A Pox On Virgin

Well, what a fabulous couple of days.

My modem blew up on Wednesday afternoon. Apparently an incoming call… my “landline” is sort of VOIP… was all too much and the phone rang a couple of times and then the modem went an ominous shade of black.

Virgin – my ISP – couldn’t have been less help if they’d come around and sabotaged the thing themselves. Apparently they’re trying to get out of the wireless broadband business by a process of attrition. The help desk bloke had two solutions:

(1) Plug it into a different power point – thanks mate, I tried that before I called

(2) Get a new ISP.


I was pretty sure it was the power pack, not the modem… I happen to have three Virgin modems, let’s not go into why right now… and none of them would power up. Still, I thought, if Virgin can’t be bothered helping me, I might as well change service providers. Perhaps I might find one who, oh, I dunno, might actually provide me with some service?

I have to leave town to buy socks, so signing on with someone else meant a trip down the motorway. Thursday morning and the Optus bloke couldn’t get anywhere with his computer. It seems that Terriblestra rules the phone lines in my part of town, and the only way I could get service from Optus was wirelessly. All well and good, but his computer was telling him to give me a modem and he had no modem to give me.

Short trip to Major Computer Retailer where the more dynamic bloke at their computer desk was quite confident Optus would post me out a modem… but he couldn’t find the plan listed. In their brochure or on line. It took so long I had to leave to get to a lunch date back home.

Returned to Optus Bloke #2 this morning where it turns out the only way to get a phone and broadband bundle from Optus is via some complicated scheme whereby my mobile becomes my landline and my computer connects to a new mobile phone and gets data that way.

Me to Optus Bloke:  “No, thanks. It’s entirely too Machiavellian. What you’re suggesting seems to me like plugging in a double-adaptor, attaching it to an extension cord and then wiring in a power board, just to plug in a kettle.”

Optus Bloke:  “I don’t really understand what you’re saying. But I can tell you, if you go with Terriblstra, they’ll want your first-born child as a down payment.”

However, I can’t knock Optus Bloke #2. He tried his best, and when asked if he could refer me to a shop where I might buy a new power pack for the existing Virgin modem, he was right on the money. $12.95 later I am back in business… until the modem itself fails, I suppose.


473 Responses

  1. They’re just trying to get us used to the brave new world where we will soon be getting absolutely nothing from them by way of service except a bill. Nice little rort they got going innit?

    Good to see you back in business though.

  2. From what I’ve seen, Hellstra and Copthis are probably as bad as each other.
    Next time something explodes in the living room, you need to strike a harder bargain.
    i.e. counter their demand for the 1st born child by offering up the 2nd born, all sugared up and decked out in his Green Arrow costume with a set of pygmy poison darts.
    I have a set of oleander bushes out front by the broadband connection ready to stock his quiver. If we dip the tips in a mix of Lobes & Orin’s saliva, they will drop like flies in a jar of mortein.
    Conveniently supplying us with a food source for our pet trolls and visiting psychos.

  3. This is why Greybeard’s Bunker has a box of spare power packs – even from printers, phones, hubs, switches, modems & laptops that are long dead & gone. Fifi finds my preparedness . . . unnecessary. Some nonsense about clutter & hoarding. You know how wome- er, what was I saying? Never mind.

  4. I’ve got fire starters.
    Reckon we should push him in the hangi pit now, or wait for Xmas?

  5. Ha! I’ll be safe at home. Just left a block of the Dark stuff (72% cocoa) on Fifi’s desk for when she gets back from work.

  6. I can’t talk, Greybeard. I have a duffle bag full of extension leads, old remotes, double adapters, video cables, mysterious plugs, old power packs, and for some strange reason a set of finger cymbals. It just keeps getting fuller and fuller, because the last time I had a cleanout I tossed the remotes for all the TV’s I no longer own. A week later, someone gave us a TV with no remote, and you guessed it, we had one of those remotes in the pile we tossed out. So now I won’t part with any of them.

    Hopefully I will soon be able to put my Terriblestra modem into the duffle bag. The Boss is so sick of this whole internet rort that he’s thinking of changing to iiNet. Research will need to be done, but as far as I’m concerned, all they need to do is have human beings with IQ’s higher than 75 (and a working knowledge of the English language) answering their calls, and I’m sold. It will be a nice change from Terriblestra’s trained monkey voice recordings, or Copthis’s ‘english optional’ call centres.

    And now I must switch off the computer. My rain dance seems to have brought on a thunder storm. Ta ta!

  7. Hmmm, we shared some dark & bitter choc & then she suggested a Dalwhinnie. Chocolate & alcohol – what could go wrong?

  8. Catty you clever girl, well done. I think I need to break out the pilates echidna balls and work over my aching feet before I can do any more rain dancing. I wore a dress the other night to the Boylan Festivities and walking 300m to and from the car in my FK! Toto, I’m Not In Kansas Anymore Heels was hell on the quokka paws. Ow, and ow, and ow.
    The Bloke likes to hoard things like nails and bits of wood, which means I’ve got a drawer packed to the gunnels with nails, screws, bolts, and all kinds of things that neither of us can identify but which he’s sure will come in handy some day (he’s dreaming) – and under the house he’s got a large pile of leftover bits of wood from various stages of the renovations here at Casa Quokka.
    None of it is any use to him as he doesn’t own any power tools (the zip gun doesn’t count as he never knows where it is and invariably when he finds it, it’s lost it’s charge) but he insists he needs all this crap anyway.
    I dream of the day when the bobcat rolls into the driveway and dumps the lot of it into 10 cubic metre skip.
    At least the crap that I hoard doesn’t provide an ecosystem for the neighbourhood’s plague of field mice. I swear to dog they go next door to graze on the overgrown grass at Bog Hollow and then they come in here to the lumber yard and combine forces with the rats to build rodent sized multiple occupancy dwellings.
    Thanks to my spouse, I have Aspirational Vermin.
    Beat that and play fair.

  9. So next time I have a power source problem, I know where to go.

    Hey, Catty, I don’t suppose you’ve got the power leads for a Casiotone CT-460 keyboard, do you? I’ve got one propped up next to the computer, that Elf Boy is dying to play, but the leads seem to have mysteriously vanished.

    By “mysteriously vanished”, obviously I mean I probably saw them when in one of my rare cleaning spasms and thought, “These look irrelevant” and threw them to the Insatiable Landfill Gods.

    Melbo, I hope things have been running more smoothly for you.

    Well, Q, to counter your Rodent Ghetto, obviously you need a Serpent Sheriff. Next time Greybeard is called on to relocate a fair-sized python or pythons, have him mosey them over the river to you.

    But as for accumulated detritus, I heard the dust bilbys under my couch having a shareholders’ meeting the other day. It sounds like they’re planning a hostile take-over of the Lego Glacier in Magic Man’s room.

  10. Goodness gracious, what an afternoon! PNB and Flinthart had the rest of us in stitiches. Laugh? I almost cried laughing. And then we went to Haigh’s for chocolate. *happy sigh*

    • Hmpph! (slopes off, mumbling jealously)

  11. PNB is a funny man.

    In a good way, not a doesn’t-quite-look-you-in-the eye-keep-him-away-from-the-kids-and pointy-objects way.

    Well, two days down and I still has the interwebz. Fingers crossed, everyone.

    Meanwhile – Q, you didn’t book your Melbourne jaunt with Qantas, I hope? At the rate they’re going, perhaps you’ll be able to reschedule to see Catty.

  12. Fingers, toes and eyes, MM.
    Yep, we are with quntarse. The bloke uses planes to commute to work in Cairns, so he’s racked up so many frequent flyer points that he decided to use them for a trip to Hobart. Friends of his are having a house warming that weekend. We’re both invited but as you know, parties aren’t my thing, and having met a number of his school friends I’m suspicious that it’ll be one big drunken booyah and I’d want out of there 3 minutes after I’d walked through the door. This couple probably aren’t like that but being Hobart I can’t imagine how they’d keep the Booyah crowd out. So he’s on his own with that one.

    But yeah, I wonder how long Alan Joyce can keep this up? and what the fallout will be. There’s some serious twitter rage out there and the thing about the internet these days is that no company CEO should think that they can control the information that the public get via their scummy little overlord friends in the media. Twitter has put an end to that. For which, hooray.
    I for one will not be purchasing another Q ticket as long as that little terd is in charge. One of our friends is a Q engineer, father of young twins & you couldn’t ask for a nicer guy. So that’s where my allegiance lies.
    It’s going to FK a lot of people around – I feel for PNB. Still, he’s said if he has to he will drive to Sydney and that or the train/bus are a good way to see the country. Inconvenient, but edumacational.
    The Bloke was meant to do Mon-Fri in FNQ, as someone has had a nervous collapse up there so he’s meant to be filling in. So he’s just going to have to try to build the horsepiddle via remote control.
    I’m due to look after the neighbours’ cat as they’d booked a week on Hamilton Island, so they’re still waiting to see if their budget airline (not sure, maybe jetstar) falls over under the weight of it all. I hope not. They are being driven up the wall by noisy FKD up neighbours either side of them and really need a break.
    This is bad. Aside from all the people who’ve spent all year saving for a holiday and those who need to fly to get to work, think of all the people who must be trying to get somewhere because they’ve got sick relatives or funerals to get to.
    I remember how stressed I got when I needed to go to Perth in July for my cousin’s funeral and it looked like the cloud of volcanic ash was going to screw that up. If it was me being FKD up by Alan Joyce’s shenanigans I would be ropable.
    Anyway – enough.
    Catty I’m so pleased you made it to the gathering at the mitre and met PNB & Flinthart yesterday. Think you’ll make it to the next one?

  13. Unfortunately, I can’t get to Monday’s gathering. Majorly disappointed, as yesterday was the best fun since, well, ever. But PNB is coming back to Aus next year, so there’s hope.

    And there’s hope for us to catch up too, Quokka. Although I’m not siding with Qantas, I bloody well wouldn’t want to play chess with Joyce. He’s too clever. Unfortunately, it isn’t a chess game – it’s the lives of thousands of passengers and employees. I wonder what the shareholders think?

    Meanwhile, I had to laugh about Madam’s small-children-&-pointy-objects comment. Bangar gave PNB a bottle of his ‘special water’, and the label said something about ‘Banga’s Brew. Keep away from small children and old ladies.’ There’s no way American customs will allow THAT through the airport, so he’s going to have to drink it here. Hah! Sydney’s Burgers won’t be able to get PNB munted – he’s going to be well and truly munted long before he gets there!

  14. Damned straight.
    Anything brewed by Bangarr would likely explode in the luggage locker while the plane was still ascending over footscray and we don’t want that, do we?
    I don’t think this is a clever move, catty, I think Joyce is a sociopath who’s been given way too much money and power and he’s overstepped the bounds of what’s reasonable and acceptable in most people’s minds. Qantas will live to regret ever employing him.
    There was one of these in management at the Bloke’s last place of employment and initially the bigwigs thought he was fantastic because he drove such a hard bargain. Then he drove all the functioning sane people away, went mad on cocaine and booze, and they discovered he’d been filtering money out of the company under a number of fake sub-contracting companies that the guy had set up. At which point the big wigs realized what they were dealing with and had the cops arrest him. And then they had to get restraining orders to deal with the threats he made, and then they had to employ private security trolls to protect their homes because it turned out that Mr. Wonderful had useful contacts in the underworld and there was an unsubstantiated rumour that he’d had 2 union guys who crossed him kneecapped, and at some point later down the track they’d disappeared without trace.
    He’s in jail now for white collar fraud.
    It will be interesting to see where this ends up, but I don’t think it’s going to end well for Allan Joyce. The bottom line is that Qantas needs customers to make money, and there’s going to be a lot of very pissed off people out there who are going to take their business elsewhere for a long time yet to come.

  15. Indeed.

    Although it must be annoying for management to have rolling industrial action, no-one can explain to me how grinding the entire operation to a complete stand-still is going to benefit anyone.

    Meanwhile, everyone’s crossing appendages and lighting candles to any deity who will listen than one of these “near-misses” they’ve been having ever since the scythe went through the budget doesn’t turn into an outright tragedy.

    If we’re going to pay a muppet millions to destroy a once viable and effective airline, WTF can’t we have an Australian muppet?

  16. I got home from that lovely day yesterday, logged in and the first thing I saw was Joyce’s cock up of an industrial relations coup. I’m one of the nutters who Twittered themselves into a frenzy last night. Then I spewed all over my blog. Then I ate all my chocolate almonds (thanks Catty) and then I had to find pictures of furry animals to post so people knew the real Melbo was still in there somewhere … who am I kidding? The spewing, twittering nutter IS the real Melbo.

    It makes me mad – that level of incompetence promoted to CEO material with the gall to take that massive payrise and then try to do everyone else out of a job. Nice. Real nice. And if it goes on too long or too far in the wrong direction, it could cause serious damage to Qantarse. Not that he’ll care – he’ll be winging it out of the country by then (probably in disguise on Emirates), laughing evilly and clutching an even BIGGER payout.

    It’s just wrong on so many levels.

    But what a great day yesterday was. Truly. I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it here. Burger people are great people. I’ve achieved many of my major real-life Burger meeting goals this year except for JB, Quokka and Morgana. And hopefully Quokka, we will make our assignation whether or not the red roo permits.

  17. Don’t worry Melbo, I think everyone threw their fair share of venom around online last night re: Satan’s Henchmen/the Qntarse Overlords, myself included. That’s why I have the cute fluffy native animal as my avatar, it exists to conceal the Real Me.
    Which apparently fools none of them over at CBG.

    Bloody Irishmen – you see, I’ve been warning you all that they’d take over the world if we didn’t shunt them all into Villawood, ASAP.
    My spouse is meant to be in FNQ at 9am 2moro to supervise construction of the hospital (something will go wrong without him being there), JB is meant to be in Perth for Day 1 of his Drinking Book Tour & PNB was meant to fly north to examine the terds on Bondi Beach.
    Well, maybe it’s not a complete loss for everyone.
    As for my trip south, I think the flying kangaroo might be getting hungry and in need of our cash by then, so lets just hope that their staff won’t be so stressed out that they forget to bolt the wings on good and tight before any and all of us next board a plane.
    Good to hear that you guys had fun with Dirk and PNB, if I wasn’t worn out from the exertion of being unnaturally sociable this past week, I’d be horribly jealous.
    Perhaps it would help to soothe our Joyce jangled nerves if you guys start telling me which purveyors of chocolate and baked goods you think we should visit when I’m heading to Melbourne.

  18. Looks like you’re all back in business.

    The Gubbernmint stepped in and told Joyce… any relation to James, I wonder? I never could stand “Ulysses” … and the unions to play nicely while working in the same room.

    Now, I just hope the pilots’ next enterprise bargaining strategy does not involve unscheduled stunt flying on any of the commuter routes.

    “We are cruising at an altitude of 1,300 meters with a tailwind of 17 knots and will be arriving in Sydney in just under one hour. Now, please fasten your seatbelts, ensure that all trays are in the upright position and bungy cord small children to a fixed surface while I perform a series of three barrel rolls. Take that, Joycey, you evil leprechaun!”

  19. Yes, Joyce’s tactics doesn’t really give me much in the way of confidence that Qantas staff will be terribly motivated to look after their toys properly. I was reading an article which said that because Qantas failed to invest in more fuel efficient planes, this is why they’re trying to cut corners and pay the airline staff less. I still can’t get my head around it, it’s like Joyce actually sat down and thought ‘how can I destroy this airline?’
    It makes me wonder if the rumours are right – somebody has an agenda to completely trash qantas so they can sell off the assetts as scrap and set up a new cheap carrier that junks the existing staff and outsources all it can to cheap overseas labor.
    I’m just baffled by it.
    Anyway, I’m quite pleased that the Bloke isn’t in Cairns today as it means he gets to send off the changes in our plans to the architect, so Joyce’s 20 million dollar tanty is working out in our favor, at least.
    Glad you survived the Bacon Tent, MM, and that the cat is recovering from his injuries. Ours are due for hair cuts. I always know it’s getting hot when I’m awakened by a cat hacking up a furball at the end of the bed and the resulting splatter is something you could frame and hang on the wall and attribute to Pro Hart.
    Well, I’m out of industrial strength sunscreen, and having dropped my mobile phone one too many times, I think it’s time to get a case for it.
    Here’s hoping I can find one that will make it bounce just like a super ball.
    it’d make life so much easier to retrieve it than when the damned thing disintegrates on impact and the battery, case and backing all whiz off in different directions.
    happy bacon recovery day, Madam. Enjoy your couch time, and tell the cats if they beat each other up again, we’ll send their big sister up to live there – that’ll put the fear of God into them, to be sure.
    Shit, now I’m even talking like a leprechaun, that qantas CEO is a virus, not a human being.

  20. To be sure, to be sure. The Wreck-then-Restart scenario is the only one that makes any sense. What animal do you think they’ll go with for the logo? We should start a Facebook campaign to make it a quokka.

    I can tell you… after two days of wasting time in assorted Optus dealers… that there are these new silicone skin phone cases that seem to actually be crafted from melted-down rubber balls.

    And they come in purple!

    I hope you get out of the marketplace alive, Q.

  21. Just a suggestion Q – http://telaustralia.com.au/mobiles/tough-and-tradie-phones

    There is the custom-bubble-wrap method of course but the tradie phone is probably more elegant. Madam, you’d have laughed yourself sick watching me try to send a text to JB on Quokka’s phone. I kept touching the menu selections on the funny little screen but nothing happened! And I had to wobble this square thing in the middle to make things move. It was horrible. Horrible! No matter how much I swiped and stroked and poked at the screen, it didn’t respond. It was like being in the 19th C.

  22. Sounds more like being at the Year 10 Formal, Greybeard.

    Although, one stroke and most of the girls Q and I went to school with would have let you do as you please, so perhaps my analogy is spurious.

  23. Nada.
    The batch that I went through are still busy stroking and poking each other, but perhaps they’d added something to the drinking water to discourage those tendencies by the time your lot went through, MM.
    And yes, it was hilarious watching GB fiddling with my mobile phone.
    Laugh? I nearly drove into the river.
    No wonder the menfolk wouldn’t touch the disposable phone we bought for PNB at Margate Woollies. Onto happy news, MM – I believe nobody has yet been able to get the damned thing to work, which should hamper PNB’s efforts to use it to set up the kind of import/export business that would see you finishing your Certificate IV in MYOB from a room with a view over the vegetable patch out back of woodford prison.

    Onto other exciting news, Hogwarts finally sent me my degree, and, no doubt by way of compensation for the lateness of this item, they attached a complementary set of mouse ears, which will no doubt be far more useful in helping me into gainful employment.
    The Bloke had come home for lunch, and we were sitting here munching on our Faloumi Wraps (falafel + haloumi + other yummy veggo stuff) when I heard the cow bell go next door. A year or two ago the neighbour (not bog hollow) installed security doors on his front verandah (I’ve yet to see them open) and, being even more of a luddite than Morgana and I, he set up some FK ugly horror of a jingly cow bell for callers to tug on. Every time someone uses it I wait for coorabelle and maybelle and veal-tonight to come wandering up the driveway and beg to be milked, or slaughtered, but no.
    Apparently the driver of the Australia post van can’t read, and he was trying to persuade Mrs. I-don’t-smoke-dope-while-the-kids-are-at-school to sign for my degree.
    I’m deeply thankful that it was midday and she lacked the capacity to manage a door knob, otherwise she’d have used my bit of paper to roll a foot long spliff.
    Thankfully I managed to flag down the van and persuade the delivery guy to hand over the goods. He looked at me rather dubiously and winked when he departed, clearly not satisfied he’d found the actual owner of the goods, but pleased to be free of the task of matching the numbers on the package to those on the gate.
    I’m sure it can’t be easy.
    So here I am, pleased as punch.
    I haz Mouse Ears.
    And it’s official, I’m now fully qualified to operate the Tea Cup ride over in Disneyland.
    Yee Hah.

  24. I vote for a photo of Quokka, wearing the mouse ears & holding up the degree. Who’s with me? Vote now!

  25. I vote ‘yes’. Mayhem wouldn’t let me wear my mouse ears when the Boss took a picture of us. Seeing Quokka in her mouse ears would mollify me. Slightly.

    Can Quokka’s phone take pictures?

    I was listening to a radio interview today, that went something like this:

    DJ: Mr O’Reilly, do you think that Joyce’s strong stance against the unions makes him a big man?

    O’Reilly: Ah, and I wouldn’t be callin’ Joyce a man, no I wouldn’t. Nor either would I be callin’ him a half of a man.

    DJ: So what would you call Joyce?

    O’Reilly: To be sure, I’d be callin’ him a turd of a man.

    I think it may have been one of those spoof interviews, but I hope not.

    • Oh, I forgot to mention! Quokka, that was Flinthart nomming Mayhem.

  26. Hehehe. No-one should nom on Mayhem – we know where she’s been.

    That’s one vote from me, GB.

    Congratulations, Q!

    And how lovely that, thanks to the Galumphing Kangaroo, The Bloke could be there to share your triumph with you. What sort of frame will you choose – I favour baroque gilded swirls, myself, but since it’s a Hogwart’s degree maybe something in eco-chic bamboo, or recovered driftwood perhaps?

    In the context of the alleged lesbianism of our former schoolmates, I find the phrase “The batch that I went through” hilarious. Thanks for cheering me up before typing practise.

    BTW, Catty, you’re feeling better, I trust? No murders in your street on Halloween?

  27. No, Madam, I’m not better yet. And boy-howdy am I pissed off about it. I spent a large chunk of last night alternating between chucking my guts out and coughing my lungs out. No lungs left now. *sigh* Then, just to make things interesting, I’ve developed an unbearably itchy rash of blisters. Zombie Pox, perhaps?

    Let’s ask the shiny new doctor. Quokka? What do you think? Should I lay off the meth, or is it some genetic thing turning me into a scaly replica of my mother? Congratulations, Doc. You’ve earned it, well and truly.

    I really should get a doctorate in something, as I’m feeling dreadfully inferior amongst all you medical professionals. Unless being doctor mummy counts. Are kisses, bandaids and Freddo Frogs recognised as authentic doctoring?

    Halloween seems to have passed us by, except for a small incident after school. The littlest kidlet was enamoured with the whole ‘free lollies’ thing, especially after a classmate handed out gummy eyeballs and pens with monsters on them. So as we left the schoolyard, he called out “Happy Halloween!” to the crossing guard. The poor man is a committed Christian from the local church, and the look of horror on his face was priceless. But fortunately for our friendship, the laugh that escaped me immediately turned into a lung-dredging cough.

    So, does anyone have a tip for the Melbourne Cup, or are you all as ‘meh’ about it as I am?

  28. Mmm… Freddo Frog.

    Catty, I’ve got an owie – frog it better, if you’d be so kind.

    Elf Boy was desperate to trick or treat, but I think encouraging the children to dress up and ask strangers for lollies is only establishing undesirable – and potentially risky – behaviour patterns. So, after dinner, he came to the fridge and asked me “trick or treat?”. I gave him three chocolate eggs, and he seemed partially mollified.

    I really don’t give a rats about the Melbourne Cup. Having no interest in any of: dressing up, horse racing or polite society, an event that combines all three leaves me completely cold.

    I do have a tip, though, which I left over at your place. The Verminator, solely because he/she has purple silks and an spectacularly silly name.

  29. I grew up on horses so the idea of watching someone else having fun galloping in circles while I’m stuck here with only the exorcistcycle to climb astride is no fun at all.
    Many thanks for your congrats, folks.
    However believe me Catty, it hasn’t made me feel special to have my degree. The overwhelming sentiment is ‘Jaysus, I spent how many thousands of dollars and wasted FK knows how many years of my life doing that.’
    Am still kicking myself I didn’t study something fiscally useful, like medical imaging or psychology.
    Still, in an attempt to force myself to appreciate it, I will probably head out to another shopping centre this arvo, as my expedition to Indroo yesterday in search of a degree frame was an absolute bust.
    Although I did manage to pass some time in Darrell Lea sussing out their Xmas supplies and also in Target, where, unless I’m confused, I see they’re selling Reindeer Poop. I checked for Santa Poop but perhaps they’ve already sold out.

    Thankfully the Halloween march past Casa Quokka showed that interest was down to only 10 kids, which is a dramatic drop from the 25-30 that scampered past last year. I didn’t bother stocking up on treats as they seem to be quite orderly, and only enter households who’ve agreed to participate & have hung out the requisite orange & black balloons. With any luck the local mothers will give up on the idea by next year and put on Halloween parties, instead.
    This year several of last year’s halloween enthusiasts had fled the neighbourhood, so I’m guessing that the thrill of going door to door for sweets was countered by the ill effects of having the kids come home with enough sugar and additives to keep them high & flighty till at least Xmas.

    Poor Catty, still sick.
    My advice is the same as grandma’s – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. In future you should avoid keeping company with riff raff, and remember, never let the riff raff pick you up and lick you & spin you round in circles. Anyone would vomit after that.

  30. On the other hand Q, you damned well earned that piece of paper so add it to your collection with pride – and maybe a note underneath saying “you must NEVER do this again”. Catty, maybe you should move to Quoinsland? It seems a healthier place and has rolling fields of chocolate, studded with marshmallow trees. Trust me.

    As for Halloween, we had nothing, zero, zip. Not one little costumed anklebiter did we see. Hoorah! Maybe despite the efforts of Crazy Clarks & Dollars & Cents it’s dying out? Too much to hope for?

    So Madam – puzzling over gifts for the boys this year? I have easy-to-follow plans that would keep them quietly busy for the rest of the holidays. You’d know which one would prefer the potato cannon and which the flamethrower? Or there’s a crossbow that fires machetes but it’s really hard to cock it. Maybe when they’re older.

  31. Crossbow that fires machetes?

    Bugger the children, I want one. And I’m glad it’s hard to cock. You’d want to be damn sure before you fired one of those little beauties.

    Actually, I was thinking of getting them each a bow and arrow that fires paintballs. But, since you’re here, you can help me with a geeky question, GB. I have bought Magic Man a proper microscope, but for some reason I can’t get anyone to ship me a slide-making kit. Perhaps the stuff they use to stick down the coverslips is flammable or poisonous, and can’t be posted? I dunno, but the budding mad scientist will need slides. Where do I look, oh Great Sage?

    Mmm… speaking of sage, I must go and stuff the chook.

  32. Pretty cool… but the one I’ve ordered can also be used to view macroscopic specimens – and has led lights.

    Still, that’s an amazing price.

    I just want the GD slides, though. Aust Geo is a good suggestion, GB. I’ll mosey over.

  33. Oh, Greybeard, I would love to move to Queensland. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option until my mother dies. That woman (sic) can smell my fear within a 1000km radius. *shudder*.

    Madam, have you contacted the company that manufactures the microscope? They may have packs of slides, or know where you can get them. Meanwhile, Toy Kingdom had paintball crossbows on sale last week, if you’re still considering them. They also had jars of paintball refills, so you wouldn’t be short on ammunition. Hey, this is a good thing! If the boys are spending all their pocket money on paintball refills, they won’t be able to afford eccy’s and condoms. Yay!

