South Grampians and south of there

We went for a couple of days driving out west as far as the southern edge of the Grampian mountain range but not actually into them. Stayed in Dunkeld for the night.

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For years I’ve been using Flickr to store all my fotos and then embedding them on here. It was necessary on the old hosting provider because I wanted to keep my storage to a minimum. But the new host has ‘unlimited’ storage and more to the point, flickr has been steadily going down hill. The javascript rubbish they put over the top of embedded images has spurred me on to give the wordpress media function another shot.

 

But back to the travels. A two thumbs up to Southern Grampians Cottages in Dunkeld. We stayed there one night and it was really nice.

I’d forgotten how small small towns could be. I mean, the name is on the map and we drive there and indeed there is a sign saying you are there. There’s speed limits, a couple of houses, maybe a pub, no one around and that’s it. I found myself trying to get a feel for these places but it’s hard to do if you’re still going a 60kph and not stopping. But I started to wonder what constitutes a town and why does one small country town live on through changing economic circumstances while another seems to die.

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We passed through Derrinallum on Sunday and they happened to be having a market under the trees on the main strip. We stopped to have a look and ended up buying a bunch of stuff like honey, bikkies and a hand-knitted beany. (Prices in real country towns like this, as opposed to touristified towns, are very reasonable.) There was kids for the local P-12 holding a raffle to raise money for something and generally acting goofy. There was a woman singing old-timey songs and playing an amped up ukulele.

 

IMG_4177  Then on Monday mid-morning we passed through Lake Bolac and it looked dead as a doornail. Maybe it was the difference in day but the main thing seemed to be that there was no centre to the town. It’s split by the highway. The populations are about the same and Bolac has a P-12 school too, not to mention a tourist info centre and a lake. But it looked a whole lot less appealing.

 

And then on a whole other level is Timboon, where I lived as a small boy. They don’t even need you to come and visit as a tourist. Just buy their accordingly-priced boutique cheese, icecream, honey, alcohol and even bread. In Dunkeld the little grocery store was selling bread for the Timboon bakery. I used to walk past that bakery on my way home from school and all I can remember it making was very run of the mill white bread so something’s changed there.

IMG_4179Cheeseworld in Allensford gets a lot more visibility in the tourist literature than it deserves. It’s not a terrible place—it’s an okay place. It’s a local-level okay kind of place to eat but the best thing is the giftshop because of how it brings together all kinds of local/Victorian produce for the coachloads of Chinese tourists to buy.

 

I hadn’t realised how how active the sprintcar scene in country Vic was either. They really should just be called dirt buggies. We passed by at least 4 speedways (i.e. dirt tracks) in very rural areas. It’s a shame this kind of stuff isn’t on TV. It’d be much more amusing and genuine than a series like V8 supercar.

 

Is this not a stone I see before me?

kidney stone


Pissed out and retrieved another kidney stone last night. Strangely there wasn’t much pain at all. The other morning I felt a familiar twinge and thought I was going to have one of those weeks but started drinking a lot of water. The same last night and I guess it must’ve already been through the kidney. The crystals in this one are darker than the last. Don’t know what that means.



In other news, for the first time in 7 years I’ve been able to watch the tour de france, thanks to the internet. I’m getting torrents of the SBS australia highlights show, and the full (UK sport or some such) coverage if I want. Fantastic to see again, although SBS’ style has become increasingly commercial, and the race-coverage itself seems highly orchestrated—spending a bit too much time of the tourism cha-ching cashola.


I don’t know what the official policy is, but I’m under the impression that SBS have a hiring policy where they hire people from immigrant backgrounds – as in their parents migrated from somewhere else. Anyway, it’s good to see/hear that SBS must also think of country australians as an underprivileged group deserving special consideration, because Kate Bates is doing the inteviews on the Tour this year. They talk funny, they use strange expressions, they’re usually from poor background and if you thought they were weird, then take a look at their parents—rural australians. Let’s help them.


I have respect for the riders because it’s such a painful sport to devote yourself to, but when they’ve been having these big crashes and they’re all lying on the side of the road or whatever, they do look kind of pathetic, like upside-down turtles. Also, Peter Sagan: doping -> without a doubt.

