Turkish Charcoal Burner

Turkish Charcoal Burner

I really wanted to post some pix from Q’s Ekka Extravaganza, but the computer wouldn’t extract them from my phone. Instead, gaze in wonder at the Turkish Charcoal Burner I purchased from a garage sale for no good reason. It used to be at Peter Hackworth’s “The Cat’s Tango” in St Lucia.

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392 Responses

  1. Bewdiful.
    Shouldn’t it have been the Cats’ Tango, though?
    It takes two, after all.
    It really was a lovely restaurant.
    Beyond my means, in my student days, and beyond my driving range once I joined the work force on the opposite side of the river.

    I will have more ekka photos to email you, but I’ll get to that later. After another 8 hours of trawling around the ekka my feet are killing me, so I’m in bed keeping them elevated on the bloke’s shins, to restore the circulation.

    The CWA have saved me from certain poisoning by sulphites twice this week, thanks to their toasties and delicious bikkies. So I’ve signed up to join them. I woke up this morning wondering if I’d visited the twilight zone. Then I remembered my agenda, I want to suck up to whoever it is at the Samford show that makes that caramel fudge that I so admire.

    It is scary, though, that each time I’ve been in the CWA lair I manage to find the Chief Hen & she tucks me under her wing like I’m one of their own. Weird, but if it gets me their top secret caramel fudge recipe, I’m willing to play along.

  2. Strategic move, Quokka.

    You’ll get more than fudge out of those ladies. I bet they never met a stain they couldn’t shift. And the scones!

  3. Speaking of fudge…. After a little over an hour of mixing and boiling,I’m now sitting patiently, waiting for the candy thermometer in my fudge pot to cool down to 115ΒΊF. When it gets there, I shall beat the mixture vigorously for 15 to 20 minutes. Once I have spread the fudge in my special little fudge pan, I shall measure and mix the topping and spread that over the fudge. Then I shall refrigerate it for an hour. In other words, it’s a looooooong, slow process. But it is red velvet fudge, so it will be worth it. Especially if it tastes as incredible as it smells. Mmmmm….

  4. I killed it. I killed the fudge. *sob*

  5. Catty! That’s terrible. I feel like I should send flowers, and put a notice in the local paper. All that effort.
    Reminds me of the time I tried to make my friend Debbie’s pineapple upside down cake, which she insistes was impossible to FK up, and I wound up with mud oozing over the side of the tin and nothing that even remotely resembled pineapple within. I blame the oven goblins. And I think you should, too.

  6. You shouldn’t kill anything you aren’t prepared to eat Catty.
    Evil Daughter #2 has been watching some daytime TV in her new “mother” role. Naturally I joined her and in between sessions of frightening the baby, I saw some Tempting Things. So far I’ve only done some jalapeno and parmesan muffins. ED#2 & Lyn both said they were horrible but ate quite a few each. Must try them again and use Q & A (snigger) as guinea pigs.

    Also this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152167463998266&set=p.10152167463998266&type=1&theater

    I got in trouble with ED#2 for playing a little clapping game with bub.
    “who’s a little rat,
    lying on the mat,
    looking very (pause) cute.”

  7. I scraped the mess into my fudge tin and bashed it into shape with a hammer. It’s a crumbling, disgusting mess but it tastes AMAZING.

  8. Better luck next time, Catty. I’ve always admired and kind of feared people who can use a lolly thermometer, so I’m impressed that it was edible.

    GB, she’s so big! And the poor little wretch looks a bit like you. Hopefully she’ll grow out of it.

    Parmesan and jalapeno muffins sound delish. Is the recipe complicated?

    Q, I’ve lost track. Are we expecting Bob the Replacement Builder on site in the near future?

  9. Yes. BRB is due to have a meeting with us at lunchtime today, so I will have to scamper to get myself organised for that.
    Irma has decided she needs to be present for that. Bitch.
    So it’s going to take twice as long to get myself sorted.
    I have NFI why those pictures did not post through to you via my email.
    I hit send, then on investigating this am, discovered they had stored themselves in my ‘drafts’ box so they must have been too big or else the email was down. It often crashes here in the mornings, I assume it’s all the kiddies next door doing their assignments for uni.
    So I will check in on that later in the day.
    Meanwhile, congrats on the first run of the fudge, Catty, and Khan GB, you are very bad.
    I saw one of your feathered devils splattered on the road around the corner.
    As in, 2 dimensional.
    Aw.
    One down, fifty thousand to go, in my ‘hood at least.

  10. Vale, scrub turkey. Only GB and Colin mourn your passing.

    Yes, I just emailed you back congratulating you on your mastery of suspense building, Q. It might be the QWCA Matrix blocking transmission, it’s the only way I can understand not being able to get them off my phone, either.

  11. I do admire your TCB Madam. Probably wouldn’t have resisted it myself. The muffins were dead easy: http://www.aliveandcooking.com.au/index.php/recipe/jalapeno_parmesan_muffins I didn’t have ghee so just used some cholesterol lowering spread she had in the fridge (one reason ED#2 puts up with us is that we both cook dinners, somewhat competitively).

    ED#1 was house-sitting for us. Sent a photo of Colin looking hopefully in at the back door entitled “missing you”. For all her previous scorn, she started tossing him the odd nut to enjoy his clumsy antics. Ha! Also, Gmail is the best way to send photos IMHO. They can be quite big, at least 10MB.

  12. Cholesterol lowering spread? No wonder you had mixed reviews. Thanks muchly for the recipe, I’ll try it with some of the good, artery hardening Qld salted butter I always keep on hand

    Thank you, thank you. You and Fifi should wander up and we’ll burn some Turkish charcoal in it. Over which we could toast some Turkish bread. Oooh, maybe I could roast an eggplant in it and make baba ganoush?

  13. Or, we could just reschedule another meeting at the Turkish restaurant down here. A $15 meal where nobody has to cook or do dishes is my idea of a value meal.

  14. OK. As long as I can bring photos of the TCB and discuss its merits with an ethnics who may be on hand.

  15. Don’t know how that’ll work out. Last time there our wait-person was Irish. Is that ethnic enough?

  16. What’s the opposite of “to be sure, to be sure”?

  17. That would be Greybeard trying to decide whether to move to the blizzardy south or settle down in the custard tart precinct somewhere here in Vagus.

  18. Mmm … custard tarts.

    Lest we forget, also churros, and pastries, and gelato. Hey, when are we going back to that gelato place? I should come before Stupid Cricket starts again,

  19. They had a stand at the Ekka, along with half the other gelato bars in Vagus.
    But yes, I agree, a gelato/dumpling/market visit is perhaps in order.
    If you’re keen for Turkish, though, I have also discovered a hidden gelato bar behind one of the Italian restaurants in Oxford Street & while they do not have the extensive range as Milany, what they do have is very, very good.

    Maybe you should see if you can co-ordinate your schedule with Mrs D, too, as I haven’t seen her in a while & her BD prezzie may have to become a Xmas prezzie if I leave it much longer.

    Well, the meeting with Builder 2 went well, but as I suspected, he is loathe to start until next year because of the Storm damage factor. The plans still need some tweaking if we are to fix the parking and the engineer is slow as molasses so by the time we get that done, well, yada yada yada.

    This is actually fine by me as the Bloke has finally come round to my way of thinking, which is to fix the landscaping up in the back yard done before we build the sun room next winter. It means that I’ll put off studying for another year so gosh, another year of liberty from deadlines and due dates. What torture and torment that will be.

    I heard somewhere that we are in the midst of a wet weather pattern, so after a wet winter we are in for a very wet summer. Not a good time to be tearing off a chunk of roof and leaving it exposed for a month while the builder fiddles about building skylights.

    Meh. Is it just me, or is this building project thing tediously slow?

    Builder number 1 left a message yesterday saying he will have his quote ready for us by the end of the week. So it will be interesting to see how they compare.

  20. Oooh, yes. I too have a B’day prezzie going stale for her. I haven’t heard from her in ages, I assume she’s arse-deep in studying and work. We can leave the men at the sausage stand, again.

    Cyclone season is a good time to leave one’s roof intact, I agree. What are you going to do in the backyard? I do love a bit of landscaping.

  21. Mmm, sausages (drool)

  22. Alright, you can come too GB. There’s plenty of drooling room around the sausage stand.

  23. I’m out of bagels. I propose we adjourn there ASAP, i.e. this sunday.

  24. I’ll be Baconing. How does the Sunday after grab you, though?

  25. Er, sorry, missed that question.
    Lots of exciting stuff like replacing 20yro retaining walls and decrepit pool equipment. And pavers that have been pushed out of place by the MF tree roots from next door’s chinese elms. Cosmetic stuff will depend on the budget, so it’s a design in progress.

  26. Chinese Elms are a scourge. Not quite as bad as Acacias, but up there.

    Have you considered a nocturnal ninja mission, possibly drilling the trunks and injecting them with Roundup?

  27. Don’t forget the TCB, Quokka. You simply must include a TCB in your landscaping plans. I hear they’re all the rage now. We found a charcoal burner (among other bizarre things) hidden deep within the over-run garden when we bought this house. I don’t think it was Turkish. It seemed more like a torture cage for Smurfs. We were going to put it on the hard rubbish, but one of the Boss’s brothers claimed it as his own. I think he may have had a Smurf problem at the time.

    Speaking of little blue creatures, the school is having yet another dress-up day on Thursday. The theme is space. While the youngest kidlet is happy to leave the costume to me, the middle kidlet has insisted that she be a blue alien. Joy. I’ve just spent an hour at Lincraft looking for bits to make a blue alien costume. *sigh* I hope they remember all of this when they’re complaining about me to their therapists in 20 years time.

    Greybeard, that recipe looks scrummy. It’s almost… almost… enough incentive for me to try savoury muffins instead of my usual sugar-laden ones. But not quite.

  28. Lincraft? Make? Just paint the child blue. Better yet, send it to school naked – in your weather, it will blue up naturally!

  29. Jeebus Catty what a waste of time. Just send the kid in naked, by the time he gets from the car to the school door he’ll be blue with cold & you won’t even have to bother with the expense of body paint.

    MM, The Not the Owner at Bog Hollow has expressed her dislike for Chinese Elms too and has told us that we are welcome to pay the thousands of dollars required to cut it down any time we like.

    isn’t that generous of her?
    The Not Her Boyfriend has spent the last 5 days scrabbling round in the dirt out front of Bog Hollow trying to dig out the roots of a 50 yro Spruce by hand.
    I might have to start keeping another notebook on this lot, they promise to be every bit as entertaining as the previous form of management.

    Irma is here and I have run out of chips to feed the greedy beehatch. I might have to kick off my 3 day old skanky pyjamas and have a shower and go out for more. Meh, and meh again.

    I just remembered, I got woken up by rats in the roof chomping macadamias. Which is usually how I know that Khan Greybeard is back in town. I may have to go go Bunnings to find some little treats that I can smear in peanut butter and toss into the roof for them. Evil little FKRS.

  30. Great minds.

    Mmm … macadamias. Maybe they’ll run next door in their death throes, and give NTO something else to worry about?

  31. I’ve been cleaning out the attic again. This time I found Major-General Stanley’s nightshirt, various petticoats and be-ribboned night caps and little lacy bags, presumably the property of his many unmarried daughters. Also some weird upper garment consisting mostly of ties and a scrap of cloth to cover the front bits. NOT what I’d expect as a piece of G & S costume. I’m putting aside bits of this stuff in case the GD needs dress-ups for school Catty. We sent one in a tracksuit/spacesuit with a cardboard helmet covered in alfoil and a few plastic boxes strapped to the back and waist. Thank heavens she didn’t want to be a blue alien. How about some face paints & a pic of a Navi to copy? And a fake tail.

  32. I made a fake Navi tail out of a half a pair of blue tights once. I could look for it, if you want Catty.

  33. I hate my imagining brain. Now I’ve got Madam M with a blue face, Spock ears and a tail as described above – smiling in my head. I think I’ll just go and have a lie down. Carry on.

  34. I have cast little satchels of horrific chemical death into the ceiling space, for which no doubt I will burn in the flames of eternal hell. Sigh. So long as the little rat bastards eat it and stop keeping me awake all night.
    Sigh. Wish there was some more humane way to dispatch the noisy little FKRS. Maybe I should try Sarin gas next time? Surely North Korea has plenty to spare.

  35. Hehehe. Greybeard, it was for the kids! If I was going to body paint, I’d totally go purple. Like an asphyxiated Navi.

    You need a terrier, Q. One with no fear of heights.

  36. It’s the fear of cats that you need to worry about, here.
    The thing I like about my dog is that even during a panic attack he’s utterly silent.
    There was a woman with a foxy outside yesterday (off leash) and it was pursued and harassed by the Dog across the road that belongs to the special (AKA entitled) family across the road. So she parked her dog with the NTB next door, who was digging out the roots of the spruce by hand &, you’d assume, easily enticed to take a break, and she went to engage Mrs Special and Crazy about the wisdom of keeping a large black staffy lab X on the footpath. So I had all of them *communicating* at top volume. Special Dog, Special Family, Rat Dog and Rat Dog Owner.
    Oy.
    I spent the rest of the day immersed in happy fantasies about the hideous noise that our builders will make & how oblivious I will be to it all, in our GF’s holiday house at Golden Beach.
    Did I tell you that one of my Crazy Cat Lady friends has taken pity on us since the sweetest of my cats became a Travelling Biter & got black listed from boarding schhool? She’s offered us her beach house with cat pens for the duration of the build. Pretty sweet, huh?
    I should have trained that cat to attack much, much earlier.
    Now to teach them how to smell copies of the Watch Tower approaching.

  37. Geez, it’s hard to know which dog owner to hate most in that scenario. I hate people who walk their dogs off-leash and then whatever trouble the dog strays into is everyone else’s fault. Then again, we’re long past the days of free-range dogs being acceptable.

    Good news about GB – we’ll practically be neighbours! A friend of mine’s husband kindly turned my under-the-fort area into a cat pen for me last weekend, so as the weather warms up the twins are spending their nights in there. Flot loves it, Jet regards it as an insult. I’ll have to send pix. MM helped with the manly power tooling and had a ball. There was so much testosterone flying around my backyard I think I am growing a beard.

  38. I feel dreadfully left out. All I have to entertain me is the election campaign:

  39. Catty, if you find the election campaign entertaining, I’d like a small dose of whatever you’re taking, please.

  40. If this is any indication,

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/us-comedians-take-aim-at-australian-election-campaign/story-fn9qr68y-1226696730764

    I could probably blame the Hershey’s bar for my amusement.

  41. Blame it on the sunshine, blame it on the moonlight, blame it on the good times … but never on the choccie!

  42. Stupid ipad just crashed and lost my reply.
    Cliff notes, yay to cats and Boo and Meh to politicians.

    MM I will leave you & Mrs D to nut out a plan for our catch-up. I saw the email but it was far too arctic in my nook to sit down and respond to email (can’t remember where I put the new password so can’t respond from the world of Under Doona In AC with cats.) but those dates you’ve proposed are fine by me.

  43. Well, I’ve just packed off a couple of aliens to school. Their costumes are nowhere near as fancy as my fevered imagination intended. But by the time I finished hand-stitching their velour-embellished alien gloves at 3:30 this morning, I was totally over the whole thing. I don’t know why I attempt these things. Not only am I a crap seamstress with an unfortunate ability to blow up sewing machines for no discernible reason, but lately I’ve been totally off my game with everything. I even botched fudge last weekend. Me! Botch fudge! And the less said about the burned soup, the better.

    But not to worry. It’s payday – and there are at least three confectionery retailers who are about to enjoy my custom. You know which custom that is, don’t you? The one where I do this:

  44. Yay Catty. “Our country reeks of trees, our yaks are really large and they smelllikerottingbeefcarcases.”

  45. And we have to clean up after them,
    And our saddle sores are the best.
    We proudly wear women’s clothing,
    And searing sand blows up our skirts…

    Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen. Best. Episode. Ever.

  46. The kids have been forcing me to watch “Adventure Time”. It’s strangely addictive.

    Great, Q – well, we’ll do it then. And hopefully Ildy and Damo can come, too. GB, are you in? Sssssausagesss, musssst have the Precioussssss.

  47. Did you notice that Jake’s voice is the same as Bender’s from Futurama? I did. Then I noticed that I am watching far too many cartoons.

  48. Spooky. I didn’t but now I agree.

    Maybe they went to the same High School?

  49. Somehow I doubt either of them even went to high school.

  50. Where and when is this proposed sausage-fest (if you’ll pardon the expression) that I may place it in the calendar? (And raise a Kransky to the absent Catty)

    • I just reread that comment and wish to make it perfectly clear that no innuendo was intended. Also that I require adult supervision when posting.

  51. Not this Sunday, but next Sunday. Unless you have Father’s Day obligations, in which case we’ll make it the Saturday, GB. What dates would those be, 31 August and 1st September?

    I can’t maths, I’ve been at work and my brains are numb.

    • Sounds great. I’ll be there and wearing my sausage teeth.

  52. Testify sister. I can’t brain today. I have the dumb too. I must have the dumb, as I didn’t see any innuendo in the Kransky comment until it was mentioned in Greybeard’s follow-up comment. Instead, this is what came to mind:

  53. I love the Kransky sisters.

  54. Hehehe. That was fabulous, Catty. Thank you!

    Great GB – but now you’ve got to pick a day. Is the Sunday alright with you?

  55. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hnnciM_r41s&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhnnciM_r41s

    Not sure if this is how you copy and paste from the ipad but here goes nothing.

  56. Sunday is good, dumplings are good, gelato is even better.
    I may have to go back for another one of those Boston Buns. My, that was good.

  57. Excellent.

    Hopefully, we have a plan.

    • Now watch it crumble into chaos . . .

