27 November 2008

we gotta get out of this place

I've been travelling a lot and busy in between times so no time for even the teensiest blog, until someone sent me today's picture and I just had to post it.

The travelling and work thing show no signs of slackening off so it'll be a weekly post for a while I think.

Tomorrow, insh'Allah, Chateau VVB will be gone from our ownership. Like I said earlier, it was great and we loved it - mostly - but there are certainly aspects we won't miss.

Like the bloody electricity bills. On the basis of the first one received for VVBSea, we'll be about one to two grand better off annually.

I won't mention the leaves in the pool. There, see, I didn't.

There will be a teeny bit of money left over so while the super sinks into the sunset, we figured we may as well start living. All suggestions, apart from distributing it among the readership, gratefully accepted. The list has started, I see some difficulty in reconciling priorities:

  • furniture
  • kitchen remodelling
  • trousers
  • socks
  • new speakers and audio/video receiver
  • guitar (or several, you can never have too many)
  • holiday for Mrs VVB
  • pest treatment to house
  • vet treatment for cat
  • boat
  • plumber for smell in downstairs bathroom
  • probably more furniture (you can never have too much)
  • maybe some more paintings
  • anything else Mrs VVB might want besides furniture or, in the absence of any such desire, more furniture
  • home brewing lessons
  • sailing lessons
  • guitar lessons
  • Audi S4
  • Triumph TR6
  • new garage under house
  • girl stuff for Mrs VVB
Roll on settlement!

22 November 2008

hanging on the telephone

So I have a couple of the hierarchy in town and I have to drive them down the road down the road down the road apiece: about 104 km to be precise.

We're driving along and I'm on the phone through the Bluetooth (tm) connection and they're each on their Blackberries (R) (tm) (etc etc). Back seat says to front seat, "did ytou approve that whatever-it-was?". Front seat replies "I think so but send it to me again and I will."

Back seat does so.

Front seat receives it and says, "OK, done, on its way back to you."

"Got it, thanks."

At least they had the decency to recognise how absurd it was and laugh.

Meanwhile, outside the world was going past.

Technology, you have to love how it enhances our lives.

15 November 2008

good news week

Over here at Gary Sauer-Thompson's place amid the discussion about the financial crisis and the end of capitalism and why Michael Costa is a dill, is a comment about how the language of economics has become the language of ordinary discourse.

Quite so. Ever since the term "reform" entered the lingo in the early nineties (someone will now tell me it happened in 1972 or 1917 or 1838 or something, or maybe it's always been with us) the remorseless commercialisation or our lives has taken speed. We never used to have basis points, now everybody knows that the Reserve Bank either doles them our or repossesses them every month, and last year for the first time they repossessed in the middle of an election campaign. We know that privatisation is king. Oh, and so is cash, especially recently.

So you could make a confident argument about how out lives are slowly drained of blood, exsanguinated indeed, we are frogs in a pot, the tide of economics drags us further out to sea from whence we will never return.

And then you run across a restaurant review, ffs, in which USP appears. Unique selling proposition, natch. Everybody's got one.

AA Gill's USP is that he is a very funny, evocative writer or restaurant reviews and so you should go and read him right

It's far funnier than the standard funny/odd/local gossip page of today's local rag, which informs us that during the week, someone farted in the lift at the local hospital.

Slow news day, I guess.

13 November 2008

big red car

More of the thingies at Ilfracombe. That used to be the name of a brand of film, no? In fact I'd forgotten about the mchinery museum and while I'd wanted to take more pictures I only had two shots left, and didn;t get another roll until I got to Barcaldine on the return journey. Second memo to self - take the digital camera too.

12 November 2008

night of fear

"I don't really believe it is fear. It is more there is just uncertainty,"
Well, if you're uncertain but not afraid, the best thing to do is buy a
huge f**k-off assault rifle just in case.

Presumably so you can shoot the next person who tries to take away your personal freedoms.

"Personal freedom infringed? Call Slater-Nazi on City 8649 or, if closed, the Department of Trade and Industry."

08 November 2008

it's a long way there

It's a long way to Longreach all right. It's also the same return distance although having the sun at your back as you do so is preferable to it beating through an untinted windscreen on your tummy.

There were plenty of dead roos by and on the road but on only one occasion did I have to take violent evasive action to avoid clobbering a couple of live road-crossing roos, a tactic which fortunately was successful. The rest of the time is mainly spent on cruise control to avoid collecting any (more) points.

A couple of kind of off-beat road signs caught my eye but they're on the next roll of film so you'll need to wait. Memo to self: next time take the digital camera as well.

Some highlights: listening to
Redgum's Red Raggin' on the way in to Barcaldine.

Raggin' raggin' red red raggin'
Commos to a man.

You couldn't have timed it better if it had been a set-up, but this was pure serendipity. The Tree of Knowledge she is no more in original guise, but several truckloads of taxpayer moolah is going towards its reincarnation.