, , — yak sox @ 12:52 pm, July 11, 2012

kids can’t climb trees like they used to

Heading back to s.korea in a day or so. It’s been nice in Melbs but long enough. Saw True Grit yesterday. Another quite nice story told by the Cohen bros. Had a look at ‘In Press’ one of the local, free music magazines and found that I recognise less than 30% of the names of bands now. A little bummed to see I’m missing Swervedriver’s visit by less than a week.

It was fun doing things with my girl, J-e for the week and a half she was here. She ate steak everyday, made herself bacon and eggs in the mornings, was amazed and scared by seagulls and turned on by horses in the passing paddocks. Even Colac was bearable when she was here. After departure the rose-tinted hue faded and all I could see were the freaks and bogans again.

However, the Trocadero, a longtime-running eatery in Colac has changed hands and menus. Good mid-eastern style food available there now—things like felafel. And according to mum they’re doing very well.

Trocadero, Colac


I always like getting to the vic markets for a borek and a bee-sting. It’s great that those things don’t change.Not so great that this hasn’t changed.

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This blind, or partially blind guitar busker has been frequenting the main sit/eat spot forever. He plays billy joel and rubbish like that. Today he was just standing there, occupying the spot but not performing = squatting. He held out an empty juice bottle and loudly announced “can someone put this in the bin”, minutes after he’d walked inside and bought it without assistance. Being blind or partially blind is tough luck but it’s no excuse for being a talentless arsehole.

, , , , — yak sox @ 1:52 pm, February 13, 2011

aussie_grit

This year and last my more leisurely work schedule has enable me to get back into watching the formula one car racing. I guess I’ve watched it off and on since I was a kid. Here in Korea the best way to watch it is as a downloaded torrent. There’s one chap who’s known as tdmk who uploads the file and then it spreads pretty quickly. I get to watch it about a day after it’s fun. So, big thanks to him, and to the BBC who provide the coverage. They do a pretty good job with the reportage pre and post race, certainly much better than what I remember of channel 10 in australia.

It’s sport and drama rolled into one. All the different egos and personalities clashing and reacting with each other. I think last year I was just happy to see a close title fight and wasn’t barracking for any driver in particular. This year, despite my better judgement, I’ve been caught up in Mark Webber fever! I really hope he wins the world driver’s championship. Partly because he’s australian, but also because he seems to be getting a slightly raw deal within the red bull team. I always go for the underdog. I say better judgement, because last year, and at times this year, he’s reminded me of barracking for the Geelong Football Club—at least—a few years back, they would show such amazing potential, then snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. But Mark has a very Australian personality and it comes through in the interviews. Also, he has this near-permanent 5 o’clock shadow and angular face which makes him look like a computer game character.

markwebber


Other drivers I’m liking this year are: Robert Kubica of Poland; he’ll definitely rise to the top in the next few years. And Heikki Kovelinan, the Finn who’s with the Lotus team this year.


Anyway, F1 is coming to S.korea for the first time this year and me and j-e, my girlfriend are going. It’s in two weeks. I’m hoping it’ll be really worth it.

, , , , , — yak sox @ 3:52 pm, October 11, 2010

Australian political situation

Lol. It’s like one of those community meetings where something exceptional has happened and some whacko or hippy gets a hold of the mic. for an extended period and they’re saying Y’know why can’t we completely do things differently and all get along? And a group of people are actually agreeing with them and you’re thinking have I really become that cynical, or is that hippy fucking crazy.

And then there’s Bob Katter and I’ve always thought he was scary. It used to be just that he looked scary, but now with the position he’s in, he is actually scary. He reminds me of one of the leaders of the aliens in the original V. Someone should get him some dark, wrap-around sunglasses and a dark-red jump suit. That would be awesome. And Adam Bandt must be pissed that he’s a Green and not an independent because he ain’t getting a fraction of attention that the other three are getting. He’s also scary, because I dead-set remember that name from years back but I can’t remember if it was from one of those student unions like NUS, or from one of the ultra-left groups. Scary because it’s another reminder that people I knew in the protest-kid days are now politicians.

Anyway, it won’t be long before the powers that be from the rest of the world send Australia a memo to cut that shit out because a) all this talk of ‘unity govt’ is making a mockery of the illusion of choice in regular two-party systems and b) in two weeks time, when there’s still no government, and society hasn’t fallen apart, people will see that they don’t need politicians at all, and that all we need are an unelected public service, the corporate elite and the Illuminati/Lizardmen.

