Snail Misbehavin’

Brave Florida resident, Alice, aged 11, confronts an invading Giant African Snail.

Flee, Floridans! Fire up your mobility scooters and wheely-walkers and flee at your own pace… the Giant African Snails are coming!

Just kidding – they look more like this:

My favourite bit is when the snail gave Mrs Hernandez  a migraine and she had to have a lie down. Really, Mrs Hernandez – after one 13cm snail? I’d love to confront her with a paddock-full of slime mould or a nasty outbreak of feral armpit fungus and see what happens – spontaneous combustion is my working hypothesis.

But it’s not just snails invading Florida. They also have terrible problems with Gambian pouched rats, pink hibiscus mealybugs and Burmese pythons. I know it’s wrong, but that news just makes me want to crate up several thousand cane toads and ship them over to add a bit of hop to the mix.

Still, serious biosecurity issues demand a reasoned response. Stop panicking, Florida. I’ve got several solutions to your “crisis” and so far I’ve only had one cup of coffee:

  1. Slimearama  Start a snail-based takeaway franchise. Sauté in garlic and red wine,  and serve in their own shells. Tastier, healthier and better for the environment than McDeath.
  2. Snail racing  Florida is America’s retirement capital, and seniors appreciate a gentle tempo. Paint numbers on the side of their shells, raise State revenue by taking bets on the… erm, sliders, close off a few main roads and let them rip. Hell, you could start a whole snail racing carnival. Fascinator sales would skyrocket.
  3. Exploit the Food Chain  Feed the pink hibiscus mealybugs and giant African snails to the Gambian pouched rats. The plumped-up pouchies may then be offered to the Burmese pythons. Sated and bloated, the pythons should make easy targets. Skin the pythons and make orthopaedic shoes, or colostomy bag covers.

Florida, no need to thank me – just send me a pair of python slingbacks, size 8.


99 Responses

  1. Point 3 could benefit from expansion.
    i.e. Add them to the contents of the McFlurry.
    From what Vanessa said the other day of the taste experience, snails could only be an improvement.

    • Escargot McFlurry – it would take off I think. Albeit a little slowly at first.

  2. I think you’re on to something there, Q.

    Snails, being a natural source of slime, would be a perfect base for most of the McDeath confectionery products. They’re probably low in cholesterol too, and what could be more eco than a pest in plague proportions?

    I’ll email head office – ronald@mcdeath should find their chief clown.

  3. Point 2 smacks strongly of an attempt to open a market niche, Madam. You’re hoping to expand your fascinators into the US market, aren’t you? (Put me down for a Gambian Pouched Rat Skull version; perhaps one with a sprinkling of Pink Hibiscus Mealybug glitter?)

  4. Hehehe.

    There’s something about ‘Gambian Pouched Rat’ that makes me smile. I’m going to see if I can get my Mum to knit me one.

    In the interim, though, I’m happy to confirm your order, Catty. Would you like that in shocking pink, shrieking violet or morose lime?

  5. Swashbuckling black, perhaps? And a matching Gambain Rat Pouch? I’ll be the belle of MCD with that little ensemble.

  6. Fabulous, sweetie.

    Let me put a Burmese python strap on your rat pouch, darling… and how about a set of matching wedges?

    I’d suggest earrings made from Giant African Snail shells, but it gets gusty at Flemington. You could do a Sally Field on the field, sporting those numbers.

  7. MM, there’s too much competition from the slappers on the field, nobody would even see Catty in your reconstituted roadkill fashions. You could wear a corset made out of the dried and flayed livers of our combined disgusting exes on Melbourne Cup Day and nobody would turn a hair. Although if you ran into a few more of their exes they’d probably buy you a beer & send you flowers on your birthday for the next 10 years.

  8. Personally, I’m not surprised Mrs Hernandez had to have a lie down. Snails make me feel sluggish, too.

  9. Hehehe… sluggish.

    You’re right though, Q. Deceased Feral Pest Couture deserves a wider audience, a brighter spotlight. Catty, we’re going to dress you up, hire a cherry picker and then hoist you to the peak of one of the Opera House sails.

    I like where Quokka’s going with the exes livers, though. Several of my exes would have a sort of crochet effect, with lots of decorative holes in theirs.

    Had to drop in at the cricket club last night to talk canteen biz with the Prez. You’ll be happy to know that Declan’s coach was also there, showering me with further apologies for the mix-up last Saturday. “Of all the people not to tell… etc.” he apparently went home and said to his wife. “I’m so sorry… etc.” I just smiled sweetly and lied my forgiveness. Ah, sweet vengeance. I see you’re cooling nicely.

  10. Livers are a great idea. You’d never have to iron them.

    *boom boom*

  11. I know it’s wrong, but I’ve got a strong urge to grab a fresh baguette and smother it in pate.

  12. Hehee. Pass the fudge.
    I just did a google search on Casa Quokka and I found our DA listed on the local councillor’s website. She’s made a number of incorrect assertions about our proposal (I love it when they screw up) and said that naturally she plans to oppose it as it’s ‘generally inappropriate’.
    Which is code for ‘falls within the building code guidelines but I hate it’.
    I’ve forwarded the site to The Bloke and also to our planning consultant so that they too can have a giggle that she plans to oppose something that’s not on our building plans anyway. Marvelous.
    Carry on, and pass the slug repellant. I may need it to keep the town planners off the lawn.

  13. I think you should send the councillor a little gift. Like a box of Giant African Snails with a postcard that reads “Hey, Slimeball!”

    What’s she opposed to… the moat, the multilevel trebuchet, the boiling oil pots on the roof?

  14. I think it’s the hungi pit with the spikes and the ‘guinness sold here’ sign that’s really set her off.

  15. Silly woman. That stuff is all next door in Bog Hollow.

  16. I’m not too worried. It’s her standard pattern of behaviour, residents put in a DA and she says she’ll be sending out letters complaining about it. Because she’s FKD up several of the facts I figure this could work in our favor. We’ve passed it on to the planning consultant so it’s his problem now, anyway. Gosh it’s nice to have a trained attack dog doing the hard yards with this, it does make life easier.

  17. D’you reckon you could sic him onto Kylie?

    Or better still, sic your local councillor onto her. A fight to the death should spice things up nicely.

