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Showing posts from January, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The 100 Bus

I've achieved very little in my long pointless life , but I can proudly state I was one of the very first followers of Newcastle twitter celebrity, The 100 Bus. It's a wild and crazy ride, both on road and off. The bus takes one from my old stomping ground of Charlestown, via the university and some of Newcastle's shall we say, less salubrious suburbs, and on into town. Meanwhile on twitter, the bus keeps us all entertained with insights on life, music and the perennial Newcastle twitter game, Who Is The Bus? (Except we know now. Or do we? I can't think about it without getting a headache).

Anyway, unlike most of the bus's coterie of fan girls, I actually catch the thing regularly, if slightly less often now thanks to my beloved bicycle Zorah. And...I've seen things, man. The 100 bus visits some, well, interesting areas and attracts some interesting passengers. Here are a few of the things I've witnessed on The 100 Bus:
Bus driver always looking slightly st…

It Shouldn't Be This Hard To Get Into Uni

Well, I've been offered a place in social science at the University of Newcastle. Yay! Don't congratulate me yet, though. Congratulate me when I graduate.
Actually, scratch that. Congratulate me when I am finally able to accept my offer. I bloody deserve it. This simple task, which should have taken seconds, has required every spare moment of my time over the past few weeks. I don't want to hear anyone complain about big corporations. Forget it. Imagine a massive telco had vigorous jungle sex with a massive bank. (Go on, visualise it. I'll wait). Then imagine this corporate nookie produced a massive hybrid corporation with slow processes, poorly coordinated systems, and staffed entirely with people sacked from the public service for being just a bit dozy.
Now imagine that but worse, and that's what it has been like dealing with the University of Newcastle. Monday night I logged onto the uni website as instructed, thinking accepting my offer would be as simple as hi…

Why Breastfeeding Is A Feminist Issue.

I thought I was done with breastfeeding. I certainly thought I was done posting about it. But it's been all over the media in recent days, following the comments of a rather witless breakfast TV host that he doesn't mind public breastfeeding, as long as it's done discreetly. The inevitable backlash followed, along with the usual suspects rolling out to state they agree. Breastfeeding is okay and all, just as long as they don't have to see it. Some people are surprised there are still these pockets of resistance in the community, but I'm not. "A lot of people still feel this way, you can't expect them to change overnight" (as if that would excuse racism?). Now I fed BabyG on city circle trains at rush hour, queueing for lunch at the fish markets at Easter, wherever he was hungry. And I never encountered any dirty looks or stares, possibly due to the fierce "go ahead...say something. I dare you" look in my eyes. I was actually hoping for a co…

Where I Accidentally Have A Right-Wing Thought

As it seems that we will not, praise be, be moving house this year, DH and I have decided to move some furniture around. This means moving the fish tank, which means requiring a power board with extension cord. As I'm not so great with heavy lifting, I decided I'll take Baby G in his pram to the local shopping centre to pick one up whilst DH gets the moving done...until, that is, I realised this simple expedition would cost $7.20 in bus fare. Reflecting that if I was on the single parents pension the trip would cost $2.50, and if I were unemployed $3.60, I found myself thinking "goddamn it, they're always trying to punish working saps for trying to get ahead".
I was instantly seized with guilt and shame. A right-wing thought! Where had that come from? Was this the beginning of a slippery slope to listening to talk back radio and blaming boat people for the nation's economic woes? I know, of course I know, that equality doesn't mean giving everyone the same…

Why Would An Atheist Oppose Euthanasia?

Meet Marc. He's an atheist. He's worked as a registered nurse in palliative care. He's a bleeding heart lefty who's volunteered on Greens election campaigns. And he's also my Dear Husband (DH) and father of BabyG.

And, unlike perhaps 90% of atheists, he's opposed to euthanasia. Why on Earth would someone who has worked with the dying, who has no religious beliefs holding sway, be opposed to voluntary euthanasia on request? I don't agree with his views, but sat down for a chat, hoping to understand.

"To begin with, voluntary euthanasia would fundamentally change the way medicine is practiced in society. Western medicine operates on the Law Of Primary Intent: that there are two primary intentions to the actions medical practitioners carry out; to treat disease and to increase comfort. Sometimes in trying to treat disease you decrease someone's comfort, such as through heart surgery or chemotherapy, which treat the disease but cause the patient discomfo…

The Joy of Gardening: Redux

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Last August I posted about my efforts to start a lasagna garden. At the time, it wasn't going so well, and I was on the verge of giving up. Where was my fluffy, light soil? Would I ever be able to grow veggies? The answer was unequivocally yes. A few weeks after I posted, the tediously-built layers  had broken down sufficiently to allow for planting. So I gathered up seeds and seedlings, and got started with the planting. I have rarely been so proud as when I was done:

Every day I rushed out to tend my veggie garden, and it came along nicely. I don't know if I could have achieved the same results from traditional gardening, but the lasagna garden just took off. After a few weeks I noticed the garden was full of the gardener's best friend - worms. I had created a healthy, live garden! There were a few hiccups, like when I wondered why the flourishing crop of oregano I'd grown from seeds had no fragrance, and I realised it was actually a weed:




