Archives: December 2004

30 Dec 2004, Comments (0)

Sunday Morning

Author: Helen

If you’re not doing anything, come to the Bourke St Mall… or if you’re not such an early riser, a rude email to Amanda Vanstone might be timely.

30 Dec 2004, Comments (0)

Ripples from the tsunami

Author: Helen

With sad and devastating images* burned into our retinas by now, these are all the words I need to post on this.

Care Australia 1800 020 046
Oxfam Community Aid Abroad 1800 034 034
Red Cross 1800 811 700 or any Commonwealth Bank branch
UNICEF Australia 1300 884 233
World Vision 13 32 40 or any National Bank branch

*via Barista


As far as I know, not many of the local bloggers have done a Best Of for 2004. Tim’s had a go and Scott Wickstein at Troppo and Tim Blair have Quotes of 2004. So I thought I’d have a weak stab at it myself.

Last year I quoted my favourite soundbite (OK, writebite) from the Entire Internet for 2003.

Here are the contenders for my Favourite Quote from the Entire Internet for 2004. None of them are from non-blog sources, though I didn’t purposely exclude anything.

From Barista:

Confrontational journalism on teev often looks like an over-excited chook trying to argue with a lawnmower. There’s a lot of pecking but the machine just trundles back and forth, back and forth..

From Rob Schaap, a comment that was loved and re-posted all over the Ozblogosphere:

I want Labor to win – much in the way I prefer my ageing cat’s vomit to its diarrhoea.

Which prettywell summed up most of us’s attitude to the major parties (sorry, Rob and Guido. You are the cream, but there’s still too much whey in there.)

This entire Fafblog post, which came at a time when I needed the helpless laughter.

* brush teeth
* buy eggs
* aerobicize!
* do not kill Yasser Arafat.

Last… Theresa Neilsen Hayden’s Making Light is usually more a source of wisdom and Hmmmm! moments than belly laughs. But that’s where I found this quote from a literary blog, unknown to me, called Hitherby Dragons. (The permalink’s gone now.)

“It was, perhaps, a mistake,” Dr. Oboli admits.
“Pardon?” asks General McCoy.

“It might have been a mistake. To harvest the genetic material of Johannes Agricola, and bring him back to life– fifty times his normal size!”

(Substitute name of your choice – Alexander Downer, Bruce Ruxton, whatever…)

OK, that’s my short list. Comments welcome, one way or another.

Which brings me to the Christmas Gift.

Commenteur, Lecteur, mon semblable, mon frere! This is for you, if your workplace has an unreasonable and hysterical WebMarshal or other piece of software which is set at such hair-trigger sensitivity it thinks Road to Surfdomis pornography.

Granted, it recognises links to Andrew Bolt and Angela Shanahan as pornography, which is sensible, but it will also allow you to look at all kinds of silly and timewasting sites. And before some of you jump on me – I think I am as entitled to read blogs in my lunch break as I am to read the dead tree paper. It’s probably not good for me, but it’s my eyesight, innit?

David Tiley kindly suggested TinyUrl, but that didn’t get past the moronic monster of Marshal.

So, all you oppressed, rise up, go to this page and type your desired URL into the Kniff Anonymiser and simply click Aufrufen!

Or you could try this page (anonym Surfen!) which is a better starting point. But for some reason, the evil Marshal didn’t like that, so I just use the WebDiary page.

So, I can read Surfdom and Barista and Troppo and Fafblog and Flute and……. Hooray! it still has some problems– with some blogs you won’t be able to access the archives or read below the fold, but it’s an improvement on my previous torment.

24 Dec 2004, Comments (0)

Christmas break

Author: Helen

The dawn raid on the Bakhtiyari family (OK, Amanda, so the sun was up and it was technically a breakfast raid. Big deal) and their summary reincarceration and deportation has made me even more cynical and “bah, humbug” about the whole thing. As celebrated in Australia, that is. Christmas? Christian? Huh! But you can’t live with a seven year old boy and maintain the Grinchiness for long. And the smell of the pine tree always gets me.

I probably won’t be posting for a couple of days…Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or the ancient worship of the sacred grove, I wish ALL OF YOU a very safe and happy time. Don’t get killed on the road, and don’t blow a gasket with your more clueless inlaws or relatives.

What’s your favourite kind of shop? (I know you’re sick of shopping by now.)

I know women are portrayed in the media as loving shoe shops and clothing boutiques above all else. But since I was a wee sprog, I’ve had different loves and they have persisted.