  58. Hehehe. It’s obvious you’ve attempted to attend one of our functions before, Greybeard.

  59. May I point out that The Crumbling only ever happens when menfolk are added to the equation and that’s generally because they don’t like our cake and gelato hunts and want to go some place where they can drink beer and fart.
    Still, you’re right, maybe we need an official ceremony with scissors and ribbon cutting & some sort of official to shout ‘Let the Crumbling Begin!’
    I’m sure we could find a willing volunteer among the ranks to fill that role, and after my years of cat herding, I’d be happy to nominate someone with experience and proven capacity.

  60. And I don’t even have to go to the sulking corner. Mayhem, Melbo and I are having our own catchup. Yay!

  61. See, smart move, don’t invite the men!

  62. Yeah, it’s not like they bring hot chips or anything.

  63. Pfft. Your scorn rolls off me like scorn off a very scorn-proof thing. For I am stuffed with pork-belly dumplings and debreciner snag. (polite burp)

    Also, Fifi uses me as a truffle-hound only for cakes and chocolate so; useful male, eh?

  64. Greybeard, you dear man, don’t you know you’re the exception rather than the rule? And don’t kid yourself. A woman as smart as Fifi doesn’t need a truffle-cake hound.

  65. Exactly. A woman as smart as Fifi knows how to train a trufflehound.

  66. Mmmmm…. trained truffle….

  67. Oh you don’t know the half of it. I’m also a Sale-pointer. “50% off Fossil, bearing 320 deg dear.”

    Although I object to the notion that Fifi has ‘trained’ me. She simply thinks that I’m a Good Boy and sometimes scratches me behind the ears. She doesn’t like that thing I do to her leg though . . .

  68. You were very lucky to select a woman with infinite wells of patience, one drunken evening many moons ago in Dirty Dick’s, Greybeard.

    Kudos on your taste.

  69. Who wants to smack him with a rolled up newspaper?

  70. Oy! I haven’t read that yet!

  71. I wouldn’t. Don’t you remember that nasty incident when we were trying to train him to “go” outside?

  72. Yes. But at the risk of saying I Told You So, I did tell you at time it was a bad idea to let him inside at all. I still don’t see what’s wrong with keeping him chained to clothesline when he’s not chasing rats and truffles.

  73. You’re not getting me near that clothesline. There are spiders on it. *shudder*

  74. This is getting just like home. Only with fewer beatings. Sigh. You know Catty, when Fifi and I were in different towns and writing to each other (remember “letters”?) I once sent her a bunch of a dozen Redbacks as a sign of my affection. I was so romantic in those days.

  75. How on earth do you bunch Redbacks?

  76. I hope you made a proper job of it, and tied their little legs together to make a ring.

  77. Well I’m afraid I glued them to a piece of cardboard. But it was a full dozen – no scrimping.

  78. Redbacks mean love, in the language of spiders, obviously. What do you suppose funnelwebs mean?

  79. You need to stock up on mortein.

  80. STOPITSTOPITSTOPIT!!! My skin is crawling. CRAWLING!!! Aaaaaaaargh!!!

  81. So, how about that robo-chicken Q’s displayed on the twitters? Pretty fancy for a cat toy, eh? (skillfully changes subject before Catty’s skin crawls away)

  82. My budgie is sick. I know an ex-breeder, so I rang him and he thinks it’s going to die. Bugger. I really love that stupid bird.

  83. Bad news, Catty. What’s wrong?

  84. Golly Catty, that’s no good. FIngers crossed the breeder is wrong & the budgie is ok.

  85. That’s sad Catty. How old is the budgie?

  86. She was only a year and a half old. It was some sort of intestinal disease. She didn’t make it through the night, poor little thing. The kidlets are miserable. Nevermore, little budgie. Nevermore.

    • Damn. Sympathy to you and the kidlets. I was fond of my budgie too.

  87. Those whom the Gods love, die young. Vale, little budgie.

    Big virtual hugs, Catty. At least you have chocolate.

  88. And a hammer.
    So you can build her a wee budgie coffin and bury her with full military honours in the pet cemetery out back.
    Poor Catty. Sympathies to you and the kidlets.
    RIP, little budgie. I know you will be missed.

  89. We wrapped her in a black silk shroud, placed her in a little black coffin, and buried her with a simple sob-fest in the back yard. I would never have believed I’d be so sad about a bird. But she was more than just a bird. She was a member of the family. Thanks for the sympathy, everyone.

  90. She wasn’t only a family member. Despite shitting everywhere she still smelt better than the Teen … and she never emptied your pantry, either.

  91. Big Hugs, Catty.
    My cousin in Perth told me that my grandmother had a budgie called Bob & she was absolutely devastated when he flew off to the next world. She had taught him to speak & he had quite a repertoire of off-colour/cheeky remarks to sling at visiting relatives and neighbours.
    So I completely understand why you’d miss your bird.
    xoxo

  92. You’re right about the smell, but I’m not sure about the nomming. If I opened the fridge, she’d fly straight into it and try to chew into the butter container. Which is pretty much what the Teen does.

    Speaking of the Teen, the latest news involves the cretinous turd ex-boyfriend who encouraged her to leave home three years ago. Apparently he has been arrested for armed robbery and is expected to do gaol time. It seems he held up a milk bar. Then he went back and held it up a second time. See? I told her he was an idiot. Admittedly, Troll Baby’s not too bright either, but he’s sweet. And he washes the dishes after eating all my dinner.

    You know, I was just saying to the MIL the other day, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. But I spent 15 years teaching the Teen how to fish, and she STILL keeps coming over to eat all of mine.” I wonder if she was a seagull in a former life?

  93. Hmm, milkbar cowboy or dishwasher?

    I’d back Troll Baby. I bet he’ll change nappies, too.

    I wouldn’t say all your fishing lessons have been wasted, though, Catty. She does manage to hook boyfriends fairly easily.

  94. A few too many boyfriends if you ask me.

  95. Must be the bait she’s using.

  96. Jail bait?

  97. Manchild bait.

  98. Pfft. I’m sure she can still attract unicorns. Just like my daughters. EVEN the married one. (lalalalalalala)

    And speaking of unicorns, now we know what happened to them: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2012/04/unicorn-cookbook-found-at-the-british-library.html

    D#2 told me she was stopped by a strange woman as she got off the travelator. D – “What do you think she said?”
    Me – “Can i pat your monkey?”
    D – silence
    Actually something about how cute the kid was would have been my second guess. Honest.

  99. And that’s where we differ. I think people on travelators are smarter than that and she would have said ‘Does that monkey bite?’ BEFORE she asked to pat the monkey.
    Does the monkey still fit into her monkey suit or has she become too f…er, big boned?

    • She is a perfectly normal weight for an 11 month old, thank you very much.

  100. Greybeard, that wasn’t wise. You have remembered Sunday is Father’s Day?

    You’ll be lucky to score a brace of millipedes, the way you’re going.

    • Pffft. I should be so lucky. I know exactly how Darth Vader felt.
      “I am your father!”
      “Noooooo!”

  101. If only you WERE Darth Vader, GB. We’d go straight to the front of any queue, and there’d be Stormtroopers to carry our shopping.

  102. You think?
    I think he’d be in Syria, releasing rats and issueing in a bold new ero of Bubonic Plague.

  103. My money is on GB getting a monkey with the Marbug virus for Father’s Day. He would be wise to stock up on anticoagulants and bottled water.

    Also, I was fascinated by the illustration of a lady with a mustache carrying the cooked unicorn’s head to the table. They say fashion goes in cycles – can we bring the mustache fashion back? I would go for the Fu Manchu over the Handlebar, because then I could weave beads into it.

  104. Speaking of unsavoury fires, there’s a hazard reduction burn out on the army reserve near Ildi & Damian’s place today. Hope they’ve got their gas masks on, including the one that’s custom made to fit the hound. I bet they’ll be glad to get out of dodge tomorrow.

  105. I’m already rocking a mo, Catty. as MM enjoys being a teenager, he often strokes my lip lovingly and dreams of the time when he’ll have such a luxuriant growth.

    He also envies my fine crop of armpit hair.

  106. Tell me about it. The Teenie has been cultivating his upper lip fuzz for the last few months, and has recently begun to brag that his mustache is thicker and more luxurious than mine. If the little pest continues with the smart arse comments, I shall sneak into his room in the middle of the night and whack a Nads strip over his upper lip.

    • Or just whack him in the nads?

  107. Hehehe. Speaking of nads, if I didn’t want grandchildren, I’d rubber band MM’s. I’m getting sick of the “Hulk smash!” testosterone surges.

  108. Can’t you add something to his breakfast juice to do that chemically, just until he turns 17 & goes to uni?

  109. Great idea, Q! I’ll email Juan, the Mexican chemist.

  110. Email? I thought he had a facebook page for that.

  111. Email’s more discreet.

  112. The Boss’s special chemist is in England. He sells his wares on eBay.

  113. Excellent! Has the Boss ever had a seizure after taking the eBay pills? Cos I’m told the Mexican ones can be a little bit unpredictable.

  114. Only by Customs.

  115. Hehehe. Nice work, Catty.

  116. I’m here all week, folks. Try the veal.

  117. How’s the chicken?

  118. Hmmm… I’ll have the salad, thanks.

    Hey, there’s a question. If a vegan eats chicken, does it mean she’s lost her veg-inity?

    • Hey! It was from that chicken that my kids learned that snakes aren’t good at digesting feathers or corn. “Ooh look what’s in its poo dad!”

  119. I learned from my kidlets that there are things that small children cannot digest. Whole cashews, self-tapping screws, my mother’s cooking….

  120. No-one can digest corn. You should see the screens at a sewage treatment plant. Dead rats, student IDs and millions of corn kernels.

  121. And that’s just from Catty’s mother’s cooking.
    Speaking of indigestible items, I have just managed to successfully decrypt my grandmother’s melting moment recipe. (photos on twitter but I can email them to you if you feel deprived, MM)
    My grandmother was an outstanding cook & her baked goods were the stuff of legend. Her signature dish was her melting moments – I sampled the CWA MM’s at the Ekka & while they were amazing, my grandmother’s were different. No custard powder and a delightful lemon fragrance, & her filling was nicer. Creamier & richer, & again, lemon flavour.

    I have a copy of her cook book (wrested from the jealous possession of a controlling aunt by force by a cousin’s wife, who seized it & made photocopies of it for all of us, so huzzah for her & her unknowing employer who funded that act of generosity & Boo & Hiss to the Beeyatch Aunt who wanted to keep it to herself, a bizarre act in itself as the only food I ever knew her to prepare was ham sandwiches and fried fish & that was done most begrudgingly)

    Anyway, now you have some of the backstory/psychopathology, I’ll go on. I have tried several times over the years to make my grandmother’s melting moments & each time it’s had me in tears of frustration. I’ve been left with moundering little piles of biscuit dust and a ghastly mix of filling that’s too gooey to glue them back together. None of it even tastes remotely like her biscuits – the disintegrated biscuit dust is horrid & the filling is worse.

    Initially I thought what any normal human would, oh, she’s made some mistakes in transcribing the recipe to her exercise book. But then I realised, No. This is just my grandmother doing what she did best – the mind-FK with built-in plausible deniability, because that’s HER signature dish & never having made it past the emotional age of 12, the thought of someone else making her signature dish & doing it as well or even better than her was just too much for her to bear. She probably did it on purpose to FK with the heads of her sisters, her daughters-in-law, and any other Outside Forces that she deemed to be Unworthy. Well, that and the satisfaction that’s to be had from her Tory one-up-manship and culinary sadism.

    So a couple of weekends ago, I sat down with her recipe & went through the internet & the CWA cook books & my own recipes, and I did some calculations to adjust her ingredients to what I thought might be a workable combination that just might get the flavour & the texture of her biscuits. And yesterday I made them, making adjustments on the way as I deemed necessary.

    And I’ve done it. I think I have successfully decrypted her recipe. The melting moments are awesome & I’ve even managed to mastermind the cream filling that she used to make.

    So the recipe that I’ve created (which is probably partly memory as I spent weekends with them & she taught me to bake) is as near as dammit to her creation but it looks completely different to the recipe in her GD handwriting in her cookbook. And I have to say, I’m impressed with the criminal masterminding that went into creating a recipe that would leave every attempt at following it in a wreck of culinary disaster.

    Clearly she’s put careful thought into how, using all of her own ingredients but screwing with the quantities & by selective removal of a key ingredient, she can produce a recipe that could reduce the most accomplished baker to tears of fury & frustration.

    The ultimate bit of genius, though, is in the Plausible Deniability. Right there, in her hand-writing, in the top line: ‘Recipe, Courier Mail.’

    If you’re going to blame an almighty fuck up on somebody else & make it totally believable, then that just nails it.

    Genius.

  122. Well that explains why I couldn’t get the Red Velvet fudge to work. Your grandmother must have written the recipe. Now, are you going to share the melting moments recipe, or just the melting moments? All that talk of creamy filling is making me hungry.

  123. This is more exciting than cracking the Coke or KFC codes. Kudos, Q. They look amaaaaaaaazing. Kindly bring some to Greybeard’s.

    • Yesss, bring the precioussses to Greybeard’s, yesss preciouss. (clears throat)
      And when shall this hosting of the coven and hangers-on occur? We’re pretty flexible now that Lyn has joined the leisured classes but Madam & the Damian & Ildi Dynamic Duo are likely to be more constrained. A weekend soon when Q has recovered from the plague?

      • And if there’s anything special you’d like/dislike please let me know. No grains for Ildi for example.

  124. Heh heh heh. I knew you two would understand.
    I want to double-test the recipe so that I know I can replicate the results so do you want to wait for me to do that, and then I’ll pass it on? I plan to do that this week, if I get a minute, but if the writers festival gets in the way I’ll do a re-test next week.

    Aside from that its in my ‘notes’ section in the ipad & until next Monday’s Genius lesson at the fruit store I have NFI how you email a note from the ipad. I can tweet from the ipad but not email, it’s something to do with the ipad being registered in the bloke’s name so it’s not happy when I try to access my gmail account. Access Denied.
    I wanted to sort that out on my last trip to the fruit store but, you know, more interesting things got in the way.

    Which reminds me, if any of you noticed that I broke the internet on Sunday night, (twitter noticed & apportioned blame accordingly) despite this I successfully managed to apply to QTAC for next year. I need to do something with my brain & since none of these GD tradesmen seem to be turning up to renovate Casa Q & challenge my sanity, I might as well just study till they do show up.

    Besides, Murphy’s Law. They’ll call me the week before my first piece of assessment is due & want to start then. I’m sure that’s how it works. So really, paying that $63 to QTAC is just a bribe to get the tradesmen here. Boy Genius has persuaded me that the 1st semester unit on understanding addictions has made it possible for him to sit through a week long visit with his family in SA & listen to their dysfunctional ramblings, although he isn’t ready to attempt Christmas until he’s graduated with honours.
    Sounds like fun.

  125. You should apply for Recognition of Prior Learning in Addiction Studies, Q. Your sisters function at the PhD level in that department.

  126. Yes, but they might make me do advanced classes in family therapy in order to balance that out!

  127. Excellent … we could be your case studies!

  128. I know what to call my essay already.
    ‘The Rubber Band Diaries’.

  129. Or ‘Rubber Banned Diaries’, for the Catholics amongst us.

  130. hee hee. Nice one, Catty.

  131. MM, I meant to say, do show us pix of your lantern. I think I know that stall, as they do beautiful little bowls, and if we ever get the BBQ pit built, I plan to get some of them for storing nibbly things. I think that guy has staff at a few markets, it’s lovely stuff.

  132. He was quite fascinating, and was explaining how some of the traditional patterns were hundreds of years old. Also, through trade and the vagaries of geopolitics there are strong links between Turkey and Hungary, it seems.

    Which was interesting for Ildy. She showed me some of the plate designs that were just like mandalas she draws. And tulips are Turkish, who knew that?

    I will take photos. Dusk tonight and lit up, hopefully.

  133. I just found this:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-features/federal-election-2013-kids-have-their-say-on-kevin-rudd-tony-abbott-and-spiderman/story-fnho52jj-1226710262084

    If the policies cited by the children (Give money to everyone, have a party & play in the sandpit) are accurate, then I will be voting for Spiderman on Saturday.

  134. I’m more of a Thor fan. I like a big hammer.

  135. Don’t we all?

  136. Except if it’s attached to an even bigger tool.

  137. Hmm, speaking of tools, I think I was meant to be designing a retaining wall while the bloke is in FNQ. Riveting. It can wait.

    I went out to QUT yesterday to trawl the campus and figure out how much it’s changed since I did that year of teacher’s college there in 1984. The book shop is still in the same spot but they seem to sell more faff than books .
    I was sorely tempted by a penguin classics bag that said ‘Grow up and Live’, featuring some helpful 1950s advice. A family member works on campus & you never know, if she sees it and passes that news on to the rest of the pack (which is what she does best) the concept might take root and inspire them.
    Or not.

    I spent a happy hour fossicking around in the psyche text books and to my great amazement they are interesting and very readable. Very strange; things have changed since the last time I did psyche subjects there. I had to sit up at night taking no-doze to get through the dry dusty tomes. I exited the book store with the text on addictions, feeling smug because in the chapter on ’causes’ there’s a 3D portrait of mother’s family. Nice. I have come to the right place.

    The campus is reassuringly huge, I didn’t recognise it. Parking is a problem. I googled ‘parking, QUT, KG’ and up popped an image of Boromir, shaking his fist and saying ‘One does not simply PARK at QUT’ so I think in future I’ll be taking the bus. Having established where to get books, chocolate and vodka I felt that my mission was complete, so I headed home to enjoy some light reading. Did you guys know that the East-India trading company was to blame for the world-wide spread of opium use back in the 1800s?

    So I’m inclined to think that my MacNerd is right, this course could be fun.

