Monday, July 30, 2007

Random ramblings

Are Australians stupid enough to vote for Howard again?

The topic is one that depresses me. Was talking about it with a friend on Friday night and we both concluded it was entirely likely he'd get another term. I was looking at the Oz Politics blog earlier, with stats for how a December election could see a return of the coalition government.

And then I did some technorati poking around concerning the Dr Mohamed Haneef matter.

Not a fan of Bolta, but I found his blog about "Andrews only gets worse" to be kind of interesting. And some of the comments on the blog about how Haneef's guilty until proven innocent and all people should be deported/locked up/etc if they have relatives who do naughty things, how all the bleeding heart lefties will just have to wait 'til the bombs start goin' off in Orrrstraaaaaaaaya... etc makes me think, "Yes, there are still enough people out there who are willing to defend the Howard government to the death over matters that are clearly incorrect, abuses of personal freedoms and locking people up for indefinite periods. Would they feel as comfortable if the same were done to them?"

It seems like there's still a lot of rednecks and racists out there who are willing to believe that someone's a terrorists simply because they are Muslim or of "Arabic appearance." And they'll support the government in doing the same. All the while saying how Kevin Rudd is just as bad for not condemning it - apparently in their mind it makes sense to support the government for their handling of the Haneef thing while being critical of the Labor party for stating they'd reserve judgment until more information was made available (which it still hasn't been, it would seem).

On the other hand, Tim Dunlop's blog entry was pretty good, about the unanswered questions in the Haneef case.

Anyways, away from blogging and in the news, the PM's not going to apologise, saying we're better safe than sorry. Alexander Downer said it showed the system worked well. Kevin Andrews says Dr Haneef's departure to India - following his release from detention and visa cancellation - has heightened suspicions about the doctor's character. This is all in spite of him being cleared of chargers on Friday by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution, Damien Bugg QC (who said that in his view, a mistake had been made). Oh, and the PM's also saying how he's not distancing himself from Andrews following the case (which is probably making a few people recall the Brian Burke "scandal" days) ("No option but to oust the minister" by Hedley Thomas in The Australian).

Andrews is currently making Amanda Vanstone look like a bonza immigration minister, though. Although that said, I kind of liked her somehow. She was a strong individual, had a sense of humour and generally spoke her mind. To restore Haneef's visa would admit Andrews has made a big error. So he's talking about having secret documents, of which he wishes to release "selected" pieces. That doesn't inspire me with much confidence in itself. Perhaps because the government currently never seems to want to say "Sorry" for anything and just try to find some way or another out of doing so.

You don't defeat terrorism by throwing out principles that have been fought for. It's ironic to think that the terrorists work to cause chaos and thus put a curb on exercising personal freedoms, and then in reaction to terrorists, that's just what governments have been doing in regard to the personal freedom side of things. More monitoring, more desires to ban things, more laws to take away freedoms... (Just to be absolutely clear, terrorism is very wrong and there do need to be protections in place, but not those that come at the expense of the innocent - hiding the abuse of human rights, illegal activities and so on behind the veil of "Oh, this will protect you all from terrorism so shut up and just accept it" is just cowardly).

And apparently in the minds of some, thinking that the processes of law need to be just and fair and human rights abided by makes you a "bleeding heart lefty," ignoring the fact that innocence until proven guilty is one of the tenants of western justice, simply because they wish to pus their own agenda and prejudices against people of certain faiths or ethnicities or political persuasions. Instead, they want to say he's guilty by association, so that means everyone in the world has the potential to be guilty of something due to being associated with others. Everyone has a black sheep in the family...

But at least I guess Dr Haneef wasn't arrested by ASIO and held by them. In that case, he wouldn't be able to tell anyone about it, and anyone reporting on it could be in trouble. The laws also allow ASIO to compel testimony, apparently. Which probably involved being strapped to a chair in a room while Rolf Harris's greatest hits are piped in through speakers. Frightening thought.

Domo arigato, Mr Roboto?




Some random drawings from Friday morning on the bus and train - robots for some reason. Did I know somehow Futurama was going to be back on TV, STARTED FROM THE BEGINNING ALL OVER AGAIN (how I hate you, Channel 10). The bus was packed with kids from one of the high schools going to some careers expo thing or something and a number of elderly ladies. And a woman in front of me who sang along to every song on the bus radio.

