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Showing posts from July, 2011

Review: Colour Me Mine, Summer Hill

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The idea of baby showers has always rather horrified me. Matching word games and nappies with melted chocolate bars to emulate baby poop? No thanks. But I wanted to do something with friends before welcoming my progeny into the world, so we went to Colour Me Mine ceramics painting studio at Summer Hill. I've been meaning to visit for many years, but just never got around to it, so this seemed like the perfect time.

We booked a private room for the occasion; usually painters are seated in the main shop area, though there aren't many walk ins, avoiding that sat-in-a-train-station feeling. The sitter's fee is $12 per person, with pieces to be painted priced on top of that. At $20 for a coffee mug, this makes it a kind of pricey way to acquire homewares, but at least your place settings will be unique. Pieces range from small candy dishes through to toys, money boxes and even a water cooler (which I have my eye on for next time). Once you've picked out your pieces and paints…

Dark Times

It was a weekend of bad news. How much sorrow can we take? How much horror can the brain process, how much hurt? The news came out slowly on Saturday, Australian time. Bombing in Norway, the first reports said, a few casualties. It seemed very sad but one of those events that happens in far-off cities from time to time; local group of loons trying to make a point. But then word came through of a shooting, at a summer camp. Summer camp? These were kids. And the death toll rose and rose - 17, in the fifties, at one stage reported in the nineties, now revised back to 76, offering some very little cold comfort. The stories were horrific. A gunman posing as a police officer, pretending he was there to perform security checks and shooting the assembled teenagers; impersonating a rescuer to coax frightened survivors out of their hiding places, then opening fire; shooting victims as they tried to swim to safety 600 metres away. The brain reeled, unable to cope with the sick reality of it all.…

The Hypothetical Tony Abbott

1:30pm, Sunday, 31st July 2011. The courtyard of Parliament House, Canberra. The Leader of the Federal Opposition, The Honourable Tony Abbott, is addressing the assembled media. He is flanked by the Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, and the Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time here on this beautiful but very cold Canberra Sunday. I wouldn't have dragged you from your families on a Sunday unless the issue was of great import, and that is what we as a nation are facing now. So I will get right to the point.

"In recent months, this great nation has become heavily divided on the issue of a pricing scheme for carbon. Make no mistake, the science is in; climate change is happening. The question we have been grappling with is what action Australia, as a nation, should take in the face of this issue.

"Whilst Australia is a first world economy and part of the global community, we are nonetheless small carbon emitters on a global sc…

The Grass is Always Greener...

This morning I woke up with my hands completely numb, my feet swollen, unable to get back to sleep because of ligament pain. For a brief moment, I wished I wasn't pregnant, but getting up to go to work in a city skyscraper, then off to cocktails in a small bar. Then I caught myself - I used to have that life, and I didn't care for it at all. I've just been sucked into grass is greener syndrome, which seems to affect all those of us with a slightly pessimistic disposition; the belief that no matter what you're doing, doing something else would be more rewarding.

I've spent the past couple of years involved in community work and activism. People say it must be hard working with homeless young people but that's nothing compared with arguing with a council admin assistant who wants you to darken the stripes on the Mayor's tie in the mayoral head shot going in the council information column in the local rag which is your job to produce. Imagine your fifth phone c…

Crossing the great childless/parent divide

All my life I've been quite an independent sort of a person, venturing fearlessly into the world and doing battle with the grown ups on their terms from a very early age. God help you if you jumped ahead of the eleven year old Nico at the deli counter and tried the excuse "I thought you were with your mum." I've lived alone for a decade, forged a career, fought my battles and haven't let myself get (too) intimidated by anyone.

Until, that is, I found myself in the latter stages of pregnancy, with a crippling joint condition, and getting teary when DH heads off to work. Alone? All day?

What has happened to me? I don't need a man. I don't need anybody. But I was completely unprepared for how fragile and vulnerable the "good grief, I'm enormous" part of pregnancy would make me feel. I read Naomi Wolf's account of her experiences of the phenomenon in Misconceptions , and thought "what a load of sentimental nonsense". But when I go …

Why The Carbon Tax Is Not Like The GST

"Gillard should call an election on the carbon tax, we had one on the GST!" is one of the many cries from opponents of the Government's proposed carbon tax. The line runs that whilst Howard may have about-faced on his promise to never, ever introduce a GST, he bravely took it to the polls, won a mandate and we were all blissfully happy with the consumption tax.

Like so much elese in the carbon tax debate, this premise is just plain wrong. First of all, there were many issues in the 1998 Federal Election - the Asian economic crisis, the crippling cuts made by the Howard government to public services, the rise of One Nation and nationalism in Australian politics, even (hard as it is to believe now), the Republic. In a democracy, no general election is a referendum on a single issue; that is something more akin to mob rule.

