Friday, February 23, 2007

Oh no, not a woman!

Front page story of today's Sydney Morning Herald: a Liberal party candidate is sacked for sending his friends dirty jokes by SMS.
I draw your attention to the second paragraph of the story, which is repeated at the end.
Brenton Pavier, a Liberal councillor and the candidate for Wyong, was disendorsed by the party last night amid revelations he had forwarded an "inappropriate" SMS around Christmas to several people, including a woman.

I'm sure I don't have to spell out what incenses me about this statement, so I'll just let you fill in the gaps for yourselves.
Rant, rant, rant.
And as for sacking someone who sends dirty SMS messages to his mates, let him who is without sin, etc...

Trying too hard

Yesterday's daily newspaper contained the monthly glossy mag known as the (sydney) magazine, which in turn contained the following advertisement for a well-known German car company:

It's just one of those things: if you're trying to sound like a local, make sure you get it right, or you just sound like a prat. For non-inner-city-ites, if you drive your beemer through Erskineville you can stop at the Erko Bowling Club for a drink and a meal; you can watch the Newtown Jets play rugby league at Erko Oval; you can see the kids in the playground at Erko Public School or stop at one of the trendy cafes near Erko town hall. But if you do happen to go to any of these places and ask people if they've heard of a suburb called "Ersko" they will give you one of those looks, and quickly turn away...

Also, if the advertisers are trying to imply that people who live in Erskineville might drive their luxury cars, they ought to think again. The vehicle of choice in Erko these days is often a gigantic 4WD: there are always at least three of the beasts double-parked on the street outside my favourite cafe (even though there are plenty of parking spots just tens of metres down the road). As His Dagginess points out, these urban assault vehicles are eminently suitedto the road conditions in the suburb. After all, Erskineville was the suburb where a firefighter was almost charged with neg. driving for wiping out some wing mirrors with a fire engine on its way to a house fire -- when he realised the truck wasn't going to fit down the narrow street, his Station Officer gave the order to proceed anyway, fortunately for the people trapped in the burning house. It was only when someone pointed out to the police and insurance assessors that, if they were trapped in a burning house, they would probably be glad that a few wing mirrors were sacrificed in the interests of their safety -- rather than having the fire engine park at the end of the street and the firefighters running back and forth with buckets -- that the charges were dropped.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Poetry in motion

I'll just jump on the anti-Valentine's day bandwagon that Ms Nominative Determinism complains has struck almost the whole of Gen-Y this year. I tried to skip right past the page in this morning's newspaper but the bright pink and red type jumped out at me and I couldn't help but read some of the poetry that people have written for their loved ones, who apparently have unfortunate monikers like Schmoopy or Wubbsy.
I was pleased to see that Hemlock has the same problem in the Big Lychee, but at least there the peddlers of such inane tripe have the excuse that English is probably not their first language.
No-one ever said it better than e.e. cummings:
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh ... And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

Hmmm.... maybe I should go back and read some of the Valentine's day poems after all: the next e.e. cummings might be lurking among them.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dyeing for it

Last week I went to a workshop on Ozecraft fabric dyes, and came home with a beginners' kit that included several pieces of rayon guipure lace and three bottles of dye. The colours I chose are Wisteria, Olive green and Cream. These images are of my first attempts at applying the dye using various techniques:I used a fine brush to handpaint the dye onto this lace motif, so there is very little bleeding of the colours (I won't say there's none, but it was my first attempt so I've forgiven myself). I used 1:4 solutions of the wisteria and green dyes but I used the cream dye undiluted to get a pale yellow colour. After the dye was applied, I zapped the piece in the microwave to heat-set the colour.
This length of fringing was first dyed with diluted cream dye, using the boiling method in the microwave. I used a solution of about 1:10 as the colour is a little stronger when you boil it. After dyeing the whole piece cream, I used a large paint brush to apply wisteria and green dye 1:4 solution to selected parts of the lace, but I just dabbed it on -- I didn't try to "stay in the lines" when colouring in the flowers, for example. After I'd finished, I realised I'd worked on the back of the lace, but when I turned it over I quite liked the broken-up effect of the dye that had seeped through to the front.
I cut this length of lace into five lengths and applied colours in various ways. The top layer had the various dye colours applied in random blobs using a large paint brush; the second layer was the last I did, and it was dyed by immersion in a mixture of the cream dye left over from the microwave method above and the green dye solution I had used for painting -- it came out a nice pale green. The remaining three layers all had the colours applied with a paint brush, all over the piece, then they were heat set in the microwave. Because they were only small pieces, it was possible to get pretty even coverage with the paintbrush and I didn't need to dilute the colours more than 1:4 so the final result is nice, strong colour.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Spun out

Every day after I drop the Dude at school, I drive down the hill towards this piece of public art (some would call it graffiti) on a fence outside the Eveleigh Workshops. This morose individual tugs at a cord in my heart so I thought I would share her with you. She's kind of an appropriate, mournful image for what follows here.

What I really wanted to blog about today is the whole David Hicks/Guantanamo Bay mess. A week ago, the Prime Minister finally declared (after five years of Hicks' imprisonment without charge or trial) that he would give the US government three weeks to lay charges or... else. As His Dagginess said at the time (in Voice of Reason guise), "He must know that they are about to lay charges or he wouldn't put himself out on a limb like that." Lo and behold, charges are announced a week or so after Little Johnny stamped his foot.
Yet, even the 12-year-old Dude -- who has been slightly indoctrinated on the subject by my breakfast table rantings -- could see that the charges were trumped up, thoughtcrime accusations. What is David Hicks accused of? The basic translation (WARNING: gross oversimplification ahead) is:
a) being in the wrong place at the wrong time; and
b) thinking that people who died in the US were no less casualties of war than people who died in Afghanistan.
Don't think that I believe David Hicks is innocent of any wrongdoing (or guilty for that matter). Obviously, none of us here in Australia has enough information to determine that. But I do think he deserves a fair trial, and these pathetic excuses for charges against him do little to convince me that he is going to get one in Guantanamo Bay.
Meanwhile, LJ is strutting around with a smug grin on his face, happy that it appears that the US government bowed to his petulant foot-stamping (even though, as a letter in the Sydney Morning Herald pointed out this morning, Hicks still has not actually been charged, but only notified of the charges that will be laid once they are ratified by the military commission). It's insufferable! And five years too late.

As a side note to this rant, if you are interested at all in the campaign to have David Hicks treated fairly and humanely, pop over to GetUp and sign up. They are trying to get to 200,000 members this year, to lobby the Australian government on a range of issues including climate change, education, David Hicks and other topics that neither of the major parties seem prepared to make a stand about.