Crime Factory’s Hard Labour Easy To Enjoy

Australia is a nation chiselled from its indigenous inhabitants for and by criminals.  Our anthem kicks off by celebrating that most of us have since been released on our own recognisance.  It’s hard to think of another country where malefactors are such rock stars – sure, English Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs made it onto a Sex Pistols’ cover, but I’d like to see him front Ned Kelly or Chopper Read in a prison exercise yard.  With the intriguing Australian characters who share their stories in  Crime Factory’s new anthology, Hard Labour, we all have more reason to rejoice.

Book-ended by smash-hit stories by two greats of Australian crime fiction, Gary Disher and Peter Corris, the guts of this selection need no propping up.  Leigh Redhead’s “Grassed” is an authentic slice of the Northern NSW hash brownie, featuring her trademark pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and a sense of creeping paranoia resonant with the context.  In “Killing Peacocks”, Angela Savage’s signature lyricism sings the murder ballad of an authentic, empathic character.  Andrew Prentice builds a world as crystalline – and as empty – as the breakers his characters surf, in “The Break”.  In Helen FitzGerald’s “Killing Mum And Dad” cosy, slightly addled domesticity chills to horror.  JJ DeCeglie’s “Death Cannot Be Delegated” features a philosophical hit man wielding Occam’s razor, style cunningly morphing to reflect  both narrative and character arc.  With sparse economy, David Whish-Wilson depicts a career criminal and junkie as cold as the Ice he cooks – “In Savage Freedom”.  Andrew Nette’s “Chasing Atlantis”, where crims take on cultists in hippy country, is a bar-room brawl of Australian noir where the twists will king-hit you if you don’t watch your back.

The individual contributions to Hard Labour are unified by Australian flavour and realism – and the recurrent theme of stuffing up.  Narrators tell their stories: some in the clear dispassionate tones of hardened Narcotics Anonymous confessors, others in deceptively breezy voices or pleading laments.  They draw the reader closer before slipping a knife between their ribs, with a smirk, a wisecrack or a gentle kiss.

Jittery and seductive as a strung-out whore, Hard Labour is highly recommended.  Sampled one at a time or devoured in chunks, I’m sure you’ll want to book repeat visits with these characters.  Now available from Amazon, here.

If you’re not already addicted to these talented authors’ longer forms, check out their rap sheets here: http://www.thecrimefactory.com/

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332 Responses

  1. Looks like a good book, Madam. Where did you find it?

    • Some of the authors – Leigh Redhead in particular, how I adore her Simone Kersch stripper-turned-PI series (Rubdown, Peepshow, Cherry Pie and a new one I have yet to acquire, the title of which eludes me) – have been on my reading list for ever, so when Crime Factory pimped for reviewers on facebook, I jumped down their throat.

      But it should be in libraries if your local Council has any sense, or is also available in dead tree format.

      Just a couple of the stories didn’t grip me the way the ones I mentioned did, but in all honesty I haven’t been so impressed by any other anthology. All killer, no filler.

  2. It’s good to see a genuine review being written by someone who has actually read the book and enjoyed it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked for a review of a book or a restaurant and you get three lines in and know that what you’re reading is something that’s been churned out by one of those Gen Y communication graduates who’re getting paid $5 to write fake reviews for books, apps and eateries.
    Nice to see the real thing making an appearance.

  3. Thanks, Q – I know you’re not a crime fan, but well written.

    But speaking of crime, I need to off the bloke who just – literally, maybe a month ago, maybe 3 weeks – bought a house across the road from us. While I was in my backyard transplanting a 2m tree I purchased – literally, as I was balanced on the edge of the hole trying to wedge the tree into the hole – he came to complain that my dog was barking.

    Why was she barking? Well, mostly because a strange aggro man was at the fence kicking up a ruckus.

    At least three times I started my sentences with “I’m sorry if the dog woke you up . . .”, but he kept running off at the mouth at me. Seems my dog is the only dog in the street that barks, and the 20 hrs plus she spends asleep inside are not enough for S.A.M.

    He wanted to come right up to the fence so I told him he was already as close as I wanted him – I think at that point I even used The Supremes’ “stop” hand signal.

    However, when he got to the bit in his rant where he was advising me to keep the dog in the backyard – and some other stuff I couldn’t hear over the blood pounding in protest against my eardrums – I just said, “Sorry if the dog woke you up. That’s as far as I want to take this discussion. Oh, and I’m not your love.” and went inside to shut the front door.

    The stupid is strong in this one.

  4. Ugh. What a shame the dog didn’t eat him. I’m sure it’s what she was trying to tell him. Poor you.
    Yes, sadly my reading appreciation for the criminal mind extends mostly to pictures of what they look like when they’ve been dissected and irradiated. If there’s fluoro pictures showing defective MOA3 genes and complete inertia in the frontal lobe I’ll quiver with excitement. Sadly when they’re alive and talking I find them far less interesting. Over exposure, I suppose.
    Still, I can say with utter conviction that I know several relatives who’d love to find this book nestled in their xmas stocking with a little fairy dust/AKA columbian marching powder attached to inspire some post-apocalyptic/xmas lunch reading so I’m sure it will do well.

  5. Let’s hope so. I’m getting very parochial in my old age, I love it when Aussies do anything well.

    As for S.A.M., I wouldn’t let the dog eat him – I’m fussy about her diet.

    Speaking of idiots, though, Q – what news of the Great Real Estate Swindle next door, and our friends Freddy and Bobby Sue Fundamentalist-Loon?

  6. I think there’s a plan to sell it via auction if they can’t get their 2.5M prior to that date from a fully fledged loon. There’s been a bit more interest in it from the Loon Population but it’s not looking hopeful. There was a guy with an audi who looked promising yesterday (as in he may possibly have worked as a body double for Thor on the Avengers) but once he saw the plumbing he bolted.
    There’s a bunch of Boomers who’ve been looking at it and again, once they see the plumbing and the state that the roof is in they bolt.
    Our resident Cult Accolytes have been told to pull their heads in and have been suitably quiet since they were told to STFU a week or so ago. There’s just been some mild acts of passive aggression such as Jesus planting the Fish Wagon across all 8 garbage bins, thus rendering the garbage truck unable to collect them without exiting his vehicle. This prompted a fresh wave of Bin Violence that extended at least 5 blocks away but hey, better that bins be tossed sideways into 4WDs the suburb over than me have to deal with the stench of Dump Ducks pillaging their contents.

  7. Bin Violence?

    We’ve had a bit of that here lately. My weasels don’t have many jobs to do, but one of MMs is to take the recycling out to the yellow top bin. So, even though I store it in a big bin at the end of the kitchen bench, invariably we get to the point when the bin is full, so 3l milk jugs are surfing on waves of newspaper and folded out cardboard cartons.

    Next time I have to tell him more than once to empty the damn thing, he’s going to wake up in his bed surrounded by unrinsed cat food tins and half-emptied yoghurt tubs.

    Ooh, speaking of cat food, darling Flot is a genius. The kids came running to me yesterday, all excited because “Flot is playing with his own toy!”.
    When I investigated for myself, damned if they weren’t right.

    MM bought them a wind-up mouse. Furry body, and there’s a string you pull out, then it wiggles as the string winds back up.

    Flot picked the mouse up in his mouth, hooked a claw into the ring on the end of the string to pull it out, then dropped the wriggling mouse so he could chase it.

    No joke.

    After he’d done it half a dozen times and we thought to film it on my phone, he’d lost interest of course . . . but I’m seriously impressed with his intelligence.

  8. Heh heh. Brilliant. I hope he does it again so you can get it on youtube.

  9. I’ll tell him Aunty Q thinks he’s clever.

  10. And beautiful and precious and loved.
    That’s what I tell mine, and look at the evil little narcissists I’ve managed to produce.

  11. So, has SAM caused you any more grief, Madam? If he has, get the dog to piss in his letterbox. Or if you really want to go all-out, get a remote controlled stereo and an endless loop cassette of a dog barking. Hide it in his ceiling. Play it in five minute bursts at random times of the night. Make sure you can prove your dog wasn’t even at home on some of these occasions, so any complaints to the council can be dismissed as the ravings of a madman. If he rants at you again, offer him some of your expired Mexican sedatives, suggesting that they may help with the voices in his head… and the barking in his head. Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa!

    Actually, this would probably make a good short story. Damn, I wish I had time to sit down and write it today. But, no. The littlest kidlet is having a birthday tomorrow, and the Boss is out of town. I have a list as long as my arm of chores that MUST be done by tomorrow, and no inclination to do any of them. Plus, the kidlet has decided he wants a Minecraft cake, as he is obsessed with Creepers. I have remained blissfully ignorant when it comes to Minecraft, so this is going to be interesting…. Chinese interesting.

  12. The curse of the minecraft cake.
    Ooh catty, I feel for you.

  13. Minecraft?

    Poor, poor darling. All that suggests to me is a black cake with a crater in the middle, maybe some macrame sticking out.

    Hey, maybe your Mum can bake it for you?

    Happy Birthday, Kidlet Creeper – and congratulations, Mum – despite the incessant provocation, you still do your best every day to keep him alive. Kudos.

  14. Speaking of keeping people alive, I had a scary phone call this morning. The Boss called from whatever outback town he’s working in to say that there was a report on the news about an old lady dying alone in a house fire. The reporter said it was on the street where the Boss’s Gran lives. He was feeling sick with worry until I reminded him that Gran has had a call button since she broke her hip, and the lady across the road rings my MIL if there are any problems – so it couldn’t be her, or we’d have heard something by now. But I still feel a bit sick in the stomach myself. This is probably a good thing – I have to decorate that minecraft cake today, and feeling sick is probably the only thing that will save the cake from being sampled out of existence. I baked it myself – no way would I let mother do it. We don’t want to spend the kidlet’s birthday having our stomachs pumped.

  15. Indeed. No, I just meant if you wanted something black and cratered, she’d be the cook for the job.

    Nasty shock, Catty. He’s lucky to still have his Gran – mine died when I was 29 for the first time.

    So are you going to post photos of your WIP? Where do the smarties go?

  16. Into the other room when it’s being lit, I’d assume.
    I’m guessing a proper mine-craft cake would explode when you blow out the candles and a shower of crumbs and molten icing would rain down on the party from above.

    Glad your gran is OK Catty. xxx

  17. The cake was sad. Sad and delicious. There were no leftovers. There are also no photos, in the interests of not humiliating myself.

    One of these days I’m going to have to stop trying to do more than I’m capable of.

    Meanwhile, I’ve bought a piano. I have no idea why. But I suspect it was some sort of subconscious urge to one-up the Boss after his recent motorbike purchase. Bloody eBay.

  18. Some days I feel that life itself is more than I’m capable of, Catty . . . but I’m not one for giving in.

    Piano?!

    Sure, it might have been a bargain at $2.95, but the postage & handling will cripple you.

  19. Funny you should buy a piano just now, Catty.
    The Bloke and I have been arguing about what kind of entry to do into the back yard after the bobcat goes through next year to dispatch our rotting retaining walls and the swamp that was once a gold fish pond.

    I want to have a nice wide 2m entry of double doors in case we ever need to get Big Stuff up into the extension out the back.
    Him: WTF are you planning on taking up there?
    Me: Well, what if I decide I want to play the piano? How the hell else am I going to get a baby grand up there?
    Him: Use a crane and a winch.

    I hate it when he has to get the last word in.

  20. Damn straight, Morgana. The delivery will be twice as much as the piano did. But it’s still only about 1/7th the price of the motorbike and subsequent bikey costs. Banging out tortured renditions of 50’s classics when the Boss changes channels on me mid-show? Priceless.

    Which reminds me. I’d better learn how to play the bloody thing.

    Actually, Quokka, the crane and winch are a good idea. You can install them in the bedroom for use during future arguments. The Bloke will never get the last word again… except, possibly, “Help!”.

  21. Freaky whoo-whoo report:
    Had to get a certified copy of an official document done. Randomly ringing through the list of local JPs to find someone who was home, when – at X:X by my microwave clock – I struck one. Who lives at House #X a few streets away from me. Both of my weasels were born on the X, and where would you guess we live? Yes, at #X.

    Either I’ll get this job, or die in a fiery pile-up on my way there, don’t you reckon?