    You know why there’s no Santa crap in the shops, Quokka? My mother buys it all to make her Christmas pudding.

    No, I’m only kidding. I saw our dog eat poop on many occasions, – but he wouldn’t touch my mother’s cooking.

  34. Well it turns out that Hogwarts doesn’t manufacture bits of paper in the same size as every other tertiary institution in the country so after making a few phone calls I realized that the only way I’m going to get this sucker framed was to ring my mate the framer. Who has framed things for me like unicorns and Barbie posters, and novelty condom safe sex adds, so naturally he fell over in shock when I told him I wanted him to frame a degree.
    So it looks like my Mickey Mouse degree is going to get the TLC that you’ve suggested, Khan GB.
    Upside to the visit, Mr. Framer pointed me towards a house 2 blocks away where a very dear old mutual friend of ours was helping his son to renovate a house – and as they are Coolum dwellers I hadn’t seen them in years so this was a lovely waste of an afternoon for all.
    Downside, Mr. Framer told me about a trip to Bali with his teenage sons, aged 14 and 18, who snuck out one night when they knew he was asleep, and got shitfaced on buckets of overproof local moonshine – and who were returned the next day, (to great sighs of relief and smacks across the ears) somewhat the worse for wear, sans wallets and mobile phones, both sporting vomitous hangovers and one with memory loss as to how he acquired a selection of bruises and an oozing split lip.
    Fark I’m glad the cats never give me this kind of trouble.
    Sure, they’d push me down the stairs and eat my liver if they were hungry enough but at least I’ll never have to fish them out of Lombok jail.

  35. I never wanted to go to Bali, but it was always a vague “just not on my list” sort of disinterest. But that does it. The only way you’ll get me to go to Bali is if you pass me through a crematorium first.

    Mind you, boys being boys is not Bali’s fault. Have I told everyone that Magic Man has taken to calling me “homie”? No, not as in person who is always found stuck at home, frantically trying to keep it running. As in “Do you want to go me, homie?”

    I suppose I should be grateful that he doesn’t call me “Dawg”.

  36. Or ‘beeyatch’.
    Gangster rap lingo.
    One of my all time personal pet hates.
    MM, it’s time to introduce them to Ali G and start playing the elevator music rendition of ‘pretty fly for a white guy’ so that they figure it out.

  37. I’m copping ‘Bra’ from the kidlets. Bra is apparently the feminine version of Bro. I’m glad they explained that to me, as initially I thought they were having a shot at my lack of need for one.

    • Not a great title but better than Ho or Beeyatch.

  38. It’s gone viral.
    I’m getting ‘Mra!’ from the cats.

  39. Meh. No change here. It’s either “Daddeee” (I need advice/computer fixing/etc) or “Oh Father” (I’ve just embarrassed them/disgraced myself/told appalling joke/all of the above). The sad & disappointed tone of the “Oh Father” is great. I love it because it means I’ve usually been having fun.

  40. I love The Offspring! I’ll find it on YouTube. Excellent suggestion, Q

    Catty, I can’t see how Bra is derived from Bro. Logic and everything I know about the English language would suggest Sis… but that’s not how kids work, is it?

    As for appellations, my favourite is Mumma. Especially when included in the phrase “You’re the best Mumma in the world!”

    Just limped home from MYOB training. Wouldn’t have survived at all, had Quokka not started texting me humorous distractions. I got a few dirty looks from the trainer but at least it quelled the urge to choke myself to death on a financial records worksheet.

  41. Yes we did get rather carried away.
    I simply meant to tell you where to get those microscope slides before I forgot (i.e. before I left the carpark at the pool, to be precise) and to be discrete in explaining that if the uni bookstores let you down, a scientist friend will cheerfully steal a box from work.
    I guess it’s just hard to break the habit of faffing at the blogs.
    Still, given how ridiculous we got I’m still amazed you didn’t get detention.
    Oh well. Think of it this way, if Catty had’ve been involved, you’d still be stuck at school typing the honour board, for sure.
    Tip: next time the trainer gets pissed off at you giggling at texts just smile sweetly and say ‘sorry about that, a relative just died.’

  42. Greybeard’s Shame: https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=57e076c46ff11d85&page=play&resid=57E076C46FF11D85!395&authkey=YfoywlvZKJY%24
    One of those hussy’s is my daughter.

    Also includes Fifi – high as a kite as usual.

  43. Hehehe. Or perhaps I could try, “It’s my stockbroker. I’ve just put in a hostile takeover bid on the college.”

    Greybeard, I’m alarmed at the angle on LeeLoo’s phaser. Has she been spending too much time with Hairy’s housemates?

    Fifi looks amazingly composed for a woman suspended from a hot-air filled bladder in a wicker basket. Then again, we’ve always admired her grace under pressure. Just a slight technical detail, if I may – who the hell TOOK the photo? Have you finally managed to get airborne with your home-constructed, whipped-cream bulb jet pack?

    Meanwhile, I can’t believe it’s Thursday again. Looking down the barrel of another weekend of cricket… including, for light relief, canteen convening on Friday night. So early in the season, yet I feel like chucking it in and signing the boys up for something less time-consuming. Cage fighting, maybe?

  44. What you want is something cerebral and deadly quiet, in an air conditioned room. Chess tournaments, perhaps.
    Yes, the balloon ride looks spectacular, if death defying.
    Don’t those balloons have some sort of gadget fitted so that they can get those photos?
    Onto other news, have you guys noticed that PNB has posted photos of his trip on his blog? I forgot to warn him to set the camera to ‘cat’ so both my eyes went yellow when he took that pic of me.
    Oops. Slight non-human giveaway, the boys won’t notice, will they?

  45. So, Greybeard, was Fifi attempting the ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ challenge? If so, good job packing all those extra people – at least she won’t go hungry.

    What a strange collection of photos on PNB’s blog. I didn’t notice the yellow eyes, Quokka. Maybe the CBG mob will, but I doubt it – they’re still swilling bevvies with the Professor.

    Madam, how many weeks before Allied Forces rescue you from the MYOB concentration camp? Hey, if your Dungeon Master wants to know who’s texting, will you get extra credit if you tell her to MYOB? Certainly you’d get more brownie points than you would with FK OFF. You should save that expletive for the cricket canteen roster organisers. Bugger that! The scoring tent sounds like much more fun.

    Is anyone else sick of Christmas already? Or is it just me?

  46. Photos? How ghastly. Of me, I mean. I’m sure you look humanoid enough to pass, Q.

    As for MYOB… hehehe. Good one. I’ll try it on him next week. I will be released just in time for the kids to get out of school, Catty. All things being equal, i.e. if I continue to manage the work and get the assignments in on time.

    Christmas is a big ‘meh’ from me, too. All it means this year is that I’ll have to endure my sister in the midst of the worst heat and humidity Brisvegas has to offer. Hey, Q, will you be in town? I may escape the festivities and come and lounge in your bathing pavilion. Conversation will not be needed, but perhaps a few drops of rescue remedy if you have them.

  47. Rescue Remedy. Is that what we’re calling Vodka now?

  48. Make that a triple ‘meh’ for Xmas.
    Looks like I might be able to dodge it completely this year. The Bloke is heading south to Kiama to spend Xmas with his extended famberly, dog help him. They’re all used to my anti-social anti-xmas ways by now so they no longer bother to ask if I’ll be joining them. The Bloke seems to think this may be his mother’s last Xmas. I think he’s delusional. Every year she tells them that she won’t be here next xmas (and they’ll be sorry) and every year she lies.
    I keep telling him she’ll outlive us all, despite the best efforts of the nurses in the local respite care to kill her – which I truly believe is not paranoia on her part, but inspired motivation on theirs.
    So MM, feel free to run away and join me here.
    No fixed plans as yet for Xmas day but if it’s just me I do usually head up to Caloundra for the day & spend it with the Cat People at Golden Beach. If it rains, I’m staying put.
    Onto other news Grace the tupperware lady rang me yesterday and wants to know if we want to have another tupperware party. I had pitiful down-on-your-luck excuses for all involved which meant that my excuse for having a Tware party was that I’d be the only one there.
    Mischief managed.

  49. For the last few years Fifi, as the ‘oldest child in the female line’, has inherited Xmas hosting for her side of the family. Her younger sister gets New Year & the ‘boys’ aren’t ever expected to do anything but turn up – if they have nothing better to do – and drink. We had about 20 – 30 here last Xmas I think. I’m still trying to forget. We’re hoping her crazy sister-in-law will actually follow through on a hosting offer and that the fact that this is a hovel since the flood will get us excused. Who am I kidding. They actually aren’t as painful as they used to be since the ghastly kids grew up and stopped trying to trash the place & age has mellowed some of the vicious jibes.

    We’ve told our kids that we love to see them any time (except ohmygodisthatthedoorwherethehellaremypants time) and there is NO PRESSURE about Xmas. I’d honestly rather see them each separately and when we can go places and do stuff together. We’ve even taken to present-giving as and when we see something. HairyGBS got a GPS the other day which he’ll use every week with the job. Why stick it in a cupboard until December 25th?

    Also got a sweet email from my 5 year old great-niece: “Dear evil Uncle Greg . . . ” thanking me for a digital camera we’d given her in September. Looks like she’s abusing it & annoying people already. Awwww, genes will tell . . .

  50. And in a surprise return to the topic of the blog(!) we have a landline again. And better-than-dialup Internet. Telstra turned up only a couple of hours later than they said and fixed the line fault. Win!

  51. Horribly, horribly jealous. Terriblestra said they were changing our landline from standard to secure. What they actually did was change our broadband access from “incredibly slow, and drops out every 10 minutes” to “unbearably slow, and drops out every 20 minutes”. What shits me most is that I have to pay them for this lack of service – it’s either that, or transfer back to Optionless, and that ain’t happening until Optionless’ call centre staff start speaking english. iiNet is sounding more tempting by the second….

  52. You actually got service as and when expected from Terriblestra, GB – who have you got compromising photos of and what exactly are they doing?

    And, given, tis the season and all, would they look any good if we Shopped in antlers and turned them into Christmas cards?

    Since I’ll be darkening Brisvegas’s portals round the end of December, we should have an anti-Christmas get together. No mistletoe, nog of any sort or singing allowed. Or, indeed, aloud.

    • Sheer luck I think, though my rep for photoshopping was such that I had to resort to concealed cameras at work. I treasure a beautiful shot of one sassy secretary. I caught her looking as if she was about to burst into song so I added a tiara & cow horns. Very operatic. It was a bad work environment. Nobody trusted me. Not after the North Qld White-footed Rat-Possum incident anyway. Or the . . . well, best forgotten really.

      Anti-Christmas sounds great. It’s the time of year I want to become an old Goth. Or possibly a Vandal.

  53. You could always combine all of the above to good effect. Come Xmas Eve, you could dress up in black and hurl rocks through the windows of the local police station. Thus ensuring that you’d spend 24 hours locked up away from your family and you’d have Xmas dinner in saner and possibly pleasanter company.
    I wonder why I never thought of this before?
    Perhaps we should congregate and do it as a group.
    Anti-xmas sounds fabulous.
    I’m thinking Turkish, lunch, the usual suspects.
    Morgana, what’s a good date for you?

  54. My schedule will become significantly looser come December the 9th, when college finishes, school’s out for summer and cricket goes into hiatus. So, sometime after then… but not every second Sunday.

    If you’d like me to be more specific, I’ll have more coffee and get back to you.

    So, we’ll all wear black, but I think we should make eyeliner optional. It just melts in the heat. How hot was it yesterday? Writer’s group went out for lunch after our meeting and even right next to the sea it was boiling. I had pasta marinara, and found an unopened mussel lurking down the bottom of my bowl. So, I expected to wake up at some stage last night chucking like Muralitharan but so far so good.

    I was kind of looking forward to food poisoning. It would have got me out of canteen duty.

  55. I have no idea what Muralitharan is and no likelihood of expanding my knowledge base since google informed me it’s a cricketer.
    Still, google can send you astray.
    December sounds fine to me.
    MM, last night I had the strangest dream.
    I had followed you, rather reluctantly, into the mad junk lady’s shop. She was on holiday so a pack of feral goths were running the place and they’d introduced pre-loved fashion. As they lacked clothes racks it was piled on the floor and they were tossing their subway wrappers and McFlurry containers on top of it for the punters to sift thru.
    You were in raptures at the new stock and went poring through a pile of what looked like smallpox laden blankets until you found an ancient incan Xena warrior princess outfit lying crumpled beneath the heap. It was inlaid with turquoise beads over the leather breast plate and the leather skirt flaps & somehow you managed to persuade me to try it on. Even stranger, it fitted and when I emerged from the change room it had magically transformed me into an Incan style warrior princess, replete with rippling muscles, dark skin, and the bluest of blue eyes.
    All that was lacking was the sword – because apparently there was a matching sword.
    The last thing I remember before I woke up was arguing with you about whether or not I should wear it out to lunch at the Mexican place up the road.
    Your closing argument was that if I’d found it in Lorna Jane, and hundreds of other women were wearing them, we wouldn’t be having this argument.
    Bizarre, but I thought I’d post it here so that Catty can analyze it and tell me what it means.
    The only thing I find reassuring here is that you insisted that we’d find the sword to go with it, which did cheer me up as I was worried you’d insist we find the matching bag and shoes.

  56. Q, that is a spectacular dream. Sounds like I’m playing Gabrielle to your Zena.

    I’m sure the turquoise and recurring occurrence of blue are deeply significant. The Great Sages of Google tell me that turquoise is the stone for friendship, so the fact that I forced some on you in a dream should mean we’re great friends… although, since I had to coerce you into wearing it, perhaps it means I’m forcing my companionship on you?

    Then again, it’s also said to protect from negative energy, so perhaps that’s the message. Before you next dip your toe into some of the murkier communal ponds on the Net, perhaps you should hang some turquoise around.

    I’m glad we found you some matching armaments, though. You can never go wrong accessorising with something lethal.

  57. My thoughts exactly whenever I’m obliged to wear a frock and heels.

  58. Where’s our Dream Detective?

    Mistress Catty of the Dark, where are you? We need to consult you, oh mighty oracle.

  59. Yes, yes.
    And Catty, while you’re outside hacking up what’s left of your lungs, do keep an eye out for a lapis and tourmaline encrusted sword. I seem to have mislaid my weapons, and my subconscious is telling me I’ll need them ASAP to dispatch some sort of negative entity.
    Fancy that.

  60. I’m sure it’s got something to do with Neptune. Should blow over in a few days.

  61. I haven’t seen one of those lying around, Quokka, but I do know where you can get one – the Night Markets in Cairns. Ask the bloke to have a squiz when he’s next up that way. They’re pricey, so he might want to pull a free one out of the next speared idiot who shows up at A&E.

    Or you could look on eBay. Or at one of those gamers shops that sells suits of armour and Futurama figurines. I LOVE those shops! Where else can you buy a signed 007 print in an authentic 70’s frame?

    And now, to the dream.

    The junk shop represents your life. Mad junk lady going on holidays represents your rejection of the opinion you think society has on you. The feral goths represent your younger self, and also represent interaction with family.

    **What does this mean? It indicates that you are starting to think maybe everyone is right; you’re getting old, you shouldn’t rock the boat, it’s unseemly for a mature lady to fly off the handle, maybe some of the blame for conflict is your own, crappity crap crap. But deep down the values of justice and fair play that you held dear in your youth still hold true for you.**

    The piles of clothing on the ground, covered with fast food wrappers, are a symbol of letting go of the restrictions that you place upon yourself, for fear of causing a social scandal.

    Finding the Xena outfit underneath all the trash is a sign that you are considering backing away from conflict with contrary forces, again for fear of causing social scandal.

    **What does this mean? You’re wondering if warring with fkwits is really worth the bother, because there will always be more garbage to put up with.**

    Madam Morgana is your conscience, telling you not to give up. You trust your conscience, so you try on the outfit. It’s a perfect fit for you – the blue of your eyes indicates spiritual insight, the muscles indicate strange meetings with rivals, and the turquoise inlay is a symbol for achieving your immediate goals.

    **What does this mean? By trusting your inner self, (symbolised by a close friend whom you also trust), you are realising that your chosen battle is the right thing to do – and that you are easily strong enough to rise to that battle.**

    Swords are a symbol of behaving honourably, and having the courage to fight. Not having a sword indicates fear of being beaten in battle.

    **What does this mean? You are concerned that you will enter into battle honourably, but your opponent will not fight fair.**

    Arguing about wearing the Xena garb to the Mexican restaurant is a sign that you may have other issues that you would like to resolve, but are not sure that a full-on battle is the way to handle it or not.

    **What does this mean? You’re aware of your strengths, but also recognise that many conflicts require a light touch to resolve. I.e, you can attract more flies with honey than vinegar.**

    My interpretation:

    You’re sick to FKN death of the whole council planner belligerency, and are having secret thoughts of giving up. But your pesky friends on the sideline are goading you on, because not only do we know you’re in the right, we also know you’re up to the challenge. (Deep down, so do you.) Also, we don’t want you to back down because we’ve been getting a good laugh out of the gross stupidity displayed by BCC employees. Honestly, that mob of fkwits are funnier than a cage full of poo-tossing monkeys.

    Alternative interpretation:

    Your subconscious is begging you to reconsider your Christmas plans. It wants you to visit your family for Christmas, and slip something lethal into their plum puds – so that you never have to deal with this annoying crap again, and can instead spend all future Christmases doing what you really want – i.e, stuffing yourself with vast quantities of turkey/ham/scorched almonds/whatever, skolling whole bottles of egg nog, and having sex in the swimming pool without interruption. Possibly in a Xena outfit.

    I’m banking on the second interpretation, solely because it so closely resembles my own idea of a perfect Christmas.

  62. Catty you should have your own spot on Triple J.
    That’s remarkably accurate, especially re: the futility of doing battle with a relative who is highly manipulative and has a long and dirty history of not fighting fair.
    The thing that always makes me walk away is knowing that the minute I engage in battle with that I risk turning into the very idiot that I’m doing battle with.

    Onto happier news, I know where to get that sword. There’s that weapons shop over near Carindale that I told the bearded rat trainer about, and even better, SupaNova is on in Brisbane this weekend. I may have to get the Bloke to drop me off at the RNA showgrounds so that I can run around and revel in the glorious, ridiculous Geekdom of it all. My one disappointment is that Erika Durance isn’t going to be there. (Lois, from Smallville)
    Cassidy Freeman is, though, and if there’s one thing I adore (and aspire to) its a complex multilayered supervillain.

    I ducked into the local hippy shop while I was buying lunch and voila, they had the most glorious turquoise pendants in there. The Bloke never knows what to get me for Xmas, maybe I should tell him I need to indulge my inner Warrior Princess with a protective amulet to ward off the forces of evil.
    Something we could all use, come Xmas, really.

  63. Catty, you’re a genius!

    I love the idea of being Quokka’s conscience. Like Jiminy Cricket, only hopefully less annoying. And not quite so hoppy. Nor shoulder sized… okay, not really at all like Jiminy Cricket, except for the conscience bit.

    Sounds fab, Q. Did they have anything irresistible in Lapis? I feel the need for some therapeutic jewellery. Not that I have spare money right now. Elf Boy’s school shoes fell apart this week. Yes, a month before the end of school. Stupid Lady in the shoe shop tried to make me buy the size he already had… and was nearly grown out of, anyway… rather than the next up.

    Yeah, sure. $50 for shoes that will lie idle all summer, unless we visit licensed premises, and then not fit by February 2012. Nice try, Shoe Minion.

  64. Madam, Kmart is flogging off its 2011 school shoes to make room for next year’s model. Their shoes last about two weeks, but at $5 a pair you’ll still be $40 up. That’s $40 more for you to spend on bling to ward off Zombie Santa.

    I’d love one of those swords, Quokka. But I’d love the Xena outfit more. My french maid outfit is a little the worse for wear. A lesson for us all – when buying an outfit that will be removed with teeth, don’t buy it from a cheap Chinese discount store.

  65. Why indeed, when ancient inca amazon warrior wear can be found neath a pile of crap at the junk shop?
    the bloke has just arrived home after four days in Cairns. I think it was three last week.
    Bit pathetic when the first thing your spouse says to you when he arrives home from work is ‘Wow. Look how much your hair has grown.’

  66. One of the other “girls” at business college was trying to convince me that hair grows more in the heat and humidity. She swears that when she lived in Adelaide she only had to have her colour done once every eight weeks, but up here she had major regrowth by the five week mark.

    I haven’t noticed… but then I don’t do much to my hair beyond wash and brush it.

    What’s your take, oh Weird Sisters?

  67. I think hair comes down to good nutrition, so your friend was probably eating better and getting more exercise & Vitamin D up here.
    My hair is a freak of nature that defies the understanding of many a hairdresser. It’s resistant to colour & bleaching (but that, I’m told, is down to the asian ancestry) and grows faster than any hairdresser believes is humanely possible.
    Meaning I’m possibly not human, or else, as I prefer to think, I carry the same hair growing gene as Harry Potter.

  68. Or Hermione Grainger, perhaps. She was noted for her bushy hair.

    Perhaps, though, it’s a throw-back to your distant ancestress, Rapunzel.

    Hehehe. That would be a corker for the town planners. Tell them you need to build a tower, down which you can let your hair to entertain the handsome prince.

    When they counter with their typical “But Queenslanders don’t have hair-letting towers!”, just smile sweetly and reply, “It’s my birthright.”

  69. Heh heh.
    I could just point to the gun turrets in the jail and explain that it fits with the character and heritage of the suburb.
    good point though, I will need some useful vantage point from which to sling my barbs and arrows and I should consider where best to keep that vat of boiling oil.
    Because once I have a front door again the God Botherers are bound to come knocking.
    Did I tell you they bothered me one day when I was asleep and I was so profane that they called the entire herd together and prayed for my soul in my driveway?
    Makes you understand what prompted castle owners to sling chamber pots at them, really.

  70. Classic.

    Once, when Magic Man was just a toddler, he threw a huge tantrum at Indooroopilly. I just stood there, waiting for him to burn himself out. An excessively genteel lady, wearing a tweed suit and pearls, came over and put her hand on my shoulder.

    “Troubled Mother,” she said, “I want to pray for you.”

    And she proceeded to do so, while MM kept screaming and I wished for the terrazzo marble to open me up and drop me down into Hell where I belonged.

    Worst. Shopping trip. Ever.

  71. I think the appropriate response to this sort is ‘People who believe in hell deserve it.’

  72. Amazons & Incas – time to back slooowly away & keep smiling. I agree about the sword symbolism though. Symbol of honour, hence giving HairyGBS a real one for his 18th.

    Heehee. Sandy (D#2) had a tanty at Indooroopilly as well. Good times, long past. At least no one prayed for us. There used to be an old guy around here who would let the JW’s in to hand out their pamphlets and pray. Then he’d say “my turn” and pray long and loud for their eyes to be opened to their heretical ways. Very long. He was quite sincere about it too which must have made it even more painful. I just used to mock the Mormons over the history of their church and the many historical/archeological impossibilities in the Book of Moron. One had to be restrained and dragged away by his partner, red-faced & furious. Can’t be bothered now though.

    I would say something about Q’s ‘unusual’ hair, species etc, but I think she’s already covered it.

  73. Did you ever see the south park episode on the mormons? I nearly popped a vessel laughing, it was hilarious.
    Speaking of swords and avenging incan warriors and harry potter hair, did you guys realize that Supanova is on? I am sorely tempted to duck in there tomorrow and wander around till my head spins with the nerdy nuttiness of it all.

    • I’m hoping Jen (D#1) will go tomorrow. And yes, “Dum dum dumdumdum”!

  74. Oh yes, Q.

    Go to NerdCon and take many photos. Bonus points if you can get a photo of yourself with a Mr Spock, triple bonus if you get a photo of yourself as Zena.

    I, alas, will be baconing. But my thoughts…. and indeed, the force… will be with you.

    On the subject of Mormons, I knew a bloke who was excommunicated by them for fornication. As far as I know, he still revels in that particular vice, so they failed to cure him with their sanctions.

  75. Not particularly smart given that fornication is their last and best hope for expanding their numbers, but perhaps you need to be smart or catholic to figure that one out.

  76. Going forth and multiplying copiously isn’t really a Catholic thing. We nicked it from the Jews. We nicked a lot from the Jews – including Jesus. I think that’s where Catholic angst comes from; we’re constantly worried that they’re going to slap us with a lawsuit.

    I can’t believe that Quokka could possibly be descended from Rapunzel. Rapunzel was the dippiest, most wishy/washy airhead of all the Disney princesses (and that’s saying something). Not like our Warrior Princess at all! Instead, I’m wondering if you’ve pissed off any gypsies, Quokka? Maybe the hair is a gypsy curse. Given that most women would die for long and luxurious locks that grow-while-you-wait, it was probably a male gypsy. A bald, male gypsy. A bald, single, male gypsy. A bald, single, male, ugly, malodourous gypsy. Hmmm… that narrows it down to half the employees at BCC, at least.

    Speaking of dying for rapid hair growth, I read somewhere that when you die, your hair appears to grow as your dead corpse begins to dry out and shrivel up. Maybe that’s what happened to the Adelaide business college girl? She may have died of boredom in class, which would explain the hair growth. The only way to test this theory is to sniff her, Madam. If she stinks of decomposing flesh, and bites the top of your head off when you lean close to her, then the theory is confirmed.

    You know, Quokka, I wouldn’t advise a turret in your neighbourhood. It may act as a beacon for weirdos and bogdwellers. What you really need is a trebuchet on the garage roof. You could get Greybeard to build you a tasteful burnished oak model that will blend in amongst the terracotta flowerpots. Added bonus, you can use the terracotta pots as ammunition. You can also rig up some copper piping directly from a vat in the kitchen, so you have a steady stream of boiling oil on tap. Make sure it’s blessed oil. You don’t want all those poor Mormons to meet their maker covered in chip fat, do you?

    • Oddly enough I think I do have the plans for a trebuchet around here somewhere. Although the turret would have a fantastic view, and make a great place for a quiet drink in the evening. While dropping left-over bricks on unwanted visitors & neighbours.

      Hmm, instead of a retaining wall – which the council don’t want – you could pave the whole slope, creating a glacis. A little oil on that paving and no one would get near the front door. But what about car & foot access I hear you ask? The answer is a reverse drawbridge (which I just invented). You lower it over the side-by-side driveway & stairs, creating a slope that conforms with the glacis! To allow access you raise the drawbridge, revealing the stairs etc, rather than lowering it as with the usual kind. Plans are available upon request. I do believe I may have had an original thought! I’d better have a drink and lie down for a while.

  77. Hehehe.

    For all your medieval home-improvements needs, just ask Greybeard.

    Meanwhile, our DVD started playing up so I broke open the piggy bank and went to Big W, where I invested $29.95 in a new one.

    Okay, I didn’t expect top quality or extremes of durability, but this thing lasted less than one week. Went to put “Hogfather” on for Elf Boy, switched it on and it just kept saying “CLOS”(sic), even after I unplugged it for several minutes and then tried again.

