Archives: July 2006

30 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Dentist!


Author: Helen

Not just Dentist: Paediatric Dentist. I knew we’d been escalated, but had no idea how much.

OK, let’s talk about Boychild.

Now, first of all, let me tell you that tooth has to come out. No question about it. It’s badly abscessed, and it will never go away. We’ll prescribe antibiotics, but that’ll just keep it calm. Luckily it’s a first tooth, but we need to get it out now so it doesn’t affect the new tooth coming through.

It’s a bad one. You say he was adamant he didn’t feel any pain? I can tell you, as a dentist of many years experience, I can’t imagine why he doesn’t, it’s quite bad. He must have a very high pain threshold.

I don’t like to do this in the chair. You see, when we take a tooth out, we don’t pull so much as push. And kids have a hard time distinguishing between push and pain. So we can give them the injections, but it would still make him phobic for life. In all my years I only did one in the chair, it was a country family and they insisted. And I’ll always regret it. That kid will always be afraid of the dentist now. It’s your decision, but I would recommend you have it out in hospital, under a general anaesthetic.

The first thing I need you to do is go here and get him x-rayed. That will show me where the new teeth are. Then need you to make an appointment with an orthodontist. You see, he’s got another problem.

He’s got this secondary malocclusion. You know how when we bite down, the top teeth… Oh, his sister’s got the same thing, and you’ve just finished the course of braces with her? Oh, OK so you already know what I’m talking about. Boychild’s teeth are fairly crowded as well. He doesn’t need the braces right away, he’s still too young, but the orthodontist might want to take more teeth out, you see. And if so, I’d like to remove the teeth while he’s under, so he doesn’t have to go back and have more out. I also need her to tell me if he needs a spacer for the tooth that needs to come out, so the new tooth can grow properly.

No, he won’t be going to the Children’s. This can only be done in the private system, I’m afraid. I do these procedures at YayforShareholders Private. The fees start at $1,000 for the first hour and $350 for each 15 minutes after that. The Anaesthetist is extra but you can claim some of that back on Medicare… My fees are…

Poor Boychild.

Sucky sucky McSuck.

28 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Friday Dog blogging

Friday Dog blogging

Author: Helen


I got the ball! I got the ball I got the ball I got the b….

Where’s the what?… Now, please stand still while I run you over…

24 Jul 2006, Comments Off on What drives George Bush?

What drives George Bush?

Author: Helen

Or more to the point, who?

Via Twisty, who’s back and blogging a white-hot streak.

Update: And also on the topic of Bush ‘n’ Merkel.. Oh, dear God.

You need to expand your browser rightwards (quite appropriate, actually) to get the full horror of it.

19 Jul 2006, Comments Off on From an old diary

From an old diary

Author: Helen

November 1980, travelling with two friends. We took a becak (a brightly painted trishaw pedalled by a buff and sinewy crazy guy) south to a remote and wild fishing village surrounded by nationally protected forest and nature reserve. After the sensory overload of the cities and towns, we sank joyfully into the peace and beauty of that place.

The tourist industry was in its infancy; mostly local students. The trash culture and noise of tourist towns like Kuta and Sanur was absent. There was only the three-note song of cicadas in the forested peninsula, into which we immediately disappeared, hauling ourselves up slippery paths by grabbing onto tree roots. There was mud so squishy we had to abandon our sandals and go barefoot, purple crabs with red claws and giant red millipedes as big as fat plastic pens. Exploring one of these steep tracks, we found a large cave where we could climb down on a bamboo ladder into a Doctor-Whoscape of giant-fungus-elephants-trunk shaped stalactites. We could hear the drip-drip of moisture and bats squeaking far below somewhere, deliciously spooky.

Sometimes, exploring the jungly paths, we’d suddenly pop out into a stretch of unpopulated grassland with wild grey buffalo grazing.

Photo from

(Photo from here)

We took another side track to the beach, not far from the village, with an exposed coral reef swarming with sea stars, sea cucumbers, bright coral snakes and fish. We followed the beaches and sharp, rocky headlands away from the village to a 60 metre waterfall falling from a sheer cliff covered in graceful vines and pandanus. Behind the next headland, we found the mouth of a river, with shady broad-leaved trees. This, and the waterfall, became our sanctuary for daily dozing and letter writing.

An even further beach, which we discovered on the last day, was tiny, with white sand and vicious surf, and so isolated we took our clothes off, because we were young and stupid. On the way back through the forest I found some very old-looking mossy stone carvings, a little shrine and a Komodo dragon (perhaps).