  22. If so we shall erect a plaque saying ‘X marks the spot’.
    what kind of treasure shall we bury below it, though…peanut brittle or a hot fudge sundae?

  23. A Valium and mango smoothie, please – in a Tardis coffee mug.

  24. Clever. That way it can go back in time to a date prior to the UBD so that whoever digs it up has a refreshing and relaxing beverage to enjoy.

  25. Yes. A Tom Baker Special.

  26. X-troadinary! But make mine a valium and mango daiquiri, thanks.

  27. Genius, Catty. The alcomohol would act as a preservative in case of time looping.

    Cheers!

    Wish me luck for today, ladies. We’ll be off to a great start with going to parade to see Elf Boy get his Naplan award . . . this is a big thing because until very recently he’s referred to himself as “the dumb one” and has surprisingly low self-esteem for a popular charmer who finds it incredibly easy to make friends . . . but then it’s Cricket Club Canteen Convening all the way until several hours past my bedtime. Literally, straight from assembly to the shops and then we’re off for a smurfing good time.

    At least I’ve got Boylapalooza to look forward to.

  28. Congratulations, I think.
    What’s a naplan award?

  29. Naplan is the Australia wide core skills testing they now subject all kiddies to in Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9.

    For reasons known only to themselves, when this testing started three years ago, the school decided to give kids who perform really well special certificates on assembly. I have to say that if they’d asked me whether I thought it was a good idea, I’d have said, “Nup. Clever kids get kudos anyway, you’ll just make them dumb ones feel worse.”

    Then again, there’s plenty of fuss made of sporting heroes, why not let geeks have a moment to shine?

    Anyhoo, despite constant malingering and school hatred, Elf Boy scored off the Richter scale in comprehension, so he gets recognised today.

    I wouldn’t give a rat’s but he’s got such low self-esteem, it’s really given him a boost.

  30. Comprehension is never something I felt was lacking in your boy.
    Well done.

  31. I didn’t cry!

    Well, I did tear up. But then I reminded myself of all the Club work I have to do today, and bawled like a baby.

    GTG

  32. Well done, Magic Man! Congratulations on the award. I wish our school did that.

  33. No, it was Elf Boy this time, Catty – that’s what makes it extra special. Sure, MM won his in Yrs 3 & 5, but he knows he’s a genius – just ask him!

    Meanwhile, the kids wandered into the bush around the cricket club last night while I was canteening, and ran into a feral pig. MM had to fend it off with his cricket bat. I knew we were in a “regional” area, but I never expected to find the weasels in the middle of a bloody Russell Mulcahy horror flick, for smurf’s sake.

  34. When I were a lass and the lads said they’d been out the back of the cricket pavilion with a bush pig…oh never mind. Times have obviously changed.

  35. Hehehe.

    Didn’t I tell you? The other week the opposition team had a couple of girls in it – and MM didn’t clock the difference. He was keeping wicket, too, so he had ample opportunity to perve on their curves, crouched over the bats and all.

    So I think puberty and luring ladies of easy virtue behind a shed of any variety may be a few years off. Phew!

  36. yeah I dated a guy like that once.
    He was gay.
    🙂
    Every mother’s dream.

  37. Oh, yes.

    I’ll always be the most important woman in his life, in that case.

  38. I can’t compete in this discussion, so will say what I came for and that was to congratulate you on the best book review I have ever seen. Might be better even than the book reviewed!

    • Ooh, Stafford. You always know just what to say!

  39. And I always know what not to say.
    so there you have the yin and the yang of it.

  40. Laws of Internet Physics,

    Went to get ready for the job interview this arvo to find that the New Dog . . . who is otherwise sweet and didn’t look sideways at my cats . . . had quietly chewed the back of my only decent pair of shoes over the weekend. Luckily, the cuffs of my dress slacks were longish so it all balanced out.

    I hope.

  41. Covert aggression has it’s lurks and it’s perks.
    Better the shoes than the cats.
    Next time throw him a carrot & see if you can turn him into a rabbit like I did with my dog.
    How’d the interview go?
    Are you on the track to becoming Well-Heeled?

  42. Genuine LOL. Good one, Q.

    Well, they may have gained something from it, but I found it tedious. It was a 1 1/2 hr recap of the seminar I’ve already attended . . . they’re more and more like Scientologists, come to think of it . . . featuring 10 mins walking around and chatting, and then some dubious scenario about working an airline counter when a flight’s been over-booked.

    Parked at and picked up an alternative pair of shoes from Rivers Clearance while I was in town, though, so at least I’ll have something to wear to work on Monday.

  43. that’s how much they know.
    There’s no such thing as a service desk at the airport anymore.
    Just a lot of machines that say ‘FKU.’

  44. Hehehe.

    I know exactly jack about airports, but didn’t want to seem gauche by admitting it.

  45. They have ‘assistants’ who walk around ignoring you and roll their eyes in irritation when you can’t get the machines to print out your tickets and your boarding pass.

  46. So it’s a bit like being in David Jones.

    Or a nursing home.

  47. Well, nobody has walked up to me in an airport and squirted me with Liz Taylor’s White Diamonds or a blast of Glen 20, and there’s no real food to be found for miles…but otherwise…yeah.

  48. No food to be found for miles is just like a nursing home – hundreds of elderly patients die of dehydration/malnutrition in QLD alone, every year.

    Lovely do, Q – thanks for organising. I’ll try to post the pix and some sort of commentary tomorrow after coffee.

  49. Thanks. It was lovely to see you.
    🙂

  50. Nursing homes are a pet hate of mine. No government will ever look after the elderly, and it sucks big time. I’ve always said no politician should be allowed to govern unless they’ve spent a year on the dole in Blacktown. Well, I also reckon that once politicians retire, they have to spend a year in a Dalby nursing home before they’re allowed to claim their super.

    Why aren’t I Prime Minister?

    Or you, Madam. I bet your shoes don’t fall off, even with the chewed back.

    Come to think of it, Quokka would make a good PM. She’s so much more civilised and compassionate than the current one – or the potential one, for that matter.

  51. No. Freaking. Way.
    I can’t even organise fish and chips for 10 people without mutiny erupting and a lynch mob warming their pitch forks on the sidelines.
    I appreciate the vote of confidence, but leadership is not for me.

  52. I was a very inept deputy, too.

    Somehow I managed to turn a discussion about torture into a rant against Australia’s piss weak domestic violence laws. Nothing like a relaxing holiday chat, is there?

  53. Yeah I’m still not sure how I managed to hold myself back from being the wailing back-up singer in that one. I think it went with the level of restraint I felt was necessary to get myself thru the entire day. Or as the bloke says ‘It’s a mistake to pop that cork.’

    I came home and read the news and there was the most God Awful story of a domestic violence murder-suicide that happened at around the same time that ABC journo was murdered. The DV case was the stuff of nightmares. Indian, I think, arranged marriage. The thing with Jill M is that it was random, opportunistic & nobody saw it coming, so yeah, short of innoculating every female in society with our level of twitching hyper-vigilence, how do you protect a woman from that?
    With DV, and most certainly in this case of the Indian woman – everyone saw it coming. And yet nobody was able to protect her.

    I commend your rant – idealistic bleatings about political wrongs are all very well and good so long as you’re not ignoring the massive pile of SMURFETTE bodies stinking up your back yard. Hey, perhaps that’s what those guys were up to down on the beach…

    I think I quoted the 33% of all Qlders live with some kind of domestic violence, was satisfied to see aghast expressions, and I then STFU.

    Meanwhile, I came here to share the latest offering on Cake from the Hive Mind over at Twitter. Enjoy.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2012/oct/24/worlds-most-revolting-cakes-in-pictures#/?picture=398270356&index=0

  54. Mmm . . . and blerk. Disgusting cake.

    You were most restrained.

    I’d offer “what was I thinking?” but as the answer is – as usual – “not smurfing much” let’s swerve the whole issue.

  55. No, I worry sometimes that PNB has gleaned the idea that we live in an egalitarian non-sexist society that treats women well.
    NFI how he got that idea given the company he keeps online but heh, perhaps he’s not as smart as he’s told us he is.

  56. When you’re dealing with men, lying is always an option.

    in both directions

  57. Mmmmm…. Chocolate truffle and rum chocolate buttercream…. So what if it looks like intestines? I’ve eaten my mother’s cooking, after all.

    Oh, and I can’t advocate lying to anybody. But only because I’m extremely bad at it.

    Yes, that was a lie. See?

  58. Hehehe.

    I’m the worst liar in the world, mostly because I give myself away with horrible blushing. Actually, I’m pretty sure I became a Goth way back in the Dark Ages for the opportunity to feign sophistication by hiding behind a thick layer of pancake make-up.

    MM is also sadly truthful – but EB can lie like the Devil himself. Truly it is said, I lay down with a dog and EB is the flea I got up with.

  59. But he is a very lovable flea. No, scratch that.

    (See what I did there?)

    I must be a Goth too, Madam. I love pancakes. Mmmmmm…..

  60. Hehehe.

    Better a Goth then A Vandal, I always say.

  61. I live with three vandals of the Turkish variety so count on it, you’re safer with an entire band of marauding Goths.
    Yeah, the Bloke spent many years gloating about how I couldn’t tell a lie to save my life so I figured that was an area of character development it was time to start working on.
    His favourite Fun Busting activity is to predict whatever I’m getting him for BD or for Xmas and he’s smurfingly good at it.
    Anyway, I pulled it off 12 years ago.
    I ordered his BD present months in advance, started baiting him with misleading ‘clues’ in November and when his BD rocked around in January, I carted him off to the airport to collect his BD present from the Qantas Freight Storage shed.

    At that point he was convinced, from my clues, that he was either getting a racing bike or a new set of golf clubs. (I’d told him the gift would motivate him to get up early in the morning and get some fresh air and exercise – he’s not a morning person so this really smurfed with his head)

    So we get to the Qantas shed, I sign for my ‘package’ and they lead us off towards it. Blue animal crate, containing our puppy, who at that stage looked like a morbidly obese guinea pig. The bloke squinted at the bundle in his arms and said ‘What is it?’

    He thought I’d bought him a Norwegian Forest Cat, and was worried it was going to grow up to be really, really ugly.

    Win.
    So now he can’t gloat that I can’t lie to save my life any more.

  62. You’ll have to give us lessons. Step 1?

  63. I emailed you a book on the topic so you can learn from experts. 🙂
    Besides, don’t you have a resident (evil) specialist who can give you tips?

  64. Elf Boy never lets any of his trade secrets slip.

    You may recall, when asked about his day in Prep, this is the child who replied, ‘It was private.’

  65. Hmmmm…. I see a career in politics. EB for PM, then?

  66. I’d say so.

    This morning at cricket he persuaded one of the 11-yr-olds to sing and dance at his behest. When he wanted, as directed.

    It was when he started referring to the lad as his meat puppet that I became concerned it was a little unwholesome.

  67. Meat puppet – heh heh heh heh! But it does limit his earning potential during the teen years, as he’s already overqualified for a McDonalds management position.

  68. You might have been AWOL when I was explaining that his latest ambition is to breed and train attack snails for use in weed combat, Catty.

    Minister for Primary Indistries, then?

  69. More like Minister for War. Today, weeds. Tomorrow, the world!

  70. http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/ are running my story, “Tattoo You” on (American) Monday

    I’m trying to play it cool and not run around in tiny circles squealing with excitement like a Brownie troop on Smarties, but it ain’t easy.

  71. Yay! Well done MM.
    Just think, you can walk into your first day of work tomorrow with the happy thought that this may be the day job you get to quit in order to write full time.
    I’m knackered after my fortnight of cat herding so I’m off to do fun things, like markets and make muffins and enjoy this lovely cool drizzly weather while it lasts. So I shall check in with you guys later.
    Bon appetit.
    That’s how you say Have A Good Weekend at either of your blogs, surely?
    MM – all the best for tomorrow if I don’t get back to you by then. And FFS keep your shoes away from those bloody hounds.

  72. What a gorgeous thought, Q – I’ll have it emblazoned on a coffee cup.

    Have a fab time. The weather is too lovely for words, if only it would stay like this until next winter.

    And yes, I’ll guard my shoes. Would you believe my dog was sniffing them while I tried them on to see if I could walk in them? Unsmurfingbelievable.