Public transport is amusing, though. You never know what you'll end up seeing or hearing or whatever.

While waiting for the bus later in the afternoon, I (and everyone else at the bus stop) was privy to a conversation between some girls a couple years younger than me about how someone they knew called Dale had been caught out cheating because he got gonorrhea, demanded his g/f get tested, she was clear and it all came out about how he'd been doing the nude hokey-pokey with someone else.

Everyone else at the bus stop had that sort of "I'm not listening but my gosh, this is interesting!" expression on their face. Kind of expecting it to turn up on Overheard Everywhere or something...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I glaube Ihr nicht, dass Ihr nicht traurig sind. Ich glaube Sie sind sehr traurig...
- Dr Thomas Kupfer, Der Krieger und Die Kaiserin


In the mood for German after Komissar Rex, so I dug out Der Krieger und Die Kaiserin - one of my favourite German movies. Feeling somewhat proud for not requiring subtitles, although I'm not entirely sure if that's because of the German immersion or if it's because I've seen the movie so often I know what they're saying now.

Languages really are fantastic things. One of my favourite things about German is the way they have words that sum up things we take entire phrases in English to explain. I sometimes wonder whether learning more languages opens you up to more possibilities for understanding the world around you, not simply because you develop an ability to communicate with more people, but because your own mind is expanded by concepts often unexplored within your own language.

If that makes any sense at all... It is kind of late, sleep's calling and the guy who plays Bodo (Benno F├╝rmann) is distractingly gorgeous.

A case of the vapours

Vapour trail above a house in Honiton.

We stopped in Honiton after a long, long day of adventuring. I objected at first - it meant we were going to get back to Winchester incredibly late - but ultimately I had to eat my words because Honiton was lovely and the pub there, which I think was called The Red Cow, served fantastic food.

It's funny how sometimes you only realise how hungry you are after the food is in front of you. And you make a mental note to never, ever get anything at Little Chef places ever again. But the amount of food was too great even for hungry travelers who'd been out all day.

Apparently Honiton is or was rather famous for lace, and I recall it being mentioned in some of Jane Austen's work (and we went to visit her house the following morning before heading back to London). There's an airport somewhere in the vacinity these days and many contrails across the sky.

It was strangely beautiful at sunset with contrails criss-crossed over the colours nature had provided. Had to stop and take more photos, which probably added more time to our journey back. We finally arrived at Winchester around 11.30pm. After having stopped off at Stonehenge and having a rather creepy experience there.

But that's a story for another blog entry...

Slightly unhenged..?


Another Stonehenge pic, just because I can...

Have decided to return to Germany and England when the opportunity presents itself. The holidays were really enjoyable and both countries are fascinating in their own right. And the next time around, I'll make the effort to speak a lot more German (I found I really enjoyed doing it, even with the mistakes I was making - people tend to be relatively pleased you're making an effort to try using their language) and visit more places in England.

And take more photos.

Not that I didn't take enough - there's close to 2000. But you know how it is when you get home and think to yourself, "Ohh, I could have taken a few more snaps of that from some other angles." At least when the parental units send me the photos from their camera, it'll bost the photographic ranks. Plus it'll be interesting to see their take on the places we went and what we saw. Everyone has a different eye for things.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

...And Then You Die.

A friend and I wrote a poem of sorts in a Year 10 maths class one day entitled "Life Sucks And Then You Die." Each line was composed of only two words, the first of which being "Get..." and focused on what would be perhaps the average sort of life. Running from birth to puberty to childbearing to middle age to obscurity and eventual death, upon which worms would devour your earthly remains and that would be that.

Obviously, maths classes inspire those with a languages bent in a different way to those of a mathematical persuasion. And it was hard to be inspired after we had a Year 9 maths teacher who was a) not actually a maths teacher and b) about as useful as the Pope's particulars. The only thing I really remember from maths classes in Year 9 was a story about some Mount Gambier couple, which caused me to make a mental note not to date anyone who liked to dress as Superman.

Anyway.

Not to sound too pessimistic, but people expect too much of their lives. Perhaps it's because we're constantly told we can and should have it all. And if not, at least get a loan or some credit cards to be able to afford some of the money-can-buy elements of it. The perfect job that's never dull. A big house with large, airy rooms. A couple new, expensive cars. Yearly holidays to an overseas destination. A perfect partner and matching perfect children.

