasis):
It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. They both come from very primitive parts of us that have always been the default setting of our species: amity toward our in-group, enmity toward out-groups, hierarchical deference to alpha male figures, a powerful identification with our territory, and so forth. It is that brutal default setting that all civilizations have tried to raise us above, but it is always a fragile thing, civilization, and has to be achieved over and over and over again.
He suggests that despair would be wrong:
I hope that we can remember some very basic things that I think of as eternally true. One is that the vast majority of people are good decent people who mean and do as well as they know how. Very few people are evil, though some are. [...] the way to rebuild broken bridges is through greater understanding, compassion, and a reality-based story that is more inclusive and empowering for the vast majority of us.
Prepare yourself, though:
Those who want to live in a reality-based story rather than as serfs in an ideology designed to transfer power, possibility and hope to a small ruling elite have much long and hard work to do, individually and collectively. It will not be either easy or quick.


What do you call it when a major Australian newspaper - the Sydney Morning Herald - runs a two-page spread/online articles on 18 people accused of terrorism offences, specifying:

- their names
- (for Sydney suspects) their suburbs, including in one instance the street name
- photos where available
- ages
- backgrounds, variously including country of birth or ethnic background, occupation, family ties, place or type of education, and place of religion (including this: 'Said to be "one of those, particularly in the month of Ramadan ... who came to Ramadan services, if not every night, every second night" at the local mosque."' Relevance?!)

... presenting all this to the Australian public before evidence against the accused has been presented to the court. And doing this knowing that "... the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions applied to the Supreme Court last night to block the release of the police statement setting out evidence against the accused men" and that the Central Local Court magistrate in the relevant case has "granted a stay on its release until 9.30am Monday, when the DPP will seek an injunction"?

What do you call it? I call it WRONG! I call it the slippery slope towards a terrifying future. I call it a tragedy for human rights and the presumption of innocence and for community relations across in this country. For God's sake! What's happening? What? This sort of behaviour should be unbelievable!

Friday, November 11, 2005

11th November 2005

This isn't funny: I nearly forgot Remembrance Day.
Remembrance Day or Armistice Day is a day of commemoration observed in the Commonwealth of Nations and various European countries (including France and Belgium) to commemorate World War I and other wars. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918.
Most of our Western-centric attention seems to be taken up with one war in particular these days, but take a look around the globe and the situation is - as ever - horrifying. The following is taken from (emphasis added by yours truly):
The United Nations defines "major wars" as military conflicts inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. In 1965, there were 10 major wars under way. The new millennium began with much of the world consumed in armed conflict or cultivating an uncertain peace. As of mid-2005, there were eight Major Wars under way (down from 15 at the end of 2003), with as many as two dozen "lesser" conflicts ongoing with varying degrees of intensity.
Current conflicts include:

Algeria - insurgency
Angola - Cabinda
Burma - insurgency
China - Senkaku Islands
China - Spratly Islands
Colombia - insurgencies
Congo (Zaire) - Congo war
Georgia - civil war
India - Assam
India - Kashmir
India - Naxalite uprising
Indonesia - Aceh
Indonesia - Kalimantan
Indonesia - Maluku
Indonesia - Papua / West Irian
Israel - Al-Aqsa Intifada
Ivory Coast - civil war
Korea - Korean war
Laos - Hmong insurgency
Moldova - Transdniester
Namibia - Caprivi Strip
Nepal - Maoists
Nigeria - civil disturbances
Pakistan - Baluchistan
Peru - Shining Path
Philippines - Moro uprising
Russia - Chechen uprising
Somalia - civil war
Spain - Basque uprising
Sudan - Darfur
Thailand - Islamic rebels
Turkey - Kurdistan
Uganda - civil conflict
United States - Afghanistan
United States - Djibouti
United States - Iraq
United States - Philippines
Uzbekistan - civil disturbances
Yemen - Sheik al-Houti

Most of these are civil or "intrastate" wars, fueled as much by racial, ethnic, or religious animosities as by ideological fervor. Most victims are civilians, a feature that distinguishes modern conflicts. During World War I, civilians made up fewer than 5 percent of all casualties. Today, 75 percent or more of those killed or wounded in wars are non-combatants.

Sounds like something too big to forget, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Batman gets groovy...

... and for a short time, absent. Sorry about the disappearance of the pic. Should be roaring to go now though.

From Ned Martin's Amused.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Midlife navel-gazing

Another quiz. More me. And if it seems like I’m becoming completely obsessed with myself, that’s only because I am:

The Second Identity Crisis
In life we have two major identity crises. The first, occurring in adolescence, is to establish an identity. You must get a sense of who you are. The second identity crisis is at midlife when you must give up who you think you are so you can become who you were meant to be.