  73. All ready for your big day, Madam? Hair combed, loins girded, shoes… well… on, lunch packed? Enjoy yourself – it’s not long until payday. And congratulations on the review. Woo Hoo! I know a famous author!

  74. http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/17497/bat+and+spider+chocolate+crackles

    I’ve been racking my brains to think what to feed Greybeard when he visits for lunch. Thank god for supper food ideas.

  75. If he’s bringing Mayhem’s Mum with him, you should probably make rat-atouie.

  76. Or Roast Turkey.

  77. Yes, Q – roast Colin. GB’s been hand-feeding him so many almonds he comes pre-stuffed.

    Thanks for the support, ladies. Actually, it went quite well – I hope. And I did gird my loins, if you count pulling on a pair of black Bonds.

    Not “Bonds, James Bonds”, sadly – just ordinary old cotton ones.

  78. Oooh, look. It’s American Monday so it must be my story . . .

    http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2012/10/tattoo-you.html

  79. Well done, on the story and on surviving your first day on the job. Except your knicker story is reminding me of a particularly ghastly set of control type underwear that replaced those ghastly cotton bloomers we had to wear with our gym tunics. Why they wouldn’t let us just wear shorts and polo shirts to gym class I don’t know, and the damage still haunts me.

  80. Oh, don’t remind me! Bum Shorts, we called them. Our principal was the most lecherous pervert you ever met. He would gravitate towards any girl with bosoms, and stare down the front of her button-up dress into her cleavage. He wasn’t a PE teacher, but he would always take netball lessons. The well endowed girls were on one team, and the pirate’s dreams (i.e, me and my sunken chest) were on the other team. To ‘tell the teams apart’, he made the busty girls take off their sports skirts and play in their bum shorts. The dirty old bastard must be having a field day lately, what with all the Dundies (denim shorts so tiny, they could be undies), and tights worn as pants – which wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular if some (most) of the girls could see how they look from behind. Personally, I think Bum Shorts were far more flattering and modest – but there’s no way in hell anyone’s ever getting me back into a pair. Ugh!

  81. Oh FFS Catty, didn’t they have those string tie bib things in different colours to tell the teams apart?
    Ours were all home-stitched by the mothers when I was at school, & it looked like they’d been made in 1950 from old bits of tablecloth, so it’s not like the sleazy old creep could’ve justified the excuse that the school couldn’t afford them.
    Ugh.

  82. Yes, we did have bibs. But, strangely, they could never be found on the days when our Headmaster was taking netball classes.

  83. Sadly, I was only ever sexually harrassed by the boarders at our school. I don’t think the teachers fancied me, especially the Chem teacher – I kept asking him what made glue stick, until he had a nervous breakdown.

  84. That’s something I always wondered. If teflon is non-stick, how do they make it stick to frypans?

  85. Indeed.

    You’re very deep, Catty. Help me solve some of life’s other great philosophical problems. For example, how can it be that a woman who never wears underwear, yet owns at least three emergency pairs, finds that they’re all in the wash when she needs them? Bear in mind that I put on at least one full load of washing per day, so the answer – for a change – is not slackness and indolence.

  86. It’s the dreaded wardrobe faerie! I HATE that bitch!

  87. It might have been her pee that stained the back of my nicest white lawn shirt, then. Although it didn’t smell like Youth Dew or White Diamonds.

  88. I have more knickers than I can count and I do a load of clothes washing twice a week and still they disappear. You need to buy more knickers – that is all.
    Somebody need so explain to my how TF it is that what I’d regard as kiddy party food is now an essential ingredient of lunch boxes.
    When I were a lass lunch consisted of
    Sandwich – 1
    Fruit – 1
    I rarely ate any of it as primary school all but gave me an ulcer, so I’d eat when I got home at 3.10pm and would wolf down all in sight.
    WTF is this about?
    http://www.homelife.com.au/homes/galleries/back+to+school+lunch+ideas,10184

  89. And yes – I know it’s a mistake to read the Courier Mail when I’m premenstrual.
    It’s like watching a train wreck, though. Cannot stop myself some days.

  90. I dunno.

    My kids get fruit, morning tea – celery with cream cheese, or a homemade slice or bikkie from grandma, or cheese and crackers, like that – and a main course. Not often a sandwich, because the weasels won’t eat them. But something like pasta and sauce left over from the night before; sushi for elf boy dim sum for mm; cold sausages; a salad; whatever i can convince them to try.

    I have made fruit kebabs for break-up parties and things, but even then I just chunk the fruits with my big chopper. Who the smurf has time for the bloody flower cutter in the morning?

    Not me, anymore.

    *sob*

  91. My issue is that fruit starts to oxidise the minute you slice into it so by the time lunch time rocks around it’s going to be a hideous brown toxic mess anyway.
    I get that kids like variety in their lunch boxes – I just hate magazines pushing the idea that being a good mother needs to involve that much hard work.
    Sheesh. If they want to play with fruit and biscuit cutters, the time for that is after school so it doesn’t oxidise and lose all it’s goodness.
    Aunt Irma must be nigh, if the weekend section of the Courier Mail can smurf me off.
    Well…that or it’s because I’m on my second day of window and screen cleaning.
    Oh, the filth. I just hope it rains soon so that some of the dust that’s whirling around out there starts to wash away. There’s black clouds swirling above me to the south west, I just hope they wing this way.
    So how was your first two days of gainful employment, MM?
    And don’t worry, you can wear all the seersucker you want, sans knickers, and we’ll all still love you here.
    Mwah. xxx

  92. Hehehe.

    Actually, if you pick the fruit you use, make sure to include pineapple, and drizzle with lemon or lime juice just after construction they last quite well. Not in the full sun, of course, but covered in the fridge or even deep shade for a while,

    Thanks for the reassurance, Q – but will you love me when I’m working full time? Just got a call that they want me M-F for the next two weeks, and as I suspected it’s looking more like “in perpetuity” than “back to something manageable” thereafter.

    Swisse Executive Stress formula?

  93. What happens if you tell them no?
    You made a deal for 3 days.
    My concern is that if they wanted someone FT they should have advertised for someone FT.
    And what happens if they start wanting you to work an extra hour or two each day and it starts creeping up?
    Just suspicious because this is how all the architects I know treat their employees. Who end up being there till 11pm at night, getting paid for 7 hour days.

  94. No, they know I have to leave at 5 – in fact the boss locks up then, so that’s not a concern.

    Allegedly, it’s just for F/T training. And I could use the money. There’s been talk of doing some work form home when my probationary period’s up, and that would be ideal. So I’ll hang in there for the mo.

  95. Excellent! Money is such wonderful stuff, isn’t it? And power. Power is good, too. I hate it when mine goes out.

  96. “In Amereeka, first you get de money. Den you get de guns. Den you get de wimmin.”

    You can keep your guns and wimmin, but power – oh, yes.

    *steeples fingers and gloats*

    Excellent.

  97. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/second-storey-stairs-collapse-at-hawthorne-home-injuring-trick-or-treating-kids-on-halloween/story-e6freoof-1226507858060

    did anyone have to deal with Monsters yesterday? Other than your own?
    We had about 20-30 over 18 trick-or-treaters roaming the street in one giant pack last night. It looked like they had beer, so I thought it was uni students off to a party until they descended upon the idiots next door. And were quickly asked to leave. Luckily I didn’t have lights on out the front & quick smart I shut down the rest of the power so they wouldn’t come in here. 20 – 30 boozy over 16s, all decked out like Freddy Krueger, is just a little disconcerting.

    Bizarre. Last year I filled a bucket with sweets ‘just in case’ and nothing happened – you may recall the story of the controlled frog march of the small people by about 6 adults, all of whom glared at the bowl of candy I’d left out the front like it contained smallpox spores (how did they know?) and chivvied their charges onwards.
    I was unloading the bloody sweets on the unsuspecting for weeks afterwards. I still have a tupperware box with a bunch of Allan’s lollipops that I forgot all about. Not enough to feed the zombie apocalypse and I didn’t think of that till this am anyways.

    Sigh.
    Truth be told I’d forgotten all about it.
    According to the news, sales of Halloween stuff is up & the retailers are trying to promote it as its good for business.
    Of course.

    I’d like to approve of Halloween on the grounds that I would’ve loved it when I was a kid.
    In reality – I’d just rather turn out the lights and hide and pretend it’s not happening.
    Why can’t we just bring back cracker night?

  98. I saw far more Disney Princesses than zombies. Pity. I had heaps of brains to lure the zombies, but not a single poisoned apple. Bloody Disney.

  99. I hear that Khan Greybeard prepared for Halloween by filling his yard with cane toads & then sat inside giggling at the screams. Why didn’t I think of that?

  100. Adorable! JB should hire Greybeard as a consultant for next year’s event.

  101. Elf Boy campaigned, repeatedly and at length, to be allowed to go with one of his (girl)friends.

    I declined because they had to do their last karate training before the tournament on Saturday, and I had work today.

    Work was hysterical ,when I’m less tired I’ll report in.

    Now I have to . . . Zzzzzzzzzz

  102. We’ve got a long weekend coming up. Because half the students don’t show up for school on the Monday before Cup day, the school has declared it a pupil-free day this year. I’ve told the kidlets they’re spending their 4 day weekend cleaning out the toy cupboard, and I won’t be helping them because I’ll be napping.

    *sigh*

    It’s a nice fantasy, but it ain’t gonna happen. The shrieks of rage and howls of pain as they squabble over ‘favourite’ toys that haven’t been touched in four years will quash any delusions of napping I may be entertaining.

    Wake up now, Madam. We want to hear about work.

  103. My (adult) nieces moved interstate four years ago leaving strict instructions that nothing in their room (AKA the Disney Princess Chamber here at Casa Q) was to be touched. Ever.
    During the last reno I had the built-ins remodeled, sans space for 3 foot fishtank – and then I ensured that everything was painted the exact same colour – and you should have heard the wailing that ensued.
    ‘Aunty Q, not the FISHTANK. How could you?’
    I can’t bring myself to look at Disney Princesses and flower fairies every day (not without thinking Die, bitch, Die!) so I’ve shoved their old things in the closet to be resurrected if and when they ever visit.
    In view of the mourning that was prompted by removal of the fishtank, we have plans to replace the old casement windows with floor-to-ceiling glass louvres that front out onto the Japanese water feature (no fish, just rocks) in the new courtyard we’re creating outside their room.

    The moral of this story, Catty, is that if you change anything, you spend the rest of your life having to make up for it.
    My fingers itch to throw out some of the crappier toys that I bought 25 years ago when we were really, really broke, but I fear the guilt trip that will follow if I dispatch the mangled set of Old Maid and the Bingo lottery mill to the bin, where they belong.
    So long as they’re concealed in the built-ins, though, I guess I can cope.

  104. I’ve thrown away toys before, and the kidlets rarely ever notice. Once or twice, the youngest has driven us to distraction when he couldn’t find some broken piece of tat that I’ve tossed out months earlier. This is good, as his wailing and gnashing of teeth distracts him from the fact that I’ve also thrown out a couple of dozen other mangled things that he once professed to adore.

    To be honest, I really want the shelf space in the toy cupboard for my own crap. I’ve hoarded so much stuff that there is no longer any room left in my WIR, the shed, the kitchen, under my bed, and in the linen cupboard. Oh, dear. Maybe I should be spending the long weekend throwing out some of my own crap? Damn. I was really looking forward to those naps.

  105. Yeah. I’d rather have the room for other stuff – like our growing collection of WASGIJs – than some of the crap that’s in there.
    I might just start ditching and hope that if/when they ever make it back here to visit, their brains will be far too damaged by years of recreational drug use & cramming for uni assessment to know WTF is missing.

  106. Check your inboxes for all the sordid details, I can’t say anything in public.

    Just dropped in between cleaning the Cricket Club and provisioning the CC to say . . .

    Catty, enjoy your holiday and don’t clean a smurfing thing. Take 1 pkt of TimTams to the couch and don’t comment again until they’re all gone. Good girl.

    Q, those crappy classic toys are probably worth enough for an Antarctic cruise – or to cover one month of your vet bills. Sell them on ebay, but before you ship take a digi photo and then place your USB in the glorious empty cupboard. They can relive happy memories digitally – tell those girls you’re moving with the times. What can they do, snarl about you on facewaste?