    The really annoying thing about the whole experience, is that by the time I drive to Noosa Civic again to demand satisfaction, and then return home, I’ll probably have spent more on petrol than the damn thing is worth.

    Although, I suppose, if they keep lasting a week or so and I keep having them replaced, I’ll effectively have a perpetual DVD player.

  78. The oldest kidlet has a loose tooth – I’d better get him to watch Hogfather again.

    When our DVD player died, we replaced it with one of those VCR-DVD recorder models. It cost us about $400, so we were furious when it died two days later. “O.k”, it said. “You’ve spent a fortune, and broken your backs shifting furniture to get to a power point, but I don’t care. I’m going to have a nap. I’ll be back IF I feel like it”. (Well, that’s how we interpreted the constantly flashing ‘Err’.)

    Back to the shop we went. We were remarkably restrained when attempting an exchange. They gave us a replacement after a long and drawn out attempt at making us give up and leave. The replacement lasted just under two weeks before it pulled the nap thing. The shop was not keen on replacing a replacement, so we were forced to abandon the restrained approach. For an hour, we cooled our heels waiting for people to talk to other people while they racked their tiny minds for polite ways of saying “no new DVD player for you. Now fk off”. Eventually I couldn’t stand it any more and chucked a hissy fit.

    You’d think they would have fallen over themselves to get the crazy lady out of the store, but no. They all seemed bored, as if they’d seen it all before. Until I mentioned Tracey Grimshaw. Suddenly we were out on the footpath, new DVD player in hand. We still have it, too. Occasionally it dozes off, but it wakes up again after being punched and sworn at.

    Greybeard, I love your reverse drawbridge idea. It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie. Or Batman. Or Get Smart. (Missed it by THAT much!). I may have to move to the side of a hill, just so you can install one for me. Do you reckon you could put a moat at the bottom? No special reason. I just like the idea of watching people texting and twitting and walking straight into a ditch full of muddy water.

  79. Ooh, Catty, come the excavations there will be plenty of nasty holes for the unwary to fall into. And when I say ‘the unwary’ you know that I mean Me.
    My great fear in life is that the Bloke will depart this earth before me and I will have no FKing clue how to operate the DVD player. I count this as the sole sensible reason for considering replacing him.
    Well, that and he’s so obliging about cleaning up cat vomit.
    Still, love and good fortune such as this do not come along twice in one lifetime.
    We get our appliances from a shop called The Good Guys and aside from the slow cooker mishap and the breakdown of the singing Korean washing machine, 2 weeks before it’s warranty expired, I’ve been pretty happy with their goods. DVD players only ever last us 3 years but given how much arse time we devote to the sofa and our box sets of DVDs I think this is entirely reasonable.
    I confess to some lingering disappointment in their sales of Deep Fat Fryers re: failing to light up Bog Hollow like a Xmas tree when the backpackers fry up their chips but as I can’t be sure where they get their appliances perhaps we should wave the finger of suspicion at the stores that keep letting you two down.
    Not sure I’ll make it to supernova today. I got woken up several times last night by different neighbours coming in after the Witching Hour and making an enormous racket as they staggered off to bed. This is why I at times I am so sorely tempted to relocate to Bulimba, or Bulimia, as PNB labelled it, with fond delight.
    I’m sure that over there, they don’t have Irish backpackers and drunken students and retarded hippy parents who let their stupid kids do whatever the hell uncivilized thing they want.
    Had breakfast at the Jetty yesterday and as usual met a bunch of lovely people and well groomed, friendly, well behaved dogs between there and our trip to the bakery. Such a pleasant change from the feral stoner riff raff we’ve got around here. And I know the dog owners must be lovely people because the scribe is right, they ALL wear Lorna Jane exercise gear.
    Oh well. I guess I just stick with my current strategy, which is to file extensive notes on all the GD loonies and then one day, stick ’em in a novel where the drunken racketing SOBs can finally pay their way.
    Catty, not that I don’t trust Melbo and Mayhem (well, on this particular subject I have no foundation on which to trust them at all) but I’m starting to wonder where, in the Melbourne CBD/art gallery precinct, I’ll be able to find a real cup of tea.
    You know – tea pot, tea leaves, boiling water, clean cup – free of lipstick stains and the residual high tide mark caused by years of corrosion from triple shot lattes.
    This is a challenge even in Brisbane, where I’ve returned cup after cup of lukewarm insipid skank that the Gen Y waiters set down belligerently before me, saying unconvincingly ‘Tea?’, when what they’ve delivered is in reality a grubby cup of recycled grey water that filters out of the cafes dishwashers, with a liptons tea bag dangling unhappily over the side.
    Surely there’s somewhere in Melbourne where I can find a decent cup of tea?

  80. Although I haven’t been here myself, I desperately want to go:


    I’ve also heard this mob do an excellent tea-and-scones afternoon tea:


    Again, I’ve not been there, but that was only because the queue to get in was huge! It must be good, with a queue that long. The macaroons in their window looked so amazing that I was tempted to join the queue and fart until everyone left.

    There are lots of tea places in the CBD, but these two are the ones I hear good things about. Hopefully the positive feedback is justified.

  81. Mmm… macaroons.

    Is this the week you’re off to Melbourne, Q? Bon Voyage! I’ll attempt* to look after Queensland in your absence.

    * by ‘attempt’ I mean ignore the housework and children while reading as much trash fiction as is compatible with getting my business school homework in. Queensland is big and ugly enough to look after itself.

  82. Heh heh. Glad you made it home from the Bacon Tent without reeling over or hallucinating giant malignant pigs feet, MM.
    Nup, I’m off to Melbourne on the 19th, the one day in the month when Ms Catty is not available.
    This week is dedicated to defluffing my cats (haircuts for all on Friday, followed by lots of dry retching and falling off the couch – them and me) and preventing the neighbour’s cat from dying of starvation and loneliness until they return from Hamilton Island. No thanks to Allan Joyce (spits on pavement to get the foul taste of his name out of my mouth).
    I plan to catch up with some college friends between now and the Melbourne visit, so we can all celebrate graduating. I’m going to do it one on one, though. the last attempt to organize a group meeting is something I’m still working through in therapy. Cat herding – yargh!
    Catty thanks for those tips, I will google them and see what Melbo and Limpy (somehow Mayhem managed to fall over and sprain her ankle while Boylan was here and she expects us to attribute this to natural causes rather than Boylapalooza) are up to.

  83. Humph!!! The Professor had well and truly departed melbourne before I sprained my ankle Q!!! No hijinks involved in the making of this latest drama!!!

    I’ll check out those two links of Catty’s. I’m still finding my way around at the moment, so Catty and Melbo are our go-to gals!

    In goodish news… I was actually starting to worry that i wouldn’t make it on the 19th. Given I planned to spend the prior weekend in Brisvegas, playing up with assorted Burgers, and not seeing J for a couple of weeks, I was thinking I may have other plans for that afternoon 😉 Now however, with my ankle still approximately twice it’s normal size and hurting like FK, I may be persuaded by my Doc to take a week off work! That’s the general consensus of assorted members of J’s family today, anyway. If that occurs, I will join J in the sleepy hamlet of hamilton, where he can dote on me and fetch cups of tea, for a week (in the evenings at least anyway, and after he finishes ROFLing every time he watches me struggle to my foot). And given I have rescheduled my visit north to early December, chances are I will not be so desperate to see him, and would willingly spend an afternoon faffing about in the streets of old Melbourne town!

  84. Ergh. Trotters. I hadn’t given them a thought before, but now they’re lurking in my optic nerve, there every time I blink my eyes.

    Howdy, Mayhem, kiss your poor ankle better from me. No, on second thoughts, you’ll just throw your back out or something if you try that. Bathe it in these warm healing vibrations I am sending your way……………

    What’s all this about Fireman Sam, though – I though he was in Melbourne? Has he been posted to the country to stamp out bushfires, or something? Anyway, enjoy your week off, and get unsprained soon, darls.

  85. OOoppss! Sorry Madam, probably hadn’t explained…. Fireman Sam is currently working away from home. He’s building access roads for the new humungous windfarm at Macarthur!

    He’s home for about 24 hours a week… His sister and brother-in-law have been awesome with checking in on me, and offering to go shopping for me etc., but the fact is I’m here alone, which is quite difficult. I wasn’t game to bath or shower until he came home, just in case I had another fall. This way, if I head over to join him, I’ll at least have someone to run around after me, cook for me and whatever during the evenings.

  86. That sounds like a good plan, Mayhem.
    What’s Hamilton like? When we did our road trip we followed the coast road from Melbourne to Adelaide so didn’t see much of whatever was inland, aside from Mt. Gambier and Naracoorte. My memories of the wind farms are that they were..well…Windy. Better pack a coat and some warm socks.
    Meanwhile remember my advice – screw the RICE rx, go with PASTA.
    (pass another slice of tiramisu ASAP – for those of you not lurking at twitter).
    With luck your December trip might coincide with Morgana’s next trip to Brisvegas, if so we should attempt to gather and eat something, somewhere.

    Bugger about the timing, though. Looks like the boys are planning plenty of fun and frivolity – well, for those amongst us capable of staying up late and swilling lots of alcomohol. Which as we know, is not me.

    My day trip to Melbourne isn’t looking like it’s got a lot of potential for catching up with the crew. Melbo has been bitten by one of GB’s genetically engineered Spider Rats & for all we know may still be vomiting, green, and covered in suppurating pustules come the 19th. Catty will be AWOL on birthday duty and given that most sprained ankles take at least 2 weeks to mend, and yours sounds particularly nasty, this does not augur well.

    I’ll only have about 2 spare hours between waving the bloke off to the airport and having to head there to catch my own plane back, so it was always going to be a tight corner anyway. If you guys are all injured/ill I’m sure that there’s something in Melbourne CBD that can hold my interest for 180 minutes.
    In fact I’m quite sure that Catty will tell me that 2 hours is entirely inadequate for exploring her favorite chocolate shops, patisseries & assorted worthy vendors of fat+fat+ sugar.

    • Pustules? I didn’t program them for pustules? Anyway, should probably not point out that 2 hours = 120 min so I won’t. I’ve ordered the Air-shark and it came with a free Air-Clown fish. Sort of giant floating RC Nemo. It’s just not the same. Can’t find my spare laser modules (no, seriously. I had several red and an infrared) but I’ve got the green one. Ordered that before they changed the law and it’s a ripper. Not just a spot, but a visible beam. Now to mount it on the shark . . .

      Again sorry to hear of everyone’s injuries & illnesses and I sincerely apologise to Mayhem for immediately assuming that the ankle was a “spa-related” injury. You must admit that spas can be dangerously slippery when not being used for their designed purpose. Fifi would definitely recommend the tasting plate – chocolate tapas at San Churro. We’d enjoyed Max Brenner in the past but it was chokkas (if you’ll pardon the expression) with Asian tourists & students when we were there last.

  87. Sounds like the one down at South Bank.
    And I cannot be drawn with corrections of my mathematical faults, I admit to all, hear ye let it be know, I have dyscalculia (the numbers variation of dyslexia) so there’s plenty more where that comes from.
    We bought a game of Triominoes to attempt to improve it but the Bloke almost developed an ulcer from watching me try to match 2s with 7s and 5s with 8s.
    So long as I can whoop his ass at scrabble, I don’t care.

  88. Spot on, Quokka. At Haigh’s the other day, I spent at least two hours just waiting at the checkout to be served. Well, it felt like two hours. PNB came over and told me I was taking far too long, and to hurry up. The checkout chick went bright red and started dropping stuff, so it took even longer. Thanks, PNB, not!

    The Chocolate Box is faster, but their cutest stuff is locked in a glass display case. Which can be annoying if you like to taste test the products before purchasing. Liiiiiiiiick! (Now you know why Darrell Lea lock the door when they see me coming.)

    Hey, Madam, why don’t you hide in Quokka’s luggage? A trip to Melbourne would be worth playing sardines for, wouldn’t it?

    Poor Mayhem. Hop into bed (pun intended), and get plenty of rest. If Fireman Sam is prepared to pamper you, then you should milk it for all its worth, baby!

    Greybeard, of course Mayhem wasn’t injured in the Spa. We ladies are extra careful in Spas, lest we spill our champagne. That would never do! Now, can you explain what on earth you are talking about with sharks and Nemo and laser pointers? It sounds like some massive rat-taming scheme or something.

    Which reminds me – was Melbo really bitten by a rat? You poor thing, Melbo. Christen it ‘Ben’, and don’t leave any Ratsak lying around. Also, Darrell Lea strawberry creams will heal everything. So will my fudge, but the stupid fudge pan still hasn’t shown up. Apparently Australian Customs are holding it on suspicion it contains Malaysian asylum seekers, or something.

  89. ‘Whatever’. Hehehe. Have fun, Mayhem! And recuperate swiftly, luvvy.

    Yes, I second Catty’s query – what the hell, Greybeard? It sounds like a float for next year’s Gay Mardi Gras, to me. Perhaps the Bearded One is helping Hairy’s housemates with their entry.

    As for people smuggling to Melbourne, I fear I will not be able to hide in Quokka’s luggage. Despite any rumours to the contrary, I am air-breathing. Besides, I know the ways of the baggage handlers, and I am reluctant to submit my tender tissues to their brutal ministrations. Anyway, what’s the point when you and Melbo are unavailable? Perhaps one day Q and I will hire a pink cadillac and cruise down in style, Thelma and Louise style. Without the cliff bit. Or Brad Pitt. Okay, not very much like Thelma and Louise at all.

    Besides, everything’s gone stupid up here. Lord knows, between non-stop junior sports and business skool, I’ve barely had time for the housework.

    But I would make time to eat something, somewhere, with Mayhem if she ventures up this way.

  90. Aargh. My posts keep evaporating.

  91. Stop leaving them uncovered, then.

    If you don’t have any suitable storage containers, Q can throw you a Tupperware party!

    • Noooo! Not that! I just wanted to post a link to the video of the flying shark. If you Google “Top Buy Air-Shark” you’ll see it in all its awesomeness. Then picture it cruising through a semi-darkened house, with a menacing, sparkly green beam coming from its head? Sharks + Lasers = I’m living the dream.

  92. That’s going straight to the pool room.

  93. GB, allow us luddites to help you out.

  94. That is absolutely fabulous.

    Does it come in Kraken?

  95. Now there’s a thought. It’d need Mr. Purple Squid as the companion piece, though. Nemo and the Kraken would just be wrong.

  96. What are we thinking – Chthulu is an obvious choice, here.

    I mean, he’s SUPPOSED to fly!

  97. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! (The Curse of Cthulu on all who have profaned the Holy Calamari!)

    And just a little warning from Prof Boylan’s blog. Do you practice Yoga? Meditation?
    Then you are Satan’s bedfellow!

    “Prepare For War by Rebecca Brown
    Do you know how Satan can use “doorways” including yoga, role-playing games, and meditation, to bring demonic destruction into your home? In this spiritual warfare manual, Rebecca Brown writes from seven years experience helping deliver many people out of hardcore satanism.”

    And will Madam or Catty wish to ban Easter Eggs (Lucifer’s Testicles) for the kiddies next year?

  98. Oh, that’s old news, Greybeard. All us Catholics know that Pagan Easter is for humping like rabbits to make the tomato crops grow faster, and that painting Lucifer’s testicles is just something for the little pagan kiddies to do while their pagan mummies and daddies are sweating and writhing at orgies. It’s right up there with the pagan Christmas ritual of suspending stockings over the hearth to keep warm while pagan mummies and daddies did a bit more sweating and writhing. Putting oranges and walnuts and nougat in the stockings might seem to be alluding to testicles again, but it was really just to keep all the yummy stuff out of reach of the pagan kiddies (and any stray rats) while mummy and daddy were busy.

  99. I’m still alive! I needed a good excuse to pike on JB’s book signing yesterday and thought hayfever didn’t sound exciting enough. I hope you’ve packed your tissues Quokka because I’m coming in to meet you no matter what!

    Catty the Satan’s testicles debacle makes me wonder what they think of the chocolate rabbits. I do know that I have had both … and ENJOYED them.

  100. Mmm… testicles.

    Bugger Satan’s doorway, Greybeard. Since he spawned Elf Boy, he doesn’t need a doorway here. He gets access visits, every fortnight.

  101. Maybe I should give you my exorcistcycle, MM. That way you could make him do 10 minutes a day on it, sprinkle him with holy water and send him off to school, effectively vaccinated against all but the mildest of rotational head twirling and visions of dancing purple spots.
    Melbo, good to hear you have recovered from that vicious attack by GB’s GM spider rats. Hopefully Mayhem will be able to limp in too.
    I have an appointment with the skin specialist 2 days before our trip (I really haven’t thought any of this out terribly well) so I will be covered in ulcerating spots from where he’s zapped and sliced and diced all my little sun spots. maybe we should put the table reservation under the name spotty, sneezy and hoppy.
    Your garden looks fabulous, Melbo.
    I have tried to comment once or twice at your blog but your security trolls have deemed me to be an unsuitable companion for you, and being lazy, I haven’t tried again.
    Clearly you’ve trained them well.

  102. Exorcistsycle…. hehehe.

    I’d forgotten all about the purple spots. You know… touch laminex… Elf Boy hasn’t attempted to skive off school for ages. Do you think he’s a reformed character, or just planning something really big, to maybe take all of December off?

    As for Melbo’s place, it’s funny how a comment moderation algorithm can be so insightful, and yet I can unfailingly pick the worst man out of any given assembly and hook up with him.

    Did I ever tell you I once had coffee with a man who turned out to be a multi-million dollar con artist? Can’t remember why I passed that one up… perhaps Aunt Irma did some good for once.

    Speaking of which, I just went shopping and filled the trolley with carbs. I’m assuming it’s coming up to that time of the month again? Can’t wait for the Blessed Menopause – Mayhem’s so lucky!

  103. Greybeard, you got me. I couldn’t resist so I bought the shark and the nemo fish for the kids for Christmas.

    Now, pray tell – where do I get helium with which to fill them?

    Over to you, for I’ve heard it told that you are The Gas Master.

    • OK first of all, I’m no longer the Gas Master. Ask Quokka – we shared a car up to Redcliffe & back and the windows remained closed. I probably should have checked the price of Helium before ordering but aheh, hindsight . . . Anyway there’s a place called Party Domain at Red Hill with disposable cylinders large enough for 30 balloons for $59.95. That would probably fill them both, maybe even more than once? Hope so. An alternative is getting it done at some Woolies stores but I haven’t looked into that yet. Partly because I’d have to take it back to the car, inflated, in a crowded shopping centre. There’s also Florists shops? I’ll have a look around.

      • The 30 balloon helium tanks are much cheaper at Spotlight. I saw them recently in a catalogue for $29.95.

      • Excellent! Thank you chocolly much. See, I said I wasn’t a Gas Master.

  104. Heh heh.
    I want to see these critters in action. As you all know how lazy I am re North coast trips, I can see this may involve another trip to GB’s spider-rat lair.
    Lock up your twitter account, boys.
    Speaking of which, I just saw something about Mayhem, a moonboot, and a fractured foot. None of which sounded good.
    Perhaps I should just meet the Melbourne blog girls in the hospital cafe where no doubt they have stretchers and paddles prepared for our disaster-prone capabilities. Me not so much on the self inflicted basis, just considering the level of threat I may pose to the unsuspecting, or the deserving, as it may be.

    Well, I have just finished another Lynda La Plante library book – I made it to page two and realized that some psycho had gone through the book with a blue pen and edited all of the perceived typos and grammatical errors. Including those in the dialogue, which did somewhat detract from the whole East End o Larndon voices that the author was trying to portray.
    I know that we all have our own little beefs with editing issues but seriously, who would deface a library book? And a hardcover at that? WTF was this idiot thinking, that the librarian would go through with a red pen and give her a mark out of a hundred and this year’s prize for publishing pedantry?
    Let me repeat my twitter rant:
    * Checked the council library ecatalogue and BCC has only 1 other copy of the defaced-by-a-pedant library book I’m trying to enjoy. Its at Inala.
    * Quokka’s choice – put up with one extra uninvited psycho in a book about a deranged serial killer, or go to Inala civic centre, & meet more
    Naturally once viewed in that light I stopped bitching and returned to the sofa
    * OK. Enough whinging. I want to find out who killed this woman. It might give me some ideas how best to punish the defiler of the book.

    Anyway, I did my level best to stop the Blue Pen Pedant from detracting from my reading experience but did find that every mark she’d made in the book jolted me out of the story and back into reality. And given that yesterday’s reality at Casa Quokka involved the council turning off the water at the mains and digging holes in the road outside my house with an excavator adorned with ‘L’ plates (I shit you not) reality was something I was rather hoping to avoid.

    So Ladies.
    If you could explain what the blue pen wielding fan of serial killer books was thinking she’d achieve, do enlighten me.
    Your answers do not need to contain logic, and in fact, the less of that there is involved, the closer to the truth I imagine we will all be.

    • I was distracted for so long that you and Catty snuck these in while I was still composing my gas ballad, below.

      The answer is quite simple… that person is batshit crazy, as well as being a vandal. It is no doubt the same sort of person who shouts at the TV when game shows – or indeed, repeats of Pingu – are being screened, and walks around Woolies with a rat-like terrier in a shoulder bag and their skirt tucked into their panty hose.

      And that’s just the men.

  105. I know who the pen wielding bitch is. It was Aunt Irma. Can we kill her now? Pleeeeeease?

  106. You know, now that helium has risen to the forefront of our consciousness, I seem to remember seeing a DIY helium balloon kit in Spotlight, when I was looking for plasticine, or zombie finger puppets, or tatting yarn, or something or other.

    I found this online: http://www.thepartypeople.com.au/products/5471/50-helium-tank-disposable-a-la-carte.

    Postage to me would be $9.95, same to you most probably.

    It says its got enough helium for 50 balloons… probably the Red Hill one is adequate though, do you reckon?

  107. Now all you have to worry about with the helium is if some evil being gives them a copy of My Best Friend’s wedding, so they figure out what it’s really used for.

  108. Helium? He He He He He!

  109. I should have ordered two, so I could play with one.

    I’ve stumbled back from college, a shadow of my former self. I’m getting a lurgy, I think… throat like I’ve swallowed broken glass, low-grade temp, sneezing, general blahness.

    Luckily Q texted me some witticisms. The vibration of my phone in my pocket helped keep me awake.

    Speaking of illness, how are you, Catty – surely your lungs are staying in your chest cavity where they belong by now?

  110. Why would you need me at Xmas if you’ve got two tanks of helium?
    Not that I don’t want you here of course but the vision of your father and his dangerous dog singing duets after inhaling some happy gas is something I’d pay good money to see.

  111. Hehehe.

    An extremely high-pitched snarl would, indeed, be something to hear.

    Please feel free to drop around to the ‘Rents house over Christmas, Q. If you come on the 24th or 25th, you can have the inestimable pleasure of meeting my sister. We can make up a psycho sister check-list ahead of time, if you like, and do a direct comparison between my sister and yours. Whoever has the worst sister can have the honour of keeping the Perpetual Psycho Trophy for the next year. Which is a statue of a tiny woman, rocking herself in a corner while plucking at her garments and muttering to herself.

    Game on!

  112. Sounds like that trophy was modelled on me. I’m going through one of my “I Don’t Want To Live On This Planet Any More” phases. Don’t worry, I’ll feel better when my morning coffee kicks in – which should be soon, as I’ve laced it with double doses of vodka and valium. Ah, the breakfast of champions!

    I’m still coughing, too. It’s a horribly rattly cough, as it is bouncing around in the cavity where my lungs used to be. Ugh.

    But it could be worse. I could be forced to go to business school. The horror! Poor Madam, how do you handle it? The breakfast of champions, perhaps?

  113. Well, business school has got this going for it, Catty – it’s air-conditioned.

    Dunno if it’s my lurgy or Stupid Summer but it’s hot and sticky here today, even in the shade, even while eschewing all forms of exercise except turning the pages of my paperback.

    Actually, I’ve met some great women. At random, they sat me between a gorgeous French single mum who lives just down the road and a great value woman from Eumundi (which is just up the highway). We cracked each other up so much yesterday the instructor threatened to separate us… takes me back to Yr 10 Japanese.

    Only three weeks to go. I’ll be at a loss then, but there’ll be plenty of Christmas stupidity to bitch about.

    Meanwhile, get well soon, you poor darling. At this rate you’ll have no appetite for Christmas dinner…. although, if you stay sick, you won’t have to cook it either.

  114. Geez. My adult students at evening classes and uni were so . . . focussed (nono i don’t really mean boring). looks like you’re in the naughty class. Naturally.

    This “gorgeous French single mum” – how old is she? Maybe you could introduce HairyGBson to a woman who’s NOT gay? (Love ’em to bits but bugger all prospect of grandkids.)

    That cough of yours gives new meaning to persistent Catty. I remember the Joker offering to ‘rip someones lungs out’ and it gave me an idea. We have a lot of people up here who are wasting oxygen, so if you’d like a new set we could send them down express post, packed in ice? Might take a few tries to get the right tissue match but there’s plenty to choose from. You could test them when they arrive and bin ’em if they’re no use. Let us know if you have any preferences – non-smoking of course. We have sizes M-XXL.

  115. Hehehe.

    Give her time to heal, GB. Her ex sounds like a potential lung donor, the way he conducted himself. However, I’ll bear Hairy in mind. Is he good with kids?

    Catty would like something in a velvet lung, I think, with added lymphatic tissue for extra disease resistance, please. She’d be a petite, with long trachea to accommodate her swan-like neck.

    Meanwhile, if you come across a spare spleen, please keep me in mind. The full moon will soon be upon us and I may feel the need to vent mine.

  116. Oh it’s hot, MM. I’ve had another wave of insomnia and the inevitable mid-afternoon crankiness and stupidity is kicking in.
    So all I can think of to share with you is a few of my favorite Nancy Mitford quotes.
    ‘I like it when children cry. It means someone picks them up and takes them away.’
    and my favorite which I’ve probably repeated umpteen times.
    Nancy Mitford ‘Sisters are protection from life’s cruel adversity.’
    Jessica Mitford (younger sister) ‘Sisters ARE life’s cruel adversity.’

    I have a few girlfriends who would want in, in this Evil Sister competition, and would offer up stiff competition. One of my besties has a twin with some fascinating psychopathology & once when I was wondering if I had an evil twin out there some where she snorted and said ‘Well why not? I do.’

    Still – if my sisters were in on this, they’d no doubt offer up me as first prize Evil Sister material. I think they’d win.

    Poor Catty. what on earth is going on with your health? although I do think Melbourne weather is to blame. Poor Melbo’s still off someone snorting asthma & hayfever remedies, so odds are good that it’s something in the air.

  117. I’m convinced it’s some form of RSV. And that is why I never studied medicine. I would have self-diagnosed everything from bubonic plague to prostate cancer within the first year. Well, that, and the fact that I never did learn how to study. When my mother found out, (some time in year 11), she pulled me out of school and sent me to business college. Which was a pity, as I was considering a career in pharmacy. (Mmmmm…. drugs….) And not having an OP is a bit of a setback for someone trying to get into uni.

