Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 in review

Best Movie: So many contenders... 300 is certainly right up there. The History Boys was fantastic. I loved Notes on a Scandal, even if Judi Dench freaked me out. But my vote will go to Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Not for the historical accuracy of it - as far as I'm concerned it was a total work of fiction... but I just love seeing Gloriana on screen and Cate did a brilliant job. Not as strong as the unsurpassable tour-de-force by Glenda Jackson, of course. But better than Helen Mirren, at least. And miles ahead of Anne-Marie Duff.
Worst Movie: Hmmm, honorary mention for The Simpsons Movie. Sunshine gets a vote. But the winner is Beowulf because it was just so fucking fucked.
Theatre: Locally, I enjoyed the Cruicible at PTC. But I can't go past seeing Richard Griffiths, Daniel Radcliffe and Jenny Agutter in Equus at the Gielgud Theatre in London in March.
Band or artist: I think Regina Spektor is my winner for the year. I know she's not massively popular and perhaps it is a very Winehouse year... but Spektor is the one who's done it for me. Honorary mention to Feist, Mark Ronson, Gotye.
Concert: Lily Allen was great fun at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. But the prize goes to Tori Amos for the American Posse Tour gig at PCH. Best concert I've ever been to.
Album: Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor gets a guernsey. Winner is Mark Ronson's Version though.
Personal achievement: It's no secret I've been hitting the gym this year. I'm not claiming to be buff, Herculean or to have the physique of Chris Evans, but I could totally take Daniel Radcliffe in a cage fight. That's all that matters.
Professional achievement: Professionally it has been a fantastic year. It was great to write the paper of my childhood for six months, then to get the call-up to The West. But I think this week, after just six months at the daily, being give a large and popular round in Local Government is a huge achievement. I'm a bit proud of that.
Best Experience: Travelling around Europe with Dad was the coolest thing of the year. I loved it.
Worst Experience: Being shot. No wait, that didn't happen. I can't think of anything at the moment, I'll edit this later perhaps.
Party: Thom's 21st was about the biggest thing I've ever seen.
Purchase: Well I bought a flat. That's pretty cool. Although I think the remote controlled Dalek probably wins the prize for this one.
Television: Great year for Dr Who. David Tennant is a God to me. But Summer Heights High has to win as the best show of the year.
Radio: No one else would have this category, I'm sure you'd agree. But I love listening to the BBC World Service on NewsRadio. Winner, however, is AM.
Personality: What can I say, it was Kevin Rudd's year.
Best in Politics: Rudd wins poll in landslide. Such a huge polar shift.
Worst in Politics: The Haneef scandal was a new low. Then locally there is the re-emergence of Burke and Grill.
Best in Global Politics: Unequivocally, undoubtedly, Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Why? Because they have put climate change smack bang on the international agenda. And not a moment too soon.
Worst in Global Politics: Jesus, there are a shitload of options here. Winner is Burma. I don't think I need to explain it further.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Um, wow, okay. So, you like me, huh?

I'm finishing the year on a fucking high. It has been an incredible year. A full year living with Dad, touring the world. A full year with Thom, having the best freaking time with the best dude imaginable. Even managed to buy a new flat right slap bang in the middle of where I've dreamed for years of owning a home. While these have totally made the year great, it's at work where shit has excelled.
Getting the call up, so to speak, to the metro daily was a fantastic opportunity in the first place., but I've worked hard at it. Anyone who has noticed me disappear completely from the social scene these last six months could tell you that.
But it has paid off.
Let me come my point. LOL (Who needs an inverted pyramid?).
Yesterday the chief of staff casually told me I'd been appointed the Local Government reporter. It's a huge round. I'm thrilled. It's every dream come true. I was desperate to be given a round so I could prove what I'm really worth and Local Government has always been my specialty, so it has played right into my hands. I got a short congratulations and was told they were "very impressed" with me and then it was back to work.
Affection and reward come from the side here. I seem to have a nickname. This morning I was given two tickets to the Southbound festival. This afternoon I was given four tickets to the Hopman Cup.
Six months of no life has paid off. It was worth every dinner and concert I had to forego. I have everything I want now.
Now to not fuck it up. That is the only lesson I have left.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis mine

It's not much. It's not a massive four-bedroom-two-bathroom-two-storey-terracotta-roofed-red-brick-federation-Mount-Lawley manor house. But it is my home.
Sort of.
It's mine in the sense that my finance has been approved for it and settlement is being arranged. It's mine in the sense that my name is going on the title deeds. But it's not mine in the sense of me living there.
I didn't mean "home", I suppose.
It's a one bedroom flat in Highgate. Perth actually. It has a 6000 postcode. It looks more like Highgate though. And either way it actually means you get all the advantage of living in Mount Lawley, which was always my greatest requirement for buying another property in Perth.
Yes, my two bedroom flat in Maylands probably had more re-sale value in the sense that it was bigger, had already been renovated (by me) and had the extra bedroom. But I really wanted a place near the cafes and pubs I live my life around.
Even, illogically, if I don't plan to live there. I mean, I will live there one day... I'm just very very happy and comfortable living with Dad at the moment and could do with renting it out so someone else pays my mortgage. There is no hurry to move. I get vacant possession on January 14 or something. I plan on two months of renovating. It needs everything done to it you could think of: It's a quarter of a million dollar hole. But I'm going to turn it into my dream flat, in my dream location so it is ready for me when I want it.
Sound good?
These are my BEFORE shots (as it is, it rents for only $165pw)
Here is the outside...

This is the view from my balcony... lawn which can't be built out. That's rare.

This is the main living area... the door goes onto the balcony. I'm going to make that a glass door. The blinds will be replaced with venetians and underneath the carpet is parquetry, which I will have polished (it worked so well on Kenilworth Street)...

The kitchen. Obviously this is a disaster area but a cabinet maker should be able to sort it out, maximising the space. The biggest problem is the fridge, which actually juts into the living area. It MUST be altered.

Worst of all... the bathroom. I think I've worked out how to solve all the problems in here with the exception of one. Above the shower and toilet area is the bare metal pipe of the shower above (but thankfully not the toilet above, LOL).

So... these are the BEFORE shots. Stay tuned for plenty more photos of tool-belt clad Dan, dusty architraves, and drop-sheet gloriana before the AFTER pics are posted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Census for December

Reading: Exclusively reading my Russian exercises.
Watching: Monarchy on the ABC, tonight, actually. Also, so freakin excited (and I know this makes me a sad fuck, but today I bought myself Elizabeth R starring Glenda Jackson. It was made 10 years before I was born, I haven't seen it for at least another ten years, but I love it so very very much. Already watched two of the Glorious 85minute episodes this afternoon.
Listening: A mix of Basia Bulat and Feist. Thom mixed them onto a CD for me and there are a couple of songs I am totally in love with.
Downloading: Not downloading much, frankly.
Website du jour: Yahoo and MSN Messenger.
Café: OMIGOD there is fantastic new place on Eighth Ave in Maylands. It's called Milkd and I think it's the same people who did Soto in the Lawley and Milk in North Perth. Whatever. I'm in love.
Pub: The Scotsman... which is still renovating and I'm holding fire on my love for it until I see what the finished product looks like.
Club: God I haven't been to a club in ages, I should really update these questions. I joined the ABC rewards club today... that's as close as it gets.
Eating: Lindt chocolate balls.
Drinking: Pimms. My darlings have declared this to be the summer of Pimms and I have to say, super idea. We need another Pimms party.
Wearing: Work clobber. I'm never out of a freakin suit these days.
Last show: Haven't managed the theatre for a while, rather unusually. Have seen a lot at the cinema though. Loved The Golden Age (predictably). Though Beowulf was pretty shite (boring traditionalist me, I don't think you should make a film unless you have a script... no matter how many other gimmicks you have to try to get yourself over the line).
Next show: I'm seeing Cindy Lauper (cause girls just wanna have fun), Sharon Jones (peeing myself), and Nouvelle Vague. Very excited about all of it.
Can’t wait ‘til: Christmas, amazingly. I have got some choice gifts for peeps and I'm dying to let them play with them.
Most recent scoop: Jesus I haven't had anything I would deem worthwhile for weeks. They did go nuts for my rare flora story earlier this week, which astounds me because I pitched it two days earlier and they didn't care. God bless Sundays.
Most recent purchase: Ooh, technically it is Elizabeth R but seeing as I've already mentioned that, I'll say... MY GPS! It is fantastic. I need never be lost again. Aaaaand I have slutty Sylvia giving me directions.
Want but can’t afford: The holiday to Greece. It's off, for now. We'll just leave until we actually leave for overseas 12months later.
Need but can’t afford: A cabinet maker. Not the maker him/herself, you understand, but rather the services s/he provides.
Last nice act: Did a shift swap to make someone happy. She doesn't realise she is endebted to me now. You are MINE Beatrice... MINE!
Last bad act: As far as Santa, or anyone else is concerned, I've been a GOOD BOY.
Bad news: Managed another car accident last week. Fuck knows why my insurance company hasn't disowned me.
Good news: My Russian teacher actually thinks I'm a good student and progressing well.
Goal: My goals are twofold... to keep the buffing up regime going and to finish the Ruski lesson book by this time next year. That's not a simple task.
Yesterday I: Worked in the evening... and tried to set up some yarns to run over Christmas and New Year... when I'm WORKING.
Right now I should be: Studying the Russian.
Later today I’m: getting some of that much needed sleep.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts recently


"I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."
- That great misogynist and fisherman, sometimes writer, Ernest Hemingway.

