Monday, March 31, 2008

5 Koalas

Thats how many the Noodle and I saw up at Brown Hill Creek yesterday. He is now of the opinion that every tree has one. Fuzzy little tree attendants. Heh.

Finished two assignments today.

Put on 16 kilos as can only write essay with chocolate in mouth.

Hate 'puter.

Go bed.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Radio: Now and Back in the Day

On my now quasi-free weekends I am trying to re-visit some old preferred weekend activities. One of these was listening to Lone Tony Joe's Hillbilly Help Desk of a Saturday morning on Three D community radio.
When we first bought our house, and I fell seriously in love with my shed, I spent many Saturday mornings tinkering away to the bizarre yodeling/caterwauling emanating from the tinny old shed boom-box.
I was saddened when, on tuning in yesterday, it seemed to have been given the flick sometime over the last two years.
I checked the Three D website and found he is still on, but alternating weekends. So some joy there.
And The Prison Show on Sunday afternoon/evening is still going strong. I reckon it's the voyeuristic quality (is it possible to be a voyeur if you're only listening?) that draws me to it. God knows it's not the rank awful R&B that the boys in the big house request for their ladies on the 'outside'. There is something oddly endearing about the messages that go back and forth between the down and out loved ones and families. Probably best if I don't know what they've actually done.

Many years ago, when it was still called Triple M, my mullet and I would lie awake Wednesday nights, in the dark, both taping and listening to Mal's Metal Show for the latest news and releases in Aussie metal. Iron Maiden posters covered my black painted walls and models of WWII aircraft hung from the ceiling in perpetual dogfight (The effect of both slightly tempered by the gum nut motif on my curtains). I Wondered if a girl would ever let me touch her. I don't know why I couldn't see the somewhat obvious correlation between my virginal state and 'courageous' lifestyle decisions.

Final radio thought: If you are going to ring Super Request there is a fair to middling chance Rosie will ask you what you've been up to. If spontaneous witty repartee is not your bag - prepare something for the ever lovin' lord's sake.

Rosie: So what have you been up to today Melissa?

Melissa: Umm, nothing really.

R: Just chilling?

M: Oh, yeh...I s'pose.

Audience: Aaargh! Stop sapping our will to live Melissa.

Second final comment; The Salmon Dance - Jive Bunny for the Naughties? I think so. I have lost all respect for the Chemical Brothers

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Dummy

A bit of creative parenting ensures our child doesn't walk around with an undignified dummy dangling from his jaws.


Friday, March 28, 2008


I've observed, participated in, recounted and had recounted to me the following argument many times (though I'm yet to see the gender roles reversed):

Man filling car up at petrol station: I'm grabbing an Iced Coffee, do you want one?

Woman: No thanks. I'm Fine.

(Driving: some time later)

W: Can I have a sip?

M: No.

W: Don't be greedy, give me a sip.

M: I'm not being greedy. I offered to buy you a whole drink all of your own. You didn't want one.

W: Well I want a little bit now. You've got plenty, it won't hurt you to share.

M: No, I don't have plenty. I have one 600mL portion. That's the minimum amount of Iced Coffee scientifically calculated to satiate one person's craving. A drop less will leave me unfulfilled, dissatisfied, in a state of ennui. Do you really want that on your conscience?

W: You're really not going to give me any?

M: Don't make out that this is my fault.

W: You're pathetic...

...And it usually goes downhill from there.

Since having the Noodle, 'though, I have noticed a change in myself. A willingness to share, to actually take pleasure in generosity of spirit.

Maybe I'm growing up.

Mind you, I also steal food from the Noodle all the time.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Power and the Glory

Went to a multi-denominational church service on Easter Sunday. We all (seven kids, six adults) walked in late to the old wooden church to discover a performance underway.
I was raised Catholic so am not quite sure about what goes on in what Dad calls 'Happy Clappy' churches. Most Catholics, in my experience, aren't that interested in converting others to the word. Being Catholic is a burden, a misfortune of birth and your lot in life - your cross to bear so to speak. Catholics go to church on Sunday, mumble along with the ritual, awkwardly shake hands at the "peace be with you"s, shuffle up for communion then go home for Sunday lunch; duty done for the week. Being Catholic entails the sort of crazy pride that people have for jobs that involve lots of hard work for little financial reward.
A passionate and pretty young woman was performing a solo dramatisation of Mary Magdalene discovering the risen lord's empty tomb. She really loved Jesus...quite a lot.
She continually moaned and groaned, rubbing her hands down over her belly and pulling at the fabric of her dress stretched taught and smooth over her thighs.

