GOMA = Get Out! Mega Awesome

I dragged the kids to GOMA yesterday to catch the 21st C exhibition. It wasn’t easy.

“Southbank?” said Magic Man, “That’s where the museum is. I want to see dinosaurs. Modern art sucks – it’s just stupid splashes of paint.”

Tough critic, that young man – he’s no fan of the new bridge, either. In fact, the first time he saw it he snorted with derision. “What’s that meant to be?”

“It’s a bridge, darling.” I replied, “They’re probably trying to represent sails and rigging from an old fashioned ship.”

“Huh. Modern Art.” He mumbled, intonation dripping with withering scorn.

Elf Boy has no stance on modern art, but expressed a preference to continue chasing spiders in his Grandmother’s backyard. His major objection was to closed footwear, rather than of aesthetics.

“You’ll thank me later.” I snarled. As it happens, the thanks came sooner and often. This free – yes, free! – exhibition is one of the best I’ve seen mounted anywhere.

The kids were entranced by Olafur Eliasson’s Lego installation. A very long table held a fantasy streetscape – think Godzilla, minarets, wacky spirals and more – in white Lego. Piles of loose bricks and low stools encouraged visitors to add their own buildings.

Rivane Neuenschwander’s installation I Wish your Wish was my first stop. Visitors write a wish on a slip of paper, which they can then exchange for a coloured ribbon silk-screened with someone else’s wish. Reading the wishes on the wall had me counting my blessings. Many – I wish I lived in Australia, I wish for a happy healthy baby, I wish I had a nice garden, I wish I had more friends – were already my reality. In the end,  I was tempted by a lush purple ribbon reading “I wish I had magical powers”. I’ve tied it around my wrist and according to Brazilian (no, not what you’re thinking, the Latin American country) legend when it falls off, my wish will come true.

Every exhibit was gorgeous, interesting, challenging or amusing. The Australian artists were among my  favourites, especially Yvonne Koolmatrie’s basketry and the fish traps made from pandanus by the Maningrida artists. Adults, teens and children all seemed to be having the time of their lives – there was a buzz in the gallery like the charge you get from a good night out. Or used to get, before you (read, “I”) got old and decrepit and preferred to stay in with a good book.

We’re coming back at least once – it ends (too soon!) with the Easter school holidays. Do yourself a favour and view – you’ll get a lovely glow to see your tax dollars – for once – well spent.

 

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129 Responses

  1. Maybe you should consider the Brazilian I was thinking of. If you rip the ribbon off with hot wax, your wish will come true much sooner.

    I hope Elf Boy had a good birthday. I made him a cake. It was delicious.

  2. You should be a modern artist, Catty.

    It would have been so much more avant-garde if they’d ripped strips of hairy flesh off unsuspecting visitors. I used to go see performance artists who’d glue fish to the wall and things, but waxing had yet to make it’s puffy red mark in the 80s.

    Remember Desperately Seeking Susan? Madonna could have strung beads in those armpits.

  3. And fairy lights.
    Although how you’d release them from the tangle or draw breath if you need to change a bulb, I’m sure I don’t know.

  4. Hehehe.

    Somebody should start a grunge band and call it “Lost in Madonna’s Armpits”.

    Catty, you’re a musician – we’re looking at you.

  5. I’m kind of with Magic Man on the whole modern art thing* but your description is most tempting Madame. I’ve sent it to Fifi, who, being a chick as you know, is right into all that arty stuff. Maybe I can hobble around?

    * I proudly keep copies of the school Art Dept annual reports in which I was vilified as a “bearded philistine” and even caricatured in cartoons.

  6. At the risk of sounding like the sort of art wanker you love to deride, it’s more of an experience than an exhibition, Greybeard. Very tightly and cleverly curated.

    It’s also pretty much wheel-chair accessible. In fact, I’d recommend going in a wheelchair – you’d probably get escorted by a nubile young art student and avoid queueing.

    About the only thing you’d have trouble with would be the two-story double helix slide.

    Still, you’ll be well by August, you can thrill ride to your heart’s content at the Ekka.

  7. Wheelchair?
    Surely after all this time in captivity the bearded one has developed a rival for Riba the friendly bear robot?

    • If I were sick…

      (physically, I mean. Let’s not talk about my mental state right now, I’m out of Kleenex)

      … and that scary bear robot came anywhere near me, I’d scream.

      Feebly, perhaps, but I would scream.

  8. I once wrote a poem for our school’s annual magazine. It was a gorgeous little piece, dedicated to my chemistry teacher. Although it was dreadfully funny (or possibly just dreadful), I avoided using his name. Instead, the words wove into a caricature that was instantly recognisable.

    The school refused to include the poem in their magazine. I reckon that was because it was such a good poem, they didn’t believe I’d written it myself. Or maybe it was to do with their fear of a defamation lawsuit. They wouldn’t say.

    • Artists are rarely appreciated in their own life-time, Catty.

      I was called on to write the Debating Captain’s report and submitted a cryptic crossword instead.

      Have you still got, or can you reconstruct, the poem in question?

      I’ll publish it, right here, right now.

      • Sorry. I remember very little about high school chemistry. They kept a bottle of formaldehyde on the shelf next to my desk. It leaked a lot.

        Come to think of it, that might explain why I’m such a good mummy.

        Har har har har har ha…

        Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.

  9. The vilification was all in good fun actually though I’m sure I did nothing to deserve it. AND I gave somewhat preferential treatment to those cwazy Art people & their IT problems.

    As for the wheelchair, you underestimate the toughness of the Greybeards. After five weeks the surgeon pronounced the bones as well-knitted as granny’s undies and I tossed the brace, chair, crutches & everything but an occasional walking stick. SPARTAAAA!

  10. All those years of grinding the bones of children to make your bread have obviously stood you in good stead, osteoporosis-wise, Greybeard. Congratulations!

    I hope the walking stick has a concealed sword… or a hipflask, at the very least.

  11. I wonder if you can get a hipflask built into artificial hips?

    • You could, but actually nipping from it wouldn’t be pretty.

  12. Yep. You see these all over my suburb, oozing gin and tonic: The reverse colostomy bag.

    I’d stay and be witty, but I’m all tuckered out from prac. The wicked witch of student clinic waved her magic wand and then shuffled the books, thus ensuring that everyone was out of sorts tonight. Our supervisor went through the evening looking like she had a most foul smell of troll under her nose.
    Even my implacable partner was pissed off.
    Not with me, but with the general levels of beyatchery being generated in there.

    Basically the nurse has taken the system that our supervisor installed and has redone it all her own way.

    Ah, power games.
    I’m pleased she’s found a worthy adversary in a senior staff member, though.

    It must be so much more satisfying than picking on the little people.

    Does troll nurse roast better over open flames or in a sealed pit full of boiling tar, do you think?

    My classmates are restless.
    I’m thinking of cheering them up with the prospect of Troll Hungi at the end of all this.

  13. Oh, the boiling tar, definitely! I LOVE pit parties! Every so often, a little puff of steam escapes from the ground, carrying with it the enraged howl of slowcooked troll. Which, as we all know, is much better to dance to than any Beach Boys CD.

  14. As evocative… and disturbing… as I find Catty’s description, I reckon your best bet is always on-a-spit. You know, as if you were hosting a bogan wedding.

    That way, all the minions Nurse Ratchet has brought to their knees can saunter over to the fire pit and give the spit a twirl.

    It’s more satisfying. And you can baste her.

  15. Oh dear.
    Now I’m torn.
    Still, there’s a solution.
    The half and half outdoor troll cooking experiment.

    I think my classmates would like the idea of poking her and giving her some sauce while she’s safely shackled to a spit, though.

    Meh.
    Tuesday.
    Today is skin doctor today.
    Come 1pm, I will be facing some roasting of my own. Or at least some zapping, freezing and scraping. Hopefully I won’t come home looking and feeling too ghastly after it, the freezer is running alarmingly low of my stockpile of lunches and dinners, and thanks to that ghastly humidity buggering off, I think its time to make shepherd’s pie.

  16. Madam has a good recipe for shepherd’s pie. She uses real shepherds.

  17. Hehehe.

    You should also try my French onion soup.

