Sunday, 25 March 2007

Serious warranty violation pending...

Quote: "The alarm clock that runs away and hides when you don't wake up. Clocky gives you one chance to get up. But if you snooze, Clocky will jump off of your nightstand and wheel around your room looking for a place to hide. Clocky is kind of like a misbehaving pet, only he will get up at the right time."
I wonder if the warranty covers being pounded to pulp with a set of bathroom scales.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Ewe must be joking?

Started the day thinking I was doing my thesis on farmers and their subjective well-being.

Ended it thinking I was doing my thesis on the role of humour in subjective well-being.


Possum watch: saw a large brushtail possum this morning. Totally white. Him, not me.

Looked like a bonsai polar bear. With a tail.


Wednesday, 21 March 2007


My apologies to all.

I have had little time for posting of late. Even less for visiting other sites.

I am sure it will change but not for a week or so. (Unrealistic optimism, Mark?)

Next Thursday I have to present my thesis proposal; and it is far from settled yet.

Oh well, back to the keyboard...


Sunday, 18 March 2007

Thoughts of a possum...

Two Irishmen, IRA members, decided to ambush and kill the local policeman (as one does). They found a spot overlooking the road and waited for him to come cycling past on his way home. Time passed. The policeman did not appear. Darkness started to fall.

Mick turned to Paddy and said: "He's awfully late. I hope nothing has happened to him."

The big brushtail possum is a bit like that.

No sign of him for days.

Hope he's ok. Sort of.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

St Patrick's Day

Kennedy's Observation: No amount of green food dye will turn Guinness green.

Spent the best part of the day at an anti-war rally in the city.

Spaetlese radical.

Tonight I am doing a green theme dinner. Well, with a name like Kennedy...

Green pea soup served with some of that very thin crepe-like flat bread, spread with a pesto, rolled up and cut at an angle.

Chicken and green pepper kebabs, served with a herbed rice and a small ramekin of Tzatziki dip.

Wine: Verdhelo, of course.

Baked apple (yes, Stewart's Seedling) and Blackberry with a greenish scone cobbler top and cream.

Black coffee.


Friday, 16 March 2007

A step in the walk...

No, not lost, just busy. Sorry, a busy week.

One of the highlights was Martin's graduation - Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce.

The photo above is Martin (right) and Richard on the way to the ceremony.

They are growing up.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Possum update.

I had the lights up for one night and, if the possum came, I saw nothing. Since then there has been forecasts (wrongly as it turned out) of rain.

Well, 'possible showers'.

Not wishing to end my days as a low grade radio transmitter or a cheap but animated Christmas light, I have not put it up again.

Probably tomorrow night will be my next shot at it.

She'll be apples.

One of the joys of your own garden is growing your own food.

Sadly, often the common things are cheap in the shops at about the time yours ripen so there is not much financial reward, although the flavour of some things like tomatoes is orders of magnitude above that of the shop ones. There is also the joy on knowing you have grown them; especially in the current drought as they have been kept alive by you carting shower and washing machine water to them.

There is also the pleasure of going out and just picking things as you need them. Except for the zucchinis (courgettes) which must be picked with discipline, whether you need them or not; not to is to permit them to grow into monsters that you can half, hollow and use as canoes.

But one of the really special joys of a garden is growing different foods.

The photo above is of some apples in my garden. You wont see these in the shops in the US or UK. You wont even find them in Australian shops. They are Stewart's Seedlings (also called Ballarat Seedings), apparently bred at Ballarat around the time of the goldrush. A quite tart cooking apple, you only try to eat them raw once (true, the possums do like them), that needs no lemon juice to tang them up.

I had remembered them from my Granny's garden (curiously she came from Ballarat) and some years ago tracked the tree down at a specialist orchardist.

It is great to be different.

Footnote: The title phrase, "She'll be apples" is Australian slang for "Don't worry, it will be alright."

Friday, 9 March 2007

Making light of the possums.

I have an ongoing fight with the possums and their desire to eat my garden.

Now, Americans tend to confuse our possums with their small, omnivorous opossums. The two are very different. The Australian possums fall into two types, both herbivores. There is the ringtail possum, a relatively small animal about half the size of a cat, that can eat twice its weight of rose buds etc in a night.

And then there is the big brother, the brushtail possum, that grows to about two to three times the size of a cat. Imagine Garfield after an aweful lot of lasagna. They eat a serious amount of garden in a sitting.

For the last few nights, as we lie in bed, we hear a rumbling sound that eventually materialises into a large brushtail possum crossing to our house by way of the powerline. The brushtails are so big they have to come across commando-style, hanging underneath the wire. (The ringtails, more dainty, walk on the top of the wire.) The size of this beast is such that I serious worry for the power line.

Tonight I will have some lights with a motion sensor hanging on the wire to see what affect this has on his migratory flightpath.

I'll keep you posted.

Yes, I have checked the weather; no rain forecast.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

A bit on the side.

Well, firstly I can report that it has a distinct chocolatey aroma and a taste that is oddly fruity.

But is it tea?

I am generally not a mixer when it comes to drinks. I upset some aunt once by telling her that her Earl Grey tea tasted of soap. It was only afterwards that I learnt that it was meant to taste that way.

I have tried various things in tea. Well, milk I accept. But the shops are full of blackberry, lemon, ginger, rhubarb, anchovy, clove and watermelon teas. Really.

The current craze for adding various syrups to coffee is no doubt good for those readily bored with the traditional but really I can't be bothered. I have, I admit, had a few Irish coffees in my time but the number would certainly be nowhere near double figures and none of them are within the last twenty years.

I prefer my 'extras' on the side. Brandy, chocolate, liqueurs, fruit, flowers, women. That way you get to enjoy the subtilties of both. Why put spirits in coffee when you can have them separately? Why put chocolate in tea when you can enjoy the pleasures of both?

Why can't people leave things alone?

Sunday, 4 March 2007

The blackest hole.

When I started doing telephone counselling people said 'How can you take a suicide call? It must be so hard."

No, suicide calls are in fact the easiest of the bunch. To some extent the fact that people call at all means that they are at best ambivalent and looking for reasons not to proceed.

Next easiest are the acute calls, people in crisis. Something has happened in their life and they need immediate help.

The more difficult calls are the chronic calls, people with on-going issues who are repeat callers and almost seem not to want their issues resolved and cling to them like a security blanket.

But if you want a hard call, a call that can also nail you, the counsellor, as well, then grief calls are by far the most difficult ones to take.

Suicides callers want to be talked out of it, acute callers want resolution to their immediate problem, chronic callers need direction and short term guidance, but grief callers, where the caller is absolutely consumed with the despair, emptiness and injustice of their loss, they are the really tough ones to take.

There are no answers.

I could spit!

In the good old days (Am I showing my age? Or my attitudes?) one of the pleasures of eating watermelon was the pips. You could have pip spitting competitions or, if you were more cooth, squeeze them between your fingers to see who could shoot them the furthest.

Now, the geneticists of the supermarket have come up with pipless watermelon.

Another pleasure lost.


Friday, 2 March 2007

Luck of the draw.

There are 45 balls in the normal Australian lottery.

You need six numbers to win it.

The probability of winning is one in 8,145,o6o but most people have a quick-pick which has about 24 entries, reducing the odds to a tad over one in 339,377.

So how likely are you to win?

If the church had bought a quick-pick every Saturday since JC was born, there is a 73.5 % probability that they would not have picked up a single first division prize in the 104,312 draws.

Lotteries: a tax on people who can't do maths.