Saturday, May 31, 2008

Men At Work

I write this quickly now prior to fleeing with the Noodle (as soon as he wakes) to the relative sanctuary of my Dad's house before Knickers returns from a pre-baby girls' weekend away.

She has only been gone since yesterday afternoon but the house is already a disaster. Dirty mugs are scattered throughout the house. They sit piled up with tools, DVDs, volumes of poetry, novels, graphic novels, text-books, dirty dishes, dirty washing and clean washing. The Noodle has gotten into the whole while the cat's away spirit and added scatterings of picture books, bottles, bibs and boots. The hounds have been allowed up on the, normally, verboten couch and contributed the lion's share of fur (that is, enough to make a lion out of) which must now be thoroughly vacuumed.

It's not that I haven't been cleaning, its just that I've started seventeen different projects and completed none. The beginning stage of most projects involve getting everything out and ready, having a cuppa and slice of toast to consider where to begin, deciding it's all too hard and moving on to something else. Of course before commencing the next I would need a palate cleansing romp with the Noodle or lie down with a book, depending on his desire and/or availability.

One of the tasks, assigned by Knickers prior to her departure, is to assemble the new linen cupboard. She is deep in a very large nesting frenzy. Larger than the house actually. This is causing me all sorts of headaches as I try to explain that we don't live in the Tardis and I 'cannae change the laws o' physics.'

Knickers despises science fiction and is suitably unmoved by my protestations.

So, back to our new and expensive linen cupboard. The Noodle and I put the frame together, realised the shelves were on backwards and took it apart. Back together again and decided it would be more stable with the top shelf a bit higher. Took it apart again. Adjusted. Reassembled. Nailed on the thin backing. Refer photo below.
I'm now in a bit of a bind. Sure I can blame the Noodle. After all he did bang a few nails in. I just don't think admitting I let our nearly two year old son let fly with a hammer, in the close confines of the house, is the best strategy to deflect attention away from the topic of my irresponsibility.
It would explain the dents and chips caused by some of his wilder swings. Again though, Knickers is much more likely to dock my pocket money rather than his. Oh for a baby face, what havoc I could wreak!

No. Best to keep shtum while she gets over the initial outrage and be convicted of incompetence rather than incompetence and irresponsibility.

Now I just have to convince the Noodle not to walk around saying, 'Noodle hammer. Very helpful.'

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Then What Is It?

It's not porn or anything
Penny says handing me her phone
Pixels firing.

I watch a man
Sneak up on girl in the street
And reef her boob-tube down
The footage shows the girl
Shocked, then mad as hell
Chase her assailant
Clopping along on high heels
Errant breasts bouncing
As if excited by the chase
One hand attempts to corral them
Back into her top
While the other wishes
Desperately for a gun
She gives up pursuit
Impotent rage writ large
On her seething features.

I hand the phone back
That's terrible
Why? It's funny as
Says Penny



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Cars

At a time when petrol prices are rivaling bank fees for sheer ballsiness, nearly everyone I know is buying at least one new car.

Even my brother.

Mind you, with his penchant for faded glory, shopping on a six pack, poor impulse control and annoying our father; 'new' is probably not the best adjective to describe a 1989 Nissan Navara with an HRT engine and gearbox , illegal air-filter and little silver skulls for door locking knobs.

'Who would know it's illegal?' I asked.
'The cops.'
'Ah, that's a pity. They're just the sort who have the authority to book you. I mean if it was hairdressers, well, you'd be in the clear.'
'Hmmm funny. The engine is tagged too.'
'What's that mean?'
'You know, like the tags put on your water meter when it gets cut off for non-payment. Only it stops scrotes messing with the calibrations.'

Bless. I love the way he assumes everyone has a working knowledge of evading debt collectors, defrauding real estate agents, laughing at threats of credit listings and being aware of the two remaining video stores you can borrow from in the greater Adelaide metropolitan area.

And just to finish.

What I want to know is: how can a two year old freeze a computer, call emergency services on the phone, or (when in at the hospital) press the emergency button on the patient's remote control - all within three seconds of getting access to the buttons? How? It's not natural. Seriously.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Measure Twice, Bugger It Up, Scream and Kick Something


Crib the WUO (Today's gut feeling: girl) in the front room until s/he is sleeping through the night, then, throw them to the Noodle. We're sure he'll cope really, really well with sharing.