    It’s delicious, but I don’t often make it because it’s very wasteful – I don’t have a recipe that uses the rest of the Frenchman, sans onions.

    All the best, Quokka. In sympathy, I will lurk inside as much as possible today, avoiding the sun’s harmful rays.

  18. I love French onion soup but I’ve had trouble finding suitable beef bones to make the stock since my butcher down at the local coles complex pulled up stumps and went elsewhere.

    At the beginning of winter I usually make up a few big pots of stock – chicken and then beef – and freeze them so that I can base the rest of my soups and casseroles on them. Chicken stock is easy but the last time I went in search of beef bones for making broth, I wound up with Glue instead. Fracking useless Gen Y butcher.

    Catty while you’re here, can I quiz you on household tips?
    Our iron is spitting all manner of crap on my delicates. The problem is that the bloke uses it and doesn’t use demineralized water, so its hacking up flood contaminants at the moment. if you put the iron spew under a microscope you’d probably find sewerage, radioactive materials, and small particles of crushed and intertwined cow & pontoon.

    I think its time to replace the iron and insist that only demineralized water goes into it. Any brand suggestions, ladies?

    Oh, and if I get quiet on the internet the next day or two it’s because there’s a scaly thing on the bridge of my nose that’s probably going to get sliced and diced come 1pm. So I won’t be doing anything that requires the use of spectacles – I’ll be on the couch, with an ice pack on the bridge of my nose, and the cat.

  19. Oh, Quokka, poor you. Hope they slice you nice and neatly and you heal up soon. I would’nt put a cat on your open wound, though – their fur tends to stick in the forming scab.

    Sweet of you to include me in a discussion of irons, but my ironing stategy is simple: Don’t buy anything that requires ironing.

    Since this precept often clashes with another rule of mine, Don’t wear synthetic fibres, if I launder something that should really be ironed, but I can’t be arsed, I hang it straight on a hanger, right way round.

    Now you know why everything I wear looks like a vintage linen tea-towel!

    You could run some of that CLR stuff through the existing iron, though. It’s tough on calcium, lime scale and rust.

  20. When my iron gets gluggy, I fill it up and turn it on full heat. Then I iron an old nappy with the steam button on, for about five minutes. Next, I empty the water by shaking the iron over the sink. Then I repeat the process.

    I tried CLR once, but the iron stuck to everything for a month. Finally I gave up and bought a Sunbeam. That was about 12 years ago, and I’ve not ever had to clean it out. Although I should mention that for the last five years, the only things I’ve used it is for school uniforms, and the three times I’ve gone anywhere that required something more dressy than t-shirts and jeans.

    I’ve always liked Sunbeam. Black and Decker irons are cheaper, but I don’t know anyone who has one so I don’t know if they’re any good. If you want something that is going to last forever, though, stick with Mistral – they make those cheap Linda, Tiffany, and Chief brand appliances. Ask any repair man about them, and they won’t know a thing, because they’ve never had to repair one. That’s a pretty good endorsement, if you ask me.

  21. Oh, and ditto on Madam’s cat advice. Never drape a cat over your face when you’re on painkillers.

    Hope you’re not hurting too much on the couch, Quokka. If you are, turn Oprah off. You’ll feel better straight away.

  22. Yes. Too many people have been eaten to death by cats. Or maybe eaten after death. I should check that, it kind of makes a difference, doesn’t it?

    Although I read trashy novels rather than resorting to daytime TV, I suspect you shouldn’t turn from Oprah to Ellen, either. I doubt that would help.

  23. It’s not just cats that eat you:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article152044.ece

    It’s in The Sun, so it must be true.

  24. I read that one. I’m sure the guy was asking for it.

    Sometimes man… or woman, in this case… strikes back, though.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/03/model_plays_with_snake_snake_b.html

    In this case, a snake bit a model on the implant. Poor thing died of silicone poisoning a few days later.

    Poor snake, I mean. I’ve got no sympathy for models.

  25. I like models. If you take two of them camping, you don’t need tent poles. Take three, and you’ll also have somewhere to hang your billy. And all you need is three celery sticks and a rice cake to feed them for a whole week.

  26. I hadn’t thought of that, Catty.

    Someone should make an Everest assault, using models instead of sherpas. Should be a breeze, since they wouldn’t need to pack many supplies. Pretty easy to motivate them, as required, as well:

    “Last few hundred meters before we summit, ladies. Wind chill takes us to 40 below and it’s a vertical climb up a treacherous icy cliff face. Now, let me see you work it! That’s right, give me climbing and climbing and climbing… Yeah, baby. The crampons love you.”

  27. Hey, yeah! The trip down would also be a breeze – you could strap one on each foot and ski down, using two more as ski poles.

  28. Hehehe… ski down.

    But seriously, models, if you’re reading this…

    * head slap *

    Silly me.

  29. You know that prize I got last week, with the free box of fruit and veggies? Well, the prize was actually two boxes! I just got the other one today. Ooooh, it’s good! There’s bananana chillies, and gourmet lettuce, and a watermelon, and peaches, and carrots, and spanish onions, and banananas and mushrooms, and other stuff down the bottom of the box.

    Yay! And we haven’t even eaten last week’s pumpkin yet. The Boss was going to make soup, but instead built me a big garden bed in the clay wasteland beside the carport. He’s also put pavers around it, and has half finished fencing it in. He says it will be my hidden garden. Isn’t he a honey?

    Meanwhile, the pumpkin is attractively ensconced on the dining table – it makes a surprisingly cute centrepiece. Very rustic against my yellow linen tablecloth!

    So I’m in no rush for soup. Maybe next week.

    And now, I’m off to do a little happy dance around the kitchen. Happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy!

  30. Mmm… peaches. And spanish onions. I love spanish onions – they’re so festive.

    Well, it just goes to show that men are more than mere sex toys. Well done, The Boss.

    Funny thing, though, Catty – you’ve got clay and I’ve got sand. If we could ship half of our gardens to each other, we’d have the perfect soil.

    A friend built me a garden bed last year. It’s growing a lovely crop of weeds. I really must get in, weed it, fill it with soil and plant some damn thing, but I’m waiting for cooler weather. This autumn has been hotter than summer up here!

    The grandparents are visiting tomorrow. I really should tidy but then again, with their failing vision, will they notice the dirt on the floor?

  31. Heh heh.
    I can count on you two to keep me chuckling.
    And not only do I sound like the wicked witch of the west but I’m starting to resemble her, thanks to Dr. Zap.

    The blister on the bridge of my nose just burst so I think that’ll be limiting activities that require the use of fine vision, today.
    And I’ve been told to keep my cankerous face and limbs out of my favorite acid and chlorine soak at Yeronga Pool for a few days so thanks, ladies, you’ve motivated me to do some cooking too.

    I was thinking of making pumpkin soup too.
    Although that would require going out in the world to purchase pumpkins, and I don’t want to frighten the locals.

    Might have to make do with what I’ve got – my collection of once soggy and now frozen bananas – and produce some muffins.

    I’m heading out bayside later for lunch with a GF. She’ll have to hide me in a dark corner down the local so that I don’t frighten anyone.

    Plus side? I managed to get my first case study handed in yesterday. The program that we’re meant to write it in is still giving me some grief but thankfully prac itself is running smoothly, and I’m actually quite enjoying it.

    I’m of the opinion that it makes more sense to clean up after the visitors have gone than in preparation for a visit.
    They just mess the place up anyway. Unless the dirt on your floor forms itself into piles high and solid enough to trip them and cause a hip fracture, I wouldn’t worry.

    Besides, it’ll give them something to do. They can take pictures, post it on facebook, and show off their shame and disgrace (Item A, Slatternly Daughter) to all their cyber friends. Hours of entertainment to be had from that, surely you wouldn’t want to deprive them of it?

    Besides, so long as a house smells good people never notice the levels of filth. I can attest to the powers of Zest and Refresh oil blends from the Perfect Potion, nobody ever notices the dust on the blinds, the screens, and the windows when I’ve got that on the burner.