  107. Good point, they’re going in the trash.
    If the Bloke can cope without his lego and his noddy doll, they can cope without the Bingo Mill.

  108. You threw out a Noddy doll? Shame.

  109. Yeah, shame. I would have loved a Noddy doll, seeing as I have big ears.

  110. Boom, tish!

    MM won the kumite(fighting) in his division at our tournament yesterday! And, to ice my cake of maternal pride, the kid he beat in the final belongs to a woman who annoys the living smurf out of me. He’s never entered a tournament before, so I nearly threw myself onto the kid who whacked him in the head his first round, and spent the finals round in tears, but all in all a great result.

    Still, this is a child with robust self-esteem. Becoming a title-winning fighter might expand his head to the point where I have to charter a hot-air balloon to get him to school in the morning.

    Canteen was indescribably horrible, and the day I spent there felt like a week and a half. I’m off to the markets with a song in my heart because my boss is kind, patient and good-humoured in the face of adversity. I know you ladies are expert between-the-line readers.

    Wish me well, dear friends, for now I must Bacon.

  111. Not this early in the morning I’m not.

  112. How about now?

  113. Nup. I am in the grips of Aunt Irma’s sloth & stupidity.
    Well done on the fight club and all that. But I got nuffin.
    All I’ve done today is sit on the couch playing games on the bloke’s iphone, eat gelati, and cramp.

  114. I mean that the woman I had to serve – not a punter, the Queen of the Canteen – was a right royal PITA.

    Well, bacon went well – although many of our customers are so high maintenance we’re considering either adding a counselling surcharge or opening a 13 number hotline.

    Sorry to hear about Irma, Q. Will you tell that bitch to make her way up here quick smart, please, because the last thing I need is a pregnancy crisis.

    I’ve just discovered termites in the back of the house. One parasite infestation at a time is sufficient.

  115. Oh THAT’s what you’re talking about.
    There’s too many bitches in too many places to keep track of which one you’re talking about.

  116. My commiserations.
    Still, at least I know what to get you for Xmas now.

    http://blog.arkive.org/2011/11/endangered-species-of-the-week-numbat/

  117. Bloody Aunt Irma has been harassing me too. I’ve just shut her up with two chocolate bars and four cups of coffee, but I suspect she will pounce as soon as the sugar high dissipates.

    Homework sucks. I’m trying to do some research for the littlest kidlet’s assignment – honestly, how do they expect a 9 year old to concisely explain the inner workings of a DVD player? I can’t even operate the stupid thing, let alone discuss how it functions. *mutter mutter curse mutter swear*

    So, Madam, did you douse the PITA in bacon grease and throw her to the termites? If not, you should have.

  118. Mrs. PNB explained to me how much they loved France.
    Apparently, homework has been banned in France because the department of education realised that so many parents were doing their children’s homework that it was skewing the academic results unfairly towards children who’s parents actually Give A Damn. And it was serving to sink the results/prospects of children who came from families where they didn’t get any help with their work.
    I just wish our educational system would see the light and follow suit.
    Sorry I can’t be more helpful to you Catty, but I have NFI how the VCR works either. this is why I’m nice to the CBG boys on twitter. If the bloke ever goes under a bus I’ll need one of them to come over here and hold my hand and show me how to tape Nigella’s Xmas special.
    Left to my own devices, I’m screwed, and I’d just have to learn to manage without anything that you’ve got to read a text book in order to operate.
    I live in fear that one day toasters will morph into such a beast.
    Smurf that for a joke.

  119. Oh, I LOVE Nigella’s Christmas special! Her gingerbread forest with the little deers is totally gorgeous! How I wish Christmas baking was as easy as she makes it look.

  120. Oooh, numbat!

    Catty, why don’t you write a jaunty little creative piece about how the Pixel Pixies, wearing roller skates, use the surface of a DVD as a rink? The rainbow flare on the surface tell them how hard to flap their differently coloured wings, and they have three teams: Red; Green and Blue. Sometimes, when a DVD won’t load, or glitches, it’s because they’re all stonkered on Pixie Pellets.

    You may not get a top science mark, but you’ll surely all get a free urinary drug screen. Wheee!

    Q, sounds like a great education system – except you’d have to live amongst the French to enjoy it. Even the minimal amount of homework my kids are issued is too much. They’re so hammered all day at school, they just want to hurl rocks at each other and fish in the storm water drains, and I don’t want to be spelling Nazi – I already enforce every other smurfing rule around here.

    As for the PITA – meh. Over it.

    Termite report: John the Pest Man whipped right over when I got home from work yesterday and hit them with Bug Powder. I love a man who is enthusiastic about his work and John certainly is that. I . . . well, a corner of the house, to be specific . . . was infested with Schedorhinotermes intermedius for technical reasons that la la la I was thinking about handbags and a bubble bath at that point so I can’t recount that bit of the spiel. It’s a shy and evasive termite that should quickly retreat, apparently. Anyway, dear John squirted some poison right into the wall cavity, and will come back in a few weeks to make sure he’s got them all.

    Much relief, I was worried it would be worse and much more expensive to fix. I’m investing my first few week’s pay in having John come back and renew my termite barrier with something less shonky.

    It could be worse. At least I’m not plagued by Christians.

  121. Yeah, there’s only one of me, and that hardly constitutes a plague.

    Now, Madam, tell me more about this handbag bubble bath? It sounds much more interesting than termite boxes. John DID put up a termite box, didn’t he? No, don’t tell me. I’d rather hear how you maintain optimum water temperature in the bath. The only way I can manage it is by farting constantly – which, while entertaining at first, loses its novelty value after the noxious gasses make all the candles go out.

  122. Hm. You’ll have to clue me in here, Catty.
    Is a termite box like a possum box?
    Gives them something else to nest in/chew on rather than nibbling through the support beams holding up your house?
    We had termites in Casa Quokka shortly after we’d bought the place.
    They’d climbed up & through the toilet frame to get inside.
    Now that’s desperation.
    I’m just grateful nobody fell through the floor before we discovered them and took a pickaxe to their lair.

  123. You’ve got it in one, Quokka. The box is nailed to a tree close to the house, and it’s filled with some chemical or other that termites love. The queen nests in it, her little soldiers move in, and a month or so later the exterminator comes and takes the box away. I’m not sure what they do with it then… but given your experience, I’m guessing they flush it down the toilet.

  124. How much would I have to pay him to plant the box below the toilets in bog hollow next door?

  125. Catty, I picked an end-of-model runout spa in bath tub when I did the reno 4 years ago. You can run the jets with or without heater. Mmmm . . . soothing.

    So far we’re just at the poisoning end of the infestation, Catty – John said the powder he puffed in at them is one they take back to the nest and then kill off all their friends with. A bit like your Mother taking tainted coleslaw to a BBQ, I suppose, although I’m told she doesn’t have friends per se. He’ll be back in a few weeks to inspect and we’ll work out what’s next from there. The box thing might be species or location specific? I’ve got 8 or so tea-trees out the back so termites are inevitable, we just have to keep them away from my framing timbers.

    Q, you’re so fashion-forward, city slicker. I knew you’d have termites years before I did. Speaking of vermin, how’s your fave REA doing?

  126. The female christian is back, adding to my fears that they will replicate themselves rather than leave as promised. There’ve been a few enthusiasts round for second and third looks and there’s one guy who looks saner than the current owners who seems keen.
    Although those two statements kind of cancel each other out.
    Maybe he’s a lizard man and he just wants a termite factory to keep his family fed and happy?

  127. Lizard Man? Oh, no! Quokka will be living next door to Lobes!

  128. Not for long, Catty. Not for long.

  129. That’s one hangi I’d pass up, thanks all the same. Ugh!

  130. There’s 20-40mm of rain predicted for auction day so perhaps we’ll get something amphibious instead. Lizards can’t regulate their body temperature so I count us all safe from seeing anything too scaly engaging in a bidding war.

  131. Unless it comes equipped with a waterproof homeothermic suit of some kind.

    Arggggh! Dalek Lobes.

  132. The HORROR! Quokka, are you trying to give me nightmares?

  133. Ugh. Just what we need, a troll with an indestructible outer layer.
    Dalek Lobes would roam the streets shaking his egg beaters and shouting ‘exacerbate! Exacerbate!’

    • Hehehe. Vocab Of The Year Award goes to Q.

  134. I really, really hope that the ‘egg beaters’ reference was not an euphemism for… gak, I can’t even type the word. Excuse me, I’m just going to rinse my brain out with Domestos.

  135. No euphemism catty.
    If you observe the anatomy of a dalek it comes equipped with drain plunger and egg whisk. They’re a misunderstood breed and are really very handy to have around the house, assuming they don’t try to exterminate the neighbour’s children.

  136. Don’t use bleach anywhere near your brain, dear Catty. Look what happened to Paris Hilton.

    Q – ” . . . and sometimes, ESPECIALLY because they try to exterminate the neighbour’s children”.

  137. I hope Quokka loads a vid on Youtube showing Dalek Lobes evicting all the tenants from Bog Hollow.

  138. Years ago when we used to holiday on Stradbroke Island, there was a little cottage on the main stretch at Dunwich that had a Dalek on the front porch.
    I’m still jealous.
    How freaking cool would it be to have a Dalek on your front porch?
    I was playing with them in the ABC shop a week or so ago. Unfortunately I’ve already bought all the Bloke’s Xmas & BD presents otherwise I’d be seriously tempted to add a Desk Dalek to that list.
    The mouse farm got passed in at auction, just then.
    Look like the only real bid was for $900,000 & they had a dummy bid for 1.05M.
    The only guy that was really interested in it walked off fuming – if I can spot a dummy bidder then I’m sure he could too. Smurf those people are idiots, they had an offer for over 1M a few weeks ago. Looks like they’re screwed now, nobody is going to want to pay more than $900,000 if that was the highest bid.

  139. Dummy bid, hey? So Lobes was there after all!

  140. Hehehe. Can’t get the thought of Lobes running around the yard in Bog Hollow, screaming in terror, evading a Dalek only because the uneven terrain and damp patches from soggy drains make it hard for a robot on casters to travel in straight lines.

    Well, congratulations Q. Surely the REA has already printed out the Notice To Quit for Cletus and Brandine Holy-Roller, on the grounds that places have no hope of selling until they’re vermin free?

    MM’s team won their match yesterday, just before the glorious rain started. This is exciting because they haven’t tasted victory in more than 18 months. On the side of sportsmanship and love of the game, though, the boys don’t seem as excited as we parents. I think most of them are in it for the chance to muck around with their mates in the bush while we’re batting.

    How sweet is this rain? When it started to drizzle towards the end of the match, the frogs began to call from the scrub. One of the nicest sounds in the world, and they’re still chirping their enthusiasm outside my window this morning. The grass will survive, the plants will get a proper drink . . . ahh, I love it when it rains.

    EB and I have been struggling with so much time apart, so we’ve agreed to have Pyjama Day today. Staying in our PJs all day, lounging on the couch and a bubble spa in the arvo. Should make signing-off with an ebook client this morning interesting, but a promise is a promise.


  141. That’s the dalek to chase Lobes if you want to get him off your lawn – permanently.
    The rain is awesome.
    that is all.
    I’d say more but I’m drawing elevations for the BBQ pit.
    Enjoy.

  142. Mmm . . . BBQ pit.

    Awesome flying Dalek, Q. Why don’t you just have one hovering over the back deck? You could get it to set its laser to “Weber”, put out the meat, stand well back (in safety goggles) and then exterminate lunch.

  143. What I want is a range of Xmas tree Dalek decorations that light up and shriek ‘Exterminate’ every time their motion detectors sense movement.

  144. I know where to get some pressure-sensitive talking Daleks. Surely GB could hook them up to a laser trip-wire?

  145. Heh heh.
    I could set them up around the perimeter of the front yard and they could yell ‘get the smurf off my lawn’.
    Which did happen the other day.
    The teenager on the corner had friends over (I think he’s 25 now but according to the research, their brains stay stuck in teenage mode because they don’t leave home & face the challenges of life which bring you to maturity – exhibit A, John Winston Howard) and around 10pm they came over here and started playing that parkour game on the retaining walls out front.
    and kept doing it despite me turning on all the outdoor lights and asking them to desist.
    This is what happens when you breed a social worker with a lawyer.
    You get idiots with an overweening sense of entitlement and a conviction that they own the neighbourhood.
    Meh.