Reality is you'll probably be in a job that's not always the most scintillating thing going, rent for quite some time, have a second-hand car apparently made mostly from plastic and be lucky enough to use some of your four weeks annual holiday to go up the Gold Coast, where you'll find everyone else has migrated for the holidays and the children whine a lot. And they'll probably hate you for a while in their teenage years, making you wish you'd had fur-kids instead (even if they publicly groom their bits when you have visitors). All while enjoying rate rises, the way prices for fuel, food and pretty much everything have escalated and wishing for death to escape the whirl of mediocrity.

Okay, it might not be quite that bad and I am exaggerating slightly...

But why not make the most of what you have, regardless of how much or how little or whatever it is? Just enjoy life, even if you're currently in a state of being that's not quite where you thought you would be five or ten years ago. Why not just have happiness and contentment now, rather than delaying it, thinking it'll come along when you get a promotion or a new car or a bigger house. Just make the most of life. Because we all die at the end of it. And that's not going to be the most exciting part of life.

Well... It might be for others. Especially if it's Darwin Award-worthy.

You should stay away from your potential, you know. It's a lot like your bank balance - you always have a lot less than you think.
- Dylan Moran

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Was mucking around with the camera over the weekend and found some folders of effect options I'd not explored before. That's the problem with finding manual settings you like a lot, I suppose! But this photo was one of the results of an effect that chooses one colour to keep. Kinda odd, but nothing new.

And one of the other effects gave me the same paparazzi-orange skin colour as Donatella Versace. Somewhat frightening...
Is there a scale of value vs destructibility out there somewhere?

It seems as though with stockings, the more expensive they are, the easier they are to destroy. Take, for example, my brand new $20 thigh-high nice stockings. They had a ladder in them within two hours of putting them on this morning - aaaarrrrghhh! And admittedly $20 isn't terribly much to pay for stockings, but it's still not that cheap. And two hours! That's $10 an hour! Or $5 per leg, per hour. And I'm going to stop that train of thought right there because that's sounding like it's going down a strange path.

Compare that to the stockings you buy at the supermarket for a couple bucks and they're nearly indestructible. You could roll down a hill, comando-crawl through a barbedwire fence and they'd still be going strong. They end up being the kind of ones you use to whip up a child's costume for the school play, and find lurking in the back of a cupboard five years later, still intact. Although the moths have chewed through the Brillo pads in the same cupboard.

*sigh*

Guess that means it's about time to find what kind of stocking-magic the Sock Shop is currently producing again. And that's never a bad thing. Apart from for the bank balance.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Conversations with Strangers

When I was little, I never recall my parents telling me not to talk to strangers, although we did get the "Stranger Danger" talk at primary school. This instilled a knowledge of the necessity to scream loudly if anyone so much as offers you a lolly. After all, you would never know if accepting it would lead to you waking up in an ice-bath with a note thanking you for the kidney (or worse).

But lollies and "Stranger Danger" and so on aside, I've always found that conversations with strangers can be quite interesting. Some have been occasionally deeply odd, but for the most part fun.

There's something unusual, yet fascinating, about conversations that run to practically an hour long with a semi-stranger before you introduce youselves. The conversation I had on the weekend with said semi-stranger started out with the weather lately and tourism, moved to the planning potential for the local area, then through to politics, the treatment of David Hicks and Mohamed Haneef, our hopes for a change of government come the election, back to the local area and then religion (you're not meant to talk politics or religion with friends, apparently, let alone strangers, but hey, why not break with convention I say!).

And religion is where it got interesting.

Let me explain the back story as best I can. If you could just cue the soft-focus, Raoul? Thank-you...

There's a long history of religious involvement in the local area, although in recent decades that has declined, with businesses that had been run by one of the denominations in the local area closing. That happened about a decade or so ago, I believe, although I'm not entirely sure of the dates or the reasons for the closures (only moved here a couple years ago). However, in conversations with people around the area in the past, I've picked up on there being a lot of resentment about the businesses closing. It seems like the decisions were rushed, people lost jobs with short notice and although it was some time ago, there's a lot of hurt still felt by people.