  32. Dirt floors are also very rustic. If your parents notice, tell them you’re embracing your inner bog dweller, what with yesterday being St Patrick’s day and all. But if you’d rather they didn’t notice, keep their wine glasses topped up and their eye glasses will be useless (and probably dropped in the toilet).

    Funny, that reminds me of a conversation I had with the MIL last week. She had to work one night, so the FIL went to a party without her. Hours later, when she finally got to the party, he was completely trashed. She found him in the toilet, chucking his guts out. When he was done puking, she flushed. He freaked – his false teeth had come out with his guts, and the MIL had just relegated them to the sewer. He ran out to the back yard, opened the sewer lid, and started fishing around for his teeth. Surprisingly, he found them. After a quick rinse under the tap, (and a dunk in a glass of vodka), he popped them back in his mouth. Ewwwww!

    The reason we were discussing this last week was because the MIL has a video of the sewer-fishing bit of the story, (including the putting-back-in), and was wondering if she should send it in to Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. Ha! Like I told her, that’s a No Brainer. If she does, and you see this video on telly, please remember that I am only related to these people by marriage.

  33. Sorry, Quokka, we cross-posted. I agree with you about distraction techniques, although I am more inclined to do it with baked goods rather than the diffuser. Bananana muffins are ideal for the purpose.

    Yay! Quokka doesn’t have to do any housework until the muffins are all eaten!

    I hope your nose gets better soon. They’re so hard to pick when they’re wounded, aren’t they?

  34. I think I might have to invest in some Depends because reading those latest was a close run thing.

    Quokka, glad to hear you’re enjoying the prac. It makes you feel like there’s actually some point to all the library burrowing and nurse-ratchet-putting-up-with, doesn’t it? Here’s a virtual gold star for getting your assignment in:

    *

    As for nose camoflague, have you considered those Groucho Marx novelty glasses? They’d block UV rays as well. Moustache optional.

    Catty, I may get “Dirt Floors are Very Rustic” cross-stitched on a sampler. If your MIL finds fame and fortune with video of her edentate sewer-bobbing hubby, remind her that standard agents’ fees start at 15%.

    When you get your 15%, my cut will be 15%, thanks.

    😉

  35. Before or after tax?

  36. Catty that’s hilarious. If it goes on the funniest home video show, let me know. Can’t normally bring myself to watch that show but that video would make the pain of watching drunk parents filming their children getting concussed and injured worth the pain.

    MM, on the final day of class for my last qualification I took in just such glasses and made the three of us who’d sat side by side for the duration of that year don them and I got a class mate to take a photo. All year we’d sat beside an anatomy chart of a dissected buttock, which my classmate referred to as ‘The smiling arsehole’ – so we got the poster in the background and my GF bluetacked a 4th set of groucho glasses over the buttocks.

    I was tempted to frame that photo and put it next to my certificate as a warning to clients of what to expect of me…anyway, I treasure that photo.

    Meh. I’m going to spend my day typing up case studies and trying not to pick at my blisters. The faster it heals and I can go back to laps, the saner I will be.

    Morgana, when are you coming back to see the show again? I know you told me – another bit of information that’s skidded off the pot-holed and subsiding information highway in my mind.

  37. Hehehe. According to my local council, Quokka, potholes can continue to surface for months after a flood event, too. Still, like the foolish man in the parable we build our roads on sand so you can’t expect much, can you?

    We’ll be back on the second weekend of April, to avoid the school holiday rush. I should be able to count on my fingers and work out what days that will be, but I can’t. When I’m back, can I please see the Bum Brothers photo, though?

    Don’t pick or you’ll scar. Don’t make me come down there and put both your hands in plaster!

    Catty – before tax, darling. Always before.

    Cracked up a sales assistant this morning. I don’t usually find shopping centres at all entertaining, but this was pretty funny.

    I was pants down in the cubicle when, from the next cubicle, she shouted “God, I’m hot!”

    I replied, “What, you mean, in that outfit?”

    She laughed so hard I had to rehang my own rejects.

    • Boom-tish!

  38. So, I take it you were in target?

    The Bloke came home and shared this with me, so I’m sharing it with you. Apparently it’s a hit in his office because there’s a bloke in there who pops his head out of his cubicle and yells ‘Alan! Alan! Alan!’ until he has the attention of everyone in the office and then goes ‘oh…its not Alan…sorry.’

  39. Target? You’re spot on, Quokka.

    See, look at that – a geezer joke! Can anyone get me a deal on a wheelie-walker? Thanks.

    In return, let me share with you one of my utube favourites:

    Those LARP weirdos really know how to put on their fun pants.

  40. Got any spare Depends, Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam? Madam?….

  41. Sure, Catty. Have half a packet.

    Just be careful how you drape your loin cloth round them, or you’ll look all hippy.

  42. Sometimes you lot terrify me. In a funny way. So how’s the healing going Q? No more Frankenquokka I hope? Just as an alternative Nurse Ratchet idea, have you considered baking her in a thick coat of flood mud? Seals in the juices – which is probably a good idea as she’d be more toxic than the mud itself. And I second the request for the Bum Bros & Teeth-Recovery visual delights. Glad my family doesn’t produce . . . oh wait.

  43. I’d rather be captivating, Greybeard, but I’ll happily claim “terrifying”.

    In fact, I think I’ll pop up to the dashboard and tinker with my subtitle.

    I hope there’ll be a red-carpet for the premiere of your disaster video. I so rarely get a chance to wear my chandelier earrings. It’s okay, they’re only fauxdelier – no real chandeliers were harmed in their manufacture.

  44. I’m *never* picky Madam, but shouldn’t that be shamdelier? Oh, and we threw out the red carpet. It turned a sort of poo-brown.

  45. Shamdelier. Hehehe. 10 points to our injured colleague.

    Took the spawn to the markets – no offers, regrettably – and we stopped at a garage sale on the way home.

    I bought a Robur “Perfect” teapot, still with the infuser, no dings and at least half of its silver plating for five bucks.

    Magic Man found a preserved snake’s head in an old rusted Rose’s marmalade jar – could be a King Brown, I think. There’s nothing like the unholy glow that suffuses a small boy’s face when he’s got his hands on a bit of dead, dangerous animal. He was so excited that the bloke let him have it for free.

    • Or about twice its worth? But I totally agree with him. In my biologist days I always had bits & bones lying around my desk or pockets. Rover, Mr Tibbles, Caramello and the obligatory snakes. When teaching they were *so* useful and live ones even better. Had a Fruit Bat hanging from my shirt, rats in the pocket – happy times. There’s a bit of the small boy that never grows up. If you’re lucky.

  46. Hm. Now there’s an idea, if I turn a few rats or snakes loose on Monday nights that could keep nurse Ratchett busy. She’d either be distracted by slithering down the halls hunting for dinner or else cosying up to her relatives.

    It’s OK – my classmates are great, and I’m on the countdown – four weeks down, twelve to go.

    The nurse is doing her best to create chaos in there but thankfully she’s not my supervisor and has her own students to instill with fear and loathing. She’s doing her level best to stuff everyone around and its hard to know if she’s just a pain in the ass or if she’s deliberately setting out to piss the other supervisors off. I suspect its genetic and her family coat of arms is simply ‘Chaos, Panic, Disorder – My work here is done.’

    Had an interesting conversation with a friend recently on that topic – she’s a psychologist and her area of expertise is bullying in the workplace. She was describing the effects of this type of personality in organizations and in her opinion there are the bullies who don’t know they are bullying because it’s simply a learned behaviour, its socially ingrained and they’re simply doing what they’ve always done because they don’t know how to communicate better or ask for what they need. So they throw their weight around, which aggravates everyone, levels of aggression go up all around, and tension accelerates.

    Then there’s the nasty ones that just bully for the sake of bullying, they really have no conscience and they derive some sort of satisfaction from being predatory. They don’t care or understand that what they’re doing is wrong and nothing you can do will change them. They target their victims very specifically until they’ve reduced them to a frothing mess or driven them out the door and then they find a new target.

