Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I think Neal Stephenson wrote something along the lines of 'Most of us believe that if we were pushed hard enough we could become an incredible martial artist.' (or was it Noam Chomsky?)

Being that I'm now thirty five and yet to be apprenticed to an oddball, taciturn karate master, have my wife and child murdered by a drug lord or my brother crippled in a blood sport - things are pretty shaky on the black-belt front.

Baby steps, ties that bind, can't rain all the time etc...

So I'm making a list of things to let go in 2008, free myself from the pressure of being called to open the batting for Australia on the same day David McAllister offers me the male lead in Mason.

Things I Won't Achieve in 2008

  • Learn a musical instrument
  • Become the leader of a gang
  • Discover a latent super power
  • Have my revenge
  • Master a computer programing language thingy
  • Communicate telepathically with sharks
  • Burst onto the art scene

But because I can't help myself

Things I Will Achieve in 2008

  • Dig the rest of my hole
  • Get my first blue stripe in BJJ
  • Begin my post grad diploma in education
  • Become a father for the second time
  • Reduce my waist below 85cm (currently 91)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bird Murderer

A fledgling blackbird fell out of its nest recently and survived for a few days on the ground. I rescued it one morning from the hounds and popped it over the neighbour's fence (he was on holidays in Hong Kong).

Knickers, The Noodle and I were over at the other neighbours later the same day, swapping Xmas chocolates and shortbreads, talking about gardening, fishing and other such gentle neighbourly pursuits. N2 happened to mention the blackbird and that its nest was in fact in their yard and they'd been watching the parents feed it on the ground for the last few days.

I said I'd put it over the other fence that morning but would pop back and return it to N2's yard if he had no objection, which he didn't.

I returned to N1's yard to discover he'd just returned from HK.

'Bird? Oh yeh. Its dead. I buried it.'

**I'll interject a little note on N1 here. He's a recently divorced father of two boys, who are currently summering with their mother in the Bahamas. (We summer @ Coobowie or Port Elliot)**

He spent the next 20 minutes telling me about his trip. Mostly involving debauchery with a gaggle of prostitutes and a micro digital video camera he'd bought for his race car. Then his latest girlfriend arrived and I had to go as they were flying out somewhere. Divorce really suits some people.

I broke the bloke's code and told Knickers. She says I'm not allowed to play with N1 anymore.

She's also convinced he murdered the bird.

Ikea'll You

Got suckered into a trip to Ikea on Friday. One of those things that should ring warning bells; but like those first few months caring for a newborn the human brain wipes out all the bad stuff and leaves only warm, tender memories, thus ensuring the survival of the species...and Ikea.

Apparently we needed a cupboard for The Noodle's toys / knick knacks.

I have a slow burning rage building up with all the plastic crap that is marketed to kids. God knows at what cost it is all produced in its shiny blue, green and red hues. I'd love to initiate some sort of rule that all toys should be functional, educational and made from tin and timber, but who am I to combat the forces of global consumerism?

So as soon as we got to Ikea Knickers inserted the thin end of the wedge and began to wiggle it for more leverage. I am helpless against the wedge. It shifts the sand under my principles, runs rings around my moral stands and uses reason and logic to batter my arguments to a pulp.

Whap 'Yes we'd agreed on the smaller one, but look how much more room is in the larger.'
Wham 'It's only an extra $100.' ($100 - Jesus Christ!)
Wallop 'Well now we clearly need cane baskets to put in it.'
Shazzam 'Kelli has one of these apple de-corers, it's fantastic.' (We've got one too, I call it a knife.)

Then The Noodle had his first major shopping centre meltdown, which was kind of a proud moment and got me out of walking all the way back to the storage section to compare and contrast 37 different combinations of cane and plastic baskets.

So a weeks wages later I was at the exit / loading station with our boxes while Knickers and Noodle fetch the car, then some guy stole my park. I showed remarkable restraint and moved to another, I think his wife saw what he'd done and smiled some sort of apology, I managed a grimace i reply. Finally had the packs on the roof rack and was ready to go when one of my new ratchet straps wouldn't tighten. Took me about ten minutes to fix it with the heat and glare reflecting off the baking hot roof onto my face and Knickers trying to calm and increasingly irate Noodle.