  146. I thought when you crossed a social worker with a lawyer you got a shark who wears a stupid expression on it’s face while pretending to care about whatever the smurf it is you’re going through.

    And all the while wondering how you might taste . . .

  147. I have a dead goldfish you can feed him. Actually, the fish is not quite dead yet, but I expect it will be by tonight, given the way it’s floating on it’s side in a corner, listlessly flapping the exposed fin. It’s been floating there for two days, and I was planning to send it to that great S-bend in the sky, but if you like I’ll pop it in a postpack for you, Quokka.

  148. Too late. It’s dead.

  149. It really stinks.

  150. time for the funeral at sea, Catty.
    i.e. Flush, and sing Amazing Grace.

  151. Next time, when it’s at the bloat and float but not defunct stage, feed it a boiled pea, Catty. They can get constipated and this clears them out.

    Honestly.

    Huzzah! Through a tense and complex series of negotiations . . . well, it was more a matter of me being honest and The Boss assuming I was lying through my teeth, like all our clients . . . I will now work permanent P/T, 4 days 9-3 and a few hours from home. With flexibility to do a whole day from home if one of the kids is sick or whatever. Sweet!

  152. So, you want me to pea in the fish tank? Done.

    Excellent news about the job, Morgana! Hey, do they have any vacancies in Melbourne? I don’t have any skills, education or motivation, and punctuality isn’t my strong suit (*coughunderstatementcough*), but I’d be happy to take a weekly paypacket off their hands.

    Quokka, I took your advice and sang Amazing Grace into the toilet bowl, but the neighbours thought I was being murdered and rang the police.

  153. I hope they had the sense to ring the water police.

  154. No they didn’t, thank goodness, or I might have been arrested for cruelty to water.

  155. Excellent news, BTW MM.
    Now if you’ll excuse me I need to nip out and watch that expose on evil debt collectors on ACA. You’d tell us if you’d been filmed being Evil by ACA, wouldn’t you?
    Ah – the slumlord at Bog Hollow may need to draw upon your skills. According to what I’ve heard, Jesus and Typhoid Mary are moving out at some point in the next fortnight and they are haggling to get their bond back before they depart.
    Good luck with that one, kids. They’ll need to get the pest control through for fleas and I dunno who you call to get rid of Doggy Stench.
    Stinkbusters?
    Thank The Lord they are going. You mob know how I feel about noise.

  156. Umm, you love it as much as I – who startles every time a Melamine plate is dropped on the tiles, let’s not discuss what the sounds of voices raised in anger or things being destroyed do to me – do, Q?

    Glad to hear The Jesus and Mary Chain will soon be out of your hair.

    No-one has ever filmed me being evil. There may have been some Polaroids in the 80s, but they’ll have faded by now.

    Catty, if you love terrifying people and talking on the phone, we may open a branch office in Melbourne for you. Let me send the goons boys around to “discuss” it with you.

  157. Doggy stench…. Gee, I hope they have a dog.

    Oh, and don’t send the goo… boys around, Madam. I like my knees just as they are, thanks.

  158. Hehehehehe

    You hope they have a dog. Thanks, Catty – I needed that.

  159. good point. Perhaps it’s a very dirty furry sex toy that barks.
    I’ll ask the REAgent to investigate.

  160. An old flatmate of mine had one of those. Your neighbour’s name isn’t Samantha, is it?

  161. Why can I hear the theme to “Bewitched”?

    And why is there so much yelping around Q’s place . . . remember the yipping mattress actress?

  162. All I can hear is the theme music to I Dream of Genie. On the upside, if Dalek Lobes buys Bog Hollow, Quokka will already be used to the sound of yelping.

  163. Da da dadadadada
    Da da dadadadada
    Da da dadadadada
    da da da da!

    Did you want to have a bedroom that looked exactly like the inside of Jeanie’s bottle when you were a little girl, Catty?

    I did. Also, I wanted to look like Kate Bush in the “Babushka” video. Her, or Suzi Quattro. Two take-no-prisoners ladies in bed hair and black leather, with surly pouts and smouldering eyes.

    I think we’ve just worked out why I terrify everyone. Thanks for being here for me, darls.

  164. The Teen has moved in with her boyfriend. She brought him here yesterday (unannounced). When I met him, all I could think of was “Put Richmond (from The IT Crowd) in a suit”. Then I found this:

    Yep. That’s the Teen’s boyfriend, all right.

  165. Awesome.

    He’ll never leave her for another woman – he’ll never get the chance.

  166. Exactly. No other woman would want him.

  167. On the downside, you’ll be stuck with him until she gets tired of him.

    So, you’re thinking, Thursday week?

  168. No, I think this time she’s really in love. I give it a month.

  169. Trooo love!

  170. Well at least you’ll know what to get him for Xmas, Catty.
    A compilation CD of the best of Cradle of Filth.

  171. Cradle of Filth?

    That’d be a Christening gift, surely.

  172. You’d have to ask Richmond.

  173. It’s better for funerals than Christenings. Try track 4: Coffin fodder.

  174. See?
    What’s not to love about Richmond?
    I’m telling you Catty, he’s a keeper.
    Just think, you could probably bribe him to dress up Goth & go to unpleasant family funerals with you.
    Think of the fallout.
    hee hee.

  175. Somehow, I don’t think Richmond will be needed. There is going to be plenty of fallout already, thanks to the deranged woman cackling and dancing on their graves. Possibly in my… uh, I mean, ‘her’ pyjamas.

  176. I think you should encourage them to start a Marilyn Manson tribute band and tour RSLs . . . the Catholic chords should suffice.

    The teen can wear a push-up bra and pin-up wig, and be Dita Von Teese.

  177. Oh, I couldn’t possibly make the Teen wear a push-up bra. Given the size of her boosies, pushing them up would probably suffocate her.

  178. Regrettable. I suppose Rocky Horror remake is also out of the question as well, then.

    Never mind – there’s always the freak show circuit.

  179. Hmm. I have no idea WTF is a Dita Von Teese & I’m sitting here thinking my day may go much better if I remain in a happy state of ignorance.
    When are you coming down to Vagus, MM?
    Khan Greybeard is fretting at missing the Coven Meeting & is even more fretful at my threats to post pictures of the meals the bloke & I scoffed on our tour of Melbourne’s Cake District.

    • Dita is Marilyn Manson’s burlesque-dancer ex-wife. She also has a range of skanky undergarments for sale at Target. I’d probably buy them if I had a waistline, boobs, or a bottom that fits into women’s sizes.

  180. Well, it won’t be next w/e as threatened – I failed to factor in the Karate Grading.

    *sigh*

    Try and guess whether I’d rather be sweltering in the dojo for most of a Saturday or brunching with you?

    Pls tell GB3 that I might tweet him a geek query later on. MM is trying to mod his minecraft and I’m not sure I can even understand what that means, let alone help him do it.

  181. OK, but I reckon your best bet is to climb on twitter when they are all gossiping after 8pm one night and consult the collective Nerd Hive Mind. Some of them have children the same age as yours and they may be more useful than our steamed rat trader.

  182. Hehehe. After 8 pm belongs to my mad twin cats and the possums, Q. Not to mention the termites who I assume are munching all hours.

    I went to the mailbox and I got cake! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

    I don’t have to make it up, right? I’m assuming I can just do lines of it off the nearest stripper.

  183. So long as you’re not thinking Paint Stripper, its good to go.
    xox

  184. hehehe.

    No, but I will need some woodwork after Termite Man’s had his definitive visit.

  185. Termite Man, hey? I hope the Plumber doesn’t get jealous.

  186. Yeah. We don’t want him getting ants in his pants.
    That could be ugly.

  187. I don’t think Madam lets the Plumber wear pants.

  188. Termite man lives literally across the road – with his wife.

    So I would never touch him because he’s taken – and, as you know, I don’t like them getting too close.

  189. Threesome? No, no, I jest. The Plumber will feel left out. Better make it a foursome.

  190. I don’t do group sex any more. I have trouble concentrating.

  191. Concentrating? Easy. Just extract half the water. It works for cordial, anyway.

  192. Where would I be without you, Catty? Drinking weak cordial and having dull monogamous sex in some pale half life, it seems.

    U12s won their third match in a row yesterday. Now victory is paling on everyone. How are your Friday nights treating you, Catty? I hope your investment in eleventy squillion dollars worth of equipment has paid off – and that you don’t just stand there dreaming of the lovely new couch. I’m pretty sure I would.

  193. Oh, it’s not so bad. I’ve managed to get out of most matches – I even conned the Boss into the occasional soccer run. When I couldn’t get out of it, I chatted with the goalie’s mum. It turns out the goalie is going to the same high school as the oldest kidlet. Her boy was also accepted into the SEAL program but knocked it back, as he thought it would be too much pressure. I was a bit worried, because nobody else from the kidlet’s school is going there – so I was stoked to hear he’s going to know somebody on the first day.

    They just won their second match, too. And THIS one was against a boys’ team. Yay!

  194. Awesome!

    Yes, I will say that for kid’s sport – excellent networking. And if you tire of your own kids – and who doesn’t, from time to time? – you can do the old, “Oh, you’re going back to Marcello’s house to play after the match? Great, I’ll pick you up on Tuesday.”

  195. Funny you should say that as I’m tired of the neighbour’s kids. Can they go over to Marcello’s for a few days too?

  196. I’ll ask Chiara for you, shall I Q?

    Will you be shipping him express, registered or plain old parcel post? She might be shopping and unable to sign for him during the day.

  197. I might just give them a compass and tell them to go North.
    Unless their parents beat me to it.

  198. Tell them to follow the shoreline. That’ll take ’em longer and be even more treacherous than the Bruce Highway.

  199. Q! You need one of these:

  200. Does that mean OCD stands for Obsessive Cat Disorder?

    http://cheezburger.com/1840565504

  201. I already have a stacking system
    I’ll email it to you.

  202. It could be Other Cake Disinterest, Catty – when the cake you ordered is so good, you don’t even try to eat most of the Bloke’s piece for him as well.

    Or maybe Orange Cleavage Dress – never found in Q, but in aging Barbies who cover up their crepey skin with excess fake tan and push-up oil filled bras.

    or . . . I’ll get back to ya.

  203. Oprah Corporation Devotee.

    Old Christian Dag.

    Oppressive Chinese Dictator

    Outrageous Camel-toe Display.

    Odious Comb-over Dude.

    I’ll stop now.

  204. Hehehe. Torn between Oprah and the camel-toe.

    Offensive Celery Dipper – that person at a function who doesn’t care how blatantly they double- or triple-dip their crudites. Or how much slobber flies from their jaws as they do so.

  205. I think at schoolies when the Victorians arrive it stands for Orange Cheek Display.

  206. Hehehe.

    Or Obligatory Canoodling Despite (public opposition).

  207. That ain’t canoodling. That’s public fornication. Which is why schoolies Offend Citizens Daily.

    • You win! 10,000 Internets are winging their way to your inbox.

  208. Heh, if I wasn’t so hot & dopey I would try to think of something else witty to say.
    Instead I invite you to share in my enjoyment of the misfortune of others.

    The SOLD sign went up on Bog Hollow sometime last night (must’ve been after 8pm & before 5am as I was feeding their cat last night & up at dawn this am walking the dog through the Roma St Parklands) – and the bloke tells me that sometime between 9 & 10pm he was startled by a gushing sound outside our bathroom window.
    I was snoring at the other end of the house with the cats so the bloke opened the window, looked out, and observed a geyser bubbling forth from the awning over the foyer entry into Bog Hollow.
    Yup, right thru the Emergency Exit Sign.
    Apparently it was very loud and very exciting and one by one all the tenants appeared in their pyjamas to admire the new Water Feature overhanging the front door. I believe the fun lasted for quite some time before they managed to figure out how exactly you turn a burst water pipe OFF in that rat infested little hole.
    He forgot to tell me about this little misadventure until I stuck my head out the window before & said ‘the plumber’s there. I wonder WTF has gone wrong now.’
    Heh heh heh.
    So Mr. Greasy was obliged to turn up, grumbling, and make the plumber fix it, because according to the contract the buyer wants everything to remain ‘as is’.
    Which is a pity, because given the type of tenants they get in there, I think that installing a cold shower directly over the main entry into Bog Hollow could only function as a positive.