    Judging from the levels of distress in the first years and the anger erupting from the other supervisors I’m inclined to think that Nurse Ratchett falls into the latter category. I think she’s scratched me off her list of Easy Targets because I kicked up such a huge stink about her behaviour and made sure that admin have Red Flagged her on their own internal radar.

    I’ve seen how they deal with people like this and the last lecturer that behaved like this had her contact hours and her income dramatically reduced for the following two semesters.

    So I suspect that Nurse Ratchett has decided that the best way to be put on part-suspension is to make life so unpleasant for her competition that they won’t want to come back and she’ll end up with their jobs.

    And as she has no power over me there’s really no point in targeting me this semester. So we’ll see. I have plans to go in there each evening wearing a hard hat and a kevlar vest and to just stay out of firing range when she’s gunning for the others.

    However if she does come after me I reserve the right to go FrankenQuokka. The metaphorical Hulk Smash seems to be the only GD thing that is ever going to work when you’re dealing with a predator.

    On the topic of cold-blooded creepy crawlies…Morgana, have your boys seen the movie (or was it a series?) of Gerald Durrell’s ‘My family and other animals?’ I read that book over and over and over when I was a kid – I would have loved to see the mini-series, at that age. The bloke and I caught it on the ABC one wet day and I thought it was so well done.

  47. * typo* – I meant to say ‘the best way for her to avoid part-time suspension’.

  48. One of my kidlets found a spider in the car today. I get the feeling her shrieks were from terror, not excitement. The same thing could be said of her screaming at the roller skating rink. Dead set, she was drowning out the cheesy 80’s skating hits. Fortunately, nobody tried to stop her, so we were spared the indignity of hearing ‘I See Red’ for the third time.

    Meanwhile, what’s this about a flood film premier? Has Greybeard video’d Anna Bligh being washed away? Oh, and Madam, you should wear the authentic earrings. I’m a big fan of realism. For example, I never use shampoo. I only use the real stuff.

    Speaking of poo, we have had to stop digging through other people’s hard rubbish crap. The BIL’s business has folded, and he told the Boss this morning that he’s out of a job. Joy, oh joy.

    We’re thinking we should do something proactive now, while we still have options. Although we’re both looking for work, the favourite option seems to be to sell our house, and move somewhere more rural (i.e, cheaper). That way we could buy a house outright, and it wouldn’t matter if all we could find is part time work. The Boss says we can’t drag home other people’s crap, unless we are willing to pack it. My response was along the lines of “What you mean ‘we’, white man?”.

    Any suggestions? What do you all think we should be considering?

  49. I guess that depends.
    How old are the kids that are still at home and how well do you think they’d cope with being relocated?

    From what friends have said, once they’re past 10 it’s traumatic to shift them too far away from their friends and the social supports they’ve built up through extra-curricular activities.

    The Bloke had rellies that tried it when their kids were on the cusp of that age – so they made a trial year of it on the understanding that there’d be a family meeting at the end of it to decide how well the experiment was working.

    They turned their house over to the builders and had it all fully renovated while they were away, so that they didn’t have to deal with the mess and could sell it ‘as new’ if they decided to make the move permanent.

    The move was tricksy…adults didn’t like the new town as much as they’d thought, one child loved it and wanted to stay in the new town, other child couldn’t wait to get away from the place. In the end it was more disruption than it was probably worth but at least they had the safety chute ready to restore them back into the security of their old community once they were done.

    Perhaps everyone in the family could write up a list of what they’d consider the pros and cons of the move and then have a meeting to air all of the ideas. And discuss how you’d deal with it if the move ends up suiting some of you and not others.

    I suppose the big thing is to work out what the schools are like in the areas that you’re considering moving to. And what the kids are like, too. I’d probably be considering what the kids in the area/the school are like (ratio of party hard stoners to ratio of children actually interested and willing to learn), & what kind of adults they’d have as role models in the school and in sports etc in the local communities.

  50. Tough one, Catty. First of all, Quokka is a genius and I’d agree with everything she said.

    In the second place, I know a bit about being shipped around as a kid (army brat) and living in small country towns (“Duelling Banjos” was the school song in one place).

    Do your research carefully to make sure that the “money saving” move will actually save you money. Beware the Big Block – fields need fencing and slashing and all sorts of expensive crap. Sometimes things you take for granted in the city, like power lines and phone lines, become your responsibility from the main road – hundreds of meters of pwer supply line and the associated poles and stuff don’t come cheap. Petrol costs a bomb these days, so if you have to drive the kidlets 80 k to school and extracurriculars, or the boss has an hour-and-a-half drive to get to work then you may be better off staying in the Big Smoke. It may even be possible to tenant your place and rent somewhere cheaper for yourselves.

    Since you’re both looking for work, choose an area carefully. A lot of places in the country have high levels of unemployment – and again, you may have a looooong drive to get to interviews and such.

    Explore your options with Centrelink ASAP – I think they give cash to unemployed people who move to rural areas where there are jobs available; you may qualify for rent assistance and all sorts of other help. It’s not charity, it’s a safety net. When the Boss is in work he pays plenty of tax.

    You’ll need friends or family that you can tolerate close by, if possible. No matter how well you plan there’s sometimes the need for someone to do e.g. an emergency school pick up for you. Some rural communities are insular; the initial move can be a bit isolating if you’re regarded as an incomer until you’ve been there 20 years.

    And, most important – you can’t move unless you’ve got an internet connection!

    Good luck and big virtual hugs.

  51. That stinks Catty. Huge good wishes to you & the Boss. I’m somewhat awed by the quality of advice from Quokka & Morgana. I got nothin’ but an endorsement of the country towns problems, no support network and such.

  52. Very good and useful advice, thank you. I’ve been talking to the Boss about it. Meanwhile, Mr “Don’t Pick Up Anything You’re Not Willing To Pack” has just bought home a treadmill. It weighs about 80 kilos. Won’t that be fun to pack? No, I am NOT going to help him.

  53. A treadmill? What does he want that for?

    I could have sworn he gets enough exercise picking through other people’s crap and dragging it back to your place.

    For fun, you should list in on Ebay with a $500 delivery charge.

  54. Funny, that’s what he said after walking on the stupid thing for two minutes.

  55. Look on the bright side, Catty – there’ll be a fair-sized strip of floor you’ll never have to vacuum or mop again.

    You know, the bit that the lies beneath the stupid 80 kg treadmill.

    Hmmm…. Where can I get me 32 m2 of treadmills?

  56. Only slightly used

  57. March is the month for abandoning health and fitness regimes that were taken up in January.

    We saw one of those Abcircle things that they’ve been pushing on daytime TV shows – abandoned on the footpath opposite our pilates class.

    I suspect it will be the first of many.

  58. Hehehe. Good one, Greybeard.

    Ooh, can you pick up the Abcircle pro, please, Quokka?

    Don’t worry, it’s not for me.

    I have a plan to strap the children to it and use their hyper energy to drive turbines, thereby powering the home. They’re better than solar panels because they buzz even on overcast days. In fact, they seem to have energy in inverse proportion to the suitability of the weather for outside romping.

    Take that, solar panels!

  59. I didn’t see any solar panels on the hard rubbish piles, but I did see a tabby cat. And at least fifty pedestal fans. Two of them appeared to be mating, which would explain why there were so many of them. I asked the Boss if we could take the cat, but he refused point blank. Spoil sport. So I grabbed a papasan (sans cushion) instead. The Boss is already threatening to throw it on our hard rubbish pile. Did I mention he was a spoil sport? I think I did.

  60. No, no I can’t. And for your own health and wellbeing, I feel that I really shouldn’t.
    I strained something around L4 while I was doing pilates on Saturday so lifting and bending of any description are not on my agenda for at least two days.

    Fracking exercise.
    I’d forgotten that when we used to do yoga on weekends, I’d spend a good number of Sundays waking up going ‘OUCH. WTF?’ and would realized that the day before I’d used a muscle that hadn’t been active since year 10 at boarding school.

    I suspect the owner of the Abcircle probably has the same injury and possibly did worse to him/herself in the effort to heave the fracking thing out onto the junk pile.

