David Lynch in Brisbane

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 7.32.16 PM It shouldn’t be much of a secret that David Lynch is a big deal with me. A super deal. As an impressionable kid I assumed his vision — mostly based on Twin Peaks — would make me and sustain me for the rest of my life. That didn’t quite work out — but it came close.

So just being in his presence got a bit more full on. In the lead-up I was super-nervous. I was about 2 degrees above the recommended 37. I felt clammy. And because I had booked the instant you actually could we managed to have seats in the 2nd row. Being so close made that melting into my shirt sensation seem even worse. I got into such a state I felt I would eventually get so overwhelmed I just might be compulsed to leave before I vomited.


And this malaise was exacerbated by the fact I think this was THE coolest of the cool scene Brisbane could manage. Like forever. I cannot imagine an event in Brisbane’s history that could unite ALL OF THE COOLSIES.

This event was unprecedented. And of course there were some interstate blow-ins — but I felt me being so “Brisbane” I could unconsciously wade through those distractions to my overall assumption. And that assumption was that if a bomb went off at QPAC that day — all of the cool people in Brisbane would be GONE.

There were so much glasses. So much quality attire. A bunch of beards. So many super-humans and so many simply highly attractive ordinary people. And it was barely 2pm. But in that vein of “ordinary” and “natural” looking people — just like me — we of course looked a bit totally out of our depth. Always looking around, watching, wondering if we were being judged or worse: exposed.

Luckily I had worn my best cowboy shirt, I had given my hair a brush and crucially had a good three beers inside me so I could float through that epic current rather than dive under the water in shame like I usually have to do.

But it still was pretty full on. I will say it again. Brisbane will NEVER be able to collate such a COOL CROWD. Not again in my life time I would think. Never.

david_stratton THE SHOW

In the hour before show-time when I heard David Stratton was the host I shuddered with anticipation. This was now NEXT LEVEL. I was almost conflicted. Was I more excited to see Stratton in the FLESH or Lynch? But then the knowledge of the two of them together just made me dizzy. So the show itself went like a blur. I listened as best I could and followed what was being said, but most of the talk I knew from other interviews. What I appreciated was Stratton poking Lynch for a scoop. And he tried his hardest to get Lych to reveal some secrets by using Paul Byrnes’ story in SMH as a foil. It almost came off. It was pretty cool seeing them together.


Everything was going along in that “beginning to end” narrative. But when it got to the prospect of a future Twin Peaks David revealed that the project was currently mired. The details were obscure — but it wasn’t to do with money. I felt like dying. Look — I WANT to see a new Twin Peaks regardless if it is crap or if it is brilliant and even if it is just bland. I don’t care. I just need to see David revisit it again. It’s one of those “before I die” kind of needs. Talking to Conan after the show when we discussed that revelation we decided that we couldn’t understand why people weren’t turning their seats over. It was pretty brutal. And it seems to be some legal bullshit. UGH.


Lynch was of course super cool. He has a consideration in his voice. I KNOW that comes when you hear your own voice so many times. He wore a suit like he was channeling David Byrne and slunk into the chair like he was melting. I purposely drifted off while Lynch was talking about meditation. I mean — that’s great for him, but it has always been nuts to me and even David Lynch can’t sway that resolve in me. When it was all over I was relieved. I could relax now. In hours I would forget everything that was said that afternoon but I would never forget the feeling. And then we got to have a bit of an after-party with Conan, Sonya, Brad, Timmy, Bri, Miro, Erin, Susan, Dee and others at Tomahawk.

The Flood — 2 years on PT 2


That Wednesday the sky eventually turned a brilliant blue which apparently was the same thing that happened back in 1974. It was eerie how the rain had stopped overnight but the water crept up and stuck around like a ghost.

And then there was an overwhelming stillness about the world which defied the vibe I felt — which was essentially that this was the most profound thing that has happened to Brisbane in my living memory.

When I got back home, it was still quite early and as I casually posted these pictures on FB — I didn’t realise how shocking this might be to wake up to for a few of my friends:




But it was also shocking to the Brisbane people not living anywhere near the River. To them Brisbane must have seemed entirely normal, but perhaps just a bit quieter than usual. And so I think some people actually felt a bit left-out or a bit detached from this situation — which they perhaps overcompensated for later — something I will examine soon.

Anyway I soon went riding again and arrived at a deserted Coronation Drive which was already covered in leaf littler — a state that might appear quite normal — but to me it was stupidly bizarre. And it was also obvious all the residents of the buildings around had been evacuated.


Heading towards the city with all six lanes to myself I felt a bit like the last person on Earth. At Hale Street I was stopped by flood water but a cop was posted here for some reason and instead of sending me back — he directed me up the flyover (and on what normally would have been the wrong side). Then as I was mashing up a policeman on a motorbike seemed to be giving me an escort over. Soon I was on the expressway at North Quay and through to the city.

I remember savouring the experience, riding slow and sucking everything I could in telling myself this could well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Around the city was more sandbagging — as far as the Queen Street Mall. But to me it seemed only Charlotte Street was seriously flooded. On the way home I saw that Suncorp was under water and so was the adjacent part of Milton Road.





Back at home I expected the power to be gone but all our stuff still had juice. But our internet connection dropped out and our mobile phone coverage was limited to a spot in the back corner of the garden which made things a little awkward.