We even had a sort of surrogate mum there. Ibu Murad ran the Warung Nasi Ampera near our losmen. Ibu Murad’s language was cheerful and scatological. We learned heaps of useful Indonesian, such as Pakai Rata (same as usual) and Kau Babi! You pig! She talked to us by the hour in between cooking large amounts of the best food we had ever seen. She would serve up extravagant plates of fruit salad covered in grated fresh coconut, fried banana with more grated coconut, and her special, nourishing chicken soup with potatoes, as well as the more conventional fried noodles and Nasi Goreng. In between kitchen tasks she’d give us severe warnings about “playboys” from the cities and about eating magic mushrooms, if some wicked laki-laki should offer us any. In return for her hospitality we told any western backpackers we met to go there to eat, or else.

The place has stayed as a jewel in my mind. I have always wanted to go back there.

Its name was Pangandaran.

19 Jul 2006, Comments Off on You thought we were finished with Futbol?

You thought we were finished with Futbol?

Author: Helen

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions
Of the Westgate Indoor Sports Autumn 2006 Mon Div 6 Premiers!!

(Congratulations to SO, no longer the bridesmaid of Westgate Div 6.)

18 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Get a Haircut!

Get a Haircut!

Author: Helen

The Flute: Gotta love ‘im. But this time, I have to disagree with him.

I’d be the first – well, maybe the third or the fourth– to agree with part of his thesis: Teh Left has to build its cred. You know the kind of thing; you go on the rally against the IR regulations, or any other worthwhile riot-type gathering, and you’ll be sure to see a minority bunch of Trots with manufactured signs, sometimes unrelated to the purpose of the riot in question. Because some of us are idiots, Teh Left often get dismissed as a bunch of ideologically rigid loonies, and that’s unfair, as they can’t compete with wingnuts for sheer lunacy.

I’m careful to put on a nice suit jacket when I’m rioting, so if I get picked up by any TV cameras, the folks at home won’t be saying “look, Mavis, the unwashed dreadlocked Marxist radical!” Confounding stereotypes is the go.

But really, the Unwashed Dreadlocked Lefty ™ are straw-lefties. There aren’t enough of them to make them a representative group of the left, and it only appears so because right-wing pundits enjoy imagining that they are. So we shouldn’t give them a free kick by worrying inordinately about a few peoples’ fashion choices. (There’s also a small subset of activists who are dreadlocked and dirty by virtue of the fact that they’re genuinely doing a hard, dirty and dangerous job without access to the comforts of home and a shower – and for that I’m very, very grateful to them.)

But here’s the bit which really caused angst:

I am as economically lefty as they come, and pretty bloody libertarian to boot. I care about people. I don’t give a shit about:

Nuclear power if it’s economically feasible

(But, but, it’s not just an economic issue!)

Global warming if there is no catastrophe

(If there is no catastrophe: Hmmm. Not quite the level of risk analysis I’d like.)

I do care about:
Equity of rights and opportunities regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, any other label you can emboss on a strip of plastic that is bound to slice under your thumbnail when you peel the backing off…

Er, OK. Look, I can see where he’s coming from; I wouldn’t argue with the last sentence one bit. It’s the fact that he wants to focus on certain macro issues and he sees the others as diversions which offends some people- the problem is that many people see nuclear power, global warming and our hubristic attitudes as macro issues, too. And the prescribing by certain lefties what other lefties should focus their efforts on has a bit of recent history, too. Some US Democrats decided to abandon same-sex marriage and the defence of Roe v. Wade because they thought it was a bit too lefty-feral and they’d garner more votes from the middle if they did that. Good luck to them, because they certainly seem to have pissed off a lot of their own (former) constituency.

And as for policing the appearance and utterances of your own mob, well, the reality can be kind of creepy.

It’s certainly made me think about my priorities, but my preferred type of government would be intelligent and forward-thinking enough to at least try to address energy, environmental, ethical and social justice issues. Like scratching your head and chewing gum at the same time. I know, I’m just a hopeless leftie idealist.

14 Jul 2006, Comments Off on ‘Do I feel loquacious?’ – well do you, punk?

‘Do I feel loquacious?’ – well do you, punk?

Author: Helen

Picture from

The new winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest are in.