"Midlife is when you reach the top of the ladder and find that it was against the wrong wall." - Joseph Campbell
Campbell may have been referring to the career ladder but his statement applies to whatever "ladder" you are on. It may be the ladder of marriage or family. It may be the ladder of a unique goal you are pursuing. Or, it may be the ladder of personality development.

In the first half of life you develop one identity of who you think you are. You then live it out until you find that it will no longer work. When this happens you have reached Campbell's "... top of the ladder." You have become a one sided person with a significant underdeveloped potential that is calling for expression.

At midlife you must be willing to "die" so you can be "reborn." You must die to the old self that has become egocentric so you can reshape yourself. This entails a certain amount of suffering and confrontation from which many flee. However, to become a whole person the journey must be taken.



Maybe this is the egocentrism I'm supposed to be leaving behind (or is it the way forward? or...? or...? etc) but I was trying out some personality tests tonight. The Jung Short Test tells me I'm an INFJ. Such a ray of sunshine, too: avoidant, anxious, fearful, guarded, lonely, discontented, sad, always worried, and (here's the highlight) wounded at the core!!?? Bloody hell! Shoot me now! Hahaha...

That last link has all of the 16 "Jung Type Descriptions", if you know your own code. Or if you'd like to try a test yourself, and find you don't like that Jung Short one, you might prefer the Word Test or the Word Choice Test (both Jung types). At another site, I liked the Paragon Learning Style Inventory
(though you need to write the answers and calculate the results yourself).
Beyond all my self-absorption, I'd really like to know what your own code is. Be a dear, dear - if you can or will - and say.


Here's a good round-up of The Personality Type Portraits. And I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that my type, the INFJ, is undoubtedly the best.
They are usually right, and [blah blah blah].
And we like taking quotes out of context for the purposes of self-aggrandizement, too.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 701 - 800

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 15 and part 16:

748. What small thing annoys you so much it should be a crime?
751. What causes you to panic?
763. If you had to choose one image to be a symbol of our times, what would you pick?

748. Voiceovers killing the music at the end of films on television.

751. Visitors.
763. Blogs, particularly those from war zones as bombs rain down outside, and more particularly if they've got advertising all over them and there's a book deal in the offing.

Skimming the 5,000: 601 - 700

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 13 and part 14:

607. What do you hate that everyone else seems to like?
608. What do you like that others seem to hate?
625. What makes other people interesting to you?

607. Summer.
608. The pickles from their hamburgers.
625. Being a surprise or a misfit - people who are too big for a category.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I just put a link in the sidebar for an RSS comments feed, which - once you're getting the feed through your newsreader - allows you to click to the relevant post from each comment. This saves having to trawl through the damn archives if you're trying to comment on posts which have disappeared from the main page. (Sorry about that. I don't want to put so many posts upfront that it takes ages to load the page.)

Any problems, please let me know.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 501 - 600

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 11 and part 12:

513. What is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you?
526. Would you rather have a child that is more confident or more curious?
551. What is the most magical thing that has ever happened to you?
553. Does a good friend tell you you've got something in your teeth or pretend not to notice it?
598. What book should everyone have to read in school?

513. Being in a coma, aware of what's going on, but unable to move or communicate, for years and years. (I'm guessing. I mean, it was pretty bad last time. And that's a joke.)
526. Curious. But I'd rather have a child who is nothing like I'd imagine.
551. Once I was standing on top of a hill near the house here and a big shadow fell across me and the ground. I looked up and there was this person paragliding above, not very far up, spiralling higher. It was so completely and literally out of the blue, it felt like magic.
553. Tell. They're comfy with your secret slobby nature and don't want you to look stupid in front of people who aren't.

598. The one they love. My favourite from primary school years (not at school though, worse luck) was a book borrowed from my uncle's World Book encyclopedia (? I think), Make and Do. It had all these projects in it, which I mostly couldn't tackle because we never had the right materials at home. I remember wishing I could make the submarine (out of cardboard boxes - which now seem to be everywhere, but weren't back then) with the periscope (out of a cardboard tube with mirrors set into it). This book should have been issued to all schools, along with all the necessary project materials, just to make me happy.

Skimming the 5,000: 401 - 500

Reader, I suspect you're getting sick of this thing. But do I care? Hell no! Brace yourself, darl. We're moving on.

And look, here's an innovation: I'm posting the questions on their own, and not just because I can't think of the answers yet...

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 9 and part 10:

401. Some say that high school is the best time of your life. Was that true for you?
408. What fictional story would you like to live through?
416. What do you do only when you are upset?
450. What is one simple thing that gives you the happy shivers?
471. What is one interesting fact you know?