Stationery shops and art material shops were the best. Hard-covered journals and notebooks lurked on the shelves begging me to take them home and fill them with ideas which always seemed so much better in inchoate form than they did when written. (I’m no luddite; give me the cut and paste and delete of a computer over longhand any day.) A new pen was always an affordable treat and sketchpads and pieces of card waited like virgin brides for conte crayon or a fine black marker. An array of dry pastels in every colour I’d thought of, and many I hadn’t, was a symbol of infinite possibilities.

Hardware stores were a close second*. Sometimes, not even second. I still lose time if I venture into the Mitre 10 or Home Hardware on my smash-and-grab Saturday shopping run, where the aim, never realised, is to do EVERYTHING in an hour. I’m seduced by shelves of materials, tools, paint and gadgets. I drift and dream of projects I’ll never complete.

Bunnings is – was – the king of hardware stores to get lost in.

It’s vast, and it’s unusually full of stuff even for a hardware store. I’d find things in Bunnings that I hadn’t seen anywhere else, except maybe Dimmeys / Forges (our eccentric Melbourne chain). Small rectangular galvanised iron water tanks for $300 which can fit into the wasted space between the side of the house and the fence. Sisal matting on continuous roll (cut to the size you want). A whole aisle of crafty stuff. 2,000 types of stick and bamboo blinds. 1,000 kinds of mulch…

I haven’t browsed Bunnings for a couple of years now. It’s a subsidiary of Wesfarmers, which in turn is linked to Gunns limited. Who- if you’re from out of the country- is suing environmentalists who object to its woodchipping the Tarkine and other irreplaceable Tasmanian treasures. So I’ve been wasting time at the Mitre 10, instead. But this innocent pleasure will have to go, too.

The Spouse is in a quandary. She is so upset by the legal action taken by Gunns, the big Tasmanian logging company, against sundry environmentalists that she will never shop at Mitre 10 again, Mitre 10 being a Gunns outfit.

“But,” she wails, “I already boycott Bunnings because they are owned by Wesfarmers, who are denuding the west of its jarrah forests. Where will I find an ethical ironmonger?”

“Never you mind, my precious. Wesfarmers are out of jarrah logging. They have sold their jarrah business, lock, stock and sawmill.”

“Really? To whom?”
“Er, not to Gunns?”

“Yep. Even though the WA Government offered an $8 million inducement to anyone who would buy Sotico, Wesfarmers’ jarrah operation, and set up a furniture company near the forest, the decision was made to flog off the enterprise to Gunns. Gunns’ boss, Mr Gay, says that they are going to upgrade the sawmilling section of the jarrah business.

I’ll be taking a hard look at the provenance of the seductive paper and notebooks in those stationery shops, too.

Gunns Limited isn’t just chipping the great forests of Tasmania – it’s putting participatory democracy through the mulcher. Gunns’ actions are not only counter-productive (giving oxygen to the opposition, as some have pointed out). To borrow a phrase from the Right, they’re just bloody un-Australian.

*Hon. mention to music shops (as in, musical instruments) where practically nothing is affordable but everything just cries out to be taken home and the staff are all obsessed.

7 Dec 2004, Comments (0)

The Shorter Hendo

Author: Helen

(Idea shamelessly stolen from Chris Sheil of Back Pages, now sadly left the building)

“I can’t bring myself to support this book, describing as it does the White Australia Policy as “rational and, in a number of ways, progressive”, but the deuce of it is, he fought with our chaps in the Kultcha wars! What to do, what to do…?

Oh, I know– I’ll bag him by accusing him or writing like a leftie.”

6 Dec 2004, Comments (0)

A bloke you want on your side

Author: Helen

Some of us don’t give a stuff about nasty things happening outside the front yards of our house.
Some of us would quite like to do something about it but we don’t. Instead we go on the net and argue against the nasty things outside the front yards of our houses. Which can be good if you do it really well.
And some of us, a very few, get up and organise and actually risk our precious asses in the struggle to make the world better.

Take a bow, Darp Hau.

Darp has been campaigning on his blog against the grimy Patriotic Youth League — the yoof branch of the Australia First party (No Link for You!*), their racist posters and stated aim to recruit kids from the local high schools. Now he’s taking it a step further.

Let’s set a challenge here. Who backs me to take these guys down within six months? I mean, completely gone. No more stickers, no more Skinhead BBQ’s, no more PYL. Caput, finito, gone.
I’m backing myself, but that’s a given.
Would love to write more but I now have a six month deadline to meet. Gotta run!

If you haven’t been following this, go to this post and work your way up…

If you’re too far away to join the flying squads of suburban mothers armed with scrapers and warm water, you might like to go here and vote for Darp in the 2004 Blog Awards. I think they’re impossibly skewed myself– RWDBs using automated bots, why can’t they follow his example and do something useful?…but, do it anyway.

*Of course, the irony of using a Soup Nazi reference isn’t lost on me.