Da, ya gavaryu pa ruski yizik

My Russian teacher, Anna, is fantastic.
I have to say that because the other week she admitted to googling me and you never know when she might do it again. LOL.
But seriously, she is fantastic. If she were some grumpy old babuska I might not be having so much fun learning Russian. As it is though, she's a fantastic young woman with two dachshunds and a great sense of humour. Anna is also incredibly patient with me, which is just as well.
I thought I was a bit slow and dopey at my ruski but she assured me yesterday I was doing very well indeed. I'm pleased. Because I love the language. I love how it sounds. It's so sexy.
I had asked her during the week for some Russian films and yesterday she lent me a couple.
Thom and I tried to watch one last night but had this bizarre situation where some of the movie was in English. The English bits weren't subtitled, or even dubbed over. Instead, they had added in a woman speaking the lines in Russian, over the top of everything else.
Bizarrely, this was translated back into English on the subtitles, so we both heard and read it in English, and then heard it again in Russian. After about 10 minutes we were going stir-crazy and gave up on it.
But I have several more to watch, including a big documentary series.
As my vocabulary grows and I can start to make up little sentences - even just in my head to practice - I'm growing to love this language more and more. The idea of borrowing the movies was to experience the Russian culture too. But that may have to wait until I can go there... I can't do three kinds of subtitles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Casual Tuesday at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

He will be fine. I know he will be fine. And this is totally not my story to tell, it is Thom's. But as I type this he is in theatre, unexpectedly having a medical procedure performed. It's after 10pm. We left for the emergency department before 6pm. Remarkably fast service. I'll let him blog about the medical issue, but he's going to be okay.
Otherwise... I'm pretty much just whittering on here in order to keep myself amused so I'm not thinking about it. Except of course I'm writing about it.
Crazy time in the ED waiting room. One woman came in with explosive shits. Another man had taken most of his fingers mostly off after falling from a roof. Another guy was mysteriously wheeled-in bent-double clutching his stomach and wailing and taken straight through and never seen again. I have spent much of the evening engrossed in the Wallace family's plight. They're here from Scotland on holiday. The old boy was already in a wheelchair and on oxygen before he left Glasgow... and then the nurse asked him questions clearly indicating the man now also has DVT.
When Thom was taken through I scooted off to get something to eat, then came back and sat with him for a bit. He had made friends with a hard-nosed Irish nurse (they're all from the UK at Charlies, apparently) who had called the boy in the bed beside him a woose because he chundered.
We were sitting their quietly laughing at the almost-fingerless builder beside us who was protesting he needed to get back to Kalgoorlie and the surgeon was busy reassuring him he probably couldn't go home tomorrow.
"You have four fingers almost removed, they're hanging on by partially severed tendons, you're going to need to stay for at least a week."
"Can you just operate now, I told them I'd be back tomorrow."
*blinks*
I kept Thom entertained by telling him a story about my American ally Nick, who put up with months of massive digestive pain only to have doctors remove a complete and unmarked toothpick from his stomach.
Otherwise, the whole thing was very casual indeed. The surgeon's registrar dude was in a bond's t-shirt and jeans. In fact almost everyone was in jeans. It was bizarre.
We were laughing around and couldn't wait to hear what the indian man opposite us had. He looked hale and hearty.
"Do you know why you're here?," the doctor said.
"Yes I got a letter from my GP saying to come in here immediately," Indian man replied.
"You have a tumour... are you experiencing headaches?"
I mean, talk about dropping a bomb and then moving it along. Some people might like to digest that information.
The guy took it like a trooper though, bless him. Maybe it is because the Irish nurse was eyeballing him in a way that suggested to faulter would result in him being called a woose?

Monday, December 10, 2007

General update

Haven't blogged for a bit so thought I'd post a general update. As you do. When it's 12.30am and you've been boozing for three hours with your long lost best Canberra-based buddy, who's flown in to Perth for 24hr top secret assignment with the Federal Government.
As you may have gathered, I've spent the evening (night, more accurately, but you can't just go around saying you spent the night with someone) with Canberra Phil. Fucking wonderful night it was too, considering we were boozing at the Deen because it is about the only place open on a Monday night. I have a stamp on my wrist. I feel so trashy.
I have a tip for that by the way. You know how pub stamps are so hard to remove the next day. Trust me on this. Soap up your wrist and use your pubes as a scourer.
There. I said it.
But it's true. Others have laughed at me only to try it and swear by it.
In other news, I have conditional approval for my loan, which means the flat is a step closer to being mine. I'm very excited. The idea of renovating has me all aglow with excitement and I blame the DOA because she's made the Dianella pad look exquisite and I'm a competitive lil homo nephew.
Also... big booboo on my part. Absolutely totally stonking forgot to attend my cousin's engagement party on the weekend. I sent an apology by sms yesterday but got no reply, so I think I might be in a bit of trouble. Oops. I'm already unpopular because I'm working Christmas Day and missing all the family... cheer(?).
Put my hand up for a round at work. This directionless general news bit is dispiriting. I need a subject to cover. Local Government, I've asked for. I figure I've spent most of the last eight years fossicking through agendas, it's what I'm good at, so what if I have to attend a few councils meetings? It's about headlines and bylines and making a mark.
Lindsay is leaving me. She's off to Scotland for Christmas. Eeeeemma Gant has already returned to the Uke. Mass exodus. My life is so different to 12months ago. And substantially different again from 2 years ago. All of these things are good.
Russian. Now that is hard language to learn. I'm doing well considering the amount of time I'm able to dedicate to study each week. I do love it though. I'm addicted to the language and the sound of it. I love it. So help me God, I will speak it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And so it is done.

All squared away and guaranteed. It is in the bag. All the paperwork has signed and today I own a new home. Not that I plan to live in it. Although perhaps I might, some day.
It should technically be a neatly affordable project to keep myself amused. A bit of a renovation project. I have high-falootin plans, but may tone them down as the reality of costs kick in. But certainly the kitchen and bathroom need doing so I can see the rent I can charge leap from the severely under-priced $165pw it is currently to the $240-$250 the exact same flats in the building are achieving. At that price it practically becomes cost neutral.

The current tenants are out in mid January... about the same time as settlement is planned. So over the next six weeks I'll be doing a fair bit of shopping around for tiles, basins, stoves, cabinets, toilets, floor coverings, window treatments... All the freakin cool stuff I love doing. Sooooo much fun.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All but signed, sealed and delivered

Last time I jinxed myself by writing about my flat purchasing activities here, so I hope that won't happen again.
I signed an offer and acceptance today. I've bought a one bedroom flat on Stirling Street in Perth. Probably Highgate really, but apparently it's technically Perth. One street back from Beaufort Street.
Got it for a good price. Much cheaper than I invisaged I could buy a flat for in Perth these days. But the most exciting thing... the tenants are out in January and I'M GOING TO RENOVATE!
I know how that sounds... homo renovates = disaster. Don't be silly darlings, I'm going to get a little man in to do all the difficult bits. LOL.
Very excited. Need to find a cabinet maker for a new kitchen, bathroom vanity and bedroom cupboards. Does anyone know one? I will put a bit of business the way of our family tiler and window treatment salesman (we're nothing if not loyal in our family). I can't wait. It's the kind of distraction I need. Will post "before" photos later.

Freakin tragic

I can't do this justice, but I need to record it. On Friday I went to my cousin's funeral. Gordon Stuart Brydson. 23. Father to two. Soon-to-be-father of three. Devoted fiance. The youngest of five kids.
Jesus.
I've never been to such an incredibly sad funeral. A celebration of his life, yes, but so so freakin sad.
I haven't seen that side of my family for several years so I felt like a ghost at the back of the room, removed from the mourning but not unmoved by the occasion. In fact I was devastated to see my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, in the pits of grief. Such a terrible thing.
And I was sad to have lost touch with him. We weren't similar people. But I should have made more effort to keep in touch. I've missed out on seeing a guy who was always a fun and adventurous kid become a great man.
The funny thing was, it has made me aware of time. I don't mean in that "I'm only here for a limited time" kind of way. Rather, the passing of time: The measured certainty of it, yet transient and ephemeral nature of it. We move through it unthinking and the journey ages us. Pray you're lucky enough to wear its ravages and wear them with pride. Between my school reunion and my cousin's funeral this year seemed to have contrived to mark itself out in my life as a measuring stick. A pause on my journey. A chance to reflect and regroup.
It sounds like a load of horseshit, doesn't it? But you try being the ghost in the back of the room. Some days you can hear the metronome ticking.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back from the wilderness

Oooh... good name for the post. So many levels.