'Can you imagine the pain of not being able to touch him?' she screamed.

'Funny.' heckled the Noodle and earned himself a glare from Ms Magdalene before his mother dragged him out.

The rest of the congregation were ageing, weather beaten sons and daughters of the Yorke Peninsula soil. Descendants of farming stock with sand and salt bush in their veins. What they made of this performance I couldn't say, but the old fellows certainly clapped enthusiastically at the end. Mary took a bow and swept away in her scarlet dress. Later I suggested she'd picked it for the colour, you know, because MM was a scarlet woman. Someone else suggested it was a bridesmaids dress. Who's to say.

Communion time, we were made to circle round the alter, which was fine, have our host and cordial, again fine. Then the minister grabbed the arms of the first two people and joined them together, then the next and so on. I could see where it was going. Soon we were all holding hands and singing, then the minister started swinging her arms and everyone else followed suit. So there I was holding a calloused hand of one bloke in my right and the talc scented hand of his wife in my left, swinging and singing and praying for release while Knickers and the Noodle ran around outside in the warm sun.

I consider that my duty discharged until at least Christmas.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Not Mr Percival

Had our traditional Easter at Edithburgh in a friend's parent's holiday house. First year we went there we constituted eight adults and one child. This year was eight and seven. Next, touch wood (tree of knowledge), will be at least eight all. Space is now at a premium.
Good Friday was too rough to go out fishing and the pub was closed, so we found ourselves with a dozen other families at the seaside park in Coobowie.
The Noodle has developed a recent fascination with pelicans and I'd promised him (not that he knows what a promise is) that we'd see some over the weekend. So when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large bird hovering over the beach, I wasted no time.
'Noodle. Pelican!' I took off towards him, flapping my arms, and screaming excitedly, hurdling other small children in my path.
'Pelican, Noodle, pelican!'
I swooped, plucked him from the monkey bars and tucked him under my arm. Several bounds got us to the fence separating the park from the beach.
'Look Noodle, it's a... hmm, it's a seagull.'
'No Noodle, seagull.'
'Yes. Now run to Mummy, Daddy has to slink away in shame.'


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do As I say

My tutor for Educational Psychology fits some of my pre-conceptions of psychologists. Mad as a meat axe, but in a very dull, constrained, black tennis dress wearing sort of way.
She talks with her eyes fixed on the back of the room, in a monotone that sounds as if all her questions are rhetorical. The rhythm of her speech does not quite align with her sentences, creating a bizarre out of synch effect that has me waiting for the punch line when she has, in fact, made her point, whatever it may have been.
Today she wouldn't accept an assignment from a girl who had submitted it online, but was unable to provide a printed copy because the uni computers were down.
The tutor stressed, to the unfortunate girl, the need to be organised and prepared.
Then she made us wait for ten minutes to start the tute because she couldn't get the overhead projector to work.


My Ethics tute is about to start. Two hours of people making unconnected statements like:

'The government is evil and unnecessary'
(Worked that out already have you boyo? Who employs teachers again?)

'I was, like, unemployed for, like, five years and people judged me. So unfair.'
(Now you get to be a teacher. People love teachers.)

'Nothing personal. But you are a perpetrator of class warfare and I'd never let you teach my kids.'
(This bloke screams Falling Downesque anger management issues)

'Who's to say a farmer is more valuable to society than a hairdresser?'
(Certainly not pretty people)

Two days until Easter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Convergent Spilt Milk

Noodle is refusing to eat dinner
He wants the lid off his milk.
The house is in a mess
And Knickers has to leave for nightshift.
I take it off
'Hold on tight' I say
'Hold on tight' he parrots
As he upends it on the table
A white tsunami
Engulfs him, Knickers, his dinner, my textbooks
Ride of the Valkyries blares from the radio.

Knickers is in our bedroom
Walking it off.
Noodle is in his cot
Competing with the crescendo.

I tell her Mark texted me today
From Sydney, where I vicariously
Live his single life.
A prostitute threw a carton
Of strawberry milk over him
When he declined her offer
Of $20.00 for the works.
'I know how he feels,' she says
Slipping a clean shirt
Over her Fertility Goddess torso.

I lean against Noodle's doorway
(He raises his fist
Defiant, unrepentant)
And warn him against
The path he is pursuing.


