Sometimes when I am doing my commute I imagine being pulled over by and undercover cop car. And they say to me, we just stopped you to say Congratulations, you get out driver of the month award. Not only are you following all the road rules but you’re doing it in such a stylish way.
The car that I drive now is just not conducive to speeding. In fact it likes to travel at 10kph under the limit. I already mentioned that the heater/fan system has a mind of it’s own—more accurately it likes blowing a hot wind. I am too cheap to use the a/c. It doesn’t seem to work that well anyway. So I turn the fan on and set it for it’s coolest setting, 18 degrees. It’s not 18 and it’s not even outside air temperature. It feels like it takes normal outside air and then runs it through the engine so it’s nice and hot. So far I’m dealing with it. As the BOM said yesterday—this is the longest break between days with 30 degrees we’ve had since 2003.
I remember in grade five at primary school for a while the teacher had us doing a project where we’d go outside for a minute each day at three o’clock and record the names of what clouds we could see. So I did know the names of different kinds of clouds at one stage but I suppose I forgot them.
Yes, so we here in Geelong got a bit of rain yesterday. Thankfully nothing really disastrous at home but it was another reminder of how houses in most of victoria are built fairly lackadaisically due to the relatively mild temperatures year-round.
The backyard flooded a bit but it soon soaked in.
And the Charu started freaking out when hail was hitting the back door and window. I opened to the door to show her it was just rain, but plenty of it. I expected she’d understand and back up inside but instead she ran out and disappeared for a while. When she came back she looked like a drowned water rat.
One of my small pleasures for the last while has been looking at the radar maps of the weather. It’s a weather report but you can make up your own mind about what will happen.
And this summer has been way more stormy than last so there’s been plenty more exciting colours like this.
I meant to mention a week or so back we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Flemington. The food itself was kind of interesting. We had a sampler of several dishes – some lentil based things as well as a bit of goat, chicken, fish and lamb (which I steered clear of on the account of my suspected allergy to it). The real surprise was that there was no cutlery involved. I’ve never eaten that kind of stuff with my fingers before—or at least not since I was 2 or 3yo. It was served on a spongy kind of bread which you can kind of grab and wrap the stuff in but it’s only useful to a point, then you have to just dig in a get dirty. The tactile experience was kind of interesting but I can’t help but think that using fork, knife, spoon is more logical than fingers.
Speaking of logic. RIP Leonard Nimoy. As an emotionally turbulent teenager I idolised Spock’s cool, detached way of dealing with the mysteries and troubles of the universe. Sure, it doesn’t work in reality and even in the TV show he did occasionally flip out and try to kill his captain but everyone needs something to aim for, especially as a youngster.
After cruising through some of the farmish parts of rural victoria and then down through parts of the otways I have to say I lament the fact that the Great Ocean Road and Otway hinterland have become weekend playground for melbourne yuppies and international tourists who accept being fleeced. Everything is priced ridiculously (I paid $7 for a pie!) and there’s too much useless new-agey stuff. The Otway Black Snail, pictured right, is neither overpriced or useless. In fact I wish I could bring home a team of them to live in my back yard and eat the regular, plant-eating snails. If this was america there would already have been a movie made about giant flesh-eating snails.
It’s been so cold this winter my fridge decided it wasn’t needed and headed up to the Gold Coast for a couple of weeks.
I can never remember one year to the next and it’s not helped by moving from once house to another but I’m almost sure last winter wasn’t this bad. The heater in the last place was woefully inadequate. It was a little thing clipped to the wall and plugged into the power point. The few times we turned it on all it did was burn a bit of dust inside of it. Despite that we got through winter okay. It felt like it was over pretty quickly. I don’t remember freaking out over seeing what the overnight minimums were.
When we were looking at new places to move into, and looking at this place, I saw the heater and thought it looked pretty crap but I thought, Hey we got through last year with basically no heating—it can’t get any worse than that can it? Well apparently it can. I think I’ve complained about it before but this particular house wasn’t designed very well. The main living areas are at the south end of the building so at this time of year they’re like meat-lockers all day long. In the flat last year, even though the walls were only those cheap (‘cinder blocks’ is what the americans call them) grey bricks with the air in the middle of them, the main wall faced north so any sun would help. Here, the warmest parts of the house are the laundry and the toilet: duuuuuuh -> that’s the sound of the 1950s zombies that designed this house. I’m getting too old to live in houses that have no effective heating.
