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.