Wednesday, 31 October 2007

"My vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than empires, and more slow"

The colleagues and I celebrated ding-dong-the-term-is-dead last night with a visit to the Ivanhoe pizzeria and pastarie, where mine goode selfe stupidly ordered the Vegetable Platter of the Day. I had fantasies of char-grilled aubergine swooning over a fricassee of courgette and sundried tomato, with butterbeans and garlic and olives and oil and asparagus spears and marinated vine leaves and champignons. Instead, $12.50 of virtuously steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, with a couple of baked taters. Moral: go to Ivanhoe for your hoe, or your ho ho ho, or your Ivan, or your I, or your van (quite), not for your vegetable platter of the day.

Meanwhile, delirious with hunger, I start seeing superior vegetables lurking in every cranny of Western literature: Alexander Pumpkin, Russian Romantic; "Tomato, and tomato, and tomato"; "Lettuce go then, you and I,/ When the evening is spread out against the sky"; "Come live with me and be my spud"; "And the peas of God that passeth all understanding"; "To bean or not to bean"; and on and on and on. You wouldn't want to know. Really.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Free Associations

Tonight I am going to walk from work to Macleod Station, right along Springthorpe Bvd., past an innocuous little sidestreet called Ernest Jones Dr. Ernest Jones, note, the very same who penned Sigismund Fraud's biography, popularised Hamlet's Oedipus Complex, and presided over the International Psychoanalytic Association in fluent Welsh. That, like Death and Eros, this Jones character gets his own drive tickles my post-Freudianism like nobody's business. I haven't had this much fun since they erected a sign outside the maths building at Sydney University, proclaiming it the Carslaw Complex.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Put that in your pipe and peep it

Correspondence just in: my employer reminds concerned parties of workplace anti-discrimination regulations, noting, in particular, that "The University has policies, procedures, publicity materials and people in place to deal with inquiries or complaints relating to discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment." I haven't seen such a sustained act of plosive alliteration since Peter Piper picked his peck of pickled peppers, and, dag nabbit, I like it.

Idle minds, of course, turn now to that plethora of public policy documents that have failed to fully capitalise on their alliterative potential. The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority's "How to Get a Heavy Vehicle Driver Licence", for instance, could be restyled as "Hoping to Have a Heavy Hauler Handler Licence?". The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Regulation Act (2006), Regulation 7 (currently, "The Authority may, by means of signs, barriers or buoys, close temporarily the whole or any part of a public area [other than a public road] to the public"), should be refigured thusly: "The Authority may, by buoys, barriers or beacons, betoken the brief beclosure of the big bulk or any bit of a boulevard (besides a byway) to the bourgeoisie (&c.)". What's lost in precision is more than made up for in tongue-tappin', and that, mesdames, is a fair trade.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Not with a bang, but a whimper

And so it came to pass that thy trusty author, haggard and footsore, approached the end of the Semester of Doom. Only one lecture remained, and she had vague and ignoble intentions of making it a repeat performance of the technicolour oration she had spun this very morning (on all manner of notions, including a reader-response theory of genre, the dangers of matching one's bustier to one's bloomers [i.e., puts one at considerable risk of being mistaken for an Easter egg], the derivation of the word "diet" [from the Latin for day, "dies", because diets were never meant to go for more than 24 hours], and, hey look, is that the time?).

I've just collected informal course evaluation surveys from my worthy third year students, one of whom, to the question, "Is there anything you disliked about the course?", has replied, "I didn't like you being interrupted in the lecture". Bless you, worthy third year student, though you know not what you say. It's my being interrupted in the lecture, my anticipation of, and growing reliance on, being interrupted in the lecture, that has enabled me to prepare a good 6.3 minutes less material per week, thus ensuring the salutary kip that has kept me in such excellent health and spirits and saved me from deliquescing utterly into a puddle of reader-response theory and underpant commentary and sentences like this one.

But they don't like me being interrupted in the lectures (they being those who don't themselves interrupt), and I feel like it behoves me to respond in timely fashion and prepare a final and uninterruptable lecture for Wednesday. So (yawn), if you've got any suggestions (yawn) about (yawn) what I might say (yawn) in a final first year blather about autobiography, suggest away. Pleeeeeeeease.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


The rockmelons are heartbroken because they cantaloupe.

Further evidence that author's siblings are best ever.

Discussing council development applications for (cough) therapeutic massage parlours, a sibling of mine who shall remain anonymous proposed the following name for an house of ill repute: The Anthology of Pros.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

E-pistling down

Can't decide which is more exciting:

1. The hand-stapled three-page letter I received from David Rhodes of Perth, enclosing five cents as a token of his sincerity, inviting me to join him in a "legitimate opportunity" that's "perfectly legal", and promising me that "within 60 days [my] life will too be transformed" (damn straight it will; this five cents and I won't be looking back);

2. The email from the Citizens Electorial Council of Australia, sealed with the holy earwax of Americanian Statesperson Lyndon LaRouche, beguiling my vote with promises to abolish rivers and support nuclear power (how did they know?);*

3. The wholesale enspamulation of this very website with advertisements for the complete World of Warcraft collectable collectors' items with free World of Warcraft organic tofu replica battleaxe for only $199.95 which I will be painstakingly deleting just as soon as the 'puter and I have a spare five hours.

* Oh, all right then, and with some sensible policies about opposing anti-terror laws, but let us not to the telling of good stories admit impediments.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Graffiti in the gels' loos at work: "Heraclitus rocks!"

