01 January 2007

reelin' in the year (s)

VVB turns one tomorrow and so, with the semi-lassitude of the festive season about to evaporate as we return to work in a blizzard of briefing notes, and a few random acts of bastardry floating about on which to comment, and the lure of various stories of what I did on my holidays, allow me to indulge in some reflection and rumination. As a basis for the first deep and meaningful coffee of the year, with DH - so you better be reading, sport.

First, the holidays. No wonder the domestic violence and suicide rates go up at this time of year. Also, no wonder many of us choose to live remote from the rest of our families. No need to go into detail, of course, any conclusions to be reached will have been jumped to already. Suffice to say we got back home without any ultra-violence being done, but that was as much a fluke as a determined outcome.

Our pollies' chronic infatuation with budget surpluses, thus leading to underinvestment in infrastructure, was brought home forcibly to famille VVB as it sat in a 30 km car park of traffic between Karuah and Bulahdelah on the day after Boxing Day. We survived, of course, but I really felt for those with small kids in the car, as you have to eventually turn the aircon off which just exacerbates the situation on a hot day. They've been slowly duplicating the highway but the stretch into Bulahdelah is yet to be completed - and what are the plans for Buladelah itself? Of course people could stagger their travel - leave at 1 am perhaps - to miss the worst of the traffic, and so on pure cost-benefit it doesn't stack up, I imagine. On safety grounds, a dual carriageway all the way would seem worthwhile, though. The bottleneck added three hours to the trip between Canberra and Coffs Harbour. Two points: on being told the sorry tale, the bloke in the motel asked if we were from Canberra because "we should take the story back there", and three cheers for motels that have mini-bars. This also applies to the place in Dubbo - there's nothing like coming in from a long drive and being able to rip straight into a coldie.

In fact our collision with all things infrastructural had started earlier in the day when we took the M7 to get across Sydney in (we were assured) half the time. Hah! That's until you get the same amount of holiday traffic trying to leave the M7 for the so-called M2 (I say so-called because it's just Pennant Hills Road) and there's only one slip lane. Now, I'm still waiting to see whether the online payments system for the M7 toll works as it should. On the basis of negotiating with the call centre and website, I am not optimistic.

I should have kept a note of the various funny/alarming things we saw en route. One that sticks in the memory was in Coffs Harbour, trailing behind an extremely elderly woman driver in a very new Honda Civic. She sat resolutely on 20 km/hour and there was no way we could get past safely or legally, until she went to turn left into a carpark and was so intent on managing this manoeuvre that she completely ignored two people trying to cross on a zebra crossing - she drove straight in front of them. Perhaps in an insight into how laid-back Coffs Harbour is, they didn't seem to mind, or indeed notice.

Coffs Harbour also yielded a last-minute extra Christmas present. I always have a squizz through the guitar shop there and this time he had a second hand Ovation Applause, the cheaper version in the Ovation range. It has a few knocks but the action is good and the octaves sound true so we did some haggling and I walked away with it - so lucky me got two guitars for Christmas. You can never have too many guitars, is my new motto.

All random acts of bastardry are far from random, they are all premeditated, and all can be sheeted home to the conniving little (insert disgusting but accurate epithet here) of a PM. When I told Mrs VVB that the PM has decreed that feminism is dead, she hit me with a frying pan (of course this may also be related to 30 years of accumulated shortcomings on my part, but you get my drift). Anyway, as is now becoming painfully obviously to everyone, something cannot be said to be until the PM declares it to be.

The level of hypocrisy demonstrated in his comments about Saddam being hanged was, however, even beyond his usual pale. No one - not even leftist scum - denies that Saddam was a monster. But he was a monster created - or facilitated - by the United States in
yet another example of the unintended consequences of its occasional imperial meddlings. Howard's shifty equivocations about the use of the death penalty reflect very badly on him, from my perspective. A very little man.

For any readers who are cat people this holiday, brief as it was, became the first time we'd left the remaining family cat in a pet motel. She came out absolutely reeking of cat perfume and whatever it was meant to mask, but a bath the next day fixed all that. The family quickly became personae gratae again very quickly and there has been much meowing and carrying on since she's been home again.

So, that's been the hols and now for some ruminations on one year of VVB. I said early that it wasn't going to be a deeply researched blog and I've certainly kept that end of the bargain. On too many occasions I have lapsed into deeply offensive ranting about the (insert etc etc etc) PM which might have made me feel better for a little while, but that's all. I've started another site where I can do that when the pressure just gets too much. And as an election draws closer and should Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard look even remotely electable, you can be sure that a government that you thought couldn't scrape the bottom of the barrel any more enthusiastically will finds new ways of doing just that.

VVB hasn't really inquired into, or even just reflected upon, the human condition - as we promised - apart from in some tangential ways so there is plenty of room for growth in that area. I never even finished the series of stories on cars using pictures of my models as the link, so I'd better do that. Which will mean some photography first to get the rest of the collection, in focus this time.

I've commented reasonably frequently at those blogs where I have come to feel most at home, and I've struck off from those where either intellectual arrogance or inability to converse without being offensive have frightened me off. Which got me thinking, if the pen is mightier than the sword, why will names never hurt me when sticks and stones break my bones?

Coming back from a few days away (from the computer) I resolved not to get back into the blogworld but it wasn't long before I was back into the routine. I have to say I got depressed pretty quickly as the usual suspects trotted out the usual justifications for their take on whatever the issue was. Worse, I know that I'm far from immune from that here at VVB. However, I have on the whole enjoyed this year of blog apprenticeship so my resolution should be to do it better next year.

On that note, may it rain on all our parades, and our gardens, and most emphatically in our catchments, this year.

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