  18. Maybe next month. At the moment she’s actually being helpful. Believe it or not, I got an email reply from Kylie today confirming that my degree has been processed and they’re sending it out next Friday. I’m convinced Hogwarts admin has got at least one more priceless FKup left up their sleeve, so until then…well, she can live.
    When I looked at the council website there are hundreds of DAs going up in our electorate. I can’t imagine anyone except the crazies around here working up too much of a head of steam about what we want to do. And if the neighbours think back, they just might remember that the DA that got approved 10 years ago was far, far worse, in terms of how it would impact on them, than what we propose to do now. Besides, as you all know, I was looking forward to horrifying the crazies. If it’s set off the local councillor, then I say, Mission accomplished.

  19. Careful, don’t be too easy on Kylie. She may develop delusions of adequacy.

  20. Hmm.

    That will be nice, if it happens. We shall have a virtual “Yay, Q’s Finally Got Her Degree!” party, with brownies and tea in a proper pot.

    It does, however, beg the question of what the frigging hell Kylie and Co have been doing all this time. I mean, really. It’s not like they had to wait until a team of Venetian engravers could sail down here on a replica of Marco Polo’s ship so your degree could be lovingly hand-crafted. It’s called a laser printer, Hogwarts.

    Cricket Update:
    Elf Boy loved it. His match report:
    “I got two ‘Good boy!’s and one ‘Great !’.” (words of praise from the coach, he means.)

    “And when I was bowling, I got one down.” (I think he means took a wicket, here, but I was flat out in the canteen so I can’t be sure. He may have chucked it so wild he knocked the batsman out.)

  21. Man down, that’s the ultimate goal with cricket, surely?
    I say he’s getting the hang of it.
    As for Kylie, two of my classmates were finally issued with their degrees in the last two weeks. Both complained about the cheap paper and the shoddy look of the thing – but I knew this because Special School has a reputation for churning out cheap looking crappy certificates. I already have three from the previous administration.
    I figure if I got to UQ they’ll give me something pretty at the end of it.
    Lovely looking storm heading our way up here, most unusual and delightful to get a storm at this hour. Catty, you’re not flying around on your broomstick over Ipswich are you?

  22. Not today. My legs are too hairy for flying. All that wind resistance causes too much drag for liftoff.

    Now I have to decide whether to get out the cauldron to make jam, or shave my legs. Maybe I could do both? Whisker jam would make a nice change from toe jam.

    Good-oh with the cricket, Madam. It’s a pity I can’t join you in the canteen. I could have made a batch of my breadrolls so the team would have a steady supply of replacement cricket balls.

  23. Catty, thanks for the offer – but the under 10s use a softer ball. I don’t think your rolls would be regulation.

    Yes, Q, it was a fabulous storm, wasn’t it? I was sitting under the scorer’s tent in Tewantin, desperately trying to keep track of every ball as an icy wind sprang up. Malevolent masses of clouds, the purple-green of a fresh bruise muscled across the sky and there were several lightning strikes before the match was called off. About six overs were bowled, in the course of which we managed to lose three wickets.

    It doesn’t look good for the under 11s playing as under 12s.

  24. The scorers tent… so, did you score? And was it Primo?

  25. Hehehe. Scoring at the cricket – it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Unless you’re in the West Indies… or you’re Liz Hurley.

  26. My osteo likes to get you in the mood for a bit of neck snapping by telling really bad jokes (yes Catty, even worse than those you’ve learned from your dear old Dad).
    He began our session last Monday by saying that the paparazzi are keen to find a name for Warney and Liz that’s cool, like TomKat and Brangelina.
    So far, all they’ve come up with to blend Hurley and Warney with is Horny.

  27. That sounds about right. Better than Wiz, anyway.

  28. I am still waiting for wizz to fizz out.
    I mean – it’s Warney FFS.
    Hey MM – and other SEQ lurker types, this talk of taking PNB to lunch at the Spirit House at Yandina on Sunday 23rd October – think you’ll be up for it?

  29. * Sulk *

    I have to bacon. It’s usually almost one by the time I get home, and then by the time I wash my hair twice and scrub with sugar soap I wouldn’t get to Yandina before just before 2. Bit late for lunch by most people’s standards.

    Perhaps I could join you for dessert, though?

    As for Horny, I think the media should combine their first names. They could be The Shiz. Lord knows, the whole saga gives me the shiz.

  30. Isn’t it one of those unions that now seems like it was always going to happen? I feel like I can look back ten years and see them heading towards each other, on a collision course. I just hope the inevitable explosion isn’t too messy but with all that fake tan there’s bound to be fallout.

    Have been watching the Prof threads with interest. If anyone else in Melbourne (Catty??) is available on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, I think Mayhem is too so maybe we can meet up with him then. I was going to drop in to the boy’s do on Monday but didn’t want to be the only woman there. That and it’s a work day and Halloween and I’m sure I must have a Houdini seance to attend.

    • Noooo, don’t go to the Bounder’s Club! Icky people with sock puppets will be there. We can have our own get together, with blackjack, and strippers. O.k, forget the blackjack.

      But not on a Friday night. The Boss has a permanent date with beer on Friday nights.

      • Strippers?

        I’m flying down. The sea monkeys can babysit the kids for the weekend.

  31. MM, that’s too bad.
    Not sure if I’ll make the effort to do that run to the spirit house.
    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for it from anyone other than JB, so I might just wait and see how things pan out.
    Besides, you know how I feel about leaving the comfort of my own little suburb.
    Melbo, good luck with gatecrashing HQ of the Bounders Club. If I were you I’d take the cat o’9 tails with you for luck. And a stun gun, for the creatures whose hides are too thick to be bothered by silly little girly toys like a razor whip.

  32. Yes. Yes, I do.

    Hey, Q, you never shared your views on Sherlock. Did you enjoy it?

    Melbo, a Houdini seance? Fabulous! I love a bit of ectoplasm.

    I can’t help but feel that the Victorian era was the golden age of seances, though. Parlours used to be cluttered with eerie props for manipulation by blow-in manifestations – tambourines, draperies, stuffed dead things. What’s a Spirit of the Darkness to do these days, to send a chill creeping down your spine… dial up Rob Zombie on your iPod?