Aaaaand the winner is:

Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you’ve had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.
Jim Guigli
Carmichael, CA

The runner up:

“I know what you’re thinking, punk,” hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, “you’re thinking, ‘Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?’ – and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel loquacious?’ – well do you, punk?”
Stuart Vasepuru
Edinburgh, Scotland

12 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Guess who’s coming to Dinner Plain

Guess who’s coming to Dinner Plain

Author: Helen

So, we drove up and up the Hume Highway, no longer deadly,now just broad and bland as Eddie McGuire’s smile, bypassing all the towns which used to give it character, until we reached Wangaratta and turned east along the Ovens Highway.

It was going to be the twelve-hour round trip from hell, but our brother-in-law’s mum’s boyfriend kindly lent us his farm hut near Kancoona. To get there, you drive through an impossibly beautiful and picture-perfect mountain valley, called, naturally, Happy Valley. The occasional hay shed or silo sitting on a roadside hilltop only makes the perfection bearable, like those tiny flaws intentionally sewn into Amish quilts.

On the way to the farm we stopped on the road for a herd of cattle (black Angus) which were energetically rounded up and herded onto the road by a cattleman on a chestnut horse, flying back and forth, assisted by a long-haired red kelpie and a cattle dog. You might think this is inconsistent of me if you’ve seen some of last years posts, but I like to see them doing their thing… just not on the high plains. The grazier whose hut we stayed in doesn’t need to graze his cattle there, either.

The cattle had to go back the opposite way to where we were going, so they had to pass the car. As the mob started to move, I was reminded that GirlChild hadn’t had much cow exposure in her life. She thought we were in mortal danger. “It’s like Hitchcock’s The Birds. Only with cows!”

The farm hut is weatherboard, blue, listing to one side, with interior walls of grey ironbark and corrugated iron. Surrounded by ancient pines, the view from the verandah is sweeping pasture greener than most of us are used to, with blue mountains obligingly providing a stunning backdrop. It’s furnished completely with 1960s stuff, from op shops, or rescued from other family houses. Stockwhips and branding irons hang on the walls. There is is a pile of catalogues from bull sales and Angus cattle shows in the 60s cocktail cabinet . There’s an assortment of odds and ends, an ancient and twisted tennis racket (no tennis court for miles around), family photos from the early 1900s, a print- again 60s, that Readers Digest style, of an impossibly glamorous woman weaving baskets. A tin of rubber bands for castrating calves. A lovingly rendered child’s drawing of her horse, framed- the kind where the kid is getting some idea of perspective, shading, volume. The ears in particular lovingly rendered.

There was a conventional bathroom with a toilet, not your outdoor thunderbox, to girlchild’s great joy. Also a 60s time capsule.

We sat around the iron wood-burning heater in the light of one globe, burned some redgum and had some local wine and cheeses and smoked trout. Oh, we were so roughing it.

Next day, we started climbing towards Dinner Plain. It was a while before we saw any snow, but then we were in a blizzard. A whiteout. I alternated between “It’s so beautiful!” and “We’re all going to die!” The former when looking out of the side window at roadside vegetation filigreed in icing-sugar perfection. The latter when taking the outside bends with a sheer drop into the void and a road full of slush. Past Hotham… Brrr! People pay to hang out in this weather?!…and chains– they’re freaky. I should have expected them to go CHUNKA-CHUNKA-CHUNKA so that you fear your car will fall apart. Finally, Dinner Plain.

A big common/dining room with seventy fourteen year olds, plus parents, teachers and administrators. Milling. Hugs, kisses, no one cries – it’s only nine weeks after all. A quick look round. There’s a beginner ski slope out the back, lots of gum trees, pure air. Kisses, hugs, that’s enough Mum the other mums didn’t kiss that much. Seeya!!

Then back down the mountain. She’s been gone three days; the house is weirdly quiet. I miss her already.

Here’s a snow cam.

5 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Thinktanks again: How Idiotic Arguments enter the Mainstream

Thinktanks again: How Idiotic Arguments enter the Mainstream

Author: Helen

Thanks to my brother for this link to Tom Tomorrow’s Hookers and Whisky Act.

The Institute for American Values is real. And The Wall Street Journal isn’t amused.

If you haven’t checked out Tom Tomorrow’s blog, it’s worth a look.

4 Jul 2006, Comments Off on Fed Department of Ed Complete Bastards, Study shows

Fed Department of Ed Complete Bastards, Study shows

Author: Helen

More proof, if proof were needed, that human beings exist to serve TEH ECONOMY and not the other way around.

Because it’s OK to make children COMPLETELY MISERABLE as long as it’s GOOD FOR THE FUCKING ECONOMY.

Thank you. I feel better now.