Friday, December 29, 2006

After weeks of hot weather, bushfires around the State, etc, we had... *drum roll please* SNOW! Yes, it snowed on Christmas day!!! In case you don't believe me, here's some photographic evidence *lol*

Quite possibly the best Christmas EVER. Okay, so most people in the Northern Hemisphere probably aren't that impressed by there being snow on Christmas day, but for the Southern Hemisphere, it's not bad. Especially since we'd been having 40 degree + temperatures in the weeks prior :-p

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas?!

Got the fright of my life this afternoon when I heard fire sirens screaming down the road. Oh sweet Lord, bushfires? House burning down? Kitten stuck in a tree?

No, it was just the fire people coming around with someone dressed as Santa giving out lollies. Apparently this is an annual tradition.

All I wanted to do was say, "Ho ho ho this you bastards! You nearly gave me a heart attack!" (insert throwing something between the "bastards!" and "You...").

Still, it's not a good idea to annoy the fire people and the volunteers for the CFA have been doing an absolutely amazing job battling the bushfires that have been burning for weeks now in the State's north-east. So there was no throwing of any objects, just as close to a smile and a wave as I could muster following a mild cardial infarction.

But I ended up getting talking to the next door neighbours who were equally freaked out by the whole sirens-screaming-lights-flashing thing and that was very interesting - especially discussing the fire situations, etc around the area.

And now I'm baking a cake for them and will pop over with it once it's cooled and iced. So very domestic.

Anyhoo, merry Christmas everyone! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Last night I got to sit on Santa's lap at the work Christmas party AND got a present! Yay me! Although it's kind of surprising to get called up the front and get one of the "joke" presents, but not in a bad way.

It was a tin of all of this paper plane making stuff (in commemoration of the paper plane making adventures that have continued throughout the year). So I'll have to bring it along at the beginning of next year and have a bash at making the planes it contains.

Hopefully these ones might make it across the road... Failing that, the flight capabilities of the tin could always be tested :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm thinking about a new look for new year.

Not a trashy one.

And provided the bushfires don't come and burn everything to a crisp, including me, as the predicted map is showing them moving to around only 30kms away. Argh! But yes, a new look. Possibly something involving cutting my hair.

But then Woosy would kill me if I cut my hair.

Dead is not the kind of new look I want to go for, naturally. Especially dead with short hair. So maybe it'll just be a clothing overhaul or something like that. Plus exercising more, eating more sensibly and getting more sleep.

My gosh it sounds like new year's resolutions!

Quick! Hide!!
Wir lassen nie vom Suchen ab, und doch, am Ende allen unseren Suchens, sind wir am Ausgangspunkt zuruck und werden diesen Ort zum ersten Mal erlassen.
- TS Eliot, Little Gidding, No. 4 of 'Four Quartets'

I wonder whether the answers we're searching for are the ones that have been staring us in the face the entire time, the ones we first explored days, weeks, months or years ago, but never understood them because they're the ones that are the simplest.

Instead, we struggle and search and continue in the hunt in the belief that the simple thing or answer or whatever it may be can't be right simply because it's simple.

When on the verge of maturity, Hercules was faced with a choice between the two paths branching off the one track. Pleasure, who promised instant gratification of all the desires in life (I guess you could compare it to following the Cyrenaic or Epicurian schools of philosophy), vs Virtue, who promised an upstanding life ending in immortality (think of Aristotle's position on such matters). Hercules chooses Virtue.

Obviously we all get to choose which way we'll go when we get to that point of making such choices in life.

But once you choose the path, what about the million other little potential paths that branch from it? And do you find that the ultimately lead you back to the beginning once more, where you finally understand and "know" it for the first time?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My officemate is leaving next year (cue violins as rendered by a Yamaha keyboard from the early 1990s). Although initially I didn't really want to share an office, it's become something I've really enjoyed. For example, this year my officemate and I have:

> Done a crazy amount of work, so quit yer whinging about any of the following, which occurred during breaks, lunch or after work had finished in the case of the paper planes...

> Made paper planes and had competitions to see how far we could throw them out the window at lunch and leaving times.

> Thrown bouncy balls around (and lost one down the drain across and down the road after throwing it out the window - let that be a lesson to you about the dangers of drains when it comes to bouncy balls!).

> Generally had insane amounts of laughter, doing odd things like blu-tacking a map to the ceiling and various other random stuff that's provided some laughs (including the purely childish persuit of hunting for naughty words in cross-word puzzles - actually found a lot, too).

The office will be rather quiet sans officemate. Unless I get another officemate who also likes having a laugh, making paper planes and finds light-up yo-yos that are selling at K-mart for three cents or whatevs.

Although I guess it does mean I could play loud music...


Monday, December 18, 2006

THE shoes.

It's not all bad...