, , — yak sox @ 2:25 pm, August 25, 2010

happy? Happy in Paraguay.


IMG_4780

While I’m on lists here are some other things I’m enjoying.

  1. Friendly old people! Folks who don’t scowl, look you in the eye when passing and even say hello sometimes.

  2. Small talk at the counter when purchasing items. I’ve completely forgotten how to do this. Living in a non-english spkng cntry is a form of assbergers all by itself.

  3. Early afternoon scoping the supermarket for Reduced Price items. Some would say I’m spending too much time in the supermarket…  But just look at this:

  4. meat-sm

  5. $2.70 for this steak. Funny thing is that I was veggo before going to korea these 5 years ago, but steak is so expensive there I can’t help but buy and eat this.

  6. People from non-english speaking countries who don’t give a rat’s arse about their pronunciation of English. I’ve realised that korean people being self-conscious of their english speaking ability while still in korea is their version of ‘does my bum look big in this?’

  7. People who’ve come here from other countries in general. It was a strange year last year in that I was watching the SBS news online three or four times a week, and while it did produce some raw info, I now am starting to see the slant that they, consciously or not, put on things simply to create tension. Asylum seekers was a constant, and just because of the way they framed it even I—from where I was—was thinking, well gee can australia really take any more refugees? And bless me if it wasn’t malcolm fraser to set my head straight by saying that back in the 70s or whenever, plenty more people were coming here (from places like vietnam) and it doesn’t seem to have done the country any harm—far from it. In fact the pie I just ate for lunch was got from a bakery run by vietnamese people, and it was great!

  8. Looking at attractive women who look like they could be from almost anywhere and not just korea or possibly china.

Having said that, there are two things I am missing.

  1. My sweetie. Whenever I go out I start to imagine how much fun she’d be having if she was here. On the train, her: What’s that? Me: That’s the yarra river. Her: Yuddah!? she’d say in her chortling, amused but notin-a-negative way. She’d love it here.

  2. Playing my guitars on my amp. True I have two here, but these are the ones I want to get rid of, and an elctric with no electricity isn’t much use in my opinion.

All up it’s been a really pleasant stint back. Comparing to, a couple of years ago, I was walking around and felt a bit like being haunted by the ghosts of my own past. Seeing places I’d been, remembering things I’d done.  I’m still getting that but it’s more mellow now.

*   *   *

It’s interesting to grok a bit more how the different media channels are used and or not used between here and where I live.

I did find that the local public library has free wifi access. Bring along your laptop and provided you have a library card, there’s no limits on time or MBs. Thank god for that! How the heck else am I supposed to get anything else done here?

I like that the ABC and SBS have a lot of interesting docos on. There’s been some good ones on music, and the thing is, I wouldn’t know these existed while sitting in Korea, even if they were downloadable. And it’s good that SBS and ABC now have an extra channel each, because the commercial stations are doing a lot less well, mainly due to the fact that they have commercials. When I’m watching a d/loaded movie at home I hit the spacebar to pause when I want to refresh my beverage or take a toilet break. If I’m watching commercial telly here, I can use ad breaks for this, but there are way more commercial breaks than there are things to get up for. And basically it’s an insult to the intelligence to be exposed to the same fucking ads over and over.
If there weren’t so many people living in Richmond, I’d be a major proponent for nuking GTV9 from orbit. “Nothing but shit” should be their slogan. Chopping parts out of movies for no other reason than to suit their timetabling, and the fact that they let shows run up to 15 minutes longer than scheduled are two things they do regularly.

It’s amazing how the proliferation of broadband in Korea shapes things compared to the broadband starved Australia. I don’t see (legit) DVDs on sale hardly anywhere there. In Hoju, they’re everywhere.

I’m guessing that the US is somewhere in between these two extremes, but I would say that the future is online. Commercial tv will go down first. There may be a chance for news channels to offer an online-style subscription service provided there were no ads, at least not in their present two-dimensional, 30 second format. I don’t know, but what I do know is that australia is becoming culturally impoverished because only a small few here are able to share in Happy in Paraguay.

, , , , , , , — yak sox @ 1:05 pm, January 27, 2010

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