    Er, in case you’re wondering why I sound so confident of enrolling, QTAC have given me an OP of 5 & the entry OP is 9. They say that anyone with an OP of 1-5 is assured of an offer in the first round. So unless they find out about my penchant for sticking marshmallows to the windowpanes and pushing the local urchins into the oven, I’m good to go.

  138. That’s a nice OP, Q. Hope QTAC drops you into QUT-KG PDQ (that’s ‘pretty damn quick’ not ‘plainly deranged Quokka’ btw.) Maybe I should cut back on the acronyms.
    And yeah, opium-I mean bookshops! Although for Lyn and I the bookshops are probably worse. We got a free one of those penguin tote bags from Readings in St Kilda for, um, buying lotsa books. It says The Plot Thickens and would make a good cushion with some stitching.

    And there’s a Turkish shop in Douglas St, Milton that has tiles and plates and rugs. Lots of nice stuff but not cheap. In fact their prices were more bizarre than bazaar. Lyn would like white tiles in the kitchen with scattered Turkish patterned ones amongst them. I just say “yes dear” as nature intended.

  139. The menfolk in our family have learned that if your missus says anything that involves paint, tiles, carpet or wallpaper, DO NOT say “yes dear”. Otherwise she will purchase the paint, tiles, etc – and then hand them to you to install.

  140. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Catty – I like your style.

    You can get Turkish tiles for $3 each at the markets, GB! And Ildy does need her slip. We should have another trip, soon, before Q has to start studying.

    Kudos, Q. Yes, I thought you’d enjoy it, Jo raves about it. You should go and visit her, when you’re enrolled. Not sure about lugging textbooks on public transport, though. A sherpa might be in order.

  141. Yeah, I don’t plan to work that hard in first semester, I’ll just do one or two subjects to keep my brain working until the tradies stop faffing about and turn up to do some work here. I’m just sick of putting my life on hold while they get their smurf turds together. I plan to enjoy this degree & I want to get to know the other students & have some fun.
    I don’t think that lugging text books around is too much of a problem these days thanks to electronic resources and the reliance on databases to access the latest research. I am probably in more danger of putting my back out hurling the MAC out the window than hefting a dozen psyche books around. By the time they are published they’re already out of date. I’m looking at some of the mistakes (medical knowledge about genetics) in this textbook & am just shaking my head thinking ‘Nice theory but there IS such a thing as the psychopath gene, lady. And seratonin reuptake discrepancies &…’ well, I could go on but Catty would die of boredom.

    The Bloke’s new office is in the study precinct, so I wailed & gnashed my teeth when I discovered he’d given up his parking spot to someone who likes to drive to work. I had plans for that parking spot. He says I can use the visitors car park, so we’ll see. Hard to say where he will end up if the Horsepiddle ever gets finished, anyway, so I will cross that bridge when I come to it. The bus isn’t so bad & it goes direct from southbank to KG underground through the busway. 12 minutes, all up. Pretty good, compared to when I was living at Kedron & I had to walk from RBH all the way to teacher’s college.
    Three miles in the snow & driving rain….
    Well, I have a crock pot to stock, so I’d best be off.
    Too bad you couldn’t make it to the writers festival. I’ll give the paid entrance fee one concession, it’s stopped the intrusion of wailing babies and pissed off toddlers drowning out the speakers words while their mothers sit there smiling like a medicated Mona Lisa thinking everyone else is staring at them because their kid is so very, very cute.
    For once I left the festival without feeling the impulse to commit justifiable homicide & while there were many deranged looking women to be seen, at least this year they’d left little Hypolyte and Dexter safely tied up to the clothes line back home.

    • “Hypolyte and Dexter” ROFL & snigger. Sounds vaguely medicinal? Gastrolyte and Dextrose?

  142. So who was the best speaker, Q? And was JB swanning around in a smoking jacket, with a bunny entourage?

  143. GB, I thought you of all people would get those references. Amazon Queen & Serial Killer, respectively, going by the dress codes. No sign of JB, he’s on deadline & isn’t fond of public Outings these days, so going on what’s happened in recent years at the festival, I doubt anyone will see much of him apart from when he’s on stage.
    I’ve reported on my day over at Catty’s so I’ll get a giddy up on as I’ve got lots to do today, starting with the crock pot & that sand cake recipe that I made in mini-bar tins last night. It’s lovely, but doesn’t taste like my grandmother’s. I’m sure she used arrowroot in lieu of cornflour, I’ll have to try the local health food store & see if they’ve got it down there. I wonder if Coals would even know what it is?

  144. They’ve got arrowroot at my Woolies. But then again, I do live in QWCA territory.

    Lucky they don’t swoop, like magpies.

  145. But they do steal and hide every shiny recipe they can get their hands on.

  146. And they weave a very tidy nest. Well, crochet, but still …

  147. I was worried for a minute there. I like shiny things, and I crochet… but then I realised you said ‘tidy’. Phew!

  148. When I’m crushed beneath an avalanche of my own mess, Catty, I’d be honoured if you gave the eulogy. I know you understand.

  149. Unfair, those of us permanently damaged by being raised by OCD psychopathic biscuit poisoners should get a word in too. πŸ™‚ Who else do you know with such a fine appreciation of the maxim ‘A clean house is a sign of a wasted life’?

    Meh. Permission to whinge?
    I have to go see my GP today as it looks like my sniffle & smoke allergy has morphed into an ear infection. When I see D’Orth & he asks me what has led up to this, I will have to say, well, mild whiney head cold, two weeks of smoke allergy from council burnoff, and psychological trauma caused by picking up the phone on Thursday evening & having Tony Abbott’s tongue thrust down my ear.

    I’ve never used witchcraft against an ear infection before, my books & the wisdom of the hive mind of my colleagues all say to use those Hopi Indian ear candles. So I’m guessing the ‘Kill it! Kill it with FIRE!’ rule is my best hope against the contagion of the Mad Monk’s slimy intonations. Let’s hope D’Orth has some drops I can use, since today seems to be a bad time to put myself at risk of spontaneous combustion. Watching Antony Green tonight should be enough to tip us all over, shorely?

    I’m still confused who to vote for. The nut in the big hat or the nut in the big boat with the golfing dinosaur? Maybe I’ll just scribble out the numbers and write ‘Vote 1 Slutty Smurf’ for Life-time dictator?

  150. I’m voting for Spiderman. The children of Penrith can’t possibly be wrong on this one.

    Also, are you sure it was Tony Rabbit’s tongue? I didn’t think Catholics were allowed to do that. If it turns out we are allowed, then I think we have to change that ‘wasted life’ maxim – and I have an awful lot of catching up to do.

    And forget the candles. I’d recommend getting yourself a medicine syringe and giving yourself ear baths 3 or 4 times a day by squirting lukewarm water into the infected ear a couple of times. It helps. If you want to get witchy about it, add a drop of rosemary oil to your syringing water. Rosemary oil is for purity, so Tea Tree can be used instead, as can lemon oil, but rosemary oil is gentler on ouchy ear canals. Always use therapeutic oil rather than aromatherapy oil. There’s more crap in aromatherapy oil than you could possibly find in an infected ear.

    Now. About this eulogy. Can I use the one I prepared earlier, for my own demise? If I can find it, that is. It’s here somewhere. Possibly under the piles of unfolded washing. Or the drift of empty chip packets behind the couch. Or maybe it’s beneath discarded-toy mountain. Or the stacks of paperwork waiting to be filed? I’ll start looking today. If I’m not back in a week, send in a sniffer dog.

  151. Oh yes it was definitely Tony’s tongue, I felt it’s little forked tips flicker & twist all the way down into the depths of my ear canal.
    Speaking of which, the GP has peered therein and declared it to be puckered up and retracted but no signs of infection. I had hearing back in both ears and pain gone by the time I got there so since I couldn’t hear out of one ear at all when I rang up yesterday & my Hogwarts Potions have fuxed it, dear D’Orth wanted to know the names of my magics so that he could pass them on to the rest of his patients that are being tormented by allergies & sinus infections. Pretty cool to have a GP that trusts in my witchcraft enough to do that, huh?

    He said it’s just pressure caused by the rapidity of the allergic reaction to the smoke when I was down at the writer’s festival yesterday. Makes sense that I was OK when I was inside & went into maximum mucous production while I was in the tent on the river next to GoMA. Anyway, thank Smurf I don’t have an infection and it’s something that is easily fixed by staying indoors and upping the dose of my little green pills. He said I also have weird narrow inner ears which I already knew, being so susceptible to pressure changes.

    Since it turns out I’m not actually sick, just neurotic, which we both knew anyway, I amused him with the rest of the consult time by telling him that the pollsters rang me just as I was out the door, wanting to know who I was voting for, so I told them Spiderman, and he guffawed and said ‘I hope he gets in,’ and then I scared him with the tale of my grandmother’s efforts to poison us all with her melting moment recipe. He does so enjoy my tales of family dysfunction.

    Thankfully there was nobody in the waiting room, as usually when I emerge from his office the entire array of wilting patients gape at me in perplexity, obviously trying to work out WTF is wrong with me that the GP would laugh uproariously through the entire 15 minute consult.

    Thank Dog for the little green pills. Now if only the bloody bushfires would stop so I could step out of doors again without looking like something out of Stephen King’s ‘the Stand’.
    Meh. I’m gonna go kill some zombies while the bloke is swimming laps. Sniff.

    Enjoy the great outdoors, and tell it I love it and I miss it. Actually, we might sneak out to Redcliffestan later on today, I don’t think they’ve set fire to that yet, & since Brisbane has run out of oxygen the natives may be willing to let me have some of theirs.

  152. These little green pills, are they like the dried frog pills in the Diskworld books? Apparently they can keep you calm and happy. Where can I get a three year supply?

  153. Yeah, what Greybeard said. I want some of the Bursar’s dried frog pills too! Send ’em down, Quokka.

  154. Glad that you didn’t have OM, Q. Truly, the little green pills are miraculous.

    And old bush nurse told me a great cure for sore ears is to take the middle of out a sprouting onion, boil it up and insert.

    Well, it’s kind of like an ear candle.

    I believe you should hold the BBQ sauce.

    Catty, don’t stress. “Meh” will suffice. Especially in the light of the election results.

  155. Thanks MM, & double that dose of Meh. We are in Krudd’s electorate so the choice on our ballot paper really was just Dumb & Dumberer in alphabetical order from 1-11.
    I loved watching the ABC election commenters trying to figure out WTF Clive’s appeal was & his vote was up. Plainly they don’t watch the Gruens, who have described it pretty much as the protest vote for ‘Send in the Clowns’. They also said that 80% of the vote that the greens usually get is a protest vote so that explains, perhaps, why the greens were down and Clive was up.

    To add to the political horrors we now face in the way of the Mad Monk’s steady buffoonery & social ineptitude, the Bloke & I noticed yesterday that someone has set up a ‘ghost bike’ down at the railway bridge where that cyclist got crushed when the truck rolled over a couple of weeks ago.
    Apparently they’ve started a crusade to stop trucks rolling over and squashing cyclists who are exercising on busy arterial roads.
    Good luck with that.

    The Bloke & I are taking bets on who will deface it first. Its under the railway bridge so the spray paint goons are the most likely bet, but I am really hoping that someone will alert the West End Knitting Graffiti bombers so that they can come up and kit the ghost bike out in leg warmers and a a crocheted seat cover. Plainly the brotherhood of bikes needs a cuddle.

  156. I’m too annoyed to ‘Meh’. Spiderman was not on my ballot paper. I was going to sneak the paper home and dummy up a copy with Spiderman’s name added, print up a few hundred of them and sneak them into the polling booth for other people to vote with. But the Boss wouldn’t let me. He said that donkey votes automatically go to the biggest ass on any ballot paper.

    But all was not lost. There was a Pirate Party on the other ballot paper. Arrrgh!

    On the way home, we drove past Spiderman as he climbed up a mailbox in someone’s front yard. Gee, he’s small. If it wasn’t for the blue and red onesie, I’d have thought he was a three year old child. Nonetheless, I wound down the window so I could express my dissatisfaction at his non-appearance on my ballot paper (by yelling ‘Boooooooooo’!). But the Boss stopped me. He seemed to think it actually was a three year old child. Suuure it is, Boss. That’s just what Spiderman wants you to think.

    And then we went looting.

  157. Idiots. If there was a way to prevent truck rollovers, don’t they think transport companies and truckies would be onto it? I suppose we could ban all trucks, except for, you know … Woolies. And, um, everything we use.

    I’d have more sympathy for you, Q, if I didn’t live in Fairfax. No-one has a worse member than we do. Not even John Holmes.

  158. Yeah the day Clive is willing to divest himself of his business interests and waste his valuable time showing up to sit in the house, I will eat Bob Katter’s hat. I think his political career is going to last very little longer than Mal Meninga’s and Warwick Capper. I think on some level he understands that since he got the FK You vote, it’s his moral duty to pass that on to those who voted him in.

    I’m inclined to think that for you & me both, there’s a by-election, coming soon.
    In your case because Clive has the attention span of a gnat & once he actually realises the constraints it puts on him, being in public office, he’ll be eager to find a way to wriggle out of it. That or someone will slap him in jail for breaking some sort of law.

    And in my electorate, once the ‘Et Tu, Brutus’ business is done with & the body/termite factory has been tossed in the landfill, the ALP will want to install someone who isn’t going to spend his/her days plotting how to screw them all over.

    I just hope that when it happens, this time they’ll at least offer us a cake stall and a sausage sizzle.

  159. Yeah, bring back the sausage sizzle! Our school chaplain is no more, and he always organised the Charring of the Snag. Bloody do-gooder atheists and their bloody do-gooder law suits, they’ve taken away the only palatable thing about voting. I should find out where those Godless litigants live, and mail them a turd. On a bun.

  160. With sauce, or something that looks like it till you inspect it closely.

  161. So you’ve both read my proposed canteen menu, for this year’s Cricket Season?

    Bang goes the surprise factor.

  162. If you really want to make ’em suffer, recruit my mother. She could make any menu item taste like shit on a bun.

  163. Nothing to do with Turkish Charcoal Burners or shit-on-a-bun but, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/sep/26/jellyfish-theyre-taking-over/?pagination=false

    This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a squish.
    Unless we are all destroyed by giant radioactive mutant nuns. In which case it’s, not with a bang but with a wimple.

  164. Now, now, Greybeard. Nun of your bad jokes here, thank you very much.

    • I won’t make a habit of it. That would be right out of order.

  165. Tony Abbott’s in. The Giant Radioactive Mutant Nuns can only be a few Hail Marys behind.

  166. Not to worry. There’s a church that still has a confessional, just down the street. No nun (radioactive or otherwise) would dare come after me in there. There’s plenty of bread and wine in the vestry, so I should be right until the next election. Text me when it’s time to vote, will you? And if you see Spiderman, tell him this is all his fault. Or just kick him in the shins. Either will do.

  167. MM wanted to call EB Spiderman. I should have let him. Then HE could be leading us.

    I know this much – his platform would be built of Lego.

  168. Sad to say it but the mad monk looks sane & sentient compared to some of the new faces in the Senate.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I miss the Democrats.

  169. Help, Facebook enthusiasts, when is Mel’s BD?
    Yesterday in McLearning he taught me how to use the calendar.
    So for the first time in my life I am entrusting the remembering of BDs to MacKnoweldgey.
    I’m still gonna go with my back-up plan for remembering BDs which has worked pretty well this last 48 years, but OTOH, my capacity to remember dog worming, cat worming and flea remedy days could probably benefit from an alert system with clanging bells.

    You’ve gotta get an ipad, MM, they really are fun. You will never have to leave the sofa or the comfort of your bed again, its been a fabulous companion this winter.

  170. 6th of March, according to Farcebook. Mel’s birthday, that is, not your dog worming.

  171. It is the 6th, I think. Just a few days before Elf Boy’s.

    I am tempted by a Precious … but I wouldn’t get any time on it. the Darling Offspring would monopolize it. Maybe when I have my turret.

  172. Thanks. I’m not convinced of the efficacy of the iPad and it’s Calendar App, so we will see.
    The only way I can get it to remember birthdays every year is if I’ve got the person listed in my contacts, so that could involve some pain and suffering transferring all that data, given the confounding factor of my dyscalculia.

    Well, I am on the 2nd test run of the Meltdown Moments. The mixture looks the same and I am about to smurf about rolling it into 1/2 teaspoon sized balls.
    See you in 2 hours, when I collapse on the couch. And fingers crossed that this lot turn out just as well. πŸ™‚

    • Lyn and I are both delighted with our tablets. Hers is a Samsung Galaxy 7.7″ – i.e. good handbag size and weight. Mine is a Sony Xperia Z 10.1″. That size is fantastic for reading (for me) and it’s super light. If only I had a man-bag for carrying it around. Daughter #2 has a Nexus 7 and we have video chats quite often, especially when the baby has learned something new. Or is even more cute than usual. They’re all Android tabs but I’m sure Apple is OK. If you like that sort of thing.

  173. We could get you an manbag, GB. Of course, it would mean another trip to the markets, but sacrifices must sometimes be made.

  174. SInce I missed the last trip to the markets, I vote we plan to sacrifice Greybeard to the Kransky Dealers, very soon.

    Well, that’s my fit of experimental baking for the day.
    I played around making different sizes & using different types of trays, just to get myself familiar with the temperament of the dough. And it’s all good. I will have to sandwich my Meltdown Moments together later on today as I’ve had enough kitchen time for now.

    Catty I have tweaked some of the wording in the ‘method’ but that’s about it, I’m very happy with this recipe. My only caution is that once they start to lose their pallor and go golden they will very quickly be overdone, so it’s really just a matter of knowing your oven temperature & keeping an eye on them. One tray took 12 minutes and another only took 10 & probably would have been better with 9. The thinner cookie trays seemed to bake faster than the thicker trays that I used.

