Lacking motivation - and business speak that drives me barmy

I need to look at places to live (my lease runs out in ten weeks) and I need to get out and meet new people, but for whatever reason I can't get my butt into gear. And as for my motivation at work, the less said about that the better. It all seems gloriously pointless, and it could really get me down if I let it.

On Monday our replacement for the six-foot-five Samoan bloke arrived. I can't quite pick her age but I think it starts with a two. She's worked at half of the Big Four and doesn't lack self-confidence. The way she was talking today, you'd think it was her fourth year at the company, not her fourth day, but that's Gen Y for you.

Now for some words and phrases I hear all the time at work and wish I didn't:

Touch base: as soon as someone says this (which for some of my colleagues is every other sentence) I totally switch off from whatever else they might be talking about. I don't let anyone touch my base. Ever. Where does this phrase come from? Some say baseball. My knowledge of baseball is sketchy but I don't think the phrase "touch base" is actually used in the game, and when a player does touch a base, he does so alone, not with anybody. My theory is that the phrase comes from expeditions, where you would make contact with base camp.

Migrate: a good word describing something quite exciting. Birds, animals, and sometimes people do it. But computer data doesn't, goddammit! "At close of play on Friday all the TFI data will migrate from the ABC system to the XYZ system." No it won't. It'll move. Or shift.

Populate: this one's very similar to "migrate". The word comes from the same root as "people", although there's no reason why you shouldn't apply it to rats or even trees. But populating the cells in a spreadsheet?! Ugh.

It is what it is: what does this even mean? I'll hazard a guess that it means precisely bugger all, apart from maybe "who cares?". People use this phrase to sound deeply philosophical, but to me it just sounds bloody annoying.

Chillax: this isn't business speak, but I've heard it at work a few times so I'm including it. This "word" is real fingernails-on-a-blackboard stuff. And what's more, unlike "chill" or "relax", it doesn't sound particularly soothing. In fact it sounds like a weapon that could do serious damage.

K: in writing, K is a handy abbreviation for "thousand", but it's people talking about K that I don't like, and I can't quite put my finger on why.

FYI: again, a useful abbreviation, sometimes employed by Inuit who've had enough of the whole eskimo thing and proclaim: F*** Your Igloo. Most often you see FYI in an email, used in a similar fashion to "NB". Occasionally you see it used as a noun: "just as a quick FYI, stop touching my base." But yesterday I heard someone use it as a verb: "I was eff-why-eyed into that email." Eww.

Birmingham have Chris Wood - a Kiwi - playing for them. He's now scored in two consecutive matches. Take a look at this goal, the third in Blues' win over Nacional last week. It's just like watching Brazil.

People who use bicycles are no safer with helmet laws

Even as the doors to our 'lab cage' are slowly being prised open, we remain huddled in a corner...

...not for us the big wide world of 'grown-up-land'!!!!

How disappointing it is to see populism continuously trump scientific evidence and facts here in Australia - & why is it that British doctors think otherwise?

STOP PRESS: Canberra Punk Commute coming up

(Photos: Flickr, Brenden Ashton)

On your bikes!

When: Wednesday 21 September 2011 starting at midday

Where: We're meeting in Civic Square, near the Statue of Ethos, north of the lake and close to the buildings housing the ACT Legislative Assembly, and then we're hopping on our bikes and going by road to Parliament House, a distance of about 3 km.

Why: to assemble peacefully whilst exercising our right and our responsibility to participate in our democracy whilst we petition for a redress of a grievance.

Naturally we'll be ringing our bells like crazy and chatting a little on our megaphone!!

...& needless to mention, we'll all decide our hat-wear options!

Our democracy, our rules - let's get the Federal Government of Australia to finally recognise our right to choose whether we helmet or not!!

No words

My mother died a few hours ago. There just are no words.

Australian courts prepare for bicycle helmet matter - again

And the seasons they go 'round and 'round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return, we can only look behind

From where we came

And go round and 'round and 'round

In the circle game.