Firstly, I'm back from down south where I spent a wonderful week with Astrid, the photographer, and about 4000 17-year-olds. Half of them were boys. Two thirds of those were constantly shirtless. Three quarters of those looked , as Michael says, "under-done". So the five who were left were quite hot. But drunk. And straight. LOL.

Secondly. FUCK YEAH!!! I think we all know what I'm talking about here. Why is it that I'm never home for an election campaign. In 2004 I was sitting in a hotel room in Dubbo having spent the day handing out how-to-votes for some dead in the water candidate and then spent the night tending to my sunburn and crying as seats... starting with Bass and Braddon fell before my eyes. At three the next morning I was up again and headed for the year 1861.
This time it was a little different. I was in Busselton for the day and technically not allowed to do my bit. I won't write here what I spent the day doing. Anyway... I couldn't wait to get back to my hotel room to watch the election coverage. I watched it all. Glued to it in varying degrees of thrilled, nervous and excited. Ultimately, we won. And it was one of the best nights of my life. If only I'd been home to celebrate it properly with my friends.

Thirdly, I want to talk about what this means for the future. One of my friends told me he was horrified at the win and was waiting for Kevin Reynolds to take control at the Lodge. He said he felt sick. I told him that's how I'd felt for 12 years. But things are so different now. There is an air of hope, I feel. People are daring to think positively. The divisive, wedge politics of the last decade is gone. Even the Libs, now leaderless and in turmoil, are taking a huge lurch to the left as they rid themselves of the Howard stigma and embrace a more progressive and inclusive future. I can wake up smiling again. It's like someone filled my lungs with the good oxygen... the stuff God keeps for special occasions. Multicultural is suddenly a word we can embrace again. He's going to ratify Kyoto, do something about climate change, say sorry to the Aborigines of the Stolen Generation, make our industrial relations system fair once more... I'm so fucking proud. Rudd has always been my man and now he's everyone's PM. I couldn't be happier. I cannot wait to find out the cabinet line-up today. And for stuff to start happening.

Fourthly, the election victory had a tinge of sadness about it for me, with the news the next day that Matt Price had died. I was devastated. Matt was one of my earliest journalistic heroes. So funny, so intelligent, so fair, so wry, so witty, so observant, so balanced, so sharp, so well-written, so interesting. I loved you Matt Price. I thank my stars I was lucky enough to meet him at the Perth Festival a few years ago and to chat to him about my columns... the original Bolton Gray columns. He liked my style and my content. And that meant the world to me. I had hoped to work with him one day. I had hoped he would be my editor one day. I'm truly, deeply, devastated that this will not happen. Bless you Matt Price, and thank you for everything.

Fifthly, there was another death in my life in the past week. My cousin Gordon. He was 23 and cut down by a brain aneurism. Now we weren't close, I hadn't seen him for years because he's on my mother's side of the family and I don't really see them these days. But I am extremely saddened at the death of such a worthwhile young man. Soon-to-be-married, young bub, partner... all the things a healthy young man is supposed to have. The death notices yesterday were heart-breaking. The funeral is tomorrow and I just don't know if I can handle seeing my aunt so upset. I'm a total stranger to that entire side of my family, but I have to go. I loved my aunt and uncle and their insanely perfect nuclear family. Best go pay my respects.

And that has cleared me out of news, I'm afraid. I hope this sates your appetite, Kate. LOL.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Civic duty

Because I'm away (once again) for election day, I went into the city and did my civic duty today - I voted.
The sweet sweet caress of democracy, roughened by the scars of old battle defeats, grazed by a long and relentless campaign... but all the sweeter for the knowledge that this time, this time, we my actually affect change.
There is more riding on this ballot on Wednesday, dear reader, than ever before. The issue climate change alone and how each party plans to respond to it in Government provides such a stark contrast. I have written about this before. Voting Liberal over Labor has this time, never been so dangerous. Be as self-serving as you want, but Labor is the only practical hope Australia has of working hard to end our contributions towards the global warming which will ultimately end our time on this planet.
That sound OTT? Well this ballot is about the future, more than any other ballot since Federation, and you have to think carefully about it.

And if you won't think globally then consider the industrial relations system and where you and your family fit within it. Consider your mortgage and the stress it is under. Consider whether Mr Howard really is such a good economic manager when interest rates when he was treasurer were 22% and inflation was at 11% and he's fast sending us back in that direction. Labor actually had to balls to float the dollar and deregulate interest rates and it is those reforms which have lead to the kind of economic prosperity Mr Howard claims he is responsible for. Don't forget the current account deficit - the Achillies Heel of any economy - is STILL at 6% of GDP. EXACTLY what it was when Mr Keating said we risked become a Banana Republic. Mr Howard has offered no real economic reform and has struggled to keep inflation and interest rates low in Global Boom Conditions. it is pathetic. As Kim Beazley said yesterday in his farewell press conference, if mineral prices were not what they are today, Mr Howard and Mr Costello's economic management would have sent us bankrupt. We would, literally be in the hands of the International Monetary Fund with a current account deficit at 13% of GDP.
Don't believe the advertising. This about the facts. Think about the future.

This is GOLD, James Gold.

With thanks to Trish for passing the link along.
It combines all my favourite things: James Bond, Kevin Rudd, spoof, electioneering and leftist propaganda!

Monday, November 19, 2007

For the record...

It endedup being an 11.5hr day and I only got away when I did because I begged. I was informed I must have my mobile on me at all times tonight. Shoot me.
On top of all that, nothing actually happened on the PM's walk this morning, so beyond two boring pars I filed from the road for online, it was a total and utter waste of time.
I hate you John Howard.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bloody bloody bloody

The man I hate most in Australia is flying in to Perth tonight. He gets in at midnight, I believe. Tomorrow morning I have to up at five so I can text the PM's press sec at 5.30 so I can be in the city by 6am so I can follow that prize cnut on his morning walk. The only salvation is, it will be his last Sunday morning walk as Prime Minister. This time next week the turkey will be a feather duster.
Did I mention I'm starting work at 5.30am and doing it all without any penalty rates and will probably still be at work at 6pm, as usual, all without penalty rates. I'm on an AWA. I'm working Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I'm on an A fucking WA. Thank you Mr Howard. I'll shiv you in the fucking slot on your fucking morning walk you prick.
I'm not a morning person, either. Just to warn you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

So freakin angry

This morning I had a fight with the real estate agent who is supposed to be selling me the St Kilda place.
He was angry because he wanted to do a cash deal - something I never said I could do - and signed the contract with a 21 days for finance clause.
He actually yelled at me. He told me how many years he'd been a real estate agent and how many houses he'd sold and accused me of misleading him. Which I hadn't. I had told him at the outset that I needed a small loan to get the flat.
He went seriously schitzo. It was ridiculous. He said he didn't want to take the flat off the market for 21 days waiting for my finance to come through, he'd rather sell it.
I told him he could do that and withdrew my offer. I know he won't have any problems selling it, but for fucksake WHY would you think it better to pull out of a done deal? It wouldn't have taken 21 days for me to get finance, it would have taken a week. Banks don't operate any quicker.
That is the most unprofessional encounter I've had with anyone for a very long time. I'm disgusted and astounded. I told him I was withdrawing my offer because I didn't want him getting a cent of my money. Which is very true. And now he won't. My solicitor is getting my deposit back for me. Once that is done I'm going to lodge a complaint with REIV. God knows how much the solicitor's fees are going to be.
I think I might buy a do-er-up-er-er here in Perth instead. There must be something in the Lawley somewhere.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is it just me, or can you see Jesus?

You think the ALP lacks diversity?

I stole this from Phil in Canberra.

Highly Cosomethinged

Weird week. On Wednesday night I picked up a tidy $400 and a sash better suited to a Fresian cow from the Royal Agricultural Society as part of their Media Awards. It's one of those "let's engender good will" kind of awards but I'll-happily-take-the-cash-even-if-this-won't-be-going-on-my-CV kind of awards. I was thrilled enough to get it, all the same.
Last night at the media ball, I also received something. Well not received. I was mentioned. The trouble is, I have no idea what for. I heard my name, people shouted at me, I turned around and there was my name on the screen under the words "highly commended" along with Jess and a few other great journos I was happy to see my name amongst.
However, I have no idea what section it was for. Mark's citation said Highly Commended to me for the Suburban category... which makes sense. But the screen my name was on said "print"... which is a different category all together. Eh, I may never know. Cest la vie.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Let me be honest with you...