The best thing about Christmas shopping on the weekend:

Hearing the song that Paul McDermott and GUD used at the beginning of their performance of Your Jeans Are Too Tight at the Melbourne Comedy Festival a couple of years ago TWICE in one day.

The song's You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon, but at the comedy festival, they changed it to "You can be my bodyguard, I can be your long-lost pal, you can call me Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can caaaaall me Al... Qaeda!" followed by one of the guys in GUD warbling "I gave Osama a 69!" to the tune of Summer of '69.

Of course, it was just the normal version on the radio, but it still made me smile to myself as the memories emerged and the words to Your Jeans Are Too Tight popped up from somewhere in the back-catalogue of my memory.

Ahh, maturity, forsooth thou art on holidays for the Silly Season.

Merry Crasscommercialisationmas!

I bought two dresses in two days over the weekend.

Those who know me would know that I'm unlikely to buy two dresses in two years. But I was out doing last-minute Christmas shopping (isn't it always the way) and a cute dress caught my eye. The work Christmas party is coming up this week anyways, so it was as good an excuse as any.

Then I spotted (*teehee* punny, they were polka-dotted anyways *ahem*) another super-cute cocktail dress that involved polka-dots. In a moment of insanity I didn't buy it, but regretted it as soon as I got home. Especially when I tried on the dress I had bought and it gave me the hips of an ancient fertility goddess.


So fast forward to the next day, I returned, bought the dress and the rest as they say is soon-to-be-history. I figure the first dress will look better when I lose more weight (hopefully reducing the "This dress turns my hips into a symbol of ancient fertility, bow before me if you don't want the crops to fail and your sperm count to drop to astoundingly low levels!" element).

Although knowing me, I probably won't end up wearing it, but will go with the dress I bought the weekend before, even if it shows rather a bit too much cleavage. Then again, maybe not.

It would never match the zebra-print shoes I bought and I have dreams of making a gorgeous glamclash between them and the black-and-white dress, combined with a vintage white Oroton handbag and cute little 3/4 length cardi from Supre.

In a nut-shell, Christmas shopping was good.

Apart from the crowds, seeing a couple in a screaming argument in the shopping centre about him sleeping with one of her friends, parents with those hideous prams the size of a small family car who act like they own the store (and nearly knocked over an elderly lady who obviously wasn't walking fast enough for one parent), loud and poorly-sung Christmas carols blasted over the speakers, etc.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Here's a llama, there's a llama

I meant to post this during the Second Test at the Adelaide Oval, but forgot about it 'til I was reading the commentary on the Baggy Green site today... Oops! This is commentary from the site from the match:

Leroy writes: "Does Anderson have photos of Duncan Fletcher with a llama or something like that???? If not, how does he keep getting picked? He is custard." I take objection to that. My father-in-law breeds llamas and they are very choosy animals.
140.6 Giles to Warne, no run, solid defensive shot to end an over that started with promise and ended with a return to dullness
140.5 Giles to Warne, no run, Warne steps back and thumps that straight to Strauss at cover
140.4 Giles to Warne, no run, wide, Warne hips more than pads that one away
140.3 Giles to Warne, no run, half step and blocked
140.2 Giles to Warne, no run, back to the pad work
140.1 Giles to Warne, 2 runs, Good lord ... drugs-test those drinks ... Warne takes a pace down the track and heaves Giles over cow corner
Flintoff off the field

It's the llama reference, really.

And I really have to say that the commentary on the Baggy Green site is a lot more interesting this series - whoever's doing it is doing a great job, especially if they can work in comments like that!

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself!

Last night I was watching the second part of a documentary about consumerism. The first had spent time in Russia, looking at post-Soviet spending and shopping and the second looked at Sweden. Most of it focused on H&M and Ikea, but they had a bit about ABBA!

I have a love/hate relationship with ABBA's music.

Perhaps the hate element stems from a talent show years ago in which some friends and I did what was quite possibly the worst ABBA impersonation in the entire history of ABBA impersonations. And I wore flares that I'd bought at an op-shop and were so garish they almost took your eyes out at 50 paces. Bad memories. Bad, bad memories. I still shudder every single time I hear Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. But Nida as Benny with a fake mascara beard was definitely the most fantastic bit of it.

I think the love is because their songs are so infectiously good and generally frighteningly cheerful. You can't listen to ABBA and not sing and dance along, even if you're in a vile mood. Plus it reminds me of Jules, who adores ABBA, and how much fun it was hanging out with her when I lived back in SA.

It's just that I have to have a long break between ABBA music periods in life, or the memories of no-talent night come flooding back. I burned the flares years ago, but I think the image is still burned on my brain. God, why did someone have to video that night!?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arrr, one o' them bimbos!

Argh, I hate smiling too much at strangers!

But you get caught in a cycle of smiling and nodding out of sheer politeness and somehow becoming engaged in a conversation of meaingless pleasantries, and it's like, Okay stop now, because I want to not have to talk about inane drivel with you.