  33. Spirit of darkness? That would be Sambuca, right? Not my preferred bevvie.

    Meanwhile, It’s the first day back to school for the kidlets, but only the boys have gone. The middle kidlet is at home, trying to cough out a lung. I too have been struck down with the dreaded lurgy, so I’m following my dear old dad’s advice about hot rum and lemon (hot and lemon optional). As I’m also following my doctor’s advice about brandy and ice cream (ice cream also optional), I’m not sure driving anywhere is a good idea right now.

    At least I don’t have manflu. Poor Greybeard.

  34. Snap.

    I have Elf Boy at home today, with a combination of injuries sustained on Saturday while helping his grandfather cut down some trees at our place and mysterious high temp, vomiting and lethargy.

    Sorry to hear that you’re not well though, Catty. Seance or not, if you keep up that treatment you should be seeing things by this afternoon. Hope they’re friendly!

  35. Que? What’s wrong with GB now, aside from what you’d expect of someone who’s indulged in too many chocolate coated churros?
    Well, that sucks, ladies.
    I have an itchy dog on steroids but short of quoting the vet’s bill and bitching about how it diminishes my chocolate and chip intake, I really can’t compete with your assorted maternal afflictions.
    In the interests of retaining your sanity I hope the small folk are all safely sequestered back in government run mind control institutions ASAP.
    Um, I forgot to watch Sherlock, MM, it was due back at 6pm and I’m not much of a daytime TV person so I think I wound up on the couch with a book, until the Bloke texted me and reminded me to make sure I took the DVDs back to the store. Oops.
    I’ve been reading ‘The Help’ and had trouble putting it down. Then it got that ‘saggy middle’ thing that writing teachers talk about where I lost interest. Picked it up again on the weekend, worked through that and am now thoroughly transfixed again.
    Still can’t believe it got rejected by 60 different agents.
    And oh crap, is it nearly halloween again?
    I panicked last year because of JB’s GD Let Them Have Candy blog, went out and bought a sack of crappy corn syrup based sweets, lest Casa Quokka be egged or TPd for failing to turn up the goods. And then of course come H-Day, the local mothers frog marched their troops right past our house, giving suspicious looks to the vampire flying from my porch while they whispered and pointed to The Muscle that was bringing up the rear.
    This year I’ve seen the individually packaged sacks of yankee sweets in the aisles at Coles and I’ve gone ‘Nah, FK it.’
    Looks like the Stranger Danger campaign is going to keep me safe of the greedy looking sugar skiving egg and TP tossers for this year, at least, and next year Casa Quokka should either be a rubble pit with the building work, or else it will have electronic gates and high walls that will keep me safe and secure from the shambling masses.

  36. Well, I can’t speak for Catty’s girl-child… and nor, at this point, can Catty I suspect, having started the medicinal toddies before brekky this morning… but EB and I have been through the wringer today.

    He has tonsillitis, and we spent a while at the radiologists making sure that his arm wasn’t broken in three places. While waiting for his antibiotics, he decorated the chemist’s floor with a lovely mix of phlegm and diluted blackcurrant juice, having vomited all the fluids I managed to get into him since dawn.

    Poor little pixie. He’s sleeping on the couch at the moment.

    As for Halloween, in our neck of the woods it means only one thing – Carnival time. The school’s one and only fundraiser is a mini-Ekka style thing. This year, both of the kids’ classes are selling drinks. Finally, a win. We don’t even have to put the damn things on ice… just flog them off. Beats the year when I was picking fairy floss out of every nook and cranny well into November.

  37. If you’re looking for something to distract undead sugar seekers, Quokka, K-Mart have “A Zombie Ate My Cupcake” on sale at the moment. It comes in a kit with skull shaped cookie cutters and special tools for sculpting icing – or for dragging brains out of nostrils (either/or).

    Madam, at least you were able to get a referral to radiology – this lady wasn’t so lucky:

    I know how she feels. We had the same thing happen to the littlest kidlet – it was a miracle he didn’t need surgery, as the bone had started to knit bent. Bloody 6-minute-medicine quacks.

    Middle kidlet’s not vomiting, but she is coughing (continuously) and feverish. Unfortunately, all my anti-cough treatments aren’t working because the stupid ‘flu has stirred up her asthma. Poor little poppet.

    But there is an up side to all this. Because she was home from school, I couldn’t vacuum in case the stirred-up dust made her worse. Yay!

  38. Regrettable.

    Well, given that if a butterfly flaps it’s wings in the Amazon the Wallabies win the World Cup – or such is my understanding of chaos theory – then I, too, will refrain from vacuuming in sympathy.

    I just read that article. This sort of treatment is why I take the kids 10 minutes in the car, rather than to the Dodgy Doctors at the end of the street. Dr Whelan actually lays hands on the children, takes his time with them and gets out his ear looker and stethoscope. Shame that that’s become so unusual it’s worth commending.

  39. When I were a lad… uh, you know what I mean… the doctor came to your house and gave you leeches and laudanum. And you paid him with a pig. Now that was doctorin’.

  40. Mmm…. laudanum.

    You know, Elf Boy asked me the other day if we had electricity when I was at school, and Magic Man was quite surprised to hear I wasn’t personally involved in the gold rush.

    Damn whippersnappers! If I could catch them, I’d beat them with my cane. How fast can you crank up one of those mobility scooters?

  41. Don’t know. Mine got bogged when I tried to chase the varmints off my lawn.

  42. I’ll crochet you some tyre chains out of reclaimed Steelo pads, dearie.

  43. Nice tip, Catty, but I might celebrate Halloween by sticking a ‘condemned’ sign out front and just head for the sofa with a book and a cuppa.
    With luck we’ll have our DA sign up out front to add some credibility to those who aren’t put off by the flaking hi-octane 50’s leaded paint and the san andreas fault style cracks in the brickwork below the stairs.

  44. Just in case your structural deficiencies are insufficient, Q, how about setting one of these up near the letter box?

    And only $13,399.00! Actually, he’s kind of cute. Reminds me of one of my great uncles.

  45. Yes, and to guarantee the desired crowd dispersal effect, all I’d have to do is to sprinkle him with bourbon & strew a few Big Issue magazines around.