Monday, March 17, 2008


The Noodle helped me finish fixing the dog door this morning, dangerous saboteur/assassin that he is.

He started by upending the packet of nuts and bolts then, having both focused my attention elsewhere and lured me into wind up range, cracking me in the head with a spanner while I scrabbled on the ground for the detritus.

He then had a right tanty when I removed the wood glue from his clutches, knocking the drill onto the concrete and snapping the 2mm bit in the process.

We finished up our little bonding experience in separate areas of the house. One of us re-attaching the, hopefully, repaired dog door in the glaring sun and muttering a few choice comments that were barely choked down earlier; the other looking on from the air-conditioned comfort of the back room, screaming and bashing at the window frame with a pair of pliers.

In years to come, in the unlikely concurrence of us still residing here and the repairs lasting, I'll be able to point at the dog door and say to the Noodle, 'See that. You helped me fix that.'

Which would be nice.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's a Shame About Mr Ray

The Noodle is starting to develop an appreciation for television. Phew, we were getting worried there.

By TV I mean Finding Nemo. He will accept no substitute. Actually that's a lie, he was jumping to Kriss Kross' Jump on Rage yesterday morning. Pretty fly for a white guy. Jump is another lie, he simply bends and straightens his knees, failing to generate the requisite force for any serious hang time, or indeed any airtime; still baby steps, tomorrows another day... for steel springs to hurl him down the track faster than a leopard...

So, Nemo. Bunkered down in the lounge room (the coolest) during the heat wave I've gotten to watch the beginning of Finding Nemo more times than I'd care to have my legs waxed. During the latest I noticed that Mr Ray, the school teacher, does not display any particular affinity to the tenants of constructivism. Nor does he model his teaching practice on the pervasive pedagogical models; choosing to instead adhere to an outdated and outmoded rote learning system.

What is this Mr Ray, the 1950's? Why don't you just line your students up against the wall and throw medicine balls at their heads?


Friday, March 14, 2008

Well, You Would Be Cross

The fine people at Helga's halve their Cross budget.

Bang Bang

Vacuumed the car today, and the lounge. Then mowed the lawn, trimmed the edges and hung the washing out. Replaced two washers for the outside taps. Took the hounds for their walk, worked out and attempted to repair the dog door.

Amazing how much you can achieve in a day, simply by putting it aside to study.

Bit the bullet this afternoon and opened Educational Psychology: Your Descent Into Madness at the same time as the Noodle opened up his artistic side and began pounding on his Magnadoodle with one of the magnet shapes.

'...provides stimulus for the study of learning meta strategies, the teaching of cognitive strategies in the context of performance on academic...'


'...teaching BANG of BANG cognitive BANG strategies BANG in BANG the BANG context BANG...'

'Noodle, dad is trying to concentrate, just bang softly.'




'Knickers!' I appealed for parental intervention.

'Leave him alone, he's playing quietly.'


They'll both be sorry when we're out on the street.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lost and Found

I needed my birth certificate for my police check. They, understandably, won't let us go on teaching pracs without having one completed. Only trouble was I was pretty sure I'd lost it.
Years ago Dad gave me an old leather document case to keep important papers in. It has a little card upon which is printed a 1966 calendar. The year Australia converted to decimal currency. He'd also added a tiny black and white hospital birth photo of me, or maybe a monkey, we're none of us oil paintings. That was a pretty emotionally charged thing for him to do, he not being big on bonding moments.
For instance; our one and only sex talk took place one Saturday while driving to Clarendon to buy pies for lunch:
'You going to that party tonight?'
'You'll be careful won't you.'
'Yeh. I won't drink and drive.'
'That's not what I meant.'
'Oh. Right. Yep, I'll be careful.'

Anyway, I thought I had my BC in this case, with the photo and the calendar. But the last few times I'd looked through it I could only find a rejection letter from Duntroon, an incomplete UK tax return, a transcript from my failed year at Flinders Uni (straight out of high school), and my school leaver's certificate with the blistering personal attack penned by my chemistry teacher, Mr Ralston, for failing to develop my, apparently, God given chemistry skills.
Yes, I've constructed my own little psychological torture chamber, all cased in leather.
Anyway, desperation made me have one last look tonight. There it was, right near the top. In an envlelope. With my name on it.
I really should throw the other stuff out. if I can bear to open it again.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Things That Scare The Noodle