Then once they've left you think, Crud, I must have seemed like a bimbo to them then but dammit my high school results were awesome and I got some great awards courtesy of doing well at uni!

But no! Instead I smile and giggle and feel like what Mrs Slocombe would describe as "Arrr, one o' them bimbos!" in that episode of Grace and Favour where her husband reappears years after popping down to Sainsburys to get some slightly salted butter.

*flicks hair and does silly girly giggle*

Stars in their eyes...?

For some random reason, I was thinking about the whole celebrity crush thing earlier today, and remembered a couple of the guys I thought were soooo cute when I was younger *lol* Looking back at it now, perhaps it's a lil frightening to think back to who you thought was all that and a packet of cheese and onion Smiths crisps, but what the hey, it's amusing enough. So here's the ones I can remember from my teenage years:

I was 13 I think, and there was The Fat of The Land. And the clip for Breathe that made my young innocent mind plan covering my bedroom walls with posters of The Prodigy and began my fascination with piercings (thank-you, Keith Flint). I remember having a pic of Maxim with metal teeth and coloured contacts in my school diary, courtesy of Amy (muchos gracias, and that reminds me, I have to send the wedding pix out!). But yeah... I thought he was gorgeous. Although that might just have been because I really liked how he looked in the Breathe clip.

Adam Rickitt
I had posters from Bliss mag of him adorning the bedroom walls as a teen. Apparently he's into politics now. Conservatives or something in the UK, but he used to be on Corronation Street and Bliss had him a lot in there. That was while I was in the fancying guys with floppy blonde hair combined with phenomenal muscles phase, I guess. But look at him! How could that not be what teenage girls would swoon over and then immediately vote into parliament, if they had the chance to vote? You should see him without a shirt (and believe me, in Bliss you definitely would). In the immortal words of pretty much any character in Carry On films played by Sid James, "Corrrrrr!"

Gedeon Burkhard
I blame Komissar Rex for this entirely. Of course he was just playing a character who was gorgeous, intelligent, witty and solved all the crimes and caught all the criminals with the uber-genius of the crime bustin' canine, Rex. But you do get the feeling that he's intelligent and witty in real life.

Tobias Moretti
Also from Komissar Rex. And I still think he's gorgeous, so it was amazingly odd to see him in the Hitler movies SBS had on recently where he was Hitler and I'm sitting there thinking, "No, no, this is wrong, Hitler isn't meant to be played by a hot person!" But yes, he's tall, dark and handsome, which seemed to become the kind of guy I preferred after the teenage-girls-prefer-boyband-style-blondes phase (see: Rickitt, Adam).

Ahh, the follies of youth. Followed by the follies of being in your 20s. Then the 30s. Then middle-age follies and my gosh, an entire life-time full of 'em! Huzzah!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gluten-y on the Bounty?

The Family is coming for Christmas.

Providing the whole place doesn't burn down or whatevs. But yes, Christmas, family, cooking, have house clean and shoo the spiders out prior to Jesus' non-birthday birthday. Oddly, I found two big black spiders in the kitchen on Saturday (in the wee hours of the morning), which was rather random.

I think big black spiders love me or something. I don't love them, so they died. Probably painfully. Not that everything I don't love dies, just to clear that up before y'all get suspicious :-p

Anyways. The Family. Christmas. Food. Presents. Food. Dammit, food!

That's the problem, the food thing. Mum's just gotten results back that confirm her as being a full-blown coeliac. This means Christmas without the gluten. I'm a girl who likes a challenge, so this will just have to be one of the many I've taken on, I suppose. It's just fortunate that gluten-free things are not quite as revolting as they used to be.

The Woolworths gluten-free chocolate cake mix is delicious (performed a trial-run of it last Thursday), Orgran's pizza and pastry mix is fantastic (use it all the time), their lemon and poppy seed muffin mix isn't too bad and I've got gluten-free SR and plain flour of theirs to try out, as well as a bread mix. Oh, and some of their buckweat pancake mix.

I'm hoping to be able to make a gluten-free version of my amazing tastebud-orgasmic pizza. And hopefully gluten-free paforte or panatone, which would take care of the Christmas pudding thing. May even ponder making gluten-free pasta, although that's probably more work than I can be bothered with.

The major thing I've discovered with gluten-free so far is that it's often best to make things yourself if possible. This comes after extensive research combined with excessive optimism meets gluten-free pasta and some particularly vile cookies. My tastebuds still shudder at the memory. Even the birds at home wouldn't eat the stupid cookies.

Smoke drift weekend

^ This is my favourite image from all of the shots I took on the weekend, thus it getting poll position ;)

^ Friday evening, upon return from the shopping odessy (and seeing Casino Royale, which was okay on the whole and Daniel Craig was... hmm... practically edible (no, not in a cannibal/zombie way!)), the smoke haze was still around.