  46. Hehehe.

    A troll can’t be homeless… not when you’re so close to the Green Bridge, anyway.

  47. I reckon Quokka already has the best deterrent to trick-or-treaters – it’s bloody hard to knock on someone’s front door if they don’t have one. Then again, rampaging brats on a sugar hunt can get around that kind of minor obstacle, so I’d recommend including a trap door in those renovations.

  48. Casa quokka already has a trap door on the porch.
    What I need are bigger vats, for the boiling oil and the festering contents of the pussykat’s chamber pots.

  49. Oh dear.
    I’m not someone who can sit through Australia’s funniest home video’s but you know, if we just had a few antelope stationed by the road at the noosa triathlon, this is something I could probably work on.

    In honor or all the cyclists who’ve ever tried to run me and the 6kilo dog down:

  50. Hilarious! They just showed it on the Channel Nine news. Yes, that’s right, I was drooling over Peter Hitchener. Yes, it is merely one of those Pavlov’s Dogs things – or in this case, Hitchener’s bogans. (They were good chocolates.)

  51. Pavlov’s dogs deserve our sympathy. fingers crossed that this link works. Credit to Moko.

  52. Hehehe.

    That antelope was dead-on, wasn’t he – perhaps the handlebars curled in a manner he took as a threat? Then again, he was a buck – probably just toey because he didn’t get any sweet lady antelope lovin’ the night before.

    As for Moko’s Star Wars greyhound – awesome. Now I’d like to see him dress up some guinea pigs as Ewoks.

    Well, Elf Boy’s fever broke yesterday morning and he ate dinner last night, so in the interests of higher education… or whatever it is I’m currently pursuing… I’m shipping him back to school today. Anyone care to start a sweep on when I get the call from sick bay?

    As you may remember, the teacher aides in charge of sick bay like to ring me to collect him for spurious non-illnesses such as “seeing purple spots”. They’ll have a caliption if he says ‘tonsillitis and a near-broken arm”.

  53. As it’s mental health week I must point out that the general public are entirely freaked out by symptoms of pending psychosis and utterly ignorant of complications of common childhood illnesses. Thus I predict your teachers aides will be unmoved by the prospect of his suppurating tonsils & impeding death from rheumatic fever, but if he reports seeing purple spots and hearing aliens they’ll diagnose schizophrenia and want him out of there before you can say Columbine.
    Well, I checked in at CBG and it looks like the gig at the spirit house has been moved to Wednesday. I’m guessing you’ll be trapped in class & Nbob doesn’t sound enthused about the venue, aside from which he works, so I might wait and see before I decide about that one.
    Good luck with the sick children, ladies. You’re both making me feel deeply grateful that the worst I have to deal with is a mildly itchy dog and a cat with an infected zit on his chin.

  54. Mmmm… clearasil…

    The middle kidlet is over the actual ‘flu, but she still has the lingering cough. So I’ve sent her to school. Scuttlebutt says it will hang around for about two weeks or so. Not that I put much credence in what Scuttlebutt says, (he’s usually wrong), but I have no intention of keeping the kidlet home for an extra two weeks if she’s not actually sick. Not that that will stop the teacher from tossing her out because her cough is annoying them.

    So I’m trying to get the vacuuming done before I get the call from sick bay. But I’m not trying very hard.

  55. A cat with a zit? Can that actually happen? Maybe he can take over from Katy Perry on those annoying informercials.

    Yes, Wednesday is even worse for me than Sunday, so it’ll have to be a regretful decline. Still the food and setting are fab, it wouldn’t be a complete loss.

    As for mental health week, I vow to believe six impossible things before breakfast every day. My first will be that I’ll enjoy 30 minutes keyboarding practise every day. I want to boost my productivity, I want to boost my productivity, I want to boost my productivity….

    Well done, Catty. Not the vacuuming, the child sloughing I meant. Brave little Elf Boy stayed at school all day today. I wasn’t sure whether to be glad I got college in, or sad not to be called away from this arvo’s keyboarding. fff jjj fff jjj fff jjj… too much of that and you’re saying ‘eff’ a lot, that’s for sure.

  56. The Boss was just saying eff a lot. I just cranked the stereo up to 11 and danced around the kitchen, singing along to the ‘Leningrad Cowboys and the Russian Military Band’. Not that I could hear him (I was singing too loud), but I could see his lips moving. Hehehehehe!

  57. Yep, apparently it’s part of the delightful and permanent adolescent nature of my cats. Once the humidity picks up one of my boys gets blackheads along his jawline and I have to wash his skin with salt water in order to clean the pores. He scuttled off before I could do it the other day and then of course I forgot. Woke up the next morning beside a cat with a big fat infected zit, I then punctured it and pus and blood went everywhere. FK it bled a lot. And then I had to convince the cat to sit still while I cleaned it properly.
    I know it sounds ridiculous and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would never have believed it when the breeder told me that yes, virginia, some of them suffer from acne all through their lives.
    Thankfully it seems to be seasonal and intermittent.
    Zit boy is recovering nicely, aside from the obvious social mortification that comes from having a big MF crusty volcano hanging below your incisors.

  58. You need to get onto the Katy Perry stuff, Q.

    Proactive, I think it’s called. She swears by it, apparently, and the girl obviously knows quality – I mean, she married Russell Brand.

    Catty, what were the Leningrad Cowboys singing, FFS? Johnny Cash covers?

    OK, what is with this weather? A few days ago I was reaching for a second doona, but yesterday/last night was so hot and sticky I couldn’t stand a sheet. Stupid summer.

    Hope everyone saw the full moon rising last night. It was bright orange, trailing wisps of orange cloud. Elf Boy refused to believe that the moon could be orange, however much I explained about dust in the atmosphere and angles of incidence. I think he thought it was a Giant Celestial Cheezel.

  59. Nah, it wasn’t a cheezel. It was aliens. (Apparently green is soooo last season). This happens every time I crack out my Leningrad Cowboys CD. (Why, why, WHY, Delilah?). Huh. Next time I’m going with Ozzy Osborne. That’ll scare the buggers off.