    Greybeard, thanks for the lung offer, but I’ve been reading up on climate change. Being in Melbourne and all, maybe I should opt for gills instead? Oh, and while you’re at it, can I have a doctorate? An honorary one is fine. Any subject is fine. No, I’m not trying to muscle in on your GM experiments, I just want to be able to say “That’s DOCTOR Catty to you” whenever anyone pisses me off. (This is number 1 on my bucket list).

    Regarding the ‘I have the most evil sister’ competition, my sister says just send her the trophy now. Horrid girl. Remind me to melt a box or two of Laxettes into her birthday chocolates.

  118. Hehehe… life’s cruel adversity. I suppose I should be glad I’m just being visited with it for two days this year, then.

    Okay, then Q – we’re on. When will you be visiting, Christmas Eve (hot turkey, all the trimmings, pudding and brandy sauce) or Christmas Day (baked ham, salads, sprauncy trifle made with Panettone)?

    Of course, feel free to come both days. There is a pool at Casa ‘Renta… not quite as elegant as yours, of course, but fetchingly overhung with tropical foliage, mostly bougainvillea.

    We had to grow it to stop BBC boys skinny-dipping in there. I caught one, once. I slept downstairs by myself… other bedrooms upstairs… close to the pool. Hearing splashing one night, I turned on the spotlight for fear a possum or other animal had fallen in. We’ve had all sorts of creatures over the years, from escaped Easter ducklings to adventurous dogs. Anyway, I got out the side door just in time to see a full moon vanishing over the fence.

    Do you think that was the watershed moment, after which I lost all respect for mankind? That’s never occurred to me before…

    Catty, let me accessorise your new gills with a frilly gill fascinator. Isn’t it lovely? Hand-crafted from strips of small intestine… hence the scalloping.

    Speaking of the festive season, is anyone free Christmas Eve Morning for our final brunch of the year?

  119. Ah, Catty. The great joy of medicine is that you get to unload the burden of diagnosis onto some squinty wall eyed scientist who doesn’t give a rats arse how sick the patient is. You then get to be the bearer of bad news. Whatever you’ve got is certainly hanging on to you like a cattle tick, though. I hope you’ve seen a doctor.

    MM, Xmas at your house sounds like an invitation to the IBS ball. Thanks, this time I think I’ll pass. I usually become an open shut-in over the summer as if I leave the house I have to close up a lot of ventilating windows that stop me and the animals from feeling like we exist in a sauna. Its just too mean to leave them in the heat of the day.
    That problem should be solved with the renos so I guess this time next year I’ll have to think of another excuse for not leaving my den of fluff & cat vomit. How does ‘I refuse to leave the comfort of my pool and my air-conditioned lounge room’ sound?
    Antisocial, but accurate.
    During the holidays I’ll probably just hang out here & rehydrate the usual swag of overheated visitors. If you need an escape hatch, it’s here.
    Still unsure about if I’ll be up at Caloundra on C-day. Probably.

    Xmas eve sounds good for a gathering, maybe we can organize a time & then email each other the details. I’m guessing that wherever we go it will be busy, so we’ll need to book.

    My dog it’s hot this morning. Wonder if there’s any chance with this climate change thing we could actually hope to swap our climate for Perths.
    I’m willing to sacrifice Melbourne, so long as those of of you I love have time to flee. Then again given the storm that hit them the other night perhaps the weather gods have decided it’s time to destroy the place regardless.

  120. OK, Christmas Eve is happening. GB, are you in?

    Q, if you’re finding the heat oppressive, may I recommend running a temperature? I’m even hotter than the morning, so the contrast leaves me on the brink of shivering.

    Have to go to an Author’s Fair with my writing group tomorrow to try and flog off our Zine. Totally not exaggerating when I claim that, at this point, I’d rather stay on for a full day of cricket scoring.

    At least everyone at cricket is used to me snarling at them to get the hell out of the way and shut the fark up.

  121. Why waste your breath snarling and cussing? Just get yourself a nice, sharp prodding stick. There’s no satisfaction quite like it… all that lovely blood…

    Wait, what’s this about running a temperature? I hope you’re not coming down with something nasty, you poor love. I’d send you some virtual brandy, but I don’t know how to make little cognac glasses.

    [_]} Here. Have some virtual chicken soup instead. I put brandy in it for you. And a big get-better-soon kiss. Mwah!

  122. Some* years ago, when I were a baby scientist, the powers-that-were thought we should be all self-sufficient. So in first year we did a practical course in soldering and wiring circuits, switches etc, reading resistors & capacitors and glass-blowing! We actually made our own pipettes, tubes and simple stuff like that. There was also some interesting work with radioisotopes which I’ll bet they don’t do any more. Building your own wall of lead bricks anyone?

    So Catty, I could probably still make sealed ampoules of real Brandy for Madam to carry for emergencies. Just snap off the end & drink. If you’ll provide the grog, I’ll start practicing. Could take a few tries to get it right of course. I may need a lot of Brandy?

    • *MYOB

  123. I appreciate the beautiful sentiment, Catty, but I wouldn’t kiss me if I were you. I’m crawling with so many germs you can almost see my skin rippling.

    GB, doing a bit of your own wiring I can understand… but blowing your own test-tubes? Were they upskilling you so you could analyse the Apocalypse, or something?

    Anyway, thanks for the lovely offer, but you can keep all of the brandy. I’d really love some untraceable poison ampoules, though, thanks.

    And do you want to brunch on Christmas Eve with Q and I? We’re almost as amusing as QI.

    • “I’m crawling with so many germs you can almost see my skin rippling.” I saw that in a movie. Those aren’t germs, you’re just about to change into your natural form.

      We’d love to do the Xmas eve thing, just waiting to see what’s happening with the dreaded family gathering. I really, really don’t want it here this year – in which case we can spend Xmas eve enjoying ourselves. Will press for a decision & get back.

  124. I hope my natural form is more suited to this stupid climate. A slime mould, perhaps?

    No worries, GB – take your time. It’s not for six weeks, anyway.

    Cricket was a bust – again – although all you junior cricket fans out there will be glad to hear that Maroochydore flogged us less severely than Tewantin-Noosa last fortnight. And Magic Man hit a four – shortly before being clean bowled. Swings and roundabouts.

  125. Hitting a four sounds like a clip from Sesame Street.

    “What are you doing, Bird?”

    “Hello, Mr Snuffalupagus, I’m hitting a four!”

    “But Bird, it’s not nice to hit fours.”

    “That’s right, Snuffy. It isn’t nice. But the four wouldn’t share.”

    “Oh, Bird, why don’t you send the four to the naughty corner instead?”

    “I can’t, Snuffy. That would make the four a six. And we can’t have that, because six isn’t the number of the day.”

  126. Ah, Catty, you take me back to the days when far too much of my life involved watching current affairs on children’s TV. thank god I’m now middle aged and safely out of it’s mind destroying reach.
    Do excuse my absence, it’s been a busy few days catching up with various traveling lunatics. Also took the cats to the vet for their summer style cuts and dental care on Friday. They’re getting on, and while they were knocked out the vet managed to examine them properly and found suspicious lumps and bumps on each of them. Two of the lumps were removed and deemed to be safe. Unfortunately lump number three is a fibrous growth attached to a toe and the vet wants him back in surgery on Wednesday so that he can amputate it. Pathology unlikely to be back until Monday the 21st.
    As it’s the Bloke’s cat and the vet has warned us to be prepared for bad news, he’s rather upset and we’ve decided to cancel next weekend’s trip south.
    1. We’d rather be here and worry/have quality time with our furry amputee victim, who will be miserably clad in bandages and Elizabethan collar, and
    2. We’re anticipating that the vet will charge us an arm and a leg for the removal of the toe, and the follow up care.
    The bloke has shuffled our Quntarse bookings so that we’ve got credit so long as we use it within the next year.
    So the Melbourne trip to view the mummies is off. In stead, I will be sitting here attempting to keep the mummy wrappings where they belong on the cat’s leg.
    I’m a bit stupid from several days of insomnia.
    Aside from Xmas Eve, were we going to meet up on the weekend of the 10th December? I can’t find it in the blog. Then again, after the zoo creatures waking me at midnight, 2 and 4am, its not like I have my wits about me.
    I hope you’re not doing the bacon tent today with all those germs crawling all over you, MM. If you do morph into your true form, I imagine the process would be stimulated by the presence of heat and saturated fat.
    It could be bad for business to have the Vodka Chip & Lindt monster erupt out of your torso when some unlucky punter rolls up and barks, ‘5 egg and bacon rolls, and make it snappy.’

  127. *Just working on the logical assumption that you are what you eat.*

  128. Oh, Q, that’s terrible news. Please convey my sympathy to the Bloke and the affected cat. Then again, it could be benign or contained – paws crossed.

    But, you know what they say about every cloud – when you re-schedule Melbourne, it will hopefully be at a time when Mayhem isn’t gimpy and Catty isn’t otherwise engaged.

    As for the weekend of December 10th, I’m not aware that we’ve got anything planned. That’s not the weekend Mayhem will be back in Brisvegas, is it? I’m free, so we could plan something. After cricket on Saturday morning, that is.

    The market punters are safe this weekend. They will receive their bacon from Stevo, who’ll probably be hungover but is in no danger of revealing his true form… he’s already morphed into the Middle-Aged Slacker Monster, many moons ago.

    For my sins, I’m taking Elf Boy, his mate and Magic Man to play miniature golf his morning. If I’m not in Nambour Hospital on a drip trying not to die from heat stroke, I’ll report back.

  129. Thanks MM, that’s what we’re hoping for. Given it’s at an extremity there’s a much better chance of it than if it was lumping up somewhere else.
    I must be hallucinating bacon outings again.
    I’ll check with Mayhem and get back to you.
    Yes, this is true about the silver lining, although my next designated plane trip is hopefully off to Perth next year to see my widowed cousin. He turns 80 the day after my BD so I’m hoping to surprise him and spend both our BDs together.
    god and cat tumour slush fund permitting.
    Can’t wait for you guys to meet Damien & his missus, she’s hilarious & carries off Middle Aged Goth Chick with enviable panache. We went for a walk after lunch with Humpy & as it was rather warm, she reached into her bag and produced a black lace parasol. We had a heartfelt bitch about the cancer council’s chirpy happy colours and once the conversation turned to melanoma, I proposed that they should ditch their ghastly pink and yellow ribbons in favor of Black spider naevi day….on which we should all wear black widow spider earrings in memory of the fallen. All of them, regardless of which particular incarnation of the grim reaper crawled out of hell to torment them.
    Needless to say we found much to discuss and agree on.

    Thank the heavens you’re spared the bacon tent, I suppose on the bright side you may infect the entire room full of miniature golfers and give them an experience that will put them off returning.

  130. Or, indeed, ‘putt’ them off returning.

    (boom, boom).

    Poor kitty, Quokka. I hope it’s not too awful. Virtual Fishy Fancy Feast for your feline friend:


    And virtual Pringles and dip for you and the Bloke:

    ((((((((((((( \_/ )))))))))))))

  131. I got a hole in one!

    I’d just finished lecturing Magic Man about sportsmanship, and results not mattering, and letting the little ones have fun, etc… then fired off a random shot that went around a 90 degree turn, round various obstacles and straight in the hole.

    Karma isn’t usually so swift and direct.

    Glad to hear you showed Humpy a good time… I felt that we’d had the best of the poor jet-lagged Prof by the time we got to him. Damien’s missus sounds like a kindred spirit, perhaps we can get them along to the Christmas Eve extravaganza.

    Well, I suppose I should supervise this play date instead of muttering on here. Hope you’re inside, resting in the cool, Q. It’s too darn hot.

  132. Thanks for the sympathy Catty, fingers crossed.
    And congrats on your golf holes, MM.
    No complaints here, Casa Quokka is lovely and cool as there’s a marvelous breeze. Last night was another stinking still humid matter, though. Must be nearly time to destroy the planet with the AC, surely.
    I was thinking of restaurant options on Xmas eve.
    My thoughts ran along these lines:
    Noise, xmas carols, drunks, noisy people, psychotic families plotting axe murder under the mistetoe, coming soon so stay tuned to Sick Sad World…more noise.
    More Xmas carols.
    Lots of drunk/undermedicated angry people on the road panicking and reaching for their hip flasks.
    Oh wait, that’s us.
    Perhaps we should spare the world the horror of our company and, as it’s just a handful of us, perhaps we should just do Anti-Christmas brunch here in the cool leafy confines of Casa Q, and order some sort of takeaway. Catty’s sushi sounds pretty damned good to me.
    And yes, I was thinking the same thing about Damien but given what they were saying about their families yesterday (Mrs. D does the best impression of a mad russian mother I’ve ever heard) they may be trapped in relative hell.
    I’ll put it to them, though.
    Mrs. D is studying abnormal psychology so she’s the ideal person to prepare us all for the horror of the following 24 hours.
    My one request is that you all honor my sentiments about Fracking Xmas and make sure nothing gifty, chocolatey or remotely Santa Oriented crosses my threshold.
    Crossbows, sharp blades, severed trolls heads on pikes and personal adornment with black spiders is, however, acceptable.
    What say you all?

    • Already bought a nasty looking spider for one of the littlies. Has glowing eyes & hissing noises. You are brave to make such an offer. I could bring my traditional German Xm . . . no, forget it. Not even fruity bread-cake is untainted by the X word.

      Oh bugger! Just had a scary thought. What if I turned up in a red shirt with untrimmed beard. Q might set the cats on me.

  133. It’s a generous offer, Q.

    How about if we order in from Sushi XXX and split the cost?

    And then I could make strictly non-Christmas brownies or equivalent for dessert.

  134. No worries – so long as it’s a strictly Zero Effort celebration worthy of my attitude to Anti-christ mass.
    i.e. no cooking, no gifts – particularly of the waist expanding variety, and while we’re on that topic, absolutely no fracking santa suits.
    One of my pet hates every Xmas is the amount of fatty sweet food that ends up in the fridge because someone has generously gifted us with their delicious home made goodies – which go to waste because there’s so GD much of it that we end up throwing it out and hating the sight of it.
    We can nick off for gelati if we’re feeling too healthy after whatever takeout we get for lunch.

  135. No, don’t say gelati! You’ve invoked the curse!!

    More than once we’ve attempted to obtain gelati and it’s never worked. Once at Somewhere in the City and the place was shut, once at Redcliffistan and the place was closed… if we ever successfully manage to go and get gelati, it will be a sign of The End of Days.

    Meanwhile… in an unusual reversion to the actual thread… did anyone else see this article by Mike O’Connor?


    Sounds like he loves his Telco as much as I love mine. Stick it to Big Phone, Mike.

    • That’s odd. We had no trouble at all getting delicious gelati at Woody Point when you weren’t with us . . . ?

  136. Visiting the telco shopfronts is like going to Bunnings. It leaves even the most well balanced customer on the verge of homicidal mania.

    I had an odd experience last April. I went into Terriblestra’s shop for one of my regular “Pleeeeeeease will you fix my problem this time” visits, and was served by a woman who actually knew what she was doing. She listened as I described the two problems that had brought me in. Then she fixed both of them. No inane questions. No blathering about policy. No wandering off to ask other people – instead, in the five minutes it took for her to serve me, four other staff came over and asked her questions. She answered them, too. Calmly, politely, efficiently. I was stunned. This had NEVER happened before.

    My next visit was in June. I asked if I could speak to the same woman. They told me she didn’t work there any more. Then they proceeded to NOT help me with my new problems.


    Madam, did you know that you can buy one litre tubs of gelati at Coles? The chocolate chip variety I bought last time was magnificent. I no longer have to travel to my local Pizzeria to get the stuff. Yay! I still go there, though. What is life without pizza?

    Don’t answer that.

    • Poor woman probably wasn’t meeting her quotas. “Must drive at least 30 customers per day into frothing frustrated fury.” Now there’s a thought. I wonder how many Telcos are owned by secret cabals of doctors & shrinks who use them to drum up business?

  137. Thanks for the tip, Catty. I’ll go and investigate the freezer department at Coles as soon as I can drag myself away from this riveting* “Work Effectively In a Business Environment” assignment.

    By ‘riveting’, I mean I had to pop-rivet my thigh to the computer chair to force myself to stay here and do the damn thing.

    GB… hehehe.

    I counter with the conspiracy theory that perhaps mobile phones were launched on the market because Prozac sales started to drop off? I’d point the finger at Big Pharma, myself. The poor medicos and trick cyclists are just as likely to be telco victims as the rest of us.

  138. I’ve eased off the gelati for a while, but only because I’m having a passionate love affair with the new Weis bars. Strawberry, with dark chocolate coated macadamias scattered through the vanilla ice cream strip. Mmmm…….

  139. I’m still faithful to the original Weis mango bar… although I’ve had a few steamy encounters with his brother, the mango, macadamia and toasted coconut bar.

    So, Catty… if you’ve got your sense of taste back the lurgy must be slowly retreating?

    Hope so, it’s gone on far too long.

    Speaking of retreating, how’s the house-hunting? I ask because ever since I heard my sister was coming up here, it occurred to me that moving would be a great way to evade unwanted relatives.

  140. Stupid lurgy. Every time I think it’s clearing up, BAM! Another bucket full of slime forms in the region where my lungs used to be. I’ve been to see two different doctors, who really didn’t give a crap. “Yawn”, they say. “Antibiotics or a medical certificate for work?” And this is before I tell them what’s wrong. Stupid doctors.

    I know why I’m relapsing, though. It happens every time I run out of Weis bars. Stocking up on them doesn’t work, as the Kidlets have discovered how nommy they are. I may have to sew their lips together – no, wait, I can’t do that. I’m not in Villawood.

    I’m also not in Wangaratta, thank goodness. The Boss found the ‘perfect’ house there. No town water, no heating, a half hour drive to the nearest school or shopping centre. Having lived in a similar home near Helidon, I know what it’s like, so I keep ‘forgetting’ to ask the agent for more details. Aren’t I slack?

  141. Wangawhatnow?

    No, Catty. There is nothing perfect about a house that has no running water. Wriggling water, from tanks, doesn’t count. Has The Boss got a thing about chopping wood, or something?

    Anyway, you can’t live in a town with “wang” in the name. Might as well move to Doodleville or Rhythmstickton and be done with it.

    Hide the next stock of Weis Bars in one of those resealable frozen bean bags. No child will voluntarily go anywhere near a vegetable.

    Did I tell you Elf Boy wishes to play the violin next year?

    Why, Gods… why me? Have I not suffered enough. I can’t imagine what I did in my past life, but virgin sacrifices must have just been a warm-up.

  142. Don’t blame yourself.
    It’s the neighbours. they must have done something to deserve it.
    And if not, after a few months of dying cat sounds, they will.
    My neighbours have three children who are utterly tone deaf. Their stupid hippy mother insisted on music lessons for all of them. it was torture.
    Six years after starting the violin, one child was still stuck doing flats where sharps should be in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
    It could be worse, i suppose. It could have been the bag pipes.

  143. Hehehe.

    Kindly never mention the bag pipes to Elf Boy, Q. He’d be onto them faster than a Kardashian on a divorce lawyer.

    Well, I’ve replaced the replacement DVD player with cash… which I told the woman at the Big W returns counter I had no intention of spending in her establishment. I’m now the proud owner of a brand-name bluray player from the little mum and dad electrical shop up the road. What’s the bet it outlasts the technology?

    Bloody megacorp shops and their cheesy, flimsy, useless crap… mutter, mutter…

  144. Learning the bagpipes is on my bucket list. But one doesn’t need bagpipes to drive the neighbours mad. A childhood friend of mine had a neighbour with many, many red setters breeding in their back yard. She would cop the full force of their aroma through her bedroom window in high summer, and wanted revenge. So I taught her to play God Save The Queen on a recorder. She played it over and over and over and over and over….

    They hated her. Her mother, however, hated me. Oops.

  145. Children don’t seem to learn the recorder any more, what’s with that? We suffered through it, why shouldn’t they?

    I went to Magic Man’s band concert last week, and I must say that the variety of instruments with which children can now torture the neighbours is quite impressive. One little boy played a double-bass almost bigger than himself, and a few of the girls displayed their… erm, virtuosity… on a range of instruments, including voice, piano, strings and woodwind.

    No more baritone sax for us, though. MM is pulling the pin. Sad loss to, um, reed manufacturers and spittle fanciers everywhere.

  146. A sad loss indeed. So, what’s next? Drums?

  147. Hehehe.

    How dare you! My darling boy is far too intelligent to be a drummer. No, he’s informed his music-mad Grandma that he loves to listen to music, but has no intention of continuing to learn how to create it.

    Hey, speaking of music did I mention a friend and I are taking the kids to The Byron Blues Festival next year? Camping there and everything. It sounded like fun, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll make it out alive.

  148. Oh, no Madam, I was not denigrating your multi-talented son. While drummers are rarely musicians, musicians are often drummers. I was merely wondering if MM’s approaching sojourn into puberty, (with its concomitant pissing-off of mothers), would lead him into the second category.

    Agreeing to take your boys camping at a blues festival is either an incredibly brave act of mothering, or a suicidal cry for help. Well, if you are committing suicide, Byron Blues Festival is the place to do it – by the end of the weekend, that place will certainly smell as if you are beside a sewer. Geddit? Sewer-side? I crack me up!

    Sorry. I’ll just pop off and take my meds now.

  149. Actually, I’ve gone full circle on the Blues Fest – they’ve just announced that Angelique Kidjo will be playing!

    I’ve loved AK since her Logozo album back in 198-never-you-mind.

    And The Specials! Not to mention Seasick Steve, who the kids adore. Elf Boy is very cute, singing along to his ballads about drinking rotgut under the stars.

    Now I’m super excited. How many sleeps until Easter?

  150. Easter!!?!?! I’m still struggling with Christmas. I do NOT want to be worrying about Lucifer’s Testicles on top of everything else.

  151. Bloody Christmas.

    Actually, I’ve been hoarding presents like a shopaholic squirrel for most of the year, and nobody’ll be coming here until a New Year’s BBQ, so I’m pretending I don’t care.

    The whole festive horror is over-shadowed for me this year by the coming of the Sister of Wrath.

    Maybe there’s a herb or something to help me deal with her, because I know for a fact rescue Remedy won’t touch the sides. Perhaps holy water wouldn’t hurt, either.

  152. Hemlock should do it.

  153. For her, I presume?

    I wonder if they include hemlock in a routine forensic screen for toxins…

  154. Not if you pay them to drop the slides and replace them with something slightly less noxious. Like Xmas pudding.

  155. I dunno, Q.

    Xmas pudding is pretty noxious.

    I’m pleased to report, BTW, that Flot’s face is nearly back to normal today. How’s your patient?

  156. Abrin. No antidote, tiny quantity is needed, (lethal dose measured in micrograms), can be inhaled or ingested. Easily extracted, symptoms may not appear for > a day and are indeterminate. Tiny quantities make it very hard to detect. Just sayin’ . . .

    The Russians wouldn’t have bothered with Polonium unless they wanted it found and wanted to send a message to dissidents. This stuff is like Ricin (Bulgarian umbrella murders) on steroids.

    For all your exotic poisoning needs, contact Greybeard Inc – our motto is: “The Borgia’s were amateurs”

    Or you might like to borrow the author’s friend “Murder Ink – whatdunnit?”

  157. Now, MM, do you see the wisdom in insisting that no home-made goods should cross the threshold of Casa Quokka at Anti-Christmas?
    Mind you, the way I’m feeling this afternoon, a teaspoon or so of our resident poisoner’s home remedies mixed into a glass of vodka would not go astray.
    My three toed cat is sleeping as peacefully as his plastic head adornments permit. While he was out of it this morning, I went off for some butchering by the skin doctor so the cat and I now look like a matching set. Had something nasty sliced off the angle of my jaw & another something nasty blasted off the cheekbone diagonally opposite. Thanks to the swelling I can’t go out in public for 24 hours without some hapless purveyor of take-away looking anxiously behind me to see if Anthony Mundine has followed me in for a rematch & Round Two. Not to worry, I made a Darrell Lea trip on the way home. I will not waste away.
    Thanks for all the moral support re: the poor toeless feline. It’s been great.
    hugs to all, Q.
    I’m off to the sofa to sleep it off and disappear into another Lynda La Plante thriller.
    Wake me when the hot chips arrive.

  158. Ouchie. The House of Q must be due for some quality spoiling about now. Cat Chews & Darrell Lea sounds like a good start. I could bring some of my home made spiced almonds?

  159. Hehehe.

    Greybeard’s Homemade Almonds – now almost entirely arsenic-free!

    Thanks muchly for the advice, Oh Bearded Sage. If you’ve got a minim or so of the good stuff kicking around, bring it to brunch if you’d be so kind. Perhaps FiFi could lend me a poison ring from which to dispense it?

    Poor Q and poor, poor kitty. I have collapsed in sympathy, combining Elf Boy malingering off school with a major homework stuff-up, Aunt Irma’s arrival and general feeling of inability to cope and impending doom.

    Did I mention that after practising 2x day for 30 mins a time, I’m now typing 3 words per minute SLOWER than when I started?

    Actually, I’m not wasting the Abrin on my sister. I fancy some myself right now.

  160. I told my friend with the Evil Twin your tales of Evil Sisters, and she reminded me that she refers to her Evil Twin by the code name of ‘Stinky, My Evil Twin’.
    As in ‘Stinky is coming to visit’ and ‘Stinky can organize Dad’s BD party. I did their anniversary. I’ve learned never to do that again.’
    Ah, Xmas.
    There is plenty of room on the couch MM.
    Just stay out of the nut tray.
    I doubt that it’s safe.

  161. * Sigh *

    The beautiful dream of your couch may be enough to sustain me the through the Yuletide carnage, Q.

    I was chatting to a friend at school drop-off this arvo, who suggested that I wear a huge gash of bright lip-gloss, very erratically applied, all Christmas, and smile a lot.

    She doesn’t know my sister, though, who’d just have me committed and then calmly eat my share of the brandy sauce.

    • Oooo and really heavy eye makeup with a little black trickle from the corner of one eye. She’d never dare have you committed.

  162. Hmmm… the Clockwork Orange Christmas Counteraction?

    It has possibilities, GB.

    BTW, mindful of your huge collection of leads and various pluggy things, you don’t have a spare 3-pronged power cord I could use for my printer, do you? My current one has a short somewhere, I think. It still works, if I keep it stretched out with a tin of Italian tomatoes, but if someone uses the tin it has a tendency to crackle and pop a bit as I wiggle it back into place.

    I’m not very techno, but I suspect that’s not ideal.

    • Aaaaah! Crackle? Pop? Wiggle? Yes, yes I do have a spare and it’s yours – please! Does the printer end have a figure 8 plug? I have all sorts but that’s the commonest.

  163. Meh.
    Aunt Irma seems to have snuck in undetected.
    I don’t think I have enough chocolate for me and for that evil bitch.
    I may have to leave the house, looking pocked and blistered & generally dishevelled, in order to obtain more.

  164. Thanks, GB – I knew you’d come through.

    However, it’s not a figure 8. It’s sort of a trapezoid on top of a rectangle… like a little house more than anything. Three slots in the form of a triangle where the prongs on the printer go. Want me to take a pic and send it to you? Brother DCP-135C if that helps.

