Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You know you're on Bribie Island when ... (No. 2)

(CC front counter)

Old lady with colourful jumper: Hello. I'd like to pay please.
Me: What table were you sitting at?
Old lady with colourful jumper: That one just there.
Me (checking the table number): Ahhh ... number seven.
Old lady with colourful jumper: Oh! I'm seven in numerology!
Me: ....... Huh. What a coincidence.

You also know you're on Bribie Island when this gets hand-delivered to your mailbox by an old man with a pink shopping bag:

It turns out that popular music is a very flexible term.


The journey towards better coffee is slowly happening. I was allowed onto the ever-busy morning shift this morning, where the dockets pile up like autumn leaves and lesser baristas fall by the wayside in floods of tears and poorly-packed coffee grounds. It was pretty much fine. Nothing happened except that every now and then it would get busy and the boss would step in to show me what to do and/or help me out. That's always fine by me because he ends up doing most of the work. I'm getting pretty good at reproducing the same coffee over and over, plus or minus the various froths, caffeine-levels and syrupy additives. But I'm no barista ninja just yet.
What I need is


GTH - Points go to Neil for not rubbing it in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You know it makes sense

And now, the lady you've all been waiting for, it's the Howard Stern of Franzy's Writing, Mele. Today she returns with her own brand of smack-down placed squarely upon the culinary quagmire that is Bribie Island and, we suspect, greater Queensland in general. So, without further ado ...

Culture Shocked II

Okay, I’m still whinging about the Bribie Island food…but two out of three butchers don’t stock veal chops on a regular basis (if indeed, at all.)

‘Why don’t you have them?’ I exclaimed to butcher number two, after having driven across the entire island in my quest for them.

‘Er, there’s just not enough demand for them, love.’

I can understand foie de grais being off the menu, but veal chops? What is everybody doing here? Are they dry-frying lamb chops and serving them up like rubber, like my grandma does? I guess the older demographic are still boiling their vegies to beautiful shades of grey and cringing at the very idea of seasonings other than salt and pepper (What else is there, other than that? Oh, parsley—served on the side of your plate in the grand tradition of 1982.)

I was amazed to find the veal chops in the Big Supermarket Chain of all places. Not the greatest quality admittedly, but they tasted pretty good after cooking for two hours in a French-inspired sauce of streaky bacon, red wine, mushrooms and thyme.

My biggest whinge, however, is reserved for seafood. We live on an island and see fishing boats cruising up the passage all day long. We see huge container ships floating against the horizon. We see all kinds of activities aquatic, yet the only seafood that is fresh, cheap and readily available are the sand whiting we manage to catch ourselves. The only regular supplier of fish is—you guessed it—the Big Supermarket Chain, and I have bought seafood from there three times. Twice the fish was so off and inedible that Franzy and I were forced to throw it straight out. The third time I bought salmon I had to buy the wrong cut of fish because the type that I wanted was a red gelatinous quivering mass reduced to $29.00 a kilo When salmon is no longer orange it isn’t worth 29 cents, let alone $29.00.

In all seriousness, I have made a huge effort to explore other options. I drove to a fish market that was actually a restaurant that sold overpriced prawns and crabs on the side. There’s a seafood takeout around the corner that does the same thing, but its salmon was as flamingly red as the one at the Big Supermarket Chain. The only other fish shop on the strip has been designated a no go area, with good reason:

‘Excuse me, can I have my calamari grilled instead of fried?’ I asked upon my one and only visit. I was ready and eager to taste my first serving of Bribie Island seafood, and I’d figured what better place than the takeout shop less than 50 metres by the sea?

‘Oh, you want it grilled?’ replied the incredibly young girl out the counter. ‘I’ll just go see if the cook can do it.’

I stood there flabbergasted.

What seafood cook refuses to grill calamari, and insists of deep frying it every time? Why is everything the shop other than fish fillets deep fried?

A moment later the cook emerged from the back. ‘You want it grilled?’ she asks, looking confused.

A horrible realisation sets in. She’s not refusing to do it—she doesn’t know how.

I don’t tell her what I really want, which is calamari lightly dusted in flour, Greek style, which is still unhealthy and fried but less gluggy and oil soaked than the thickly coated Queensland alternative.