  60. No, aliens love Ozzy. They’re all mastubatory guitar riffs and platform boots.

    You know what really scares them? Gothic Polka. Sit back and enjoy with me the Stones classic “Paint It Black” in German.

  61. German goth rock vampires.
    I knew there was some dark mystic significance to that red sky last night.

  62. You know the saying, Q: “Red sky at night, Nosferatu’s delight.”

    Woke up at 2 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I thought I’d do some homework.

    Not a good idea. I’ve got Excel cells floating all adrift in my head. Might be time for some quality couch time with the cats.

  63. Dear Dog, it is getting close to summer insomnia time, isn’t it?
    I’m still hoping mine won’t be as bad this year, thanks to getting Nurse Ratchett and Kylie from Admin out of my life.
    I’m getting good enough quality sleep these days for some truly weird dreams to kick in. Woke up at dawn dreaming we were all at a BBQ at JB’s and Daniel Morcombe rang up (from Beyond, apparently my suspicions are right and Hellstra does in fact offer marvelous reception there) in tears to say he’d forgotten to borrow one of my board games before he departed this life and was very distressed that he’d never gotten it back to me. And meanwhile JB and assorted burgers are glaring at me going ‘Yep, that’d be right, even in death you aren’t safe if you’ve forgotten to return a game of Battleships to Quokka’.
    Go figure – that’s the nature of my subconscious these days.
    Just so you are forewarned, once the insomnia passes – total fracking weirdness kicks in, worthy of a psychotherapist’s post-grad thesis. Whereas the bloke has these marvelous sweet dreams about lovely fluffy things, like the dog teaching him how to do water ballet, and then they win a prize on dancing with the stars. Gosh I envy his unpolluted sunny little psyche.

    Well, CBG seems to be delightfully – and no doubt temporarily – Lobes free.
    So it looks like I’ve been awarded custody of PNB for Monday the 24th of October. I’m planning to start with breakfast at the Jetty, say about 9.30ish, and then drag him off up to Morgans seafood restaurant at Scarborough. He wants to try some Moreton Bay Bugs, so I figure he may as well enjoy the view over their habitat while he’s munching into them. Not being a seafood eater I will gorge on bacon early in the day and nibble on hot chips and salad for lunch.
    MM, reckon you could abandon your offspring and come down to join us?

    Catty, what about you, do you think you’ll get the chance to meet PNB while he’s in Melbourne?

  64. Actually, I might be in with a chance Q – at least for some of it. I believe Mother is back from her gallivanting by then, so I could skive off for a whole day. I’ll check when she makes her way back from the far North.

    Strange that you should mention odd dreams, the other night I dreamed there was broken glass in the bed. When I woke, though EB had half a bucket of Lego in there so it wasn’t really spooky so much as real.

    He’s a merry little sleeper. He often releases peals of delighted giggles in his sleep. Probably another plan for world domination coming off, I suspect.

  65. The bloke still plays touch football in his sleep (that’s how he explains all the kicking, although I can’t say I entirely believe him) and on occasion I’ve caught a comatose cat making strange movements as if it’s chewing steak.
    Still, things could be worse, at least I’m not being visited by Freddy Krueger.

    Well, that would be lovely if you could make it down here for the PNB monday adventure.
    I’ve put the word out to a few Redcliffe locals asking them if Morgans is really that much better than the local fush & chup shop on the beach at Margate which has won a few awards for Best Fush & Chup shop in Brisbane in the last few years – and which is probably half the price and more likely to tempt Humpy out of his cave, if he’s well enough on the day.
    I know PNB is used to fine dining but I can’t help but feel he’d go home richer for the experience of passing all those picnic sheds on the esplanade and seeing what Humpy has to pass and prod with his poking sticks on his daily walks up Margate Beach each day.
    Anyway, they all sell hot chips and I’m not the one who’ll be eating fish, so I’m happy either way.

  66. I had a bizarre dream a couple of nights ago, but it’s too embarrassing to tell you about it. Suffice to say, my subconscious is trying to convince me that there are unexpected benefits with the sagging and discolouration of old age. All it’s done, though, is convince me that my subconscious should be sectioned. Immediately.

    No, I take that back. Not immediately. In a couple of weeks – after PNB’s visit. I hope to attend the human Burger gathering during his weekend here, as there is nothing in this world that would make me attend his lizard-meeting session on the Monday.

  67. Oh, so Lobes lives in Melbourne, hey? And I always thought it was a sophisticated city full of culture.

    Well, I can tell it must nearly be the weekend. Because this morning dawned grey and overcast, with a suspiciously sticky feeling in the air and a vague sense of anticipation.

    All right, weather. If it’s going to storm for cricket tomorrow, can it at least start in time to call it off before poor old MM is padded up on the edge of the pitch, anticipating the solid thunk of the willow into his hot little hand?

    I promised to take the boys to see Real Steel this weekend, too. Hugh Jackman and boxing robots. Do you think I could take in a book light and my latest library book? Maybe I’ll just nap.

  68. I thought Lobes worked in some sort of third world country like PNG where he can inflict his personality on the natives, thanks to the multinational company that employs him to exploit their natural resources, and in his spare time he drinks 4x out of coconut shells and hunts crocodiles with a team of black trackers.
    Orin/Blarkon/sock puppet master of other unknown ghastly personalities is in Melbourne, somewhere.
    Good luck with the Hugh Jackman movie, perhaps you could pack some industrial strength ear plugs and a sleeping mask and tell them something they should get used to early in life i.e.’wake me when it’s over’.

  69. Hehehe.

    They’re used to waking me up. For an insomniac, I can fall asleep in whatever position in front of a screen showing almost anything.

    Hmm… perhaps I should get a TV in my bedroom and a boxed set of something stodgy from the BBC?

  70. Orin’s the scaly blight I’m avoiding. Lobes shows up to some of the Melbourne gatherings, but he’s not said a word about PNG’s visit. Suspicious….

    Madam, I’m surprised at you. When you go to the movies, there are only two acceptable activities. One is to stuff your face while staring at the screen. The other one involves bringing a… ahem… friend. Neither activity involves books, except for the bit where you piss off all of the people waiting for the next session by loudly announcing “The book was better” as you leave.