(Joni Mitchell, 20th century Cassandra)

Baby no.2's 'riding-without-bicycle-helmet' matter set down for defended hearing:

Tuesday 18th October 2011, 09:30hrs

Downing Centre,

143-147 Liverpool Street,

Sydney, NSW,

Australia (where else?)

'Abracadabra' & you shall be 'Helmetedl'

Too too weird!

It is in no uncertain terms that the new Brizzie 'bike-share-bike-helmets' attached to Brizzie 'bike-share-bikes' warn potential users that you use them at your own risk...


Yet notwithstanding that potential bike-share users & helmet manufacturers know of the risks, Brisbane City Council appear to be operating in a recklessly indifferent manner by ignoring the issue in hand - clearly

Yet how can they reassure us that the helmet hasn't been:

! dropped

! bashed

! kicked

! involved in an impact of any kind

! left in hot sun

! in contact with certain solvents such as ammonia

! in contact with certain cleaning products such as bleach

! in contact with paints & abrasives

! rained upon

...well basically, they can't!

Too too risky, Brisbane City Council!!!...

...& too too weird!


Just a quick post to let you know that we are in Maryland. There is so much to tell, that I'm not sure I can remember it all. We finally have internet service now, though, so I can check in and let you know that we're all safe and sound (and hoping the hurricane blows on by). More later...

Rampant Redmond!

Rampant is a cool word. I remember Norwich had a street called Rampant Horse Street, which is a damn good name for a street if you ask me. Anyway, rampant is a word that's been used to describe Birmingham's display in their 3-0 win over Nacional, in particular 17-year-old Nathan Redmond (airborne in the picture below) who scored the opening goal.

Blues have now qualified for the "real" stages of the Europa League, and will play six games between now and Christmas, two each against Brugge (or Bruges if you prefer), Braga (of Portugal) and Maribor (of Slovenia). If they somehow come through all that (by finishing first or second in the four-team group), a knockout stage will ensue. This is Blues' first foray into Europe in half a century and to be making these trips from outside the Premier League makes the experience arguably even more special. Birmingham will now play a minimum of 56 matches this season, while the maximum is a (totally pie-in-the-sky) 82!

By the way I visited Bruges once, when I was seven. The last time I saw Blues play was in 2002 - they beat Watford 3-2 after leading 3-0. They won promotion that season, beating Norwich on penalties in the play-off final.

Cycle lanes for cars - NOT!

Don't mess with this 'Lord Mayor' - bicycles rule!!

The Intentionally Vague Promise

On the face of it helmet promoters don't actually promise that helmets will completely protect their wearers but instead offer a feeling of protection, a veneer of safety...

...which is probably why a bicycle helmet, notwithstanding seemingly fulfilling the provisions of section 41BD(1)(iii) of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth), could never be classified as a 'medical device' because the Act insists that any claims made under its provisions must be proven through scientific tests.

It is patently clear that bicycle helmet testing, with its omission of an 'oblique impact test', does not meet such rigourous standards.

In fact it could even be suggested that perhaps it is not in the interest of helmet promoters to make such catergorical protection claims given that all too often cyclists killed or injured are wearing helmets (66% of pedal cycle fatalities & 82% of all pedal cycle injuries were wearing helmets - 'The Chair's Final Report', NSW Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety Vulnerable Road Users - Inquiry into Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety; p.22, at 3.55).

Essentially, such an absolute claim would require a higher standard of 'marketing rules'.

Interestingly & somewhat conveniently for helmet promoters, a touch of regulatory assistance absolves them from any likelihood that bicycle helmets could ever be deemed 'medical devices' automatically requiring the higher standard of proof...

Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods) Order No. 1 of 2011

5 'Goods that are not therapeutic goods when used, advertised, or presented for supply in a particular way' - Table 1, Column 1, Item no. 4

You've gotta hand it to those helmet promoters - seems all bases are covered! sigh...

Sod the Blacks, come on you Blues!