‘I’ve seen that on TV… I’ve never actually done it, but I’ll give it a go.’

She gives it a go. The calamari I get back is rubbery and tastes vaguely chemical. It has the power make any Greek person convulse and die on the spot.

One of the problems with Bribie Island is definitely the fact that all takeout food is homogenised and whitened. Perhaps I am conscious of the fact that I am part of an Ethnic minority, as well as being part of the Australian stereotype (European family/English and Scot family) and I’m oversensitive to this issue. But what I can’t help but notice that none of the takeout places here acknowledge their cultural identity. In fact, they downplay it for their customer base.

In South Australia, there are Greek seafood shops that sell Greek style seafood, and they have Greek names. The Chinese restaurants have names like Ying Chow and Ky Chow—they’re not called anything in English. Italian cafes selling Mediterranean type fare have Italian names too (although Italian cafes are generally awful, and don’t sell much traditional fare, only mainstream crap that actual Italians don’t eat and barely recognise...even in SA there’s only one Italian cafĂ© worth its salt, and it exists in a completely Italian neighbourhood that’s segregated from the city itself).

But here on the island, a lot of places have weeded out the ethnic words and stigma. Franzy’s workplace is the worst offender of the lot. It is based on a European style of eating, is largely alfresco and has a lot of watered-down Italian foods on offer that don’t have Italian names. It has gotten rid of all the things that make Italian cafes good—chinotto, home made gelati, antipasto with meats like cappocolo, cannoli, stand-up-a-spoon-in-its-own-thickness-coffee, etc. Fair enough, there’s not the base or demand for such stuff, but why pretend what they offer it isn’t actually Italian food?

I shall return to my other, less explicable Bribie Island food dilemma: the seafood. Why isn’t seafood cheaper here than in SA? Gordon ‘F@#* Me’ Ramsay is always belting on about restaurants using cheap and fresh local produce, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Everything is expensive—at least as expensive as SA, if not more, and only prawns are slightly cheaper. Why sand whiting is expensive even though the passage is full of it I don’t know. Franzy has this theory that big supermarket chain gets all its stuff from a big supplier and none of it is local anyway. I think there’s a grain of truth there myself.

Food issues aside, I am glad to be living on Bribie at the moment. There have been a few cold days and nippy nights, but there’s been plenty of sunshiny warm days that my skin has rejoiced in. I love Queensland winter—if we had the money, I’d live here in winter and in SA in summer. I love the sunsets and the mountains and the lagoon. I love the trees and forests that grow right down to the sandy beach. I love picking up wild passionfruit and feeling smug because the Big Supermarket Chain sells them for a dollar each, even though they grow wild all over the place.

I’ve decided that Bribie, for all its food transgressions and dare I say it—heresies—has got a lot of little old ladies who I’m sure make absolutely fabulous cakes and scones and other Country Women’s Association type delights, so I’ve been inspired. The other day I went out and bought the Women’s Weekly Cake cookbook, a rolling pin, a set of scales and about 19 different types of flour/baking agents in the effort to make my first sticky date pudding ever. It took me ages but it turned out perfect thanks to the Weekly’s triple-tested-for-your-success formula. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I guess. I’m also going to try and convince Franzy that we really should go to the Fishing Association’s Guide to Fishing on Bribie seminar. It looks like we’re going to need it.


GTH - Points go to Adam Y for his excellent theory on how Telstra makes its money (seeing as it can't be for customer service). Honourable mentions to Kath and River, but no points, ladies. I was looking for someone connecting helpful Franzy with the Samaritan who left change on the parking meter for me on a recent trip to Brisbane.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You know you live on Bribie Island when ...

You help out not one, but two little old ladies before lunch.

First off, Mavis from next door with her telephone. She sits politely in the living room and shouts in her Deaf Old Dearie voice while I call Telstra about her dead phoneline.