    Meh.
    Homework beckons.
    You’ll have to have fun with Catty’s junk without me.
    Speaking of cats, one of the flood cats escaped from the Cat Max enclosure on the porch last night. I was lying on the couch with my lumbar region cushioned and coated in linament and the bloke was working on his laptop. He alerted me when there was an almighty crash and we realized that one of the flood cats (one of the twins that I’m trying to palm off onto you, MM) had slithered through a space between the mesh and the ceiling and had made good her escape into the outside world.

    They’d all been going nuts because it was dusk and there were bats in the golden cane by the porch.

    As it turns out, the bats seemed far more terrifying than interesting once she was outside her enclosure so poor little Jetsam was banging on the gate desperate to find her way back inside before the bats had the chance to seize her and carry her off down the swamp.

    I’ve rung the cat enclosure people to get them to come out and fix the problem but meanwhile my flood evacuees seems very contrite and deeply concerned about the perils of the outside world… so I don’t think there’ll be any more escape attempts any time soon.

    It was pretty funny watching her trying to get back in and watching all her friends yelling out ‘They’re behind you, quick, quick, quick! The bats are coming and they’re gonna GET YOU!’

    Very reminiscent of that scene from Lost Boys where the kid was trying to rescue his dog before Kiefer Sutherland flew in to bite his head off.

    • Stupid cross posting.

      Ah, “Lost Boys”. I read someone slagging it off the other day and I was horrified… I still reckon it’s one of the best ever vamp flicks.

      Sorry to hear you’re injured, although I’m sure you could accustom yourself to a bit of couch lolling.

      I’m talking up Flotsam and Jetsam but Magic Man has overweening wildlife concerns… still, if they’re terrified of the outside world we may have an in. I’ll keep wheedling.

  61. He has no soul, Catty.

    Scooby Doo fitted sheets would make a perfect papasan cover. I’d reckon you’d need 4 packs.

    For padding, stuff with half a dozen layers of discarded quilts-
    or any excess husband parts that might be lying around, bitching about your amazing furniture finds.

  62. Huh. I just found my own pedestal fan on our hard rubbish pile. The Boss says he thought it might be feeling lonely, and would like the chance to run with the herd. Pest.

    If you need a new cat enclosure, Quokka, there are several on the footpaths around my neighbourhood. And a lot of scratching posts and sleep baskets. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of cats, too. They all look a bit bemused about finding their stuff on the footpath. I know that look. I had it myself when I saw my fan.

  63. I just need some more cleats to hold the netting of the cat max enclosure in place and a dufus who understands how to reset the tension on the wire that secures it. Turns out their bat chasing acrobatics have put an unnatural strain on it.

    I’m reading the most intriguing (yawn, zzz, positive CBT tactics not working) review article on lactose intolerance and irritable bowel. Please god let me finish it and emerge from my Cone of Boredom before I have to go to school tonight.

  64. You know you have my sympathy – both of you – but you have to admit it’s pretty funny that Quokka’s annoyed at an IBS article.

    One could say it’s giving her the shits.

  65. Heeheeheeheehee! Good one, Madam. (I’m stealing that, by the way.)

    Interesting topic, Quokka. I’ve been meaning to google it, because there seems to be some sort of IBS/lactose intolerance/sulphur allergy/hypoglycemia connection. Maybe there’s a correlation, maybe it’s just coincidence. It will be fun finding out, if I ever get the time.

    Meanwhile, stick a picture of a bat over the hole in the enclosure, to deter the kitties from escape attempts until you can find someone to do cleaty things to the re-tensioned wire.

  66. Try searching medscape, Catty.
    You have to join and register which is a pain as it involves remembering passwords (que?) but at least you’ll get the goods rather than hippy conspiracy shit.

    Lots of people have some sort of food intolerance, the not so fun part of that is figuring out what the hell they’re reacting to.
    Once the gut gets irritated it reacts to all sorts of things.

    Unfortunately I can’t post a link but the paper I got yesterday was a review of the research on lactose intolerance. Reviews and meta-analyses are the way to go because that way you’re getting the big picture, (information on thousands of people) rather than the run of the mill ’20 rats were fed an extract of Known Toxin X. Five died, four got pregnant, ten bit the handler and three ran away’.

  67. That’s 22 rats, Quokka – so obviously one or more of the rats reproduced by fission, as well.

    Enough info for me to steer clear of Known Toxin X. I don’t even want to be pregnant again, I certainly wouldn’t want a clone – I mean, an exact duplicate of me wouldn’t be any keener on the housework than me, would she?

    Although, if I fed her enough tetrodotoxin (blowfish poison, used in zombie powder)….

  68. What, you think rats can’t multi-task?
    I’m training one to use a calculator, right now, in preparation for the next time my partner and I get stuck on reception with the Evil Nurse. By virtue of being a witch I got to hide out the back and dispense potions. Chris got stuck beside the Crazed One, I think she had to go home and take a valium to recover from it.

    I yi yi, that madwoman creates some havoc in her wake.
    We barely made it down the stairs last night before the group of us that were trailing out started erupting with ‘WTF was wrong with Evil Nurse tonight?’ – I had to hush them and herd them out into the carpark where it was safe to have an impromptu We Hate Nurse Ratchitt meeting.

    How did it get so horribly hot again?
    Please tell me it’s all tony abbott’s fault.
    Anything more complex than that won’t process though my overheated brain.

  69. Ah, yes. Known Toxin X. I read in one of those hippy conspiracy rags that they use Known Toxin X to glue the sugar to kids’ breakfast cereals. Of course I believe them. I believe ALL conspiracies, including global warming. There you go, Quokka. Now you know why it’s so hot. It’s India’s fault, what with them having a quarter of the world’s rubbish dumps, AND a quarter of the world’s farting cows.

    Thanks for the medscape tip, Quokka. When I get the time, I’ll have a gander at that. Right now, though, I’m rearranging the furniture that has followed the Boss home from various hard rubbish piles. I was so annoyed by his crap collecting that I went outside this morning to bring my pedestal fan back in. But someone has cut the cord off. The poor thing has been neutered! When I told the Boss, he was nowhere near as contrite as expected. (i.e, he laughed until he cried).

    Even more annoying are the swarms of dust bunnies I’m finding behind every piece of furniture I move. Stupid dust bunnies. Stupid vacuuming. I’d ask for some of that tetrodotoxin, but am reluctant to try it after seeing what it did to Lobes. Oh, well. Looks like it will have to be valium dissolved in vodka. Again.

  70. Add some midori, the green colouring always livens me up.
    Then you can say to your friends ‘But Madge, you know you’re soaking your liver in it,’ and then cackle madly and run away.

    I think my brain melted despite sheltering in the AC for the last 4 hours typing up my case studies. The printer is, of course, refusing to print, and the person who understands it’s idiosyncracies is in the Qantas club, sipping white rabbits.

    It must be ice-cream o’clock.

  71. Humidity is running at about 95% and a former friend cheerfully informed me we can expect 97% tomorrow.

    It’s most certainly all Tony Abbot’s fault. The shocking rises in ambient heat and humidity are the direct result of all those triathalons he runs. That’s right – that hot clammy air, draped around your entire body like an unwelcome fur rug, is super-heated vaporised Tony Abbott sweat.

    Eeew. Redact that last, I just nauseated myself.

    Sorry to hear that the cord vultures destroyed your Precious, Catty. They strip it for the copper, I’m told.

    As for the vacuuming – meh. I’d put mine off for a week until it had to be done today, rustic or not. I think I’ve got heat stroke. Stupid procrastination. Stupid dirt. Stupid everything.

  72. Except muffins. They are not stupid. They are supper.

  73. Sorry, but I must say this somewhere “safe”. AAAAAARRRRRGGHHH!!! My daughter is following me on Twitter! How embarrassing is THAT?! I say naughty things on twitter. It should be private from your kids surely?

  74. That’s not so bad, Greybeard. You don’t really need to worry until your daughter’s lawyer starts following you on Twitter.

    • Sorry, but that comment is too funny, Catty.

      I hyened so hard I nearly woke the whole household.

  75. And the hit men she’s hired start following you up dark alleys.
    Might be time to revise your will.

    • You, too, Quokka.

      Think of my pelvic floor!