I've got my hands on a rugby World Cup ticket. France v Tonga on 1st October with my cousin, her husband, two of their boys and a friend of theirs. Even though I'm not big on rugby (at all), I can't imagine New Zealand getting the World Cup again for a very long time (and even then it'll probably be as some joint effort with Australia) so I'd like to at least say that I went. None of the others are big rugby fans either, so we sensibly avoided the overpriced All Blacks tickets. We didn't fancy forking out three figures each to watch them thrash Canada 76-7 or whatever.

Changing to the spherical ball, Birmingham City (a team I saw play a handful of times and probably my favourite team) are playing in Europe this season. They won last season's Carling Cup with a fine 2-1 win over Arsenal in the final, only to get relegated from the Premier League a couple of months later. But lifting the cup got them a place in the Europa League play-offs. Last week they travelled to Madeira to take on Nacional; the game finished goalless after Blues hit the woodwork three times. The return leg is in Birmingham early tomorrow morning (my time). It's really a toss-up (Blues have home advantage but the away goals rule means that any score draw would send Nacional through). If they do make it through, Blues will be guaranteed six more games in Europe. Some fixture congestion perhaps, but a lot of fun. I hope they do it.

Some Wellington pictures

Wellington's winter wonderland has at last disappeared, making way for a mild, sunny last few days. Here are three pictures taken (on a grey day) very close to where I live. The first is a view of the Basin Reserve, probably the most famous cricket ground in New Zealand, snapped from the ninth (and top) floor of my apartment block. I can see the scoreboard from my flat, so if an exciting situation appears to be brewing I'll be able to watch the action for free (with the help of binoculars) from the top floor. That's if I'm still living in this flat when the cricket season comes around.

The other two photos are of graffiti, street art, call it what you will. There's no shortage of it in Wellington, and if you can get past the mindless tagging, some of it is actually rather good. Both of these examples are by BMD whose fantastical animals make him (as far as I'm concerned) the man. The second "arms race" piece is fifty feet across.

Bad law - time for revocation

What do you get when you mix?:

→ fear

→ spin

→ protectionism



HOWEVER...lucky for us:

♥ Young Australians are speaking out for rights

♥ Young Australians are refusing to be silent or compliant when civil liberties are at stake.

♥ Young Australians understand that civil liberties act as a buffer to 'ever-avaricious-executive-power'.

♥ Young Australians expect the provision of proper evidence when the 'Executive' proposes a 'curtailment' of civil liberties.

...and so next Monday as a result of Australian governments persisting to view cycling through the prism of crime rather than through one of health or transport, Baby no. 2 will raise the defence of necessity in an Australian court of law in a bid to to avoid an Australian criminal conviction for the Australian crime of riding a bicycle without an expensive Australian Standard equipped with a cheap bicycle helmet...

Respect, Baby no. 2

'You've got mail' - developments on Victim Compensation Levy

(Aaaaahhh - 2 of my kiddies leaving 'the Courty' last night!!

...& today's reality, 2 pieces of correspondence:

(1) letter from NSW Attorney General's Department detailing that my 'objection' to unnecessary arbitrary tax is currently under review - will keep me posted, addition to

(2) pink enforcement order from State Debt Recovery Office detailing that unnecessary arbitrary tax is exponentially growing & that I'm to pay poste haste - $117 now!!!

...sigh! & all because I was getting some milk!!! - woooo! risky activity - naughty me!

Too young

It's been a strange week. First the weird Wellington weather just got weirder as snow fell in the city for the first time since 1976. None of it settled where I live or work, but some of my colleagues, who live higher up, got a fair old coating of the white stuff. It was pretty cool actually to see it fall from our office window on Monday - it was like being a kid again.

On Tuesday I got an email from Mandy, my ex-colleague from Auckland, telling me she'd had a decent-sized win on Lotto. She didn't give a figure at first, so I replied asking if she'll let me drive her new Aston Martin the next time I'm in Auckland. In all honesty I expected her prize to be in the hundreds or lowish four figures, but in fact she won $40,000! While not exactly life-changing it'll be a huge boost to her, especially after everything she and her family have been through. Her prize came from a must-be-won draw of Bullseye, a game where you have to pick a number from 0 to 999,999. Nobody won the top prize (for getting the number spot-on) and the second prize (for getting within five) wasn't won either. So the jackpot was split ten ways among the third-division winners of which Mandy was one.