I'm sitting in the front room now. It measures 2 x 2.5m, and contains the computer, doors to our bedroom and the front yard, a round window and a doorway to the lounge. Obviously we'd move the computer. Can't have a baby screaming in my ear while I'm trying to study.

Though it's not all bad. One clear advantage of storing a child by the front door would be that if a mad dingo pack chewed their way in they'd be temporarily distracted by the baby, giving us enough time to bail out the window and make a run for it.


Today I attempted to add another door to the doorway. That way the WUO won't be exposed to the Big Brother Final Eviction in her/his first few weeks of life. A neighbour three houses down left some doors out on the road a few weeks ago. I scurried down like a rat under the cover of darkness and liberated one. I hope no-one saw me in my shame.

Luckily it was 40mm too short. Lucky because the universe would implode if something just worked out nicely. I measured carefully and went and purchased a length of timber - same width as the door and 35mm thick - some new hinges and some screws. I cut the timber to length and spent a fair bit of time screwing it to the bottom of the door.

What I hadn't measured was the other side of the door frame. It happens to be about 20mm shorter. This made my extended door 15mm too tall. Fine, whatever, I'll just trim it down.

I unscrewed the timber, put it in the vise, marked it and attempted to trim it with a circular saw. The saw jagged and the timber split.


I unplugged the saw and placed it gently down. Then I kicked the shed wall. It made a very satisfying thump. I swore a bit and thought about kicking the saw. Decided against it. Thought a little longer about kicking one of the hounds, but they'd scarpered. No fools those dogs.


DIY is for fools. Stay in school, earn more money. Employ someone competent to do it.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Fall From Grace

So, I got some scratchies for my birthday and I won seven dollars. I used the winnings for more tickets but didn't win anything.

So then I maxed out the credit card and sold a kidney. Still nothing. In desperation I started hanging around outside the toilets in Mitcham shopping centre, asking people if I could do them any favours for money.

Security asked me to leave.

Curse scratchies.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

They Called Me Mister

Today was my introduction day for the primary school at which I'll do my first teaching prac.

I really enjoyed it. Loved the school, rated the kids (year 4/5's) and loved listening to the bitter whingeing of the ageing teachers in the staffroom.

The deputy principal was appropriately manic, the female librarian was a fuddy duddy and the dance teacher was camper than a row of tents. So I can check all my stereotype boxes.

The only dark cloud was my co-student teacher. He is studying to be a tech teacher and is, to put it bluntly, a bit of a wanker.

Some of his comments made in all seriousness:
  • (About a little girl crying because she fell over) Fuck, no wonder so many of our kids turn into fags.
  • Autism? What the fuck is that?
  • (Upon learning that brandy - the game - is banned) These cunts need to take a spoonful of cement... and harden the fuck up. (boom tish)
  • (About the deputy principal) What the fuck is up her arse?
Our mentor teacher asked if we wanted to mark some spelling for her while the kids were at another lesson. My co-student - let's call him J - just gave them all ticks because, 'I can't fucken spell anyway,' then stole some stickers to put in one of the cool kids books. 'Is this book his? Oh, who's she? That tubby bitch, fuck her. Fuck she's ugly.'

So rest assured Australia. Your future generations are in safe hands.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Return of the Maiden

Suddenly Iron Maiden t-shirts are everywhere, I'm not sure why.

'Cause even back in the day they weren't cool. Guns and Roses were cool, Metallica were bad, Sepultura were dangerous. But Iron maiden? For a start they sung about Edgar Allan Poe stories, Samuel Taylor Coleridge poems and popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. Whoa!

Why did they have such a penchant for men referred to by their middle names? Why leave out Winnie the Pooh?

So many questions.