  1. Planes and helicopters
  2. Sleeping without Oof
  3. Strange men
  4. Stories involving wolves
  5. Readings of 'Where The Wild Things Are' utilising scary voice (since banned by Knickers)
  6. The Ocean
  7. His dad impersonating someone sleeping
  8. Waking in the midst of night
  9. Sausages
  10. Trucks

Things That Scare His Father
  1. Slipping in the bathroom and breaking my neck
  2. The manic energy of recently divorced women
  3. Setting mouse traps
  4. That little post-toilet stain on the front of your shorts indicating a couple more shakes may have been prudent
  5. Dieing before getting the chance to punch Doctor Phil in his smug face
  6. Turning on light switches with wet fingers
  7. Crocodiles
  8. The dream in which all my teeth fall out
  9. Saying 'Candyman' in front of a mirror
  10. That death is really the end

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Centre Console Cleanout

Start with the small stuff
Pen lids, five cent coins
Expired fuel vouchers.

Move up to bigger issues
Receipts, unsent letters
Inner workings of
A Soviet era transistor radio.

Life is chaos.
You can't control it.

You can't even
Control an area
Smaller then a milk carton.

Punch something
Accept your lot.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Here's Luck

Backing a winner today? Let me give a condensed lifetime of advice from urgers and side of the mouth talkers.

Any grey horse, with a frisky tail, led by a strapping strapper, numbered 2 and running in the 2nd, named after an alcoholic beverage, is unstoppable!

Put ten bucks on for me, hey mate?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Too Right Now

Last two years I've worked virtually every weekend. My friend Kym works nights as a sleep technician, wiring up the morbidly obese and watching over them as they slip in and out of sleep, in and out of life.

He told me that when you work too many nights your mind loses its circadian rhythms. Loses the ability to completely relax, or to fire up. Just one endless afternoon of mild drowsiness.

I feel like that with weekends.

Sunday of my first weekend at home and I feel nothing. I remember when I was a kid and we'd watch The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday afternoons. I'd really sink myself into it, pushing away the growing fear that the next thing was bed, then school. Gone.

This curse 24/7 society has taken my weekend.

I want it back.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Noodle's 1st Bucks Show

The Noodle accompanied me to a bucks show late this morning. First we swung by the hospital to meet Knickers on her break. She gave us a run down on the rules (looky, no touchy etc...). Then we were off.

The show was for Aaron, from training. We arrived at the Kent Town Tap Inn a bit after eleven to find him on the driving range. In a viking helmet and kilt. Knowing Aaron I'm not too sure he hadn't just been wearing them anyway.

Adjourned to the bar shortly after where the Noodle impressed all the blokes by mashing his packed lunch (from the monkey and giraffe bedecked backpack I was carrying) into the floor before eating it.

Not sure what the etiquette is for bringing toddlers to a bucks show but we stayed for an hour or so. He got over his initial shyness fairly quickly and was racing up to people announcing 'pelican' or 'camel' up until I put him off tap. That was the fastest Coke habit ever developed. Cut off from his supply he quickly had a screaming attack of the heebie jeebies and had to be escorted from the premises, taken home, and put to bed.

Roger and Daphne, my parents-in-law, dropped round later this afternoon and the Noodle proudly announced to Nana, 'Pub!' when asked what he'd been up to today.


Thursday, March 6, 2008


I stand on tiptoe
The cold wave still slaps my groin
First swim of summer


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Week of Uni

Catching the train to uni on Monday was traumatic. Adelaide definitely has a North / South divide and I'm a southern boy. My comfort zone is a bit shaky on O'Connell street and non-existent at Mawson Lakes.

The outer windows of the Gawler train were smeared with a, hopefully, ersatz viscus liquid that half-hid the industrial wastelands that flashed past mile after mile. It seemed like some sort of prison transportation. Certainly half the passengers, some sipping slyly away on cans of pre-mix bourbon, wouldn't have looked out of place in the big house.

Then the train slid into Mawson Interchange, looming out of the wasteland like the set of a sci-fi movie. I followed half a dozen Asian students up and over the concourse and onto the connecting bus. They all wore sunglasses and had tiny white headphones disappearing into jackets, worn despite the heat. No-one spoke. The bus wound its way through massive construction zones, half shrouded in dust rising from the trucks maneuvering on the open ground, before depositing me, half-relieved and half-freaked, at the uni.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pull My Finger

I was playing a vigorous game of pull my finger with the Noodle this afternoon. We were waiting in the car while Knickers ducked in to do some shopping. Pull my finger does not have across the board sanctioning by the Noodle Raising Parental Committee and is usually undertaken in Knicker's absence.
I was belching loudly and the Noodle was cacking himself (I'm so funny). What I didn't know was that he had been playing with his Mum's mobile and had called his Uncle Barry, who was fairly bemused. Why was some lunatic calling on Knicker's phone to burp in his ear to the accompanying chuckle of a demented midget?