After receiving such happy news the previous day, on Wednesday I found out that one of the younger members of the Auckland autism group had sadly died two weeks earlier. He crashed is car into an oncoming truck at Dairy Flat, north of Auckland. It is likely that he did so deliberately. He had a number of quite complex conditions that certainly made life difficult for him. On that one day earlier in the month, he perhaps decided it was all too much. He also attended the men's depression group from time to time. I met him several times; I never got to know him that well but he always seemed a pleasant enough chap to talk to. He just needed some help. As Richard said to me in a text, perhaps he is finally at peace. He was just 23.

At Saturday's autism group they remembered him and also Emma who would have turned thirty last weekend.

Life most certainly is precious. I have the utmost admiration for those who help people with mental health and other problems. They have a very challenging job and for some reason society doesn't recognise this; most mental health workers are badly paid. Although I'm hardly coining it in my job, when you consider how little of any consequence I achieve, my pay is obscenely high.

This afternoon I rang Bazza for his birthday. He doesn't have a lot of friends so it's important that I stay in touch with him.


Apologies, very rude of me, I should have introduced Katie, here she is.

New Blood

My 9 year old daughter has just started her own blog, this may re-kindle my interest.

From my mother's bookshelf

"Night is drawing nigh --"
Let me finish what I have been permitted to begin.
Let me give all without any assurance of increase.
Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, Markings, 1963 

 Need I say more?

Young Australian bicycle-user standing up for civil liberties

Come Monday 29th August, Baby no. 2 will head to a Sydney court to mention her matter for the crime of riding a bicycle without a helmet.

She too believes that civil liberties ought not to be so easily waived, and she too believes that an evidence based approach should always have primacy over commercial faith-based ones.

The obsolescent Australian mandatory bicycle helmet laws have done nothing for us in terms of health, safety, transport, congestion or tourism...

...& in terms of silliness, could even be said to rival the UK legislative prohibition of eating of Mince Pies on Christmas Day - though least the Brits recognise how daft that ban is!!!!!

Plans? What Plans?

I can't even begin to reconstruct everything that has happened in the last few days, since my last post telling you of my decision to stay here and send my stuff East.

The bottom line is that yesterday my mom told me to get on the plane on Saturday, to get the boys enrolled in the start of the school year, to get back to living my own life.

To be crude about it, she's not as sick as she wants to be, she's not dying as fast as she wants to, and she really will be here several more weeks, probably even another month. "Go, Alicia. Get on that plane. End of discussion."

I don't want to relive the emotional gyrations and roller-coaster and agony of these last few days long enough to describe them to you. But I will tell you this: I'm going to do what my Mother told me to do, one last time.

Let me show you Sydney

Yesterday with Baby no. 1 et notre amie de Biarritz, we explored 'key' city spots;

♥ commencing with cafe lattes at Luxe to dodge playful Sydney shower

♥ coasting down Glebe Point Road dappled in beautiful winter sun with freshly washed look

♥ mozzying around Black Wattle Bay, Pirrama, the wharves, Darling Harbour, Sydney Theatre Company, the Rocks

♥ lunching at Circular Quay's Oyster Bar

♥ returning home via Macquarie Street, Hyde Park, College Street, Oxford Street, Taylor Square

♥ with quick little stop at Bourke Street Bakery for ginger brulee and coffee

...& brilliantly, our 'heaven on bicycles' was blissfully enhanced by friendly accommodating Sydney motorists!

Aaaahh oui! - la vie est belle!!!!

One day at a time

My mother has deteriorated markedly in the four days since we took her to my sister's house. You don't need the details, but she has gone from being ambulatory (with a walker) to needing a small wheelchair to get from her bed to the bathroom.  It really doesn't look like she's going to have a long, slow decline.