Another one is, are the pimplesque blemishes appearing on my arm a minor skin irritation or the precursor to a disease that would make the elephant man look a more bankable option for a GQ cover? How about the twitch in my eye?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh Valencia

I'm not the kind of man that can look at a Seville Orange and weep for the glory that was Spain.
Lennie Lower - Here's Luck

Yes, it's an orange
It's also a town
And a name
A beautiful name for a girl
Should we have one
Orange Australia?
No, they grow apples there
No, not like Gwyneth's
Orange is named for a man
Named for a house

(Oh it was the biggest mix up)

Proving all that should matter
Is the name
Rolling from the tongue
Like juice from a ripe

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Making Smooth with the Ladies

Purchased a bag of apples today and asked the Noodle to hand over the money and accept the produce back. Which he did.

'Say thank you,' I prompted.

'Thanks darlin,' he said.

'Pardon?' said the lady.

'See ya darlin.'

I got him out of there before he asked for her number.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Birthdays in the Over 30's Retirement Village

Went out with our friends with kids group this morn (I'm sorry, I don't make the rules that's just the way it is) for a birthday brunch.

I proudly wore my brand new flat cap (the Noodle is terrified of the blower vac, so obviously it couldn't come) which I received after a concerted campaign of whining and some online support. Knickers' was dubious about my choice but I insisted they were very popular. And lo I was right. Two resplendent octogenarians wheezed past our table during the course of our meal, heads warmly ensconced in plaid caps.

Mine is a monochromatic grey. When Knickers was making the purchase the shop assistant asked how old I was and, upon being told, directed her away from the jazzy patterns to the sombre designs for the older gent. As it happens I wanted grey anyway but I resent being pigeonholed, and implicitly labeled decrepit, by some old bag who has never met me.

Who cares, it's my birthday. Yay me.

Friday, May 16, 2008


It has rained all day. Fantastic.


It has also brought one of my pet hates squelching home to roost. Umbrellas. Or more specifically...maybe a bit of back ground before I leap into my whinge.

I don't own an umbrella, only have once and I promptly lost it. I'm a take a chance kind of guy, kind of have to be with my level of organisation.

Most days it don't rain, and if it does well we spend most of our time in air-conditioned comfort anyways, and if not we can always run, and if you can't run then you've probably got bigger problems then getting wet. Things are tough all over.

So... specifically my problem is with the overfed, mouth-breathing product of expensive private schools for boys who, upon waking, views the low-hanging firmament and decides he might get his Italian leather shoes wet on the stroll from the car park to the office. He decides he better grab the brolly. Oh no, the little woman has already left for pilates and I don't know where she keeps them. Conundrum!

Then something like a primordial neuron fires deep down in our heroes cerebellum. 'Huzzah', he cries 'my golf umbrella.' and off he lumbers to transfer it from the back of the Jeep to the beamer.

Later that morning he happily strolls down the crowded city streets, resplendent under his brightly coloured, oversize, umbrella. He whistles a jaunty number as the tips rip eyeballs from passing pedestrians and force others out onto the road into the paths of oncoming trucks.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do That Not

The Noodle's language skills are improving daily. Today he counted, '124689'. So, not a math prodigy (unless he was calculating pi to twelve thousand places), but impressive for his age and considerably improved since he used to refer to all birds as ducks - and say 'fuck' all the time.

What's really getting to me is trying not to say 'Don't'. Like there's a better way to begin a sentence in which I'd like to express my desire for him to decease from putting toast in the video, drinking bubble soap, eating dog food or washing his hands in my urine stream.

I can't even remember what friggen new age parenting manual came up with the idea. Will we damage their precious little psyches by confronting them with such a negative word? Surely third degree burns or a broken limb would be more distressing then a few well placed, timely 'don't s'? But of course I've signed up for it and so find myself constructing some very vague sentences of dubious grammatical merit.

  • How about we stop throwing cans in the supermarket?
  • If you want to browse the internet on Daddy's phone, how about you pay the bill?
  • Well Daddy can see how much fun climbing the bookshelf is, but have you considered the law of gravity?
  • Sure spiders are fun, just like trips to emergency.

Obviously what Daddy also has to work on is refraining from referring to himself in the third-person.