  71. Perhaps Lobes and PNB can’t exist in the same space-time continuum.
    Well, not without one of them soiling their fingers in the process.
    Nah – melbourne burgers say they’ve met Lobes and were surprised by his online insanity as he seemed quite personable in the flesh.
    Personally I think his flesh could use some tenderizing but let’s not take this to the hungi pit which is where we invariably seem to end up.
    Meanwhile, have pulled this from Doc Yobbo’s twitter feed as it’s just too good not to share.

  72. No hangi? Bugger. I wanted to find out if lizards really do taste like chicken.

  73. Hehehe. I liked the ads down the side just as much – “Six Reasons Why Bacon is Better Than True Love”.

    Catty, I don’t know about lizard. Not even chicken tastes like chicken these days.
    As for the movie suggestions, I can’t do the latter – my friend still can’t bend. And the children will be there.

    Well, the rain’s already started, and I’ve already had texts and emails warning me about the dangerous impending weather conditions. So it must be cricket day! Poor old Magic Man.

    Well, excuse me, I must practise my typing.


    asdf ;lkj asdf ;lkj … It’s not technically correct, but I like to hit the spacebar with my forehead. Helps dull the pain.

  74. I see what you’re doing there. You’re hoping that the blood from your mangled forehead will attract your doggie to the keyboard, so that you can honestly tell the teacher that your dog ate your homework. Well, forget that. Just drop a steak on the keys and be done with it.

  75. Mmm… steak.

    The Coolum U11s got a full match in. We were only defeated by 120 odd runs. It’s important not to peak too soon in the season, don’t you think? then on to the karate BBQ where the kids played yet more sport.

    Where the hell do they get their energy? Oh, that’s right – they drain the life out of me.

  76. And the money. Don’t forget the money.

  77. Money? Did someone say money? I remember that stuff. I think I had some before I had children. But it was so long ago, I could be wrong.

  78. I know for a fact that they took most of my higher cortical functions, as well.

    Meanwhile, who’s seen this?

    I was going to vacuum and mop, but I suppose there’s no point if the world’s ending next week. Unless having a grubby house would disqualify me from the Rapture, of course. Catty, you’re our resident expert. What do you reckon?

  79. I say screw the cleaning.
    Then again, we did all the chores yesterday before I got wind of the coming apocalypse, and then the wind blew so hard that the apocalypse passed us by without delivering much more than 5ml of rain.
    Well, I said it was probably 5ml.
    When the bloke checked, BOM said it was 6ml but I say that was 5ml of rainwater and 1 ml of possum piss as the poor little buggers probably wet themselves when the wind came threw and blew them out of bed, at least an hour before they were due to wake up.
    have been to the council DA site and they’ve complained about all the predictable things.
    One thing came out of left field, though.
    They’ve told us we’ve got too much glazing in the new sunroom that looks out to the north and the east (hence the name ‘sunroom’ on the plans) and that we need to reduce the windows to what you’d normally see in a Queenslander.
    Please picture rabid marsupial having canniptions at their idiocy.
    The whole point of having big windows to the north is to let in lots of winter sun & minimize heating costs in winter – and to let in all the nice breezes in the summer, which then cool the house down – again, reducing the need for constant use of the air con.
    They hate the idea of the green roof over our garage, too.
    Town Planning – what a bunch of wanky little environmental terrorists they are.
    Where’s Kevin McLeod when you need someone with a camera to declare your outrage on national TV?
    Oh well.
    We always knew we’d get the standard idiot response, and from there it’s a matter of spending 6 months persuading them that green design trumps the ridiculous Queenslander facade we knew that they’d be after.
    Bring on the (next) apocalypse.

  80. “We regret to inform you that your proposed sun-room will, in fact, be too full of sun. And the green roof is too green. Unless of course, you leave it concrete and paint it green, in which case it will comply with all of our requirements.”

    I suppose you could achieve half of what you wanted and have timber shuttered panels or something that you could open up to catch the breezes… or would that be a bit avant guard for the BCC?

    Perhaps you could offer to fly a big Maroons flag, Q – that would mark you out as a Queenslander.

  81. One of the planner’s big beefs is that he doesn’t like the retaining walls out the front, wanting us to replace them with lightweight timber fences such as you see out the front of a queenslander.
    Which would be all very well if there wasn’t a rise of 4.7m from the footpath to the floorboards where you walk through the fracking door.
    Can’t believe he took photos of it and didn’t notice Casa Quokka sits acrest a big MF fracking hill. Duh.
    Sorry town planning kid, but if we don’t have retaining walls to hold up that 2m of soil and rock out front of the house, then the house won’t stay upright for very much longer. It will slide down the hill into the valley at the end of the next big wet season.
    Anyway, this is why we’ve employed the planning consultant to liase with the lazy little shits – so that Craig can point out the obvious to the 22yro town planners and prevent me from beating my head against a brick wall – not that we’ll have any of those left around here if town planning has their way.

    It looks like they are just fussing because it doesn’t look like a Queenslander and frankly, there’s not much we can do about that.
    I’ll wait and see what our planning consultant advises us.
    I have a sneaky plan for the green roof over the garage – if they don’t let us build actual garden beds, we can still do a flat roof and then I’ll just set up a low tension wire trellis and grow jasmine or something over it. They will never, ever know. And that way we’ve got the structure in place for some future renovation when town planning comes to grips with the whole Climate Change apocalypse now scenario and decides that sustainable architecture trumps outdated energy-high antiquated colonial design.

    What’s annoying me is that the little *&(^* of a planner came out here, took the photos on Tuesday and filed the report online on Wednesday – and didn’t bother forwarding it to us or to our planner.
    Plus side, because he has been so lazy and inattentive, he hasn’t noticed a few little details that council picked up in the last DA we put in, and which could save us considerable $$$ in the build.

    It’s just frustrating because the report has obviously been written by someone who has no clue what he’s doing and either can’t understand the plans or else is too lazy to bother. A lot of the RFIs (request for information) that he wants are already in the plans, he just hasn’t read our report. Lazy? or just stupid? possibly both? In the next few weeks all will be revealed.