  76. Oh wait, that’s right, not all families are like mine.
    Ignore me, and carry on twittering.

  77. But Greybeard, your daughter is… umm, how to word this… she’s reached her majority, surely?

    She’s already learned all the swears from you, years ago.

    They’ll be indexed in your section of her memory:
    * bad word Daddy said when he dropped the sledgehammer on his foot;
    * bad word Daddy says when his hand slips on a wrench;
    * bad word Daddy said when I barged into Mummy and Daddy’s room without knocking on Sunday morning… and why was Daddy wrestling Mummy with that funny look on his face and no clothes on?

    My point being, you’ve had all her childhood to damage the lass. Scar tissue is very resilient.

    • All of them claim to have been horribly scarred by their childhoods and apparently this still continues. I will make some innocent, droll comment or reflect on past activities and they’ll have a discussion on whether that was the 738th or 739th “scarred for life” incident. At least they’ve stopped the “another six months in therapy” line. Apparently it’s therapy for life. Wimps, all of ’em. Still doesn’t explain why so many of their friends “adopted” me.

  78. We love you too, Greybeard.

    Wanna be my Daddy?

    Hehehe. I knew that would look extremely wrong on the page, but its even worse when you can actually see it.

  79. Greybeard may not want to be your daddy, Madam, but he might be willing to offload Mayhem’s Mum onto you. But you’d best check that she’ll fit into the chook shed with Al. If not, you may need to install an Oubliette.

  80. Nice thought, but the water table is too high round these parts for an oubliette.

    I mean, I know the rats enjoy a bit of synchronised swimming but if they never dry out they’ll get fungal infections, won’t they?

    Oh, and it probably wouldn’t be any good for Mayhem’s Mum, either.

  81. Out of Office AutoReply: Hi. I’m taking an extended break for personal reasons. If you must contact me, please write to:
    Patient739, Isolation Unit, Santo Didymus Mental Trauma Hospital, Borrachon, Peru.

  82. I’ve broken men before, don’t get me wrong – but usually it takes more than four words.

    Hunh.

    Looks like I’m getting better with age!

  83. Break all the men you want, its all the same to me.
    It’s when you break wordpress and I can’t Faff instead of writing these interminable freaking case studies that it upsets me.

    Like earlier today.
    Nice to see that order has been restored.

    Meh.
    Being as the bearded warbler is lurking here, perhaps we should try to reschedule our thwarted attempt to meet at Ahmet’s, for lunch next time you’re in town, MM. Or is that just my hankering for pumpkin/fetta/turkish pide selfishly doing the talking?

    We can go elsewhere if you lot can think of something you’d rather do. I’ve been back to Lock n Load a few times.
    I figure if I got back once a fortnight and order the same thing over and over and over and over, one day they’ll eventually get the order right. And one thing I’ll say, sending a FKD up order back to the kitchen means that your meal comes back pronto and much hotter than you could expect first time around.

    Don’t mind me, I’ve spent the afternoon closeted in a freezing shoe box with my classmates in Gen Y.

    I think I need a bex and a good lie down.
    With my good friend Jim Beam.

  84. Did you know the mention of food has amazing restorative properties? I’m feeling much better already. Heading south any time soon Madam M? Fifi & I have found an Indian place near home that does very nice lunch specials. Very tempting on weekends and her day off (ie today). I’m trying to convince her that being at home with me all the time might have its compensations. Uphill job I’m afraid.

  85. Mmm… Indian.

    Way back in the 80s, when women were women and so were a lot of the men, we used to stagger from our riverside hovel to an Indian joint on Brunswick St. There we would order a chicken curry, redolent with cinnamon and many exotic spices. I wish I hadn’t munted my brain to the extent that I can’t remember WTF it was called!

    I’m in, Greybeard, but I’m not sure if Quokka can eat Indian… Quokka, our friends from the subcontinent should go easy with the nitrate bottle, shouldn’t they?

    Speaking of your friend Jim, Magic Man heard that annoying song… Ke$ha, I think… about getting ready to go out and “brushing (my) teeth with a bottle of Jack”.

    Sweet innocent lad thought Jack was a brand of toothpaste.

  86. Indian always used to be a safe bet but some of them now seem to be using pre-packaged sauces choc full of sulfates that are guaranteed to put me out of action for a good 48 hours.

    Places I’ve stopped eating at are the Indian takeaway in Vulture Street West End (few doors from the intersection of vulture and boundary) and also that Miss India chain that’s sprung up around the place.

    I’ve had typical sulfite reactions from both places and when questioned they shake their heads in amazement and insist that no preservatives went into the production of their food.
    Since I don’t react to other stuff – just sulfates – and the response is very distinctive – my trust levels for restauranteurs from the subcontinent is really rather low.

    I must say that lying about contaminants isn’t something that’s limited to Indian restaurants. I’ve stopped buying products from two local bakeries because the staff told me there were no sulfates in their products and when I got onto the actual owners eventually – and this was after me being quite assertive when they said ‘It must have been something else you ate’ – they admitted that yes, Virginia, there are indeed sulfates in their mixes ‘But they don’t exceed government accepted levels’.

    Since I can’t really afford to lose 48 hours of productivity I’d rather attempt to negotiate the perils of new eating places in the breaks between semester.

    So, I’m good for breakfast in any place that does scrambled eggs and bacon, or else I trust the Turks not to poison me.

    Sorry to be a pain, but I’d much prefer to be a pain than to spend 48 hours experiencing it.

  87. I wonder if it’s in pre-mixed chutneys or spice mixes or something? They may not mean to tell you huge curry-flavoured pork pies, they just might not join the dots.

    Anyhoo, looks like no Indian for you, Greybeard.

    What’s your poison…. I mean, preference… Breakfast at the Point/The Jetty thing/Lock n Load for the pleasure of sending our meals back or lunch among Allah’s Own?

  88. I don’t mind and I really can do breakfast anywhere, so all suggestions welcome. Jetty not so good for a group as they don’t take bookings and it gets very crowded.

    I should add that Sundays are probably better for breakfast but either day is good for lunch, or dinner – if its early.

    The other option that occurred to me is that we could all trek out to Redcliffe to visit with Sir Bong.

    Redcliffe has thus far failed to poison me, there is a lovely breakfast/brunch cafe overlooking the jetty at Woody Point called Feelgoodz cafe – they do awesome breakfasts but stop them at 11am. Lunches are rather nice too. The coffee is good and they have a lovely range of gelato.

    If you want pizza or Italian there’s a great place near the Redcliffe Jetty called the Rustic Olive. I attribute the extra 3kilos on my frame to our 9 week stay at Margate in winter 2009, and regular intake of their garlic foccacia, vegetarian pizza, and the lovely creamy penne pesto pollo…they don’t use any preservatives in their mixes and the garlic foccacia and pizzas really are marvelous.

    The markets are on at the jetty on Sundays so they make for a pleasant stroll and I suspect there’s a churro stall tucked away in there somewhere if anyone’s sweet tooth starts to nag at them. Although the rustic olive do a lovely panna cotta (sp?).

    As for the preservatives, they are commonly put in tomato sauces (used as the basis for a lot of curries) and in a lot of pastes that are imported from asia – Tamarind paste being a major source of heartbreak for me as I love that stuff.

    I never touch the pickles or chutneys as they’re often done in vinegar or else there’s dried fruit and both have sulfates added as preservatives.

    So long as I stick by the general rule of ‘Eat nothing that comes out of a bag, a jar or a can’ – I’m OK.

    The bastards have even started adding sulfur preservatives to breads, baked goods and frozen vegetables – most notably hash browns and precut processed hot chips – so my fail safe stand by of eating out at restaurants and pubs – the humble plate of hot chips – is now listed as a poison.

    Its the fact that they’ve added my poison to donuts that really upsets me, though.

    I’m expected to survive without donuts AND hot chips?
    Oh, the humanity.

  89. Oh the Indian place wouldn’t be suitable for a group – it’s just a hole-in-the-wall place to tempt Fifi into. And I’m famously easy. With respect to food. I love Turkish but Q’s idea of Redcliffe & a visit to Mr Bong (Jamessh Bong?) sounds great. It’s his birthday about nowish so we’d be a bit late for it but meh.