  209. BTW: the bloke has been home with Man Flu since Tuesday 11am so he can be forgiven being mildly forgetful/unobservant.
    this time, anyway.

  210. Hehehe.

    All they need now is a medicated footbath and a crush so they can pin the tenants and worm them on entry, and you’ve solved that little Public Health Menace.

    Make some scabies mites pretty damn surly in the process, though.

  211. What a good idea.
    I shall pass it on to the REA who seems to think he’ll be managing the roach and rat infested dump once it changes hands.

  212. I reckon the REA busted the pipe so he could truthfully add ‘Running Water’ as a selling point to Bog Hollow’s listing.

  213. Oh, and get well soon, Bloke. The Boss is still sick, too. It didn’t help that he went to a Rose Tattoo concert on Friday – I’m trying to get him to go to the doctor to have the knife wound in his eye seen to, but he’s doing that annoying ‘she’ll be right’ macho crap. I think he’s just embarrassed about telling the doctor exactly how it happened. Huh. Next time he says he’s going to his dad’s for a beer, I’m pinning a tracking chip to his collar.

  214. Understandable. Who’d look after the kids if you’re in a cage?
    What kind of knife did you stick him with, Catty?
    Steak, butter, bread or fish?

  215. No, it wasn’t me (this time). He did it himself. It was a steak knife. Idiot.

    • Um, that doesn’t look right. I mean HE is the idiot.

      Actually, he’s not really an idiot. He just does idiotic things when he’s plastered, which probably makes him pretty normal, now I think about it.

  216. You mean he went to a Rose Tattoo concert and knifed HIMSELF?

    Huh.

    Strikes me as a bit like going to a Rolling Stones concert, then dodging all the groupies to go home and smurf yourself. If he needs lessons on how to be glassed, I’d be happy to take him out for a beer around here – where the likker, blood and petty crims run free.

    Elf Boy passed his grading and is now styling up in a yellow belt. Now all we have to do is survive the school reports and the smurfing Christmas carols and we’re free! (ish).

  217. Hee hee hee.
    I wonder if anyone caught that on CCTV.
    Congratulations to Elf Boy for turning yellow & thanks for the sympathy, Catty.
    The Scribe has come down with Manflu now so I’m sure there’ll be much discussion of it on the interwebz.
    Looks like the same revolting flu that I’ve already had twice this year & which he’s now got for the second time. The cough will just not go away despite me throwing the combined forces of Dark Magic (OTC medications) and Witchcraft at him.
    I suggest you cross the road and make the sign of the cross & go home and gargle with garlic and holy water if anyone near you starts coughing.

    Meanwhile, I dragged him off his death bed and made him hang some shade-cloth between the patio roof and the fence in order to block the view of whatever strange feral tattoo beasts they find to replace Jesus and Typhoid Mary.
    It won’t completely block them out but it definitely helps with privacy so hopefully I’ll have less to whinge about.
    Although what I’ll have to say to you lot if I can’t whinge is really quite beyond me.
    Oh…wait…Cake, and Aunt Irma.
    I have one and not the other, guess which?
    Catty did I tell you I bought 5 packs of Duncan Hines cake mix so I could try them & give them to friends?
    I made up the Fudge one into cupcakes and sent it off to sea with my BIL the other weekend. So that made him & his sailor friends very, very happy.
    Being the freak that I am I could taste the chemicals in it.
    Too bad you weren’t here as we sat down with cake & tea to watch the IT crowd & it wound up being the episode where Moss is sniffing the store-bought muffin and listing the chemicals in it & later goes upstairs where Douglas has spiked Jen’s drink & he says ‘Jen, why are you drinking Rohypnol?’
    So it’s a shame you weren’t here to see the Bloke giggling at my Sniffer Dog capabilities, I think he would’ve really enjoyed having you here to point at me and yell ‘FREAK!’

  218. Well, I’m a freak too, then Q – I love the convenience of packet cake, but when they’re cooking all I can smell is coal-tar dye and preservatives. Still looking forward to cracking out mine, though – Friday night’s BBQ will be the perfect occasion. Catty, can I turn the Duncan Hines into cup cakes, do you think?

    I have noticed much coughing and sneezing round here, too – and a nasty outbreak of d&v. Okay, gastro happens – what I found nasty was one of my new co-workers describing in depth his child’s recent experience with it, while I was innocently making a cup of coffee. Yes, white coffee. Shudder.

    Hope the Bloke is well enough to perform his allocated Domestic Slavery soon, Q. Irma will be back before you know it, I can feel her raising my hackles and shortening my fuse. Days are so long and dreary without being able to chat with you ladies during them :((

  219. Thanks, and yes, I’m missing you guys too. I may actually have to get a life and find something useful to do with myself next year.
    MM, I made cupcakes out of them and they turned out perfectly.
    My BIL forgot about them until they were four days old and apparently they still tasted like they’d been baked fresh so all those chemicals must be good for something.
    I plan to give a couple of the Duncan Hines mixes to a girlfriend who suffers from the unwelcome notes of Take A Cake To School day that torture you mothery types, so I’m sure she’ll be just chuffed with them.
    The Bloke is still coughing a bit but is off to Cairns today & insists he’s fine. thankfully he’s only away one night so I’ll have him back under my wing before too much harm can be done by all that chef-prepared fresh seafood he eats up there.
    Meanwhile I am quietly pleased that he was too ill to make it to the staff party up there as Moderation isn’t programmed into his gene code. I’m sure they’ll drag him to the pub as an excuse for having a second go at their festivities so he shouldn’t feel too much like he’s missed out.
    How are you all coping?
    I was talking to Mel & Mayhem on twitter while it was 38C on my porch yesterday and they had an apparent temp of 7C down south.
    Probably we should check to see if Catty’s frozen to the sofa and needs to be chipped off it with an ice pick.
    crazy weather.

  220. Just a short stint at the computer before returning to my bed. Had my surgery yesterday. One word. Ouch. Actually, make that 100 words. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch.. etc.

  221. Poor Catty. Get well soon, pet. And stop typing “ouch”, you might pull your stitches out.

    It’s been warmish up here, but what got to me was the Sirocco – a vile dry wind blowing straight from the West on Tuesday and sending everyone Troppo. Lovely cool morning here so far.

  222. Oh is that what it was.
    I wondered why I could hear the unintelligible strains of James Reyne.
    Catty you poor dear, I gather you’ve had your laparoscopy/girly bits done.
    Poor you. Take lots of pain killers and see that someone ties the children up under the stairs for at least the next week.
    It’s the only way to guarantee that you’ll get well soon.
    Hugs, Q.

  223. Hehehe. Australian Crawl.

    Aunt Irma came here since she couldn’t fit you in this time round, Catty. She says get well soon, too.

  224. Well at least we know what to sing to you while you’re Indisposed.
    After this we’ll sing you Soft Kitty.

  225. warm kitty
    little ball of fur

    Umm, Q – given the nature of the surgery, maybe we shouldn’t talk about pussies at all?

  226. Would it distract you from the subject matter if Darth Vader sang it?

  227. EVERYTHING’S better if Darth Vader sings it.

  228. Voila!

  229. thank you, twice.

    For now I know how to survive Christmas – use the force.

  230. And I’ll used my light sabre.

  231. Elf Boy has a DIY mini light saber. You build it yourself, and then (according to static electricity, MM tells me) it lights up blue or red to tell you whether you’re Jedi or Sith.

    I tried it, and was delighted to be Jedi. Elf Boy was disappointed with his Jedi verdict, so tinkered until he came up Sith, every time.

    I thought of you, Q – as our fave honorary Auntie, we knew how pleased and proud you’d be.

  232. Heh heh heh.
    Maybe I should test it sometime and see what it makes of me.
    I think I’d be inclined to tinker if it didn’t sort me into Sith House, too.
    Which reminds me, I joined the Pottermore website a while ago with the intention of doing the sorting house test, but I never did find the smurfing thing.

  233. Get back on your broomstick and give us a verdict,Q!

    Enquiring minds wish to know. I’m probably Ravenclaw – they’re the boring geeks, aren’t they?

  234. yeah. When I’ve dug to the bottom of my paper tray and found the passwords, i’ll get right on that. 🙂

  235. So “never”, then?

    Oh well, Mayan calendar runs out soon, anyway. Never mind.

  236. I tell you what, I promise I’ll be done with the sorting hat before the world ends.
    Hmm.
    Maybe I could save it some time by pointing a stick at my paper tray and yelling ‘Accio passwords!’ until I work out if I’m magical or not.

  237. Good idea:
    if the passwords come shooting out, trailing golden sparks and glory – you’re Griffindor

    if the passwords slither out, emitting a sulphurous odour, and the lights dim – you’re Slytherin

    if the passwords bounce out, ricochet off the wall taking off a paint chip and hit you in the head – you’re Hufflepuff

    if the passwords eventually come out, but by then you’ve got bored, left the room and don’t notice – you’re Ravenclaw.

  238. None of that made any sense.

    I’m still sick. Stupid anaesthetist tore my uvula and it’s flopping about on the back of my tongue like a rotting fish. The GP says it will probably be a couple of weeks before I’m feeling myself again. I told her I’m Catholic, so feeling myself is against the rules.

  239. 😦 Poor Catty – stupid anaesthetist. Doesn’t she know you need to yell at the kids? How are you expected to do that with a rotting fish for a uvula.

    Get well soon, pet – and don’t worry about us. We don’t make any sense even to well people.

  240. You make sense to me. Usually.

  241. ((( o )))

    Big virtual hug – or it could be waves of healing love. Or an alien mind control radar . . .

  242. Mind control radars won’t work. I’ve got my colander hat on. It matches my menorah.

  243. That’s funny.
    I’m wearing my colander today too.
    It matches my crocs.

  244. Catty I think that’s the secret to satisfying posting over at CBG, wearing the tin foil hat or the colander. I just got a ‘well said Quokka’ out of Lobes.
    did one of you smack him over the head with a rolling pin again?
    he must be concussed.

  245. Oh, and just in case you’re thinking ‘WTF?’ and can’t bear to look, I won this accolade for an essay explaining Empathy.

  246. WTF is right! I had to go and look for myself. All I can assume is that his alleged ‘half naked sexy babe’ flatmate has started slipping meds into his coffee pot. Which would be self defeating, as once the meds kicked in, his imaginary hot flatmate would disappear.

    Another WTF moment happened this afternoon. I finally caved to the pressure and linked up with Mayhem on Facebook. Somehow I’ve ended up with a bunch of other Burgers on my friend list too. The Scribe even sent a friend request. Which was flattering…. but probably a waste of his time, as I log into Facebook about once every month or two. Anyway, I’m rambling here. The WTF moment happened when Facebook sent me a list of ‘people I might know’, in case I wanted to friend any of them (it’s usually people who have friends in common with me). Guess who was on the list? Hint: Quokka, you’ve blocked her on Twitter. Honestly, sometimes I think the Scribe is proud of his crazed fan. And now I don’t feel quite so flattered….

  247. Hehehe. Are you going to have your Lobe’s gold star framed, Q . . . or maybe stuffed and mounted, as befits its originator?

    I miss you guys – the hallucinatory flatmate exchange above is funnier than anything on facewaste.

    Oh, which reminds me – one of your new stawkas will be me, Catty. Mayhem sent me this thingo so I clicked it. You don’t have to friend me if you don’t want. I’ll be OK.

    *sniffle*

    Where’s the cake?