Previously this topic had only come up with people who had actually been employed by the businesses or were members of the church. I'd not actually discussed it with someone who was looking at it through "external" eyes, if that makes sense, and didn't approach it with the biases of being involved in one way or another.

Apparently the resentment isn't just felt by people involved. There's still a fair amount residual resentment in the community. It meant that other businesses lost trade and closed or ran at a loss when people moved away, house prices were down, incomes disappeared, etc, and it took time to build it up again to where it is today (which is thriving, really, and with a housing market where entry-level housing costs have increased by 40% in the past 18 months).

However, this isn't my point. It's just the background to something that I don't entirely understand myself (you can stop the soft-focus now, Raoul!).

What I found fascinating in the conversation, yet also rather sad, is the way in which churches acting corporately can disappoint and hurt people who aren't members or employed by them, but those in the communities around. And then churches wonder why people are hesitant to get involved with them or flat-out dislike them. There are already lots of people out there who dislike church anyway. And an amazing number who think Christians are hypocritical jerks, utter w***ers or *whatever totally creative swearword you can come up with and insert in this space* (yet who often have friends who are Christians).

It's almost like there's an expectation that instead of doing good in the long-run, there's going to be more disappointment. Due to the way human nature is, I suppose I'm used to the concept of church people being hurt by others within churches/church administration or those who don't attend church being put off religion due to their experiences with unpleasant individuals from one denomination or the other (should we be used to that? Hmmm). But when it came to considering how churches as a corporate structure could have a strong negative impact on people not personally involved with them, it was sort of new territory - perhaps because you sort of think of church admin being removed from the vast majority of people's daily lives.

It made me wonder how churches can respond when someone feels that way. It would just seem ironic and completely trite to suggest God loves them and cares about them when churches so often haven't shown that. How is the damage done meant to be repaired? Can it be? Should churches as corporate beings be exploring relationships, thoughts and perceptions outside of what they believe to be their immediate sphere of impact (ie: church members, those with close ties)? What more do churches have to know about public relations that they currently don't? How can churches go about reconnecting with communities?

Hmm...

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Top Five Things I Love About Today


1. Snow!
Spent about an hour and a half running around in knee-deep snow this morning, hurling myself into it occasionally, taking hundreds of photos, being the only people up there for almost all of the time, falling into drifts, trees coated in snow looking like they're from a Christmas card sceen, the feeling of taking a step and sinking deep into the snow, freezing fun.


2. Hot chocolate.
Put Milo in a thermos at 7.30 this morning and it's still steaming hot right now at 12.30. The perfect thing for after an hour and a half of brrrr. Put a bit too much Milo in for the amount of water, but chocolatey goodness. Hurrah.


3. My Anorak.co.uk anorak.
It's waterproof, lightweight, traps the warmth and you don't get overheated like with normal big bouffy jackets. Plus I won it in a caption competition years ago. Yay!


4. This cute little bird.
Right at the sumit, there was this little bird. Somehow managed to catch him mid-jump. He was shivering a lot and I think was hanging around hoping for food or something like that.


5. Fire.
A nice warm fire when I get home. Mmm... Although I found that I felt less flu-y when I was out in the freezing cold. Perhaps it was hypothermia.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Compare and Contrast


One of these things is not like the other...


...one of these things just doesn't belong...


...can you guess which thing is not like the other by the time I finish this song..!

Hmmm... Still groping for an answer?

*With much thanks to Sesame Street for the song (as well as a Subway ad, I do believe, some years ago - in the time before The Biggest Loser contestants and South Park parodies about aides and weight-loss), The Age for the screen capture of John Howard, some random google image search for kittens and The Superficial for that delightful photo of Prince Charles.

**Immature, I know. But I have the 'flu and it's been a long day and it made me giggle. Did I mention the 'flu? Really need more Vicks Vapour Drops.

Lunchtime Snow


Because I am a deeply practical woman at heart, I wore knee-length, stiletto-heeled leather boots to the snow. But they were warm! And I didn't manage to fall over. There are plans to go up to the snow at some unholy, early hour on Friday to make the most of it all (and hopefully avoid being stampeded by people who also wish to partake in a wintery wonderland). More sensible shoes shall be worn for that - perhaps a flirty cocktail evening style shoe with spangles...