^ Thicker on Saturday morning - you could smell it inside and the mountain behind the house had decided that it was time to play hide and seek behind all of the smoke. These trees usually frame the mountain, but the smoke was so thick. Ugh.

^ More invisible mountain.

^ Sunday, still no view of the other side of the valley...

*sigh* I dislike the bushfire stuff. Hopefully we'll get some more rain with the cooler weather, although it looks a bit too not-rainy at the moment. And there's more hot weather predicted for Thursday (with it heating up on Wednesday prior to that - oh joy).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It could be worse. There could be zombies

Horrible weekend with high, high temperatures around Victoria, along with the bushfire things (really it's kind of miraculous that more didn't start considering the sort of weather we were having), too hot to sleep at night, rather worried about the whole north-easterly winds blowing fires somewhat this way stuff, etc.

Although we did end up having a cool change this afternoon. But no rain. Yet? Hopefully there'll be some with it. Got so much more cleaning up around the yard to do now - the change brought strong winds from the south-west, which in turn brought down bark, leaves, etc and a branch that's lodged in a tree and I have to work out how to get that down...

However, to remind myself it could be worse, I watched Shaun of the Dead (a romantic comedy, with zombies). My friend Danny always harassed me about needing to watch it because it's "brilliant," so I relented.

Not too bad, not too good, do love the British comedians in it. Nearly had nightmares about zombies, though. Argh!


New mantra: It could be worse. There could be zombies.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

And now, in happier thoughts...


This weekend's meant to be a horror weekend when it comes to bushfire weather all over the State. And I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Well, you try living in a little wooden house surrounded by big trees that shed more than their fair amount of leaf litter and so on, surrounded by wooded mountains and so on. Arrghh! *ahem*

But I feel really bad for the people who are living in areas which already have bushfires courtesy of the lightning strikes last week. It would be a total nightmare and I really hope that we get some cool weather and rain ASAP.

The Bureau of Meteorology has gotten it wrong in the past, I'm sure. In fact, I fondly recall when they have, such as the revoltingly hot predictions for 35 degree + weather in recent weeks that didn't eventuate. May it occur once more this weekend!

Extremely hot, dry and windy days are not what I'd call a highlight of Summer. Guess it's time to hunt around in the cupboard, find the Zooper Doopers (note to self: do not eat them late of a Summer's evening, as dizzying sugar high inhibits sleep), put them in the freezer and be prepared for the heat.

Although I don't know how well they'd do in fighting off fires, if fires there are. I hope there aren't, though.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

'Tis the season to be jolly!

I sit here literally crying with laughter.


This is the reason (for the season?):

Ooooh, one of my favourite topics.

And if I hear "The Little Drummer Boy" one more time in a supermarket or shopping centre, someone is going to find themselves getting "paruppapumpummed" where they least expect it.

* Posted by: sharkinfestedwaters at December 5, 2006 01:52 PM

Courtesy of Jack Marx's blog, The Daily Truth. That there is Christmas-related blog commenting gold. Possibly taking the silver and bronze too, although I don't want to get too carried away and sound like any particular swimming commentators.
Well, we've had close to two days of Kevin Rudd as opposition leader. So far he's not doing too badly, although I guess we'll see how things are going in a few month's time. I feel sorry for Kim Beazley, particularly with the death of his younger brother, but he always seemed a bit too nice for politics or something like that and generally conducted himself with dignity. Maybe that's a bit of an inditement on the way politics is conducted in Australia, I'm not sure.

But I'm hoping the new leadership of the ALP will provide the alternative that I think more and more people are looking for with next year's election starting to make an appearance on the horizon. "An alternative voice, not an echo" is what Rudd has been saying (along with things about forks in roads and bridges too far). An alternative would be nice.

No, better than nice.

I'm gagging for a party (read: ALP) to present policies in a clear, consistent and emphatic manner that are for the long-term benefit to the nation and those around it, particularly in relation to education, health care, the environment and so on. Admittedly, I would be voting Labor anyways, so all of this is probably redundant. But even people I know who are Liberal voters are starting to comment more and more often about how the current government has been failing us on so many of those fronts, as well as things like the Iraq invasion, workplace reforms, the Australian Wheat Board (who in their right mind actually believes the government knew nothing?) ("Nozzink! I see nozzink!!"), etc.

But for those who might only be thinking about voting Labor or are getting tired of the current government's policies or who just want to see something done for the future of Australia rather than a knee-jerk here-and-now Australia, this is probably the best opportunity the opposition's going to get. Here's hoping they get it right in the coming months.