    And I have a new mower with which I’m slashing into a couple of months worth of grass, weeds & flood debris. Wonder if I should wear shoes? Naah, that’d be girly.

  90. Thongs, GB, and make sure you don’t mow the lawn in the US variation of the product.

    Thanks for bearing with me.
    I love food too and can easily be persuaded into any venue not likely to give me 2-3 days worth of IBS.
    So, how do we all feel about a trip to the peninsula? I have a seminar all day on Sat 2 April but other than that and the 10am Saturday pilates classes my calendar is OK for a lunch date.

    I’m stuck at being 2 weeks behind with my case studies but my supervisors are good with that so long as I don’t get any further behind. And thus far that seems to be under control. I think they were pretty impressed I got that 2 days of 1st aid out of the way so quickly and they seem to understand that there went two days that could have been better spent writing case reports.

    Sorry to be so pernickety about venues, but the problem with labeling laws in Australia means that they can sneak a certain percentage of Known Toxin X into many different food products and so long as it’s below the levels known to put food sensitivity sufferers into hospital it’s not regarded as a problem.

    Which is a pain, as chefs both home and professional are thus unlikely to know that they’re adding several sources of Known Toxin A to their culinary masterpiece.

    Even I get caught out and I’ve been dealing with this issue for years. I only recently discovered that they’re adding sulfur to pizza bases, apparently it’s added to any kind of dough-mix as a preserving agent.
    Presumably to prevent law suits from uni students who can’t resist the urge to eat that last bit of 3 day old pizza that slithers out from under the brown couch on a Sunday afternoon.

    Manufacturers are also getting sneaky because – being such a common trigger for asthma & IBS, parents are getting wise to it and avoiding products that have 220 – 230 on the label.

    i.e. Vegemite.
    A year ago I was delighted to see that 223 is no longer listed on the label of vegemite jars. So I bought one, came home, lathered up a piece of rye toast with a .5mm thick coating of butter and it’s equal in vegemite, and downed the lot.

    And spent the next two days closeted in the smallest room in the house, sipping chamomile tea and cursing the craftiness of the marketing folk at Kraft.

    Apparently there’s still 223 in the fracking thing, it’s just they’ve managed to add some other preservative as well, which has allowed them to lower their levels of 223 into line with government regs – end result, they no longer need to list it on the labels, parents with sulfur intolerant children think it’s safe, and they buy the stuff, go home, and wonder why child spends the rest of the week wheezing or doubled over with cramps and diarrhoea.

    Meaning that unless you ring the manufacturer and ask them, you’ll never know that there’s low levels of sulfur in all sorts of GD things. And when you do ring them, you get some snotty woman who says ‘Oh, are you one of those really sensitive people (in a voice that suggests she’d like to see us all drowned at birth) that reacts to levels below the government guidelines? You probably shouldn’t eat it then.’

    And because there are low levels of sulfur in so many things, once you combine an assortment of them in a meal – it usually manages to add up to the point where it can tip you over the edge.

    Anyway, while I’m still searching for an Indian place that I can eat at – because I love it – a good substitute is the Tibetan in West End. Or else the good old Kim Than.

  91. Can’t go wrong with Kim Thanh… I may have mentioned that they’re practically relatives, we’ve gone there so often in the last 25 yrs or so… but I’d love to go and lunch with Sir Humpy of the Bong.

    Looks like we’re immersing ourselves in kulcha on the Saturday, so is Sunday any good? Or breakfast on Sunday? Although the pizza sounds good. Really, really good.

  92. Sunday is probably good for lunch with Sir Bong of Redciffestan provence. Although I should probably check which Sunday we are speaking of and then we should probably check in with Sir Bong.

    If you want to car pool remember I don’t imbibe Known Toxin A, and there’s plenty of room in the back of the C4.

  93. It’s Sunday the 10th of April, and I may well take you up on the offer of a lift, thank you, since I’ll have to drive back home that afternoon. Let me guess – I should come around to your place earlier, to see Flotsam and Jetsam frolic.

    Do you want to email the Leige of Redcliffe and extend our humble invitation? I’ve only bantered with him on Twitter, we’ve never met IRL.

  94. The bat assassin twins don’t frolic in front of guests, they hide in their igloo and tremble until they’re convinced the danger has departed. The red cats are the extroverts, with the black tabbies being more your INFP type. Now that they’ve gotten to know me the twins are very smoochy and affectionate. Just be prepared for them to be shy and for the red ones to push them out of the way and come at you demanding affection.

    As for Sir Bong, I might have to farm that task out to Greybeard, assuming he can make it as far as Redcliffe that day. I did mention the lure of the churros stall at the markets, surely?

    Twitter is utterly bedeviled and I don’t have Humpy’s email.
    I do have Chaz’s though, and I know those two are in touch, so if GB is shy, I can probably work something out.

    Hm. Haven’t heard from him since he went off down the swamp to slash and burn. What are the odds that Colin’s murdered him to feed and impress his lady friends?

    Now if you’ll excuse me, chores beckon and yes, I have case studies to write up.

  95. I’ll launch myself at Twitter and extend the hand of friendship.

    Study hard and make sure, every 15 minutes, that you have a break to stab rusty pins in your Nurse Ratchett voodoo doll. It helps prevent RSI and alleviates stress.

  96. Okay, I’ve twittered and DM’d with Humpy Bong. He says he can’t make lunch, but could do coffee, but that the CBD is being dug up all at once and the place is an absolute schemozzle.

    Sounds like a leave it until next time job for me.

    Let’s make a decision and strong-arm make a suggestion to Greybeard. Lunch at Ahmet’s?

  97. Ee-ew.
    I don’t like schemozzle on my pizza.
    Or coffee.

    Lunch at Ahmet’s it is.

    I suppose one of us should go check if GB is pinned beneath his ride-on mower being pecked at by a harem of grubby birds. Catty, you’ve got the video camera. This is a job for you.
    Catty? Catty?
    Where’d she go?

    Perhaps she’s in the Bahamas, having earned a fortune for the False Teeth down the Sewer tapes. Not from AFHV of course. From the in-laws, in blackmail money, to prevent it getting onto prime time TV.

    Onto other news I’ve just finished chores, had lunch and am about to sit down at the computer, utterly uninspired, to do case studies.

    Ducked into the vet and told Vanessa you might be interested in Flotsam and Jetsam. At which her face lit up and she said ‘Take them, take them all, she can have all of them if she wants.’

    A slight lie as I know she’s missing 2 of them and her daughter is missing the other 2 permanent fixtures of their home. She thinks she’ll be back home in three weeks – we’ll see. I think that’s a bit ambitious.

    Anyway, apparently Flotsam and Jetsam are boys, not girls – they are just very pretty and gentle and as they had me convinced they were girls they’re bound to be gay. She said their real names are Nibbles and Puggles but as the collars identifying them have fallen off she may have a hard time IDing them. She said something about a stripe on a leg. Dunno. Anyway, she’ll need to figure that out if you want to rename them on the microchip file database.

    Anyway, if you want them she’ll update their vaccinations, worming and microchip details for you and then bid them a merry farewell.

    Its starting to look like your fate is sealed.
    Hm. What’s the proper etiquette here?
    Do I say Congratulations or Sucked In?

    Oh, and I have made the rash decision to have a tupperware party for her here in May. When I’ve got the date finalized I’ll let you know.

    Try not to wet yourself with excitement over that one.

  98. Catty’s still with us, but she’s with us on the Kissing Bandit thread. Which actually is much kinder, and we must remember to faff on a back-thread for catch-ups in future.

    Boys? I’ve gone coldish. Are they knackered? I usually go for female pets. Actually, my own boy children are the only male pets I’ve ever had… although I assume the ceiling rats are assorted genders.

    Re: Tupperware in May – I am a bit moist, but it may just be excitement.

    Oops, better strike that last – Greybeard’s been telling the twitterverse that I’m a terrifying man-breaker, I don’t want to fuel his fire.