After adequate explanation and a brief catch up with Baz I decided we should use our time more productively and do some work on learning colours.
'What colour is the sky Noodle?'
'Nearly. Blue.'
'Clever boy. Now what colour is the grass?'
'Grass is green.'
'That's right, clever boy. What colour are the clouds?'
'Close, but actually...never mind...Hey, pull my finger!'

*Please forgive use of cutesy voice.


Monday, March 3, 2008

And He Didn't Like It Anyway

The following conversation took place in the McDonald's drive through, getting something for the Noodle on our way out to tea with friends:

Knickers: Just get him large fries and six nuggets.
Myninjacockle: If we get a five dollar happy meal he'll get a drink and a toy.
K: We've got water and he doesn't need a toy. Don't get a happy meal.

(drive up to window)

M: May I have large fries and six nuggets please?
Girl: That comes to seven dollars today.
M: -

(gaze at pitiful $5 note in hand, fumble for more change)

M: There you go.
G: Drive on down to the next window.

(driving down to next window)

K: Why the hell didn't you change to the happy meal?
M: What? You quite clearly said don't get the happy meal.
K: Yeh, but I didn't know it was going to be seven dollars.
M: -


Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Can' Wait To Get Off Work (To See My Baby)

Second final shift this evening. By that I mean it was the second time I've finished up with the bank. Last time was in March 1998. Ten years ago. Shit.

That time I took my uniforms and a jerry can down to the Jabiru dump. Had myself a little symbolic funeral pyre. Today I just left.

Guess most people would feel that your life hasn't really gone to plan if you're working at a call centre in your mid-thirties. Can't say I'd argue with them. Can't say there was ever much of a plan. Tomorrow though, I start learning to be a teacher. A little slow out of the blocks sure, but I'm moving fast in a straight line now.

Said a whole heap of goodbyes to people over the last few days. Like to add a few more now.

Goodbye to the two freaky Flowers in the Attic girls who arrived together, left together, huddled together and whom I never witnessed converse with another soul.

Goodbye to the tall strawberry blonde girl who I often encountered at Uni and work and would always work very hard at staring into the middle distance while I tried to make eye-contact. You never once acknowledged my existence. I salute you and your determination.

Goodbye to the greasy-headed rum-scented loner who never once removed his coat.

Goodbye to the big headed guy that I worked with as a removalist. I've just worked out where I knew you from.

Goodbye to the guy in the wheelchair who always arrived at the same time as me, causing me to pretend to fumble with my non-existent bike lock till you had swiped through the security doors. I was so afraid that I'd just blurt out 'wheelchair' should I be forced to wait behind or in front of you. So hard was I repeating, he's just the same as everyone else, to myself. I'm sorry I'm such an arse.

And a final goodbye to Kelly. I doubt you remember me, we've never spoken, but I was several years above you at school. I can't begin to imagine the hell that was your school life. I just recall the pack of kids that would surround you like hyenas. Laughing, teasing, taunting. That you are a functioning member of society, with all the disadvantage you had in life, is a testament to you. That you appear to be functioning at about the same level as me, with all the advantage I've had in life... well I'm just not going to board that train of thought.

When I'm freaking out in five weeks time I'm going to re-visit how goddamn good I feel right now.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Trust the Boys at Troys

South Road, Morphett Vale, night
I'm nineteen, and,
Streetlights loom a promise
Of Hinton's California, or
Kerouac's down, down, down
In the Denver doldrums.

But when I look around
It is still Morphett Vale
South from Junk-food corner
And I'm surrounded by,
Deserted car yards, full of
Holden Camiras and Mitsubishi Colts.

While the salesmen with mustaches
Earrings, and gel in their hair
Are home drinking West End Super
In leather recliners, placed
Before Sony Black Trinitrons.

While their platinum wives
Scrape t-bone scraps
Into bowls for
Overfed chihuahuas, and
Stack Westinghouse dishwashers, and
Dream their dreams
Of what might have been.