I'm totally running on empty. I am completely exhausted. It has been a tough week of heavy interview-based research and I am completely fagged. I managed to sort-of buy a flat in the middle of it all, study a bit of Russian, go the gym, occassionally see Thom and briefly entertain a friend visiting from the East. There is nothing left of me. I'm exhausted. Shagged. Whacked. AND my big story has been bumped from the newslist for tomorrow's paper. So much for that. Perhaps Monday? You know... the paper no one reads. That one.
Tonight I'm going to see Rent with Enda, who is over from Sydney on business but not really interested in business but more in hanging out. Which is cool. But I'm not really conscious at the moment.

EDIT: I've just been asked, in a sideways way, to work tomorrow chasing Ben Cousins around again. I declined. I think I've just become very unpopular.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm one of the kind of people I hate

Well not quite. I'm not a law student who volunteers for humanitarian causes while holding down a seat on the university rowing team and earning a few quid as a researcher for a chief justice. Not THAT kind of person I hate. But close.
This has been my day:
I rose at 7am and did some crunches before heading off to work and investigating two fantastic environmental yarns, one of which is in tomorrow's paper. I left work at 6.15pm, got home, decided as it was still daylight I would go to the gym, which I did, for more than an hour. I've crunched my abs into oblivion. Now I'm home and I'm going to cook a fantastic pasta-y healthy dinner before knuckling down to some Ruski study.
Seriously, even I hate me right now. The worst bit is for the first time ever today I actually made use of, and enjoyed, daylight saving. AND... I can't wait to get back to work tomorrow to shiv some serious slot with this corker of a yarn I'm working on!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dan pishet pa Ruski

For the last two hours I've been doing my Russian exercises. This is quite a hard language. So sexy though. But my brain is fried... totally fried. Really enjoying the studying and the lessons and so on though.

Friday, November 02, 2007

International me

I'm some kind of authority in Ireland. Apparently my voice is all over Irish radio. Last night I did an interview with a station about a car crash in Perth and today they called back for an update. It's crazy. I'm not even working on the story, I just got the info off our website and nattered as only I can. LOL.
Still... it's nice to think I'm some kind of international correspondent.
I wonder if this radio station is credible? The guy I spoke to sounded remarkably like Dave Callan. LOL.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bolton Gray Reports...

I got a standfirst in tomorrow's paper. I'm really excited. I don't know why but seeing my name in stupidly big font in an italicised paragraph introducing my story is always so much more ego-sating thank just getting an ordinary byline.

EDIT: And in one of the most random nights possible, I've just given an interview to Ireland's Independent radio network about a car accident in Bedford last night. Somewhere in the pits of Cork and Kerry my dulcet tones are waking Padraigs and Seamus' from their slumber. Poor sods.

Here it is, the new Chez Me

I'm putting an offer in on this place. There are some delays at the agent's end (he's waiting to be sectioned, I think. All I really know is he's waiting for something called a "Section 32" and every time I call him he is at the hospital) but generally speaking, this is it... my new chateau.
Emminently affordable, it's a studio apartment with a balcony and new trimmings in a gorgeous building. But where is it, I hear you ask? It's on my favourite street in Australia - Acland Street.
Yes, it's in St Kilda... which I love above all places. It's like someone put a Mount Lawley vibe into an area the size of Subiaco and then plonked it beside Port Phillip Bay. A 5km tram ride to Melbourne, a few metres (literally) to cafes and restaurants, this is my dream home in many respects. And it's totally one of those "Location, location, location" places in exactly the kind of way Chateau Guildford Road Embankment was not. And I have fond memories of my Highgate studio, so everything seems to dovetail with this one.
I was going to buy a couple of cheaper flats but they're all student accommodation and I'm just not convinced they offer the best capital returns. I can still do this place very affordably... so why not?
Please, come on in and take a look!



Please... step inside...




You like?
Now, one last question: Anyone need to rent a place in Melbourne?

Lessons for today

1) What can be page three when you get in at 2pm can be relegated to page 17 by 5pm. My 60cm page three pic feature is now so far back in Friday's paper it's practically coming out Saturday.

2) Welcome to Perth. Our hot boys are all either down mines or in rehab. They're all douchebags. Enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Pride?

Pride is like an enforced holiday for homosexuals without the actual days off work. Especially for me, who missed practically everything that was on because I worked nights throughout the month-long festival. The one night I did have off I made the mistake of thinking I would see Jane Austen's Guide To P*rn*graphy... which was awful. In fact, here is the review I sent to our arts editor:
Wow. Jane Austen’s Guide to P*rn*graphy… worst thing I have ever seen. Or ever seen half of, actually. Like a Year 12 original production at a school for young militant homosexuals who still feel, in that bizarre 1990s way, like four-letter versions of the word penis will shock. Half the audience made a half-time exit. The rest, I expect, hung around in the hopes they’d get to sleep with the cast.
The other thing I went to was the parade. This is such a sad little event. I mean I don't expect it to be Mardi Gras but could someone please do something not pathetic? Sitting on a truck with a banner and waving to the crowd is insultingly ordinary. In Sydney they get together every couple of weeks to go through their choreography for months ahead of the event.
The highlight of the whole night actually took place at the after-party at the newly renovated Court Hotel (it has gone from sh*theap to bowel lined with chandeliers... and for my part I applaud Bree Maddox for the job she has done).
I was thrilled to unexpectedly find a young colleague there - mainly because we sit about five metres apart and neither of us new about the other's proclivities. He's a nice kid.
But that such a minor incident (which could have so easily not happened at all if Tom-the-online-guy and I had simply had a conversation at any point in the three months I've been working here) was the highlight of my entire Pride is quite sad.
I may skip Pride altogether next year... it's thoroughly not exciting at all.

Be honest...

Scott Rush... too hot to hang?

I know, I'm naughty, aren't I?

If I had Cyrillic on my keyboard...

...I could impress you with how much Russian I have already learned. But I don't so I can't.
I'm really digging this language though. It's like being let into a special club, learning another language. My Ruski is obviously extremely limited after just one official lesson but I've been doing a lot of study and working on building up my vocabulary. Also, just reading stuff in Russian to try and practice how they would be said is a very good exercise, which I'm really enjoying.
I'm eyeing off a Russian language version of The Chronicles of Narnia which I found on some book shop site or other. That would be so awesome... to be able to read a book in another language. It might take a while before I can do it, but it is my goal.

So far I can have the kinds of ridiculous conversations no one actually has:
A: This Lara?
B: Yes this Lara.
A: Lara student?
B: Yes, she student.
But I mean I've learnt a whole new alphabet and even an unpronouncable-in-English letter or ten so that I can have that silly disjointed conversation.
Loving myself sick in this Ruski.
PS... this is how you write Lion, Witch and Wardrobe: Лев,колдунья и платяной шкаф. Which would be pronounced "Lyev, Koldoonya i platyanoi shkaf".
(I think).

Friday, October 26, 2007

In other news

Got the front page again today. Got to cover the PM's press conference about the SAS soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.
Now THAT is serious journalism. Now I actually feel like I've made it. LOL.

Reverting to type

You know how I'm debt free, etc? Well I can't stand it. I mean I'm saving absolutely truckloads (no really, it's obscene), but I don't feel like my money is working hard enough for me. Snap decision. Again. As only I can do.
I'm buying a couple of flats in Melbourne.
I've done the figures and I can still actually get very cheap one bedroom flats over there ($120k - $150k) which are renting at prices which would more than repay the mortgage... assuming I use the wad of cash I have from the sale of the last place to pay for about half of each of the flats. Or pay for one flat, really. But I have to have a small mortgage on each in order to get all the tax benefits.
There is all this talk Melbourne is going to take off the way Perth did just before I bought here. Let's hope so. So my tactic is to buy the cheapest liveable (decent floorspace) single bedroom/studio flats I can find, which are already renting at the highest available returns. With any luck I'll be able to do it in such a way that they are basically cost neutral, provided they are always rented.
I have a meeting with my mortgage broker tomorrow.
I bought my Maylands flat three days after deciding I wanted to buy property. Why do I do these things so quickly, when I decide to do them?
I hope this works.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This is serious journalism

LOL. Not.
Got a tip off from a wonderful friend to say Ben Cousins, douchebag footballer, drug fiend, viagra advocate and role model to the nation's children, was working out at a gym just around the corner from our office here.
Well that was too good to miss because we could always do with a fresh photo of him and perhaps I could get Perth's first interview with the fuck-nuckle-nose-hose.
So we staked-out the place. The photog got the shots we needed and I chased after him to ask some questions.
He told me he had nothing to say to me and then ignored my questions.
Was he happy the charge was dropped? Would he sue the Eagles? Would he sue the AFL?
He slammed his car door before I could ask... are you actually going to rehab? Are you in fact, Amy Winehouse? No, no, no?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Privyet