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Law of Swings and Roundabouts

Proof perhaps
Clues contained
In increments
Of time ( t )
Taken to mash potatoes ( m )
With implement ( i )
  • slow for fork
  • fast for masher
But weighed against
Time taken to clean ( c ) said instrument
  • fast for fork
  • slow for masher
Giving us:

t = im + ic

And the inverse relationship of m and c
Ensures t remains a constant
No matter the value of i.
Proof of God,
No matter what
The self-satisfied
Richard Dawkins has to say,
But sadly also proof
Of His esoteric humour
And the fact that
You won't win
You can never win.



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Family Curse

We have a family curse. Not as impressive as lycanthropy or second sight, in fact kind of the opposite of second sight, more of a (I shouldn't have done that in) hindsight. Some would call it a genetic predisposition to blurt out witticisms before considering any possible consequences. But the level of co-incidence required for them to go as horribly wrong as they do is where the curse comes in to play.
Case in point; Knickers and I were at a party, sitting next to each other but talking to others, after a while Knickers leans over and taps my arm:

'Remember that guy that drove us home from the party the other week?'

(I did, the bloke had been a dickhead. Who wears a Jim Beam jacket?)

'Yeh. Dickhead. What about him?'


'This is his brother.'

My brother Ben is the truly gifted one though. A couple of years ago my Aunty Maureen and Uncle Tony were over from NSW and we had a family dinner up at Dad's. Ben was was still working as a chef then and had flogged some deserts to bring up.
'Who'd like some tart?' he asked.
'Tony loves his tart,' said Aunty Maureen.
'Give it a rest woman. It was back in 1977 - would you just let it go,' joked Ben.

What he didn't know was what Dad had confessed to me the previous evening over several bottles of red. That Uncle Tony - one-eyed Uncle Tony mind - had had an affair back in....1977. Gasp!

'What's that supposed to mean?' snapped Maureen. You could see the confusion on Ben's face, possibly the hairs on the back of his neck were starting to prick up. Not again.
'Just a joke. You know, tart.' And there was nothing I could, or would, do to help him without revealing that I actually did know about the affair.

Some of his other notable incidents include:
The 'how was I to know they were German?' debacle.
And the 'Oh, you're really Kate Fischer's father?' affair.


Saturday, May 10, 2008


We've got somewhat of a lawn again, it's a bit sparse post drought (though I might be a bit presumptuous there with the 'post') so I'm growing it long like a comb-over.
Whatever its condition I've really been enjoying playing with the Noodle on it around dusk, before he goes inside for his dinner, bath (in the laundry tub) and books. There's something exhilarating about running around on cool green grass in the lengthening shadows of the gloaming, I don't know if it just resonates from my own childhood or if everyone loves that thang.

Today we played soccer.Our games involve me kicking him the ball and him picking it up and running round shrieking with delight while I chase him. When I catch him I give him a whizzy then I get to laugh while he staggers around and falls over.

Then we wrestled for a while. Our routine is for the Noodle to push me over, jump on my neck and head butt me. Then I sweep him and squash him until he begs for mercy. I rule the under 2 division with fist of iron! Today the hounds were desperate for attention and also came and sat on me mid bout, pawing at my face in case I hadn't quite noticed their presence and also to let me know their bellies were in desperate need of scratching.

Finally we played hang-noodle, a complex game of strategy, the basic gist is I lift him up onto the rings of his swing set and he hangs there as long as he can before plummeting several inches to the ground, then he gets up and demands 'more hang.'

Knickers does not sure my hope that it'll stretch his arms to the proportions of an orangutan.

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If it crosses your mind that your thongs aren't clean enough for the party, you probably shouldn't be wearing thongs.


Friday, May 9, 2008

The Loneliest Dad

It's a modern world. Australia is, slowly, moving towards equality for same sex couples. The USA may be about to see its first female or African American President. My dad is thinking about buying a microwave.

Just don't tell the Stepford wives at Mitcham Playgroup.

We've been taking the Noodle there for a few months now, Knickers mostly but me if she's working, and every time I go I get shown a shoulder that's colder than a well digger's arse.

The Unley wannabes raise their manicured eyebrows (the only emaciated features on their overfed bodies) and hustle their Fred Bare clad offspring away from the unshaven man like I'm a barbarian invading the inner sanctum of Acca Larentia.