In the mean time, I'll brace myself for more amusingly puerile L-plater-style ads... 'Twas good for a giggle in an at-not-with way. Although on that thought, I really hope the ALP plays the ball, not the man (to use a cliche that reminds me delightfully of the second Test win yesterday) when it comes to their advertising campaigns. So sick and tired of the smear campaign things. Much better to look to the future and what you could do than keep returning to the past to rehash what someone else apparently couldn't.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Your EQ is 147

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!
51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.
71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.
91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.
111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.
150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

I'm glad I'm not Dr Phil. I'd have to get a moustache then and Movember's over for the year :-p And also I'm female, although that hasn't stopped some in the past ;)

Monday, December 04, 2006

I think I hate TV...

My mild annoyance at Channel 10 for dicking about with Futurama in the past couple of weeks (they started allllll over from the beginning AGAIN. For the THIRD time) has graduated to hatred today as they've taken Futurama out of regular showing and replaced it with The Simpsons, according to the TV guide for the week to come.

Not that I don't mind Simpsons, it's just that I preferred Futurama.

And I'm not fond of them shuffling Simpsons to put in reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, which is one of the top-raters on my "most despised television show" list. Oh, and then there's the return of Australian Princess, the viewing pleasure of which will be equivalent to rubbing sandpaper over your eyeballs.

Of course I'm sure Channel 10 will realise what this means. Oh yes... I'm going to BUY THE FUTRAMA DVDs! HA! *ahem* Just like pretty much every other Australian who is utterly, utterly sick of what happens with the schedule relating to their favourite shows...

So, in short, I hate you, Channel 10. And now it's not just because of The Wedge, Australian Idol or a myriad of "reality" shows that were cute enough when they first occurred, but now are so grating that the prospect of another number of months of Big Brother makes me want to throw slippers at the TV.

But the good thing that will come from it is being able to watch That 70s Show on Channel 7 instead. So in some ways, I suppose I can say, well played Channel 10.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I decided to attempt some ikebana yesterday afternoon with pieces of Japanese maple I'd hacked off the plant by the driveway.

Can't say it worked... So obviously I haven't inherited my grandmother's ikebana skills. Dammit. Although it is somewhat harmonious and pleasant.

Why is it that the things that often look so simple and uncomplicated are sometimes the most difficult, involved and complicated things?


Friday, December 01, 2006

Finally bought some proper Christmas decorations to replace the chocolate ones, which are now decorating a bottle, oddly enough.

And you wouldn't believe it. JB Hi-Fi had managed to screw the order up for my copy of Volkerball, so that makes THREE weeks in a row of attempting to obtain a copy, but not succeeding. I guess they say that you need to keep on keeping on and whatnot, but this is getting ridiculous.

The lady I'd talked to last week about it and confirmed specifics with her then about what exactly it was that was on order and so on was there again today and tried to encourage me to just take the copy they had there, which didn't have what I wanted, or they could oh-sigh-this-is-sooooooo-hard-"order-a-copy-in-for-you," which I wanted to say, "Yes, that is what I'd originally asked," but I bit my momentarily-acid tongue.

Maybe that would have been a solution, but I was in a sleepy-headachey-tired mood and wasn't going to just be fobbed off and said ordering a copy in would be fine, thank-you.

And to celebrate it being the first day of Summer, we've had something like 48 bushfire things around the State, including one not too many kilometres from here. Hmm. Joyous rapture that Summer shall be.

Plus Red Cross guy with a fauxhawk liked my Astroboy shirt, which is about three years old and I bought it in SA, and was asking where he'd be able to get one. But I think he just wanted donations.


Although I don't like the flammability of the area, I do like the birdlife around here. And we have echidnas. And wombats, which remind me of grumpy footstools. But here's a kookaburra. Isn't he cute :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Things not to say in the office (part one)

One of my friends at work was just in my office, talking about being still single and I'm like, "We could get you a Russian mail-order husband!" Naturally, she's like, "Hmmm..." I said, "Just imagine it, it'd be like, 'Hello my name is Vladimir, I speak no inglis, but I drink vodka. We make the sex now?'"

She cracks up laughing, others stare at us in a bemused fashion. But it was amusing, all things considered, in a Borat kind of way (plus I'm good at my Eastern European accent thing).

Russian slang for the day:
Амбал (noun, m.) [Ambal]
Big, strong and usually not-too-bright guy, often a bit intimidating. It was initially the Ossetian word for “Hero, warrior.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"I'll never forget the first time I got the keys to the family couch" - Arj Barker

Watching the finale of The Glasshouse.

I shall miss it and I hope that the ABC comes up with another enjoyable, hilarious, satyrical show to replace it. If I don't get my fix of humorous political bashing every week, I'll have to cry. Where else would you find out that John Howard has the nickname of Bonsai?

But really, we do need some humour about politics. Because it is rather depressing otherwise, all things considered.

*bwahahaha* Arj Barker: "I lost my virginity on a couch. Then I found it a couple of years later. It had fallen down the back..."

