Thursday, October 27, 2005


Questions Raised by Taking Public Transport Again After a Six Month Absence

When did every single human being in this city get an iPod?

What's this SmartRider box thing next to the entry and exit doors? Since I don't know am I, by implication, a StupidRider? And where's the confusing grey box for that?

How did the plastic handrail in front of my seat become sticky?

Why are they offering Seniors a week of free bus travel? Did someone at Transperth really stand up in a planning meeting and say, "You know what our buses need more of? Old people!"

Did I really just have to leave home half an hour earlier than normal in order to arrive at work ten minutes later than normal?

Is there anything more inane than the half of a mobile phone conversation that consists of one teenaged girl squawking "Oh my Gooooooord" at three to four second intervals?

What possessed Lindemans Wines to advertise extensively on the sides of bus shelters? Are they trying to appeal to the Discerning Hobo demographic?

and, most pressingly, as we sailed past my motorbike repair shop...

Why is my scooter parked outside with a SOLD sticker slapped on it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This morning I took my car down to the garage to get some work done on it. Goodbye, leaky radiator. Farewell, cracked timing belt. Hasta la vista, worn left front CV boot, and several other odds and ends that I should spend my tax refund on before it gets frittered away on MST3K boxed sets and overpriced coffee.

I get the Golf fixed at a specialised euromobile place in Mosman Park, which, for those who don't know Perth, is a snooty western suburb full of law firm partners, Ladies Who Lunch and trust fund kids. The garage is run by a couple of chipper Swiss-Germans who know their Volkswagens inside and out and, judging by the five week waiting list for a booking, they're not short of work. However I can never go there without a sense of class vulnerability.

It's the other cars that do it, as I was reminded this morning. An immaculately restored Citroen DS parked out front. A gleaming black Mercedes saloon in the forecourt. A bright red Ferrari sitting up on a hoist, rumbling to itself as uniformed mechanics politely poke about underneath. It's like a showroom devoted to Conveyances Of One's Social and Economic Betters. Amidst these exquisitely maintained luxury cars, my eleven year old Golf, with a dent in the rear bumper and a week-old bird crap splattered on the bonnet, stood out like Anna-Nicole Smith at an embassy ball.

So with my Golf in for repairs, and my scooter still in the shop with a seized piston, I'm thrown onto the mercies of the Perth public transport system. Fool that I am, I thought that at 8.30 on a weekday morning, on one of the most important highways in the city, I wouldn't be waiting long for a bus. Ah, yes, insert rueful and bitter laugh here.

Instead of getting to work at a reasonable hour, I spent a pleasant THIRTY MINUTES sitting in the bus shelter, watching the perma-tanned trophy wives of Mosman Park lurching their Volvo XC90s and BMW X5s out of the nearby Muzz Buzz, in an apparently firm belief that it would be unthinkable for the proles not to get out of their way.

There were no fiery crashes, so maybe they're onto something.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hello my darlings!

Hello everyone! It's Rose!

Rose Lacson-Hancock-Porteous-Schwarzenegger... whoops, sorry, that last one's still only in the planning stages! How are you all?

So what is Rose doing on the internet, you must be asking? Well, one of my decorators showed me how to use this Google thing to look for new artists to paint my portrait (I had to leave all but eighteen of my old ones back in Perth - they were too big to move). I was feeling a bit bored the other day and looked up my own name, and the Google kept coming up with the "blog" of this Blandwagon person. He must be my Number One fan! So I wrote to him, and he asked me if I wanted to write a message to all the people who'd read about me. How could I refuse! It's so nice to find out that so many people want to know about Rose!

Well, moving was a nightmare, as you'd expect, but I'm so enjoying the elegant, simple life here in Melbourne. Of course, I've had to make some changes to my new house, starting with the staircase. Apparently the staircase in my house was 300 years old, made of hand-carved mahogany, brought out from England and reassembled here when my house was built. Can you believe that I paid millions of dollars for a house with an old, straight, wooden staircase? What was I thinking! How am I supposed to make my trademark entrances on something like that?

So I had my decorators rip it out – it’s made good firewood for these chilly Melbourne evenings - and replace it with a lovely new marble staircase with a big curve in it. I had to demolish the ballroom to accommodate the curve, but it was worth it.

Now all I need is someone to watch me as I graciously descend. It's hard making friends in a new city. Would you believe I chased Lillian Frank down Little Lonsdale Street for three blocks yesterday, and she didn't even see me? She must be blind, not to mention deaf, as I was screeching her name loud enough to wake the dead. And you wouldn't believe how fast that woman can move in three inch heels! She must have heard about a sale at David Jones or something.