I have decided to continue packing and let the movers load all my things onto a van on Wednesday and head back to Maryland. But the boys and I (most likely) will not be getting on the plane on Saturday. It is so clear that I can't leave at this juncture: Mother certainly does not have another month, and probably not even another three weeks. I will stay by her side, as I always said I would, "until she no longer needs me."

From the relief I feel, I know this is the right decision, that both parts of the decision are the right ones to make.  I couldn't continue with this move hanging over my head for an undetermined length of time; and I couldn't leave my mom when she was approaching her final days.  Let the move go on; let me power through these next several days of relentless packing; and then I'll be able to breathe and just be, just be here with my mother.

One day at a time; it's really all any of us has anyway.

85,000 missed 'helmet' opportunities

(The '85,000')

(The 'watering-hole')

(The team)

(The lunch-spot)

(The ubiquitous 'bicycle-with-hint-of-helmet' display)

(The moment)

Stands to aussie reason that today's largest 'fun-run' ever will have to be a 'helmeted' one in the future for sure!

...surely (?)

It's snow joke

I'm hunkering down in my Wellington pad (what a great word "hunker" is) with the temperature hovering at just one degree. We had a few flurries of snow this afternoon - not an everyday occurrence on even a once-a-decade one. The sun did come out earlier in the day but since then it's felt like England in February.

Great news: Common sense has finally prevailed in the Arie Smith-Voorkamp case (the Asperger's chap who "looted" those two light bulbs after the Christchurch quake). The police have "dropped it". Thank heavens for that.

The Nation that stopped being itself

And so it was in a faraway land called Oz, they continued upon their quest for the Total Safety Elixir with strategies that could only ever provide delusion & disappointment...

"Mandatory ski helmets coming to an Aussie Resort near you next season!"

WTF! I want to live in a 'grown-up' country' that steers clear of hysteria & doctors when making policy decisions!

Whilst Baby no. 1 might like to don a helmet on occasion, I certainly would not & I cannot for the life of me see why I should be coralled into a dress code that benefits corporations & defence contractors in the name of safety and so-called common sense grrrr!

Spotlight on a Website (5): Corrine's Kitchen

Corinne's Porridge Pancakes
My friend Corrine is a nutritionist and she has started a lovely blog giving her recipes for highly nutritional dishes that she makes herself. I can vouch for many of them- they not only taste good but are packed with low fat super foods and using some ingredients that you may not have known to exist. Most of them can be got in any good health food shop. Take a look here.

Winding down... or not

The moving van is scheduled to load my stuff back to Maryland a week from today.
The boys and I are scheduled to get on a plane back to Maryland 3 days later, on Saturday.
The plan has been that I'll come back to Arizona when my Mom is at the end.

Today, she fell in her home, and we came to the bridge of having to decide what to do next. We moved my mother to my sister's house because it was clear that she isn't safe by herself anymore.

And now, I am at another bridge of having to decide what to do next. That decision is not clear-cut because we don't know what will happen next, if Mother will have a rapid decline to the end, or if she will "stabilize" (relatively speaking) and be "fine" for several more weeks.

So what do I do? Do I move as scheduled? Do I delay a week, so I can pack up Mother's house and ship everything in one load? And at the end of that week? then what? Do I delay another two weeks because she's close to the end? And then another? Or do I just say I'm here til the end and not even try to leave until my mom is gone and the house is packed up and whatever else needs to be done is done?

I'm not asking you to tell me what to do, my Faithful Four readers (actually, I think I'm up to a Terrific Ten). I'm just blathering out to the universe because there's nobody else to talk to.

Heartbreak upon heartbreak

I thought this vignette deserved its own post. But it does exemplify the cumulative nature of both love and loss.

I had a candle burning for Nick throughout the day, but it was a small votive candle that was done by the time the boys got home from school. Before dinner, though, we lit a long taper and sang the trisagion prayers for Nick.

Oh Christ God, with the saints grant rest to the soul of your servant ...