I *heart* Arj Barker.
I found it interesting to read this morning about another exiled Russian having traces of the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 (210-Po) found in his office in London, which was the same element that killed Alexander Litvinenko (Radioactive traces found in office of another Putin critic by Sandra Laville and Tania Branigan).

*dons lab coat and chunky glasses*

There are 34 isotopes to Polonium, which is more than any other element - perhaps you could say it's showing off or something... The 210-Po isotope is highly radioactive and toxic (more poisonous than cyanide), and is classed as an "alpha emitter" - it gives off alpha radiation. This means it has to be ingested, inhaled or absorbed to do damage, but then you only need 0.12 of a microgram when ingested for it to be lethal (and even less if inhaled), plus it sticks around in the human system for up to 50 days. If you have enough curies of it together, it'll give off a blue glow (making an attractive and interesting centrepiece for your next romantic dinner...).

Earlier this year I watched a documentary about Lab X in Russia, which focused on the ways in which poisons produced there had been used in the assassinations or attempted assassinations of politicians, journalists, business people, spies and dissenters in the former USSR, such as the ricin poisoning in 1978 of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, and also more recently with events like the attempted poisoning of Viktor Yuschenko prior to the 2004 Ukrainian elections.

In the documentary, brief mention was made of a journalist or political opponent who died of poisoning following exposure to radioactive materials. But where would this guy have been exposed to the radiation was the puzzle. It was found that he'd been mailed things in which the KGB had put radioactive dust. Opening the envelopes saw the dust fall out and settle around his office, he and some other people who worked in the building inhaled it...

Similarities? Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

There are no holidays in the fight against evil

In homage to Get Smart, I have named my claw hammer "The Craw!"

Maxwell Smart: "Well, well, if it isn't my old friend the Craw."
The Claw: "Not the Craw, the Craw!"

Why do I have a hammer? Well, apart from all of the day-to-day things that hammers are useful for, the desk chair keeps playing up and I have to bash a bolt thing back in every few days or so (it's missing a nut...).

The instructions on The Craw! are fantastic, too. It has a picture of what looks like a demented jellybean accompanied by the words: Warning - protect your eyes - wear safety goggles. This tool is intended only for driving and pulling common and finish nails. The face may chip if struck against any striking tool. Hardened nail chisel or any hard object possibly resulting in bodily injury.

While I'm thinking of Get Smart, here's something that made me think of the AWB kerfuffle:

Senator: Mr. Smart, how many arrests did Control make last year?
Maxwell Smart: I don't know.
Senator: Who's the number one man in your organization?
Maxwell Smart: I don't know.
Senator: How many cases were assigned to Control last year?
Maxwell Smart: I don't know.
Senator: What would you do if you were fired, Mr. Smart?
Maxwell Smart: They can't fire me. I know too much.

You too can be an impressive mastermind!

This morning, thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald, I discovered the CIA personality quiz, according to which I am "a Impressive Mastermind (or maybe just a little bit worried that they haven't made it "an Impressive Mastermind"). It was good for a giggle.

But I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or not. Typically the word "mastermind" is used in conjunction with words such as "criminal." And the website also doesn't specify whether or not two of my favourite objects - shoes and phones - would be combined ;)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Random rambling musings on nothing much

On the weekend I attempted to get my copy of Volkerball, but it hadn't been delivered so I get to return to the shops next weekend (oh, consumerism, how thou dost tempt me!). As I was down there anyways, I figured I'd have a look around to see if a good Christmas present could be found for my Dad.

There's the BBC Charles Dickens collection for all of $200. Having just paid home and contents insurance, that was a mild "Eek, no, maybe think about it" moment. The Mozart 100 was $90. Also another think about it moment. So I'm still thinking about it, knowing that he'd really enjoy either of them and I'm leaning towards the Dickens collection, as I know how much he enjoys Dickens.

In the meantime, I found myself a copy of Alain de Botton's Essays on Love, which I purchased and am somewhat disappointed with in some respects (perhaps I wish that there were more philosophical angles). But it's a good book, as are all of his other books. Speaking of books, I must stop adding to my ever-increasing library of more than 700.

Also browsed through the recipe section of the ABC and then stumbled upon the diet books. There was the one about how French ladies don't get fat (au contraire, may we say, but perhaps they just mean the ones from Paris). Although it's been around for ages, I haven't looked at it yet, and took the chance to do so. Makes sense, really. But then really what doesn't make sense about eating sensibly and getting enough exercise? Somehow the whole French thing reminded me of a book of French cookery I found in Borders back in SA, which was an orgastic festival of meat, fat, more meat, more fat and a whooooooooooole lot of creamy things.

Then today I found this:

I never understand why people get so excited over raw diet things. It's like they're suspiciously joyous, trying too hard to sound like they're having a faaaaaaaaantastic time with the mung beans while all they want is some chocolate.