...that's Russian for hello.
You're probably not going to believe this, but I'm learning Russian. As I type this I'm taking a break from trying to memorise that CRAZY Cyrillic alphabet. You know, the one with letters which look like heirogliphics and mathematical symbols?
Why? Because Russia fascinates me, especially in these days of Vladimir Vladirimov Putin.
One day it would be really cool to cover Russian politics and eastern European politics. Not tomorrow, not next year, but one day.
The teacher I have found, Anna, who is actually Russian and appears to be the only person in Perth teaching the language, says it won't be a quick learning process.
"Don't expect to be fluent within a year," she said.
Just trying to learn that crazy alphabet has taught me that already.
This is a crazy journey, but I'm glad to have started it. You've gotta do this shit in life, don't you? I mean it is not like I'll have children to educate and entertain. So I'll expand my experience of life this way. New skills are always handy.
And I've started to notice some scary early signs of... oh shit, how's this for irony... I can't remember what it's called... not dementia... the other one... old people... forgetful... shit... LOL... ummmm... the forgetful one, anyway. So this will help keep my mind exercised so I don't become one of those 30-year-olds you see taking up nursing home beds.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Census for October

Reading: Still chewing through Death of a Dissident.
Watching: Summer Heights High is the funniest fking tv show I have ever seen. It goes to levels of wrong I can only aspire to imitate.
Listening: Tori Amos. I have possibly never actually left that concert. I'm still living in it. I'm hiding in her piano and waiting for her to spit on me as she sings.
Downloading: New programs for the laptop to make it run more efficiently... and so I can actually word process... which Mac seems to come without.
Website du jour: Facebook.
Café: Been to Cinos, Rifos and Barista lately... but nowhere I really want to go and spend time.
Pub: Haven't been doing a lot of that. Although I have to go out this Friday night for Bea, Kate and Mark's leaving doo!
Club: Yeah I totally don't do that any more. Thom and I popped into Connies for NattyQ's birthday and it was both awful and pathetic. That place has really changed. It's very unwelcoming.
Eating: Pasta-y-pesto-y goodness I made this afternoon.
Drinking: Plenty of water. It's good for you, don't you know?
Wearing: A suit, tie and shirt. My usual work clobber. What is it about wearing $900 suits to work every day that feels so good? Oh yeah... they look hot. That's it.
Last show: That would be Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, with the delightful Sigrid Thornton and wonderful Brenda Blethyn.
Next show: I don't think I have anything on the books yet. Although I plan to buy tickets to see Miriam Margolyes doing Dicken's Women.
Can’t wait ‘til: I start properly planning my Holiday to Greece and Turkey with T-Dog. My GOD that promises to be FUN. Also, Mr Howard calling the election, so we can get rid of the fucker.
Most recent scoop: Got the front page with my Climate Change yarn on Thursday. I was pretty happy, I have to say. Backed it up with page three on Saturday, covering bikies... so it was quite a good week.
Most recent purchase: Generally trying to save money... and doing extremely well considering I am debt-free. I did have a little lapse today though. Shhh.
Want but can’t afford: A few things I'm putting on the Christmas list. Seriously considering a GPS... it could be exceptionally handy for work.
Need but can’t afford: I'm clothed and fed. That's enough for me.
Last nice act: Ah... well I bought some tickets to a concert for someone I love dearly but never do enough for. She was happy. Now she just has to wait til February to go to the concert. She has renamed her son in my honour as a result, which will come as a surprise to Brayden.
Last bad act: Actually I'm feeling reasonably guilt free at the moment.
Bad news: The planet is fucked. Even if we stop emitting climate changing carbon, it will take 600 years for the climate in WA's south west to return to where it should be.
Good news: I guess getting the front page is my most awesome news. I'm also back writing the definitive gay Australian novel. LOL. Potter potter... I might get there.
Goal: Buff for summer. Still working on it although lapsed this week a bit because Paris is on holiday and I don't like the replacement trainer as much.
Yesterday I: Hung out with Thom until it was time to start work at 4pm.
Right now I should be: Working, I suppose. Transcribing the two interviews I've done this afternoon on the affects of climate change on WA's bird population.
Later today I’m: finishing work... at 10pm. Then going home and working on the definitive gay Australian novel for an hour or two before catching some much loved and all-too-rare sleep.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mr Bennett, I salute you

My favourite contemporary playwright is Alan Bennett. Has been for years. He overtook Alan Ayckbourn for me (who's Norman Conquests had enchanted me) when I saw the original TV series of Talking Heads.
So I was delighted, once again, to go see a couple of his monologues from that fantastic series being performed at His Maj yesterday. Love a matinee. I lowered the average age of the audience significantly.
Last time I saw Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack doing Bed Among The Lentils and Soldiering On, from the same series, at The Maj.
This time is was Sigrid Thornton and Brenda Blethyn doing Her Big Chance and Mrs Fozzard Finds Her Feet.
Mrs Fozzard is one of my favourites because Patricia Routledge did the original (beautifully... although she was a less convincing Lady Bracknell when I saw her do a poor imitation of Edith Evans at the Regal) and I couldn't resist seeing Blethyn in the role.
Blethyn I have adored since Chance In a Million (an old 80s comedy with Simon Callow) but I've felt prone to over-doing it a bit (did anyone see Plots With a View) but redeemed herself magnificently for me in Little Voice.
She is a theatre great and her mastery of Bennett's pathos and comedy was so incredibly evident yesterday. She absolutely without a second's doubt delivered that role perfectly. I was in raptures. So was the whole audience And I was thrilled to give her a standing ovation. She will never be able to do wrong by me again.
If you aren't familiar with Bennett's work, you should make sure you become so. He has a way of getting into a woman's mind and an ability to write them at their most vulnerable - even if the characters themselves think they are at their most strong. His subtleties with frailties are exquisite. His use of language, his meter and cadence, exceptional. Without parallel. His characterisations are absolute. I adore his work.
And what could be better than seeing it delivered by some of the best actresses performing today. If only I'd seen Dame Thora Hird playing in Waiting For The Telegram before she died.

Ceberano

Okay, so I promised this and although the mood to actually write about it has long since left me, briefly, here it is.
The other night Kerry and I went to the Kate Ceberano concert at Burswood. It was a lovely night, if only because I saw Kerry, and despite the smelly geriatric spacker bloke (who smelt so bad his carer felt the need to apologise).
Anyway, there I was watching Ms Ceberano and I couldn't help but be reminded of my Dear Old Aunty, Michelle (who is not old, but is certainly dear).
Here is this woman, who's only 40 (a few years on the DOA) and she's got this fantastic loud-mouthed sass. A remarkable confidence. And it's not hateful, it's hot. She's comfortable and confident. Apart from vintage and confidence, they actually also look a bit alike. Well their hair is the same now at least. And from where I was in the audience it could have my aunt dressed in the fantastic Aurelio Casterella frocks and belting out Pash and Bedroom Eyes.
And I thought two things: Wow, she reminds me of Michelle.
And, wow... if she and Michelle and the Noranda Desperate Housewives were out on a boozy night... I'm pretty certain it would end in gutters, cells, hospital wards, etc. I mean I just get the sense it would be big.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

You will live to see the planet die

Hands up everybody who's read the Climate Change in Australia report released at the Greenhouse 2007 conference.
Just me?
Well if you feel like a cry, go download it from www.climatechangeinaustralia.com.au.
Read it then kiss your arse goodbye.
Everything that follows is based on science.
Temperatures globally have already increased by 1C thanks to human activity - carbon dioxide emissions.
If we immediately reduced our emissions, globally, to 1990 levels, we could limit our temperature increase between now and 2070 to just two more degrees.
That okay, you think? Think it'll just mean using the air con a little more? Extra sunscreen applications?
Well in WA at least, 1C temperature increase has already seen species of flora start to die out. Banksias and other trees in the mid-west are turning up their toes.
There is worse to come. You see, most of our species grow in a 3C temperature band. Two-thirds of species, actually.
Two thirds of WA plants will die by 2070. Those that die with expose other species, killing many of them also. These deaths will reduce animal habits. Not only that but the soil microbiology which relies on it all will be screwed as well... which will again kill even more species.
That's IF we cut our emissions to 1990 levels, globally.
We can't even agree on non-compulsory targets. Kyoto - which Australia, Canada and the US failed to ratify - targets have almost universally not been reached. In fact, most countries have continued with marked increases in emissions.
If things continue on this trajectory, we face a 5C temperature increase by 2070.
There will be nothing left. Nothing. Droughts will be 80 per cent longer and more frequent. There will be 40 per cent less rain (in the south west).
We've done it people. It's too late. I mean it makes me really fucking sad and really fucking angry. We've killed the planet, successfully. It's like choking someone slowly - at some point it really doesn't matter if you loosen the telephone flex, your victim has suffered serious brain damage though lack of oxygen to the brain.