Of course Willie is still back in Perth, taking care of business. Fortunately he has Marco, his nineteen year old personal trainer, to keep him company. When he eventually makes it over here I expect him to be in great shape, because Marco seems to be training with him day and night. "Marco is working you very hard," I said to him on the phone the other night. He just gave a little quivering sigh and said, "Yes, yes he is." Poor Willie.

Well, I have to go now. My decorator told me that Susan Renouf often spends Wednesday mornings shopping in the city, and I'm planning to "accidentally" bump into her! And if she's as blind as Lillian, don't think I won't resort to rugby tackling her outside the Hopetoun Tea Rooms! Nothing stands between Rose and elegant society!

Bye for now, my darlings! The poodles send their love!

Rose Lacson-Hancock-Porteous-Schwarzenegger (oops, there I go again!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I've been having a little carby trouble with my scooter over the last few weeks, apparently the product of riding the thing too hard. I'd put some carburettor cleaner through the fuel system and altered my riding style to go easier on the full throttle, and it seemed to clear the problem right up. On the way home from work yesterday evening, it seemed to be buzzing along like a dream. I even thought those words. "My scooter is running like a dream now."

I've really got to stop doing that.

On the Shepperton Road overpass on Canning Highway, I suddenly lost power, and then a few seconds later the scooter died completely. This is not so much fun on a highway, during rush hour, with three large 4x4s driven by impatient suburbanites directly behind you. I have no definite proof, but I believe that in a collision between a two-tonne steel truck and a cheap Chinese motorscooter containing more plastic than metal, the scooter would come out worse.

Fortunately I had enough momentum to crest the rise at the top of the overpass then coast down to a culvert and at least get out of the immediate line of traffic. I hauled the scooter over the curb and applied all of my mechanical engineering knowlege to the problem. I tried starting it again. I examined its mysterious lower areas for obvious faults, such as a pool of inappropriate fluid seeping out, or a missing wheel, or a small animal caught in the drive chain. I gave it a firm but gentle shake. None of these proved either enlightening or effective.

I pushed it off the main road and into a side street, and left it parked on a corner where it wouldn't look too much like it had been abandoned. Then I walked up to MC's house, a couple of kilometres away, and asked him if it would be okay to leave the scooter there overnight, and then the next morning push it to the dealership where I bought it (a mere three blocks from his house). He agreed, and gave me, his flatmate and a workmate a lift back to the bike so that we could push home. I could have pushed it myself from the begining, but a) I didn't think of that until I was halfway to MC's house and b) there's a very steep hill that I would have struggled with without help. Cheap plastic Chinese motorscooters are heavier than they look.

This morning I took the scooter to the dealership and left it there for the ministrations of people who actually know what they're doing. Hopefully all will be well and, more importantly, cheap.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Damn those evil whores at the art auction house! They've seduced me for the last time! Well, until their next auction, anyway.

I went to GFL's Decorators and Collectors auction last night. It's the clearing sale for all of the lesser works that they don't want to put in their main auction in November. It doesn't mean that the works aren't any good, but more that the artists are not big names, and thus not expected to yield high prices. I was pleased to find that there were many delightful works going for a song. And we're not talking fancy songs either. We're talking "Oops I Did It Again"-type songs.

Fool that I am, and easily swayed by low, low prices, I ended up buying three paintings.

Zsu Zsi Hartman

I was attracted by the diffuseness of this portrait; the fact that the subject is defined by what has been left out rather than what has been painted. It also has a nice sense of chaos in its use of materials - pencil, charcoal, pastels and oils. I read on the back that it was painted in 1978, and suddenly the whole picture - the bright green socks, the wicker chair, the wisps of orange hair and the kewpie-doll lipstick - all make more sense. She looks like some self-consciously zany sister-in-law from a Woody Allen comedy, circa 'Annie Hall'.

Vanessa Curry screenprint

It looks rather amteurish in this photograph, because you can't see the little imprefections in the screenprinting process that give it its texture and character. You also can't see the size - it's huge, and when you look at it from normal viewing distance all you can take in is an eye, or the nose, or the line of ochre on her neck. You don't so much view the face as explore it. I could barely fit it in my car, even with the roof lowered.

And if I decide I don't want it, I can always keep the frame and use it for something else. Frames that size are worth at least three or four times what I paid.

Janet Smith watercolour

Nobody else wanted this poor little watercolour, so I bought it. It's not the work of a master artist, but it does capture a feeling of rain in the sky. That might provide some much needed psychological relief in the middle of a parched Australian summer.

There were a lot of others I liked too, but I wasn't alone. One guy up the front, with a case of Asperger's Syndrome so pronounced that it nearly peeled the paint off the canvases, beat me to a couple of prize items. I didn't fight him too hard. It never pays to tangle with the mentally... unique.


I have no time for glurge. If a piece of glurge came up to me in the street and asked me for the time of day, I would say, “Get the hell away from me, you offensive freak. And quit dripping sugar syrup on my shoes!”