Second, and slightly more critical to our argument here - there was no mandate on the GST. The Coalition lost the popular vote, 49.02% to 50.98%; only wi…

Pro-Choice on Feminism

Are young women trying to impress Bob Ellis? Surely not, but why are so many of them falling over themselves to deny being feminists?

I could go down the path of blaming Lady Gaga. The redoubtable...Ms Gaga? or is she always a Lady? opined in 2009 ''I think it's great to be a sexy, beautiful woman who can f--- her man after she makes him dinner. There's a stigma around feminism that's a little bit man-hating. And I don't promote hatred, ever." Apparently Ms Gaga is in Sydney at the moment. Perhaps amongst her busy schedule of nightclub visits and appearances on A Current Affair (you want to talk about hatred?) she could take some time to brush up on feminist history and appreciate she couldn't be where she is today without the actions of the feminists who proceeded her. But I don't want to pick on Gaga specifically. She's not alone in her views; I hear so many young women preface statements with "I'm not a feminist, but...". Why ha…

Where I Weigh In On The Carbon Tax

It's been a tough few months for those of us on this side of politics - trying to defend the carbon tax without the firm details of how the thing was going to work. Yesterday all was revealed -  a carbon price of $23 a tonne applying to the top 500 polluters only, exemptions and assistance for high emissions high trade industries (worth $60,000 a job to the steel industry), generous compensation for just about everyone.  I'm outraged.

Outrage is the emotion du jour. It would hardly have mattered to great heaving slabs of the population what the details of the carbon tax package were, they were against it. Tony Abbott appeared on Neil Mitchell's Melbourne radio show this morning, declaring Tony Abbott: "I am here to attack the carbon tax, not to explain it." Mitchell replied "But you have no detail?". Laughter. And we see measured, thoughtful responses like this one from the Herald Sun website (and being the responsible journalists they are, I'm sure …

Of Cows and Climate (or, Only Our Jobs Matter).

Those who dig animal abuse can crack open the finest sparkling wine - live animal exports to Indonesia have recommenced! (I know they wouldn't drink champagne - they're all about Australian jobs). The live export trade, halted after May's Four Corners report highlighting abuses in Indonesian abattoirs, was suddenly on again last night thanks to the Gillard government caving into pressure from industry lobby groups - without anything actually changing in terms of animal welfare. Cows in their death agonies just don't speak as loudly as $300 million. WA Premier Colin Barnett has echoed sentiments frequently expressed about the trade, that whilst "something needed to be done" on this issue, a ban was going too far. I'd like to know what they would have liked the Federal government to have done - given the Indonesians stern glances? Made tut-tutting noises? No, the ban was the right thing to do, and I admired the government for it, and am disappointed but not…

Not Welcome Anymore

Oh, Bob Ellis. And to think I loved you once.

Ellis is truly of Labor's old guard, with his legacy of eloquent humanistic writings about the inner workings of that party and Australian politics. However, he hasn't been coping in recent years with the decline in the relevance of the Australian Labor Party, producing increasingly disjointed and even offensive pieces in his blog on ABC's The Drum. Today however he has outdone himself, with this disturbing piece on accusations of rape made against political figures. It's all feminists' fault, complains Ellis, that great liberal and left leaning political figures are brought down by these mud-slinging woman. Feminism is killing the left.

There's so many things wrong here, from Ellis' apologia for rape - he never acknowledges the complicity or illegality of his heroes' actions - to his assessment of the political potential of some of his touted victims. The former far outweighs the latter in gravity, of course.…

(Very) Trying To Conceive

From time to time now, I'll get a familiar twinge in my lower abdomen and think "oh, it's that time of the month ladies look so forward to". It's only when I try to head for the bathroom and am confounded by my massively pregnant abdomen that I realise no, I don't have my period. The confusion even after all this time is understandable though when you spent most of a year Trying To Conceive (TTC).

Because it involves sex (but not the careless, abandoned, sexy kind), and temperatures and charts, and hoping for something that could happen tomorrow or may not happen at all - you just don't know - TTC isn't something that people talk about much. I can't even imagine the heartache that comes with the decision to try IVF, or the agony of deciding not to do it when you want a child. I'm talking though about the bog-standard TTC, which you must try for at least a year at my age before accessing any sort of professional help. A year isn't a long tim…

Happy Balance of Power Day!

"I for one welcome our new Greens overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a tweeter, I could round up others to toil in their tofu mines." - Twitter user citizen_cam

Well, Australia's problems are solved; today the Greens take the balance of power in the Senate. Alternatively, if you listen to the loony right, the sky will fall in (it hasn't yet, but it's not 11am yet) and this will "ruin our once great nation" (so many things have happened to "ruin our once great nation" according to conservatives, that it's a wonder that there's anything left of a functioning democracy at all - which they seem bent on destroying anyway). The Herald Sun have already gotten in on the doomsaying in unintentionally amusing ways.

What It All Means is not that the Greens are running the country. However, the Government won't be able to pass legislation through the Senate without Greens approval, if the Opposition tries to block said legislation. …