Apart from being able to see lots of tourists, etc, there was a fantastic amount of snow to be seen. This is looking through some gumtrees at the slopes of the next mountain over. Such a lot of snow! Are you bored of snow yet? I know I'm not ;)


On the way back, the clouds were over the other mountains with snow involvement. Disappointment! But it was good to be heading away from the freezing-ness that was back up the mountains. No gloves = fingers feeling miiiiighty frosty. Which makes taking photos an adventure.

All-new and with even more snowy goodness!


Woke up this morning to snow.

SNOW!!!

Well, not at the house although sleet fell in the night, but on the mountains behind home. Never, ever seen snow on them before. So beautiful and of course I have to whip out the camera and snap some pix through the fog. It just gets better and better as I walk up the road and see all of the other mountains across the valley coated in a thick layer of snowy goodness.


It just gets better as we get closer to work. Snow on all the mountains. Hurrah! A guy at work says that there hasn't been snow like this around here for 15 years or so. So hard to concentrate on work when there's snow to look at. Everyone's been taking photos out the windows.

Because you can never have too many photos of snow, really.


I love snow! *insert appropriate school-girl style giggle*

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


^ Camellia bush down the road. Something a little less frozen-looking than everything in the past few photo posts.

Currently feeling less wintery now the fire's blazing and it's toasty warm inside, I have a hot cup of white tea and there's a Miles Davis CD playing. Perhaps appropriate to put up a pic of a camellia, seeing how tea comes from Camellia sinensis...

Steaming hot tea always seems to make having the 'flu disappear for at least five minutes. Warmth, steam, something you can actually taste; what more could you want? Apart from the 'flu to sod off... And according to a 2004 study, white tea actually has more anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties than green tea. So maybe it is helping.

Mmmm... *sigh*

More Saturday Snow




Snow, more snow! Always with the snow!


Snow down to 500 metres or thereabouts today. Aaaaaand jolly cold, dark, freezing, etc as you'd expect Winter to be.

Also, I hate the 'flu.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A new meaning for "snowballs"




Went to the snow again this afternoon. So many people and so little snow, compared to last Friday when everything was coated in fresh, soft snow and the only other people there were two people on holidays from Brisvegas with a local friend. This time, instead of fresh powdery snow, it was slippery and trampled by the multitude of people up there (and the car park looked like it was covered with slushy, semi-frozen iced coffee. Just think of that next time you reach for the Farmers Union).

Fortunately managed to avoid falling down the mountain/into a snowdrift/etc, though, and took 100+ photos. The way I just go wild with photos may just explain how I've managed to do more than 11,000 photos since September...

While we were at the summit, the sun came out. Although it wasn't overly warm, the snow and ice on the trees immediately started to melt, dripping and sliding off and surprising unsuspecting individuals with icy droplets. I must also note now for the reference of future generations to be careful crawling through undergrowth for perfect photos. When you get poked behind the ear by a frozen twig, it's like all sorts of wrongness. Anyway. The third photo is of an icicle attached to a wattle leaf slowly melting. The sound of the droplets hitting the snow was muffled and somewhat strange.

The friend I went up with made a snowman and then started throwing snowballs at him to try to knock his head off. I managed to knock one of his arms off. She knocked the other arm off. And then I hit the snowman in his snowy groin with a snowball that stuck, giving him what looked like a rather snowy, swollen testicle. Thankfully there weren't any kiddies around at the time. Snowballs indeed.

Needless to say, it was freezing, even when the sun was out. Soooooo good to have hot chocolate and something to eat upon the return from snow adventures, and defrost by the fire.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"His birthday is on Christmas!"


There's a Kid's Club being run by one of the local churches during the school holidays here and today a guy at work and the officemate headed over there to help out with a little play sort of thing that was being put on to entertain the kids. Being a rather slow day, I decided to head over and have a field trip kind of adventure (plus kids often provide much amusement with their lack of self-editing).

The officemate got to be a Roman soldier and the other work guy was a disciple of Jesus (or something like that). We had to hide from the soldier, so were off wandering the rabbit warren-like church building with the kids being told to "Shhh! Or the soldier will hear us!" which didn't seem to bother them at all, as they all talked ten times louder. Truly a cacophony of children.

But then the Roman soldier found us (of course) and the kids all screamed. A lot. And loudly. It's kind of hard not to giggle, especially with the officemate in what could only be described as a mini-tunic over his regular clothes. Then the kids start throwing cushions and one little boy peeks out from under a table he'd wriggled under and starts screaming, "DIE! DIE! KILL! DIIIIIE! DIE!!!"