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Scientific evidence supports author's claim that she has best siblings ever

Following discussion around yesterday's post on sexual aggression in Anas Melburniensis, my sister has sent me an email with the heading "Endocrine-disrupting contaminants and alligator gonads". Put that in your pontoum and rhyme it.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Mate on dry land, why don't you?

I'm just back from my constitutional saunter round Carlton Gardens, where it's yea verily spring. The lilacs are a-bloom, the bees are a-buzz, and the ducks are a-drowning each other in their aquatic fornications.

We Harlots are some of nature's great zoological voyeurs. On more than one occasion, mine own mother has beckoned me into the garden to watch the slow slimy romancing of amorous snails, and when I see a uxorious pigeon bobbing about his lady friend, I generally cancel all engagements and stick around to see what happens. But these ducks! I don't think life'll ever be the same again now that I know what has to happen to bring ducklings into the world.

So she's going about her business fossicking lunch from the bottom of the pond. The drakes are churning through the water like paddlesteamers on steroids, trying to keep each other from getting to her. Then one of them hops on her back, grabs her head in his beak, pushes her under water, and goes to it. Now, while he's too preoccupied to watch his own back, two others pile on top and her whole body, her head, everything, is submerged. Somehow, minutes later, they reach some sort of resolution. The duck emerges, frisking out her wings, unpanicked, as if this sort of thing happens every half hour.

Meanwhile, your bespectacled observer has been turning moral somersaults on the grass. Should she intervene? Is the duck being assaulted? Is she anthropomorphising the duck? Is it wrong to anthropomorphise ducks? Would it be wrong to intervene? Is the duck drowning? Hang on a minute, I'm serious, is she drowning?

She wasn't, and I just watched, but drowning looked like it was a serious possibility. If any of you ornithologists out there were to tell me that ducks regularly die mid-copulation, I'd be none surprised.

Friday, 12 October 2007

On Wheelbarrows Divested of Wheels, Planted with Petunias and Used as Garden Ornaments

Are they real or are they false?
Are they wheely wheely wheel?
Are such barrows wheelbarrows?
Are they wheely to their marrows?
Do they have a wheely pulse?
If you poke them will they squeal?
If you cock your leg and wee
On them a stream of nectar golden
Will these barrows up and waltz
In circles wheely round the garden?
Or are they just on bended knee
Abject things that have NO WHEELS,
Deprived of wheel liberty
While seedlings do not ask their pardon,
But sprout and swarm and bloom in shoals,
Like arrows through the barrows' souls?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The Chastity Pants and Industrial Relations Implications

I conducted exhaustive surveys today, and learnt that the eight buttons of the Chastity Pants (not including supplementary waist-adjustment buttons) take on average 18 seconds to undo and 25 seconds to rebutton. That's an average of 43 seconds for the whole combined unbuttoning and rebuttoning experience. A button and zipper, on the other hand, can be worked in well under 5 seconds either way, so let's - generously - allow 10 seconds for the combined unzipping and rezipping. The difference, you'll note, is some 33 seconds. Assuming three visits to the bog during working hours per working day, that's 99 seconds per day squandered, 495 seconds per working week, 21920 seconds per working year, factoring in four weeks leave, and 219200 seconds over a ten year employment period, not accounting for long service leave. This, you'll see, raises serious concerns for workplace productivity. If I weren't myself the owner of the Chastity Pants, I'd be making velcro mandatory.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Chastity Pants & Two-tone Brogues

I realised some time ago that were I never to acquire a single item of clobber ever again, there'd be enough liberty print boiler suits (&c.) in my wardrobe to last me for my entire foreseeable life. And so, said I to me, do not buy thyself any more habiliments, especially of the jackety, shirty, skirty, pantsy sort, for thy wardrobe bursteth at the hinges and thou couldst spend thy dollars on goodly works, or tofu, or somesuch.

But then one thing led to another, and within the last month alone, I've gone and got me a pair o' new shoes and a set of pantaloons, pantaloons which I refer to as my chastity-pants, on account of the eight buttons I have to undo whenever I heed the call of my pontine micturition centre. The chastity-pants are knickerbockers. Tomorrow I am going to measure the time spent unbuttoning and buttoning them up. This will be very fun. The truth is, they've already paid for themselves in pelvic floor muscle exercise.

As for mine shoon, never was a knickerbockster so pleased to wear a two-tone buckle-up brogue, or two.

These kids come from Vegan Wares, bespoke cobblers to the Melburnian lentilophile.

And now this is all well and good, and frankly, if you've read this far, you should go off and do something improving immediately, but - here's my pledge - no more. There will be no more chastity pants or shoes or shirts or hats or detachable epaulettes until, unless, the old stuff falls to tatters. I have enough doo-dahs, as my mum would say, to sink a battleship (Terrorism Hotline running hot).

Friday, 5 October 2007

With a type type here and a type type there

Tomorrow is World Animal Day (d'ya hear that, fleas?), and I will be singing with my quire at the Fitzroy Town Hall World Animal Day extravaganza.

I am doing the platypus solo in the indigenous fauna harmonised a capella version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". I was lobbying for non-gender specific language ("And on that farm she or he or it had a platypus"), but I got voted down by the Amphibians' Rights faction, who felt that I was muddling the issues, and bad enough that there was only one frog verse (dedicated to the Pobblebonk, "with a bonk bonk here and a bonk bonk there").

Tuesday, 2 October 2007