Although raw foods are great, I don't think I could do it for more than a week as a detox. Plus I like hot food, especially in Winter. I cannot imagine coming home of a cold, dark evening with wintery blasts coming directly off the Antarctic at a temperature that would make a penguin grimace and partaking in a salad.

The lipgloss tragedy!

Anyone who knows me will possibly know I'm a slave to lipgloss. Well... Really more like an addict. I find it hard not to buy lipgloss. I think I own at least 50 different types, all in various places around the house, with five here on my desk at work. Open any handbag and there'll be a lipgloss lurking in there.

So it was tragic this morning when I was hunting around in my bag to find that one of my lipglosses had uncapped itself and squeezed out over things in the bag over the weekend. Ugh. It would have to have been one of the sticky ones, too.

You Are Chocolate Caramel Kiss Lip Gloss

Saying that you're one of a kind is ... well ... an understatement.
You're unusual, quirky, wacky - and you love to challenge people.

And you are a total trendsetter. Your friends are quick to copy your fashion and music tastes.
Which is why chocolate caramel is your perfect flavor. It's as rare and outrageous as you are.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Walking down the street today was bizarre.

I had three car loads of random guys honk their car horns and wave vigorously at me while on the way to vote, then two more on the way back from it. Other guys driving past stared, too, including two driving a ute who pointed.

Maybe they were just excited about it being election time or something.

And then in the supermarket, a guy almost ran his trolley into the shelves because he spent the time walking down the aisle staring at my chest.

Okay, so I had a bit of cleavage happening today, but I seriously didn't think it had such amazing power! But I felt cute *tosses hair and does a ditzy smile* Either that or I had something truly horrendous goin' on like a psychotic monkey on my head and they were honking their horns and waving to alert me to it.

Pretty sure it wasn't that, seeing as there weren't any monkeys on my head at all today. Nor have there been in the past or future or present.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Mr Hell, do you even know what an election is?" "Why yes..."

Election tomorrow here in the glorious Bushfire State, Victoria (I think they should change it to that on numberplates).

How to vote, eh! Wait, that's a Queensland expression there and I've only been to Queensland a couple of times in my life, the last being when I was 12. So moving right along... Currently the political advertising that I do have is on the floor in the toilet, which may or may not be construed as being indicative of what I think of the current state of things in the State.

> Family First? No. They use the words "family values" too much, and "family values" is rarely an inclusive term. Although I haven't received any political advertising from the party, so that could be a point in their favour (ie, they won't be last).

> Independent? Dunno. Probably won't put them last, but have no idea who they are, what they're standing for or anything like that. They might want to bring back semi-automatic weaponry for all or something.

> Which brings me to The Nationals? HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELL no. I was reading the mail-out from the local candidate this morning and The National's "suggested method for voting" or whatever you'd call it with how they think you should number your votes on your paper. Their only mentioned policies seem to be bashing the Greens (verbally, not physically) because the Greens think hunting animals isn't a nice thing while The Nationals do. They'll be last on my vote thingy due to that (aka: they can go get bent).

> The Greens? I've received a couple of pieces of advertising from them. Nothing astounding. The local candidate has a beard. And is male, in case you were wondering. But meh... Although I like Bob Brown, so maybe they'll get a second or third placing.

> The Liberals? Actually, the local candidate has ticked me off because I've receieved about three billion pieces of advertising from him within the past couple of weeks, all saying THE SAME STUFF IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND I DON'T CAAAAAAAAAAAARE! I can read. Hmph. I'd rather he spent money on doing things than posting out crap to me. Especially when it all says the same thing. But I've warmed to Ted Baillieu surprisingly. So I'm not sure.

> Labour? Probably will go that way. I like what the local candidate has done for the local area, and continues to do. Plus I don't mind Steve Bracks. Although he's not as fun as Mr Baillieu.

Das Experiment

Lately I've been on a German kick, so I'm watching Das Experiment at the moment, which is based on the Stanford Prison Experiment.

Although it's just in the early stages, you do get the feeling that there's going to be death involved, possibly the nice kiosk owner who believes it's important to have a dream in life.

It's amazing how inhuman people can become in a short time given power over others to use and abuse; when someone not drinking their milk provokes rage in another.

So is it that people are pushed into a position of "evil"? Or is it that the "evil" elements are always there and it's just that being in our every-day social situations where we're constrained by others and social mores that keep the "evil" elements in check?

I mean, look at Abu Grahib, the abuses there against prisoners by those who were meant to guard them... I tend to think that people are naturally screwed up. The bad always gets carried away, leads on and abuses others, while those who want to do the right thing struggle to put the reigns on it.

Humanity rarely seems to win out over the group psychology. Is the human condition really conflict? Why are there some people who are just natural creeps who'll abuse others and hardly anyone will have the balls to stand up to them because it's all just too hard to go against the flow and make a difference?