So can anyone tell me why, when our economy is so flushed with funds, we aren't immediately building sequestering plants at every coal-fired power plant in the country? Why we aren't immediately building wind farm everywhere? Why we aren't building solar farms? Capturing tidal power? Why our power bills aren't doubled immediately to encourage us to use less power and to pay for millions of trees to be planted to offset what we do use?
Please people, PLEASE! We have to do whatever we can to try and make this better.

No man ever loved a Dalek so much!


It's here. And I love it. Worth every cent.
Got it the same day I got my first front page of The West... with an environmental story... and the same day Kerry and I went to see Kate Ceberano (more on her and the way she reminds me of my DOA later).
It was right up there as one of the best days of my life. Although my birthday in London, seeing Lilly Allen at the Hammersmith Apollo, this year possibly still tops the list of all time great days.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mr Howard's Australia

It is a long weekend. Guess how many days of it I worked?
Two.
And guess how much overtime/loading I got?
Not a cent.
Hello Howard's Australia.
Meanwhile I missed out on two events I would usually have gone to: Fair Day and Parklife.
Boo.
Fuck you Mr Howard and your fucking WorkChoices and your fucking AWAs!
Oh yeah, and if I had declined to work, I could have been dismissed on the spot, too.
I mean I don't think they would have... but they have the power to Sometimes the looming threat is enough.
But then that's all part of it, isn't it Mr Howard? All part of keeping the economy strong.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

1980

In the year I was born, ...
This photo was taken of John Lennon, who only had a year left to live.

Moscow hosted the Olympics

This mob, including Topol, starred in the Flash Gordon movie.

Mount St Helens erupted

Finding a good drug dealer was apparently as easy as letting your fingers do the walking

And this creature was Miss Gay America

Do get along to www.missgayamerica.com/ formers/formers.htm if you can. It is well worth it.

My odd likes

I have a thing for middle-aged women.
I can't explain it. It's not a nanny complex. I don't want to have sex with them or dress up in nappies and have them spank me or anything. I just find middle-aged women very sexual. Very attractive. In the same way the French do, I suppose. I'm not one of those people who thinks women at 35 are on the scrap heap. Actually, I think that's when they're becoming their most attractive. In full bloom, if you will... until they're about 45 or 50.
At which point they aren't suddenly unattractive, you understand. It's just that particular age range that seem to attract me.
I just wanted that on the public record.

I also have a thing for old men.
This is definitely not a sexual thing. I just like the fusty-mustiness of them. The crazy clothes they can wear to the shops, as if it doesn't matter that 40 years has past since they bought the suit and wore it to their kids' weddings. It's still good.
I love how they're set in their ways and cantankerous. How they talk about how things were "in my day", as if my era is somehow deficient. I love their stories and worldly advice. I love their misunderstandings of technology and how things work in MY day. I love their eyebrows. And I delight in looking at their hands and the way you can read a lifetime's work in them.

I like pepper trees. They remind me of the coastal holidays of my childhood. Sunshine. Caravan park cricket. My four wonderful years in Albany. My good friend Kerry... who will tell you they're called Agonis flexuosa and proudly has the only Agonis street tree on her stretch of Middleton Road, the escutcheon of which is lined with plain trees. There is one out my bedroom window, in the neighbour's back yard, and it fills with birds and in the morning the sun shining through it plays shadows into my bedroom.

I like chooks. Chickens, if you prefer, or hens, more specifically. Red ones, white ones, black ones. Pure breeds and hybrids. I love the way they cluck and busy themselves. I love watching them bobbing for bugs and seeds. Dust bathing. Cleaning the nose holes in their beaks with their claws. I especially love it when they sneeze. And I delight in the tame ones plucking up the courage to come visit you, meandering into the house, facing off with the cat or the dog, eating the cat's food, or eyeballing it out. Watching the dog round them up. Hearing them cluck triumphantly after an egg is laid.

I like the sound of the cello.
So deep and mournful. Melancholy. Sad. Joyful. So very definitely the sound of my soul, the way its harmonics and mine resonate. I adore seeing the cellist wrapped loving around their instrument, as if it were alive, human, a lover, and so fluidly yet precisely caress the strings with the bow. I love Elgar's Cello Concerto. I love the adagio best. I love hearing a cello in pop songs. I love artists who use a string section. I like hearing music I like orchestrated.

I like the words.
I like the way some words when thrown together conjure up such delicious imagery. Crystal Palace. That's a good one. Why did they have to pull it down? Cock. I don't know why, I just love how it sounds coming out of my mouth. Sure it's dirty, but a word which exercises your cheek muscles that much to say it can't possibly be all bad. The Resistance. Perhaps too many war movies as a kid. The Resistance. It's up there with The Gestapo. I could have belonged to either of these organisations because their names are so good. What do you mean they're polar opposites? Chipping Sodbury. It's a place in the UK. I didn't get there when I went for a visit earlier this year, but it sounds so edible somehow that one day I will have to go there and just stand under the village sign and absorb its glorious mixture of letters.

I like the following people, because they have such good names.
Lisa Curry-Kenny
Helen Demidenko-Darville
Nova Peris-Kneebone

I like narwhals.
I had completely forgotten about these creatures until I saw them on a documentary last weekend. I was one of those kids who was fascinated with animals and knew perfectly well the difference between turtles, tortises and terrapins. I had a book with a picture of a narwhal in it. It intrigued me endlessly. Like a unicorn, but a whale.

I like things that unexpectedly remind me of my childhood... which is more and more becoming a distant memory. Kids at school now look back on the eighties in exactly the same way as I looked back on the sixities. So long ago. So not a part of my life but long enough ago to be endlessly fascinating. The 80s, people! It's hardly ancient history. I like seeing kids in supermarkets in my old school uniform. I like seeing jersey cows. I like that I'm going to the Royal Show this week, where I spent so much time in the cattle lanes as a kid. I like the Wombles. Multi-stripe carpet. Brown corduroy. Faded photographs of my grandma and I on the farm. I like the quilt my mum made me. I like the fabrics I chose. I like the box brownie a friend gave me for my 21st. I like a lot of people I don't see any more.

Three words...

Tori. Fucking. Amos.

Last night was one of the most euphoric concert experiences of my life. Thom and I scooted off to the Tori Amos gig at the Perth Concert Hall.
If she was on again tonight I'd be going again. I wish I'd gone Thursday night, so I could have known she was so good and then gone again last night.
She has THE MOST effortlessly powerful voice... which she occassionally adds an impishness to that is somehow eerie.
But this woman is amazing. A new hero for me. I mean I've long liked Tori - it's a gay rite, I believe - but now she hits hero status.
She is one crazy bitch and I love her.
I couldn't get enough. I've never ever been so transfixed at a concert in my life.
(Okay, maybe at Kylie, but that had more to do with the amazing back-up dancers... I hardly remember the befeathered showgirl herself. LOL).
Tori, who is so incredibly enchantingly pretty, played a heap of songs from her standard book - including A Sorta Fairytale, which is one of those I-am-so-sad/happy-listening-to-this-song-I-could-die-oh-no-perhaps-I'll-just-play-it-on-repeat-for-three-days songs.
Her costumes were crazy... her piano playing the most incredible and inspirational I have ever seen. Her song writing... the arrangements with the band... even the light show... everything... I fucking loved it and wish I could have stayed in that experience for another hour or three.

Oh, and that's the other thing... the concert hall was a little under stocked with audience but even then, Tori gave 100 per cent. A brilliant concert and she certainly didn't short change us with how long she was on stage.
Apparently her gig has been different every night in every town as she dresses up as the five or seven or however many characters from her new album.
I love her. Especially after her very short chat to the audience... when she said she had loved Australia and really didn't want to go home. There was nothing false about it... you know the way there so often is with musos placating an audience. No, she looked liked she meant it.
I don't think those eyes or that face - which betray so much emotion as she plays - could lie.
I love her I love her I love her.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This fascinates me

Look at this man.

Of course you recognise him, he's Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
This man, this country, fascinates me.
Here is a man who sacks his cabinet and installs an unknown. Constitutionally he can't stand for a third consecutive term and the new PM, Viktor Zubkov, is expected to play Patsy - being controlled by Putin until power can be handed back to the former KGB man.
Yet another minister had to resign from cabinet completely because he was Zubkov's son-in-law and it constituted a conflict of interest.
To all intents and purposes the FSB (the KGB by any other name is still the KGB) is now running Russia. Journalists and former KGB operatives are being assassinated all over the place. The hard-won democracy is being slowly crushed under an all-seeing regime with amazing spies and tentacles, yet the Russian people love the man. They love the way he's running things.
I've taken to reading the news wires every day for the latest on anything Russian. Fascinates me. Absolutely fascinates me.