Still, occasionally I receive some in my email, and I’m forced to deal with it in the only way I know how; with heavy-handed sarcasm.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection."

Like botulism, and tsunamis, and asteroids striking the planet and wiping out 99% of all life.

"Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

‘Shay’? You named your son ‘Shay’? Where is the natural order of things that stops the earth from swallowing you up for giving your child the gayest name in the history of nomenclature?

The audience was stilled by the query.

Or maybe sleeping. It was hard to tell.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."

So that’s our choice? Eugenics or Glurge? Don’t make me choose!

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.

Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

“It depends,” his father replied. “How well do you know The Baby Elephant Walk?” Ah, that paternal sense of humour.

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

He also knew that he had a reputation around town as a violent psychopath, and that little boys who crossed him tended to end up in shallow graves in the old cornfield.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

“Now put away that knife, mister, and let’s play ball!”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on glove and played in the outfield. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

Because that’s what them retards enjoy most: being patronised.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

Should they, at this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

For no, SMS ‘DIE SHAY DIE’ to 1900 000 040. For yes, SMS ‘HUZZAH FOR GLURGE’ to 1900 000 041.

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

Sweet merciful crap, Shay! Just how much of a free ride are you expecting here?

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Then they could all go out for icecream and lashings of ginger beer!

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.

Yeah. Right. At this point one is forced to question whether the author of this story has ever met an actual child.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

And I mean everybody; the boys, the dad, the President, Christopher Walken, the surviving members of Air Supply… everybody!

Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base.

[muffled juvenile sniggering]

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Oh, wait, that was the dog. Which story am I telling again?

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

And the third-baseman intentionally didn’t intention to catch the ball.

Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

Delirium brought on by standing in the hot sun for hours, waiting for the retard to hit the frickin’ ball.

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!"

Find help! Get Maw an’ Paw! Little Timmy’s fallen down the well!

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world and to his."

This world and Shay’s world are apparently separate, him bein’ a ‘tard an’ all.

You’d think that would be it, but no. The author, perhaps fearful that the subtle moral of this story might be lost in the thrill of the narrative, yells:



We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing.

If only.

The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

Let’s put this to the test. Right now, run over to your co-workers or classmates and ask, in a high-pitched tone, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” Then see what happens.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message.

“Yeah, Susan; she’s the sort of brain-sapped lame-arse who’d go for this sort of crap. Janet; no, she’d kill me. Fred; he’s going to laugh his bollocks off at this. Ha ha ha!”

Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things."

Like Survival of the Fittest. Hunt and devour one of the junior staff in your office during your coffee break today.

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

All together now: Col-DER! Col-DER! Col-DER!

You now have two choices:

1. Delete

2. Forward

Or 3. Excoriate, however ineptly, in blog.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Anyone wanting a cracking good read should take a look at this. As a piece of literature it's great. As a free internet novel, it's freakin' amazing! Much better than that Owen Wilson fan fiction I stumbled across a few weeks ago.

One commentator has written, about the zombie genre as a whole, that it plays upon our fears of our individuality being lost. In an age that worships the concept of the individual, zombies are the ultimate collective monster. A single zombie is no different to any other, and, by itself, represents almost no threat whatsoever. It's easy to outrun, easier to outwit, and comparatively simple to kill. Zombies only take on their horrific aspect when they are massed, becoming an inexorable tide that overcomes barriers through sheer force of numbers.

Of course once they overwhelm you, all of your high ideals and unique thoughts will be wiped out instantly and completely, but you, in your most basic, wretched form, will carry on, deleriously eager to do something that would have sickened your living self. Becoming a zombie is the ultimate act of betrayal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


It's a hard life being the captain of the South African cricket team. It's a difficult cocktail of playing sport for a living, lucrative endorsements, international travel, and having a bikini model girlfriend named Minki.

Poor fellow. Perhaps some sort of aid program is in order?


Last Friday was my birthday, and I celebrated with a Big Kahuna Tiki Time party! What a great opportunity to break out the Hawaiian shirts, slack key guitar music, bamboo torches, early-onset diabetes and jokes about getting lei'd.

tiki tooka


fb and jf and tiki tooka

Let me rephrase that; I DEMAND A SENSIBLE SACRIFICE! Next!

MC in mandress

Er, nice manskirt, but no.


Actually, let's forget the sacrifice, shall we? I'll just have a pina colada.

Tiki Maura demands a sacrifice

I am Tiki Maura, and I too demand a sacrifice! Say, a quarter of a bottle of orange juice, and a little something nice from The Body Shop? Ta.

Tiki Easta

I am Tiki Easta. I have nothing to say to you people.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I’ve just returned from a few days in the forest near Bridgetown, which looks like being the closest thing I’m going to get to a holiday this year. It’s not exactly a month on the Cote d’Azure, but it was good nevertheless.