    A friend of the Bloke’s who used to work in town planning and still has contacts there said that they’ve got a real culture problem in there. There’s nobody aged 30-50 in there. Its just the 20yros, fresh out of uni, and then there’s the old guard who are all over 50 and are nearing retirement age. The council hasn’t been able to train up a new generation of planners and they don’t last more than a few years in there before they resign and go into private practice or else find better employment with building companies. From what the last newbie said to us 10 years ago, I gather that the old guard is comprised of a stack of nasty personalities that makes life unpleasant for the youngsters, so I’m guessing council is just going to have this problem until the nasties either die or retire.

    That’s the trouble with the public service, nobody can do a damned thing to get rid of all the personality disorders. Ah well. here we go, I predicted that they’d do this, and they’ve done it. And bottom line last time was that once they’d whinged and we’d pointed out why their solutions weren’t feasible, they gave up after about 6 months and said ‘We really don’t give a flying FK, go ahead.’
    So as it’s still the same collection of idiots in there, I’m hoping that nothing much has changed.

    Thanks for listening to me grumble.
    On the plus side the bloke was so pissed off with them that he’s decided we need a trip to Melbourne followed by a weekend in Hobart, so it looks like I’ll get to see Catty. Fingers Crossed. Friday 18 November we should be in Melbourne, will keep you posted as to our flight details when I know them.
    So how was canteen duty this morning, MM, toss any sausages at the dull witted and the deserving?

  82. Grumbling is always welcome, here at The Box. Hell, it’s encouraged.

    Here’s another thought, though. If they won’t let you build garden beds on the garage roof, you can whack some of those corrugated iron raised beds up there. They’ve come down in price, they’ve got them in Bunning’s now. And Council should love corrugated iron. Nothing says Queenslander like a sheet of tin – just ask those people out west who live under sheets of it.

    You get to see Catty! Now I’m insanely jealous. I’ll be appeased if you bring home lots of happy snaps, though.

    No canteen for the wicked, this weekend. The U10s only have four home matches this year. I took the boys to see “Real Steel” yesterday. This is going to sound a bit silly… since it’s a movie about robots fighting, and all… but I was surprised and a bit sickened by how violent it was. I didn’t have an issue when the robots fought each other, but one of the first scenes was a 10-ft robot fighting a bull. If I’d been by myself and we hadn’t been on the boy’s big outing I seriously would have considered leaving at that point.

    Bit of a departure for Hugh Jackman – the character he plays is quite rotten until his inevitable redemption. Story line ticks all the boxes, it was involving and the conclusion satisfying. Definitely a boy’s flick, this one – my two lapped it up, came straight home and started trying to make their own fighting robots.

  83. I didn’t really think we’d get away with the green roof – its far too progressive – but I’m hoping to set it up so that its easy to achieve one day when there’s a council that prioritizes green living. Which will happen, one day.
    You see them in cities like Melbourne and Sydney but, as I said, there’s a culture problem in BCC town planning so very hard to get anything contemporary or green through, when you’re stuck within the constraints of having to comply with character residential codes as well as the small lot code.
    I’ve had second thoughts about the Hobart trip.
    I’m on my third night of insomnia and given that my insomnia usually lasts as long as the summer humidity does, I figure I’ll be a basket case in a month so the Bloke can do the Hobart trip on his own. I’m still keen to do a day trip to see Tutankhamen but I might just wait and see how that goes.
    If we have to pay an architect to do a lot of complex redesigning of these plans it’s going to be awfully expensive.
    I’m still hoping that the solution to that is to do what we had to do last time – get a grown up to sit down with the 22 year old town planner and explain why his solutions are unfeasible and are in fact, structurally unsound from an engineering and a sustainable living point of view.
    It’s just mind boggling that they’ll let us have a double carport out the front but not a double lock up garage. And that whatever they want us to call it, due to the geography here its still going to be a concrete bunker 2m underground.
    Oh well.
    Someone just has to sit down with the council kid and explain that thanks to the needle exchange program & the meth clinic down the road it’s really not a wise idea to give the dealers and the junkies another dark cave where they can shoot up and peddle their wares. Especially given that these days the drug of choice is meth.
    It’s just frustrating because the issues that we’re dealing with are all due to his lack of comprehension, inability to read the plans, and general inexperience. So someone is just going to have to sit down with him and explain the obvious.
    So it’s a good thing that this is the planning consultant’s job, because as you all know, I don’t suffer fools terribly well.

  84. Indeed.

    However, should your negotiator fail, you can always cheat. Just build a “carport”, and then when the building inspector’s signed off on it, have them come and install your garage doors.

    I can’t understand the retaining wall bit, though. It shouldn’t take rocket science to understand that if you’ve got to stop several dozen tonnes of soil and rock sliding down the hill and into the front yard of the people across the road, a heritage-style weathered picket fence won’t do the job. Refer them to the households in Buderim who lost not only their houses but also their LAND following the heavy rains last summer.

    Still… hard as it is… try not to fret. This is why you’ve employed your expert. Remember, water dripping will eventually wear through stone. Or build stone, in the case of stalagmites.

    Hmm. What I mean, is, I’m sure you’re more determined than Council. Right should prevail.

  85. Is it possible that town planner guy is Kylie’s long-lost twin, Kyle? They certainly sound related.

    There is one thing you should remember, Quokka. 22 year olds can’t read. Reading and arithmetic are no longer included in the public school curriculum. If you want Kyle to understand the plans, you have two options: Either get your planner to explain it to him in words of two (or less) syllables, OR explain it to him using interpretive dance. I think you’ll have more success with the second option. Especially if you get your hairdresser to do the dancing. Nobody dances like a gay man.

    I hope you don’t let the humidity keep you from coming down our way, Quokka. It would be wonderful to see you – I’m still kicking myself for getting this stupid chest infection that prevented a catchup with Greybeard and Fifi. Bloody virus!

    I still have the chest infection. The antibiotics haven’t done a thing, and I’ve had to leave cooking duty to the Boss. This was surprisingly astute, as he made a fabulous vegetable soup and also made some fresh bread that he served hot from the oven. It was wonderful, and the only thing I didn’t throw up all day Saturday.

    Sunday was the littlest kidlet’s birthday, so I was tied up with cake and visitors and the usual fuss. I have no idea how I got through the day, but it could have something to do with the Boss taking over most of the preparation and cleanup. Sometimes I am so glad to have him – until he farts in bed, that is. Pyew!