On the other hand, listening to one of my 1970s favourites, Hawkwind's In Search of Space on a 40 degree plus day as I cruised through the outback was a bit too surreal, although some of the lines could be transposed to our modern day:

we took the wrong step years ago

Probably the real highlight of the trip out was catching ABC local news every hour to get the latest on the US election. Far too much has been written elsewhere for to me add to, but without getting too mawkish or some similar emotion, suffice to say that the sliver of hope that President-elect Obama represents is enough of itself. Time will tell if he's just another pollie, or he gets caught in the military-industrial complex despite his best intentions. The papers are hailing his arrival, even those commentators who normally inhabit the right bank. A quick skim through Oz Politics feeds shows that those who opposed his election are going keep on being...well, what they usually are. I bought the Opposition Organ for James Halliday's annual 100 best Aussie wines, but a flick through their opinion pages didn't reveal too much of interest apart from a puff piece on Malcolm Turnbull as a counterpoint, or at least a different slant, to their usual Rudd-baiting.

Anyway, this Obama. If people respond to a vague sliver of hope, more accurately perhaps a promise of hope, surely that tells us something?

Anyway, here are some photos of the trip.

All roads out of Longreach look similar.

But sundown and the sunset on the Thomson is spectacular.

There's a quite comprehensive little antique machinery museum open to the passing public in Ilfracombe.
Finally, a couple of other snippets. There was one interview on the radio as I drove, can't remember who it was but he used 'subset' as a verb. We need to bring back the public stocks for people like that, I reckon.
And the TV news tonight showed, sadly but inevitably, some Christmas parades. It's only the 8th of November for crying out loud. But that usual whinge aside, I found it pretty weird that in Brisbane, Santa Claus was in the Batmobile with Batman beside him. There's going to be a whole heap of explaining that Mum and Dad will have to do, I'd love to be a fly on the wall.

07 November 2008

won't get fooled again

Got to get some piccies developed before we write about the Longreach trip, but in the meantime this is not a Peanuts cartoon, it's actually by one of my faves, Tatusya Ishida at Sinfest. It's brilliant on so many levels, yes?
In any case, Charles Schulz is dead, no?

04 November 2008

make me whole

Just time for a couple of thoughts before the road trip.

Blogging brings a number of joys. One is the ability to make the cheap shot, the endless snark, or similar and more or less get away with it, unless someone really takes offence. VVB has been guilty of this on innumerable occasions, although the long-awaited departure of you-know-who has reduced the opportunities.

I was sorely tempted today by a letter to the Editor of the local rag, warning against the plague of locusts that will surely befall if Obama gets elected. Three kinds of locusts, actually: millions of abortions; thousands of homosexuals getting married; and (wait for it), the lie of evolution being propogated by Obama because he is a pagan worshipper.

You see, I got tempted. That's me, a homosexual aborted pagan all over. The lie of evolution: I had to say it again. The devil made me do it.

That said, there is an enervating barrenness about this style of writing. It's like a Chinese meal, I guess: feels really good when you're doing it, but not long after you feel the need to find another target and do it again. And if you do it too often, the MSG gets you.

The other joy is bringing to your regular audience - er, ah, um, yes, well the several of you, but you know what I mean - some soupcon of goodness from another place. I imagine we all have a our regular bloghaunts and, to some extent, they are ourselves.

However, we each of us also have those places we go individually. Maybe not so regularly but just when the mood takes.

Well the mood just took and here is where I went. Anil Dash is on my blogroll but I'm only an occasional visitor. I should go more regularly - this bloke works more than full time and still has the ability to put together unbelievably well-crafted and thoughtful pieces.

He's not a political type by any means, but his two most recent posts, on his marriage and Sarah Palin, both contain some plain statements of his beliefs without bashing you over the head or becoming offensive (as it is so easy to do, see the first point again).

I thoroughly recommend you go for a look-see, I think you will come away feeling just a little bit more whole.
Now, the road trip. Time to pack. It's going to be 40 degrees in Longreach tomorrow, so we won't be needing the thermal underwear, that's for sure. Could be worse, I could be back in Karachi (left).

02 November 2008

sunday bloody sunday

Actually it wasn't a bloody Sunday, it was perfectly fine, the only bloody thing is, now I come to think of it, the weekend's over.

Anyway I don't know what the fuss is about Sarah Palin, she's just another Pauline Hanson except she's had a few years to perfect the graft bit of it.

What do you think would happen if a candidate popped up from the Dems or the Labor here who was waaaaay left? Would the media savage him/her the way it's done to Palin? One thing for sure, rightofblogosphere would go nuts: you've only got to look at the post headings in Oz Politics feeds to see how even the relatively benign Obama phenomenon has sent them off. Oh sorry, he is a socialist isn't he?

It just doesn't happen does it, all the 'irregulars' are way out on the right. I don't know what the Socialist Alliance marchers and standard bearers do when they go home from a protest march. Watch Eddie McGuire or something?

It's just one of life's little mysteries. We're drifting.

Anyway this is simply all a precursor to say I'll be away from the blog for a few days while I go
here. It's a long drive there but you can tell when you're close because the water tower is the tallest thing for miles around (apart from the 747 at the airport). It's also a long drive back. This time I hope to do it without attracting the government's uniformed revenue collectors. You know the ones I mean.

In the meantime talk amongst yourselves, smoke if you wish. To help you, here's a picture of a tree, somewhere in the rainforest at Mt Tamborine (I think). Enjoy.

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