  99. Ohgodohgodohgod – the pain! Back from the physio, who is clearly a soft-spoken smiling sadist. I don’t think I’m *meant* to bend in those places. Anyhow, ouch again, consider my arm twisted for Ahmet’s and delicious Turkish. Is this the South Bank or Bulimba one?

  100. Bulimba, I think, if it’s all the same to you.

    The parking is better and I suspect it’s less frantic.

    Since I’m only a visitor to the Big Smoke these days, though, I’ll be guided by you city slickers.

  101. Bulimba, oh tortured one.

    Madame, they’ve been neutered since they were little and trust me, you don’t want the girl in that litter, she’s just not affectionate and only cares about food.

    The twins are snuggly and gorgeous and have big beautiful cleopatra eyes. Besides, I’ve spent the last 2 months convinced they were girls and saying ‘hello princess’ as they smooch me good morning. The damage is done, they’ve come to believe it.

    Seriously, any breeder will tell you that boy cats are much more affectionate and devoted than girl cats.

    I love my little girl cat but we all call her Princess Bitchface for a reason.

    • The other question is how they’ll like the dog.

      She’s a big lazy old marshmallow but the mere sight of 55 odd kg of Neopolitan Mastiff might alarm the kitties somewhat.

      On the other hand, Elf Boy wants a pet so much that was his wish at the GOMA wish wall….

      On the third hand, someone gave him Sea Monkeys for his birthday.

  102. Does anyone really believe that he’s been to the physio or do you think he’s just not willing to admit he’s been trapped under the mower since this time yesterday?

  103. He’s covering for me.

    I got a bit carried away with the flail – it’s a fine line between “souvenir welt” and “cut to the bone”.

    I did offer to kiss it better but he muttered something about a Peruvian visa and staggered off clutching a rosary.

  104. I like it when he’s injured.
    Come the apocalypse we can push his wheel chair into the slobbering mass of approaching zombies and hoof it, while they sup on his succulent cheese & wine fed flesh.

  105. Gee, Quokka.

    You make him sound so tasty I could just about smear him on a cracker myself.

    Perhaps I should start preparing dinner? I’ve never had cannibalistic urges before…

  106. That depends if you think he’d be tough or tender.
    Sounds soft to me, I say sharpen the carving knife.

    Ah.
    T-party booked Sat 7 May 3.30 pm.
    I’m not so much moist as clammy at the thought of it.
    I’m thinking of offering up the leftover cats as lucky door prizes. Do you feel like a winner?

  107. Mmm, cheese & wine. I just hope those zombies appreciate me. And my mate Colin is only an occasional visitor these days. Just drops in for a beer & some nuts. His mound is turning into a grassy knoll. Which makes me nervous for some reason. The new mower is an exercise-inducing Victa. Good for me knee y’know, COS I”M TOUGH, ME. Hard as nails & just as chewy! (Dang scary women)

  108. “Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth.”

    I love a bit of Hot Chocolate, now the nights are closing in. Well I would, if the nights didn’t insist on being so sticky and vile.

    Don’t worry, Quokka, I’ll help. I’m a whiz with canaps and horse doovers.

    BTW, Greybeard, we don’t believe you’re tough. Rumour is it you come pre-marinated and tenderised in brine. (Arrgh!)

  109. I believe he’s also preserved in both sulfites and nitrates, so he’ll last beyond the apocalypse and is bound to poison the zombies.

    Morgana, if you want to bring a plate that would be lovely but don’t go overboard as I suspect the vet staff will offer to do likewise. I’m actually considering getting a cake made from Gerbinos and ordering a platter of sushi from the good folk at Kotobuki sushi.
    And then I might do a mound of mezzes/deli type nibbles.
    I quite like feeding people (when I’m not studying) and I may start making odds and ends on the weekend and toss them in the freezer for future reference.

    The problem being that I share Catty’s sweet tooth & expansion resistant constitution, whereas not everyone is likely to appreciate turning up to see five different desserts mounded high on the dining room table.

    GB, links aren’t working for me in much of cyberspace since the great storm crash of 21 Feb (I think the power outage neutralized whatever good work Janet’s tech nerds have done and he hasn’t responded to the messages I left him) so I can’t see a link to your blog. Let us know if you’ve got anything new up & maybe post a link?

    We are off to look at pizza ovens later today, which I’ve decided should sit beside the gas BBQ when we redo our courtyard/entertaining area in the next batch of renos.

    Last week we chose tiles.
    GB, how go your construction plans? Last time I enquired it sounded like the new flood building regs might put some serious constraints on that. Has your architect schemed up any ways around that? You should have more height allowance, think you could tolerate building a duplex type thing and selling one off?

  110. If someone doesn’t want to see five desserts on a table, I don’t want to know them. Sure, my metabolism is so slow my ancestors probably came to Australia via the Arctic Circle, but I just don’t care anymore.

    I’ve cleaned too much today and all that soluble lavender oil seems to have dissolved my ability to give a fuck – It’s kind of peaceful, now.

    Greybeard, if the renos don’t include arrow slits, a long-range boiling oil pot and several trebuchets there’d better be a good reason.

  111. Madam, I feel your pain (at least until Fifi & I break out the Pinot Noir). My ancestors *did* come from the frozen north – genetically programmed to live off reindeer bacon & bear-liver pate with frozen fruity fatsicles for dessert. Must be why I love the cold & put on weight when I smell chocolate. Sigh.

    As for the house, a nice lady from the council has told us that we need to get the block re-surveyed, showing the “brown line”. This sounds vaguely disgusting but if we must . . . ? Then we can use that as the basis for a development application, which she seems to think will be approved, eventually. Our Daughtertect has raised the floor & dropped the upstairs ceiling from 2.7m to 2.4m. Naturally there are no arrow slits (tsk) though the windows *are* narrowish and the 15cm of reinforced concrete which forms the core of the walls is excellent, erm, insulation. Since the suspended concrete slab now has quite a bit of completely enclosed space under it, I’ve asked for a trapdoor. She rolls her eyes just like her mother. Sometimes they do syncronised eye-rolling. Bleedin’ women. Where do they expect Mayhem’s Mum to live?

  112. Indeed. No home is complete without a trap door leading to a dungeon and I cite my own home as Exhibit A should you wish to demonstrate to your daughter that someone in her own profession has seen the need to add one to his own home. I call upon Madame to certify the existence of my trapdoor, although we may have to broaden it’s perimeter if you intend to test it out.

    The occasion of the Tupperware Party at Casa Quokka may be a suitable time for show and tell…I’m having trouble deciding, should I make a pitcher of mojitos or a pitcher of long island iced tea to serve my guests? Or possibly both?

    Talk of this Brown Line is indeed disgusting and I hope that Colin’s habitat falls within it.

    Now. I’ve finished Monday’s homework and I’m off to attack a chocolate rabbit using only my bared teeth.

  113. I hereby solemnly swear that Casa Quokka has a trapdoor to a dungeon annexe in the under-garage, through which I could not fit. This is entirely the fault of my child-bearing hips, and no blame should be apportioned to the person or persons who constructed said hole.

    Getting people drunk is probably a good way to get them to buy Tupperware, but what will you do with those to sozzled to drive away?

    “Brown Line” sounds like a toilet ailment, symptomatic of sluttish inattention to the houswork… or a mate of “The Thin Blue Line”.

    All this reinforced concrete, Greybeard – are you going to call the new house “Greybeard’s Country Bunker”?

    Hehehe. Couldn’t resist. Watched “Blues Brothers” with the kids last night.

    • We got both kinds o’ music. Country *and* Western.

      “Does your toilet show the Brown Line? When guests pop in for a tinkle, do you flush with shame? Our patented Pedestal Extender will raise your seating position by 1.2m, putting it above 95% of floods and 100% of casual inspections! Comes with FREE Climb ‘n’ Go stepladder.”

  114. “Are you the police?”
    “No Ma’am. We’re musicians.”

    Talk about performance anxiety. I’m afraid of heights!

  115. I hope its not a composting toilet.
    The tiger worms would never survive the velocity of the crush injuries.

  116. The preceeding comment was brought to you by the producers of CSI: Biocycle.

    Coming soon to a commune near you!

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