When things settle down a little, the play progresses nicely. Well, as nicely as it can with a little boy using his lanyard to wrap around his neck noose-style and saying, "I'm going to kill myself! I WILL!" which made me wonder just where on earth he'd have gotten such an idea from... And somewhat glad there wasn't a guillotine handy or something, or he'd have had his head in it going, "I'll chop my head off! I WILL!"

But yes, the play progressed nicely until question-time following it. The other work guy asks, "What do we know about Jesus?" and kids come up with a few answers, with a little girl giving a pearler of a reply: "His birthday is on Christmas!" Very cute.

Then when asked if the kids want to tell others about Jesus, they all chorus, "Nooooo!" like dutiful little atheistic sheep. Then some realise the answer's meant to be "Yeeeeeees!" and the answer slowly changes to that.

No wonder Jesus loves the little children. They're all quite sugar-high bonkers and hilarious, really!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Irrational Yard Hate

I just said to my officemate, "You've really got the hate happening today!" about something that comes from another something this morning that stemmed from something about "sex in a can" and I can't explain it.

But thinking of hate, I HATE the back yard at home.

HATE, HATE, HAAAAAAAAAAATE!!!

Well, it's mostly my fault for not being able to work on it for a couple months due to illness and surgery, then being away for nearly a month on holidays and every single weekend since returning being either insanely busy or requiring thigh-high gumboots and three anoraks just to go out on the verandah.

So let's make that about four months all up of not doing anything to the back yard to clean it up. Add to that four big gumtree branches coming down while I was away (and thankfully landing in the yard, not on the house), a couple dead treeferns, huge piles of leaves, long grass and so on and no Jamie Durie to pop 'round and neaten everything up for me... Can you understand my hate?

*sigh*

So this weekend, come rain, hail or snow I'm going to attempt to make a start on the yard. Break out the whippersnipper. Attack things with the garden shears. Assault the creeper that's come over the fence from the neighbour's. Or at least just try to get the top tier of the garden looking vaguely more sane.

And work out just what exactly I'm going to do with the enormous piles of leaves that need to be burned. Bonfire, marshmellows and coal-roasted potatoes anyone?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Grave matters, roses and cathedrals


^ The cemetery at the church in Droxford, which is the town where some of the relatives live still. It was so much fun meeting the rellies, although you have those moments prior to meeting where you kind of dread it (will they like us, will we like them, etc?), but everything works out in the end (and you feel silly about worrying because you had such an excellent time!). They took us to the cemetery to look for graves belonging to ancestors. I took a ridiculous number of photos there, but there's something enjoyable about elegantly, skillfully created and crafted tombstones.


^ Roses near the town hall in Droxford. The roses in England and Germany were astoundingly gorgeous!


^ Just a headstone at the Droxford church cemetery. We managed to find the graves of a number of relatives there from about a century ago. A little wander away from the cemetery is the place near the stream where a great-grandfather planted a chestnut tree (I think it was). Kind of strange to be in another country and see things your relatives were involved with there.


^ Winchester Cathedral from the side. The cathedral is really beautiful and is the burial place of Jane Austen. And speaking of Winchester Cathedral, Saint Swithun's day is coming up (July 15). Swithun was a bishop at the cathedral from 852 to 856 (yes, more than 1000 years ago). July 15 is meant to set the pattern for the weather for the next 40 days.

"St. Swithun's Day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain:
St. Swithun's Day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 't will rain nae mair."



^ Light sculpture in Winchester Cathedral.

Friday Snow



In between assembling an enormous pile of clothing on the lounge/dining room floor, attempting to sort out said pile of clothing and throwing bits of it out (with various comments to self, such as, "WHAT!? What is this!? ARGH!" or "Good... gracious... Formal shorts? Hello sanity??"), I managed to do some cooking.

There was an organic butternut pumpkin begging to be used, the saucy thing. So I hacked it up, boiled it and roasted it before turning it into roast pumpkin and pesto soup. Surprisingly delicious. Potatoes were also boiled and I did ponder making a cake for a while... But then got distracted by other things and cleaning.