Me: I'm calling on behalf of the old lady next door. Her phone line is dead. She needs the phone so that her emergency "I've fallen and can't get up" button that she wears around her neck works in case she falls and can't get up.
Telstra: We are evil bastards, but we will run a line test, just to be sure you are not lying.
Me: Thank you.
Mavis: The line is dead! My emergency button needs the phone to work!
Me: I'm telling them, Mavis.
Telstra: We eat toasted babies and we can see that her line is dead.
Me: Great. So you'll come and fix it, eh?
Mavis: I had to unplug my button! It needs the phone to work!
Telstra: We defecate in hospital beds on our days off and we are just wondering, is her having the phone off all weekend life-threatening?
Me: Well, she's got this button she can push if she falls, which she has done before and she needs the telephone on for it to work.
Telstra: We kidnap African orphans and sell them to Chinese medical companies for vivisection and we were just asking because if it is life-threatening then we can have it fixed within 24 hours ...
Me: Great. Do that then.
Mavis: I fell over before and that's why I got the bloody button installed!
Telstra: ... but she has to get a letter from her doctor saying that she is in a life-threatening situation and that she needs a phone, because if we do send out a team to fix it within 24 hours and then we deem her condition not to be life-threatening then we charge a one hundred and thirty dollar call-out fee.
Me: You evil fucks.
Telstra: Thank you! (We burn household pets alive!)
Mavis: Are they coming to fix it?
Me: No, Mavis. Since it's Friday morning, now you have to wait until Monday or run the risk of being charged $130.
Mavis: Oh.

The second old lady was my own grandmother, who needed the channels set on her digital box at her brand new house in the Red Rooster Retirement Home* (isn't Queensland just shameless?). I managed to get ABC, SBS and Nine, but no Ten or Seven. Overall, I'd say she's probably better off.

*It's actually just next to a Red Rooster, but the tall Red Rooster sign towers above the new elderly living estate so much that I'm sure they must be drumming up some kind of subliminal business from the new elderly tenants.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

True story ...

I fear this "travel blog" might start becoming a "work blog", what with the work:travel ratio tipping in favour of wiping stainless steel benches over and over and away from flitting about the Glasshouse Mountains oohing and aahing at the rainbows and chasing bush turkeys.

I'm a bit remiss about just writing in the goings-on down at the cafe, simply because they're not terrifically interesting. A good writer should be able to make things interesting, but hey - I'm saving the A-game for my Phd thanks very much.
Not a lot goes on. The staff are all very nice and the one who I thought was a bit tedious has left.

The bosses are interesting though. Hospitality bosses don't have a good reputation, by and large. I've had some arseholes. Other people have had worse. I've even heard of worse ones on the island. These ones are a married couple and, from what I can gather, have been in businesses of some sort for most of their lives. The other night it was the tedious one's last night and he was rushing me to get out of there. The next morning, both bosses were in and had the typical "This place is disgusting" reaction which all hospitality managers must necessarily have when they come in and find that the night staff, eager to leave, have left a surface or two unpolished by the recycled chux we all have to share. When I arrived at two, there was a long list of things that were left undone. My heart sank, just a little, because although I knew it wasn't (entirely) me, the tedious one had left and so all was going to have to answer for it. Instead of a telling off, a lecture or a lashing, one of them waited for a quiet period and then quietly walked me through all the things that I'd missed (we, actually - the tedious one was still the night manager and it's still their ultimate responsibility to make sure no one leaves a turd in the dishwasher). So, in spite of the shit pay, shit benefits and vague feeling that I'm wasting my life, it's not such a bad place to work.