The moment we were done, Rock burst into tears: I miss Daddy! he wailed. I dropped to my knees and held him while he sobbed.  And I cried with him. He was only 2 when Nick died. He doesn't remember him; he doesn't remember his voice, his laugh, his smile, his love. He doesn't know what it's like to have a dad. But oh, how he misses him.

HardPlace turned away and walked out of the room. He stood in the doorway with his back to us, trying to hide from it all.  I went to him and held him. He allowed me to hold him, his arms behind his back, tears in his eyes. He doesn't want to know anything about tears or emotions or pain; he never has. I'm not sure he's ever really cried about Nick's death. Ever. Finally, when I was pulling away, he reached an arm around me and held on and allowed himself to rest his head on me for a moment. 

My poor boys: The one yearning for something he doesn't remember; the other, turning away from everything he does remember.  My heart breaks for them both, for their sorrow on top of my own, for their loss on top of my own, for their unutterable, unfixable pain on top of my own. My poor boys.

cumulative, adj.

  1. increasing or growing by accumulation or successive additions: the cumulative effect of one rejection after another.
  2. formed by or resulting from accumulation or the addition of successive parts or elements.
It's remarkable how the most important events of our lives, those things that generally happen only once in our lives (generally), those events that are life-changing, are actually brought to mind repeatedly, and in the remembrance have a cumulative effect.

When we witness a baptism, we renew our own baptismal vows; the more baptisms you attend, the stronger your connection to those promises. When a married couple attends a wedding, they remember their own and squeeze each other's hands during the exchange of vows (and more often than not go home and recreate their own wedding night!). And yes, when someone we love dies, each subsequent death brings us back to that primary loss.

Today is the 7th anniversary of Nick's death. It's been weepier and wailier than most of the previous years have been. With my mom's impending death, all my emotions are very close to the surface. So I really couldn't tell you why I was crying. Was I crying because my beloved Nicholas is dead? Or because my beloved Mother is dying? Was I crying because my brother is gone, too? and oh how I hope he and Nick will be there to help Mother make the journey! Was I crying for myself, for having lost and still losing the people I have loved for as long as I can remember? Or was I simply crying tears of stress and exhaustion, physical and emotional?

The pain of grief is cumulative. Nick's death was devastating. My brother's death brought it back full force and then some. Facing my mother's death underscores the permanence of Death and the impermanence of everything else. Of everything but Love, that is.

I love my family powerfully, truly. I loved Nick utterly. And then my sons came into my life and there was even more love than I thought I could bear. It all adds up, love upon love, begetting love.

There are no words for the grief and the pain and the loss. And there are no words for the love and the compassion and the hope.

As I thought about this post throughout the day, my brain wrote a lot more, making elaborate loops back to and profound connections between sacraments and love and vows and death and renewal and the cumulative nature of power.  But it turns out that at the end of the day -- literally, not in that meaningless idiom that is now so overused -- there really are no words. Trust me though: It was an awesome post. 

My parents' stay and one ring to rule them all

Mum and Dad spent four nights in Wellington last week and flew back to Timaru yesterday morning. We got on really well, maybe because I was at work all day and only saw them in the evenings! They really liked Wellington - it was the first time they'd spent more than a day here - and they said what I've been thinking in the last few weeks: all things being equal (which they rarely are), Wellington is miles better to live/work/eat/sleep in than Auckland. You can be yourself here more easily, it's got a soul that Auckland desperately lacks, and everything is far more convenient: the waterfront, shops, markets, eateries, bars, cinemas, theatres, etc.
Now I just need someone to experience all that stuff with. There are two problems I face: (1) people are scary, and (2) when I'm depressed I don't give a damn about "stuff". However I'm currently in my longest non-depressive spell for months.