It's so close to becoming a reality...


...that I can taste it.
Mykonos. Greece. A boozy island-hopping holiday with my boy.
I've been onto my Dad's travel agent for an idea of prices, just to gauge whether this is ever likely to be a going concern. Great news is, it is.
And the delightful Robbie mentioned it today as if it was already a fate accompli... which always makes stuff more exciting, hearing other people talk about it.
I. Cannot. Wait.
I know I've already had a big holiday this year and several of my friends have fantastic overseas trips coming up much sooner than I, but I'm just SO excited.
It has taken me a while to notice that I actually was bitten by the travel bug while I was away... but I was. And I'm excited!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Times

I give my title the capitals not because I refer to the respected British publication, but because I believe the Times we are in are important. There is some mood for change.
Some mood for governmental change, domestically.
Some mood for taking climate change seriously, although I fear too little is being done, far too late.
There is some mood for change in Burma. And it is being done in a dignified manner by the most dignified of men from the world's most dignified religion.

But to continue to existentialist mood of the post below I want to point out I am excited very much by these moods for change because I think in each instance they are good for mankind. But ultimately, even if nothing comes of any of it, and it turns out that cool wind of change I feel is actually just the air conditioner, it won't matter.
Here's why:

If the temperatures increase by a few degrees because of human activity... if to thirds of all plant and animal species are wiped-out... if all the ice melts and the sea levels rise and the ocean temperatures change and if the ocean currents change... if all of this makes the miserable human civilisation unsustainable and unable to cling to life on this beautiful gift we inherited, then cest la vie.
It is for the best. This planet will recover.

I watched a reasonably ordinary documentary - The White Planet - at the cinema on the weekend. It told me nothing new and said nothing interesting, even on the question of climate change, but the narrator did say one thing which resonated with me greatly: It is we for whom time is running out, for Mother Nature has all the time in the world.

And she does. Life evolves and teems from one iceage to the next. When I was a kid and I learned the sun was a star and stars are alive and things that live must die, I was terrified I would live to see the sun die. Even then we were being told by teachers we were killing our planet. We're not. We're killing ourselves and taking a hell of a lot of species with us as collateral damage. But the Earth and the Sun will keep spinning... long after we have returned to atoms.

I think I've just discovered my Nihilist side.

Sigh

I've reached that point where I'm too old to be a child protege and too young to be in anyway acclaimed. I'm at that not extraordinary point of my life we all get to where I understand that I'm no more special or remarkable than the people around me and therefore must work very hard to be remarkable before I die, so that all the people I thought I was better than, understand that there was something behind it and not just delusion.
I figure the right age for me to now do something noteworthy is probably 55. By that age you're considered old enough to have lived enough to be wise enough to do something remarkable which other people will actually consider is an achievement worth 30 seconds of their attention. I know this sounds a little Warholist... if such a thing exists. With a tinge of existentialist.
So the bad news is, for the next 28 years I'm living in a meaningless achievement void until I get to an age where my achievements will be as respectable as they would have been if, say, at the age of five I'd filled a concert hall with dignitaries wanting to listen to my amazing piano compositions.
Everything you do in your middle years is ordinary. People just accept whatever you're doing as being the thing that you do. Your chance to be noteworthy has passed.
So does it really matter how I fill the void, as long as I pump out a Man Booker Prize winner when I'm grey at the temples and dressing exclusively in black skivvies the way ageing arty homosexuals seem to do compulsorily?
I guess I'm asking, where do I fit in?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Broken hearted

I need to put out an All Points Bulletin: please don't use my old email address... dan@danhatch.com.au. I don't use it any more at all.
I didn't spread this message around far enough before and as a result I have missed out on a brilliant opportunity.
Wonderful Phil... Canberra Phil... wanted to come for the weekend to relive last year's experience, when he was working in Perth and Thom and I took him to Parklife and showed him a good time.
I would dearly dearly have loved to do exactly that. But I missed his email. Not his fault... my fault.
Please use my Gmail email, darlings... to ensure I get your message. I don't want to miss out on fantastic fun like this again for no reason.
Much love,
Mwah x

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Unbearable smugness

God I put up with some unbearable smugness in my life: Exs who think they're better than me, editors who... well it does matter, we all know which unbearable bitch I'm talking about.
But this takes the biscuit. So I'm doing something about it.
Dear Impersonal Medling, reporter, ABC.
We used to work together, do you remember? We were equal-ranked reporters for sister papers. We used to get along okay, despite your self-obsessiveness.
Then I happened to make a crack which hit too close to the bone and you became angry at me. You couldn't do so openly because it would be too hard to explain to people. I had, afterall, pointed out that you were spending a hell of a lot of time with someone who wasn't your husband. I won't delve too far into the 'lady doth protest too much' reaction to my joke. We both know the truth anyway.
Then I drunkenly told someone, who you were being sent to work under, that you would be hard to manage. Turns out I was quite right on that front, too, but that's neither here nor there. What it DID was give you a reason to hate you openly. A decent reason for me to dislike your informant - the balding gargantua.
Neither of us work at that organisation any more so it made sense that we might eventually rock up at the same press conference - me for the daily paper and you for the sadly-no-longer-credible-I-meant-just-have-a-look-at-who-they're-employing-these-days-ABC. So when it happened a couple of weeks ago and we were both covering the same story and we pretended to be nice to one another, it was almost a relief. It had happened.
I found it hilarious to that night see myself on TV, in the background of your poorly structured story. Certainly confirmed for the bosses I had indeed attended the event they had asked me too. Did I care? Not beyond thinking it was funny that someone who hates me so much couldn't manage to edit me - a bystander - OUT of her first ever TV news bulletin.
So when a wonderful friend passed on to me that you said you'd deliberately put me on TV, a whole list of reactions were experienced:
a) Er, sure... bet you didn't even notice me you cloth-eared bitch.
b) Bet it still bugs the shit out of you that I was in frame
c) How sad is your life that, if you did that deliberately, you think that I care
d) How on Earth would that in anyway affect me? Am I supposed to be upset or excited or something?
e) You say you "got me on TV"? Darling, I've done plenty of TV and have no ambition to do any more... so what is your point?
f) You're a sad fuck who can't move on.
I know it may seem like I can't move on either, seeing as I'm blogging about you, but the unbearable smugness of your statement just reconfirmed so much of what I think of you. And I wanted to tell you. And I figured writing here meant there was a slight chance you might see it, because you're clearly obsessed enough to visit occasionally.
So I offer this advice to you: Let it go.
Dan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Vic Hatch Seal of Approval

This is the highest rank of respect a film or television program can be given: The Vic Hatch Seal of Approval.
My wonderful father, bless him, absolutely bollocking LOVES the kind of shit movies pretentious film reviewers like to lather in bile-filled spittle in the hopes no-one will go see them... thereby sending a clear message to Hollywood to cease and desist.
I'm talking about stuff like Die Hard 4.0, which he saw the other day. Thom and I had already seen it so we couldn't wait to discuss it with the old man.
He. Fucking. Loved it.
He loves the unbelieveable bits because they're so unbelieveable and I love that he cares enough to announce "that's bullshit" with a whacking great enormous grin right across his face, as if he expected nothing but believeable dialogue, credible action sequences and more-than two dimensional characterisations.
I knew Die Hard 4.0 would get the Vic Hatch Seal of Approval the minute Bruce Willis was standing on the back of a Lear Jet which was spinning out of control, mid air.
And sure enough... etc.
I kid you not, this is a mark of respect. Thom and I now base our movie choices on the Vic Hatch Seal of Approval. It was quite good to us with Shooter and Dejavu.
I cannot recommend those films highly enough. Nor, I'm sure, could Dad.
Life has too much pretention in it. Too many arty-farty glitterarti types to want to take the simple Dukes-of-Hazzard-style enjoyment out of life.
Don't fall for it. Embrace sheer entertainment. Embrace the Seal.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Carbon neuter me

I'm thinking about making my life carbon neutral. All of it.
I went onto the website today (www.carbonneutral.com.au) and they have some kind of rudimentary calculator on there which tells you how much carbon you're responsible for billowing into the atmosphere each year. You then make a donation and that is used to plant trees which offset your emissions.
I did a story on carbon neutral when I was working for How The Quest Was Won on the ABC. It seemed like a good idea. That was just to offset your car emissions, but this calculator can offset everything - house, car, air travel, etc.
Well I've always been a bit green - though not as green as I could be - and despite Grandma making me plant literally hundreds of trees on the farm as a kid, I think I can do more.
So I'm thinking I could plant enough trees to cover my carbon emissions for my entire life to-date. Only I have to calculate how much that would cost. It may not really be feasible.
But then, how feasible is selfishly using and not replacing the planet's resources willy-nilly and irresponsibly?
Yes, dear friends, if I do this I am going to be the smuggest bitch you've ever met in your whole life.
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A few things I like... often

I get into a hubbub of excitement about a few things. Not a lot of things, but a few things.
For instance, I will google ravenously for any information about an impending James Bond movie. 007 is a life-long obsession for me, which started on those long late Saturday nights when I was a kid when nothing was on but Dad was engrossed in Roger Moore or Sean Connery classic Bond tale. I loved the 60s look of the films and the great names and slightly silly villans. There was an unconcious campness that I loved. I've since read the books and seen all the films. Now I scour the net for clues to JB22... the new and nameless film due out in November next year.
Another thing I have had a life-long obsession with is Doctor Who. I loved Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker in the role when I was a kid and I loved that my Dad had also cowered behind the couch each time the Daleks had screeched "exterminate" when he was a tacker as well. When I was 14 I sketched incredibly intricate, measured to scale, pencil drawings of both the TARDIS and a Dalek. (I couldn't do it now if I tried). I was thrilled beyond belief to know a new version of the show was coming to our screens a few years ago and LOVE David Tennant in the role.
So when, last night, I stumbled across a website promising to sell me a foot-high scale model remote control Dalek for just 30 pounds sterling, well I couldn't resist.