  86. Poor Catty.

    On the one hand – one the other… what a master stroke! Now that The Boss has proved he can do all that when you’re sick as a dog, what’s to stop him from doing it some time when you’re well?

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. Do you think you should get different antibiotics? Have you had a chest x-ray? Would you like me to shut up now?

    Hehehe. Virtual Jewish Mother. Here’s a mug of virtual chicken soup: [_P

    And a big hug

  87. Yes, you’re both right.
    This was exactly what we went through last time.
    Its just a slow and painful process.
    I just find it so annoying that the design that we’ve come up with has got such a good green star rating and they want us to compromise that to make it look like a queenslander.
    Not a fan of colonial architecture, as you may have gathered.
    Poor Catty, didn’t you go through the same thing around this time last year on one of the kid’s birthdays? It must be October. It’s just generally bad for us.
    The bloke has summonsed me to take him to chermside to buy an iphone for work. Not the new model, one of the old crappy ones that no true nerd would be caught dead with since the end of last week.
    If the northern suburbs fail to spit me out, I loved you all.

  88. Not Chermside!

    Haven’t they introduced paid parking there? Quokka will get into such a spat with the person that tries to make her pay to park to spend $500 odd bucks on a phone that it’ll be in the news tonight.

    Still, at least it should relieve some of the town planning tension.

  89. That’s the good thing about interpretive dance. Unlike river dancing, you can use your arms to make very rude gestures to tell the parking inspectors exactly how you feel about them.

    Quokka, have you thought of buying an iPhone on eBay? You can get some excellent bargains there, and it would save you having to pay for parking. And no, I’m not just saying that because the Boss has one listed.

  90. OOoh… shiny.

    When Quokka’s cross, though, I think she prefers to be quite explicit about her distress and exactly how – and how soon – she expects it to be alleviated.

    More deconstructed… unreconstructed?… than interpretive.

    Speaking of making Quokka cross, has anyone heard from dear Greybeard lately? There was a mumble or two from Melbourne then nothing.

    How are you feeling, Catty? Still coughing up greenish chunks of lung?

  91. Greybeard is alive and …was going to say ‘well’ but but perhaps the latter is not entirely true – over at twitter. He was cleaning an attic yesterday and looking for shiny things. Think he found dead things, with scales. And then I had to go.
    The bloke now has his iphone and I don’t give a rats nads what it cost as his office will be refunding the cost of it – his work phone broke and the tech nerds insisted he had to move with the(ir) times and get an iphone.
    The trip to Chermside was torturous but we parked outdoors so that we could make a quick escape and avoid being trapped in event of Zombie Lockdown. They were shuffling up and down by the thousands, very disturbing, esp at the donut stall. I spotted several families with small children on leashes and as the Bloke was hurrying past a particularly skittish looking one I had to pull him back with the warning ‘Think about this. If it’s on a leash it means it probably bites.’
    thus chastened we avoided infection with chermside zombie fever.
    As for the costs involved, mainly it was emotional via trauma from exposure to the locals.
    I don’t think they’ve introduced paid parking yet. Next year, I heard, and the same for Carindale. The latter will annoy me as I head out there regularly for medicare/body shop/darrell lea stopovers.
    Meanwhile I slept better last night – clear through till 3am, and thanks to the fact that Chermside has a dymmocks stationed close by the exit, I had a serial killer to keep me company through the dark hours before dawn – well, courtesy of Lynda La Plante.
    Happy news Catty, the bloke and I have reached a compromise with the Melbourne/Tasmania trip.
    We will both fly to Melbourne early on Sat 19 November and I will fly back to Brisbane for Zookeeper duties at 8pm and he will fly out at 4 or 5pm so he can get to the party in Hobart his friends are having for their housewarming.
    So I should get to spend a bit of time in the evening with whatever Melbourne burgers are about AND I get to avoid the party (shudder, you know how I hate them) and be home and in bed at a reasonable hour.
    Must rush off as am meeting a friend for lunch and have to pick up the bloke at 3pm for meeting with our planning consultant. meanwhile the insomnia and general irritation has paid off as I remembered the golden rule of dealing with public servants ‘Take advantage of the demonstrated levels of Stupid’.
    So I think I’ve just found a way to do that, and am feeling ever so chipper.
    Will read your new blogs tomorrow, many apologies for my absence.
    Take comfort in the knowledge I am plotting to screw over a planner with his own high levels of laziness & idiocy.

  92. I was reading Leah Gerritano’s “Black Ice” recently, in which a character made the salient observation that Westfield shopping centres are amusement parks for lower socioeconomic groups. She forgot to add “and zombies”.

    Glad to hear the Melbourne trip is back on the cards. Catty, don’t use you-know-what appliance between now and then in case it has long-distance effects on Q’s travel plans.

    Happy lunching and scheming, Q. We’re in the background, muttering and chucking stuff in a cauldron in support of your endeavours.

    Well, really lounging on the coach with the cats. But incanting in spirit.

  93. Nooooooo!!! The Boss’s birthday is on the 19th, and all the plans have been made. Crap. Crappity crappity crap!

  94. It’s my fault.

    I mentioned You Know Which Appliance.

  95. Bugger, he’s booked the King Tut tour and the flights and everything.
    Oh well. Next time, Catty.
    And thanks for your continued support & practice of the dark arts.
    Yesterday the planning consultant hinted darkly that any garage/car port set on the boundary will be required to have a gable roof.
    As neither of you live with an architect I should probably explain that to my spouse this is the design equivalent of a toilet brush.
    Anyway, I’ve had lunch date no2# this week and as usual we meandered our way into a book store. I think I’ve now stocked up on Xmas & birthday gifts for my spouse so hopefully I won’t need to go near a Westfield zombie playground for some time to come.
    Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to the drawing board – and I do mean that literally. Once I’ve worked out a tricky little issue with elevations, or I have a nervous breakdown, I’ll be back.

  96. May the Force be with you.

    Obviously, I refer here to the forces of darkness. It seems the Town Planning Forces are aligned against you – so much for my corrugated iron garden beds on the garage roof, unless you saw the bases off at 45 degree angles.

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