    Quokka, think of all the people you see trolling around the shops with layer cake (much bigger than a muffin) tops, unsightly facial piercings and wearing Ed Hardy. Do they care about frightening others when they sally forth? Go and get what you need with pride. Even on a post-surgery day, you’re still much better looking than they are.

    • Ah, the even-more-standard for large devices IEC 320-C13 (Ici nous parlons Nerdish). Got several spares, no probs. Best. Verbal. Description. Ever. You have the soul of a nerd!

      • I do.

        I acquired it in first year Uni, by using my feminine wiles, and I keep it in an old ruby decanter with a cut-glass stopper.

        From time to time, when Neptune is ascendant, I…

        But enough of that. Thanks heaps, GB! You may single-leadedly save my shack from burning down to its rickety foundations.

  165. heh heh. Good point, thank you for reminding me. I got frightened away from the donut stall by a few of these, yesterday, and found myself ordering a cheese & salad sandwich instead. Hence my complaints today about being undersupplied with rubbish.
    I shall nip down to Buranda. They get the spillover from what A&E can’t hold over at the PA. You’re absolutely right – I’m bound to feel more functional once I’m mixing with a miserable mass of humanity who have somehow managed to detach themselves from their limbs, their sanity, and their wardens.

  166. Go forth and carbify, Q.

    I’ve just wandered back from a fruitful excursion to the local shops. A t-shirt each for the boys from Lifeline, kiwifruit, discount Lindt and a hired bluray to try out the new player.

    Maybe THIS time I’ll be able to follow the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean IV!

    Who am I kidding? The kids will wake me up and tuck me into bed when the end credits are rolling. They’re good to their decrepit old mother.

  167. There’s a plot? You’re shitting me.

  168. Or Smurfing me, as the case may be.

  169. I wouldn’t smurfing know.

    I fell asleep while Penelope Cruze was still wearing her moustache.

    Meanwhile, the kids have been watching LMFAO clips on You Tube. EB is tying himself in knots and hopping like a frog, while MM is trying to learn the robot shuffle.

    Darn kids – what’s wrong with the Safety Dance?

    Scratch that last. I just remembered.

  170. We can dress real neat from our hats to our feet…

    But I thought they were men WITHOUT hats?

  171. Nothing much made sense in the eighties.

    I mean, Madonna used to tie strips of net curtains in her hair and then there was Cyndi Lauper.

  172. All of which are still infinitely preferable to the gallery of tattoos on display at my local pool. WTF is wrong with Gen Y, did someone deny them the right to colour in when they were little and now they’re making up for it, or what?
    *Grumpy Old Woman* mutter mutter mutter. Shakes head, wanders off.

  173. I’m rather partial to teenaged tartlets with their tramp-stamped muffin tops flapping in the breeze. It gives me something to laugh at. So do those young fellows with their messy blonde-tipped spikey pants and sagging oversized hairdos. Yes, I know that should be the other way around, but gen Y can’t even get that right. Heh heh heh heh heh heh…..

  174. 80’s hair. That’s all.

    No, I lied. The funny thing is I can look at hair from the 70’s or the 90’s or whatever without cringing. Mostly. But the 80’s were truly big-hair appalling.

    Feel just a little wrong though when I laugh (quietly) at some Gen Y’ers. I remember the “is it a boy or is it a girl comments” directed at us. Not that we didn’t know which was which. Indeed our thirst for knowledge was endless. And largely unsatisfied.

    Actually I look (in an innocent and platonic way) at what a lot of kids (ie <25) are wearing and approve heartily. Mainly because a lot of it is what Fifi wore at that age – sundresses, short-shorts & hippie-ish tops, silly hats. Man, she had this one pair . . . (cough). Well, is that the time? Bye all!

  175. Hehehe.

    I doubt anyone is nostalgic about what I wore in the 80s. How het up can you get about a “God Save The Queen” t-shirt? I also made a lovely Public Image Limited singlet that I hacked up with a bread-knife.

    Unless you’re my mother of course, in which case these simple garments could get you frothing at the mouth.

    I saw a fabulous tatt at the markets yesterday. On a young woman’s upper arm, a largeish piccy of Bonnie and Clyde kissing… I assume, from the fedora and the fact that he had a machine gun behind her back, very romantic… and the caption read “Were in this together”.

    Laughing my apostrophe nerd arse off, I was, at the inadvertent past tense

  176. God, if only they were pretty or witty I really wouldn’t mind them. Its the endless array of Bogan Art that gets to me. I’d rather look at graffiti.

  177. You’re going to love Melbourne, then.

  178. Q, in your brief sojurn, please try to photograph the boganest thing there.

    Not including Catty, of course.

  179. Somehow I can’t imagine Havock getting Tuesday’s off, but I’ll try.

  180. Hehehe.

    Just don’t send him for chips, will you?

  181. Mmm…chippies.
    Never mind, we’re having roast chicken and roast pumpkin & taties tonite. I’ll manage.
    Meanwhile Mr. Cat has been off to the vet. No pathology results back yet, they say they should have them by the time they review his injuries on Saturday. So a few more days of suspense waiting to see WTF caused the tumour. The wound is looking OK so they’ve taken the bandage off, and hopefully he’ll resist the urge to dip it in any more runny cat terds. So long as I can keep the bucket on his head and the stitches on his feet until Saturday, all should be well with that. He’s had an antibiotic shot just in case.
    So that’s my day. We have a hectic weekend, with cat to vet & bloke’s brother coming to visit.
    sigh. More suspense. Oh well, no news is good news, right?

  182. Yum. We had roast chicken last night, with salad and chips. I bought one of those lettuces with the purple leaves. It was very pretty.

    I vacuumed the floor today. Yes, it IS a rare enough event to warrant a mention. The Boss came home from work while I was at it, and the poor boy was so shocked, he had to sit down for a bit.

    Let us know how Mr Cat goes on Saturday, Quokka. What’s this about dipping his paw into runny turds? Did he stick in an exploratory claw, sniff it, and then declare, “Yup. It’s poop.”? Or was it one of those “Hey! Don’t step in the shi… never mind.” situations?

    Speaking of shi…, I haven’t seen a single comment from Havsy anywhere lately. But then, I’ve not been visiting CBG much. How is our bikini-wearing warrior? And why hasn’t he brought us those chips yet?

  183. Maybe no news IS good news, Q. You’d think if it was something obvious they’d have some results by now. Good that the mummy wrappings have come off, anyway.

    Congratulations on your housework, Catty.

    I was mercifully spared mine, yesterday. I wanted to invite my French friend from the course round… I’ve been to her place for coffee more than once… but I couldn’t let her see the place in its normal condition. You know, with the dust bunnies so big they’re organising a union, a Jackson Pollock masterpiece of assorted sticky puddles marring the tiles and Tribbles of shed cat and dog fur scampering around the skirting boards. Not to mention the fact that the boys have turned the dining room table into Frankenstein’s lab… again.

    Then she texted first thing yesterday that she needed help with the homework and could I come round!

    Bullet dodged, and the Tribbles can safely graze for another week.

  184. Apparently – according to my pathologist friend – it takes time for them to do bone studies because they have to decalcify the bone samples before the stains can set to look at the slides. So, maybe Saturday.
    Ah, Catty, I forget you don’t tweet. I had a long and heartfelt grizzle on Thursday or Friday when Mr. Cat jumped into the kitty litter, let rip with a stream of toxic ooze, and then stepped in it, bandaged foot first. Which kind of went against the vet’s orders of ‘keep it clean and dry’. So we had a return trip to the vet to have the outer bandage replaced – thankfully I got to it fast enough to swipe the worst of it off before it sank in.
    last night Mr. Cat woke me up a FU o’clock, having discovered that via so Houdini-like machinations, he could fit his three toed paw in his mouth and have a good long chew at the stitches. Luckily we have a slightly larger elizabethan collar here that I use on the dog, when he’s suffering from his summer itchy tail allergies, so I supersized the bucket on Mr. Cat’s head. He doesn’t seem to have done any damage but the new bucket is so big that he can’t fit his head in the drinking bowl or the food bowl, so the Kitty Nurse Maid duty just ramped up in the level of patient dependency, somewhat.
    Havsy? dunno. Must still be in the queue at the fush and chup shop.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I have housework to avoid, too. Where’d I leave that library book?

  185. Speaking of library books, I just read one called Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney.

    Fabulous stuff. Excellent use of a… possibly unreliable… first person narrator, with a captivating world view. Excellent for a few days housework dodging.

  186. Yes I heard a review of that, or perhaps an interview with the author, a while ago. Sounds fab.
    Onto other news, the lab results are in and the cat did indeed have a cancerous toe. NFI how that happened, but they sliced it off, got clear margins around the tumour and the verdict is that it is highly unlikely it will ever recur.
    Bizarre, that me and my cat should have near matching tumours, but this is the House of Quokka. Weird shit happens.
    Thanks to all for your support, it’s helped to keep me sane.
    Twitch, gibber, dribble…

  187. So glad for everyone’s sake. Congratulate the Bloke for me, too.

    And watch where you both dip your feet.

    I’m still backing Irish effluent as a causative agent, myself.

    Speaking of sanity, I must away to my typing. Only three weeks to go!!

  188. Yeah, bizarre, how the hell does a cat get cancer of the toe?
    Anyway, at least he’s all right.
    3 weeks left, it’ll whiz by. Think how much time you’ll have for housework once the MYOBS is over.

  189. I hate housework. You clean the toilet, vacuum the floor and wash the dishes, then six months later you have to do it all again.

  190. Hehehe.

    I love you, Catty. We can be gloriously unrepentant slatterns together.

    Q, on the other hand, keeps an immaculate house. I suspect she’s enchanted her vacuum and mop, Sorcerer’s Apprentice style… but with much more success.

    Ah, Fantasia. Can you get that on DVD? I’d love to show it to the kids.

  191. A while back, I borrowed a copy of Fantasia for the kidlets. One fell asleep, and the other two wandered off in search of lolly pops after 10 minutes. So I put Ren and Stimpy in the DVD player, and the little monsters stayed glued to the TV for almost an hour.

  192. Stupid children.

    At the moment, mine think LMFAO (the band, not the acronym) are the best thing on earth.

    I keep telling them that it’s not wholesome for a 7 year old to be singing “I’m sexy and I know it”, and it’s not wholesome for ANYONE to strip to their underwear and do that flippy thing…

    All in all, though, I’d rather they do all of that than sing along to that “Hangover” song.

  193. You think that’s bad. Someone (no names, but her initials are Madam Morgana) just started singing Manamena over at the Corner, and now I can’t get it out of my head. Aaaaargh!

  194. Hehehe…

    “I’ve got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it,
    I’m sexy and I know it.”

    You can imagine the flippy bit.

    Or not, perhaps, if you’re eating.

  195. Oh, the penny just dropped! My kidlets have been singing “I’ve got ants in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it”, then giggling and jumping around like madmen. NOW I understand!

    But I still don’t get the flippy bit. Remember, I’m an old woman so I don’t listen to all that doof doof nonsense. Give me Anne Murray any day!

    Oops. Sorry Quokka. I hope YOU weren’t eating.

  196. Hehehe.

    Q’s gone very quiet, the last few days.

    Either her Mac has reverted to Aramaic again, or her cat nurse-maiding has got the better of her. Hopefully, whichever it is she’ll resume normal transmissions shortly.

    Hang on – she’s not in Melbourne, is she?

  197. No, I’m here, lurking, just too sleep deprived from cat nursing to have anything remotely interesting to say.
    Melbourne is Tuesday. Will do an email about that tomorrow.
    Carry on. Nothing to see here, unless cat vomit interests you.

  198. Is it Bucket Boy vomiting, or has one of the others decided to go out in sympathy?

    Sorry about the cat-induced insomnia, Quokka, hope his stitches come out soon. At the Vet’s, I mean, not by his own teeth and claws.

  199. I think they’ve all had a go, but Prime Suspect is his sister, who ventures into the dungeons at twilight to torture and kill anything stupid enough to walk into the cat enclosure. Geckos tend to give her indigestion.
    I slept through the night without interruption for the first time in what feels like weeks, last night. Pleasant change from being awoken every two hours by some sort of complaining beast. my 3 toed sloth cat seems to be acting more like himself so I’m guessing the pain has settled down, the wound looks good, it’s pale & scabbed over, the swelling has all gone down so I’d say that the pain has faded to the point where it’s not bothering him unless he stubs his toe on something hard.
    The Bloke comes home tonight from FNQ so he can snuggle up to Vomit Girl, who has been intent on finishing her brother off ever since he returned from the vet, looking half done in. Siblings. You know how it is.

  200. Ah, the Bloke is returning. So you’ll be woken in the middle of the night by another complaining beast…

    If you’re lucky…

  201. Hehehe… complaining beast.

    Good amputee news, Quokka.

    We set up a table outside the local library to try and sell our residual Zines. Grand total of two sales, one of which was a librarian. We thought of offering to autograph them, but I decided that would only knock some value off the $5 they cost.

    * sigh *

    • Catty! Just what you need for Hogswatch: Fairground Prize Grabber Crane https://www.zazz.com.au/index.php

      Or not. Still, you could put in as many naked smurfs as you liked?

      • There you are, GB.

        My shark and nemo fish came in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait until Christmas to see them swim… have you had a go with yours yet?

      • No! my Nemo came yesterday but no shark. This cannot stand! I will fire up the Complaintatron if it doesn’t come today.

        BTW, I’ve been going through old photos for a new family website and I think I know how Elf Boy fooled me with that angelic face. You see, I never had a son with an innocent look about him & EB caught me unawares.


        He looks just like his mother.

  202. I wonder if the butcher at Goodna knows about these.
    Given that 11 months ago there were a few of them circling his shop, I think it would add a bit of zip to the place to have an air shark doing laps around the interior leading up to Xmas.

    For reasons unknown my email is refusing to send emails this morning. I assume it’s just another glitch that will be resolved by walking away and going in search of peanut brittle. Catty, I’ll attempt to do the When In Melbourne email later on, if gmail continues to FK up I will organize it via twitter and get your mobile number somehow.

    Thanks for the use of your blog as community bulletin board, MM.

  203. GB, check the box… they’d stuck both of mine into one box, I bet they’ve done the same with yours. As for Hairy – good lord, what a devious young man. You can certainly see him coming a mile off. I trust he’s learnt some subterfuge in the intervening years. I’m sure the beard helps.

    Q, there’s nothing peanut brittle can’t solve… except perhaps diabetes and/or loose fillings.

    As for the billboarding, be my guest. I have nothing interesting to post, having just spent the morning melting my brain on homework. Since I have cricket canteen tonight, I might have to stop now, to fortify myself with sushi and a little lie down.

  204. Just so you all know I’m not dead – meh.
    That is all.
    Carry on.
    I will return and whinge about cats and their plastic headware when I am suitably sugared up.

  205. I’ll see your meh and raise you a uh.

    That’s all I’ve got left after the cricket this morning. Although the boys are much improved, and had a very credible loss to Matthew Finders.

    I’m off to do the vacuuming. I may be some time.

  206. I raise my meh and your uh with a stray cat and four kittehs that I found nesting in my garage.
    Shall see you tomorrow, mid morning. Will text you when I’m OMW, I plan to check the drains under the sink when I arrive so best to get busy with the BAM now…heh heh heh.
    Relax. I am keen to head out and find gelati, or pleasant vegetarian fare.
    I won’t be checking the fluffballs, aside from those that have a pulse and purr.

  207. Ooh… we have fabulous gelati down the front.

    As for vegetarian fare, my local cafe has got a couple of options, and it’s nice and tucked away from the PGA riff-raff.

    I’m hoping my Mum will arrive mid-morning too, so we can ditch the kids and go out by ourselves.

    As for under the sink, you’re on your own. There could be trolls nesting there, behind the stash of plastic shopping bags and Morning Fresh, and I’d never know.

    See you then, Q

  208. The kidlets just watched the Smurf Movie. Whaddaya know, there’s a scene where Smurfette gets her frock off!

  209. Harlot! Hussy!

    Not you, Catty – that shameless blue trollop.

    How have you been, btw? I hope you’ve trimmed your nose hair in preparation for Quokka’s visit.

  210. Damn. I knew there was something I forgot to do.

  211. There’s plenty of time. I don’t think she’ll be there ’til Thursday.

    How’s end-of-year-break-up frenzy affecting you, Catty? I’m on the brink… as usual.

  212. I’m currently at the ‘tearing out clumps of hair’ and ‘running around in confused circles’ stage. By next weekend I’ll have reached ‘high pitched keening’. By mid-December, I’ll be in my pyjamas, rocking back and forth on the stairs. Which will be difficult, as we don’t have stairs. I’d better get some installed. They’ll be useful for the ‘mad lady cackling and howling naked on the roof at 4:00am Christmas morning’. That will be fun, as I’ll get to pelt rescue services workers with fruitcake and tinsel.

    In other words, I’m coping the same as every other year. Thank goodness for Quokka’s valium/vodka cocktails.

  213. Hehehe.

    We had the Christmas Tree Wars yesterday. Elf Boy was determined to put the tree up, vs Magic Man who was sure that we would attract bad Christmas luck if we dared erect the tree before December 1st.

    And Magic Man FINALLY lost a tooth and I forgot to do the fairy thing early this morning. Now he’s muttering imprecations against the Tooth Fairy and he’s locked the tooth up in his little safe,determined that “that winged bitch” isn’t going to get her rotten little fingers on any more of his body parts. Or he might leave the tooth out, attached to a lethal boobytrap.

    Since I don’t have any glitter, I typed a letter of apology in 6 pt font, claiming that there was a mix-up because he lost his tooth ahead of schedule, and offering apologies.

    Hope it appeases him!

  214. Heh heh heh.
    I think the tooth fairy should say that her sat nav system failed, there have been many upset children on her list and would they please all address their complaints to the board of directors at Apple.
    Lovely to see you yeterday, MM, and wonderful to see that Flotsam and Jetsam have settled in so beautifully and obviously adore your children.
    Couldn’t hope for a better home for them, and will be telling Vanessa as much next time I see her.

  215. Yes, you should come up more often, Q.

    Only next time, I’ll firm the arrangements so we can ditch the kids.

    Alternatively, you should come and give Elf Boy a bit of the discipline that he so sorely lacks. He was preternaturally well-behaved for the rest of the day after you’d sorted him out.

  216. Heh heh.
    I can do better. You can send him up the road to my friend, who is German, and a school teacher.
    Her 12 yro greeted me with a kiss on the cheek, stayed to exchange pleasantries on the deck for 5 minutes & then excused himself to do his homework. (which he did) He then reappeared at 4.20pm to politely explain that he was due at tennis practice at 4.30 and could his dad please start getting ready for that.
    The homework was done, the kid was ready to go, and aside from a filthy look at his father, who couldn’t find his socks and insisted on wearing his wife’s, he behaved all in all like a trooper that the Fuehrer couldn’t have installed better discipline in.
    I leave you in good hands, mein liebschen.

  217. Gotterdammerung!

    Nah, I’ll stick with my part-time ferals. That child would spook me… I couldn’t give house room to someone better behaved than I am.

  218. He’s quite a kid. He wants to be a champion tennis player. His dad is a bit of a tennis fan so I blame the influence of early conditioning, must’ve put his bassinette too close to the TV when they were saying how much those SOBs earn.

  219. And if Lleyton Hewitt is anything to go by, you don’t even have to be any good at it to make the big bucks.

  220. Either way once they turn 14 they’re all turning into this:

  221. Hehehe…. Lleyton Hewitt.

    As for “Sort of, Dunno, Nothing”, I already get that from Elf Boy.

    Me “What did you do at school today, darling?”
    EB “Nothing.”
    Me “So you sat at the carpet and stared at the walls all day and didn’t talk?”
    EB “Yes.”
    Me “Your bum must have gotten very sore.”
    EB “Nothing you need to know about. It was private.”

    Poor MM came home from karate very upset last night. He said once his Sensei grabbed him by the neck and threw him down to the ground, and another time he knocked him down while MM was doing a kick.

    That can’t be right, can it? I know a Dad who was probably there watching, I’m wondering if I should give him a call and find out what happened, or have a word with Sensei when I take EB today – along the lines of, “You may be able to kill me with your bare hands, but you’d better not treat my darling boy like that again of you want to sleep easy in your bed.”

    What do you think?

  222. I think we shall have to eat him. Spit roast or hangi?

  223. I don’t care how we cook him… how the hell are we going to catch a finely-honed black belt?

  224. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Now if we can just get him to change his name to Will, we’ll be set.

  225. He’d better change his name to “Man about to give an enraged mother a decent apology”, or I’ll get Mr Underbelly to have a word with him about the way his girlfriend expects her children to be treated.

    You can’t kick a child whilst wearing concrete slippers.

  226. Ah, so the Plumber is back in business! Yeah! Although by the sound of it, we may have to change his name to Bob the Builder. (Can he ‘fix’ it? Yes he can!)

  227. More like Knuckles.

    Or Messwit. Because you don’ wanna mess wit’ him, man.

    Or perhaps I’ll just take my 55 kg mastiff to the dojo and say, “Why don’t you pick on her favourite boy in the world now, Mr Meany Gi? Hang on, while I just let her of the leash first.”

  228. I’m ba-aaack! It was a long train ride home. Thank goodness my darling friends Melbo and Quokka had purchased noms to fortify me on the journey, or I may have had to gnaw my own leg off. Or someone else’s – I’m not fussy.

    What a wonderful afternoon! The tea rooms had excellent cakes, and the company was superb. It was also nice to see that real men drink pink tea. I didn’t have pink tea. I had coffee, and it was the best coffee I’ve ever had in a café.

    The Boss had a hot dinner waiting for me when I got home, (isn’t he wonderful?) so sorry Madam, I’m too full to eat MM’s Sensei. You’ll have to feed him to the mastiff.

  229. Pink tea??

    Glad to hear that you all had a lovely time.

    Did your furries wreck havoc during your prolonged absence, Q? And how was the exhibition?

  230. Ah yes, the bloke ordered blood orange tea and it was indeed pink. I looked at it suspiciously & wondered if it would look like that on it’s way out of his system & Catty nearly fell off her chair. Being me I probably said it loud enough for most of the old ladies around us to hear and be shocked so I’m guessing she saw one of their startled well bred faces turn sour & that’s what set her off.
    We had a fabulous day, even though I’ve come back crawling with allergies & am convinced that Catty & Melbo aren’t sick, they’re simply having an understandable reaction to whatever TF is circulating through the Melbourne air. My eyes are still raw & bloodshot from the dust – exacerbated by the Bloke dragging me through myers, which of course sends the fumes of the make-up department through the entire building. They have done a lovely job with the makeover of the building, though.
    Wonderful city, wonderful time, wonderful company.
    King Tut was just magnificent, so incredible to walk through all that ancient stuff & see how he lived. The bloke, not having studied ancient history at school, had no idea about the intricacy and craftmanship of the artisans. he thought they’d just built big things, like the pyramids. Duh.
    I liked the same things Greybeard did, but found the tiny little sarcophogi of his two still-born daughters to be the most touching and telling of all that I saw. For a 19 yro to want to be entombed with his two stillborn daughters in the hope that they’d be there with him in the next life is just so sweet.
    It did take 2 hours, much as GB said, so just before 2 we set off to find a taxi and head for the cafe, and as we didn’t find one we marched off down the street in the northerly winds & heat & dust (thanks, Melbourne) to the arcade, where Melbo was waiting for us. It was like the shingle in, only on a grand melbourne scale, packed to the gunnels with old ladies, and the window was piled high with the most sumptuous looking cakes. I had the creme brulee & earl grey, the bloke had little sandwiches, Melbo had the trifle (which put her over the limit, I believe) & I am smurfed if I can remember what Catty ate. In true Catty style she showered me with noms & gifts, some of which I’ve yet to open for fear they’ll wake the neighbours. Although I suspect that may be her intention…
    Anyway, after a wonderful session of cackle and gossip the girls took me off on a tour of their favorite chocolate shops, while the bloke looked on, bemused. As we took so long in each shop, & he knows what I’m like, I think he took off unnoticed and did a tour of the arcades before we’d decided on our purchases.
    Not that I’m one to enjoy shopping, but Melbourne has persuaded me that we’ll have to go back for a long weekend so that we can eat our way through the restaurants on Lygon Street & purchase some clothes -I doubt I’ll be able to fit into any of mine due to the excess poundage of chocolate & noms that made it’s way back in the luggage locker of Red Rat airlines.
    My nice neighbour checked in on the zoo a few times, which was great as our flight was delayed & the dog got a bit upset – most unlike him. I found the cutest little chocolate fish for her kids & some nice belgian chocolate for the adults so am well pleased with myself for that.
    I think Catty needs to be fitted with some sort of electro-shock bracelet to stop her going into a nom frenzy, though, as she set the rest of us off and there was a universal flurry of sweets exchanging hands once we’d left the sweet shops.
    Ah yes! We found the churro shop where GB & Fifi dined when they went to see King Tut, but we went next door and ordered vegetarian pizza & stir-fried veggies instead. Sent the picture to GB via the Bloke’s iphone & told him we were in Melbourne making healthy lunch choices, & have not heard a word from him since.
    Although when I awoke this morning & looked at the world through my blurry red melbourne dust damaged eyes, I observed two infant brush turkeys rummaging around inside the turkey proof bird netting over the garden outside my bedroom window.
    So I take that to mean that he got my message, and has taken revenge.
    Fabulous to finally meet the Melbourne xx chromosome burger folk, just a pity Mayhem couldn’t join us as well. Never mind. Brisbane trip coming up for her soon, I believe. And a shame you weren’t there to complete the cackling of the coven, MM. Great to finally meet my invisible friends.

  231. Ah!

    What a gorgeous, detailed travelogue, Q. Almost as good as being there myself… although I would NOT have skipped the churros.

    I have something to celebrate myself… no more Cert III! It’s done and dusted and I have no more homework to complete. I need to keep practising typing, though, for my own benefit. Now that I’ve got this far I might as well keep going until I see some GD improvement.

    As for Mayhem, I’ve teed up Mum to babysit so I’m all systems go. Can you just email me the actual address, please? You know how hopeless I am on the geography of that particular outpost.

    DId I mention that my TV died yesterday? Home the troops came, tried to settle down to numb their minds with a little ABC3 and then – bang. Or, in actual fact, fizzle. I’ve already replaced it, that wasn’t a problem, my main issue now is what the hell to do with the dead one. It’s an ancient cathode ray widescreen, half as big as the lounge room itself, and I can’t cram it in the wheely bin. In fact, MM and I could barely lug it out to the side of the house to await permanent burial.

    • 1) Put it in the front yard, covered against the weather but so it’s obviously a TV.
      2) Wait for someone to steal it.
      3) Hope it doesn’t return the next night.

      (Caution: may not work. Thieves can’t be bothered with CRTs)

    • Option 2.
      1) Borrow a video camera.
      2) Choose photogenic method of destroying the TV, possibly via a fake ‘funniest home video’ stunt. E.g. MM & EB knock it off a table while doing something weird. Should involve fleeing cats and/or screaming MUUUUMMM.
      3) Post video on Youtube with ads and wait for cash to roll in.