Despite all this, I've got to recount a story that probably says more about this place than complimenting their managerial style.
There we all are, fairly quiet night, but both bosses are there, along with me and a couple of other staff. The talk turns to busking and homeless people and giving them money. One boss tells a story about how they were recently in Chicago and noticed a large homeless problem there.
"The people we were staying with told this extraordinary thing about the beggars on the streets," she said, wiping the coffee machine.
"Yeah?" I'm interested. I like stories.
"Oh yeah," male boss says. "Listen to this."
"They said not to give the beggars money, especially at night, because most of them actually have day jobs as brokers and traders," she says.
"Oh yeah," agrees male boss. "They do it for extra cash apparently, they get a couple of hundred a night!"
"Pf," I say. "Rubbish. That's an absolute urban legend. That could never ever ever be true."
"It is!" they both insist. "Our friend gave one bum ten dollars!"
"Think about it," I say. "If it were so lucrative, why wouldn't everyone do it? And a couple of hundred dollars a night? I don't make that in an entire shift!"
"I don't know," says male boss. "I was watching these two guy in particular and they were just too clean cut to be living on the streets ..."
"Come on," I say. "You're a businessman, think about how much they would make an hour, standing out in the cold freezing weather with a cardboard sign and a cup when they could be at home, resting up in their comfortable stockbrokers' houses relaxing for another day of trading. How much would they need to make it worthwhile?"
"Apparently it's true!" they both say.
I didn't push it any further. I went home and tried to find any evidence on the net, any stories anecdotes or lies about people with well paid white collar jobs for whom it is worthwhile to dress up as someone who's destitute and spend a good eight hours of rest and recuperation time begging for spare change. I found nothing. Not even snopes could help me. Snopes does, however, often provide a rationale for the reason these kinds of stories gain currency. They tap into the suspicion that it is possible to get something for nothing, a large reward for little or no effort. And I think for two people who have spent a large portion or their lives working very very hard for what probably doesn't ever seem like quite enough money, the idea that there are people out there who can make just a little more through cunning, minor deception and a clever idea is probably very appealing.

I'm not sure what this story was about. I just couldn't believe that two people who seemed fairly intelligent and resourceful could believe that kind of bullshit out of hand.

I'm now sitting, watching the rain and waiting for the repairman to come and fix my computer between 11 and 12. It's 11:35am. Mele's in the bath and I need to go to the toilet. Must .... wait ....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Decaf? Y ........ um ........ yes.

What kind of coffee do you have?
Skinny flat white?
Decaf latte?
Weak cappuccino?
Soy Chai latte with extra foam?

No you don't. You might think that that's what you're getting every time, but after slinging the black crack for a week or so, I've got some terrible, awful, skin-peeling news: If it looks like the coffee you ordered and it tastes near enough and you don't bring it back, the chances are about 75% at best that you've received exactly what you asked for.
The further you travel from 'regular flat white', the more likely it is that you're getting the caffeinated equivalent of those cross-pollinating, super-inseminating GM crops.
If I'm making them, that is.
Unless you're lucky enough to order it during a fairly non-busy period when I can really concentrate on whatever the hell I'm supposed to be doing (and even then, I don't like your chances), that skinny decaf latte probably isn't the full shot of sugar.

Decaf? Sure. Sure thing.
Putting regular coffee into the group head (handle thing) is as fun and flashy as cocking a shotgun in an Arnie movie. You've seen that grinder, you've heard the click. *shkSHK*
*tamp tamp*
"Lock'n'load! Semper Fi! Double shot! Fire in the hold!"
Putting decaf coffee into the group head involves
wiping "all traces" of regular coffee out of the group head, getting out the decaf tin from under the bench where the regular coffee falls on it, spooning it carefully into the basket, smoothing it off and then pressing it tight with the tamper that gets used on the regular coffee all day, every day. And even that doesn't include the occasional lapse in judgement and/or patience that causes me to put a scoop of regular in anyway, just to spite you non-caffeine drinking whimps. Don't give me your well-considered reasoning and sleep-filled nights. You had better not have some kind of heart condition ...

Skinny? Chug it up, fatso!
There are two jugs (three, if you count soy, and I'm getting to that). One is filled with full-fat milk and the other with skim. Each jug holds enough for two and a bit coffees. If you're Skimpy Wimpy number three and your cup doesn't have enough milk or froth in it, trust me, in goes the full-fat, creamy-dreamy artery-butter-in-a-bottle. No pause. No lip-chewing moment of guilt. No sigh of compromised workmanship. SSSSSSSLOP. "Looks great! Drinks up! Next!"
Especially if it's busy. Or I'm making it.

