Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Questions and Answers

As I mentioned last time, A Free Man is testing experimental interview techniques, and we're all invited to join in. Post a comment on his site, and he'll pair you up with two bloggers somewhere in the world, one who will interview you, and one who you interview.

My interviewer is Agnes from It All Started With Carbon Monoxide. I've read Agnes' blog before, so I was not surprised when she emailed me some great questions. It's been a bit of a brain dead week, so it's taken me a couple of days to get around to writing (and rhyming) my responses. I like to think when you read this you picture me being interviewed sitting on some over sized sofa with lots of Indian style cushions and throws and a large glass of wine in front of me. Very ABC.

IASWCM: Hit shuffle on your iPod/iTunes/CD payer/gramophone/music player of choice. Name the first five songs that pop up.
BHG: I like to think of myself as a fairly technology-friendly kind of person, but when it comes to music CDs are about as new-fangled as I get. Nothing beats vinyl. I do however have a 5 disc CD player, and these would be the songs of choice from the five CDs that happened to be in there when I received this email:
1. The Pale Saints, Sight of You (from the Comforts of Madness album)
2. Billy Bragg, Marching Song of the Covert Battalion (from the Internationale EP)
3. The Sundays, I Won (from the Reading, Writing and Arithmetic album)
4. Arcade Fire, Neighbourhood #1 (from the totally wonderful Funeral album)
5. Okkervil River, Black (from the Black Sheep Boy album)

IASWCM: You've mentioned cricket a few times on your blog lately. Shane Warne: sporting hero or total nutbag.
BHG: Can't he be both? Obviously very few people spin like Warne (except Muttiah Muralitharan, and yes I had to look up how to spell his name). These two are really the only players in the game recently that make spin exciting to watch, especially in limited overs. I was also really impressed with his work after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Other than that - the hair, the women, the phone sex, the outfits. Cut Snake.

IASWCM: The Sound of Music is listed a one of your favourite movies. I have three questions: a) Tell me a few of your favourite things - rhyming is allowed, if not encouraged. b) Fast forwarding through Maria and Captain Von Trapp's love scene in the gazebo - yes or no? c) The Von Trapp kids - do you find any of them annoying in any way, and if so, which ones, and why?
BHG: It is true, this is one of my favourite films, I can literally recite it from start to end. Schmaltz all on top. I also have a bit of a thing about nuns, which I don't think has made its way on to BHG previously. I collect them (I have hundreds of them, figurines, icons, posters, cards, wall hangings, I have my own habit and a full thigh tattoo of one). So needless to say the nuns in SOM are a big attraction. But in answer to your questions:
a) My favourite things:
Sleeping with kittens on pillow and feet
Lucias and Maya, great places to eat
Boarding in Oz, but landing in Greece
These are a few of my favourite things.

Singing and dancing all the night long
To Pixies, and Pavement and Stone Roses songs
Throw in mates, and get us a round
These are a few of my favourite things

Big oily gins with tonic and ice
Make horrid work days suddenlty nice
Then falling asleep and waking at noon
Yes, these are a few of my favourite things

Tee hee, I know this doesn't scan exactly right, but I hope it's not too bad a showing.

b) Fastforward? Totally. But it's not as bad as Ralf and Leisl. That's truely horrid. I like the bit when they're hiding behind the tombstones in the convent.

c) Most of them actually. But Leisl's the worst. If I were Ralf and I had to face a long lifetime with her staring out infront of me, I think I'd join some dodgy political group just to get away from her too.

IASWCM: It's been pretty bloody hot here in Australia lately. What do you do to cope with the heat?
BHG: Sleep. Sleep through as much of it as humanly possible.

IASWCM: Name your mosted hated ad on television

BHG: This was a tossup. The ped-egg one is horridly annoying. I can't believe these people care so much about their feet for god sakes. If I have body image issues it's my face or my hair or my rolls of fat. Not my feet. However, on reflection, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats those ridiculous adds with the Australian cricket team over-dubbed by KFC. Shoot me now.