Oh yes, this is going to be a good Christmas. I absolutely cannot wait.
I. Am. A. Big. Nerdy. Kid.

Monday, September 10, 2007

So pleased you're here!

I picked up my new laptop day. I may ever-so slightly be in love.
CUT TO:
Dan and 17inch platinum Apple MacBook intel pentium 3,000,000MB piece of computer artistry hand in hand, bounding through a field of long grass, in slow motion.
I. Could. Rub. One. Out. Over. This. Computer. I. Am. So. Excited.
It's truly, truly beautiful. It is shiny and new and it is sooooooo fast.
It's like trading in your rusty old Morrie for spick and span straight-off-the-production-line-but-fitted-with-all-the-sexy-extras Maserati.
Yes, it is $4000 worth of computer. But it is SHINY and it's NEW and it's MINE and I love it. Call it my quarter life crisis.
And I love fast wireless broadband. I can now watch YouTube in realtime, rather than visual staccato.
I'm really pissed that I'm at work right now an unable to play with my silvery new beauty. Just WAIT til I get home!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fi. na. lly.

Tomorrow I pick up my new computer. I'm so excited. It has been so long in the coming - I ordered it like two months ago. It was before I started at the West!
Since then my 15inch notebook laptop has increased in size by 2inches and price by $200... which was their deal to appease me. I am dead excited about getting this computer. I have waited far far too long. It's wireless, it's faster, it's portable, is platinum coloured and sleek and sexy and I just want to live with it forever!

The River of the Hutt

We did it. We went away for the weekend to the Hutt River Province: That independent sovereign state in the middle of the mid-west of WA.
What a bunch of nutbars.
It was worth every second.
In 1970 a farmer called Leonard Casley got the hump with the Government's plans for taxation - something to do with wool or wheat or one of those farmy kind of things - and rather than just shutting up, he suceeded.
So there is 10,000 acres of WA that is a different country. They will stamp your passport and everything, if you want.
It's rather famous. I remember my parents talking about it when I was a kid and it absolutely fascinated me.
I had to wait until I was 27 to get, there but I'm so glad I did.
Nut. Jobs.
Prince Leonard greeted us on the drive (the Queen never did that for us) and informed us Princess Shirley had just finished preparing lunch and he was going to have a bite to eat and we could go down to the tearooms and help ourselves to some cake and tea if we wanted. We did. The room was lined with great shitty paintings and memorabilia like copies of the Hutt River Defence Force News newsletter.
He has a chapel, complete with thrones and more shitty paintings - including one of Prince Leonard painted as if he were the pope. Goodness knows what Il Papa would think of that.
He has his own stamps and medallions and constitution and an anthem written by Jon English and a pyramid made out of green corrogated perspex.
If only the Egyptians had thought of it.
He's a seedy old fuck I wouldn't leave small children with and he's clearly absolutely barking mad, but I'm glad I went.
He's very old now and can't possibly be around for too much longer. I realy felt like I met a piece of Australian history yesterday. I highly recommend the seven hour drive from Perth to go see him and the province.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hey diddle diddle


For most of my life there has been a silent furry little friend in the background. She wasn't my pet, she was my aunt's (although she lived with my grandparents back home of the farm for 99 per cent of her life), but she really belonged to the entire clan. Everyone loved her.
You may have noticed I'm writing in past tense. That's because today Mokey was laid to rest.
That cat was 19. And until two weeks ago still looked as fit as a fiddle.
I'm used to animals dying. I know that sounds awful but when you grow up on a farm it is a fact of life and, sometimes, a necessary evil. You learn not to get close to certain beasts, but even then some animals (family, I'm talking about dairy farm favourites like old Bonnie, who was born the same year I was and sent off for hamburger meat sometime around either my 18th or 2st birthday, I forget which)just charm you into friendship.
I also had a brave little dog who fought with a snake in the house yard. She fought valiantly but was lost in battle. I've hardly ever cried so much. (I was in my 20s and living out of home by that time, too).
Mokey, from memory, was born in the hay shed. Although I'll stand corrected, Michelle, if I have that wrong. (I might be confusing it with another litter of kittens born to the feral cats in the hay shed). We got two kittens out of the litter but only one survived. The other was mauled in a fight. Possibly with a dog.
I'm vague on these details because I was only seven at the time.
That cat has been a part of a generation of Hatch family lives. I, at least, remember Tabs and Crystal - the previous family cats - but most of my cousins wouldn't.
Several very pretty girls (with features kind of like mine) are bereft.
A couple of weeks ago Mokey disappeared. Grandma thought she had taken herself off to die. Animals do that.
Pop found her ten days later, down by a neighbour's shed, scrawny, malnourished, blind, deaf, breathing with very great difficulty and miaowing wildly. Trapped in her own little mind and scared out of her wits. I hope on some level she knew she'd be found and was back safe in the bosum of the family home for the last few days before Grandma finally acquiesed and took her to the vet.
The last time I saw her was when I visited Grandma for her birthday late last week. Moke' has been buried beneath the rosebush I gave her as a birthday present. Rose bush tributes to family pets are a tradition for us.
It's a sad day in my family. We have lost one of our much-loved members.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's a funny old world

Some nights on night shift are really busy. Sometimes you're really busy doing stuff you have specifically been ordered to do and then it doesn't get a run.
Sometimes something totally random and unexpected happens and you end-up getting page three or something.
Sometimes you go to the bosses with a great idea for a story and they kill it off.
Sometimes they come to you with a great idea for a story but it is actually a shit idea for a story but that doesn't matter you have to work your magic and make it happen and if you don't then you're a bad journalist.
Sometimes on nightshift, nothing happens at all.
I have days when I love it here and days when I wonder about asking to be transfered to the arts section - which is my out if things go bad.
I don't hate it here: Don't get me wrong. I always feel like coming into work. I do love it. I couldn't go back to what I was doing before. But I'm frustrated because I'm not being used as well as I could and I'm not writing anything like the good stories I was writing where I was before. I used to arbitrarily get to tackle yarns. At least police nights offers an independence dayshift doesn't. That said... sometimes it is very very quiet indeed. And I sit here bored.
Waiting.
Listening to the Police scanner for ANYTHING.
Yes. I am bored right now. Bored. I have nothing to write about either, so you're getting my stream-of-consciousness dribble. LOL.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You know what?

I've actually realised tonight that I'm quite valued and respected around here.
I don't know what I've done or what I've managed not to do, but I've obviously written the right thing in the right way at the correct time.
I seem to be more trusted with stuff than someone whose only been with a paper a couple of months should be. I spent tonight re-working something two other people had a go at but was asked to do it "because you've got a lot more experience and we need this done properly".
Last night something similar was said to me about another yarn.
I was also asked to train a cadet (and friend, I might add) in night police.
So yeah. I'm starting to feel comfortable. And I like it here.
I love it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Success

There is nothing I love more than the success of those I love.
Achieving something personally is, of course, a matter of pride. I tend to downplay my own achievements... basically because I could do a lot more and be a lot better than I am if I applied myself properly. I'm a bit of a fraud and I know it.
But the achievements of my friends thrill me to unnatural degrees.
Linds getting the Guardian gig, for instance, gave me more joy than if I'd slid into the job.
I sit on the sidelines at comedy gigs just willing the audience to laugh at the material my mates are throwing out there.
And I take great pride in Thom's endless string of high distinctions.
This week, therefore, I am thrilled beyond comparison. Excited. Buoyant.
Some very very deserving people are getting opportunities thrown at them. Stars are in the ascendance.
God bless you my friends. I hope it all goes well - whatever it is you want and decide.
My love will be with you either way.
x