Latte? Wanker. Everyone who orders, has ordered, has considered ordering, may conceivably in the future order or who knows or has shaken ungloved hands with someone who
orders, has ordered, has considered ordering, may conceivably in the future order, a latte, in any of its configurations, is a wanker. A W-A-N-K-E-R. I'm not kidding. Total tossbags one and all. I should know; I drink them all the time. Look at the first sentence of this paragraph! Wanker! It's because you're not drinking coffee for the caffeine, you're drinking it so that, even on some teensy-tiny, subconscious level, you get to say "Lah-TAY" to rhyme with the one time you tried pronouncing the word "party" as "par-TAY" in all seriousness. You got laughed at. We all did. It sounds stupid. Problem is, that you (and by "you" I mean "we" and by "we" I mean "I") did not learn your lesson. You kept on saying "lah-tay" and getting a microscopic kick out of it. "Latte" is Italian for what happens when you try to simultaneously make a cappuccino and a flat white and somehow fuck both of them up and the mistake ends up in a water glass. Like the barista equivalent of pulling a Homer.

Soy? Soy-tenly! Ah-hah-hah-haahhh. But seriously, you'd better not have any serious lactose intolerance issues, because that soy jug is almost "soy-tenly" contaminated. By the steam wand that gets dipped the other milk jugs a hundred times a day, and then wiped clean with a milk-soaked cloth that gets milk spilled on it. By the thermometer that probably doesn't get as much of a regular cleaning as the steam wand. And by the fridge it sits in all day, surrounded by milk-dripping milk bottles until you float on in and order your coconut semen cappa.

So drink. Drink your coffee and enjoy it. If you didn't see nuthin', we didn't see nuthin'.


In answer to all you questions, yes, I am extremely jealous of all the clamorous attention that Mele is (still) receiving for her well-aimed skewering of Queensland in general. But, what are you gonna do? A man knows when he's beat. She will be back ...

In other, sadder news, my laptop died. The distant whisperers of the Dell Helpdesk have told me that my CPU is probably reverting back to the beach sand from when it came and also that this can be prevented by extending my warranty to the tune of $600. Ouch. I wish I had one of those internet tip jars so that I could ask all of my beautiful readers to kick in and save my blog, my photos, my comics, my mp3s, my Phd ....... But, even with Mele writing anti-Queensland diatribes around the clock, every reader would still have to fork out a month's worth of internet each. Fortunately Mele's computer hasn't died and so ... I'll see you folks around. Hopefully. When she's done with her Phd.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tonight's guest is a lovely lady from Bongaree ...

I rarely allow guests on this blog. Usually I'm either stealing someone's quotes who I like, or linking someone's comic who I'm a fan of. Today, however, comes a brief missive from Mele so you can all get a bit of perspective on what it's like to live on Bribie, other than my almost full-stop-free, smart-arsed, semi-true complaining.
Take it away, baby.

Culture Shocked
with Mele

1. Sam is acquiring a Queensland accent. He is not saying 'pewl' for pool or 'kewl' for cool yet, but his 'yeah' is getting longer and he has started talking through his nose.

The RSLs of this place are loaded. They have more money in them than the normal pubs. State of the art furnishings and mod cons for the old fashioned at heart. Weird.

South Australia is barren and savage in terms of wildlife. Dead kangaroos, galahs, pigeons, feral rabbits, stumpy lizards and magpies are the usual go back home, but here there are sand frogs-yes, frogs in sand!-pods of dolphins, fish that actually JUMP out of the water, sting rays, geckos (Sam found one in my bra the other day), butterflies that are yellow, brown and white (rather than the standard white cabbage butterfly back home), pelicans (without thousands of seagulls in tow) eagles, ibises that strut across our lawn, soldier crabs and slugs that take up residence on bedroom doors. Most amazingly, we live 200 m from the channel between the mainland and the island, and every night at dusk thousands of bats (yes, kids, thousands) stream across the channel turning the sky black. Oh, and when you throw a line in the water, things actually bite.

Queenslanders are about ten years behind in food culture. I once ordered a pub meal from a fancy island pub that was deep fried with old oil and served with a salad of iceberg lettuce, tomato and shredded cheddar cheese with no dressing. I actually cried from culture shock. This kitchen was so bad it made Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares look good. Adelaide's cheap, genuine ethnic food is sorely missed, and I'd give my right arm for a meal at Ying Chow or some of my nonna's melanzane.

Everyone here is whitey whitey WHITE. No wogs. Literally. There is half a wog on the island, but not a whole one. That half comes from me.