We ate out twice, once at a tasty Thai and on Friday at an even tastier Italian. Those would be two of my three eating-out choices, the third being the rather bog-standard fish and chips. On Thursday we saw Soap at the St James. We were in the "cheap" seats (which at $50 they hardly were) at the front of the back section, if that makes sense. But as the show started everyone gradually moved forward to fill any gaps in the rows in front of them. Apparently it's tradition at the St James to do that; in my (limited) experience if you've got tickets for row J or whatever, you have to stay there. We did advance a few rows once we'd figured out what was happening, then it was on with the show. I didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't what we got. I guess I expected more water, some bubble bath, you know, soap. What we did get was an enjoyable mix of comedy and circus. We wondered if the performers were Russian gymnasts who didn't quite make the team. My favourite part (there were many contenders) was the woman who lay on top of a bathtub and juggled various objects with her feet.

After telling Mum and Dad how bad my flat was, they were pleasantly surprised. I think lowering their expectations (to almost zero) was a good move on my part. On Saturday I took them to the airport - a seven-minute trip which impressed them. Hopefully they'll be back fairly soon, and I can get a not-too-expensive flight to Timaru in the near future.

At 3:30 yesterday, disaster struck. I shut my front door behind me, and instantly I knew what I'd done. Shit. I'd locked myself out. After some serious fannying around (making phone calls, leaving messages in desperation, wondering if there was a caretaker with a master key, thinking of ways to force my way in, and finding out how much a locksmith would cost) I found one of the property managers' landline number in the White Pages. Some more farting around ensued but she got the spare key out of the office on Courtenay Place. I met her there; she charged me $50. A locksmith would have been about $250. I still had my car keys and was tempted to spend two nights in my car if I was locked out until Monday. I got back into my flat at sixish. That was a drama I could have done without but it was an accident waiting to happen. Having my car keys and my arsenal of house keys on separate rings, I was asking for it. I'd nearly locked myself out several times before. I've now got one ring (to rule them all) - a lot of keys to carry around but it's the only sensible option.

This morning we had blue sky and bright sunshine, the temperature was well into the teens and people at the waterfront market seemed to think spring was on its way. By afternoon the temperature had nosedived and it was horrible out there. Despite the weird Wellington weather, I think the move to my new(ish) home will be worth it in the long run.

Illegal 'aussie' wind in hair

(Photos: Rasmus Fielder, Melbourne)

Legally protesting the lack of legal opportunity for wind in hair whilst illegally enjoying the illegal opportunity anyway!!!

Com’on, aussie, com’on com’on

Israel’s done it – what’s keeping us?

False, misleading & unsubstantiated: bicycle helmet laws

Bicycle helmets in Australia are regulated for safety but we all know that nothing can guarantee that they actually work. We also all know that our corporate watchdog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), is supposed to prevent any unsubstantiated claims or implications that products boast about in terms of protection or prevention of serious injury if they can't actually provide them.

Therefore it is at precisely this juncture that our ridiculous helmet laws should have been revealed for what they are by now - false, misleading & unsubstantiated - instead of coasting on the 'do nothing' safety protection policy of the lat 20 years.

'Blind Freddy' can see that under the deliberate guise of 'distraction', bicycle helmet laws have cunningly diverted us away from the only effective protective formula around:


- which translated into 'strine' is:


The barking dog

I was talking with my sister about things I'm getting rid of before moving. 

And I'm not taking the rickety kitchen table -- (chuckling quietly) even though it was Nick's.
Jeez. Is that dog still barking?

It still barks and nips at my heels, and even bays at the moon. 
Sometimes it still howls and bites and snarls and -- like during this week of remembering -- it can still tear at the soft underbelly of my soul.

The dog is still barking, still making its presence known to me, and it probably always will.

That being said, the good thing about moving and being preoccupied with my mom's health is that I'm basically ignoring the damned dog, and it's something of a relief to be able to do so.

A political oath

After this disgusting debacle with the debt ceiling and the details of the so-called "deal," I do hereby solemnly swear that if the Bush-era tax cuts are not allowed to expire next December, if they are extended by one single day, I will never give one penny more to the Democratic Party or to any Democratic candidate for public office. 
Y'all know I don't write about politics very often, but I am disgusted.