IASWCM: If you could have a celebrity chef cook for you for a week who would it be? And most importantly what would they cook for you?
BGH: This is a tough one. Most celebrity chefs are really annoying (Jamie Oliver in particular), but most of them cook really nice food. I'm also craving Chinese food like crazy at the moment. But on reflection I think it would have to be Simon Bryant, because he's local, cute as hell, and I like the way he looks at the world. I once tried to make his Murtabak, and failed in quite a spectacular manner, so I think it would have to be that.

IASWCM: Do you have any regrets?
BHG: I simultaneously have none and too many to go into them in such a forum.

IASWCM: What's the best place you've ever been to?
BHG: Mercy, what a question? Can't narrow it down to one but I'll say: Athens, London, Prague, Varannasi and Shanghai.

Well there, dear readers, you have it. Again, great questions Agnes, hope you enjoy reading dem, just as much as I enjoyed writing dem.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

an exciting new project

I have just received an email from Chris at A Free Man. He has an interesting cyber-project going, which involves bloggers interviewing each other. Sounds like a lot of fun and a good way of discovering some people who read the same sites as you. I only discovered Chris' site relatively recently, but it's always a good read, and really thought provoking, so if you haven't been there yet I suggest you check it out. He also shares my taste in music, which in suburban Adelaide can be a bit rare, so that also impresses me.

Tonight for the first time in ages I'm baking. Predominately it's for a film night that an environmental organisation I'm involved with is putting on later in the week. There's also a bushfire fund raiser tomorrow at work, and despite my misgivings I'm putting some of the white chocolate and strawberry cupcakes I'm working on in the ring for that. I have some ethical issues with the way morning teas are organised at my new place of employment, but I've been far too controversial of late, so I will let this one simmer (read: fester) and come back to it at a later date.

I will go to morning tea, and throw my spectacular cupcakes in the ring, however my money will be going to the Wildlife Victoria fund. If you've been touched by the tragedy in Victoria, but like me think that a billion dollars (the latest tally) is enough for us horrid human beings, this might be a nice alternative.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

not the popular view I know

Yes: Bushfires are tragic. Yes: Many have died in horrible ways and this is sad and sickening. Yes: It will take a lot for these communities to rebuild.


Carl and Lisa from some morning breakfast news show are on the TV at 9.15pm with hoards of screaming crowds like they're at some fucking Coldplay gig, yelling and screaming and doing the two fingered salutes to the cameras.

$45 million has been raised. That's right, millions of dollars. Many, many millions. For families who have insurance (or should have). And businesses who have insurance (or should have). And services, such as schools, that will have government support. That is why I very happily pay tax.

Thousands starve in Africa. Millions are washed way by floods in the sub-continent or squasedy by oriental earthquakes. Do people give a shit??? Hell no! And I can understand that these people need food and clothing and shelter now, and that this needs to be provided. But 45 million worth?

Look around you people. The Red Cross has enough for this. Give to the homeless guy near your work, or the family in another country who have nothing to lose in the first place. Or give blood or something practical. No amount of money will bring back the dead, which is the real tragedy here.

I have a fold-out couch that any (small-ish) family is welcome to until their house is ready to move back into. I make a mean pasta sauce and the liquor cabinet is fully stocked. Just let me know.

Outrageous I know!

PS: There are many of you who have enquired about my well-being either through this blog, text, phone and email. I thank you all, particularly Marilla, who as I have mentioned previously, rocks! and enquired on this site. So I am glad to be able to tell you that the fires are a good two days drive from my house. May it always be so.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Burn Down The Disco. Hang The Blessed DJ.

Everyone in Australia, and many people from elsewhere, are aware of the horrible, horrible bushfires that have ravaged the state of Victoria over recent days.

Every time you turn on the news there's another horror story. Homes lost, family, friends, animals torched by the incoming flames. The total, utter destruction of the whole region is almost unbelievable. The death toll is impossible to keep up with, as every time you hear it it's crept up by 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 more people, almost to the stage where the numbers are no longer able to be processed.