My travel companions and I rented a chalet in what was once the workers’ accommodation for the Donnelly River timber mill. It’s a tiny little hamlet completely surrounded by forest that extends twenty kilometres in every direction. Our cottage would have been built around the 1920s, and featured wooden floors, asbestos walls, an outdoor toilet and beds that looked like they came out of an old hospital, and felt like they’d been designed by Satan’s own chiropractors.

But what the house itself lacked, the surroundings made up for. The townsite was a haven for kangaroos and emus, completely tame despite the hoards of small children who alternated between feeding them, petting them and trying to jump on them.


Hey, jump on this, you little freaks!

To further up the adorable ante, most of the females had joeys in their pouches, all spindly legs and big brown eyes. The grace kangaroos demonstrate as they bound across the grasslands of Australia is obviously something they learn, not something they’re born with; the joeys were about as well-coordinated getting in and out of the pouch as a drunk man trying to open his front door late at night without waking the missus.

The town also boasted more barbecue pits than it did people, and we did almost all of our cooking outdoors. It was great to sit around the fire, prodding the rump steak and onions sizzling on the iron plate, watching the kangaroos grazing on the lawns and looking up at the thin wedge of twilight sky visible between the walls of towering marri, jarrah and karri trees. It was even better to cook bacon and eggs in the same way the next morning.

In between barbecuing, we did all the standard things for the area. We took Devonshire tea on the deck of a restaurant overlooking broad green lawns and distant rows of grapevines. We did some wine and cider tasting at a vineyard that could only be reached up a twisting, muddy track in the middle of nowhere. We perused art galleries, in which, if one had a mind to, one could drop $28,000 on a big lump of lead crystal. We climbed the Gloucester Tree, a famous old look out post that sits on top of a sixty metre karri tree, and felt our quadriceps burn for the rest of the holiday. And we bushwalked every day, either along sections of the Bibbulmun Track, or down the long-abandoned mill roads that are slowly being reclaimed by the forest. Once you’re a few hundred metres away from Donnelly Mill, the sounds of civilisation are completely lost, leaving only the wind sighing in the trees, the babble of a creek, the distant squeaks and warbles of native birds, and the occasional crackle in the undergrowth as a kangaroo forages for food.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


On Friday night I discovered an intriguing new dimension within JC's unparalleled ability to dig up awful films. Usually, JC goes into Blockbuster and looks for films that he thinks might be "interesting"... inevitably procuring films that are just "bad". And not good bad, like 'Blood Orgy of the She-Devils', but bad bad; boring, lifeless, unwatchable dreck without that spark of kitschy genius that has kept 'Teenagers From Outer Space' or 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms' from completely vanishing off the cultural radar.

However, it appears that when JC goes into Blockbuster looking for films that he thinks might be "bad", as he did on Friday night, he actually turns up films that are sort of interesting. One of these was 'The Rage in Placid Lake', an Australian coming-of-age comedy-drama so low-key that it was a little like looking out your front window and watching the neighbours having a discussion in the street.

But it was very enjoyable. Basically the story concerned Placid Lake, the only child of earth-nurturing peaceniks, who goes through his entire school life as a precocious oddball, but decides after a near-fatal encounter with the school bullies to try being normal for a change... although his version of normal is complicated by the surreal yet deadpan weirdness of the world around him. Despite the off-kilter atmosphere of this world, it was so discreetly played that even when the characters were shouting at each other they didn't appear to be raising their voices.

I think it was the power of the actors that made it work. Ben Lee wasn't over-impressive, but all his character had to do was alternate between looking smug and looking confused, so it all worked out fine. Rose Byrne played his best friend, a neurotic nerd so bursting with repressed sexiness that she managed to make tweed skirts and shapeless dresses totally hot. Miranda Richardson, Garry McDonald and Christopher Stollery played older authority figures whose abilities to deal with responsibility were as thin and fragile as elderly porcelain. Working as a group, they made it all hang together very nicely.

But it's worth noting that JC's powers did not abandon him completely. The other film he got was 1978's 'Capricorn 1'. I watched the first 25 minutes of nihilistic attitudes, the oppressive conspiracies of The Man, flabby middle-aged officials in tight polyester suits, and men who were supposed to be astronauts wearing shaggy unkempt haircuts (except for OJ Simpson, who wore a modest afro). But once Elliot Gould was introduced as a crusading investigative reporter, I just couldn't take any more and had to switch it off. Nothing quite says 'The 70s' like the idea that all politicians are unambiguously evil, but investigative reporters are above reproach.

Actually, nothing quite says 'The 70s' like Elliot Gould. Put the two together and it's a wonder that mirror balls and macrame plant hangers didn't start spontaneously sprouting from the ceiling.