Sunday, March 29, 2009

Did you know that our middle names have the same number of letters?

Inspired by and posted on Jono's post about the Sydney Writer's Festival:

"I like Writers Festivals for the hilarity of watching the middle-aged book-reading crazies, even after being told to keep questions brief, frame their own questions with a personal history that inevitably begins with:
  • a childhood somewhere regional, usually with a dirt thoroughfare somewhere in the background (a road, a hallway, even a bedroom) and an encouraging parent stalwartly raising many children single-handedly,
  • their own discovery of reading (sprinkled with author names so obscure and brilliant they never even wrote anything),
  • an education-based upheaval (encouraging teacher, lecturer, tutor, uni book-group/slash key party)
  • a personal upheaval (divorce, rat-bag kids, dissatisfying workplace, terminal illness),
  • a thinly-veiled hint at their own bottom-desk-drawer-based novel (this hint is poetry itself: nowhere can you condense all of the above history along with a rigid self-belief in its importance, a rigid refusal to let anyone but the author read it and rigid, poisonous ire at the entire publishing industry, from paper-mill down to Borders delivery driver, for its stupidity in rejecting said desk-drawer manuscript in one throw-away line: "I've even dabbled with the word processor myself ..."), and
  • the mandatory nudge-wink about some shared aspect of their own lives with the author's before finally, just as the chair is giving the secret signal to the sound techo to cut the mic and pretend it was a mysterious power-outage, the question itself tumbles out, all squished and over-baked and sounding like "So, where do you get your ideas?", but in the context of the previous 14 minute, inhalation-free monologue, actually meaning "You understand me. We are going to be great friends. Let's start now. NOW!"
My favourite Writer's Week moment was when Robert Fisk was roundly applauded after he told a man to go away and stop talking because the man had, after making a very long speech about how he and Robert Fisk could quite possibly solve all of the world's problems through a meeting of their easily-comparable minds and being politely interrupted, he grabbed the microphone off the next question-asker.
"I'm not finished!" he yelled into the microphone as he and the next senior-citizen bodily wrestled each other for the final three-and-a-half minutes of question time. This isn't an exaggeration - take about five years off those two fellows and they would have been throwing punches among the sunhats and signed copies. And this was after an hour-long, extremely fascinating and convincing talk by Robert Fisk, world-famous war correspondent, about the pointlessness and futility of violent conflict.

I love Writer's Weeks.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Advice of the Indefinite Time Period

I was going to blog about a number of things:
But instead I've just come across some of the best advice for a writer since "show, don't tell". In an interview with David Elfick, director of the new film Two Fists, One Heart. He and the writer, Rai Fazio, spent ten years in script development and his wisdom runs thus:

Writing is rewriting.

All writers, print this out large and stick it up in your workspace. Get it tattooed across your knuckles.

GTH - River, of course. I'm just in awe. And my I also take this moment to congratulate this long-time reader and commenter for topping 30 points in the GTH table!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dear Manufacturers of Baby Paraphernalia,

If it can't be used or operated with one hand while someone yells at you, it's as useful as a peddle-powered wheelchair.

Ditto any disposable item that comes out in a big, clingy string, rather than one wipe/nappy sack at a time. Kleenex tissues can manage it. Jatz Crackers can manage it. Why can't you?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Join the club

I guess you become an officially-sanctioned member of the Great Club of Parents the first time your own child shits in your eye.

GTH - Drinks are on the house!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Dearest Charlie,

Welcome to the world, my son. Your mum and dad are very happy to meet you.

Born 9th of March 2009, 2.8kgs and beautiful.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Live fresh cheap super easy

I'm probably the only person in the world who reads spam, let alone examines it thoroughly. I once received a spam from a character in my Masters novel. I had been busy editing her all day and when I decided that she had had enough, I opened my inbox only to find a saucy little missive from someone I knew as a professional woman, single mother and faded lady of the seventies offering me cheap drugs.

Today I was lucky enough to receive an offer of a free university degree. Ten years too late! But seriously, I must share a few choice quotes:

These days buying a degree is a matter of personal motivation."
I had assumed that it was the opposite, but what do I know?

For example, if you live near a College which only offers renowned marketing degree, then this doesn't help you a bit if you're looking for a marketing degree."
Again, I find myself very much in the dark as to exactly where one gets a marketing degree if not from a college offering renowned degrees.

... it might be that the degree that you want is only offered by a institution which costs a fortune. So you have to leave your place, look for accommodation in the University's place and do all the other stuff involved costing you tons of cheeze. "
No wonder we're all in such deep financial shit. We've been sinking our money into bonds and real estate while squandering all our treated diary products by smearing them on bikkies.

Having a University degree is very important these days, and as always in life you should only stick with something you want."
I'm assuming here that the "something you want"
with your fake Uni degree is unemployment and perhaps a little civil action and possibly a smidgeon of gaol time. I wonder how long after the shit hit the fan, the planes hit the ground and the heart monitors hit zero would your fellow workmates start asking you some more probing questions about where you learned to do a transplant without even having to wash your hands first?

Beware choosing to be something just because it was the only good degree your local institution offered. After all, you are only going to be good at your job if you like to do it. Thus, you have to get a degree that means something to you."
Although it is spam, this is the best advice I've had in a while. It speaks to passion for education in a person's soul and against the restrictions wealth and class can place upon that passion. Tally-ho. Tally-ho for spammers!

GTH - Shippy and River for giving it a red-hot go. None to Moifey because he was there when I took the picture.
My suggestion: "There's nothing casual about casualty, motherfucker."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Built-in built-in obsolescence

How come you're not supposed to leave sun-screen in the sun?


GTH - Shippy. Well played, grash-hopper. Tell Captain Fucking Useless to make me proud.

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