What is even more incomprehendible is the likelihood that these fires were deliberately lit. Some man or woman went out into the country side, in the middle of drought, during some of the hottest weather on record, when the wind was blowing a gale and set light to the tinder dry Australian scrub.

When they catch this person, I'm not sure the police could, or would want to, stop the public from tearing this individual limb from limb.

But it makes me think - what makes someone an arsonist? Obviously no one wakes up one morning and says 'I think today I'll become an arsonist' - any more than someone chooses to be gay or straight or male or female. Surely it's something in them, whether it be nature or nurture. And either way, as a society, don't we have an obligation to contribute to doing something about this? If it's nurture, can we work towards building a society that values our communities and creates environments where all children can be cared for to reduce the number of people who feel that this is the only way that they can demonstrate their power? If it's nature, create attitudes within the community that allows these people to put their hands up and say 'hey, I've been having these thoughts and I know they're wrong but I'm having a lot of trouble controlling them and I need help'? Either way wouldn't we have fewer drug addicts, homeless youth, paedophiles, rapists, wife beaters etc too?

Yes, I know there's no magic wand to wave to make all of this happen, but unless we as a society start to value each other, from the word go, there is either no way to stop people becoming those who lit these fires, or if they're born that way there's little hope of them not fulfilling this self-made prophecy.

Of course we are all responsible for our actions, and this person/people decided to light these fires, and totally and utterly deserve to punished as roundly as our legal system allows for what they have done and the pain they have caused. But wouldn't it be in everyone's interests if we prevented it happening in the first place?

Also, I think I'm becoming AFM, I seem to keep using song lyrics for my post titles.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

All over the shop

mmmm... I suspect that this post will be all over the shop, so I think I shall try to order it's contents in a numerically stratified manner, in order to encourage orderly reading.

1. The Full English
2. Sheherazade Goldsmith
3. ODI
4. The Weather (naturally)
5. Fire
6. Why Marilla Rocks

1. The Full English
For many reasons I have been hunting around in blog-o-sphere slightly more than normal. Some of this can be attributed to laziness and procrastination. So, no great surprises there. However I have just come across the London Review of Breakfasts. I recently bumped into an old lover (lover is such a funny word. This guy didn't really qualify as a boyfriend, but lover sounds so Casablanca). However this guy had recently been to the UK for the first time. We concurred 'there's a lot of bad food in Britain', and that this would make a good name for an album. The English Breakfast is one of life's great challenges. When it's good, my word they transcend the divine, but when they're bad they leave you let down emotionally and physically, and crushed for days. My mate BBITW makes a very good breakfast. So does Uncle J. And so do I it must be said. However if you're ever lost and alone south of the river, look up Cafe Rossi, just near the Borough Markets. They do bubble and squeak that you'd crawl over hot coals on your tongue for. Good fried slice too. Continental bread.

This lovely site has also given me a new catchphrase: "the quotidian side of luxury". This will not surprise my friends, it's the pretentious over-educated drivel I normally come out with.

2. Sheherazade Goldsmith
You may remember a little while ago I made some environmentally conscious NYRs. I can report that the stinky weather has made me drive more than I said I would, but that I am riding to work a lot which is cutting down on my carbon emissions. I have a bloke coming to see me about installing rain water tanks next week. I am also have two vegetarian days a week. Most people think of me as a tofu kind girl. And I do love tofu a lot. I also love steak and sausages and lemon and thyme chicken, so this is a big deal for me.

3. ODI
If you don't know what ODI stands for, this probably won't interest you. It's currently 0/92 in the eighteenth. This may even turn into a proper match. That'd be something! Not sure what to make of the hoo-ha about the song in the dressing room. I think tradition is important, and without tradition cricket is... ... well it's the IPL. Shudder.

4. The Weather
I had to sleep under the covers last night. It was very exciting. I also, finally, finished putting up my bamboo blinds, which involved re-stringing them and putting in the little butterfly things you tie the cord around. I can now finally dine al fresco without burning my retinae out.