It's such a horrible movie. But it's an important one, too. It's one where you feel the knot of horror in your stomach and throat knowing that unlike some movie where there's a monsterous creature, the only monsters in reality are humans; that these things happen; that there's Guantanamo and Abu Grahib and a multitude of prisons where inmates are abused.

Of course there are a lot of wonderful people in the world. But do you ask yourself what would happen if you were given the sort of power that could lead to such abuses? Would you treat those you have power over with respect and dignity? Would you be able to trust yourself?

And yes, it was the kind kiosk owner who was murdered.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!

Set up the Christmas tree last night, pulled all of the decorations off of it tonight and re-did them. Plus I found some of the remaining chocolate decorations from last year that neither Derek nor I nor any of the people we'd shared them with had devoured.

Not eating them, tho. Even if I fall into a desperate need of chocolate. Scaly white formerly milk chocolate is not at all a good thing. I'd go so far as to say it's REALLY bad.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!

Instead of wind, we had...


*imagine that said in the voice of the character who had the power of fire in Captain Planet, whose name I think was Wheeler and he had that thing with the girl called Linka who did the whole wind thing where they argued but secretly/not-so-secretly liked each other and shouted at each other occasionally while everyone else stood around thinking "Oh yeah, they'll be snogging soon. And that'll be awkward..."* *

Although we also did have wind. And the most miniscule amount of water. Probably some earth, not entirely sure about heart.

It got really windy so I went out to get the clothes off the line and as I was rushing about doing so, I noticed a glow coming from the direction of the mountain behind my house. A kind of flickering glow. And then the sounds of the fire sirens.

Oh rapture.

*sigh* So fortunately the CFA people got that under control quickly, but it was still somewhat scary with the crazy weather we've had lately. And I've decided that ice-blocks don't balance out being crawled on by a spider or getting frightened by unexpected bushfires.

*caresses insurance renewal forms* My precious...

Now I've got the Captain Planet song stuck in my head! Eek!

*Correction duly noted! ;) Thanks Kaisa!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I don't think we're in Kansas now

I shall call it Electrocute.

We're starting to get bad weather. The sort of bad where one of my friends lives a little further down the line has described it as being "pretty f**king bad" weather. As he's generally the master of understatement, the weather that's coming must be of the variety of which he speaks. Or equivalent to what will see us impersonating The Wizard of Oz.

Trees down across roads, etc. Something to look forward to. And now the wind has started to roar with a vengance and at 10.13pm with the thump of a large branch falling somewhere around here, I think I want to go hide in bed. Not that it's safer there than in the lounge, but it's bed. And bed is good.

The soft spidery caress

While sitting at my desk this morning, I noticed something that felt almost like fingertips being trailed up my calf from my ankle. An unusual sensation for the work setting... I pushed back my chair, stuck out my leg and what should be on it causing that deliciously feathery sensation but a large, black spider?


With heart pounding (because this wasn't one of the not-so-poisonous spiders), I flicked it off, hoped it wouldn't take an opportunity to bite, kicked my shoe off and squished it to death with said shoe.

This week just keeps getting better and better *insert appropriate eye-rolling moment* But it could have been worse. It could have decided I was a tasty snack object instead of something to simply use as a climbing frame to drape web over.


And oddly enough, my first instinct was to reach for my camera and take a photo of it. But sense took over and I went down the path of relegating it from an is to a was before lunch.

Interesting site on spiders in Victoria. Interesting in that I'm so glad I don't see these daily kind of way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eyes in the back of my head? Hmm...
My blonde streak has dominated my weekend.

Had blonde moments at the train station on Friday, realised I'd totally forgotten to apply for a postal vote, have to find out where I get to do the voting thing now for the weekend, etc.

And then to top it off, I mowed a hole in a down pipe at home.

Yes. Mowed. Down pipe. Hole therein.

Stupid whipper snipper having stronger snippery things than I'd suspected. Stupid me for not being careful while whipper-snipping.

My life could occasionally just be a Funniest Home Videos, minus the male groin injuries :-p

Friday, November 17, 2006

When will I be famous?

This afternoon while out shopping, the sales assistant at the Body Shop gave me a long hard looking at and then said, "I'm sure I know you. Are you on TV? Perhaps from Neighbours or something?"

I got kind of embarrassed and blushed (and I think I only blush about twice a year, oh joy for it being in a shopping centre) and denied being a tv person, but she still thought I looked familiar. It was a little odd... But kind of fun. Drewsy and I have been joking about what I should do with the fame. Maybe adopt a few orphans ;)

And now I have luscious Body Shop mango shower gel and soaps that smell good enough to at least lick (perhaps not eat, though). And I'm wondering whether it's a good thing or not to be thought of as someone potentially TV-worthy, but in a Neighbours kind of way? o.0

Saw The Wrong Man again too... Damn, it's so good! And Bruce Willis is so eye-candy-worthy (plus Josh Hartnett, of course).