Nothing ever dries. I am never dry. My bathrobes stay wet for days, and I'm partially damp due to skin lotions, wet bandaging and oil baths. I go to bed at night with my t-shirt clinging to my skin and wake up the same way.

The tap water here is marginally better than Adelaide tap water. The bottled water here comes in plastic containers that make the water taste plasticky. Gross. Have given up and am currently drinking from the tap.

QLD media is quite insular in an American scary way. There is little world news on any commercial channel (aside from brief mentions of Obama and Mugabe). The news is all about infrastructure and the Gold Coast. Whoop-de-fuckin-doo.

People on the island are friendlier and more laid back than in Adelaide, and the driving culture is amazing. You can idle at roundabouts, forget to signal, do 20 ks under the speed limit and never get beeped by other drivers. All you have to do is give way to pedestrians, whether they are walking with frames or stopping at stop signs in front of you with their gophers. No kidding. A station wagon (me) and a four wheel drive (behind me) was stuck waiting for an old man and his gopher to stop at the sign, drive on at 5 k to the next give way and then move out to the main road. Nobody beeped. The island's average age is 55, so old people rule here.

The library is the hub of the locals. It might not be cool but I'm pretty nerdy so it's strangely comforting.

It's hard to make friends when you spend all day writing and treating your skin, can't get a job and be part of the normal world. I'm just like a lot of old folk here, and it's nice to be the youngest pensioner on the island as well as the only half-wog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

He can also put buffalo to sleep

Work's okay.
I'm getting better at making coffees, nothing anyone's complained about. Yet. That was entirely my fault. I'm still new enough to blame everyone else when I make a mistake for not providing proper training. That shit should fly for about another week and then they're going to get sick of explaining which button does which. That should just about coincide with the moment when my need to please customers and my employer falls below my desire to get away with whatever cut corners I can, so you can look forward to my future job search blogs in about a month's time!
For all those of you who haven't worked for a corporation - here's some of things that come with my minimum wage:
* No free food. Half price during shifts only.
* ONE free hot drink, during breaks only (apparently the counter began to look like a share-house lounge room: half drunk coffee cups and spilled milk everywhere).
* Regular staff meetings for which I assume we are not getting paid, even when you come in on your day off.
* No choice of superannuation.
* Only found out about this last night from a fellow employee: security cameras. They film staff as well as customers. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't mind it, because they did actually help catch someone who held up the store (more on that in a minute). But I'm not really down with not being told about it.

Apart from that, the staff are all nice and kind (bear in mind that this is still my second week) and even the boss is probably the best hospitality boss I've ever had. He's business-like without being rude, friendly without being unprofessional and somehow constantly over my shoulder showing me how to do everything without being intrusive, which I find incredible myself. How am I not telling him to piss off?

The store did get held up recently, but it was more entertaining than dangerous. Here's how it went down (Nb. All men will be jealous).

Barry* is a no-nonsense kind of guy. Approaching fifty, works at CC, knows how it runs. One afternoon he's there behind the counter, part of which faces onto the footpath for takeaway customers. He's preparing and arranging cakes for the chilled display cabinet.
He looks up. There is a fifteen-year-old girl in a hoody brandishing a small fishing knife.
'Open the till! Give me the fuckin' money!'
Barry is dumbfounded. Not shocked, scared or disturbed in any major way.
'Are you serious?' he asks politely. 'You're getting any money and you're gonna get caught anyway because your face is on the security camera.' He points up. She pulls her hoody closer over her face, never having heard of 'record' or 'rewind' or 'pause' (or 'Make higher resolution', but we'll stay away from techno movie pet-hates for now). She waves her little knife again.
'Open the fuckin' till!'
Barry smiles.
(Boys, get ready to wish it was you getting held up). He picks up the foot-long kitchen knife he's been cutting cakes with. 'That's not a knife, this is a knife.'
Girl's eyes pop out of her head. She leaves. Barry gives chase and runs off into the Hall of Fame for people who have actually been able to use Mick Dundee's immortal phrase in real life. Lucky bastard. Wish I got held up at knife point.

GTH - TWO points to Kath for getting right into the spirit of Guess The Header with an astute summation of how I'm feeling about my life. Because, and here's a clue, GTH is always all about me.

An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32