Turns out some of the slats are cracked. I'm pretty sure Knickers thinks I made the straps too tight. I suspect if they weren't pre-broken @ purchase it might have been done when she dropped the pack on my foot. We've agreed to disagree and Ikea have agreed to swap the pack over.

Now I have to go back.

Friday, December 21, 2007

10 Things Commando Comics Taught Me

  1. German is made up of the words: 'raus', 'schnell', 'Gott in Himmel', 'achtung' and 'schwein hund.'
  2. Japanese soldiers, despite the tyranny of distance and not sharing a Germanic based language with their foe, had a better grasp of English and could say 'pig dog'.

  3. If, as a boy, you encountered a German youth and had a falling out due to his arrogance/cheating/cowardice you would be guaranteed to encounter him again in the skies over the fields of France/ sand dunes of North Africa. You would then both be shot down in order to continue the duel with sidearms or fisticuffs.
  4. If, as a boy, you encountered a German youth and struck up a firm friendship you would be guaranteed to encounter him again in the skies over the fields of France/ sand dunes of North Africa. You would then both be shot down in order for him to see the error of his fascist ways and aid you in killing the arrogant, cheating coward and blowing up the secret weapons lab / oil depot. You would both survive the war and your children would become firm friends.

  5. Ghosts, curses and alien plant life were encountered in abundance during WWII. They would always side with the Allies.

  6. Australians were all named 'Bluey' or 'Dingo'.

  7. Italians were all named Marco.

  8. High explosives detonated under a person of Japanese origin would cause him to cry 'aaaiiieee.'

  9. All British Tommies were plucky and that pluckishness was enough to see them through your garden variety bayonet charge against heavily fortified machine gun emplacements.

  10. British 'Stars of Speedway' had highly amusing haircuts in the late seventies.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Carrick Hill

Appointment for Knickers' twelve week scan this morning. I'd love to say it was a humbling and awe inspiring experience; the magic of evolution made visible by the wonder of technology - but it wasn't.

Knickers' overwhelming priority was the desire to pee, and I spent the duration running interference on The Noodle. He only paused to vomit on the clinic's entrance rug, right in front of the congregated staff and patients. Gather round people...behold!

Spine, limbs and brain seemed to be aligned for the wee unborn one (gut feeling today is: Girl)anyway, so far so good, stitch in time, etc...

Lunched at Carrick Hill after. I'd sworn off it after attempting to dine there three times prior, each time finding it closed to the public. Fourth time was a charm. Maybe Jesus could have given Peter one more tilt at it before the cock crowed.

Food was well priced if a little bland, but the kicker was dining with faux silver cutlery under an oak tree while The Noodle tottered about acres of rose garden. We chattered gaily about Campbell the dour old gardener and the scandal of Miss Temperance Newbody.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lemon Tree

My earliest memory, should I be asked, is an image of a lemon tree. It carries with it a number of other images; of my sister Margie, of running laughing over dry summer grass and sitting drinking cordial in its cool shade.

Years later in another state, another home, I have another lemon tree. Untended it had grown sykwards. Its top-most fruit, beyond reach of man and ladder, were only collected when loosed to the ground with a heavy thump that would waken the sleeping hounds but fail to provoke any Newtonian response.

Then this blasted drought killed it. Its old roots unable to draw deep enough in the hardened parched soil.

Perched dangerously on the broken top step of the ladder (the crack runs right through the 'do not stand' warning) I hacked away with Dad's old chainsaw, cursing the dead tendrils that caught on each other and drew deep scratches down my forearms.

Now the lemon tree stands like a six foot inverted tripod, surrounded by green grass fed from the washing machine's grey water. A myriad of green shoots have emerged from its old limbs and I have hope for more lemons yet.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shopping with The Noodle this morning and I brushed arses with an elderly lady at the checkout.

'Thought it was my lucky day there,' she said.

'Me too,' I replied.

Then we both looked embarrassed for a bit and she lurched away with her shopping.

I swear I have a type of Aspergers that doesn't come with the prodigious mathematical skills, just an ability to say precisely the wrong thing in any given social situation.