5. Fire
Unfortunately half of Australia is on fire. I remember the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983. I was still in primary school, and my school was in the foot hills so many of my friends had to leave early to get home before the roads were closed. Once the sun went down you could see the fire front moving across the hills, and frankly down the hills. I was terrified and had to go and stay at my father's house in the city. One of his close friends lost their house in those fires. Back then I was probably too young to realise just how many people not only lost their homes, but their lives, being too caught up in my own angst. This year entire towns have been wiped off the face of the earth, and still living in the foot hills I would be naive to think it couldn't happen to me. I'd have to be unlucky, really unlucky, but I guess it's possible. Also having a friend in the CFS I know how hard it is for them, so my best thoughts are with you all.

6. Why Marilla Rocks.
Marilla knows why she rocks. Cheers hen. Will get around to returning the favour and sharing your generosity with the world soon.

Over And Out

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Down under the Ground. To get out of the Sun

Much to the bemusement of my cats, I have been taking photos of my kitchen floor. Most photographs only served to illustrate that my whole house is covered in cat hair, and there are far too many scratches and dents on a floor that was sanded and varnished only 3 years ago.

However this one, if you look closely, indicates that the kitchen has been taken over by ants.

I have done well this summer, these little fellows only showed up about two days ago, which considering the weather is pretty luck.

But now it's 10.45 and I'm ready for a nap. Please remember that I am a 7 day a week victim to a 5.30am insulin injection, so I have been up a while. Been to the central markets, done some stuff for work, drilled some holes in the pergola. Now, if I'm lucky, I will awake refreshed in a couple of hours, and the cool change will have come in.

I hope to provide you some time in the weekend with posts about the holes in the pergola, my progress on my new year's resolutions and a further discussion on the state of international cricket.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

the most glorious feeling in the world

Most of my friends will tell you that I'm addicted to sleep. It's my favourite state of being and my favourite thing to do. Better than cooking. Better than swimming. Better than a good book. Almost as good as sitting at a taverna in Greece with the waves lapping the shores metres from your feet, while you work your way through palates of beer and plates of mezedes. Almost.

But the best feeling in the world is the one I have right now. I'm tired. Bone tired, the tired that consumes your whole body and weighs down every limb so that your fibiae almost drag themselves towards the bedroom. But my mind is a million miles an hour. I've done more than 30km in the saddle today (which is a lot in this heat). I've been to my mothers for dinner so I'm full of chicken with sumac but have ridden home with the cooling nighttime air streaming through my hair and my clothes. Right now I'm sitting here receiving emails from around the globe, a wickedly strong gin and tonic on one side of the keyboard and a puring cat on the other. The temptation to put on the Arcade Fire's album Funeral at a volume detectable by NASA and dance like a crazy thing until three in the morning is almost all consuming.

Of course I won't. I'm far too old and sensible and have a 7am breakfast meeting, so in the not too distant future and I will finally take my shoes off and put my head on the pillow. I will be asleep in seconds. But right now a sense of total and utter euphoria is taking over me.

mmmmm...... maybe one more gin before I turn in......

Sunday, February 1, 2009

it's that time of year again

Yes, the academic year is upon us. Well actually for those slacker under-graduates it doesn't start until March. MARCH???? Can you believe it.

But I am at it again. Well only kind of, as I've been asked to adapt a paper I wrote last year for submission to the SATC for publication, so I should actually put some effort into this.

But procrastination is upon me again. The fact that there's cricket on today doesn't help. Thank God it's New Zealand or all may be lost. So I sitting here drinking dry white with lots and lots of ice and listening to the Go-Betweens. "Teenage Rasputin takes the sting from a gin", is one my all time favourite lyrics - and I've been compiling a desert island tracks list, so I've been giving this sort of thing some though.

Comment, yell, shout - BHG - Just write the bloody paper and get it over with!!!

As a parting gift I refer you to this article on the death of the noble English language.