This is the name of a new album by Lee Ronaldo and the Dust. It should probably be subtitled #firstworldproblems. It’s mostly based on Lee’s experiences of being in NYC during superstorm Sandy. I’m sure a lot of people had their lives or lifestyles messed up by Sandy but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s interesting to compare the effects that natural disasters have on different parts of the world. Rich places: tens of billions of dollars worth of damage and a few people dead, poor places: tens of thousands of people dead and a few hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.
Most of the lyrics are about the weather and being stuck inside, so I can dig that. I actually quite like the album. Enough to have bought it. I only found out about it through that way that ‘friend of a friend’ way that twitter works. I haven’t kept tabs on Sonic Youth since Washing Machine and I was pretty disappointed to hear that Kim and Thurston broke up under messy circumstances and in a way that makes it seem fairly unlikely that Sonic Youth will ever get back together. And so through twitter I saw a life performance vid of Kim’s solo project body/head. I don’t know if they’re stoners – maybe that’s what summer in Germany does to you. And Thurston’s off having an affair—so when I listened to Last Night on Eart I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Lee has basically inherited the Sonic Youth sound. I don’t know what went on with their last however many albums but there was really only one way to go and that was mellower. That’s how this album is and of course it didn’t hurt that Lee also inherited SY’s drummer, Steve Shelley. Kind of like after the Beatles broke up and Ringo ended up living in the guest house at John’s big-arse mansion. And there’s two other guys in there I don’t know who they are.
There are times when the lyrics or singing sound a tad lame, and this is where there is no Thurston or Kim but Ronaldo’s always been a great guitarist and there’s some characteristically sweet chord progressions in there. You can stream the album here
You know when I look at some plants I get to suspicioning that they might be distant cousins of other plants I vaguely know of. For example, this here sunflower looks just a touch like the tobacco plant. I only ever saw a tobacco plant once and briefly but there’s something familiar. There was another connection I made the other day but I can’t remember what it was now.
I can’t get over how rainy it is. It’s not torrential killer rain but either gentle drizzle rain or short showers followed by sun followed by more showers. It’s a combination of the facts that it was drought conditions the last time I sat through a winter here in victoria and that the only time I’ve been here since 2005 was in January or February—sunny and drying out rapidly. I’m sure we’ll get there but it feels like a long time getting there, not that I’m minding it. More weather and plant news at 11.
I stepped out the door this morning at 6am and it was -18 degrees C (feels like -21). Living here has been a very concrete lesson in geography. Seoul and Melbourne are the same distance from the equator but whereas Melbourne is at the south edge of a continent that stretches north, where the delicious, heated winds come down from, Seoul is connected to a continent that extends north, where the icy insane winds roll in from. Siberia, I tell you. Siberia.
For my personal recordments I would like to say that yesterday, March 31st was the first day of the year that was not cold. That’s a long time to wait and it seems to be longer every year but I can never remember.
It’s international back-up your data day. Or maybe it was yesterday, but either way, it’s well worth observing. There’s nothing like a catastrophic data-wipe to ruin your week. These things can come out of nowhere and through circumstances that no one could imagine. Segue to the fukushima situation. Nevermind the human disposition to zone out, goof off or just plain fuck up, the real problem with nuclear power is brought home with this disaster. And that is that there is a million-billion variables of what can go wrong and we simple humans are not capable of thinking of them all, let alone having pre-planned solutions for them all.
I’ve been working like a dog for the last three weeks and it will continue for one more. This is partly why I’ve not been writing here much. It’s hard on my flat feet but also on my motivation to anything else that requires thinking.
I happened to be sitting outside for a half an hour last thursday evening around 6pm and realised how little I’ve appreciated the summer now it’s here. Winter is so long and monotonous and I’ve never felt a softening->adaptation to it. It reminds me of Grimm Bros. fairy tales. Sending your 8y.o.s out into the forest to collect firewood so the family can boil a few misshapen potatoes. That’s winter. But summer days like that one last thurs where the sun is dulled by storm-cloud that aren’t doing anything are nice. Even now that the rains have a-started and every piece of clothing feels damp and clingy I’m still not thinking ‘oh when will this end?’ like winter. Summer is so much shorter.