Friday, October 24, 2008

Uncontaminated by bike

Previous tenants in the house I live in warned my about the neighbours, in particular that they would expect me to keep my front porch swept (?) It's a tiny area (a couple of square metres, if that) that's right on the street and is always covered in leaves. I don't mind too much.

I got home last night to discover it was certainly less cluttered than when I left for work. Some bastard has decontaminated my porch of the stain that was my bicycle. Sigh.

Collingwood: Beautiful one day; hey, who's pinched my bike?

Church graffiti

Seen last night:
Going to church makes you a good person in the same way that standing in a garage makes you a car.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Opening a bike cage

Last Wednesday was Ride to Work Day, and we opened a new bike cage at work.

It looked like this.

The front row from right to left is Emma, Glenyys, me, Liz, Annie, somebody, Karriane, Michael, somebody and in the back with orange shirt is Vincent. Vincent is also father of the evil Amanda, the only woman who can cheerfully call me a c#$% and know she will get away with it.

This was the day a conspiratorial journalist from the local tissue described the most effective cycling lobby group as a essentially a tool of my evilness. I met with said group the next day and said that if they were the tool of my evilness, they should submit to my demands. Their CEO joked that he was only there to receive orders... The head of the branch in my team that usually deals with the lobby group said "I thought I was here to get YOUR orders...". Ahhh... government..... We're all just getting each others orders...

Cement Museum

Today's discovery - a quote from the Geelong Advertiser, 22 September this year, pg 17. The caption under a photo of a beautiful Victorian Gothic bluestone building read:
"The Geelong Cement Museum will be open and has 27 rooms of history and memorabilia to peruse. One of the rooms (right) has an extensive display
of stones."

This weekend

This weekend has been a slow, relaxing one. I went to the market at St Andrews with Mark and Bianca on Saturday morning. We wandered around discussing previous times we had been to the market, only then after very late nights, sweating and with mad eyes staring out of pale faces and a compulsion to buy decorative rubbish. Sitting in the shade drinking coffee, we bumped into Annie from work who had cycled to the market from Hurstbridge (!) with a group of friends.

Much time was spent mooching at home, cleaning and watching the Dune mini-series that I'd be meaning to see for years. If I'd have known it was going to be as bad as it was, I'd have waited a few more. Bad acting, direction and the silliest effects - at one point a little desert mouse (which has some significance in the story if you didn't know) was given life as a CGI muppet, looking like Tutter from "Bear in the Big Blue House".

Worked a little, making comments on the latest version of the grand plan, having been woken before 6 by the neighbors playing eurotrash techno.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Patti Smith

Photo taken last Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Balloons low over Collingwood

Excuse the rubbish photos, but there were a few hot air balloons out this morning, seemingly very low. Certainly low enough for an intimate peek through windows in the Wellington St flats.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No longer the funniest Palin

Nuff said, as by a childhood hero.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Patti Smith

E and I had a late Sunday night (especially for her) seeing Patti Smith at Hamer Hall. I'd gone with moderated expectations, half expecting a quiet night of poetry and perhaps a mostly acoustic set. I also expected lots of grey hair in leather jackets, and there at least my expectations were precisely met.

The venue didn't help - I'm sure Hamer Hall is a great venue for a chamber orchestra, but the last couple of times I've been there the formality of the place has been a distraction. We saw Dweezil Zappa and his band there last year, and although the band was breathtakingly tight and exuded fun from every sweaty pore, watching them from perched up in the balcony felt like watching a football game at the MCG - detached, but knowing that somewhere, someone was having a lot of fun. A few weeks ago we saw Bill Bailey, which wasn't so bad, partly because we were sitting closer, but also because he had an impressive set. A one-man performer knows he can't personally fill the stage so builds in a bit of visual fat - surreal stage decoration and rock-show lighting.