    I take great satisfaction in knowing that since I haven’t vacuumed there’s probably a cat hair in every biscuit. My grandmother hated cats.
    Serves her bloody well right that her biscuit recipe has been contaminated by my evil Catwoman Lair.

  175. mmm … furry bikky.

    Which reminds me, I’m still looking for the semi-sand cake recipe. It doesn’t contain cat hair as is, but you can always try your own variations. I prefer orange zest, but each to their own.

  176. That’s OK MM. The one I found on the internet is really very good, I think if I substitute arrowroot in future it will probably taste like my nan’s. She used to do the orange zest/juice icing and it was a lovely touch.

    I think I’m done for now, indulging my fit of nostalgia for my Nan’s baking. And I think I’ve gotten past the gloom at the thought of all the other psychological land mines loaded into the pages of her recipe book. At least she took the time to teach me the basics of baking. She’s passed on her talent and hopefully we’ve skipped the bit where I need to poison my loved ones from the grave. She may have been too damaged and mean to pass on her recipes but for this we have books written by master bakers. Mischief managed.

    I went to the library yesterday to pick up my latest order & I’ve been sitting here happily poring through Nigella’s ‘how to be a domestic goddess’. My only complaint is that therre’s not enough pictures. I need to know, have any of you ever eaten/made Snickerdoodles? They look absolutely fabulous.

    I’ve got three of Nigella’s books, a novel that I grabbed off the ‘fast back’ thing and the Kristina Olsson ‘Boy, Lost’ – she’s the one who was so reticent at the writer’s festival last week. I started flicking through it last night, still a bit too annoyed with her silence to read the entire thing & just wanting to have an idea of her story & OMG, she writes beautifully and I could not put it down. If you read it, it might restore your faith that there are actually some useful therapists out there doing good in the world, MM. Such a painful family history and I think she’s found the balance between telling the story and being sensitive to the different view points of the various characters involved. Cliff notes: post war, young Brisbane girl meets Greek man twice her age & defies her family to run off with him to FNQ. Where she discovers that he is brutal, violent and a compulsive gambler. Her family try to help her but at the moment of her escape, he snatches her young son out of her arms & tells her that if she ever tries to reclaim him, he will kill her and the child.
    So she goes back to Brisbane, pregnant with her daughter (who he of course has no interest in) and rebuilds her life.
    From there the story is divided into parallel sections of Yvonne & her new life & the son that she lost.

    I would heartily recommend it as it’s beautifully written and I think it’s going to become one of those stories that has deep & abiding value because it throws a light on the past, of a society that fails to protect the vulnerable.
    Sigh. I just wish I’d actually heard her speak, a strange irony that this is the tale she has to tell and even at the bloody writer’s festival there’s still a male voice dominating the discussion & silencing the woman’s story.

  177. I think I read an excerpt in the Curious Snail or similar … did they fall in love in a milk bar, or something? The chapter I read was beautifully written indeed.

    I have read American stories in which Snickerdoodles are consumed, but I’ve always vaguely thought they might be peanuts and chocolate, like the bars. Make some and post pix! Better yet – make some and post them!

  178. Yes and yes. If you google snickerdoodles you will see that they look a bit like a baked donut. I will have to add them to my list of decadent things to cook that will hasten the Kicking of the Bucket. I do love Nigella’s magpie tendency to grab anything and everything from cultures far & wide & make it her own. There’s an awesom looking pastry covered Italian pie that’s made in a spring form tin & stuffed with pork sausage, provolone, prosciuttio, mozzarella & mortadella.
    She calls it ‘pizza rustica’.
    I think that’s because nobody would eat it if you called it Aneurism Pie.
    I may have to acquire this Domestic Goddess book, I know I’ll feel a dreadful pang when it’s time to return it to the local library.

    • Found this one, but it hasn’t got pork sausage. Looks proper evil though. http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/29385/pizza+rustica
      Getting the urge to make one of these, maybe when we lunch here?

      • Yes! Do it!!! Do it SOOON!

        BTW, GB, my son’s high school-to-be is going to force me to buy him a Macbook Air 256. Yes, an appleing bloody Apple. Should I just go with their recommended supplier, or hunt the interwebz for a deal?

      • Aargh! That needs a good close looking at MM. I was forced to run one of those schemes for years. Parents were rightly peeved because they could go out and buy the same thing for much less but getting it through the school included a 3 year “oops I balanced it on the handlebars and it fell under a truck” insurance policy. Good to check if one of those is included and what it covers.

        From the school point of view having absolutely identical machines is great. I had the hard drives partitioned so that OS and software were on one, data on another and our own hidden recovery partition on a third. Kids also logged on as students at school (can’t run games, install software, run apps from USB sticks, change settings etc) and ordinary users at home (do pretty much anything). If they screwed it up, got viruses etc we – or they – could press two keys and restore to new, including all the software parents paid for. Some did that every weekend and three times a week. We could push out software and antivirus updates automatically as soon as they logged on. There was a lot more but you get the picture. It was *managed*.

        Having said that, and with due modesty, some schools wouldn’t have a clue how to do this, automatic backups etc. Kids are the WORST network/computers users. I guess that means you have to check the scheme carefully and see exactly what the school is doing to protect the computer – and of course your beloved MM. At the least, I’d recommend an external 1 terabyte backup drive. That should have enough space for 4 full backups of the whole system. Then if things go pear-shaped, you can go back a week, 2 weeks etc. Good for accidentally deleted assignment files too.

        Sorry that’s a bit of a rant but the tl;dr version is – go with the school supplier if they make it worthwhile with extras, get your own deal if they’re not?

        BTW, you might think this is odd coming from a diagnosed computer freak like me, but afaik, there is no research that indicates that kids who use a computer all the time at school are at an advantage. Also, preparing lessons that actually use them effectively is *bloody* hard. I spent endless hours with some top teachers trying to help them do that and designed a new type of lab with shared-access PCs linked to projectors, touch screens and all sorts of crap, just to actually make learning better with them than without them. OK, simmer down GB, take a chill pill, happy thoughts, happy thoughts . . .

  179. Hmmm … sounds like a calzone. And also delicious.

    Dang, all I’ve got for lunch is a chicken sandwich on dubious bread. I might google that recipe and pretend I’m having Pizza Rustica.

  180. That you for that informative rant, GB – it’s just the sort of detailed info I was after.

    Yes, I am 100% in agreement that I can’t see the point. Not in Yr 8, in a school that prides itself on its Surfing Excellence programme, smurf it all. Chemistry of Sex Wax would be more to the point.

    And if they had to pick a schoolwide laptop, why the hell such an exxy one???

    • What drove me nuts (that time) was that I actually looked into it carefully first. Went to several schools to see how the programs were run and how successful they were. One sunny coast school took us to a classroom where the kids were just doing anything they liked – mostly playing FPS games or surfing (for porn). It was an utter shambles, time wasted and money down the drain. Back in their office, the former IT Manager – now promoted to DP – who’d started it said the kids were “getting better outcomes”. Oh, says I, so they have have higher marks than kids in the non-computer classes. Three blank faces shooting quick looks at each other. Well no, the improvements were “intangible”. For 3 grand all up, I’d have wanted something tangible for my kid thanks all the same.

      Other schools did a bit better and we, reluctantly, learned from all their mistakes. All textbooks were in ebook form, homework could be submitted and marked online and results sent to parents, quality of assignments improved, communication improved and I guess we did it fairly well because a lot of people came to look and went away impressed – or if they were smart, daunted by the amount of work involved. Since that was a while back, I’d hope schools generally do it better now. But I wouldn’t put money on it.

      Hairy Greybeardson works for one of the big IT companies and gets to see what happens when the school buys the laptops and issues them to kids for nix. One particularly badly-run-by-a-psycho high school blithely told the little dears that no matter what they did, the machines would always be repaired. This was not true and ended up with some legal stuff, the school being given the flick by the company and a rocket or two from Ed Qld. Meanwhile they threw them, pushed them off desks, used them as floor-frisbees etc. Sigh.

      • The whole thing is giving me a migraine that I can see lasting the next five years. If I wanted to pay thousands to educate MM, I’d have waitlisted him at one of the privates.

  181. Remember the good old days when children had a little piece of slate board and a box of chalk?

    • POO. (No, that’s Point Of Order silly). We wrote on slates with a slate pencil, not chalk, said slate pencils being sharpened by rubbing them on rocks (cement if you were posh). And there had to be at least three kids per horse if riding to school in a blizzard. If you walked, it had to be at least a mile if infested with savage dogs, water buffalo or vicious grannies and at least ten miles if you were barefoot, living in a desert or had to milk the cows before school. It’s important for future generations that we get these things right. Also Lyn just brought me a chocolate truffle Magnum and I have eaten it all. Yum.

  182. Yeah, I remember the chalk throwing wars back in primary school.
    It just won’t be the same with 60 macbook airs sailing over the desks at pace.

  183. Mmmmm…. Chocolate Truffle Mac….

  184. MM I know it is my moral duty as your friend to be sympathetic to your plight.
    So: expensive shiny school product which yeah, they are bound to break, Boo and Hiss.
    However bi-monthly exposure to the Fruit store has got me ogling the bright new shiny Preciouses in there so all I can think is how much fun you are all gonna have with the new Mac. I am eyeing off the new desktops which have this thing instead of a mouse that looks like it will save me from the horrors of RSI. Well admittedly the Magic Mouse has made a huge difference with the levels of stiffness in my right wrist & shoulder. Now that I am learning WTF all those stupid icons on the MAC do, I am starting to fall in love with it.

    That said, my ipad screen locked yesterday in the middle of my lollypop game and then it lost all my bookmarks. Most of which were recipes, blogs and fascinating tidbits of research that I am shoring up for my return to study next year. I can’t help it, I see things & go ‘Oooh! I wonder if that has street cred with the Behavioural Science Faculty? (henceforth to be known as the BS teachers) – anyways, a simple reboot fixed it all. They really are very user friendly machines.

    Not that I know what I’m talking about, but I wonder if the decision has something to do with policing the children’s activities on social media. I assume you’ve heard that principals have been given greater powers to discipline children over things they do outside of school time – its an LNP initiative so I reserve judgement on how well it will work, but I wonder if it’s easier to track what the little darlings are up to on social media & thus address anything untoward if they are all using the same system.

    From what I’ve seen of my cousins interstate the behaviour on social media is a huge concern.

    I wonder why they’ve chosen Mac over other brands & if that is chosen by the Nerd Fan factor or if there is some practical reason. I know that the bloke’s work has made everything friendly to mac tech & most of the uni students I have spoken to said that they use a mac for all their study purposes.

    That said, we do recall the Isshews I had trying to apply through QTAC on the Mac (QTAC site did sound a warning that it was not mac friendly) & the only way that i could do it was on the Bloke’s work laptop.

    I would probably want more information as to why their choice is justified. That said – I think you will all come to really, really love that mac.

  185. My guess is that the school would rather get the parents to pay extra for a Mac than for IT Support to have to clean the viruses out of students’ computers every five seconds. Apple products are really hard to hack, so they rarely get viruses, but Windows stuff can pick up a bug just by using a USB that’s been in another computer.

    We had Windows, and had to scrape the diseases out of it at least once a month – even though we had (very expensive) anti-viral software. But in five years with a Mac (without anti-viral software), we’ve only had one virus. The Teenie has a Windows laptop, and after only 6 months he’s already had to take it to IT Support with a bug – and the Teenie doesn’t use the thing for porn. Yet.

  186. Look. I know I can trust you people to keep my secret but I bought a bunch of the beautiful all-in-one flat iMacs for our art department. I kept the first one on my desk to “set it up” until the art head of department threatened to do really, really nasty things to me if I didn’t hand it over. She’s a big bully but I like her. I loved the Mac. And yes, they don’t get viruses the way PCs do. My doubt is for the whole concept of parents paying buckets for objects of questionable educational value – regardless of platform.

    As for checking on what the kidlets do outside of hours, that is fraught with legal difficulties. One school in the US was turning on the cameras remotely in the kids’ Macbooks, while they were at home – pause for imagining what THAT might catch! And porn browsing? Every browser I know of has a privacy or stealth mode which doesn’t record where you’ve been or what you’ve looked at. Then there are VPNs, Tor etc for encrypting all your web traffic. Politicians are good at proposing grand ideas that would never work – see the Conroy filter.

  187. Khan GB, that has delivered up pages of stuff, which item did you want to show off to me? I haven’t even thought about Xmas, yet, other than cursing that the Bloke has to use up his free FF trip before the end of November & it’s pissing me off no end that we can’t use it in December to escape from the horror that is Xmas in our tropical climate.

    yeah, I really wouldn’t have a clue what the logic is to the LNP master plan of mind, child and internet control, but back to topic, the only problems I’ve had with my MAC have come down to outdated technology and my steady insistence on ignoring the ‘install new software’ reminders. Now that I’ve accepted this won’t kill the MAC and it has to be done every friggin fortnight, things are much, much better.

    I do love my MAC so it is hard to feel genuine sympathy, apart from the a$$ociated pain for your pocketbook.

    I wonder if you’ll be able to install tweetbot on it so that you can snigger with the rest of us on twitter?

    • Lego galore.

      And MM, DON’T whatever you do leave your Twitter account open when the kids are about. I did it once when there was a Malevolent Marsupial in the room, but never again.

  188. Another benefit to the Mac is longevity. I have an Apple Clamshell from 1999, and by merely updating the OS every three or four years, I have kept it compatible with later model Macs (for file and program transference).

    With Windows, you have to update the OS every single time they bring out a new one, and your old files, PC games and programs won’t work on the new OS. That includes email. My Mac stuff from years ago all still works, but I have just had to throw out some excellent Windows PC discs that won’t run on newer models. And my graphics pad, my beautiful, expensive graphics pad, was only operational for about 6 months before bloody Bill Gates pulled the OS rug out from under it.

    So a Mac computer should last throughout the whole of MM’s high schooling (and beyond), whereas the Teenie is required to buy another school computer in two years. If anything, you’re saving money.

  189. LOL at the thought that either of MM’s boys would have the slightest flickering moment of interest in vandalising her twitter account. That’s what PCs are for. And macropods.

    I have recently installed ‘Tweetbot’ on my ipad and I cannot say enough good things about it. My favourite is the ‘mute’ function which is basically lithium for twitter. Unless the @mania is specifically addressed to you, its completely and utterly invisible.

    I look forward to adding Mamamia retweets, Are You OK Day, Today’s 15 seconds of Outrage and the rest of the little blue bird’s banalities to the turgid slipstream of effluent where the Inspiration Quotes have gone.

  190. All the School Geek could say was:
    (1) “It’s the only laptop that will fit in with our systems” – which begs the question of why they couldn’t design a system to fit with something significantly cheaper;
    and
    (2) “It has a solid-state harddrive, rather than those nasty, problem plagued old fashioned spinny ones”.

    Thanks for the words of support, people, making the medicine go down. The Poisoned Apple will have it’s purposes, over the next few months anyway. When I want MM to do anything, I now start with, “Oi, Mr 16 Hundred Dollars!”.

    Works like a charm!

  191. MM, I don’t know if its any use to you, but the Fruit Store in Situ at Carindale usually have back-to-school specials whereby they run ‘deals’ if you purchase one of their products for study purposes. So I got some sort of discount on my precious for claiming I was going back to study & was such a luddite it would take me a year to figure out how to work the FKR. Which is pretty much proving to be the case. (s’ok, I found all my bookmarks eventually)

    It may be worth investigating if there’s any back-to-school deals that may suit you. Like buying an ipad retina for yourself at the same time as the macbook air. If you’re going to be hung for sheep as well as lamb then you might as well stuff them all with apples to sweeten the smell of the carcass, while they roast over the flames of high school hell.
    Ugh. Poor little magic man. I would hate to be that age again.

  192. One of the Teenie’s friends had to get an iPad for high school instead of a laptop. We all envisioned dramas galore, but so far it’s working well. Probably because they’ve allowed the students to download PvZ2, and nobody wants to lose their game progress by stuffing up the console.

  193. Spannner was all excited about PvZ2 but his excitement faded fast, he said it’s not as good as the first version.
    What would I know? The miner zombie that chucks the gimp kept killing me so I walked off in disgust. Perhaps when Irma visits next week she’ll inspire me to kill the horrid creature.

  194. Agreed. I lost interest before I finished the first level. But then, I do have a very short attentio… oooh, look! A wildebeest!

  195. No Catty that’s Irma, looming low on the horizon.
    Meh.
    Counting down to Rat Disintegration Week.
    Meh again.

  196. Bloody Irma was 2 weeks late last time she came up this way. First, I was excited that it might be the Blessed Pause. Then, I was worried that it might be the much-campaigned for Third Child. Then, I was just pissed off that she finally came the one day a fortnight I have to spend most of it on my feet. Try serving bacon with bits of dead rat trying to trickle down your leg!

    I’m saving up for a hysterectomy. Kickstarter!

  197. The Boss suggested I should get one of them. Irma has taken to showing up whenever she feels like it, and stays however long she wants to. I’ve been keeping an Irma calendar to show my doctor. It looks like some sort of crazed Lego Star Wars join-the-dots picture. I don’t like join-the-dots pictures. Mine always end up looking like something Mr Squiggle might draw if he took eccys.

  198. This is your brain on crystal meth, Miss Jane!

  199. Meh. I am thinking it was a mistake to toss all those peanut butter smeared sachets of warfarin up in the ceiling. I have NFI how Irma wedges them up where she does but the bitch hit the jackpot with that one.

  200. You think it’s down to peanut butter? I TOLD the PLumber he should get his lazy arse out of bed and go to the Chemist for more Wet Stuf

  201. I assume the PB made the warfarin more palatable and encouraged the rats to hunker down for more before they scurried off to haemorrhage to death in horrific pain.