    • Option 3
      1) Bust CRT with hammer while wearing protective clothing or have boys do it from a distance with slingshots (see Option 2)
      2) Sweep up glass and deposit in wheelie bin. (Caution: slivers will be slicing feet for years afterwards)
      3) Use newly lightened outer case as chook-shelter
      4) Post photo of Brian nesting in old TV and achieve minor but fleeting Internet fame.

  232. I vote for leave it on the kerb, but to encourage thieves to think it works, attach a note that says ‘Jason – I burned all your FKN clothes but as this belonged to your mother I thought she should have it back – after all the neighbourhood dogs have pissed on it.’

  233. Hehehe.

    Fabulous ideas, people. I knew you’d come through for me. The “revenge of the ex” scenario particularly appeals.

    But, GB, I’ve got to ask… why are all your suggestions so dangerous?

    Option 1 would surely involve the would-be thief being used as a chew toy by my hound; 2 would probably end in EB pancaked, ala the Wicked Witch of the East; and 3 is the coleslaw foot option.

    You’ve never forgiven us for that arrow incident, have you?

    • Moi? Pas du tout! It’s just my generation. You know, getting “Dangerous Things For Boys Annual” every Xmas. Come to think of it, maybe my parents were trying to bump me off?

  234. MM loves “The Dangerous Book for Boys”.

    Funnily enough, his skeleton remains unblemished while his brother has fractured two clavicles.

    I think they emphasis booby-trap design and maintenance.

  235. A clavicle? That sounds more painful than the rotunda. (I told him, “Julie, don’t go! It’s the Ides of March already!)

    I once read about someone who had a bicycle they no longer wanted. They left it on the nature strip for anyone to take. It sat there for two weeks, untouched. So they attached a sign saying “For Sale. $20”. The bike was stolen within the hour. Perhaps you could whack a For Sale sign on your TV, Madam?

    Meanwhile, I’ve been busy eating my noms. (Thankyouthankyouthankyou Quokka and Melbo!) Those strawberries were very popular with the kidlets. I had to arm myself with a fly swatter to fend them off while I ate. It didn’t work too well. *sigh*. But not to worry. I still got plenty, according to my bathroom scales. They’re high-tech scales that tell me how many calories I have to consume to maintain my weight. I’ve been planning to use that the next time there’s leftover cake, as it’s hard to argue with appliances. “I have to eat another 500 calories, or I’ll waste away and die! The Scales said so!” But it’s been 18 months and we have yet to have any leftover cake.

  236. Hehehe.

    The scales told me I HAD to have half a block of Lindt white chocolate with almond brittle! It’s a medical necessity!!

    Hmm… I might try and get prescription Swiss chocolate from the GP. Nommier and fewer side effects than antidepressants, surely?

    As for medical science, they should invent a Christmas vaccine. I’d volunteer for the drug trials. I’ve been studiously avoiding major shopping centres but even so I’d rather perforate my own eardrums than hear another carol, the smell of peppermint candy-canes makes me retch, I’ve spent the car insurance payment on gifts and I may well strangle the next elf who tries to get festive with me with my bare hands.

    Ho ho effing ho.

  237. Heh heh. That’s the spirit. I am determined to enjoy grinching xmas for as long as there are no more small people in my life who believe in Santa. Make the most of it while you can, is my philosophy. Especially given my ideas of migrating to the West, where my Dad’s family are set to Overkill on the whole Xmas fiasco. I figure at least once I’m there I won’t be slaving over the stove and the shopping in 95% humidity, longing to axe murder any and all who irritate me and are silly enough to put themselves in swinging distance.
    Well, that’s the hope.
    Yep, I’ve been chowing down on various noms I brought back from Melbourne & I don’t need the scales to tell me I’ve overdone it. Catty, I sent the bloke northwards with a good supply of your caramels & in true bloke style he shared them with his workmates, all of whom now think that you’re a legend. Sh^t, I just realized I still haven’t opened your gifts. You missed the fun of my smurfed off reports on twitter yesterday, outlining the Cat’s Revenge & my 3 trips to the vet to deal with it. Everything else went by the wayside yesterday.
    Fracking cat.
    I might wait till the bloke gets back tomorrow night so he can share in the fun. We got in ever so late on Tuesday night and I dumped a whole stash of stuff in the spare/kids’ bedroom, filed under ‘non-critical, non-perishable, non-flammable items to be addressed later.’ So if any of it’s going to set the pile of unfolded washing alight, tell me and I will go rescue it. the bloke was very taken with the green wrapping and the pom-poms so I just can’t bring myself to open that unless he’s here. Besides, the true fun of unwrapping anything in our household is in watching all three felines go absolutely insane amongst the paper & adornments.
    Gosh I had a wonderful time down there, even though the Melbourne air did a number on corroding my eyeballs. Truly fabulous to be out with Melbo & Catty and so good to finally meet them. I couldn’t have asked for a pleasanter afternoon. We must go back next year, for sure.

    MM, congrats on finishing the cursed business course. I think we should celebrate – with gelati.
    Speaking of which, I just went through the supermarket and found passionfruit splice ice blocks, with real fruit and none of that ghastly ice confection, assuming I read the label right – which is a sizable leap of faith, given that I didn’t have my glasses. Yum!

    right. Back to the daily grind of my life, AKA Operation Cat Watch. If I can’t get the bucket off the cat’s head in 5 days, as promised, the vet is going to have to medicate me, never mind the smurfing cat.

  238. Mmm… animal tranquillisers.

    I just went to Writers’ Group… which I was chairing… and got snippy with everyone who annoyed me. Which numbered in the several. Am I premenstrual or is this my real personality finally rearing its ugly head?

    Perhaps I should go and meditate.

    But, smurf me, some of them had it coming to them.

  239. Its all a natural part of encroaching old age and senility.
    I say embrace the crankiness, while you are still in charge of your faculties and capable of using your powers for good.
    Has Elf Boy recovered from my Fun Sucking Toy Snatching ways, yet?

  240. He was very polite for the rest of that day, but sadly I feel that the benefit has entirely worn off, Q.

    As for encroaching senility, Mr Underbelly’s making noises about having more kids. Do you know a hypnotist so effective that we could trance him and perform a home vasectomy without him realising what we were up to?

    I’m pretty sure another kid would kill me… or provoke me to advanced lunacy, either/or.

  241. I say we go to Melbourne for a week to play with the girls & tour the sights (AKA the chocolate shops & the patisseries) and leave him alone in a toyless chamber with Elf Boy.
    After that if you hand him a sharp enough knife and a bottle of scotch, he won’t waste time making doctors appointments, DIY will seem like a quick and painless option.

  242. Hehehe.

    He’s quite fond of Elf Boy, though. They’ve got the same sort of moral compass… it’s a lot like Jack Sparrow’s. You know, swinging wildly towards whatever they desire at that moment.

    As for a tour of Melbourne… oh, yes please. As soon as (if?) I mange to find some gainful employment, I’ll start saving. I’ve got a long black coat and everything.

    How fabulous was the rain last night? I went to sleep with the sound of rain on the tin roof, snuggled under a doona because it was chilly. It was like Heaven, only better, because I was still alive.

    How’s Bucket Boy, btw?

  243. The rain did it’s usual trick of splitting when it hit our hill and diverted either side of us. So we just got a light drizzle.
    Plus side, the wet was enough to drive Mama Cat out of whatever lair she’s been hiding in since she cut and ran on Saturday, so this morning when I put her food out, two minutes later there were two little kittehs out there, snout in trough. Mama C is keeping a wary eye on me, plainly she’s detected my agenda via unloved stray telepathy, so she knows that once she lets her guard down she’ll find herself & all her brood inside a cat trap & off to the Cat Rescue People for neutering, chipping & taming.
    Still, while there’s whiskas and kitty crunchies on tap, perhaps she’ll decide it’s not such a terrible fate. The bloke & I thought she had 3 kittehs, when we spotted her hiding under the house the other day, but so far, only 2 have made their way into the whiskas bowl. So am a bit concerned that wherever she’s been, some fell fate has met with number 3. Hopefully Mama C will figure out that she’s safer keeping her brood here, by the restocked food bowl.
    Plus side? I haven’t seen those 2 infant fowls of Satan since Wednesday am so with any luck all that’s left of them is buried in a cat turd out back, by now.
    As for my thankless beasts, Bucket Boy was exhausted yesterday, after his efforts on Wednesday, and spent the day spreadeagled on a pillow, giving me baleful looks. I think we’ll have to give him sedatives when the bandage comes off, to curb his self-destructive OCD tendencies.
    Then again, they’ve all got something to look at and laugh, as the dog went off for his summer haircut yesterday. He spent 6 hours at the groomers, running around with 7 other dogs, playing happily. So at least I didn’t have to feel guilty when the Dog Walking hour arrived and 1. it rained, and 2, Dog was in a coma on the sofa, both eyes open and unresponsive to voice, touch and treats. He had the BEST day.

  244. So the cats didn’t do that thing they did last year, and fail to recognise him newly shorn?

    It’s still grey and overcast up here and the deliciously gloomy weather has made all the difference to my mood. I feel like a new woman. Usually, with Seasonal Affective Disorder, people who live in dreary places- like all of England – get depressed in winter, but I’ve obviously got a Sunshine Aversion.

    It’s so chilly, I might have to go and find a cardy.

    Life is sweet.

    Flotsam and Jetsam made their way into the pantry while I was at the meeting yesterday, pulling out the cat Supacoat and the Greenies, and ate about a month’s worth. The funny thing was how all three animals looked terribly guilty when I arrived home.

  245. One of them pissed on his doggie bed last night but I think that was more an expression of disgust at the ripe stench of flea bath than a sense of outrage that I’d returned with the wrong dog.
    How creative of your twins. I’ll bet the hound was counting her blessings at the ingenuity of the cats. Are you sure it was guilt and not simple indigestion? In my experience pantry remorse and GORD are entirely indistinguishable in cats. Still, you’re the vet’s niece, so I shouldn’t doubt your judgment.

  246. Those cats must be contagious. I just raided the pantry and ate a month’s supply of Chips Ahoy. The kidlets are going to be mightily displeased when they get home for milk and bikkies, but find tuna sandwiches instead.

    I did not, however, pee on anybody’s bed. Not today, anyway. But I may have to, after Greybeard’s BI comment about my burning underwear. Go on, ‘fess up. Who dobbed me in?

  247. Mmm… Chips Ahoy.

    Burning underwear, Catty? You intrigue me. Surely you can see that it’s not fair if GB knows and I don’t?

    I’ve spent enough time sulking this week already.

  248. The blog wouldn’t show me more comments, so I assumed it was all profanity and left, never to return.
    Why can’t it just show an X rating and insist on proof of ID if there’s incendiary violence and SBS style confronting nudity?
    Stupid blog.

  249. It can’t be profanity, Q.

    If there was an embargo on profanity, the whole net would implode, or vanish inside a singularity, or something.

  250. Or spin around and around in concentric circles, until it disappears up it’s own fundamental orifice. Then it will diminish in age until it becomes an egg. According to Nino Culotta, anyway.

    Re: burning underwear. I said that I’d stopped eating like a three year old when I turned four. Greybeard said that he knew about my eating habits from reliable witnesses, and that the burning smell was my pants on fire. So someone must have dobbed me in. I think I’ll blame Mayhem. I can’t blame Melbo, as she discreetly averted her eyes whenever I ate.

  251. Hehehe.

    How ladylike, how very Melbourne.

    Only five more days of school, Catty! No more lunchboxes, no more prising children out of their beds at the last possible minute with a combination of blandishments and threats!!

    Consequently, they’ll probably rise at coffee o’clock every day of the holidays, and disrupt my me-time.

  252. Huh. We’re stuck with all that crap until the 22nd. Joy.

  253. What?!

    The kidlets don’t get out until the 22nd ?!@#&

    When do they go back to school, some time in March?

    Sorry, Catty, I didn’t realise or I wouldn’t have gloated. You can’t see it from there, but I’m grovelling in apology.

  254. Fantastic. No pale little snotty southerners clogging up the esplanade at south bank till…oh. Wait. Stop. Activate Empathy App.
    Oooh, Catty that’s dreadful. I feel for you.

    *Hm. That should do it. Runs away, doing cartwheels in the conga line*

  255. Oh, so it’s like that, is it Quokka? Remind me to laugh at you next September, when the planets are aligned so that QLD, NSW and VIC all have their school holidays at the same time. You are so going to be overrun with southern school children as well as your own.

    No, I take that back. I can’t laugh. That would be too cruel. Hopefully your Zombiepocalypse shelter will be finished by then, and you can lock yourself away until it’s over.

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to look at the positives. Like, I can get their presents wrapped while they’re at school. And they only have five weeks off before the new school year, so I will save heaps on valium and vodka. Small comfort, but it keeps me going. How about you, Madam? Stocked up on survival bevvies, I take it? Don’t forget, there’s little in the world that can’t be fixed with duct tape. Just remember to leave your boys an airway or two to breathe through when you tape them up.

  256. I don’t think duct tape will work so well in the humid north, Catty.

    They’ll sweat in their bonds, dissolve the glue and then squirm their way to freedom.

    My plan is to just vague out a lot. My default position will be gazing out the window at nothing in particular, with a dreamy half-smile on my face, and I won’t move unless there’s blood or visible bone on display.

  257. Oh woe.
    We received a letter from the local councillor saying that there’ll be a street party here (well, in the street 3 doors up & around the corner) on Saturday. Its being organized by the local neighbourhood watch Sergeant at Arms, a stout & obstinate German who is very, very militant about forcing us all to put up those fracking Neighbourhood Watch plaques out front of our houses.
    Every time he nags us to do it, we refuse.
    Last time we said no, he put a whiny note in our letterbox the next day saying that the NW meetings needed more attendees and he was ‘disappointed to see there are not more plagues around the neighbourhood’.
    His ‘plagues’ cost $2 per sign and every year he uses the street party as an excuse to roam the neighbourhood flogging the damned things, in the name of community spirit and the sharing of high fat sausage.
    I’ll have to hide.
    there will be a bouncy castle, and back-yard vegetable stalls, and children selling handcrafted items they’ve made at school to earn Xmas spending money.
    Dog Damn.
    I wonder if it’s too late to add a panic room/fallout shelter to our DA?
    Surely council would understand that it’s an absolute necessity.

  258. Yes, you need a bunker.

    A bunker, or some of those emetic-laden cane toad sausages they give quolls to try and instil a loathing of the taste.

    “Who wants to try one of my special sausages? They’re fat-free, organic and low carb.”


  259. Mmmm…. Bunker Toad Sausages….

  260. After yesterday, I’d rather feast on Bunker Toad Sausages than have to look at another strip of bacon.

    Only one more shift until the holidays!

    two weeks without bacon!
    two weeks without bacon!

    Ah, the bacon-free conga – the happiest dance of them all.

  261. I’ll pretend you didn’t say that.

  262. Going back to the boys and duct tape, as an ex-boy I recommend giving them a few rolls of duct tape and a few hundred paddlepop sticks. They can use the sticks for the small-scale designs before moving on the real thing. I don’t know what real thing, but I’m sure they’ll think of something. Would they like plans for a trebuchet or ballista for holiday fun? Nothing like setting up a siege engine and knocking stuff down (houses, sheds, chickens . . . )

  263. Ooh, they’d LOVE to build a trebuchet, GB.

    But I’ve bought them paintball crossbows for Christmas, surely that will be enough… Ooops. Given I also got air shark and Nemo fish, it just occurred to me that they’ll obviously combine the two.

    Do you reckon those balloons are paintball proof?

  264. Oh wow! One can fly the fish (helmsman, use avoidance pattern Delta!) while the other shoots at it. Can I have a turn? You’re a good mother (but don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody).

  265. Speaking of which, did you guys see the gruen nation do ‘the pitch’ on why society shouldn’t look to footballers as role models?
    Its here, followed by some unnecessary faff that you may as well tune out.
    I hear they tried to hire Morgana’s children but due to the cameraman getting shot in the ear, they were sacked.

  266. Hehehe.

    My children are much more telegenic than those children, too.

    I think they would have gotten away with shooting the cameraman, but when they partially scalped the Assistant Director we got the boot.

    Boys will be boys!

  267. All of which gives me a marvelous idea, can we send them off to audition for a role on Home and Away?

  268. Nah, Morgana’s boys have too much talent for that show.

  269. Cheers, Catty.

    Anyway, I don’t want to send them anywhere. I love the shaggy-headed ferals. And they’re becoming quite useful. Magic Man cleans out the gutters and does bin work, and Elf Boy fetches things, wrangles cats and gives amazing foot rubs.

    I’ve got all holidays to work on:
    (1) Picking up banana peels / lolly wrappers / discarded plans for world domination and PUTTING THEM IN THE GD BIN, FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY!
    (2) Not shouting in Mumma’s ear.

    It’s good to have a project.

  270. Oh, I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.
    Only a hippopotamus will do.
    No kangaroos,
    No platypuses,
    The only thing I like is hippopotamuses.
    And a hippopotamus would like me tooooooo!

  271. Uh-oh. I think the vodka has run out and we’re onto the cooking sherry.

  272. Cooking sherry?

    If only.

    That can only be the result of kerosene, straight up.

    Catty, I didn’t get you a hippopotamus. Do you want me to take it back and see if I can exchange?

  273. Only a hippopotamus will dooooooo!

  274. I thought you were after your two front teeth, Catty, or counselling from the PTSD resulting from seeing your Mummy kissing Santa Claus, or a partridge in a pear tree.

    I’ll have to check my list.

    You’ve been nice, right?

    • Um, yeah. That’s right. Uh. Nice. Sure.

  275. Drinks are on me.
    The greasier half of Team Slum Lord appeared yesterday, to clean out the flat vacated by the nocturnal south american hospitality workers who replaced Team Irish some time ago.
    Looks like they’ve scarpered.
    After about 5 hours of lazy cleaning, slightly hampered by the fact that he requires recharging with dope at much the same rate that my system demands biscuits and earl grey tea, he’d filled two wheelie bins with their possessions (mostly glass) and had salvaged a coffee machine, a blender, a cocktail shaker and 14 bottles 1/2 -2/3 full of cheap cocktail ingredients.
    All those interested in sucking back a few half empty bottles of creme de cacao and blue Vok, assemble at my place. Team Slumlord has left the windows open to air out the stench of cuban cigarillos so there’s easy access to cocktails and half eaten rats.
    Party Time.
    Seriously, WTF has that goose saved all that crap for?
    The next bunch of fly-in illegal aliens that’s dodging deportation back to Ireland or Columbia, is my best bet.
    Looks like we’re in for yet another batch of ferals in the downstairs 3brm flat.
    My one hope is that the hole in the roof will get so big and the rain so heavy that it washes any prospective tenants away.

  276. Hehehe.

    By “nocturnal South American hospitality workers”, Q, I take it you mean “Brazilian hookers”?

    If there’s a stray blender going, can you please nip over and grab it for me? Magic Man wishes to extract DNA from frozen cane toads using a blender and meat tenderizer, and I’ll be smurfed if I let him use the blender in which I mix actual food.

    Good luck with the new tenants. Maybe you’ll get someone you can live with, from a country where they’re used to being mercilessly repressed by the State. You know, people who know how to keep their heads down and their mouths shut for fear they’ll get shot. Maybe some Burmese computer science students.

  277. Chinese journalists would be nice and quiet, too. But if my neighbours are anything to go by, you’ll have to keep the cats out of bog hollow unless you want them to end their days as dim sim filling.

  278. My pusskas are all safely contained inside the giant cat-maxed cat enclosure that is Casa Quokka. And the stray kittehs, while getting bold enough (or stupid enough, as the case may be) to rub shoulders by the food bowl with a brushtail possum last night, are still way too wary to be captured by any dim-sim aspirational culinary killer.
    Maybe this time I’ll hit the jackpot and we’ll get a flat full of students from the local school for the deaf. I’ve become rather adept at using sign language to communicate with the neighbours, so I’m sure we’d all understand each other just fine.

  279. Hehehe.

    Deaf neighbours – it’d make a refreshing change from the ones who are always blind.

    * insert canned laughter *

    So, are we proceeding with our Sunday plans even if the weather stays gloriously cold and rainy, Q?

  280. Heh heh.
    As for the rain, the only concession I’d make to wild weather is leaving the dog at homeon the sofa to keep Bucket Head company.
    The system is meant to drop back to isolated showers by the weekend so we should be ok. Depends how you feel about driving in drizzle. In my books a wet motorway is a cast iron excuse to evade the most pressing of social engagements but if you have less in the way of myopia & paranoia than me, you may feel otherwise.

  281. Nah, I’ll be right.

    I used to drive taxis in Brisbane – no roadway holds any fear for me whatsoever after facing Kingsford Smith Drive in peak hour.

    How fabulous was yesterday’s weather? I had to hunt out a cardy, chuckling with glee all the while.

  282. With you on that one, although it was less entertaining when I had to hunt out a light coat for the shivering dog. Had his summer haircut last Friday and summer promptly buggered off & left him shivering & naked in the 20C rain.
    BOM have decided it will be rainy and possibly thundery on Sunday now. I still say the best way to tell the weather is to wait till the day & stick your head out the window. If you get wet, they’ve got it right.
    So aside from cautioning D&I to leave the dog at home, because we’ll need to eat indoors, I say full steam ahead.
    Well, Bucket Head removed his bucket (again) last night but miraculously didn’t chew his foot. So I’ve allowed him to nick off down the dungeon with his bro. I just hope he can maintain the good behaviour, I’m almost as sick of the bucket as he is.
    Fingers crossed!
    Now, off to enjoy this gorgeous weather.
    Found a marvelous FKup in my latest Lynda La Plante, and am almost missing the BCC library editing pedant.
    DI Travis gets called in to be part of a new murder team early on a Monday morning. Problem – the body isn’t found until 6pm that afternoon.
    You’d think with La Plante’s income she could afford the kind of editor that could work these things out, surely?

  283. I suspect almost all of publishers’ budgets these days goes into publicity.

    The number of typos, inconsistencies and continuity problems I detect in modern novels makes me think that they just download text straight from an author’s PC… or iPad… and then send it to China to be printed as is.

    Okay, will see you on Sunday come rain, hail or pestilence.

  284. Pestilence? I didn’t know NowhereBob was coming?

  285. Language is such an associative thing.
    GB thinks Nbob, MM thinks Certificate III and I automatically think ‘children’.

  286. And I think of fruit mince pies. Bleargh!

  287. Turkey. Sure, go ahead, kill it, but YTF would you want to ruin the fun by eating it?

  288. Catty, you don’t like fruit mince pies?

    Oh, the shame.

    As for word associations, though, Cert III has no more terror for me. Since Christmas is ricocheting ever close, I think of My Sister.

    * sob *

  289. Poor love. Sometimes I feel guilty about being the evil sister. Sometimes. but never at Christmas time.

  290. You’re right, Catty,Christmas time is not for guilt.

    Guilt should be saved up for half-past breakfast on January the 1st, when you* start to break all your New Year’s Resolutions.

    * by “you”, here I’m obviously referring to myself.

    • Bah! I no longer make resolutions. Nobody tells me what to do, even me!

  291. No you’re not. You’re referring to me with eerie accuracy.

  292. Hehehe.

    I love being eerie, but I’m most unaccustomed to being accurate.

    Off to pick up the weasels. Here comes six weeks of unremitting motherhood!

  293. And therein lies your mistake.
    Ferrets would’ve been a much better option.
    They’re clean, affectionate, and fond of biting visitors.
    The ideal pet for me, really, if the cats didn’t do all this and worse.

    • Awww. I have a soft spot for Morgana’s weasels. Unfortunately it’s just above my jugular.

  294. Oh, GB, don’t give them any hints!

    It’s a much better learning experience if they find these things out for themselves.

    As for your ferrets, Q – shudder. There’s something too serpentine about them. Not that there’s anything wrong with snakes… but they shouldn’t be furry IMO

  295. You don’t like furry? *sigh* O.k. I’ll go shave my legs.

  296. No, Catty, only snake-like furry things are out.

    Let your leg fuzz grow until it’s long enough to french-plait into a semblance of fishnet stockings, I say.

    Hell, it’s Christmas – why not also incorporate some sequins?

  297. I don’t have any sequins. Will hand-painted Peruvian beads do?

  298. Oh yes – there’s nothing more ethnic than leg hair.

  299. What about my armpits? I was thinking spiral perm.

  300. This is gross! BTW, did I ever mention that D1 & D2 used to amuse themselves by brushing my back fur into strange patterns? I didn’t mind as long as I was getting brushed/curry-combed. So there!

  301. That’s the trouble with being a minor, access to tar and feathers when one most desperately needs it is so dreadfully limited.

  302. You can’t go wrong with a spiral perm, Catty – if you want, later, you can use a GHD to straighten it for special occasions.

    GB, there’s nothing wrong with that… unless you made them feed you carrots from their palms at the same time.

    Q, don’t give MM and EB ideas. A little medieval shaming would be just the thing to cut through holiday boredom.

  303. Oooh, feathers! Wouldn’t they look good worked into a macramé weave? Thanks, Quokka. You should be a beautician.

  304. Snort! After circling endlessly in Ikea this afternoon in search of 10V fracking swedish light bulbs, I’d much prefer to be a mortician & am prepared to do whatever it takes to drum up business.
    Starting with the contents of the swedish homemaker warehouse.
    Did you ride out the storm, MM?
    Mayhem & I got a good soaking on the motorway after we crossed the gateway but it was just a drenching, and as the traffic slowed down to half speed, nothing too bad.

  305. My cunning plan worked!

    I was heavily showered through Caboolture – but nothing speed modifying – and got home before the big storm hit up here.

    Although I bitterly regretted the gelato all the way home, it’s just as well I didn’t partake. I was still so full of fish and chips I couldn’t eat dinner.

    As for Ikea, though – do you mean the ones that look like oversized filament bulbs, with the ugly coils cunningly concealed inside glass? I think I’ve got a spare one, I could bring it on Christmas eve.

    Ah, the real day one of the holidays! Let the games commence.

  306. Danté’s ‘Inferno’ was a description of the first IKEA sale.

  307. Then it’s as I suspected, Ikea is in fact the dark heart of hell.
    Thanks MM, but I escaped with my 10v lightbulbs & have resolved that next time I’m either buying them online or else the bloke can stop in at Dante’s Taverna & Homeware Emporium en route home from his mother’s. That should cap his day off just nicely.
    Truly, the place is impossible to escape & then somehow I lost my car keys.
    Thankfully I have good Lost Property karma from all the times I’ve salvaged other people’s keys/wallets/personal items from the roadside, so the duty manager rapidly produced them from a locked safe, and made me feel better about dropping them in the car park by dropping them twice before he managed to hand them over to me.
    clearly there’s something about the inner atmosphere of hell that makes car keys extremely slippery and prone to misadventure. Disturbing to see how many other sets of car keys were locked away in lost property cabinet, though. Am starting to suspect that some of the shifty eyed characters roaming the stores in Ikea uniforms are employed by the crafty Swedes solely to pick the customer’s pockets and remove their car keys, in order to prolong the agony of one’s stay there.
    Never. Again.
    Captain Bong has blogged about our visit, BTW, if you mob would care to drop in. And some sad news, Damien & his missus lost their little dog yesterday. Flowers and bottles of scotch for the bereaved are happening over at twitter.