Then I realised at about 9.30 that I hadn't made lunch for myself for the delight that is a working Monday, so I decided to make curried egg sandwiches with watercress. I never used to like watercress before The Holiday (no, not that movie, I mean my holiday that still makes me dream of being back in Germany or England - it was so fantastic it deserves caps). But then I met curried egg sandwiches with baby watercress thanks to Tesco.

I know, I know... Tesco. A supermarket. But the sandwiches from supermarkets there are surprisingly amazing (as it everything else fresh at supermarkets like Marks & Spencer - the raspberries there made me want to weep with joy). At least they offer better things to eat than places like Little Chef, which make you want to commit suicide.

We bought sandwiches, fruit, vegies and other picnic-y stuff from a Tesco on our final day in England after heading out of Winchester, looking at Jane Austen's house in Chawton, driving down narrow roads lined by tall hedges where little towns suddenly spring up around a corner to surprise you and generally being touristy. We ate the picnic in a field.

So there I am at about 10pm, making egg and watercress sandwiches and wishing I also had easy access to Wensleydale cheese and preserved carrot. You wouldn't believe how well that works together. It definitely is a myth that England doesn't have all that much fantastic food.

And I've still not finished cleaning.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A friend and I are having a discussion about people "finding" God (was He behind the curtains or in the cupboard?).

Although according to statistics released from the most recent census, the numbers of Christians in Australia is declining seriously (and our current fastest-growing religious groups are the Buddhists and Hindus, although they do only make up a very small percentage of overall belief), so you'd sort of think that He's hiding quite well if not many people have found Him.

Okay, and that's risking a lightning bolt there...

But then what I don't really understand are the people who "find" God, change completely and then rabidly attack what they used to be like when they see it in other people. For a start it seems hypocritical, and it's understandable that people won't be attracted to the judgmental sort of attitude. It's sort of like, "I've found God and now have to tell you, in bullet-point form, why exactly you haven't and you'll be going to hell!"

God does change people and bring positive influences to lives, but it sort of seems bi-polar or something like that to go from one thing to totally and utterly the opposite, and judging whatever the old self was in a very harsh manner, particularly when it's in other people. I'm not convinced it's the best way to deal with it, I guess because I think of the people that Jesus interacted with while He was on earth, the way He reached out to people and didn't treat them in a judgmental fashion.

You don't want to go back into what you used to be or do or whatever, yes, so it's best to avoid the temptation that might come with associating with whatever you used to be into. But then why go all Terminator about it in other people, telling them how dreadfully wrong/evil/etc they are instead of being like a positive influence or something of that variety?

I mean, yes, God changes people. But would He change someone into a big, hypocritical jerk??

I 'unno.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

don't kid yourself
and don't fool yourself
this love's too good to last
and i'm too old to dream

don't grow up too fast
and don't embrace the past
this life's too good to last
and i'm too young to care

don't kid yourself
and don't fool yourself
this life could be the last
and we're too young to see

- "Blackout" by Muse

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Shopping on the weekend.

Ironically, was commenting to someone last week about the horror of the 90s coming back, fashion-wise, following the terror of the 80s revival and how we couldn't be far away from oversized t-shirts to go with those disgusting things called leggings.

What should I see in Supre and Just Jeans and other places on the weekend but exactly that?! GAH!

They were acceptable back then. In the past. We don't need to bring them back. Especially not with the number of people I've seen in recent months sporting mullets. The Kentucky Waterfall is truly a terrible thing to do to your hair. This sort of thing doesn't need to come back into mainstream consciousness. I am too young for this to be happening!

I remember, thanks to the aid of photography, my crimes of leggings and oversized shirts/jumpers from the early 90s. Traumatic would be the word for it, although I was young and foolish and hadn't yet met Harpers & Queen. There are entire photo albums that are hard to look at because of the fashion crimes. This is what people who embrace leggings and oversize jumpers/shirts now are going to have to look forward to in the future.

Badness.

Anyway! I did see some good things and bought a few things too many while not finding what I'd originally set out to buy. There were cute skull and crossbone cardigans. Warm snuggly wintery hoodies (which sparked a conversation with a random guy about the merits of hoodies). Stockings.

And then there were these...


I describe them as my "If Gladiators Moonlighted As Strippers" shoes. But I love them and have coveted such a pair for quite some time.

And they were on sale.