    God I wish there was a more humane & efficient way to kill them, but having seen the price of Nembutal in today’s paper, it’s way out of my league.

  202. I doubt the Rat Gang would be much more fun. And how on earth would you get a terrier up into your roof?

    Ever since the bubonic plague, I’m out of sympathy for rats. It’s not like they’ll go extinct, Q.

  203. I had pet rats when I was younger & the my little uni student friends up the hill have them now, so it’s hard not to be sentimental. Maggie’s little sister will be joining them next year, or whenever semester ends and their med student moves out. They’ve got a Chinese girl in the 3rd bedroom who wants to be a plastic surgeon so she’s the invisible woman, the Caloundra girls are in shock that it’s possible to do nothing but sleep and study.

  204. My brother had a pet rat. Her name was Ratsheba. She was adorable! I think of her and feel sad whenever I find a rodent with a snapped neck ‘sleeping’ in a trap.

    I wouldn’t feel anywhere near as sad if the entire staff at Telstrarse were found ‘sleeping’ with their necks in traps. We think some scammer was trying to hack into our Telstrarse account. For the last week, we’ve had trouble getting online in the evenings because there are apparently two modems logged into our account. As we only have one modem, we were getting concerned. Then on Friday our modem was completely blocked from the account. When I spoke to the Indian Call Centre, they said I was wrong because the account was up and running, and being used by a modem. I told them this was impossible because ours was offline, but they just said it was my fault for not buying a Telstrarse modem. I told them I did buy a Telstrarse modem, but it was a festering pile of useless. They weren’t interested.

    Meanwhile, I reverted to my old trick of hitting the computer and swearing. It worked enough to finally get me back online last night, but it hasn’t gotten rid of the evil piggybacking ISP thief. Telstrarse don’t care. Somewhere, someone is committing some heinous online crime – and it will eventually be traced back to me. (You guys will write to me in prison, won’t you?). The only reason we haven’t changed service providers is because we’ve already tried Optarse, and they’re worse.

    But on a positive note…. My Teenie isn’t exactly the athletic type (*coughunderstatementcough*), so we were stunned and amazed when he came second in javelin at the school sports carnival. (There were only two competitors). On Friday, he went off to District Athletics. And joy, oh joy, he DIDN’T come last! (6th out of 8). I am so totally proud of him, because he took it all very seriously. He only had a week’s notice, so he was nagging the PE teachers for training sessions, and was practising with a borrowed javelin down at the park after school. It paid off, and I couldn’t be happier for him. Yay! My kid doesn’t suck!

  205. Excellent. He’s going in the front row with Morgana’s bow & arrow wielding engenue come the Zombie apocalypse.
    Huzzah, we are saved.
    Although not from modem thieves. Catty talk to Khan Greybeard, there are ways and means of protecting your modem from being hacked, or so I’ve been told, because Madewithrealkev showed me how to do it on his last visit to Casa Q.
    He’s assured me ours is quite safe, but I’m smurfed if I can remember where to find those settings.

  206. Write to you in jail? Hell, I’ll visit you, Catty. I like the way they blow air up your skirt to check for cocaine residue and explosives.

    Congrats to Javelin Man! But I hope he doesn’t decide you have to take him along to Little Athletics. The parents there are BRUTAL. They make Baby Boo LaLa Pants … or whatever that tiny pageant competitor Jennicki is obsessed with is called … ‘s Mum look like The Blessed Virgin Mary.

    I just washed the windows and screens in the sunroom! Sure, I can barely feel my arms but now, as I lounge on the couch, I have suck a lovely clear view of the next-door neighbours.

    Hmm, how long until the grime re-accumulates?

  207. Well done. I’m almost – but not quite – inspired to continue with cleaning mine.
    I just walked up to the markets, my longest sojourn outdoors since the cold started & the allergies took over, so I will join you slumped and gasping for breath on the sofa. I do have bakery treats, though, Banneton pizzas. Yum.

    Catty you should check in with the macnerds on twitter, Beeson & madewithrealkev, and see what you can do to stop the wretches riding on your wifi, unless they have hacked it from afar and it’s a password/spyware issue. I’m sure the nerds can help.

    Until then, though, I’d send your clever boy out in the back yard with a half dozen sharpened spears to practice with and a T-shirt shouting ‘Wifi Avenger’. That’ll make them think twice before they do it again.

  208. We recently started getting a swathe of ‘You’ve won the Irish Lottery’ ‘Sergeant-General-Major War-hero died can you help me get his money out of the country’ ‘I’m a widow with throat cancer please take my millions and give them to orphans’ type emails. The Telstrarse Turd said that the other modem was logged in through our user ID, which is our email address, so I’m guessing it’s an offshore scammer. Possibly sitting at a desk in India, next to the Telstrarse Turd.

    Speaking of sitting, I am horribly jealous that I can’t spend my afternoon on a couch with noms, like you two lucky ladies. After the nail art session with the middle kidlet this afternoon, I have to spend the evening at a Moon Festival where the middle kidlet will be participating in a Chinese drumming demonstration. She’s rather good. And then we get to make Chinese lanterns. The littlest kidlet was asked to be part of the singing, but apparently his horrible mother didn’t sign the permission slip that I am positive he never actually gave me. *sigh*.

    Have some chips for me, m’kay?

  209. Oooh, Moon Festival. I’ll go, and you can stay and eat chips. I LOVE lanterns.

    Sorry to hear your pipes are still clogged, Q. In case it might be dust related, you’d better not do any flyscreens. Anyway, as MM encouraged me while I slaved over ours, “Leave the house alone. You’re messing with its mojo.”

  210. heh heh. No, it’s not dust, it’s smoke. The Banneton cart does wood fired pizzas on site at the markets so I have to suck it in to get my bread fix. Totally worth it to be gasping for breath when I get home.
    I am looking forward to the next two days of rain as that shoulddouse some of the ghastly smoke over the city. From what i saw on twitter you had plenty of smoke up your way today, too.

    Catty that does sound like fun. Admittedly I’d need ear plugs to cope but the moon festival sounds very pretty. Enjoy. Mwah.

  211. The festival was very nice. I was rather partial to the light supper at the end – so much so that I went to the stall at the entrance and bought a couple of moon cakes to take home. The Lion Dance and the Chinese drumming were the highlight of the entertainment, and I’m not just saying that because the middle kidlet was one of the drummers. They told the story behind the moon cakes, and said that if you go out on Thursday night and look at the moon, it will be bigger than usual – and you’ll be able to see a rabbit in it.

    It was a beautiful night for a lantern parade, but today it’s raining cats and dogs. How’s the rain treating your sinuses, Quokka?

  212. Awesome. Someone remind me to look for the rabbit. Thursday is a long way away in old lady days.

  213. And so is 10:00 pm. Why does bed time always seem so far away? *Yawn*

  214. 10 pm? You’re a night owl, Catty. I have trouble staying awake through Doctor Who, some nights.

    *double yawn*

  215. Oh, I’d happily go to bed earlier, but the kidlets’ bedtime is 8:30 – which usually means I have to scream at them until about 10:00 before they’ll go to sleep.

    Today has been fraught with frustration. Everything I touch stops working. My modem had another tanty (I’ve only just now managed to con it into working again), my heater wouldn’t switch on at all (fixing it involves crawling into the ceiling – which I refuse point-blank to do), and my hairdrier conked out mid-dry (half my hair is smooth and silky, while the other half looks like Courtney Love’s hair the morning after). I also had issues with the little button that unlocks the car doors, but by then I was already swearing (a lot), so all I had to do was hit it repeatedly. The doors opened. Very wise.

    What am I supposed to eat to stop this happening? Was it potatoes or onions? I hope it’s potatoes. Kettle Chips are potatoes, right?

  216. Eat many potatoes and wash them down with chocolate. And chocolate-flavoured vodka.

    Sure, stuff might keep breaking but you will not care.

  217. It isn’t age MM & Catty, it’s parenthood. Cruella & I were reading happily last night and I noticed it was 12.30. Children drain your energy but once they’re all growed up, you’ll get a new burst of life.

  218. Also, being a really helpful sort of guy and knowing the school holidays are coming up, I’d be happy to suggest some activities for the kiddies.

    Here’s one called “Make Your Own Jumping Spider”
    Step one: http://twitter.yfrog.com/nvm2bzwj?sa=0 (just follow the diagram)

  219. Hehehe. I think you mean “Make Your Own Brother Jump”, GB.

    Thanks for the pep talk, as well. That’s something to look forward to. If I live long enough.

    Hey, speaking of instructions, MM is looking forward to making a PVC bow and arrow, over the hols. Can you please send those instructions you were telling me about? There’s a dear.

    • When I looked for it again, I found this video. A bit too complicated but interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zyV8tZGJtE (also maybe too powerful?)

      Then there’s this guy (certifiable) http://www.axebros.com/how-to-make-an-80-pound-pvc-longbow/

      What I couldn’t find again was the simple original one, sorry. I remember how, so if I make one, I’ll take photos but there’s a bazillion sites on the web and youtube already. Just that they make it too complicated.

      • I hope he’s forgotten about it. He does enough damage to Elf Boy with his bare fists.

  220. holy smurf crap, batman, when do school holidays start? And how did the middle of September get here so fast?

  221. You know I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but some of the privates have this Friday off. State schools are next week and the week after. Better go to Chermside now, while you can, Q. And stock up on turret ammo!

  222. And Valium.

  223. You know, Valium in a turret is pretty much my idea of Heaven.

  224. Valium sandwiches are essential for a successful picnic, too.

  225. Arrrgh, mateys! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Toss yer mops o’er the side of yer ships! There be no swabbin’ decks this day. Crack the rum barrel, Bosun!

  226. Too late Catty, the Pirates have already taken me.
    New set of tyres with today’s car service.
    Eeeeek.
    Still, as it’s the first time the pirates have demanded a full set of tyres from us & we had the 80,000 km service today, perhaps they’re not an overly demanding bunch.

  227. Arrrrgh!

    Ironically, I spent TLAPD with a horribly sore throat, so I couldn’t even roll me arrrrrrrgh’s.

    For me, it was more “Talk Like a Mob Boss” day.

  228. well, I used a lot of profanity when I discovered that we had nails in 2 tyres and the third was bald. Does that count?
    MM, that was how my cold started off. I hope you’re not in for another bout of it. Didn’t you all have colds in the depths of winter?
    According to twitter they’ve been burning off the bushland near you for the last few days so let’s just hope its that & it will go away when the wind changes. Let’s hope you feel better soon.

    I supppose the only plus side to ‘talk like a mob boss’ is it might increase productivity and it could up your chances of a Xmas bonus. Or do those things only happen in black & white 1950s sitcoms?

    Speaking of which, the Bloke is off for a job interview this am. One that, if he gets it, will keep him in Vagus & put an end to this nonsense of 2 nights a week in 5 star hotels with upgrades to the penthouse suite every time they lose his booking, and all these reef-caught- chef-prepared fish dinners he’s been gloating about for the last 3 years.

    The company that he’s with has been absorbed into a bigger company so lots of management changes, lots of lay-offs, some shitty administration & everyone who has a job there has to re-apply for their job if they aren’t on an important project (lucky him, he is, but only for another 3 months). The Bloke has been shifted into a new office that the old company staff refer to as ‘The Departure Lounge’ & so since Admin, if they do offer new jobs, are saying ‘Yes, you’ll do nicely in Melbourne/Sydney/Cobblers’s Knob, pack up and be ready to leave on Monday’ – we’ve decided it’s time to hunt around for greener pastures. The kind that have rainbows and unicorns.
    So cross your fingers for me this am, Ladies, I’d like my spouse home at night to clean up dog vomit and take the bins out like manly men are meant to.
    Plus if there’s no more of this FNQ nonsense he can wake up early & go paddling in the river with me. The Pirates – er, French Mechanics fixed our roof racks to the hatch yesterday so we are all set for the day when our kayaks arrive. Just a few more weeks and I am getting very excited – in case you hadn’t noticed. Huzzah!

  229. Hmmmm… kayaks aren’t very piratey. You need something bigger. There’s a lovely big boat off the coast of Isola del Giglio that might be available. Get Morgana to ring up and ask – those Italians tend to respond well to requests made in a mob boss voice. You don’t mind a boat with a few dents in it, do you?

  230. Hehehe.

    I’ve crossed everything that will bend for The Bloke. He’s very charming, I’m sure they’ll take to him.

    As for boats, I agree with Catty, though. You need something big enough to take passengers. And their eskys. Cheers!

  231. I suspect what I’ll need is The Black Pearl, it looks like he may get an offer to jump ship to live at the Gold coast. Which, in the middle of smoke/allergy/asthma season, is the perfect time to tempt me.

  232. Hmmm. Hinterland, maybe? Otherwise, you’ll be needing bullet-proof kayaks.

  233. That thought did occur to me and then I just realised I’d be swapping one street full of junkies and dealers for another, but closer to the beach.
    And no nasty asthma come allergy season.
    I think the BCC has a better chance of killing me than a misdirected burst of gunfire.

  234. * And probably more motivation πŸ™‚

  235. Just make sure you’re nowhere near the Indy track. Or the Finks clubhouse.

  236. And make sure you have broadband coverage. If you have to travel to the next town for internet connections, we may have to *ahem* ‘encourage’ you not to move.

  237. Hehehe.

    You wouldn’t like us, when we’re “encouraging”.

  238. I don’t think we’d need to up and move till 2015, but yes, internet, must have.
    Seriously, I the Gold Coast would have to lift it’s game to compete with the ambience at Casa Q, I don’t even bother telling you guys the half of what passes for *normal* around here.
    i.e. I got off the bus at 1pm yesterday and there’s 3 cop cars and 2 ambulances sorting out the latest *incident* in the housing commission flats beside the bus stop. The resident dealer had gotten on the bus one stop ahead with a couple of friends/colleagues, thus ensuring they were nowhere to be seen when the cops started asking questions. It looks like he’s laying low at a friend’s place about 5 blocks away, as I just went past him exiting some rattletrap house & crossing the road to the local pub.

    Probably I should do a check on the police twitter site to see if they’ve stuck his face up on a ‘wanted’ add but credit where credit’s due, I’m sure that all the cops have to do to find him is to give his photo to the good folk that sell alcohol and kettle crisps around here and Voila. they’ve got him.

  239. *shudder*. One of the Boss’s old school friends has resurfaced. I am not overly keen on the fellow, as he has a short fuse, a prison record, and a history of drug addiction (mainly heroin, but anything else would do). He showed up here thinking the Boss might have some spare gunja lying around, and was most dismayed when I sent him packing with a lecture about the evils of drugs. Oh, and a salad sandwich. (What? He looked hungry.)

    Somehow I don’t think he’ll waste his time asking me for illicit substances again.

  240. If you want to ensure he never comes back, Catty, just give him my sister’s contact info. She must be in the market for husband number 3 by now and he sounds like just her type.
    I hope you told him you’d found Jesus and any time he’d like to pray, you’re there for him.

  241. Tell him he only wants weed because of the demons inside him, and then offer him an exorcism. Then say, “Just give me a few minutes to get the enema ready”.

    Of course, if he is into smack he might find that quite an attractive proposition. Ref: Screamin Jay Hawkins, “Constipation Blues”.

  242. *shudders*
    What a horrible thought.
    Well, we have done some research into the relocating option & it looks like there’s sufficient pet-friendly residences in the Currumbin/Tallebudgera area to make it rather tempting to bugger off for a couple of years and become Creek Pirates. I’ve seen some nice houses with polished wood floors (I cannot abide carpet) esp up in the valley/hinterland area. So hopefully that’s not the meth lab precinct but I may need to oil my shotgun regularly to threaten teens with drum kits and electric guitars.
    There’s a kayak club at Currumbin Creek, a swimming pool that’s open all year round at Palm Beach, there’s an Iyengar yoga centre (we have very much missed our teachers since they retired & moved away) & the rental prices are very reasonable considering what we’d get for Casa Q, assuming of course that our renovations are done and it has a front door. If I want to study I could switch to distance ed with Central Qld Uni or else there’s the train from Varsity Lakes to access KG QUT. Which, part time, wouldn’t be too bad.
    The Bloke isn’t sure yet if he’s wanted for the Brisbane southside job (works for us) or the Gold Coast project, but he figures they would probably want him on both, and if he can get in on the coast project, it’s with a group that does a lot of work in Perth & we all know how I yearn to scarper off over there.
    He’s going to have another chat to them & see if he can arrange to loiter in Brisbane for the first 6 months of next year so we can sort out our renos & at least make Casa Q tenantable. That seems workable, and we might see if we can get a better deal out of them, but at this stage it looks like a very appealing prospect.
    The prospect of having breathable air all year round & waterways to play in does somewhat compensate for the thought of making Casa Q all bright and shiny & then abandoning it. Plus side, if we decide to return in 3 years, some of the annoying neighbours might have sold up and moved on.

    Yep. The only fly in the ointment is of course the Evil Cats & how they will punish us for relocating, so we will just have to find the right place so that we can set up an enclosure for the whiny little fiends to soak up some winter sun & watch the birds. Well, that and the Bloke’s parents are down there, but as he said ‘I just won’t tell them that I’ve moved.’ πŸ™‚

  243. And when they find out, (parents ALWAYS find out), tell the Bloke to mention the local nursing homes every time he speaks to them.

    Sounds like you’ve done your homework about the potential move. Hopefully it won’t mess with your studies. You realise that this is a perfect opportunity to enact a little karma, don’t you? I.e, rent Casa Quokka out to the smellier, hairier half of Team Slumlord. Yes, I know that’s a really horrible idea, but it’s funny to visualise Bog Hollow’s reaction.