  248. I was thinking I’d marinade it in pool acid for a few days to see if that makes it more palatable.
    Normally I don’t read the posts of serial offenders but that was hard to miss. So I haven’t seen the hilarious allegations of a sexy half naked flatmate. Hard to imagine a female primate willingly cohabiting with Lobes, unless his mother paid a visit.
    Yeah I don’t like where that’s going, changing subject now…
    Facebook. Bleargh.
    Catty, over breakfast with PNB last year the Scribe said that he pays zero attention to FB and that his FB page had been completely overrun with trolls.
    I know editors have been hassling authors to Play Nice on social media so quite possibly he’s been inspired to clean up, as he did at the blog. Still, I’ll be interested to get feedback on how much he uses it – he seems to prefer Friday nights on twitter.
    I really wasn’t comfortable with FB in the year when the cats were using it. It felt invasive, and I hated the constant friggin messages of ‘Someone you hoped to never see again unless its in a police line-up wants to be your friend’.
    Twitter has started doing the email stalking, now, with ‘We found some people you should be friends with’ – oh, the horror.
    The good thing about twitter is that at least when you lock your account, it seems to stay locked, and for good measure if you don’t talk to people regularly, the Random Twitter Unfollow Bug seems to kick them off your follow list.
    Like.
    The thing I hated about FB was that it kept changing the privacy settings so that the cat’s account was no longer private. All those photos of them wiping their butts on the dining room table were there for all the world to see. Oh, the shame.
    I just don’t trust it, and I was incredibly pleased when the little monsters decided that their preferred approach to social media was ‘FU, I want to be alone.’
    As Sweet Jane put it on twitter: ‘Friends. Students. Colleagues. Clients. Obnoxious Relatives. Former lovers. These people should never meet.’
    I think that sums up my sentiments about FB rather nicely.

  249. As long as none of them marry my daughter. She’s constantly telling me suspiciously fabulous stuff about her boyfriend, and for ages I was convinced that he only wanted her for her handbags. But when I finally met him, I changed my mind. Now I’m convinced he’s autistic. So I may still get grandchildren after all. Sure, they’ll probably be grandchildren who put buckets over their own heads before repeatedly headbutting walls, but you get that.

  250. Rain man would make a good husband, Catty – especially if you had a plane to catch.

  251. Better still, she could train him to count cards and make a killing in Vegas.

  252. Just think how adorable they’ll be if she has twins and they grow up bucket-butting each other.
    I called in at the Kayak Club Xmas festivities yesterday after our outing with Mayhem – and the president told me she hadn’t been out on the water much lately as she’s got four-year-old triplets living with her.
    I assume they’re her grand-children.
    She seemed quite sane, if you like I’ll ask her what medication she’s on for that, Catty.
    All you can do is make like a good scout and Be Prepared.

  253. I think your twitter account just got spammed by the Diet Nazis.
    I clicked on it expecting comedy fun. And they didn’t want to release me from their clutches.
    Those evil diet nazis.
    You might want to go in and clean up.
    I’d start by throwing a few bags of kettle crisps at them & while they’re snarfing them up, hit them with the fire hose.

  254. Or douse them in chocolate sauce and watch them tear each other apart.

  255. Bloody diet nazis – thanks. I’ll get busy with the chocolate sauce and sprinkles.

    Oh, yes. There will be sprinkles.

  256. Spammers suck smurf butt.
    I suggest you sprinkle them with army ants, otherwise they’ll just pop up somewhere else.

  257. I logged out of Twitter – that’ll larn em.

  258. Is that all it takes?
    Sneaky little diet varmints.
    Everyone’s been getting spammed by them lately.

  259. Well, let me know if it doesn’t, if you’d be so kind. I can always delete my account, since it rarely works from my bloody steam-powered so-called wireless broadband Virgin stupid modem.

    Oh . . . is Irma on her way? I’ve lost all track of time but seem extra snarly . . .

  260. It’s the humidity. The menfolk are all whining about it on twitter and it’s not like Irma visits them. Hmm. Although the Drej does have teenage twin girls so that could add a whole new realm of horror to the House That Irma Haunts.
    Think about gelato, and water parks, and polar bears.
    That’s what I do.
    From inside the safety of my air-conditioned isolation cave, anyways.

  261. Oh and I’d get Khan Greybeard and the tech heads to offer advice before you fix it. Everyone’s been spammed – although not me, yet, so maybe it helps to have a locked account – and it seems quite easy to fix it.

  262. So what, you go on there and lock it? I need help – can you pls twit GB and ask him for the Dummies What To Do?

    Cheers, Q – an enjoy your aircon’d burrow.

  263. I think you just go into settings and lock your account.
    It means that only people who follow you can see your tweets, unless you get retweeted.
    Seems to be working for me, so it makes sense if you’re invisible to them, they can’t harvest you for the Spam Factory churnout.

  264. The Nigerian spammers won’t leave me alone. I checked my email account yesterday, and I had 29 emails with over $8 billion in lottery wins, scam victims’ compensation payouts, business proposals, inheritances, ATM cards waiting at Western Union, and charitable donations from widows with throat cancer. I also had three emails from American banks, telling me to log in via the link to update my credit card details. There were 8 emails that I didn’t open because they were from strangers, and didn’t have any text – just a pdf file to download. Oh, and two Merry Christmas newsletters from online companies I’ve bought things from in the far distant past.

    Then I checked my junk folder….

  265. Any packages from Northern regions yet, Catty?

    I posted one yonks ago and now I’m regretting not sending it registered. I’ve been keeping it for six months, too – you can do that with salami, right? It would be just my luck for it to go astray.

  266. I didn’t have my glasses on and read that as ‘nether regions’.
    Considering what the weather is like hereabouts – hot and wet and stinky – I figure, Near Enough.

  267. Yes, darling Morgana, you can keep salami for 6 months. Oh, and yes, a parcel has arrived here – thank you! I haven’t opened it, as I am saving it up for Christmas morning. It will be my only surprise, as I already opened Quokka’s present, and the Boss’s 6 to 7 day working week doesn’t give him time to shop. I’m helping out by buying all sorts of lovely gifts for him to give me – including a most delightfully expensive dress. I would never have dared spend that much on myself, but I’m sure the Boss thinks I’m worth the extra expense for Christmas. Don’t worry, I will remove the price tag before I hand it over to him for gift wrapping.

    Did you get your parcel yet? And you, Quokka?

  268. Thank goodness. Yes, don’t open it until the 25th. I’ve been very excited about this mystery thingo for a very long time, so try and maintain the mystery for a few more sleeps.

    As for Q’s nether regions . . . dunno what she’s got to complain of. At least she’s got aircon.

  269. Yes thank you Catty dear, the salami arrived undamaged, I just came in from doing errands and found it in my letter box surrounded by a slavering cluster of staffies.
    * Note to self: install Salami Secure letter box prior to next xmas.
    Thank you so much!
    I will examine the salami & extract maximum enjoyment from it later on when I’m all done with the horrible chores & I can sit down for a cuppa.
    I think you were very wise to go out and DIY with your Xmas present.
    I did much the same thing yesterday in Lorna Jane.
    I needed a fluoro yellow top to wear when I’m out kayaking on river (no floatation device is necessary, kayakers are the cyclists of the river & I gather we’re expendable – but I think when the police divers are scrabbling through the mud looking for your corpse, it helps if you glow in the dark) and of course they only make Hi-Vis vests in men’s sizes.
    I got one but it’s long enough to pass as a frock and horribly hot so naturally I couldn’t resist when I found something much more suitable that actually fit me when I was in Lorna Jane.
    So that’s one less tedious shopping errand the bloke has to suffer.

    MM, I will be complaining about this suckarse humid climate until I A. leave B. it eventually kills me. Your ghastly grass fire up at Cooloola is blowing all the way down here, so even inside the AC I’m still stuck with stinky smoke.
    What we need is a good drenching to put it out.
    Hopefully we’ll get one tonight.
    Gosh there’s been a lot of fires – the night we flew back from Sydney we saw the fires that were burning on Straddy, they were massive – and that was before the point where they’d actually become a threat.
    I think we need to put on our finery and shake our tail feathers in a Rain Dance, ladies. I’ll nip out now and pluck them from the devil bird that’s currently tearing up my garden, shall I?

  270. Are you sure that’s a bird? It could be Greybeard Santa, delivering leaf mould to all the good little turkeys.

  271. Hehehe. Greybeard Santa: the only Santa more horrifying than that in Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather” when Death takes over while Susan saves the day.

    Q, the fires are shocking. They’ve been burning for days and you can feel the smoke in your eyes and lungs. As you know I’m not asthmatic, but even walking the dog along our beach at dawn you feel a little tightness as your pipes say no to all the soot. On Monday night when we had a few storms, you could smell wet ashes and I thought, “Great, they’re out!” but nup – can’t have been enough.

    Problem, too, is that a lot of the dune type vegetation does not regenerate after fire, the way inland bush does. Noosa National Park is going to be balder than Birmo by the time the fires go out.

  272. They’ll have to send the hippies out with vegetarian rogan to help regenerate them. Its very annoying, the Flanders have usually farked off to go camping by now and I think they’ve decided to stay home out of range of the fires. Rat Damn it.
    Still horribly smoky here this morning and no rain last night.
    I say we mug Greybeard Santa, steal all his rats and threaten to unleash them on BOM if they don’t deliver gushing rain, STAT.

  273. There must be some use for GB’s rat stockpile.

    Unleash the vermin!

  274. No worries. Victorian schools finish up tomorrow. Give it a couple of days and you’re going to be overrun with holidaying vermin.

  275. By a strange coincidence, in a couple of days I’m heading for Brisvegas. And by “strange coincidence”, I mean carefully planned strategy.

    The Christmas noms arrived yesterday, dear darling Catty! Thankyou thankyou thankyou… you’re meant to just snort the hot chocolate, yeah? I know you didn’t intend me to slave over a hot stove, but try telling that to Elf Boy. xxoo

  276. Silly! You don’t have to be on a hot stove to shovel the stuff directly into your mouth from the tin. I don’t, anyway. If EB complains, sprinkle some onto ice cream – that should keep you cool while you explain to him that he’s not getting any.

  277. Mmm . . . selfish sundae. I’m having one for breakfast!

  278. Mmm. Gelato fudge nut sundaes.
    Better order a double.

  279. For tea, I’m thinking citrus medley – blood orange, lime and . . . lemon.

  280. I had nachos and baked cheesecake. But not in that order.

  281. I had some stupid pasta dish . . . and peanut butter brittle fingers!

    nom nom nom nom nom

  282. That’s clever. I have licked many pasta dishes clean, but I’ve never actually eaten one.

  283. I’ll show you how it’s done sometime.
    It helps to have an acid tongue.

  284. And Oddjob’s dentition.

  285. It’s Christmas Eve! Time to start baking. Actually, we’ve been baking since yesterday. 38ºC, it was. All my tinsel has wilted.

  286. Poor Catty. I had a lovely cool afternoon yesterday paddling in Q’s bath-house. I suppose you don’t want to hear about that, though.

    Be careful not to burn yourself and save me a beater to lick

    xxoo

  287. ooh yes, we heard about the rumours of 40C temps in Melbourne yesterday, Catty. Sorry to hear that they were true. We were eating delicious creamy gelato in Milany near the Eagle Farm race course. Which was gorgeous but yeah, nice to get back to Casa Q to dabble in the pool and enjoy the afternoon breezes and the shade of my poinciana.
    I’m looking forward to an 8 course meal at a fabulous Greek restaurant tomorrow.
    No shopping, no cooking, no dishes, no need to up my meds to deal with a host of overbearing critical relatives that I long ago decided it’s a waste of time to see…and then it’s over for another year and we can get on with our holidays sloth. Yeehaw.
    Morgana, lovely to see you yesterday, do we have a new favourite burger meet-up venue or what?
    If only their air-con worked to the same standards as the gelato-freezer, it’d be damned near perfect.

  288. I was just raving about that gelato over our family Christmas Eve extravaganza, Q. My Cousin’s boyfriend says they have a similar atisanal gelateria in Israel, and he’s looking forward to trying ours.

    Mmm …. family-free frozen treats.

  289. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Morgana, the bag is just TOO fabulous! I love it. LOVE IT! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I have such wonderful taste in friends…..

    Ooops. I just spotted a crumb of chocolate from the blueberries. It’s fallen on my keyboard. Excuse me while I lick it off. drftgyhuijkolp;ftgyhujikolp;[‘fvgbhnujmiko,l. There. Got it. That, Quokka, was the best chocolate I have ever eaten in my life. Big, sloppy, chocolate thank you kisses for you! And now you must tell me where you found those blueberries or my head may explode.

    Later, we shall go to the inlaws’ house, where other people will be doing the cooking and cleaning while I sit back drinking my MIL’s fancy coffee and eating everything I can get my hands on. There will be presents, too. Luxury!

    Merry Christmas, my darling friends. I hope you all have a perfect day too.