But fuck expectations and crash through the formality of the venue - she just rocked it up. She shook and danced through the first half of the set, her hands twitching and shaking, shedding a mad excess of kinetic energy. By "Rock and roll nigger", the second or third song into the set, the band was pumping and had brought the audience with them. She finished the (pre-encore) set with a couple of covers: "Smells like teen spirit" and "Gloria".

A couple of times I said to a tired-looking E, "Do you want to go now?" She looked at me like I was slightly barking and, frowning, said "No, I'm good", and we stayed for the final encore.

Next time she's here, I'm taking Al.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Breakfast in the sun

E, W and I walked down to the place a few doors down to have breakfast. It's becoming an enjoyable habit every couple of weeks. We sat outside in a courtyard under a frangipani , shielded from the hot north wind (in October?) and laughed. E and I are going to see Patti Smith tonight, so possibly some late night posting.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Wiggles offer no protection

W has a mask of the new yellow Wiggle, Sam. It's pretty creepy, and looks like this:

It's made of cheap and flimsy plastic - the sort you could easily fold in half. Which is why, no doubt, someone with a taste for the obvious suggested the need for the disclaimer.

I wonder what sort of protection they had in mind. Protection from nuclear fallout? "Do not use as a motorbike racing helmet"? "Offers only meager protection from the legal profession."

Council Committee Room

Two hours unnecessarily spent in a committee room at Parliament. And all I have to show is this...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Set Metaphizer to "mix"

Mixed metaphor of the day goes to.... me, admittedly for a deliberate one. I was describing the challenge of doing what we'd be expected to do with only the meager resources available as "making a silk purse from the smell of an oily rag". Not my best, but not bad...

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Moving forward into the future"

... is a phrase I heard many times today. To be fair, I hear it a few times almost every day, and it never fails to give me the complete and utter shits. "Moving forward into the future"?! What the fuck??

The existence of a future is inevitable, at least as far as I know, or indeed to anyone who isn't taking anti depressants or believes they will be rapturized in a glow of holy light. To get to the future I just have to wait. No moving forward, backwards or any other direction necessary. Just sit still and wait. Try it - go on.

See? The future arrived without any moving forward into it. Now try it backwards. Still works...

The next person who says "moving forward blah blah blah" in earshot will get a lusty round of me singing "I'm walking backwards for Christmas" by Spike Milligan, which makes slightly more sense to me than moving forward into the future. And yes, that's despite Article 117b(ii) of the Geneva Convention which prohibits me from singing within 500 metres of a populated area.

OK, rant dispensed, today's highlight was sitting unexpectedly in a meeting with three Ministers, half a dozen mayors and hearing the word "Winkipop" uttered by a Minister in reference to a court case. You can only smile. And repeat: "Winkipop". "Winkipop." Wonderful....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Daylight savings begins

Sunday night, the first night of daylight savings. Work seems to be going surprisingly well - I usually feel things are out of control, but I seem to be on top of things at the moment. Let's see how long that lasts. It helps (unfortunately) that I spent a couple of hours working today; partly in the office, partly at home, but I did manage to spend much of the day at Chez Thorn. Completed another Myers-Briggs test (third in 18 years; not too bad I guess), made dinner for all (Vietnamese chicken and corn soup) and started thinking about my next house move.

I will miss here (a little), and I will miss the peace, but some things are worth a little chaos.

Last week I gave a presentation (see here) of which some video evidence was created. A few seconds to remember the gig...

I spent an hour today editing the first draft of the document I'm talking about in the video, and preparing a presentation on our latest data. Lots of work still to be done...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Name change

After F made the suggestion, I've decided to just accept the compliment and rename this "Urbane Scrumping". So there.

Thursday night

...and I'm stuffed. Home late, delivered curry. A day debating the relative merits of projects from within my own division. How do I compare transport social policy (ie transport disadvantage) with the need to make our transport network more sustainable? And first thing in the morning I'm expected to talk about how we make Melbourne safer.

Can I have a moment to think about these things?