  244. You could rent it to us if we ever get around to building? We’d have to bring Colin of course – would that be a problem? We had a couple over for lunch yesterday and he walked upstairs onto the deck to say hello. I explained he was a shy woodland creature but they didn’t buy it.

    Speaking of lunches, I’ve cleared the deck and the place is only moderately hovelish (i.e. no obvious holes in the floor). Maybe we could get some of you for lunch one weekend soon? Any prefs?

  245. Lunch sounds delightful & I would be happy to contribute to the feast.
    We are thinking of heading off to WA for the last week of October & the first week of November to see my family/hunker down at the beach, but nothing set in stone, yet. If the Bloke takes the new job he will want to take holidays before he starts, as it’s been two years since he last had more than a few days off. And we have all those frequent flyer points/free flights to use up before the end of November.

    We will still go ahead and do renos in the first half of next year but might scale back the indulgence level a bit. so yes, we will be looking for tenants at some point & were just weighing up if we should ask friends to move in or else just turn it over to an agency & milk it for whatever we can to pay off the mortgage.
    I guess we’ll have to figure that one out as we go along.
    And trust me, I just spent an hour at the Stokehouse sipping cocktails and eating chips & explaining my strategy for ways to create maximum noise and irritation for our irritating neighbours while we are away. Retribution for past misdeeds, and inspiration for them to leave before we want to come back in a few years time.

    We went out to test drive a citreon C5 touring wagon today, since we will need to become a 2 car household if we’re at the coast. It’s really rather lovely. Lots of room in the back for surf boards and yowling cats. Greggles, you would love the hydraulic suspension, we were able to lift it up and down so it made it up our driveway without scraping on the hill. Impressive.

    Well, I am pished & it’s time to put on my 3D glasses to watch Star Trek so that’s it for me, chickens. This is very exciting.
    Have school holidays started?
    Dogs are barking all over the neighbourhood and the mothers seem to have gone up an octave in their hysterical shrieking so I assume that accounts for it.

  246. Yes, holidays have started. One day in, and I’ve already asked the Boss if I could go to work for him while he stays home with the kidlets for two weeks. He seemed unnecessarily emphatic in refusing.

    Oh, and did you know today is World Alzheimer’s Day? I’d have mentioned it earlier, but I forgot.

  247. Actually, the train to QUT wouldn’t be such a bad study option, Q. With the help of the Precious, you could use your commute for study and assignments.

    GB, this is the weekend I work, so alternating weekends from this are best for me. I too, will bring something-or-other. In honour of Catty’s event, I don’t remember what.

    I can tell it’s holidays in these parts, the children’s brawling has become languid, at best. How long is a fortnight, again?

    • Thanks MM. Re Catty, doesn’t someone bring a photo of her which can be placed atop a mound of baked deliciousness and ceremonially, um, toasted?

  248. Too long. πŸ™‚
    And Catty, yeah we did hear that & I asked the bloke, who thinks up the sequencing of these World Whatever days?
    There’s so many of them now that surely they need to start doubling up.
    i.e. Batter your children day could be combined with Top Yourself Off day, and possibly to good effect.

    Yeah, MM, I think the train option would actually involve less walking and arseing about than getting there from Casa Q. Plus the wi-fi/ipad study & play on twitter option would keep me amused.
    I do feel a few pangs about leaving home, but the neighbours are helping me to get past that, fast. The new neighbours moved in across the road yesterday so once again the street was so full of cars we were lucky to get up the driveway. I won’t miss that, or the strange assortment of zoo noises that my neighbours produce when they get on the piss on a Saturday night.

    Heh heh, we went out to Redcliffe yesterday arvo to walk the hound & partake of mars-bar gelati. There was a bogan wedding just outside by the jetty so while I got gelato the bloke supervised the dog & watched the parade of bogan fashion & tatts passing by. A whole bunch of police – 3 car loads and an enormous van load – rocked into the gelato bar to order coffee and ice-cream & observe the proceedings.

    The Bloke & I were taking bets on WTF was going on. Judging by the fashions on the women & the look of the guys, my bet was that the Groom was on day release from Woodford prison & the cops were hoping to net an entire drug ring once his family turned up, all decked out in mob-boss suits & ray-bans. The Bloke told me I am a bad, bad woman but when the bridal party turned up in matching black mustangs he looked at me & said ‘How do you pick these things?’
    The cars were fabulous but they needed a winch and a crowbar to get the bridesmaids out of the back seat. I should have gotten photos, they were all in lovely cream off the shoulder single strap dresses (don’t ask me what you call this, Grecian Bogan style?) and the chief bridesmaid had a fresh tatt on her exposed shoulder blade. And when I say fresh, you know I mean recent, red, raw and weeping, right? There were little trickles of ooze working their way down towards the cream chiffon.
    Whatever the cops had planned went awry, though, as the callout for ‘Reports of a domestic disturbance at D-Bay, shots fired’ came through & they were gone like the wind.
    It was probably her ex, looking for his stash & running foul of the family pets.

    I will miss that.
    Maybe if we go visit Coomera it will have the same Bogan Ambience that we’ve grown to love at Redcliffe?

  249. What sort of idiot gets a highly visible tatt hours before she is supposed to be chief bridesmaid at a wedding? When my bogan friend got married, she got her shoulder tatt months before the wedding. Sheesh, bogans sure have dropped their game in the last few years.

    I started wondering about who assigns things to World Whatever days in 2008 (The International Year of the Potato). I’m not sure about all the days, weeks and World days, but the International Year of Assorted Crap is decided by the United Nations General Assembly. This year, they’ve tripled up and declared that it is the:
    International Year of Water Co-operation,
    International Year of Statistics, and
    International Year of Quinoa.

    Last year they only declared two International Years, but in 2011 there were four International Years and a World Year.

    They also declared this to be the Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification in 2010. The following year they declared it is the Decade on Biodiversity. Of course, that one’s only a nine year decade, but as the universities of the world have declared that 2013 is the International Year of Mathematics of Planet Earth, I’m sure some professor or other will set the United Nations straight.

    Or maybe not. Now I think about it, what chance does a mere professor have against that ultimate clusterfk – “The Committee”?

    • Sorry, but no. I do not believe in the International Year of Quinoa. A Decade for Desserts on the other hand sounds like a fine idea.

  250. A Tax Office committee once spent three hours discussing what drinks to serve at a productivity conference. They couldn’t reach a conclusion, so they decided on All Teh Drinks. It was a goooood conference.

  251. Now that, I believe.

  252. We threw the section manager in the hotel swimming pool. Heh, heh, heh….

  253. I hope you filed it with jelly crystals first.
    Office parties aren’t what they used to be, Catty. The Bloke was at a farewell gathering at the Normanby on Friday night (and yes, it was horrible and I got to say ‘I told you so’ when he got home and said as much) & you have to be careful not to let yourself go.
    Meanwhile he is off to work today to give them 4 weeks notice & he’s wondering how he can inspire them to hoof him out of there before the requisite 4 weeks is up. I’ve reset the screen-saver on his iphone to a picture of a Mojito so hopefully that will illustrate his attitude. Short of walking round the office with the real thing in his hand, though, I’m at a loss for further helpful suggestions.

  254. He could lick his boss. But that might adversely affect his severance package. So the GC is a done deal, then? Pass on my congrats to the Bloke.

    I’m all in favour of the Year of Desserts, and will kick it off by bringing some sweet to GB’s as well as some ricepaper rolls.

    I have the Catty pic and will laminate it, in case the cheers-ing gets too spirited.

  255. If it’s laminated, you can drop straight into the Margarita jug.

  256. If it’s a hot day I’ll drop it in a chilly bin full of Mojita Granita, Catty.
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jun/20/mojito-granita-recipe

    Huzzah to all you can eat desserts at Khan Greybeards. I’m too scatty to contemplate catering but will think of something between now and then. I’ve got 7 cookbooks out of the library so my problem here is choice.

    Yeah, we weren’t sure, when the offer came in on Friday night, but whichever job they want him for, be it Springfield or the Old Coast, both are good options and it’s not like they’ll run out of work. The employer was talking about commuting to the Gold Coast so I do think he will start off on the former and end up at the latter.

    The selling point was the thought of waking up and being able to paddle our kayaks down Currumbin Creek at dawn every day. And no stinky Brisbane air to befoul my dodgy lungs. I will happily take a few years off from that & if tenants trash our house in the time being, hell, that’s depreciation and when we come back I shove a new kitchen in and claim it on tax.

    At least, I think that’s how it works, and if so, it works for me.

  257. Sounds like a plan. Huzzah for the Bloke!

  258. You’ll have new neighbours. Sure, they MAY turn out as noisy and inconsiderate as your current crop, but at least they’ll be different.

    Can you search realestate.com for turreted rentals, Q?

  259. That could be a job for the Bloke, designing a demountable turret that could attach to rental properties.

  260. Job?

    Smurf it all, it could be a nice little earner. Turrets R Us!

  261. um, are we forgetting the incident where the bloke tried to change a washer in the kitchen and broke two taps earlier this winter?
    Make that three.
    Having learned from my mistake, I paid someone to come in and replace our water filters and the broken water filter tap yesterday. The tradie pointed out that the isolation tap that switches off the water filter, meaning that you don’t need to switch off the water at the mains but can flick a nob under the sink, is also broken, and that was last used by the Bloke, too. So let’s count that as three broken taps in his last efforts to repair one tap.
    I think it’s best that he sticks to telling others how to build things so that the task of construction & repair stays in capable hands.
    And true, we may end up with ghastly neighbours wherever we go. Still, there won’t be that ugly pall of smoke that sits over Brisbane & won’t disperse, thanks to the sea breezes, so that’s a win.
    And who knows? The four sets of nice neighbours that have scarpered, over the years, to get away from the loons around here have all reported bettering their circumstances and finding much nicer residents in their new ‘hoods.

    Still, it hasn’t happened yet & the new mob are still deliberating about which job they want him on so nothing is certain, yet. Aside from that, the Bloke couldn’t find a superior officer to hand his resignation in to yesterday. Since the company got absorbed into the bigger company, there’ve been so many lay-offs and so much moving about that he’s not sure who his supervisor is, any more. There is some new guy in charge but he’s in an office in another suburb & he hasn’t bothered to visit the new office to meet and greet his underlings. Nor has he phoned or emailed them. Plus side? The boss won’t know what he’s missing when one more resignation flows in on the tide.

  262. Wow. That sounds like the worst-managed company in history! I’d advise the Bloke to leave the resignation on his desk, and just go. If you’re lucky, they’ll keep paying him for six months before anyone realises he’s gone. Then for another year while they figure out who to tell. Then for six months until the person they tell actually finds the resignation letter on his desk. Then for one more year as they figure out who is supposed to get the resignation letter.

    Admittedly, they’ll probably want all that salary back when they finally process the resignation. But three year’s worth of pay packets in a high-interest investment account might just earn enough for a couple of new kayaks, or enough capital to start his own demountable turret company – which I’m sure would do well, as turrets don’t have taps. Just moats. Can the Bloke use a shovel?

  263. Yes. He takes one in to all his weekly design management meetings with the Cairns Horsepiddle staff, and wouldn’t make his way out the door without it.

  264. Catty, you’re a genius – want to be my business manager?

    Bugger about the non-existent boss, Q. The Bloke won’t know who to lick.

  265. A shovel to get out of management meetings is a novel approach. I always used a taser.

  266. Incompetence is often the best defence.

  267. You can get sanitary napkins for that.

  268. Anything that’s been over my threshold can no longer be classified as sanitary.

  269. We used to have a threshold. We may still have one – it’s probably buried under the mountains of crap.

    *sigh*

    Three solid days of flat-out spring cleaning, and all I have to show for it is a sore back and a tension headache. Seven garbage bags I’ve filled. But the house doesn’t look any different at all, apparently. The Boss has been asking what we’ve been doing all day. I pointed out the walk-in wardrobe (only 20 pairs of shoes in there now….*sob*) and he looked confused. “What’s different?”, he asked. I pointed out the kidlets’ completely made-over bedrooms, but all they got was a cursory glance and an “I’ve seen them”. The storage shed? “You’ve moved my golf clubs.”
    ‘Yes dear, to a shelf, now that there’s a whole shelf empty.”
    “There is?”
    “Bend over please dear, my kicking foot is starting to itch.”

    Today I am hoping to dispose of another couple of garbage bags full of crap from the Study. Unfortunately, it’s mostly toys and books in there. So I expect to hear a lot of whining from the kidlets.
    “You can’t throw that away, mum! It’s my favourite toy ever!”
    “You haven’t touched it in three years.”
    “But I love it sooooo much!”
    “It’s broken.”
    “Pleeeeeease mum, don’t throw it away… (*puppy dog eyes*)
    “Fine, you can keep it then. Now, what about this ancient Hello Kitty thing from a McDonald’s Happy Meal? Surely that can go.”
    “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

    Thank goodness I got a new script for Zoloft yesterday.

  270. Did you see the Hello Kitty paraphernalia on the Gruens the other night?
    If not I may have to try to source in on youtube. Too funny.

    Poor Catty. Come here and do my closet clean out where you will be given my appreciation and showered in Tim Tams & Cocktail mix. I dread to think how much crap I need to get rid of before we need to move. Anyway, it won’t happen for a while. I had a rental agent out here to visit yesterday & she said the best time to rent our place out is between Sept – Jan, & that’s about when I’d like to scarper off, anyway. So hopefully that will all fall into place.
    And that gives me plenty of time to clean out my linen closet. (shudder)
    I dreamed about that last night and it was just ugly.

    Did I mention that I have about a dozen cookbooks out from the library right now? I am trying to write a Dear Santa list for the Bloke so that he doesn’t load me up with jewellery. Which I wear once, to please him, and then shove into a fishing tackle box that I got from Bunnings and keep in a dark corner in the closet. Girly shit is wasted on me.

    Dunno if you lot have been watching the Great British Bake-off but one of the books I have from the Library is Mary Berry’s 100 cakes and bakes. I might have to add it to my list as she’s got things in there that I haven’t seen before & they look fabulous.

    Have you guys read about Barm Brack, in your travels through novels? It’s Irish. I had always wondered what it was, and she’s got a recipe for the Welsh Equivalent, Bara Brith. It’s a dark fruit loaf/cake filled with currants and sultanas and made with strong tea. It looks divine, I may have to try it. She’s included quite a few delicious looking Tray Bakes, which is pretty much cake in a tray designed to feed the hungry hordes. I thought that might go down well in your household, Catty.

    MM, it might be a good thing to get your boys started on so that they have fresh CAEK (we were teasing Mayhem when she was all drugged up & demanding CAEK on twitter, so that is the new spelling for CAEK. Poor Mayhem. She has shocking taste in invisible friends) awaiting you when you get in from work.

    I think you should all be forcing your children to watch the Bake Off & spend the holidays making baked goods, think how good at it they’ll be when they come to visit you in the nursing home & they bring CAEK!

    Apparently that half a Sacher torte that I took in for Miracle Girl wound up being shared with some of her favourite nurses so wow, do they love me now. Nurses. I’ve never yet met one who will turn down CAEK.

  271. Waaaaay ahead of you there, Quokka. The middle kidlet has been trained to bake CAEK whenever I so demand. It’s wonderful! I don’t have to do anything at all, as she can use the oven AND wash up afterwards. She’s a whiz with a packet mix, but still needs a little practice with from-scratch CAEK. Yesterday she made chocolate brownies (Yay! Tray CAEK!) with pecans. Then after dinner, she whipped up a delightful tea CAEK, using the Boss’s family recipe. The Boss tried to help her. I could hear her in the kitchen, saying, “But Dad, don’t you need to let it cool down before you… oh, never mind.” She came out and whispered, “Dad broke the CAEK.” We ate it hot. It was magnificent.

  272. Mmm … Zoloft and CAEK.

    There’s a whole getting rid of things and tidying up Zeitgeist at the moment. A girlfriend and her husband have just bought acreage out at The Gap so are preparing for the Box Onslaught themselves.

    And me – well, I cleared everything off the table in preparation for their visit. Don’t mock me, it took more than an hour. This is why I’m luxury-ising my back patio. The kids have yet to pollute it with crap.

    Q, I’d let them bake, but the mess they’d make of the kitchen would mean I’d have to move house. I have taught MM to make a fry-up recently, though. Now, when he’s at uni, he’ll have more than noodles to eat.

    Catty, a friend up here has a two-week timelimit on Happy Meal toys. After a fortnight they go in the bin, no exceptions. Just bin them without asking, that’s best. If you’re consultative, even crusty boogers and old nail clipping are priceless artifacts.

    • My nail clipping bottles? Nooo! You monster.

  273. The Teenie has a collection of belly button lint. He used to have a collection of boogers smeared on the wall behind his bed, but I’ve just gotten rid of it. With a scourer. It wasn’t so bad, it only took two hours and half a bottle of pine-o-clean.

  274. Speaking of belly buttons, Catty, that Twit Pic of the Girl From Coomera apparently has a video to accompany it.
    The twitpic made it through Big Brother’s spam wall so when the bloke told his taxi driver mate about it OTW home from the airport last night, the driver said ‘Oh yeah, that, Farken. Wait till you see the video.’
    I’m only surprised that Khan Greybeard hasn’t already found it and posted it on Twitter.

    And oh yeah, Testify to the Mad Mothers observation.
    I spent the morning at Carindale and wow, are they losing it.
    Two weeks of school holidays is just way too long to leave the little dears with their parents. If this is what it looks like at the end of Week 1 they’ll be re-enacting that axe scene from The Shining by Wednesday, count on it.

  275. That almost happened here this evening. The Boss arrived home from work with a Corona carton. There was a guinea pig in it. He promptly went out to the shed to drink the beer while he designed a cage for the new member of the family. Suffice to say, I am not overly impressed with the Boss right now.