I'll be back later with some answers, and so should you be, if you're following the Reader's Code of Conduct (Item 15: Keep the tyrant blogger happy).

... And now it's later.

401. No. No no no.
408. Can’t think of one to live through (there’s sure to be some, I just can’t think of any) but this would be a good holiday: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. A man and his young son and their friends ride motorbikes across the US and the man muses about philosophical things along the way. I’d go too, and seeing this is fiction, I’d be a brilliant philosopher and super-gorgeous babe called Alice. I’d be really very good at motorcycle maintenance.
416. Nothing I don’t do at other times too.
450. Hearing little kids sing.

471. I can't think of a single interesting fact. Not one, and not joking.

Skimming the 5,000: 301 - 400

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 7 and part 8:

303. What do you feel controlled by?
306. At what part of the day do you feel the most alert?
318. If there was a god and you could ask him/her one question what would it be?
340. What can you do better than anyone you know?
368. What are three things that you try not to think about?

303. Temperament, and little things like gravity, physiology, time.
306. Twilight.
318. Why?
340. Sit and do nothing. From the outside it probably looks like I'm sitting and thinking, but no, I'm just sitting.
368. The future; things I should be doing but am avoiding; the possibility of having a terminal illness without realising it (yet).

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Photo by Ian Montgomery, Birdway
I mow a property down the road and for several weeks now one of these birds has been walking around the backyard there. I’ve always called it a Plover, but googling for a pic has confused the issue: it could be a Spur-Winged Plover (vanellus miles novaehollandiae) or a Masked Lapwing (vanellus miles) or as the picture above is titled, a Masked Lapwing (vanellus miles novaehollandiae). It’s a seemingly carefree little creature, and spends most of its time on the ground, walking around, as these birds generally do.

But today something funny happened. It was walking as usual, not far from the mower, but not watching where it was going. Suddenly it stumbled, and then - it fell over!!

It jumped back up again and went on walking, but I couldn’t believe it. A bird can stumble and fall? I can’t remember ever seeing a wild animal even stumble before, let alone fall on its face. The dogs stumble sometimes, and cows, and certainly people do. But birds?? Funny.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 201 - 300

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 5 and part 6:

215. What is your favorite line from a movie?
218. What is one phrase people say that irritates you?
240. What is your favorite line from a song?
292. What is one thing you can't do?
299. What would make you a stronger person?

215. In Hannah and Her Sisters, the Woody Allen character, Mickey, breaks the news to his Jewish parents that he is converting to Catholicism. His distraught mother shuts herself in the bathroom. His father busies himself in the kitchen. Mickey agonises. Is there life after death? Why is there so much evil in the world? Why, for instance, were there Nazis? His mother yells for his father to tell him.
MAX (from the kitchen): How the hell do I know why there were Nazis? I don’t know how the can opener works.
218. Maybe just maybe, at this point in time, at the end of the day, it's all up for grabs. Mate.
240. "Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire / Couldn’t conquer the blue sky"
- from "Weather With You" (N. Finn/T. Finn) Crowded House
292. Maths.

299. Optimism.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Skimming the 5,000: 101 - 200

Reader, you know the drill by now? Answer or be damned? Yeah, that's it.

From The 5000 Question Survey 2.0 part 3 and part 4:

116. Have you ever won a contest or competition?
141. About how many emails do you get a day? How many of those emails are junk mail? How many of them are forwards?
153. Who are you the most jealous of?
165. What changes are you afraid of?
191. When you see a stranger on the street does your first reaction lean towards thinking of this person as a potential friend or as a potential threat?
195. If someone wanted to understand you, what book could they read that would help?

116. Yes, and I'm so proud. It was a competition in a music magazine, and the prize was an album by the Dead Kennedys. Radio stations were refusing to play their single at the time ("Holiday in Cambodia" I think?) and the competition had something to do with that. I wrote a fake extortion letter, and it was one of the winners. Yay for me. But here's the best bit: I never ever got the prize. And the way I remember it, it was an LP (vinyl record) and I didn't have a record player, so even if it had been sent, I wouldn't have been able to play it anyway. How's that for punk, eh? Hahaha...
141. 0 to 2 emails, no junk mails, and usually no forwards. The stress is overwhelming.

153. Someone who has everything I want, but I can't think who that would be, damn it.
165. All of them.
191. Threat. I go to town wearing full-body armour and carrying mace, because you just never know... ;) I don't think I've ever looked at people in the street and seen potential friends, except in an "if only" sense. (I'm a sad git, yes.)
195. Wish I could think of one. How cool would it be if we were born with a manual? You could go through life giving them out: Here! Read this! It's me! Any time you lost your way, you could just read a few chapters and get back on track. It'd be great.