  308. Did I tell you about the time I lost Magic Man at Ikea?

    I was one of four adults looking for him – we even sent my friend’s dad into the mens toilets at one point.

    Being the sensible young man he is, he turned himself in, to a uniformed staff member, and was safely ensconced in the playroom when I finally found him.

    I rushed over to hug him until he squealed.

    With tears streaming from his big blue eyes, he sobbed, “Mumma, are you going to kill me now?”

  309. I hope you soothed EB by telling him that you were all probably going to die in there anyway, so killing him would be the kind thing to do.

    Quokka, we all agree with your ‘Never. Again’ sentiment. After a single visit to the infernal place 7 years ago, I’m convinced that IKEA is Swedish for “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here”.

  310. It was horrible, I tell you, horrible.
    When I finally did escape and run for the lift, it was full of God Botherers, all dressed up in their Sunday Best, heading off to visit the rest of their brethren at the nearest Mormon Tabernacle.
    Which gives me another deep suspicion, I wonder, if by striking terror into the hearts of their customers, they hope to push you into the arms of the nearest cult, for comfort?
    The 1970s fashions and the faint clink of mediaeval knickers/corsetry in the womenfolk were ever so comforting, after the horrors of revisiting the candle aisle more times than Bill Murray on Groundhog day.

  311. I quite like IKEA – the terror of getting lost, eternally wondering the artificial room set-ups in search of a plumbed toilet and the exit, makes your life Outside seem quite wonderful by comparison.

    Also, as I walk the one-way track preordained by Dansk Head Office, I wonder if it’s actually a recruitment system for some hungry alien life forms and one day instead of those huge metal storage racks and the clearance section, we’ll all just be funnelled into a giant cold-room.

  312. Oh, of course! The aliens are conducting experiments, and we are merely mice in their fiendish maze. Except there’s no cheese at the end. Just anal probes. Lucky bloody mice. They get cheese, we get rectal inspections.

  313. yeah, but once you get to my age, kids, the GPs threaten you with those.
    Speaking of aliens doing nasty **** to unsuspecting humans, we watched Cowboys and Aliens on the weekend, and me, being the pointy headed little sci-fi freak that I am, absosmurfinglutely loved it.
    Just keep Elf Boy away from it, we don’t want him getting ideas.

  314. Wow, that looked fun! Oh, I long for a movie chock-full of explodey goodness. *sigh*. Not gonna happen. In our house, movies involve talking animals, or corageous little scamps overcoming bullies, or airheaded animated princesses. Occasionally, all three. The scary thing about this, is that no drugs are involved.

  315. Not all animals are safe from being explored “down there”, Catty.

    Magic Man’s Mad Science has advanced to the point where he decided he wanted to conduct egg fertilization experiments, with rooster sperm. After much discussion about where we might find a compliant rooster, eventually – thank Chthulu – he gave the project away. With regret, he announced yesterday: “Mumma, I’ve decided I don’t want to spend my holidays masturbating chickens.”

    We saw “Cowboys V Aliens” – MM won tickets to the premiere at a cricket thing. Forget the explosions, watch it for Daniel Craig in painted-on cowboy pants.

  316. Who, me? Watch a movie because the lead actor is in tight pants? Why, the very idea! A very, very GOOD idea….

  317. There must be something wrong with me, I’d heard to watch for the pants but they didn’t make an impression. What I did love was Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford facing off against each other & the constant tension of wondering which of them would give in to the temptation to blow each other’s head off first. And those classic Harrison lines where you know he means every word, i.e.
    ‘That is RIDICULOUS!’ (where the venom in his words is obviously aimed directly at the script writer)
    heh heh.
    I can’t believe how much money it lost at the box office though. Heard something on the radio about it the other day, sounds like they spent way too much money either making it or promoting it and in the end there were enough pointy headed little sci fi freaks out there putting bums on seats.

    Can’t remember why we didn’t see it, probably some pathetic study reason, or it was winter and it was too cold to get off the couch.

  318. I thought as far as ridiculous escapism and star-power casting went it was very entertaining – since I don’t care about plot holes if there’s enough colour, movement and explodey things.

    Perhaps that was the budget blow-out – salaries, trailers and riders?

    And the line-item for slime, of course.

  319. http://www.nbcuniversalstore.com/cowboys-aliens-wrist-blaster/detail.php?p=361889&v=universal-studios_movie-merchandise_cowboys-and-aliens
    I think the merchandising probably tipped the budget over the edge.
    $99 US for a toy wrist blaster?
    At least the Harry Potter broomsticks vibrated, giving some value for money to their pre-pubescant hermione wannabees.
    But the wrist blaster? WTF is that going to do to offer up $99 US worth of joy before the batteries run out and big brother hits it on the head with a hammer?

  320. I’d pay at least $99 for one of those alien skyhooks, though.


    You’d never have trouble finding a park again.

  321. Good point.
    I wonder if we could entice them back to fling all the 4WD’s (and their My Family Sticker Obsessed contents) into the far reaches of outer space?

  322. Ooh, yes.

    I despise those “My Family” stickers… they incense me just as much as those stupid “baby on board” signs.

    Well, I was going to speed, hoon, run all the reds and shoot some meth before getting behind the wheel – but since I saw your “baby on board” sign I’ll change my ways!

    Or I might just get a set that shows me, several nubile young South American males, the boys – locked in cages – and several dozen rats.

  323. Rats? Hmmm…. Mayhem’s Mum likes rats….

  324. Such dear little furry drumsticks…

  325. Oh is that what they’re there for.
    I assumed those ‘baby on board’ stickers were there to remind them not to leave the baby in the car while they’re playing the pokies.

  326. Or to alert the ambos which windows to break, when they go ahead and leave them in the casino car-park anyway.

  327. I thought Baby On Board meant this:

  328. Heh heh.
    You guys should take yourselves off to twitter.
    There’s a new trend – childrens books by john howard.
    My favorites thus far are
    Go the F*** to Nauru & the Gripes of Wreith,

  329. SIlly woman – she’ll scratch the duco.

    Here are my suggestions, Q:

    Winnie the Role Model by John Howard
    Harry Potter and the Fiscal Stone by John Howard
    S is for Sensible by John Howard

  330. Heh heh.
    I’ll add them to mine, later.
    i.e. The sisterhood of the traveling pants drops out of school to claim the baby bonus.
    Melbo & I have been having fun with this.
    One of my tweets just went viral. You know what this means, don’t you?
    The spammers will follow me here and try to improve our sex lives with unsolicited marital aids.
    The price of infamy.

  331. Oh, no, not MORE erectile dysfunction medication! I’m running out of space in the bathroom cabinet.

  332. From my extensive observations of men in their natural habitat, it seems to me that affairs are the best cure for erectile dysfunction.

    Clean out your medicine cabinet – try Affair in a Can (TM)!

    • That would explain why my “You can trust me, I’m a married man” catchphrase has never had the desired effect. Sigh. Women is so cynical.

  333. Hehehe.

    You call it cynical – I call it sensible precautions.

    Thanks so much for the printer cable, btw, GB. No sizzle, crackle and pop when I turn on the printer!

    Kind of takes the extreme sport aspect out of producing documents, though…

  334. I wouldn’t say Affair in a Can too loud around these parts.
    There’s a toilet block in my neck of the woods that’s somewhat infamous for extramarital affairs, although they do tend to be of the same-sex variety.
    I think Val McDermid calls it ‘cottaging’.
    Spam in a Can seems like an apt alternative as far as names go.

  335. Hehehe… spam.

    The Brits do call it cottaging, and in ye Olde Gaye Dayes it used to be known as the tea-room trade… effed if I know why, I don’t believe cucumber sandwiches have ever had a look-in, although before there were gay clubs in Brisvegas there was a “notorious” coffee shop in town.

    Speaking of tea, don’t ask me to define “tea-bagging” because when I asked a gay friend, I soon wished I hadn’t.

    Elf Boy’s Furby stopped talking. After sobbing for a day, he fashioned a coffin for it… he wrote RIP on the top in texta, and everything. All well and good, but when he went on a playdate yesterday he insisted on taking the Dearly Departed with him. Playmate’s Mum was a bit startled, but she took it well, I thought.

    He’ll be turning his Lego men into mutes, soon, mark my words. I think he got a top hat with the Lego magician.

  336. I need new glasses. I read ‘magician’ as ‘mortician’.
    Either that or it just seemed like the natural order of things for your children to disembowel a furby as retribution for two days of the silent treatment.

  337. I hope that, when Elf Boy grows up, he meets his own sweet Wednesday Addams.

  338. Hehehe.

    Can’t you see their sweet, gloomy, homicidal offspring?

    You know, I wanted to call Magic Man “Damien”, but I was over-ruled.

    • Doesn’t that sort of thing skip a generation? Your grandkids will probably go into humanitarian work. Who knows? One of them may win a Nobel prize. Your great grandchildren, however, will probably go into politics. Or dentistry…..

      • “Son be a dennnntist – you’ll be a success!”

  339. Flash: Al has put a brilliant idea on Twitter and I am stealing it forthwith. Gift-wrap some batteries with a note “Toy not Included”. I’m listing the kids who are getting that. Hehehehe

  340. I used to give my sister batteries, to offset the toys I gave my nephews. Then I discovered that electronic toys start beeping when the batteries are almost flat. This almost always happens at two in the morning. So this year I’m giving her a hammer.

  341. Hehehe.

    Child sneaks under Christmas tree to rattle boxes.

    “Oh, what’s in this one from Uncle Humpy? It’s really heavy, it must be awesome.”

    Catty, I wish someone would give me a hammer. Then I could use the “trialling a new present” plea when charged with my sister’s manslaughter.

  342. I had taken that scenario into account when purchasing the hammer. If I’d lived anywhere within a 12 hour drive, I’d have ditched the idea for fear she would do exactly the same thing. But I’m safe here.

    Actually, her present to me just arrived by mail yesterday. It must be a clock. It’s ticking quite loudly.

  343. Hmm.

    Might be best to store that one in a bucket of water, Catty – or even maybe a nice 44 gallon drum of something inert…

    Do they supply that airport fire-retardant foam in domestic quantities?

  344. You know the answer to that as well as any mum with young boys. Of COURSE they do.

  345. Bunnings has all that crap, including the scented variation of the gift that keeps giving:

    Xmas is already giving me the smurfs, big time, and that’s just buying for the kids. I did the rounds of Indooroopilly Squealing Town yesterday & still need to go into the city to finish it off.
    I am so glad I have finally beaten it into everyone around me that I loathe XMas with a passion and if it was left to me we’d all be giving each other pregnant ducks & organic toilets for a family in Somalia.

  346. Oh. I was hoping for a hippopotamus….

  347. That was my favorite John Howard Children’s book title suggestion at twitter: ‘There’s a refugee on my roof eating cake’.
    heh heh.
    Villawood…let them eat cake…genius innuendo.

  348. Fifi was a bit upset by the Molly Meldrum ladder-fail. I got a kiss for no apparent reason (not that I don’t always deserve it) and she looked a little shaken. Sometimes I think these things are harder on the family than the prat who gets injured. Must admit I paused for thought a bit. Lot of ‘if’s’ in there but I do remember thinking that head first was not going to be good, hence the aged acrobatics to reach the gutter and get my feet pointing down. I feel very lucky just at the moment.

    Met an old friend as we were both leaving the Wesley back in April. She’d just been told her husband had liver cancer and about two weeks to live. At first he responded really well to the chemo and some tumours shrank, while the others stopped growing. He was able to go home and live almost normally for a little while. But she sent an email earlier this week and it’s flared up very aggressively and he’s too weak for surgery or chemo. Or to have visitors. My age, happy guy, nice kids and a “lot of plans that didn’t include dying” as she said. I think it might be time to eat, drink & be merry – not because it’s Xmas but just because we can. Find someone you love & give them a hug. Or if Mayhem’s around, head for that naughty spa.

    • My inlaws just had evaporative cooling installed. As soon as the installer left on Thursday, my FIL was up on the roof checking it out. The last two times he’s climbed anything, he’s fallen off and hurt himself, so the MIL stood next to the house screaming at him to get down. Later that night, she heard about Molly. Instead of kissing her husband, she got incredibly drunk and spent the evening screaming “I TOLD YOU SO!” and “THAT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU, YOU IDIOT!” (etc.) until she passed out.

      There you go, Greybeard. You can add Fifi to your list of things to be thankful for.

      Meanwhile, Friday was the FIL’s birthday. At the birthday celebrations, I was chatting with a family friend. She complained that she has been very busy this week. “Christmas parties?” I asked. “No”, she replied. “Funerals”. Suddenly my busy week didn’t seem half so annoying.

      Now. Tell us more about this Naughty Spa. I’m intrigued!

  349. A few sobering days, indeed. However, GB, you have an out… two actually. Only the good die young, and the Devil looks after his own.


    You’ll be around for ages yet.

    Q, I went to TWO Christmas parties yesterday. All I can say in favour of either of them is that rumballs were not served.

    Actually, at the karate one they hacked apart a watermelon with their bare hands, which was kind of cool.

    Catty, I’ve got a hippopotamus on back order for you, but I’ve got to warn you, I think batteries will be an issue… it takes 158 D cells.

    • I LOVE rumballs. They’re hard to get now, as ball-harvesting has left the rum on the brink of extinction.

  350. I don’t understand why you’d gift your sisters with batteries, when a luge board is the obvious choice as the gift that keeps giving.

  351. I like to give gift cards from obscure shops, like Gamers Paradise, or Christian Literature, or Beleza’s Schoolwear. To make things interesting, I get the card for odd amounts, such as $23.88.

    Yes, I’m a bitch.

  352. Hehehe… luge board.

    Actually, you could be on to something with the obscure vouchers, Catty. I’ll make them myself with Clip Art. One for 38% more daily compassion, a six-month’s supply of patience, an Empathy Boost, and a coupon for unlimited taking-a-deep-breath-and-counting-to-ten before you speak.

    I’ll staple them into a little booklet entitled “Social Skills for the Awkward and Unpleasant”.

  353. I’ll take a dozen. They’ll make great gifts, as long as you remember to put the ‘subject to availability’ disclaimer in the fine print.

  354. Hehehe.

    Empathy might not be available in all areas. After you have used your allotted 2G of patience, your fuse may be shortened until the next billing cycle. Please confirm your local compassion connectivity via the map on our website, http://www.growupandplaynicely.com.au.

  355. Well. All happy are we? had our breakfasts? Then cop an eyeful of this:


    Worst family photo of the year.

  356. Greybeard, I didn’t know you were blonde!

  357. You know what struck me… they’re all SO clean!

    If my children get much dirtier this holidays, authorities will snatch them off the street and pack them off to Villawood.

  358. The Bloke loathes fridge magnets and car stickers, but I think I’ve finally found one that he’d wholeheartedly approve of:

  359. Oh, yes, Q.

    I saw one yesterday that I still find deeply disturbing. There was the usual line-up of blah along the bottom of the rear window… and then up at the top near the brake-light, there was an angel stick-figure.

    I thought, “Surely no-one could be that crass? Surely that doesn’t represent Old Dead Mumma #1?”

    But the fear that yes, indeed it did haunts me still.

  360. I can just imagine the trailer trash budget product, Mama stick figure inside a tippexed coffin.
    I caught Mama Cat this am & dispatched her to the council gas chambers. Am taking the cat trap back to outer whoop whoop this arvo as 1. I don’t think I can face trapping the remaining feral adults between now & xmas and 2. The tupperware terminator is also located in outer whoop whoop and I might as well pick up my order while I’m out there – seeing as I have plans to spend tomorrow out bayside with a girlfriend trying to pretend I haven’t just betrayed my own species.
    I am off to purchase dinner ingredients from Hell – er, Big Brother’s Monopoly Food Mart. Starvation seems preferable, but it seems unfair and imprudent to starve the bloke for 2 days and then send him forth to spend the next four days coping with his brother’s Fry It all in Butter approach to cooking. Did I tell you he’s already started waking up in a cold sweat, dreaming of the horror of it all?
    I on the other hand have a lunatic free festive season all mapped out, and just so I don’t feel like I’m missing out, the next in line of the Lynda La Plante nasty serial killer books to hunker down with at night.

  361. Poor, poor bloke.

    On Friday I descend into Hell along with him… or our family’s version of it, anyway. Remind him from me not to pay the ferryman until he reaches his destination.

    When you say “lunatic-free”, though, it sounds like you’ve forgotten we’re all coming over for Anti-Christmas Eve.

    Or perhaps we count as mere free-range idiots, rather than actual lunatics?

  362. And remember, you can’t have Anti-Christmas without Anti-Christ. No wait, NowhereBob won’t be there will he?

  363. Damn, GB – you’ve spoiled the Anti-Christmas surprise.

  364. I think I need to start using day names.
    The Bloke has been insisting that Xmas is on Saturday but my calendar says Sunday. His pathological need to have it over before it’s begun is starting to do my head in.
    And no, there will be no Magnums here, unless someone gets lucky in the back of my freezer.

  365. Hehehe.

    Before you go into Q’s freezer, ya gotta ask yourself – do ya feel lucky, punk? Well – do ya?

    Christmas is definitely Sunday. I know, because there are four sleeps left until it.

  366. One more sleep until the last day of school. Five more sleeps until Boxing Day sales. Six more sleeps until I can have a freaking sleep-in. If anyone expects me to get out of bed at all on the 27th, they’re in for a shock.

    • Sorry, what was your number again?

  367. My lucky number’s one.

    (There’s something in the air beside the atmosphere…)

    Anyone else remember Lene Lovich?

  368. Oh yes. I had that album on tape, blasting on the car stereo until it turned to confetti due to heat and OCD.
    I believe the LL number best suited to the season is this one, though:

  369. Good one, Q.

    For some reason, all this Lene Lovich reminded me of Danielle Dax. Here, for your AntiChristmas enjoyment, is Cathouse:

  370. That’s how I always imagined Patsy from Ab Fab would have been in her youth.
    Which was 1950 if you believe Edina’s mother.
    I’ve just been wading through the ‘coming soon’ releases at the cinema and see that they’re finally bringing out the first Stephanie Plum film. I wonder how it will go? Love Janet Evanovich, they’re a favorite summer read, but always thought it would be hard to get them to translate into films. Ranger and Morelli just don’t seem to have the level of bad, mad and dangerous that I’d come to expect of their characters in the books.
    Ranger looks more like an ex model than an ex columbian special services marine or whatever TF his seedy history was, prior to being a bounty hunter.
    Movie releases of favorite books, they have a lot to live up to.
    Then again Janet must be giggling, having already sold squillions of the series, if the movie does OK, she’ll double her sales.
    Win for the author. Good to see.

  371. Ooh, I’m excited! Yet anxious.

    I love these books SO MUCH that it will be very hard for a film adaptation to live up to my imagination, through the course of many re-readings.

    A shame if they’ve decided to play up the well-groomed aspect of Ranger, rather than his dangerous, overpoweringly masculine vibe. This is a man who’s supposed to make women swoon just by entering a room… not flock to him to ask where he gets his eyebrows waxed.

  372. “his dangerous, overpoweringly masculine vibe. This is a man who’s supposed to make women swoon just by entering a room… not flock to him to ask where he gets his eyebrows waxed.” Ah! So that’s the secret of my animal magnetism – my wild, untamed eyebrows. Who knew?

  373. Umm… I didn’t really mean….

    Yes, Greybeard, it’s all in the eyebrows. I mean, look at John Howard!

  374. That was one of my top 10 favorite John Howard book title suggestions at twitter: The Very Hairy Caterpillar (on my forehead).
    Yep, looking forward to the movie but once you’ve imagined the characters it’s very hard to get actors to match up to the inner world you’ve created in response to the writer’s work.
    Which is why I have so much respect for directors & casting agents who do manage to do a great job of it. speaking of which, we may have to plough through the lord of the rings trilogy again this holidays. The Hobbit is due out soon, and I believe the movie Prometheus is due out next year. Prequel to the Alien’s quadrology (or whatever the right word is for that).
    Meanwhile I have had a friend’s teenage niece here all morning, helping with the unfinished window/screen cleaning that last week’s so called professional cleaners failed to do to my satisfaction, before incurring my wrath & being turfed out. She worked at a similar pace and did a much better job. Win. I may get her back to help me spring clean the kitchen after Xmas. No matter how hard I try I never get more than a few cupboards done before the avalanche of tupperware and cocky shit does my head in, and I give up and open a book. I know nobody else but me & my insane OCD medically trained family can see dirt in my house but my, it makes my neurotransmitters tingle all over once I know that it’s gone.

  375. Hehehe. So she does windows – but does she travel? I could use a hand with, oh, pretty much everything.

    As for the dirt phobia and OCD, Q, perhaps you need a Himalayan salt lamp… positive ions might give you that tingle without the need to clean.

    I was just given a HSL for Christmas and whether or not it has any therapeutic benefit, it does cast a lovely soft pink light.

    Embarking on our voyage this morning, so may not be on-line much. See the Brisbane chapter tomorrow!

  376. Right. Will text you if there’s anything you need to know. Otherwise see you at my place, any time after 11am.
    And as for ‘does she travel?’ well yes, actually.
    She’s off to England to spend 6 months studying…wait for it ….Town Planning.
    I’m hoping that 3 hours in our lovely light, breezy Not a Queenslander house, she’ll see the light and turn away from the Dark Side.
    She was, as are most folk, a little taken aback by the fact that there’s no front door. Until I pointed out that we had two perfectly good front doors up until the point 10 years ago when I decided that was a much better place to put the kitchen sink, and I shunted the front doors out the back.
    I said that we’d been trying to figure out the ideal place to put a front door since then, but there was this slight hitch in the process called Character Code. ‘Need I explain, or is that Enough Said?’
    She laughed and said she got it, so this is a good thing.
    Perhaps I should see if all the town planning students can come out here on a field trip. If nothing else climbing all the stairs from road to footpath to house (at least 7mH) should persuade them all of the necessity to read elevations on plans before they suggest you dispense with the need for ugly steel reinforced concrete retaining walls.
    See you tomorrow, MM. Looking forward to it.

  377. Mmmm…. reinforced concrete retaining walls. I could use a few walls here. Specifically, to build a little retreat where I can hide when my pigle… kidlets, and the hog… the Boss, start piggifying the house.

    Honestly, it’s impossible to keep up with four slobs – especially when their filth is coated with a thick layer of tinsel. My poor OCD panties are in a right twist. Not so much because of the piggery. But because my keys are lost somewhere amongst the slagheaps of abandoned crap. If I don’t find them soon, I may have a meltdown. And that won’t be pretty. Despite the tinsel.

  378. *shudders* – remembering the afternoon I lost my car keys at Ikea. it took us a week to find the spare car key (The great Loser of Keys in our household finally found it. Men. Snort) I’ll have to order another one, that was a moment of true horror I never want to relive.
    Catty I believe what you want is a panic room, but in lieu of your own, feel free to flee your family and leave them fend for themselves & come join me on the couch here, drinking tea and reading whodunnits and ignoring life’s little responsibilities. All this starts Sunday and the twitchy little high scoring introvert in me can’t wait. I know it’s antisocial, I know it’s anti-Xmas, but for me that’s the best thing about Xmas – once it’s all over and you can sit and do nothing & order takeaway again. Bliss.
    The Bloke rang this morning and muttered about waking up to the unfamiliar sight of slagheaps of abandoned crap & how he misses my neurotic need to create order out of chaos. So while I’m cooking I’m going to have an hour’s silence in honor of my sister-in-law who has had the whole GD lot of them descend upon her household so that not one member of the family is able to sleep in their own beds for the next six days – at which point the plague of whining, boozing human locusts ups and leaves.
    God help her. I got the smurfs with the fact that the bloke hadn’t done his Xmas shopping by last Sunday so while I was in the city I bought her a bag full of Lush bath bombs and moisturizers and such. She loves all that stinky girly crap and doesn’t have access to the shop to sniff everything. A waste, really, that I live so close to it & yet the ten minutes that it took me to make my selection & escape the fracking joint left me sneezing and my eyes streaming for a full five hours afterwards.
    Anyway, I hope that’ll be some consolation for enduring the horror of the Bloke’s parents at Xmas.
    Meh. Well, I’m off to shake and bake. Thank Dog it’s only 24C here, that’s one mercy at least – at least the ambient temperature isn’t greater than that of the oven.

  379. 24ºC? Crikey, it’s been 30+ here for the last four days. Just the mention of the word ‘oven’, and I start sweating.

    Speaking of ovens… I haven’t made my Christmas cake or my shortbread yet, and I’ll have to get up before dawn to do it, so the house doesn’t melt. I’m not complaining, though, as that’s all the cooking I have to do this weekend. The Boss has volunteered to slap up a barbeque tomorrow, and Sunday we’ll be at the in-laws for Christmas dinner. Yay!

    Now I’m going to shave my legs. Not that they need it, but… oh, o.k. You got me. They need it.

  380. Meh and double meh. Despite my best efforts to put an end to it, the house is filling up with sulphite laden sweets that I can’t eat and booze that I can’t drink. I’m going to have to work harder to make people understand that I am the reason those Oxfam Give A Goat cards exist.
    Meanwhile, I made the pies I’m taking for lunch on C-day & have shoved them in the freezer, the better to turn them into popsicles.
    Nice work dodging the Xpocalypse feast prep, Catty.
    And why shave, when with just a little more length, you can braid?
    I thought we’d discussed the feather and bead adornments back there somewhere.

  381. Yes, the braids were lovely. But the excessive heat, humidity and concomitant perspiration have turned my pretty braids into dreadlocks. Shave I must, or risk being called ‘mon’.

  382. Mon is still preferable to Ho.

  383. I left most of my wardrobe at home, through a freak packing accident.

    Smurf me.

    So I’ll be celebrating Christmas in the black jeans and black t-shirt I drove down in.

    Still, if I’d had the choice I would have preferred to bring the gifts and forget the threads, as happened, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. Now the mad dash to Woolies to buy the batteries I also forget. I

    I’d forget my head if it wasn’t… hang on a tick…. No, it’s ok, just checked. I did manage to remember my own head.

    Commiserations on the sucky weather, Catty. It’s been raining in Brisvegas all night and currently gloriously drizzling, cool and grey. Perfect AntiChristmas weather!

  384. They promised me rain and thunderstorms. I got a sauna.

    I also got my electricity bill. (Yeah, Merry Christmas, Catty.) Despite using almost exactly the same amount of power, my bill is 40% higher. Literally.

    Smurfing smart meters.

    I’m using electricity right now. My fabulous alleged Christmas cake is in the oven, and I’m just about to start making the little shortbread flowers. Then it will be time to make the Irish Cream and Russian caramels.

    Then I might get around to doing that leg shaving I didn’t end up starting last night. Or I might finish the novel I DID get around to starting last night. It depends on whether or not the Boss notices that I didn’t vacuum yesterday.