  276. I suppose it’s too late to tell the children that nature designed guinea pigs for two purposes, barbecues and making moccasins.

  277. Nooooooooo! Not a guinea pig!!!!

    Like their close cousins, the Norwegian Lemming, guinea pigs never die peacefully in their sleep. They’re always: mauled to death by dogs; plucked up by swooping eagles; crushed in the hands of careless children; crushed under the buttocks of clumsy children; squished under cage corners …

    You get my drift.

    Excuse me, I’ll just go and see if my therapist is awake yet.

  278. This is why, in their native country, they are bred solely for BBQs and moccasins.

  279. Mmmmm…. barbecued moccasin….

  280. Even for my feet you’d need more than one guinea pig for a moccasin. A mitten, maybe.

  281. Who needs moccies? My womble feet are already furry.

  282. I don’t need tights or an armpit cozy, but my stubby feet are strangely hairless.

  283. I have hobbit feet. And it takes many guinea pigs to make a moccasin, that’s why they’re so easily dispatched to the grim reaper. How’s the countdown to burial going, Catty? Think it’ll last out the school holidays?

  284. Maybe. Or maybe not. I found one of those ‘How to Care for Your Cavy’ websites, and was reading it aloud to the Boss. It seems these little critters require as much care as a newborn baby. He’s beginning to think he may have made a slight error in judgement.

  285. Catty can’t you just ‘disappear’ it while the kids are at school?
    I would, and I’m quite happy to help you think of excuses.
    Jesus wanted to hold it in his arms, comes to mind.
    Surely you can unload it on someone else.
    Havock has a BBQ, and I hear they’re a delicacy.

  286. Pity you couldn’t replace it with a capybara. http://images.wikia.com/whatever-you-want/images/2/2a/O-CAPYBARA-HUGS-CAT-facebook.jpg
    Now that’s a guinea pig you wouldn’t accidentally step on..

  287. Hehehe. Jesus cuddles!

    Great rodent, GB.

    Might make a good replacement for our poor old hound. Do they have a loud bark, do you know?

  288. I’d agree with Madam, except that the Teenie has already passed the 60kg mark and seems to favour smug superiority over aggression. Also, not even the offer of money could entice him to do anything about the lawn.

    Meanwhile, we still don’t have a cage for the new little fluffball. He (she? It?) is still in the Corona box, which is starting to get smelly and soggy. Huh. If I wanted smelly and soggy, I’d look at the sock collection accumulating in my laundry tub. One of these days I’d better do something about that….

    But not today. Today is German bundt cake day.

  289. Mmmm … bundtelicious.

    What happened to beer and construction Friday, Catty? More beer drunk than construction, it seems.

  290. I think Friday is Pole Dancing day.
    When we were at the coast yesterday I was trying to work out if the 14yro with the baby in front of us was unnaturally well endowed or if she’d had a boob job.
    He took one look at her and said ‘Pole Dancer, they all look like that.’

    So the penny dropped as to WTF he has been doing for the last few months that he has been too busy to do our smurfing drawings for the builder. We had a meeting today & the builder asked for the drawings of our pergola & our BBQ pit & I said ‘Yes dear, where are they?’
    Remember I spent DAYS working on all the elevations for them, weeks ago, at great pain and suffering because my maths sucks so elevations are hard.

    He had promised me that he’d drawn them all up properly at work yet when the builder asked for them he said blithely ‘Oh, we haven’t quite worked out what we’re doing with them, yet.’

    FARKEN! I nearly blew a gasket on the spot, except I figured the only thing more likely to prompt the builder to set back our start date by another six months was the site of me kicking his sorry arse all the way out the door to his mother’s house.

    I’ve told him that if he doesn’t get them done & the build gets put off for another year, perhaps when the commuting by train gets old & he’s sick of sitting next to the pus-sucking folk of Coomera, he can go stay at Tweed with his parents during the week.

    Cruel, I know, but that’s the only stick I have left in my bag of tricks to motivate him.

    There’s a two week period around AFL grand final where he reverts back to being a teenager & until it passes & he reverts to normal, Fark I want to thump him.

  291. Now, now, Q. Don’t thump him. And here’s why … you might hurt your hand.

    Much better to poison him slowly:

    • Wow. I’m glad Fifi never wants to thump me. Or poison me. Sometimes she gazes at me with what I choose to interpret as quiet awe and admiration.

  292. Oh yes, with you on the slow poisoning.
    Why do you think I suggested he needs a week with his mother?

  293. Heh heh heh.
    I told him not to come home tonight until he’d finished the plans, and when he did come home I’d give him a biscuit for each completed drawing.
    So, he has cc’d me an email to the builder apologizing for not having all his paperwork in order and he has delivered up a fabulous montage of work based on all the drawings I did weeks, if not months ago.
    Along with detailed professional looking instructions of how the work should go.

    I don’t deliver an arse kicking unless it’s richly deserved & credit where it’s due, he does sit up and take notice. Mostly. But not usually this close to AFL grand final weekend, so colour me shocked. I expected a week more at least of living with the obnoxious teenager.

    Mischief managed.
    Now, Catty, since I’ve worked myself into gear, do you want me to sort out this rodent issue for you while I’m on a tyrannical roll?

  294. Nah, but thanks for the offer. The Boss drew a doodle on a napkin and declared it was his blueprint for a cage. It was more of a brownish print, considering how many Corona bottle rings there were on it. On Saturday he took one look at his brownprint, and sat down at the computer to check out cage auctions on eBay. On Sunday he went to a number of variety stores to see if they had anything. They didn’t. Today he went to a massive pet barn across town and browsed their selection. Nothing. So he stopped for beer on the way home.

    As he wandered out to the shed with his beer, he asked me to check eBay and see if any of his cage auctions were about to end. So I did the only logical thing. I got in the car, went to the pet shop at the shopping complex over the road, and bought a cage. I was back in half an hour. I got a bargain, too. So now I’m feeling smug and self-satisfied.

    Also, we’ve finally come up with a name. Our new fluff ball is a little brown crap machine. So, as Hershey chocolate is brown and crappy, we named the guinea pig Hershey.

  295. Nice work.
    When you find her in the back yard, having been dissembled by the neighbour’s dog, you can call her Reese’s Pieces.
    Oh, Guinea pigs. The horror.

  296. The neighbour’s dog’s name is Beau. They’ve been training him with short, sharp commands. Although the lady next door says ‘wee-wees’, her husband always says ‘pee’. I was rather disconcerted the first time I heard him yelling, “Pee, Beau! Pee, Beau!” I thought there was a spider invasion or something.

  297. Greybeard, it’s funny how the expressions for quiet admiration and stunned horror can be readily mistaken for one another by the casual observer.

    Hehehehe. Catty’s here all week, people. Try the chicken a la king!

    Glad to hear you got results without recourse to iocane, Q. Because I’m not sure where to source it. Juan, the Mexican Chemist, has it on backorder.

  298. Heh heh, good one, Catty.
    MM, I don’t think I’ve ever watched the Princess Bride. I know the kids watched it but back in those days I liked to be able to close 2 doors between me & the TV while I got on with cooking dinner.
    So who knows?
    Perhaps they switched over to jelly wrestling and monster trucks.
    Maybe I should add it to my couch time list.
    Too bad about Juan’s backorder but do tell him if people get desperate, there’s always my MIL’s cake recipes to tide them over.
    That ugly thought prompted the Bloke to get all my drawings done in less than an hour, so as they say, the Proof’s in the Pudding.
    Or the iocane substitutes, as the case may be.
    I’m left wondering if they are going to use the FKN cook books that I gave them as if she’s just going to glare at them and sulk, I’d happily have them back.
    Anyway, at least I know to scratch recipe books off their gift list.
    Sigh.
    I’ve got the new edition of the CWA cook book – with pictures on every page – earmarked for my girlfriend, who was ogling it as I was making the purchase. At least I know she’ll appreciate it, and since cookbooks are obviously not a thoughtful gift for the out-laws, it saves me buying two.
    Well, not quite, I’m still sorely tempted to get the CWA besser brick volume for myself.

    Bake-off show tonight, ladies, and it’s Biscuits.
    Colour me excited.

  299. Did you check the CWA tome for the fudge recipe, Q? Might be worth the sticker price …

    Mmm, biscuits. I much prefer the word biscuits to “cookies”. Biscuits seem more refined and elegant, somehow. Also, crisper.

  300. It seems the Bloke’s mother and my mother went to the same cooking school. Did I mention the Teen spent a couple of days in hospital when she got back from Queensland? She said it was an allergic reaction to Panadol, but I’m pretty sure it was my mother’s chicken.

    Yes, cookbooks do make fabulous, if expensive, gifts. Expensive because it’s practically impossible to buy a good one without buying two or three copies of it. I have dozens of cookbooks, but I rarely use them. I tend to use my scrapbooks full of clipped recipes from magazines. I also have a notebook of handwritten family recipes – from other people’s families, of course.

    Hey, Madam, I managed to tweak my fudge recipe. With the tweaking, it doesn’t actually turn into fudge, it stays a chewy caramel. Everyone who tried it said it was wonderful, but I thought it tasted better as fudge. Which do you prefer? The chewy caramels, or the grainy fudge?

    Greybeard, I know the look you mean. It’s the one I give the Boss when he shows up unexpectedly with beer and a guinea pig. I’m guessing it’s also the one Fifi gave you when you fell off the roof. Yep, quiet awe and admiration….

    Oh, and that story about Beau is 100% true. They let him sleep inside at night, so they make him wee before he comes in. Unlike the previous owners – they didn’t let their cat in at night, no matter how much it begged them. I wonder what ever happened to that talking cat? I thought it would have been a Youtube sensation by now.

  301. I love your Russian Caramels, Catty. Sadly, so do the children. I’d probably go with grainy over chewy. Some of my fillings are loosening.

    I’ve had many dogs, and been exposed to squillions more, and I’ve never heard anyone else who thought shouting “pee!” at a dog would make it whizz. Poor Beau has an owner problem.

  302. Beau is their baby. That dog is pampered beyond all imagining. I don’t want to go to a nursing home when I’m old, I want the neighbours to look after me. (As long as they don’t yell at me to pee in the yard before I come inside.)

  303. Pee, Catty, pee!

    What exactly do they do when it’s convenient for Beau to open his bowels?

    • Little Beau poop?

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  304. Hehehe

  305. Speaking of poop, I see congratulations are in order on your new local member.
    let’s hope we never see a picture of his own member marinating in a scotch glass on the internet.
    Ahead by a Lucky 7, hey?
    I’m surprised you let the plumber sleep over, I would’ve thought he’d be shit out of luck till Clive gets sick of posturing and gets sacked/resigns.
    Still, I suppose with Scott Driscoll as his inspiration, he might manage to stay in politics for longer than I expect.

  306. I’m pinning my hopes on a by-election, Q. Or a massive cardiovascular event, surely it can’t be far away.

    Still, the more likely Clivosaurus gets the MORE I need the distraction afforded by prolonged sweaty horizontal folk dancing. I just fantasize that I’m bonking a Greens voter.

    • I must confess to a guilty giggle at the Brisbane Times headline. “Clive wins by a wafer-thin margin”. Especially since I’ve ordered some mints with John Cleese on the tin. They’rrre only wafer thin . . .

  307. I wonder if Clive will demand a recount.
    Of all the people who didn’t want him to win, surely he’s at the top of that list.

  308. Indeed.

    If he actually wins the seat, he’ll have to curtail his mad excursions around the world, park his huge arse on a back bench and actually DO something.

    Well, in so far as politicians actually do something, that is.

  309. Yeah, like I said, that’s gonna get old real quick.
    All they’ll have to do to distract him from being there when something important is going down is to wave a big banner saying there’s half-priced BBQ pork ribs two blocks away & he’ll be off like a shot. In the limo, of course, it’s not like he could walk that far.
    Like you said, Aneurism.
    Here’s hoping, anyway.

  310. I just hope they find a lazy couple of hundred votes for the Lib in the back of the fridge, or something.

    If I have to vote again, I’ll not be impressed.

  311. It’s pretty clear Clive’s only out for public exposure. Well, our senator is a car enthusiast 9/11 denier who likes to dack people. Clive is in for plenty of exposure, but probably not the sort he’s expecting.

  312. Hello luvvies! I have returned. Now, before I go any further, I need to dispel the misconception that my spelling of CAEK, was as a result of the drugzzzz. I follow a number of people you mightn’t, and two of them, a scientist and the lovely girl who’s making my wedding cake, spell it that way deliberately. So ner!

    Looks like you’ve all been having fun. I’d caught up on Q’s impending move, and I think there was an outraged tweet about the guinea pig.

    As for me, nothing too exciting. I have new boobies and less tummy, but still have a reasonable amount of swelling. Desperate to buy new clothes, but it will take months for my shape to change to its permanent state.

    The wedding is going ahead as scheduled. Julian is looking after me like a champion, and I will definitely make it down the aisle on foot. I’m a little peeved that my bridesmaid has shaved the back of her head. It’s not too bad, will be invisible with the right hairstyle, but what REALLY pissed me off is that her mother actually shaved it for her GRRRR.

    That’s about all I have for now. I’m pretty bored as I’m not allowed to drive, or do anything for that matter, so tomorrow’s project is to check in at the Corner.

  313. Well, tell her not to get extensions,. Mayhem.

    A girl in my office just had them put in for her own wedding and – $700 later – had to have them removed a few days later (bye bye another several hundred dollars) when they started to fall out.

    Hope the swelling and owies subside soon, darls xxxooo

  314. Congrats on surviving the ordeal, Mayhem.
    As for the bridesmaid, this is one of the many reasons why I elected never to get married, far too much drama and angst involved in it for my liking.
    I suppose you could stuff her in a wig but really, its her hair & FWIW I’d be far more appalled by a fresh and oozing tattoo like we saw at the bogan wedding by the Woody Point jetty two weekends ago. The Bloke & I had stopped in for gelato & the cafe was swarming with cops. We were taking bets on which side of the wedding party they were going to arrest, Bride or Groom. Just as well the fashion police weren’t there or they’d all be in jail.
    Anyway, when the bridal party turned up, the bridesmaids were all wearing lovely cream chiffon Grecian Goddess type single strap gowns, and the head bridesmaid had adorned her only visible shoulder with a new and large tattoo. It was red, weeping, and oozing slime down onto the back of her lovely cream chiffon dress.

    The Bride looked too full of champers to notice or to care.

  315. I just saw a photo of Miley Cyrus so it looks like she’s responsible for the latest trend in shaven heads. The stubble might be the least of your problems, Mayhem, better hope she doesn’t get her tongue pierced and tear up the floor Twerking to the Bridal Waltz.

    Er, it is your family. Anything, after all, is possible. πŸ™‚

  316. I found this link in a blog I was reading the other day. The blogger is a bride, and somebody sent it to her in the hope she would (as the contributor said), “Please be this person”:

    http://gawker.com/this-terrifying-bride-is-only-joking-except-when-shes-1343098715

    Mayhem, you should take notes. As a ‘what-to-do’ or a ‘what-NOT-to-do’ guide is entirely up to you.

  317. I think the Pagans had the right idea about marriage.
    You join hands and jump over a broomstick and then everyone procedes to get so utterly shickered that nobody knows WTF happened, the next day.

  318. And the local chieftain gets first dibs on the bride.

  319. I could go for a handfasting.

    Not personally, but as an observer.

    I think Q’s idea is excellent, Mayhem. Get judiciously pissed before the ceremony so you’re just oblivious enough not to let the twerking bother you.

  320. Better yet, get the entire bridal party twerking and send your mother the video. πŸ™‚

  321. Hee hee hee hee hee… I can hear her mum’s dismayed howls echoing through the Oubliette now…

  322. Excellent plan. Go viral, and your wedding has paid for itself!

  323. Maybe you could get Nat to help you choreograph the Vibrator Dance from the Falafal Play, could be just the thing for your hen’s night. Another thing I’d hate for your mother to miss out. πŸ™‚

  324. I’d rather see the vibrator dance than that disturbing sequence with the vacuum cleaner again.

    Best not mention vacuums at all in the context of weddings, you don’t want to set housekeeping standards you’ll then be forced to live up to.

  325. True. Start out as you mean to carry on, Mayhem. In other words, make Fireman Sam do all the Noo-Nooing.

  326. Sucky, sucky! Fireman Sam tidies up.

    But where is Mayhem? Mayhem is on the couch, eating tubby toast. Clever Mayhem!

  327. She’s probably too exhausted from scrolling down the blog comments on her ipad to return for another go at it. Seriously, it takes me three efforts some days because the ipad crashes or goes back to the start of the blog roll. Much easier to access from a desk top that has ‘Control-End’ keys. I think that’s why she’s rarely here, she relies on her iphone & I would imagine scrolling down is not fun when someone’s just taken a knife to your chest. I think she’s got an ipad -mini these days so I’d imagine scrolling is even worse on that that the bigger one that I’ve got. Trouble being that once you’ve got the precious, its so nice to be able to compute from bed or the couch that it’s hard to go back to sitting at the desk top.

    Which reminds me, what did you decide about the Mac demands by the high school, MM? Did you look into deals at the Mac store? You should pay a visit to the fruit shop one day and find out what they’ve got on offer. If I remember, I will ask them sometime when I’m in there. I’m really enjoying my lessons & it’s actually helping counter my luddite leanings, lots.

    I know that my memory sucks (I have no recollection of vacuum profanity in the play, I must have been asleep in that bit) but did I tell you guys that when the Bloke resigned from work I reset his iPhone screen saver to a picture of a Mojito that he’d scoffed at the Turkish restaurant the day before? He had NFI how to reset it. I’ve also managed to invade his calendar with ‘invitations’ to worm the dog etc so he gets little alerts and reminders during the day. The lessons really were a fab investment. Although you won’t need them, once your eldest gets his he’ll be able to teach you every trick in the book.