Generally though, everything …

Why Climate Change Deniers Are Worse Than Paedophiles

It's been impossible to escape the climate change debate in Australia in recent weeks. We've been suffering through an unprecedented heatwave, and everyone's talking about the damn weather. Yep, Australia is a hot country; always has been. But this is like something never seen before - more hot days, higher temperatures, heat spells that go on for longer. Records are being broken. Twenty years ago, climate scientists began to predict what would happen if we didn't change our ways, and now the predictions are coming true. Unless of course you're a climate change denier. These people cling to their beliefs with religious fervour. Climate change is all a hoax, perpetrated by the massive power and funding of big science. Coal and oil producers are helpless in the face of the might of the scientific community to counter the slanderous threats to their industry. There's a lot of money to be made in jumping on the global warming bandwagon, so of course everyone is; no…

Motivation

They're everywhere. Reposted on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Embroidered on cushions and wall hangings in every gift stand in every newsagent you see. Emblazoned on magnets stuck to the fridges of people you really didn't think were into that kind of thing. I'm talking about those twee motivational sayings. You've seen them. Misattributed "quotes", conveniently tagged with "anonymous", or simply without attribution at all, there they are in all their saccharine glory, intended to give us all a little lift in our busy, complicated modern lives:

"It is never too late to be that which you might have been"

"Never be afraid to be your true self"

"Life is a gift, be grateful for every moment"

"Never ever ever give up"

Back when I lived in Summer Hill, Sydney's capital of the twee little shop filled with lovely little overpriced things, one of the cutesy little emporiums had a blackboard outside where the owner …

Breastfeeding - The End of the Road

BabyG started daycare yesterday. As DH fretted about facing the days without his little friend, I was completely fine. It didn't bother me at all. It was just a step forward in his life, another milestone to be marked off...until that is, I bought some labels to sew in BabyG's clothes. And there, in the haberdashery section of Big W, it hit me. "Oh my god", I thought, "he needs labels in his clothes because he's starting his life without us!". It begins, I thought, first daycare, then school, and then he'll start going out with friends and learn to drive and go overseas and move out. Our baby! (Freaking out over major life events in retail establishments seems to be a habit of mine. I had a panic attack over my upcoming wedding in the Salvation Army store in Marrickville. "This wasn't supposed to happen", I thought as I struggled for air, "I was supposed to OD at 26, not get married and have kids").

In our hearts though, we kn…

Who Do You Boycott?

I fell in love today. Like all great romances, it began unexpectedly, suddenly, completely; I was wandering aimlessly through David Jones, not a store I frequent, when I passed the Alannah Hill display, and saw a cardigan. A frilly, polka-dotted, fabulously frou-frou cardigan, at 50% off, which whilst making it still more expensive than I like to spend on my clothes, placed the thing from ridiculous into possible. I still had doubts about blowing so much money on something for myself though, and as I am incapable of making a decision without getting social media in on it, I took my dilemma to Twitter. Should I get the cardigan or not? Most people said go for it, but one reply said she wouldn't buy anything from Alannah Hill, on principle; following Ms Hill's ill-conceived remarks, following accusations against then-David Jones CEO Mark McInnes of sexual harassment, that she wished McInnes had sexually harassed her. I was mindful of it, and not particularly comfortable. I wasn&…

The Numbers Are The Numbers

They say all art comes from suffering. And there's no suffering like listening to Liberal and National party politicians speak. In the tradition of Make The Pie Higher, I humbly present this simple poem compiled entirely of quotes from the LNP.

~~~

What the housewives of Australia need to understand,
The numbers are the numbers.
These people are not fit to government the economy,
It’s by no means the main task of government.

Why not ask electricity consumers to pay more
We are prepared to have an ETS.
Climate change is absolute crap.
That's the fluffy stuff that sits in the ceiling.

There are even some creepy people out there,
People like to admire the athletes for their physiques,
That is a very reasonable thing.
Tony Abbott was more than happy to keep them going.

I think I have reasonable good people skills.
Just because a person is sick doesn't mean that he is pure of heart.
Jesus didn't say yes to everyone,
We can’t abolish poverty.

I can't promise that I won't continue to e…

On The Dole

Jenny Macklin triggered off a wave of debate yesterday, with her ill-conceived (and later denied) comments that she could in fact, survive living on $35 a day Newstart allowance. The debate has however, taken a strange turn. Many ALP supporters have lined up to support Macklin. "Well of course Newstart allowance is low", runs the consensus, "it's only meant to be a temporary measure whilst you look for other work, not to support you for the rest of your life". They, along with the LNP supporters whinging about dole bludgers - apparently Gillard and Swan have wrecked the economy whilst somehow sustaining a vibrant job market - seem oblivious to the reality of the job market these days.
As I posted when I finally found work, it's a tough job market out there right now. Really tough. With two professional qualifications, seven years experience in advertising and a year in community service, I applied for over a hundred jobs - willing to do filing, make coffee, …

Where Angels Fear To Tread

"Ho hum", I thought as midnight approached on my fourth NYE in a row spent at home in front of the TV, "another year". Then I remembered it's an election year, and I tore all around the room in a fit of excitement like Mr Bean on Christmas morning.

I don't know what to tell you. I'd been up since 5am. I was full of wine. I'd lost all sense. Reality hit this morning when I woke up, realised it's an election year, had a think about just what sort of an election it's going to be, and fell in a sobbing puddle on the floor.

Make no mistake, this year is going to get nasty. Really nasty. Tony "born to rule" Abbott has never recovered from losing the 2010 election; he offered to sell his own arse; in an act of patriotism they don't receive enough credit for, Mssrs Oakeshott and Windsor told them they didn't want it, and he went grudgingly to the opposition benches, where he has spent the last two and a half years smarting, and schem…