  290. Mrs Flannery’s health food store, Catty – so I suggest you mug a hippy in the deep dark south and ask them what the equivalent is down there. I’ll check with a friend that moved down there, if she ever checks her email…(she has a child under 5 and a teenager who makes your teen sound like Mother Theresa so that could explain her slackness with correspondence).
    I think it’s organic chocolate so you don’t get the aftertaste of the child slaves in Africa that you find in normal cocoa.

    happy christmas, ladies.
    I’ve eaten far too much to write more, so – ENJOY!

  291. Glad you enjoy it, Catty. I saw it and knew you had to have it.

    Q – how was your Big Fat Greek Christmas?

    Lovely day full of family togetherness and not too many fights, yesterday. Today my good friend will bring Magic Man’s BF-in-the-world over for a BBQ and swim and back to glorious home the day after. What a nice festive nonsense, and how sweet to share it with my bestest friends-in-a-box,

    Mwah! and LYLT xxoo

  292. We had an awesome day, thanks, and I have the indigestion to prove it.
    Glad to hear you have all survived the Santapocalypse.
    Happy boxing day, troops.
    xoxox

  293. And to you! What a lovely day it was yesterday – lots of presents, overindulging and laughter. And nobody got hurt (except the Boss’s new Apple t-shirt, which he managed to set fire to. Don’t ask.) I’m glad you all had a good one too.

  294. Sulk

    Our family dos are so tame . . . no-one ever sticks a steak knife in their eye, sets themselves on fire or loses their false teeth in interesting locations.

    Guess who was dissappointed to learn that Boxing Day is so-called because of some ancient English serf charity hoo-haa, rather than because it’s a free-for-all, no-holds-barred on your brother?

  295. Ummm…. the Boss?

  296. Nonsense. Boxing day is the day for smacking up your sister.
    Look into her eyes and tell me you don’t want to.

  297. I don’t. But I’m pretty sure she does. I love being the evil sister. Mwaha ha ha haaaaa!

  298. Sadly, my sister stayed in NSW. I could skype-smack her, I suppose.

  299. Yes, but not nearly as much with a wet fish.

  300. Wet fish slaps aren’t much fun. The rusty nails don’t hold still.

  301. !!

    I’m still on your good sides, right, Catty?

    Q?

  302. According to my sister I don’t have a good side so you’ll just have to be content with my Dark Side.
    Well, my efforts to be more gracious about Xmas have resulted thus far in two days of indigestion(xmas food, save me) and raised levels of neurosis & blood pressure so no surprises there.
    While he was off doing the Duty Call to his parents at the Old Coast, the bloke got rammed while he was stationary at a red light by some wastrel tearing down the tweed off-ramp at 100k/hr.
    So I’m counting myself lucky that I still have a car and a spouse.
    Nobody was injured but that’s just down to luck – the citreon got pushed into the car in front of it which in turn got pushed onto the old coast highway and thankfully nothing was coming at that moment – it’s a 100k/h zone so that would’ve been just ugly.
    Naturally the zoner at the wheel was a commodore from Redcliffe – his car wound up copping the worst of it. Our citreon will need to spend some time at the panel beaters but the lights still work and it’s just cosmetic so it’s still drivable.
    I had twitter hysterics, made mandarin-poppy seed mini-bundts, had a nip of vodka and calmed down. But I’m still feeling a bit neurotic.
    Thankfully the bloke had such a scare from it that he finally put his foot down with his parents and said that there will be no more Duty Calls for hallmark holidays when the gold coast roads are packed with lunatics & cars full of children spraying vomit and yelling ‘Are we there yet?’ & next year if they want to celebrate Xmas they can do it at the north pole & he’ll talk to them via skype.
    It’s the second close call this season – he nearly hit another car due to his own bad driving on Xmas day – we were headed out to lunch and he was so busy complaining about his mother & what he was in for on the upcoming Duty Call that he nearly took someone out.
    Thankfully he’s learned from the experience and has vowed Never Again.
    So it looks like I’ll finally get the Xmas tradition that I want, which is a quiet day spent sitting in the pool spitting watermelon seeds into the garden and reading vampire novels. And he can complain about his mother’s toxic levels of nastiness in the safe confines of Casa Q.

  303. Thank goodness the Bloke is o.k. Your New Year’s resolution to ditch the parents, cancel Christmas obligations and stay alive is well worth keeping. Now, where’s my mandarin mini-bundt? I’m drooling all over the computer.

    We had a little scare ourselves yesterday. The Boss was working at a jobsite in Tottenham that had to be closed down because of a crazed madman with a gun. The Boss was safe, though. He’d just left when it happened, as he had to come home early to take over kidlet duty so I could attend the Burger gathering. Not that he told me straight away – he waited until he’d milked the sympathy for all it was worth before he mentioned leaving early. The rest of his team were still there, though. Two of his workmates were standing around scratching their bal… uh, I mean, waiting for the site rep to sign off the job, so they were able to evacuate quickly. The third workmate was sleeping off a hangover in his car out the front. That was shown on the news footage, and their employer saw it. Ooops!

    What about you, Madam? Any NY promises? I’m tossing up between becoming filthy rich (I’m already halfway there – the filthy half), and…. no, actually, that’s it.

  304. Jeebus, that’s quite an adventure, Catty. Just as well you had an afternoon’s babysitting planned for the Boss. I was about to search for this footage of the snoozing on the job but then I realized if I sent you virtual cake I could probably persuade you to send me the incriminating footage by return email.
    The cocktail is sex on the beach made with Urban Thirst’s premixed OTB mix. No nasty chemicals so you have to use it up quick – this is the stuff I store in the zombie brainzz ice maker that Morgana gave me.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I think Aunt Irma is calling to me & I have to go whack her over the head with an umbrella and a dose of Cadbury’s.

  305. I was just thinking … geez,what near death experience am I in for?

    Then I realised my parents were visiting.

    How horrible and thank smurf everyone’s OK. Cheers, 2012 – thought you’d go out with a bang, hey?

  306. A bang would be nice, but the Boss has gone fishing with his mates. *sigh*

    Quokka, I’ve sent you the link to the Channel 9 footage. I initially suspected it was Aunt Irma on the rampage – but nobody actually got shot, so it couldn’t have been her.

  307. *sulk*

    I want the link, too. Also – a bang.

  308. I want Aunt Irma to smurf off, or at least to cook dinner for me if she must hang about.
    Beeyatch.
    I’d whine some more but I’ve just spent the last 4 hours at Westfield helping the bloke select this year’s batch of checked shirts.
    I’ll need at least an hour on the couch and three pots of tea before I figure out if it’s caused brain death.
    Oh and thanks for the email + link Catty.
    When I get beyond the checked shirt blechs I’ll rustle up some more enthusiasm for the crazed gunman. 🙂

  309. Why chequered shirts – is it part of an enterprise bargaining thingo, or something … or just because architects like graph paper?

  310. Not sure.
    I think he finds the straight lines on his clothes comforting when the tradies fail to create them in RL. He still gets the shudders every time I mention the concrete floor in the PA that they had to pour 3 times before they got it right.

  311. On the upside, extra opportunities to hide their mistakes … or as we used to say at Uncle RV’s, “failures to respond to treatment”.

  312. Three times? What, were they government contractors?

  313. Just idiots, Catty.
    I think the problem was eventually resolved by the bloke strapping the foreman to a trolley and sliding him down the aisle over the bumps to demonstrate the nature of the problem & saying ‘One day, this could be all of you.’

  314. Good work, Bloke. Threaten them with a hospital visit and watch them squirm.

  315. Curious how a profession that wields band saws and nail guns 10m+ above ground level can be so convinced they’ll never end up on a hospital trolley going bumpity bumpity bump along an uneven concrete corridor they’ve poured.
    Still, the building industry is a law unto itself.
    When the bloke was doing some labouring work in his uni years, he went to work for a team of builders down the road who were renovating an ancient West End set of flats. they discovered that the floor on the upper level wasn’t even when they wanted to tile it so their solution to that was to pour a layer of concrete over the sagging floor and then tile over the top.
    None of the builders seemed impressed by the spotty architecture student pointing to the sagging rotten joists and beams below and saying ‘What happens when the joists give and the concrete crashes into the two floors below?’

  316. Silly spotty student. Every builder knows that after the collapse, the buck stops with the engineer in charge of the job. That’s why they don’t give a rats arse – it won’t be their necks on the crooked, unsupported block. Still, it could be worse. It could be a union worksite. *shudder*

  317. If it was a union worksite they’d never get it finished, Catty. The workers at the mater children’s hospital managed to avoid turning up to work for 60 working days last year, or as they count their hours, three months.
    Probably no point rushing to finish it, anyway, seeing as Canned Ooh won’t be coughing up the funds for services to fill it.

    Did I mention that I got a kindle from Santa?
    its pretty cool, but I must confess that having spent a week jiggling it on my lap trying to stop the glare from bouncing off the plastic and peeling it off my sweaty limbs, I do think I prefer the Dead Tree way of reading. Being the Little Princess that I am, when we installed all the lighting 10 years ago it was designed for the lights to be perfectly suited to lounge & bed-time reading, and it’s not so much working for the kindle as Against it. I think if you spent a lot of time on planes or trains or in cafes it’d be a better option than a book, but FWIW I think I’ll be sticking to Dead Tree technology as a matter of preference.

  318. But they’ve got that lovely e-ink and parchment screens and stuff… have you got a normal Kindle or a Kindle Fire? Perhaps Santa overdid it … I don’t find the standard ones glare-y at all, although I do agree that iPad like type (Fire) are smurfing shiny.

  319. No, it’s an ordinary kindle. I very clearly recall the warning from the nerds that kindle fire deserves to be set on fire.
    I’ve always had issues with screen and glare, that’s what drove me to the optometrist when I started uni and was confronted with the horror of whiteboards. None of which was really helped by staring at them through a layer of progressively magnified glass.
    Might be a spectacles + light + kindle issue, MM.
    Am disamappointed that you can’t download loans from the library on it, though. Still, there’s no glare from the screen when I’m sitting in natural light so perhaps once the sun room gets built and I’m not sitting in a dark cave where you need energex variety light, that might solve the problem.

  320. Oh, naughty BCC. Our library loans ebooks. Maybe you should move to the Sunny Coast?

  321. Bugger the books. I want a tablet solely for playing games, like Plants vs Zombies, and Angry Birds. Can you download those onto a Kindle? Or am I going to have to buy an iPad form my games?

  322. I still have NFI what an ipad does, other than cost a lot of money and go CRASH! when a cat invariably knocks it off the bench – which is the standard form of death around here for my mobile phones.
    The librarian told me that Amazon and Kindle are bastards of the first order when it comes to negotiating any kind of library deal and if I wanted an ereader to get ebooks from the library I would probably need an android or an ipad. She said they’ve got advice about compatibility and what kind of e-reader to select on the BCC library website.
    I did hear that from the Nerdvine when we were in discussions about e-readers last year but Mel and Mayhem swayed me with their love of their kindles.

    I figured that tech being what it is we’d probably end up with a few different gadgets in the house anyway as all these FKN things seem designed to create a monopoly for some evil empire that’s intent on cutting the competition out of the market. Probably I should go back and read JB’s discussion on ereaders at CBG but meh, I have the kindle now and I’m slowly figuring it all out.
    Twitter is abuzz with the news that Khan Greybeard is visiting the great Southern Capital and has spread seering heat and pestilence in his wake.
    How are you coping, Catty?
    It must be a pain to go outside in the heat and have to shake sulphur-scented locusts out of the washing.
    I still can’t believe Westfield haven’t delivered the Catty BD card yet. i admit to being hopeless and only posting Mel’s Xmas card today (it got buried in a pile of crap here and it’s been too hot to burrow through piles of crap so it’s lucky I found it al all) but I sent your card on Monday. If it comes to you via Edinburgh the posties will have hell to pay.

  323. iPad, Catty. Kindle is only a reader. Unless you buy a Kindle Fire which I’m told is not even useful as a fire-starter. But I think you should buy an Android Icecream Sandwich because (1) it is a really cool name and (2) I like icecream sandwiches.

    Hehehe … sulphur-scented locusts.

    Day off! day off day off day off!!
    Conga line time

  324. Yay for liberty. Make the most of it, MM.

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