    How are we all coping this close to the end of school holidays? Catty, have you recovered your senses yet? Chewing gum. Truly. I told the Bloke and he shook his head and said ‘Is she mad?’
    I explained that school hols can tip the best of us over the edge.
    Look what they do to me & I don’t even have children.

  328. My shiny (almost) new iPad, the Boss’s shiny (almost) new Macbook and our shiny (almost) new desktop Mac all came from eBay. The iPad and Macbook cost a little over half what we would have paid at the Fruit Store, while the desktop Mac was less than half. It’s worth a look, anyway.

    The other place I have seen really cheap laptops is Crime Converters. But there’s no guarantee you’ll find the right Macbook there, Madam. It will depend on whether any of MM’s schoolmates are on drugs, or if their homes have been burgled lately.

    On the subject of iPhones, the Boss hasn’t taught me any of his tricks for sneaky reminders or changing wallpaper. Instead, he taught the middle Kidlet. So now I have both of them winding me up. Pests. I’ve taken to leaving the iPhone next to my bed. That way I can’t hear any annoying alarms during the day, and nobody can see the embarrassing pictures. They did try setting alarms for night time, but as I can sleep through a cyclone, all it did was wake them up. Heh heh heh…. Let’s just hope the Bloke doesn’t hide his iPhone in Quokka’s bag while he buys himself a shiny new one without Mojito pictures and worms. (Hey, Bloke, there’s some good ones on eBay at the moment!).

  329. I’m told one of his mates has plans to monopolise the illicit drug redistribution networks at school, so there’s a good chance at least one of them is on drugs. He’s going to wear a purple suede coat with cheetah lapels, the better to cultivate a discreet image.

    Thanks for the advice, Appleites. I’ll probably drink the Kool Aid and go with the school’s supplier, merely for the “drop-off at the front desk if there’s an issue” option. Smurfed if I know where our nearest Apple store is, but I’m too busy working during the day to traipse up and down the Coast finding it, so in the eventuality that The Precious stuffs up that will work well for me.

    My rich anaesthetist sister has kindly chipped in a grand, so I’m only going to end up paying what I’d budgeted out of my own dosh, anyway. Score!

  330. Mmmmmm…. rich sister…. I wish I was one of those.

  331. So do I, Catty. Then I’d have two!

  332. I had an uncle who was an anaesthetist, but FWIW I think he spent too many years sniffing the chemicals. Well, that’s how I explain his One Nation Leanings and the Bolt Philosophy he carried through life.
    He wouldn’t give you tuppence to cross the road so clearly their career choice is the only thing he’s got in common with your sister. Nice score, MM. That was very generous of her.

    Well, you guys missed a very fine lunch at Humpybong’s local Fisho, yesterday. Even Nblob turned up to launch a surprise attack on Khan Greybeard. He told me a few days ago & swore me to secrecy, which was a safe thing to do, because after the last week or so of Spring Insomnia, nobody was more surprised than me when in walked Nblob.

    Naturally they all arrived bearing weapons so there was a show of manhood as they displayed their blades, lasers etc & poor Greybeard bemoaned the fact that he’d left his arsenal at home. Probably missing his potato gun, when he saw all the knives come out around him.

    Wish you could have been there, we all missed you both. Especially, Ildi, she’s talking of making a day trip north to visit you and Nblob. I’ve warned them to wear chain mail if they visit you at home, MM.

    Humpy’s local has a fabulous selection of fish & non-fish meals including all day breakfast, and since it’s quiet out there the proprietor was pleased to have our rowdy lot cackling on the deck. God help the neighbours, I did a few Aisling impressions for the Melbournites who hadn’t heard my story of ‘how many Irish backpackers does it take to rescue a hairdresser who’s locked in the bog? A: All of them.’ We had the usual gelato stopover OTW home so all in all, a fun time was had by all. Thus far nobody has tweeted about the play, & I was asleep at 7.30pm anyway, so I’ve yet to hear the reviews. Chaz did say that Mrs. B was unlikely to attend as last time when she walked out she said, in Bedes hearing ‘Well, that’s two and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back.’
    Whoops.

  333. The scariest thing about NowhereBob is that I liked him immediately. Also, when he arrived he ordered the same lunch as I had & same coffee. (insert Twilight Zone music). But he’s sharp and snarky and quite a raconteur – good company, as were the rest of the lunchers. Therbs, Bangarrr and I were trotting up the hill, wondering where everyone was, when a rooster crowed. “Ah”, says I, “there’s Quokka, this must be the place.”

    The play weren’t too bad at all. I think the anecdotal form of Felafel is better suited to staging than HTBAM. Anyway, there were quite a few sharehouse acquaintances of JB’s who turned up to relive their misadventures, or those of people they’d known. Matt was there and planning to go to the US for a while to live with Jen before they come back to Australia. Mark-TheDrej and wife were there, Mrs Bedak (Dianne? I’m awful with names) is good fun as is Greg Wah – a fellow Iron Sky fan. And there was a bar tab . . .

    Lyn is currently doing something in the kitchen with RSPCA chickens and bottles of olives which we can take to lunch. I’d help but when I cree, er, walk up behind her in the kitchen, she can be quite careless with soggy dishmops. And knives. Ah well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

  334. I’m still here πŸ™‚ Quokka had it right when she said the scrolling is a little bit of a hassle. I’m so happy with my iPad mini, it’s a drama when I have to go to the laptop. Hence my email inboxes are generally ready to explode by the time I get there. Now I have to though because Catty emailed me her address, because she doesn’t know how to FB Message. I suppose I could just address her invite to Cattys Conspiracy Corner and send it out into the wild. Reckon it would ge there? T’would be an interesting experiment….

    Good to see yesterday’s shenanigans were enjoyed by all. So jealous. Would have loved to be there. Well hopefully I’ll have a table full of burgers for the wedding. Which reminds me… Catty, I can’t address your invite to Catty and The Boss. Remind me please of your hubby’s actual name. And Mel’s hubby too if you know it. All I know is it starts with J. Will definitely be checking n during the week, as I hope to have the invitations posted by the end of the week.

    xxxxx

  335. Ooh, I know this one! Melbo’s hubby is Jeffery with a J.

    Glad everyone had such a fun weekend. I had cricket. However, did enjoy immersing myself in our sparkling waters yesterday on the glorious public holiday, so I can’t complain. Too much.

    I can facebook message you Catty’s addy, too, if you like. But I try not to facebook in office hours, can you wait until tomorrow, Mayhem?

  336. Mayhem, Better tell me the date of these festivities again so I can send that card, as wherever I wrote it down, clearly I used invisible ink. Or the nearest thing to it, which is the newly discovered ‘Calendar’ function in the ipad.
    Yes it was a lovely gathering, too bad it’s so hard to put all of us together under the one roof, or in Saturday’s case, under the tarpaulin and in the fresh SE winds. Ildi and I both got rather chilly.
    Unfortunately only AB & I made it to Chaz’s bar & tapas extravaganza on Sunday afternoon, I don’t think anyone had much fun left in them after the play on Saturday night. DNAbeast made a stellar effort and showed up for a brief and shining interlude before he was due on stage across town so that was very sweet of him. As always it was lovely to see Chaz & the more I see of Marcella the more we find in common & the more I like her. They counted 13 brides at Teneriffe before we arrived (we went to an open house at the Old Coast so drove back late & dishevelled) & as I was parking I saw life sized Ken and Barbie. No shit. She was in a strapless Barbie Pink gown and he was in the exact same white suit that Ken wears. She looked exactly like Barbie right down to the fake tan, fake breasts and vacuous stare. I think Chaz thought I was making it up until they reappeared an hour later to be photographed outside the reception rooms & we all nearly fell of our chairs laughing. Oh dear.

    Anyway, I must shuffle off so I get to feeding time at the Horse Piddle. Miracle Girl has finally been fitted with dentures, and after five months of not being able to bite or chew solids I think it’s time she gnawed down on some kotobuki sushi. So fingers crossed that I’ve remembered what she likes, it’s a long time since our student days when we used to hang out in ChinaTown for boozey Friday lunches and dinners. Last night she showed off how she has learned, in the past week, to lift her water glass (well, cardboard glass) to her mouth and drink by herself. I get all teared up every time I see her do something that none of us thought she’d be able to do again. Anyhoo. that’s my news, so I’d best scoot.

    Jeebus MM, I hope you weren’t cricketing on Sunday. We nearly melted, here. Gah. Brisbane heat. Something I will not miss.

  337. Hehehe. Ken and Barbie.

    So tell me about the open house, Q? Find anything nice?

    Good news about Miracle Girl, glad she’s doing so well. You’re such a devoted friend, Q, she’s lucky to have you.

    No, Sunday I baconed. I was still glowing radioactively until after sunset. Saturday was quite pleasant for cricket, other than that cricket was occuring.

  338. Yay for Miracle Girl! I don’t even know her, yet I feel so proud of her. What a champion battler! Your cooking must have healing qualities, Quokka. Unlike Madam’s radioactive bacon… What’s with that, Madam? You’re not sourcing your piggies from Japan, are you? Oh, well, I suppose it will be easier to find in the fridge if it’s glowing.

    I’ve sent you emails with the details, Mayhem. If you haven’t got them, let me know and I’ll either resend or text the info.

    The kidlets are back at school. Can I have that nervous breakdown now?

    • And not quite 11 weeks until the next school holidays. The looong ones. Wheee!

      • if I wasn’t medicated right now, I would hate you for that untimely reminder.

  339. Thanks, MM. She really was thrilled with the sushi. The nurses kept walking up to her going ‘Wow that looks good, you do look like the cat that got the cream.’
    I wanted photos but was sniggering so hard I was worried I’d get punched. Barbie looked slightly undermedicated for the event & had that grim angry ‘I have starved for 6 months to attain this shape, FK with me and I WILL tear a chunk out of you with my bared teeth and pink manicured pointy little claws, then I will dip it in the chocolate fountain and slurp it down like fresh sushi.’

    Mostly I wanted to get out of Vagus on Sunday to compare temps and find out what the Old Coast is like in the grim October heat. Much better than Vagus, thanks to the winds. You’re right about that. I haven’t paid much attention to the Gold Coast, we prefer to go to Fingal, Duranbah (the cafe, OMG, the food, yum) & less populated parts, and as the Bloke’s parents live at Tweed it’s a place best avoided, really. So beyond my steadfast loyalty to the burger bar at Coolangatta near the gelato shop (within fab proximity to Lorna Jane) I really had NFI what the Old Coast had to offer beyond an oversupply of dementia and a surge in gunshot wounds.
    So we did a quick cruise around Burleigh heads and discovered that one of the back streets (James Street) has morphed into a chunk of West End. The Bloke found some new board shorts with a very gracious cut for the man with short chunky legs, sourced from organic cotton, a shop called ‘Patagonia’. There’s a juice bar and lots of hippies and sushi and lots of funky little cafes. I also found a yoga class when I was hunting for the public toilets.
    We need more time to explore it (burp) as I’d wasted most of the morning eating my way out of the gluten free veggie burger bar down at the ‘Gatta. So we had to rush off up the hill to sus out a house on top of the chunk of headland, an original Mike Brady on Ganja type design. Plunging Swiss chalet type brown tiled roof, aluminium siding panels on the exterior walls (thankfully not the ones visible from the street) and all the internal floors made of chipboard and covered in some sort of laminate that attempts to emulate wood. I poked it with my toe and said to the real estate agent ‘What IS this?’
    Looked like formica desktop laminate to me.

    The house had spectacular views of the water in three directions because it was up so high on the top of the hill, and, for bonus points, two gorgeous kitties in their own little enclosure off the bedroom ensuite, but truly, I couldn’t live in it without wanting to take an axe to it and I wouldn’t know which bit to destroy first. Kill it with fire, I think.
    Lots of problems with head height (2m H in the entry hall & we are used to 2800mm here) and there were chunks of steel holding up the house but in all the wrong places if you want to do some renovating and FUX the horrible bloody thing. There was a fecking steel beam at 1800 mm H across the width of the double garage so god help the dippy twit that drives in there forgetting she’s got 10G worth of sea kayaks on her car roof.
    The real estate Johnny eyed me suspiciously as I measured things with my builders tape and said in hopeful tones ‘It has good strong bones’ which prompted me to bite my tongue to silence ‘Shame about the skin and the teeth.’

    So we’re kind of just eyeing off everything on the market to get a feel for what is what. Burleigh and Palm Beach seem like a good choice of location but most of the houses are horror brick and tile with no air flow. I’d like an old beach shack with timber floors that won’t turn into a sauna every summer. And those are few and far between. From what I can see on real estate cot dom, a plague of brickies and tilers has swept the entire length of the coastline like a cloud of locusts and consumed all the wood in their path. Probably chucked them in their pot-bellied stoves, there’s way too many of them down there for my liking. Smoke. Ugh.

    So we might have to wait for a little beach shack to turn up with a nice northerly aspect. At which point I will be quite happy to go to the beach and turn feral, and leave all our yuppy architecture aspirations here in west end where they belong.

  340. Oh, then you would love the house we looked at last month. It ticked all the boxes, then stacked the boxes haphazardly on the side of the hill, then left them there to rot. Forget fire, this dump needed napalm. But only after I had had a chance to steal all the gorgeous antique furniture.

    Have you considered buying a block of land, then erecting a demountable? You could have your own little brand new cottage up and running for about $80k. Or maybe converting an old church or warehouse into a home? I knew a guy who lived in an old fire station – it was fabulous, and he hadn’t even started renovating yet.

  341. Oooh, Catty! I’ve always wanted to live in an old church. It would be the perfect place for my new BVM.

    Q, you are wise to avoid the click laminate flooring. We have it in the office, and the bit where my wheely office chair wheels around on is all ground down. It now looks mostly like a bit of cardboard not even fit for recycling. Also, word to the wise on the beach environment – avoid metal. Everything except marine-grade stainless steel (and many things which claim to be marine grade aren’t, actually) will rust faster than you could imagine. Even aluminium gets that crusty, bubbly equivalent of corrosion. Wood is good – if you have nice strong fixings. And fibro.

    Greybeard … no, I’ve got nothing. Still too tired from the holidays. Ooh, I thought of something – only a few years before they’ll send the monkey to holiday with you! Possibly.

    • We already asked them to send the monkey but they said no. Also she’s not on solids yet which could be a problem.

      Still, they can send her up as soon as we can feed her. I’m sure we’ll manage.

  342. They’ll wait till his knees crap out and by then they’ll have the monkey, the baboon and the orang-u-tang and they’ll send them all up for summer holidays in the tropics to enjoy some quality time with granddad. And before you know it they’ll be shooting your widescreen TV with the potato gun.

    Catty, we’ll consider anything within reason but given how hard its been to get the current renovation off the ground, some place that’s Done would be my ideal. I’d be happy to rip up carpets, polish floors, paint & install a new kitchen but creating structural changes to a building – meh. I’d like to get something I can just feel comfortable in for the next five years while I try to work through my next degree. Speaking of which, I think I will defer study till we are settled at the Old Coast. My plan was to enjoy that psyche degree and moving house pretty much negates enjoyment of anything that coincides with it. I may have to sift through all my crap between now and then & try to junk the surplus crap before we move. Less to unpack, that way.

    MM – yes, I know what sea air does to metal things, which is why a double & sealed lock up garage is high on my list of priorities. Cheap materials are always a warning sign to run, when you are looking at a property. It means that they’ve cut corners and the stuff that you can’t see is likely to be cheap and horrible and poorly done, too.
    I’ve been looking outside our comfort zone to see what’s available further north & south. I don’t think I could live near broadbeach, that end near surfers gives me the creeps. It’s like Nimbin, I can’t get within 10k of it without my spidey senses shrieking at me to get the hell out.
    It does look like there’s more of what I like in the hills around Coolangatta & Terranora. Much more affordable and sleepy, there, too. Easy access to the highway but it would mean more driving for the Bloke. We will see. Chaz said that the Gold Coast real esate has been in a slump for years & there was an article in the paper yesterday saying that most places down there are selling for less than what they sold for a few years ago.

    It’s just good to be getting a feel for the market.
    And it’s still a fab thought that I might escape Brisbane. I had to duck into the mechanic yesterday & before he even saw me he said ‘Hello Q – I recognized that cough.’ Sigh. Bushfires all around today & when I’d been at the IGA before, I walked out coughing to discover that there was a unit burning merrily across the road. Eek.

    Let’s scratch duplexes and units off my list of cat relocation schemes.
    Man that thing burned.

    so ladies, what are we doing to celebrate the capture and detainment of the children back into state care? Conga line? Mojitos? Follow me. Da da da da daah da…

  343. Well, I’m (supposed to be) at work.

    The major advantages of which are:
    (1) air conditioning;
    (2) the people who whine at me here are not related to me by blood;
    (3) they pay me to be here
    (4) unlike motherhood, I get to clock off.

    Actually, bugger it – I LOVE it here!

  344. I’m supposed to be doing housework.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    Now, where did I put the rest of that caek?

  345. You’re an inspiration to us all, Catty.

  346. Why, thank you. Here, have some caek.

  347. Mmm … my favourite – not baked by me.

  348. I went to the mall and had a donut. And looked at a wall of cake-books in the bookstore. It’s not quite the same but its probably better than a caek in the pants.

  349. Heh heh heh…. good one, Quokka.

  350. I wish I could love donuts, they’re so freely available. Sadly, I have tried and failed. It’s a character flaw, I know.

  351. Yes. Yes it is a major character flaw. But it is one that we are willing to forgive, solely because it means more doughnuts for us. Mmmmm….

  352. I’d trade all the donuts in the world for an extra hours sleep. Huzzah for Friday! I hereby designate this weekend as Nap Time.

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