    Commiserations on the mourning garb, Madam. On a positive note, black is very slimming. And if you get too sweaty, nobody will crowd you at the buffet. I myself won’t be showering today or tomorrow, and plan on sitting next to my MIL’s cheesecake. Anyone brave enough to come close to me will have well and truly earned a slice.

  385. Genius, MM. If you refuse to bathe or apply deodorant until you’re safely back in your own house, the aura that surrounds you may repel intimate contact with significant others.
    Catty, we missed you at lunch today. One day we will have the technology to skype you in. Well, not me and MM, obviously, but the techheads, perhaps. Happy Xmas Eve, folks. I am off to have a nice relaxing bath and a mild panic as I wonder if I’ve got my sh…smurf sorted out for tomorrow.
    If I don’t get here tomorrow am it’s because I’m either doing early baking or am walking the dog.
    Bon Soir.

  386. Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

    In our house, we also celebrate it as sledging day, kicking day, punching day and trying to trip your brother down the slate-tiled stairs day.

    Well, the paintball crossbows didn’t have enough oomph to explode the balls, and I ran out helium before I could inflate air shark.

    Please remind me not to buy any gifts which require assembly or lighter-than-air gasses next year. Lumps of two-be-four for all!

  387. We had a drunk uncle, a crying grandmother, a blocked toilet, and an essential piece of a kidlet’s present lost/stolen/eaten by a cousin. Or possibly the drunk uncle.

    Overall, though, It was a good Christmas, and the kidlets loved their presents. I loved mine, too. (The cat was Greebo, darling Madam! Yay! I love Greebo.). And the only leftovers are pavlova, Baileys, and alleged Christmas cake. Does it get any better?

    I hope you all had a happy day too. LYLT!

  388. Gosh Catty, how’d Santy fit the blocked toilet in his sack without spreading effluent into the Joy Joy Joy we’ve got down in our hearts?
    (the neighbour’s music is still boring into my soul – argh! and that’s the neighbours at Caloundra, where I spent the day)

    I’m still in shock from finding myself in agreement with Lobes at CBG i.e. ‘thank christ that’s over’. Finally last night the bloke weakened and sent me the ‘kill me now’ text – 6 days with his family is doing his head in. Apparently my SIL snapped yesterday & lost it with one of the kids. Most unfair as whatever his sins, they are very good kids and she really should have snapped and lost it at our evil Parents-in-law, who are the ones to blame for driving her nuts and filling the house with an unpleasant atmosphere of disharmony & tension.
    The bloke rang this morning and announced that next Xmas we are going away somewhere that we don’t have to do Xmas & where his parents cannot find nor follow us. Which is a pleasant change from three days before Xmas this year when he was all teary, wishing that we had kids to take away to enjoy all the fun and festivity with his family. Snort. Like we could afford their therapy.
    Its like every year his memory fails him & he thinks they’ll be different from what they were every other year of his life.
    He’s coming home tonight, and just to rub it in & really remind him of why he should appreciate my This Is Sparta approach to Xmas & interior decorating in general, tomorrow I have plans to drag him out to see one of my bestie’s Xmas decorations.
    I do tend to attract opposites – this one is a clutter collector so at the best of times her house would give him hives – but at Xmas, being a fan of Old English Sheepdogs, and owning two, she gets out the Xmas tree and completely buries it in Old English Sheepdog decorations. And thanks to her passion for hunting these things down on ebay, there’s now a smaller second tree in another room, also covered in the ESD decorations. And the ESD nativity set, and a whole heap of other stuff that I was too dazzled to take in, including – nailed over the front gate – santa’s sleigh full of goodies, being hauled along by a pack of Old English sheep dogs.
    It’s like the zoo – fun to visit but you wouldn’t want to sleep there.
    Her husband thinks it all deserves a page to itself in the DSM-IV, so he usually makes her take it down the day after boxing day. So I’ve had to beg her to leave it up and extra day…the clause was that if it’s doing her husband’s head in, though, his sanity should take priority.
    Well, in closing, I am in full agreement with Lobes.
    Thank Christ that’s over.
    I spent the entire day on the couch yesterday with my feet elevated above my head, waiting for normal sensation to reappear, and I made it through my latest Lynda La Plante with no pesky interruptions. Bliss.
    Now to wait for the next one to come into the library.
    Meanwhile, I had another crazy dream that doesn’t require any of Catty’s brilliant dream interpretation.
    Last night I dreamed that a selection of my most unpleasant OCD aunts were showing me exactly how you clean a fridge properly & were shaking their heads at my pathetic inability to remove mold from the door seals.
    You know what that means?
    It’s time to clean the fridge.
    I know this for a fact because when I had the crew around the other day, I tried to supplement Mrs. D’s gluten free diet with a Tasmanian Brie that I pulled out of the crisper. It was so hard we needed Greybeard’s axe to cut it. Baffled, i checked the wrapper and discovered it was Use By Three Months ago.
    It is definitely time to clean out the fridge when the contents are likely to poison your house guests. No wonder I had nightmares about the OCD aunts. I’m sure they’ve been turning in their graves and shrieking ever since I reached for the cheese. So in order to avoid further haunting & restore peace in the underworld, guess what I’ll be doing today?
    Mm. Fun.
    My only sorrow is that I don’t have an air shark circling the room to distract me from the mold spores. Speaking of which, did you guys get those things airborne?

  389. When you’re done with your fridge, feel free to come over and do mine.

    The Boss went to his parents’ last night. He had an almighty row with his family and stormed home. His mother followed him, so we got to witness the tail end of the barney in the back yard. *Sigh*. It reminded me of Christmas with my own family. Actually, every day with my family.

    Speaking of fridges, I just helped a kidlet find the bread. It’s yesterday’s bread, but he’s making toast so that’s o.k. I found it behind a box of custard tarts and vanilla slices the neighbours gave us for Christmas. I’d forgotten about them. What’s the fridge life of a vanilla slice? As the dentist said to Dustin, “Is it safe?”. Ah, blow it. I’m off to have two-day-old vanilla slice for breakfast. If I die, someone else will have to clean out the fridge.

    Meanwhile, if you’re lurking out there Mayhem, my phone has died (again). Is today still on? If so, you may have to send an email or call my landline to pass on the details.

  390. Nemo had a few good days but he’s now floundering along the floor. Lego was the winner for Christmas and henceforth shall be my only present choice. Remind me of this come next October, if you’d be so kind.

    I’m glad you like Greebo, Catty. I believe it was said of him that he could sexually harass someone just by sitting quietly in the next room.

    Well, Boxing Day finished on a high in these parts. While friends and kids were over for a BBQ, MM – allegedly by accident – threw a jagged-edged pool toy at EB, cutting his forehead open. By the time I got to him about a third of his head was covered in blood – diluted in pool water it really went a long way – and I frantically searched through wet hair and blood to make sure one of his eyes wasn’t lolling out of the socket.

    Just a small cut, but it bled for a while. EB quickly passed through shock – full-on, teeth chattering pallor to a vehement rage that burned with red-hot fury long after I’d controlled the bleeding. He was on my lap screaming “His fault! His fault!” alternated with “Punish MM! Punish him!!”. I’ve got a steristrip on it at the moment, but I don’t think he’s realized the full extent of the horror – no swimming for at least a week.

  391. The Boss gave me an inflatable rowboat for Christmas. I’m sure it had nothing at all to do with the fishing/camping trip he’s planning with the oldest kidlet, and I am looking forward to the next hot day so I can row my lovely new boat around the swimming pool.

    My linen press is full of soft drink and foot powder. I have no idea why.

  392. Catty this is the last tweet I heard from Bedes:
    ‘230 to 330pm ish near either the Corner Hotel Richmond or Y+Js’
    The others have all been muttering ‘see you at the corner’.
    I have asked for confirmation from intelligent life forms (Bangar) so will keep you posted if I see any change of plans appear.
    I think Mayhem is caught up with family stuff this morning so she may not see your Lost in Space distress beacon.
    Looks like the time for you to escape is drawing near, I hope you all have a fun and therapeutic catch up.

  393. Yep. Confirmed. Will email you MM’s number just in case.

  394. Sorry MM. Had to engage the faulty normality filter.
    Give me a minute while I process this from ‘How clever of MM to get a hit so close to the jugular. Relax. The urge to kill a sibling, particularly at Xmas, is a normal and healthy reflex, and something to be encouraged.’
    Bzzt. Fail. Type in new program ‘Oh dear. How distressing for all of you. How is the dear child faring today?’
    It’s the T888 programming. The new upgrade just won’t take.
    You’ll just have to cope with Evil Me.
    How clever of MM to disable his brother so that they can’t share a swimming pool or an ocean for at least a week. Tell him he’s earned my respect and admiration. Say, does he still have this weapon? If I photo of my sister, who is up your way for the hols, I’ll give him $20 for a direct hit between the eyebrows.

  395. What a shame that I’ll have to refuse MM’s first professional gig, but we flung the offending pool toy straight into the bin, which was emptied this morning.

    The assault was not so clever, though, because we’re keeping MM out of the water in sympathy.

    Catty, if I was closer I’d come round and break a bottle of champagne over your bow. Or we could drink the bubbles and then wee on the new boat, either or.

  396. We have lift off. twitvid.com/HZYTV Insane cackles all round.

  397. Actually http://www.twitvid.com/HZYTV might work.

  398. Looks like you had much more luck inflating yours than I did, GB.

    What’s your secret?

    • According to Humpybong, it’s hot air & lots of it. I dunno. Just got a tank from Spotlight & kept filling? Even did a Mythbusters-style small scale test first. And I think there’s more to play with.

  399. And now, ladies and – well mainly persons of the feminine persuasion anyway. A website to tempt and amaze you:


    Yes, you too can purchase almost anything (but not weapons grade plutonium) at Silk Road. Makes you wonder why we don’t just accept that Blade Runner was eerily prophetic and let everyone get on with it.

  400. Don’t talk to me about underground drug websites. Some bastard viagara spammer has hacked into my hotmail account and keeps sending links to their stinky viagara website to all the people in my contacts list. Bastards. I’ve spent a few hours today trying to beef up the security on my account to keep the nasty little bastards out. It probably won’t work, and I’ll end up having to close that account and start a new one – which will be a major pain in the arse. I hope the spammers all get leprosy. And impotence. And halitosis. And nits. And boils, too. Lots and lots of boils. Did I say Bastards? Bastards.

  401. Thanks, GB. Soon I won’t have to worry about the festive season… or, indeed, about anything!

    Poor Catty!

    The same thing happened to my Live account. You can solve it pretty easily by changing the password to something complicated with upper and lower case and numbers, for preference. Still, I’ve found Gmail more impenetrable and their spam filters are top-notch, too. Straightforward interface, too, uncluttered with all of that Microsoft crap. Good luck.

  402. Yep, I gave up on my hotmail account years ago and switched to gmail and at least the bulk of the spam gets sent straight to the spam trap. Curiously, so does the occasional response from some legit contact. Weird, but such is cyberspace.
    Glad you all survived Xmas. Poor Catty, poisoned by treats – you have my sympathies. I know I’m a Grinch but truly, Xmas is a FKN disaster when it comes to trying to eat food that isn’t poisoned with additives and preservatives. And that’s with me trying to avoid the worst offenders, namely alcohol and dried fruit. My insides still don’t feel right from coping with the salad dressing on C-day. Argh. Oh well, it’s over.
    Invariably there were those that either ignored or were unaware of my No FKN Xmas Crap rules so I got laden down with bottles of wine & preservative & glucose laden sweets. Sigh. This year I didn’t bother holding onto them and passed them onto others with the ‘someone gave me this and I’m allergic, do you want it?’ Now to find a tactful way of responding to the ‘Did you enjoy my IBS inducing Xmas gifts?’
    ‘No, but I found someone that did’ is hardly likely to go down too well, I’d say.
    The Bloke is indeed pleased to be home, we did Xmas here today and had the joy of watching the one cat that’s speaking to him chew up the Xmas wrap. Actually the cat was more intent on chewing on the bloke so hopefully that’s sated their lust for blood at being abandoned and left with The Witch.
    Right. Well, the bloke has reappeared with my McBacon buttie so I’m off to grease up.

  403. Ugh. The thought of McBacon makes me want to hurl. I must be sicker than I thought.

  404. Grabbed a friend and took our amalgamated kids to see “we miss you magic land!” at GOMA today.

    Absolutely fabulous – as soon as it is no longer school holidays you should head off and see it, Q


    Last day in the Big Smoke, home tomorrow. You know you’ve been away too long when you even miss the chooks.

    Feeling better, I hope, Catty?

  405. We’ve spent the day checking out houses in Bendigo. After the first house, the Boss complained he could hear something weird in the engine. A quick look under the bonnet, and we were frantically searching for a mechanic. We spotted an Ultratune and pulled in, just in time. They had the part we needed, and fixed the car within an hour, at – get this – a reasonable price. Turns out the mechanic used to work for Kia, so he had no trouble fixing ours. It also turns out that he had moved from our suburb to Bendigo 10 years ago, so the Boss got some advice from him about the best (and worst) areas in town. All in all, it was a good thing the car crapped itself where and when it did. We’ve pretty much decided Bendigo is the place to move to. Now I have no more excuses to avoid packing all our crap. Joy!

    Glad to hear you’re having fun, Madam. I miss chooks too. I haven’t eaten one in days.

  406. Bendigo, hey?

    Well, there are no obvious comedic possibilities from the name, so you could be on a winner, Catty.

    Maybe something about limboing… Q: How’s Keefe Rastaman doing in the limbo Olympics?
    A: Fabulous! Only one bend to go.

    I’ll work on it.

  407. Maybe it’s an impotence cure? Bendy go?

    Maybe not.

  408. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bendygirl
    When in doubt of a bad taste pun, consult the urban dictionary.
    Perhaps you could come up with a new Bendigo football team theme song to the tune of Maclom McLaren’s Buffalo Gals.
    That’s all I’ve got.
    That said, we are doing our usual Post Xmas trawl through some epic DVD favorites. We’re up to the third installment of Lord of the Rings. My, that Peter Jackson is a clever fellow. Can’t wait for the hobbit to come out.
    How’s family chaos and school holidays treating you, ladies (and lurkers).
    Did Granny really fall down the blocked loo and fracture her hip, Catty?
    If that doesn’t inspire me back into my bendy-girl classes this year, nothing will.
    Now. Where was I?
    That’s right. Couch. Wide screen TV. Tub of pineapple sorbet from the local DIY gelati man.
    Tatty bye now.

    • Yes, Quokka. Well… sort of. She slipped on the overflow, and when she tried to get up she slipped again – and broke her hip. Poor love is going to be in hospital for a fair while. It won’t be so bad, as long as she stays drunk, but I think the nurses are getting suspicious about all those bottles of “soda water” my MIL keeps taking in.

  409. Home! Ah, home, sweet home.

    Well, it will be sweet when I have it to myself again in a week’s time. But still, I have a bedroom door that shuts. Hurrah!

    Good old Coolum. Somehow I managed to wander off to the big smoke for a week leaving my front door wide open. No theft, no trashing – but regrettably nobody wandered in and tidied up, either.

    A sweet, sweet friend gave me Explosive Eighteen for Xmas and I’ve just finished enjoying that. Now, in the spirit of the silly season, I’m off to dive into a paranormal romance and ignore my house guests.

    Enjoy the last of 2011, my lovelies.

  410. New Year’s Eve! Yay…

    And tomorrow, dear Morgana, you can nail your Christmas present to the wall. That’s always fun. (Unless you got a puppy for Christmas.) I won’t be nailing my present to anything for a few days – it’s too hot to use the iron, and I still can’t make up my mind which jacket shall bear the badge of bacon. Did I mention that I love you, Madam?

    It’s a scorcher outside. It’s so hot that the MIL has announced she won’t be visiting her mum today. Grandma won’t be lonely, though, as we fully intend to avail ourselves of the hospital airconditioning. Give it half an hour, and she’ll probably be begging us to get our little monsters out of the ward. Poor love. They stuck pins in her hip, but it still looks like she’ll never walk again. Which means she will probably go to a nursing home when they kick her out of hospital.

    Other than visiting grandma, I doubt we’ll get out of the pool (or in my case, the row boat) this weekend. Except when we need to pee. I hope.

  411. I love the bacon badges. I have some for the people up here, too, but I’ll have to give them to them on some non-Christmas occasion, since Q is allergic.

    Speaking of loving, I am still chuckling over my calendar. I think my fave is “I could tell you, but your head would probably explode.” Also love the squee little ornaments, and keep meaning to post photos of them in situ… but then I subside into a post-pudding slump and do nothing.

    Poor Grandma. Hips going in elderly ladies is no joke. Still, if she’s determined enough she might get up and around again. Hope she’s managing to keep her spirits up.

    Can’t believe how hot it’s been down there – here I don’t think we’ve made it to 30 much. That’s not a complaint, btw. I’m smug as anything as I snuggle under my doona. Thanks, global warming!

  412. Oh Catty, that is bad news. Fractured hips in old ladies are buggers of things.
    I feel for her.
    That’s up in the top 5 of bad ends I’d like to avoid, if I make it into old age.
    Glad that you two are enjoying Xmas toys, although I for one am pleased that this year I managed to get off fairly lightly. And I managed to dispatch what allergy-inducing food & drink came my way early in the piece, so it’s not sitting round niggling at me.
    Joy of joys is that nothing stinky this way came.
    Last time the Bloke’s teenage niece was here, we went off to Lush – hers & her mother’s favorite shop – where I managed to demonstrate that regardless of what fragrance you put on my skin, within 10 minutes my body has somehow transformed it into mortein. Heh heh heh. Her eyes practically popped out of her head in horror and amazement. She won’t forget that experience in a hurry.
    Just went back into the lush shop as I think my SIL deserves some token of appreciation for putting up with our PILs for 6 days of bile and horror. Found yet another sales girl who didn’t believe my mortein story so I dabbed on the selection of her choice and hovered for ten minutes, then allowed the staff to sniff me. The shop was all but empty so they were aghast, but entertained by my Ripley Alien 4 variety fragrance repelling skin.
    Unfortunately I’ve now had 3 efforts at scrubbing my arms to get the fracking stink off me but it looks like my skin has well and truly sucked it in. Plus side, no mosquito, flea or midge is coming anywhere near me till my body has metabolized this horror and spits the floral chemicals out, reshaped as mortein.
    SIL should be happy with the care package, though.
    Meanwhile I am enjoying having some sloth time with the Bloke. I do love the holidays after Xmas when nothing happens and nobody moves. Ah, peace.
    Watched all three of the Lord of the Rings DVDs and have progressed onto the last two harry potters. Meanwhile I have some cooking to do as all of my favorite takeaway places seem to be shutting down for Xmas. No sushi (worth eating) till the 9th Jan – Arghh!
    Oh well.
    I’m off to have another scrubbing session, the Bloke reckons he’s losing the power of smell, vision and taste from exposure to the toxic fumes emanating from me.
    Heh heh heh.
    Some of us just weren’t biologically programmed to be girly girls.
    That or it’s true, and I really do have some of that Ripley Alien DNA circulating around my body.
    Happy New Year ladies.
    I say it now because we all know I’ll be asleep well before it happens. And I have plans to make savory muffins and a chicken korma between now and the ukelele renditions of Old Lang Syne hit my suburb.
    Although I am thankful that ukeleles do seem to have replaced tribal drums as the Woodford musical trend of choice.

  413. Happy New Year everyone! We saw in the New Year by turning on every TV in the house, but on different channels. They were all completely out of synch, so we got to see in 2012 three times. And then my kidlets and our friends’ children played half a dozen different songs, all at once, on a variety of mismatched instruments. Fortunately, none of the instruments was a ukelele.

  414. Happy New Year!

    I saw the new year in by taking myself off to bed with a good book before 8:30 pm. Start as you mean to continue, I say.

    Q, I’m coming back to Brissie around the 11th of Jan +/- a few days. Perhaps we can visit The Only Decent Sushi together to celebrate it’s re-opening?

    Catty, I’ve got a dream for you to interpret. I’ve got people coming around for MT this morning, so just before I awoke this morning I was having a scone nightmare. For unknown reasons, I cracked 4 eggs into the flour and butter mixture, which then expanded and got extremely gluggy. Somehow, it got wrapped up in my mother’s red velvet tablecloth so all manner of fluff and gunk also got incorporated. Then I went to pre-heat the oven, only to discover when I pulled the oven trays out that there were the remains of several sticky buns that the friends in question had brought over to previous morning teas.


    • O.k. This one shouldn’t have been a nightmare. The cracked eggs are an omen of extremely good fortune. That there were four of them merely points to a superabundance of blessings. (Don’t forget your blog pals when you win Lotto, o.k?)

      The friends that are coming over are important to you. You derive a great deal of spiritual nourishment from them. That’s where the sticky buns come in. They (your friends) bring you a wholesome, yet sweet, emotional satisfaction that lingers long after they’ve gone. (*i.e, they’re loving friends, but not orgy friends. But then, I’m guessing you wouldn’t bake scones for an orgy.)

      The scones you are making become grotty, which shows your inner insecurities. Deep down, you’re afraid that you are only giving your friends the basic necessities of friendship, and that you aren’t as important to them as they are to you. But that’s just your Catholic upbringing, telling you that you’re not quite good enough – or so says your mother’s tablecloth. (You really, really need to get yourself some placemats.)

      So fear not. The fact that you are cooking for your friends indicates that their visits are a great joy to you, and that you delight in nourishing this friendship.

      Also, if your scones -and your friendship – were that crappy, your friends wouldn’t have come back, even if there was an orgy.

      Now. Pass me one of those pretty, red-flecked scones. I’m starving.

  415. Works for me, MM.
    My interpretation of that dream is that you should tell your visitors if they want scones they’ll need to bring their own.
    As you said, start the new year the way you mean to continue.
    heh heh.
    Hope it doesn’t apply to cats, we awoke at 4am to the trail of the vomiting cat. Thought the bloke had cleaned it all up and then discovered another pool of it under my foot in my computer nook.
    Meh,and bleh.

  416. Regrettable.

    So far the children have not vomited this holiday period, and Elf Boy’s head is healing up nicely.

    In only three weeks they’ll be back at school. At the moment I think that’s sad, but ask me again in a week or so.

    Off to the farm tomorrow. No, it’s not a euphemism, the miniature horse stud.

  417. Ooh. Ponies. Do we get a blog, with photos, when you return?

  418. Hehehe.

    Problem is, unless someone’s standing next to them with a ruler, they look like real horses.

    I’ll see what I can do.

  419. Standing next to them with a ruler… What, like Queen Elizabeth? Sorry, but I think you’re out of luck there. She prefers corgis to little horsies.

  420. Yes, but if you position the corgi next to the little horsie that would give us the idea too.
    Ah, Catty. Looks like it’s just you and me on the blog front today, and I have this grand idea that today is fridge cleaning day (sucked in uncle blokesy) and I plan to make a slow simmering curry. I’ve also just made a rash promise to take in house guests from the sunshine coast who are house-hunting for the daughter off to uni so you know what that means – yep, clean the spare bedroom. I swore I wouldn’t do house guests again until we have a front door, but this mob gave us so much hospitality when we were that age that I think it’s time to pay it forward.
    Besides, as the Bloke said, nobody notices there isn’t a front door once you’re actually in here. You don’t use them all that often, really.
    How’s your poor injured Nanna, Catty?

  421. Grandma is very depressed. She keeps telling us she wants to die, poor love. But because she’s a feisty old thing, the way she says it is totally hilarious and nobody is taking her seriously.

    I offered to bring her some champagne to see in the New Year. She said she’d much prefer Drambuie, but not to bother as the nurses wouldn’t allow it. I said we just wouldn’t tell them, would we? But Gran is hard of hearing, so I was shouting. Next thing you know, a nurse is peeking around the curtain, giving us all a Catholic Mother look, and shaking her head. Gran just sighed and said, “Kill me now”.

    That’s kinda how I’m feeling today. Six sets of sheets to wash and hang out, six beds to make…. In this heat, I envy you your fridge cleaning, Quokka. But the Boss has said we must limit opening the fridge to the bare minimum. So all I can do is stick my head in quickly to grab what I need. Right now, what I need is the very last slice of Christmas cake. And tomorrow, I shall incur the Boss’s wrath by turning the oven on to bake another cake. Unless he plans on spending $35 on a Michel’s caramel mudcake, but to be honest I’d prefer the red velvet cake I’m making. Gee, thanks Morgana’s mother’s red velvet tablecloth for putting that one in my head.

  422. Your poor Nanna. Like I said, up there in the top of my list of horrible fates I do not want to meet. And the heat wave you guys are having sounds truly nasty. WTF is going on? northerly winds?
    That day that we met you guys and saw king tut, the wind off the desert just about did my eyes in, I don’t know how you mob survive the crazy weather.
    Cake? Red Velvet?
    Ooh, yummy. That’s those cakes that JB raves about, yes? Where’d you find the recipe? I had a look online and saw a few there but unless it’s in my grandmother’s cookery book or the women’s weekly cake book I’m reluctant to trust the Great Unknown of cyberspace.
    Sounds marvelous. And what’s the special occasion? Don’t you have a birthday sometime soon?
    This year I swear to Dog I am going to tidy up my BD list so that I have some clue as to WTF is going on.

  423. Yes, it’s my birthday tomorrow. There’s lots of recipes online, but I’m nervous about them. Instead, I’m using a White Wings packet mix. Yes, it’s cheating, but I don’t care.

    This weather sucks. I gave up after the fourth bed. Which means the boys’ spare beds will be sheetless until the weather cools down. I don’t give a sheet about that, either.

    Now I have to cook dinner. (We have friends coming over in a couple of hours to avail themselves of our pool.) Why can’t my children eat salad on hot days like everyone else?

  424. Happy Birthday, Catty!!

    Since I had the fixed idea that your birthday was sometime after Easter, you may find my gift is slow to arrive. Deepest apologies :((

    I hope you’re not cooking or changing anything today. In fact, I hope you’re having the day off everything. Tell The Boss and kidlets that you must be carried everywhere in a sedan chair, so that your blessed feet don’t have to touch the ground at any point. If you don’t have a sedan chair, just tie some broomsticks to a camping chair.

    No, that all sounds like too much work. Instead, lie on a couch with cold compresses and a fan or two pointing directly at you, and murmur orders between sips of mango daiquiri.

    I have discovered something cuter than a miniature horse and as soon as my phone is recharged will post pictures.

  425. Not at all, Madam! Don’t feel you need to send anything – your well wishes are more than enough, and gratefully accepted. I feel very loved. And besides, you had to wait a month for your birthday fudge last year, thanks to that stupid winter flu the kidlets and I couldn’t shake.

    The post-Easter birthday is Quokka’s.

    Meanwhile, I am full of cake, I’m wearing a pretty new dress, and I am swanning around the house laughing at all the filth that I won’t have to clean until tomorrow. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

    • Happy Birthday Catty. May you wallow in decadence & luxury. And sloth – mustn’t forget sloth.

  426. Mmm… sloth.

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