So I make myself a mug of tea and follow the Noodle about for an hour and a half as he pursues his own solitary entertainment. At the end they have a singing session. He is still a little reluctant to join the other kids on the mat so he sits on my lap and helps me do the actions. Then we pack away our chair, take off our name tags and go home. It is really bizarre.

Surely other dads go to playgroups? I hardly think I'm a pioneer in the brave new of shared parenting. Surely the odd, 'Hello' isn't too much to ask?

I'd stop going, but we've paid for the half year, and the tea is free.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Dodge Death Again

From ABC News
'Year 4 student Aiden Bott received serious head injuries when a branch from an african mahogany tree fell on him as he ate his lunch in a St Mary's school ground in Darwin's city centre. The year 4 student died after a week in intensive care.'
Had that tree branch fallen some twenty-five years earlier it might have been me and not poor Aiden taking the deep six holiday.
After moving from Port Lincoln to Darwin in late 1983 I spent one miserable term at St Mary's under the apathetic tutelage of Mr 'Dickflop' O'Brien. I missed my friends, it was the build-up, I was about to enter high school - I may well have embraced the falling limb poised like the Sword of Damocles for all these long years.

Other places I have cheated death:
  • Phuket: One year prior to the tsunami.
  • Brixton: Several weeks prior to the nail bomber
  • Mitcham Train Station: today, when a train rumbled past exactly where I'd crossed the line only minutes before.
  • The Universe: where I missed the Big Bang by a mere 15 billion years!

Friday, May 2, 2008

More Seedlings

The Noodle and I went up to Belair Nursery/National Park again during the uni break. After we'd done purchasing seedlings (though I surreptitiously returned the ones he snapped off at the base to the back of the racks) we went and played in the tunnels and saw two emus. Bit of a relief for him as he is getting pretty sick of me pointing out koalas up at Brownhill Creek.

'Yes Dad, another motionless sphere of fur, high in a bloody tree, oh be still my beating heart.'

Emus, on the other hand, freaking rocked. For a few days after he would yell 'two eeoos' every time he woke up. Holding up a random amount of fingers to indicate that, yes, there were indeed two.

I find that the information given on plastic tags for plants is similar to the hyperbole found on wine labels. My apologies to all sommeliers out there for any offence. For the same reason you can't write 'Red, tastes like wine, ambitiously priced' ; nurseries would be courageous to ascribe 90% of their stock with the tag 'shrub-like, green leaves, small flowers may appear sporadically.'

Wilson's Honey Myrtle (melaleuca). Prefers sandy soil in full or part sun. Flowers spectacularly if not trampled to death by rampaging toddler.

Hakea bucculenta - sounds like someone with vomit streaming from their nostrils, smells somewhat better.

Grevillea Wilkinsonii - Likes to summer in the south of France. Denies ever being involved with Lara Bingle.

Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum) - distant relative of the Labrador. Inexplicably loves Chekov's plays.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Birthday Conundrum

I've got a birthday coming up. Knickers broached the subject of presents yesterday:

'I've got an idea. I'm not sure you'll like it.'
'I'll bite. What is it?'
'A blower vac.'


'A blower vac. Are you kidding?'
'Well I'm the one who always sweeps up the leaves out the front.'
'Well I'll get you a blower vac for your birthday then.'
'I'm happy to get a new wok for my birthday.'
'Bully for you. I want a real present.'
'It's just that money is a bit tight at the moment.'


'Fine. Get me a blower vac.'
'Good. Now what about a present from my family?'
'Oh yeh, I was thinking the Colin Meloy Sings Live! CD.'
'A CD? Can't you just download it?
'Jesus Christ, we need dog food, how about you get me dog food?'
'Okay calm down.'
'You know you're turning into your grandparents. At least they have the justification of going through the depression.'
'I said okay.'
'Well, really.'

I don't care how old I get. I love my birthday and I love getting presents.

My parents, by my age, settled for getting each other inexpensive, practical gifts, but my co-mid-thirties friends are still getting themselves X-boxes and mountain bikes for their birthdays.

Oh for a moral compass to navigate my way through this dark and stormy sea of waste and consumerism.