And this being exacerbated by the fact relatives were trying to call us to see what was happening.

Around midday we were starting to think maybe we should try and find some food, just in case, and we found a shop open just off Milton Road and paid about 5 times as much for a very dodgy looking piece of pumpkin. This profiteering was really appalling and I haven’t been back to that shop.

By the afternoon we went for a wander on foot and on the way home noticed the water had entered our street and had flooded the underneath of the first 4 or 5 houses on the odd side of the road.


I should note the TV coverage of this spectacle. You could tell everyone was throwing all their resources at it as there were helicopters in the sky as soon as it got light and they only landed to re-fuel or when it got dark.

Dee was so glued to the TV she developed a slight crush on Karl Stefanovic.

But then there was reports like Suncorp Stadium was on fire, or the entire riverside restaurant had floated away and most incredibly — there was a crocodile in the River. All nonsense.

But there was real, real drama which was utterly gobsmacking to watch: like the Riverwalk breaking-up and the boats smashing into various bridges. Another. And this view where someone is applauding it.


That Wednesday afternoon at around 4 I went for a quick look to assess where the levels were at. I was riding up a tiny street called Thomas and a car started smashing down towards me giving me no room when it’s side of the road was blocked and therefore it should be giving way to me. I had to stop because it would be dangerous to keep riding as we passed and I was just so pissed off I blocked the car’s path.

I shouted at the driver that he had given me no room which was met by the driver laughing at me like I had no issue. It was then I noticed his car was stuffed with at least 5 people. I instantly realised what these people were up to and I wasn’t feeling too diplomatic.

“Who the fuck are you?” I said. “You know what? You’re just fucking tourists. Now fuck off!”

There was a look in his eye of shock like I had somehow read his mind and all he could stammer was “You’ve lost it”. At that point I rode on.

I was just getting so sick of all the useless traffic up our street. I was also worried about the cat getting hit by a car. And I was just generally over all the noise and the selfishness of people who come from the other side of Brisbane just to gander at misery. I know I was guilty of a little voyeurism, but this was my neighbourhood and a substantial part of these tours was just working out if we would be affected. The only other area I gawked at was the city — and I did it by bike, which is hardly as intrusive as doing so by car.


Maybe I was also a tiny bit worried about the looming high tide which was due to peak at 4am. We went to sleep exhausted with the drama but at 2:45 I found myself wide awake. So I just jumped out of bed and grabbed my bike and disappeared into the gloom. Dee didn’t even realise I had gone. I headed straight for Haig Road because that would be a good indicator of how high the water was going to get. A woman was already there silently watching the water rise. She pointed at a house and said she lived there and she couldn’t sleep. We both noted it hadn’t got that much higher since this afternoon. I stuck around for about 5 minutes and then headed for the River.

I went up Milton, down Ridley and across the train station overpass. At Chasely Street beside the Wesley Hospital I started riding slowly as there were no street lights or lights of any kind. The road here dips down into Coronation Drive quite excitedly but despite the blackness I could see where the water began. This was new flooding — I hadn’t seen it here the day before. At the edge I looked up and saw that the water here had come from under the road — not across it. There was no way to get to the Drive without jumping a fence into the Wesley carpark and then I was over another fence and dropping my bike from a wall at the road side and hoping I didn’t scratch it. I jumped after it and then I realised how alone I was here.

It was so dark, but not so quiet. The sound of water was incredible. And mixed into that roar was the sound of metal and other flotsam and jetsam randomly banging against eachother.

Down at the Drift Floating Restaurant the sound got even worse. This time it was timber creaking and wincing under the strain of the torrent. Although there had been news reports of the entire restaurant breaking away — it was only a pontoon at the back that had in fact been swept away. But still — the owner had had to smash all the windows to let the water it to try and save his structure. I am not sure it made a difference. Two-years-on the building is still derelict and getting more and more decrepit.

As I rode on towards the city in that scary, scary gloom I saw the water was over the road in four sections: the biggest around the Regatta Hotel and Land street, then a tiny bit at Lang Parade near the floating restaurant, then a bit more at Cribb Street and then another lake at Hale Street. These sections were once natural creeks and you can read all about them on the “Once was a Creek” blog.

When there was not much else to see I headed back the way I had come and talked to the security guard at the train station who was having quite a lonely night protecting the trains that were being warehoused here. Apparently it was because the Bowen hills railyard was in too much danger of flooding — which seems anti-intuitive now I think about it.

It was now raining again, but not very heavily. Next I wanted to see how Toowong was faring, thinking maybe the real danger was from water backing up through drains, but it didn’t seem to be suffering as badly as the predictions warned.

And so I headed home and crashed into bed.

Thursday was another brilliantly sunny day and I went out riding again, this time attempting a trip to new farm to see how some friends were doing. They weren’t home but I got to enjoy all those car-free roads and expressways and this time there weren’t just bikes around, people were walking here too.

Later that day we went down to the Rosalie shops and just near the school some cops told-off a group of five kids for swimming in what was essentially shit. The kids obediently left the water but then followed us over the rise towards the strangler fig. At the fig a news crew was filming and interviewing people. When they saw the kids coming I saw one of them asking the group to jump into the flood water just near the Frew Street drain so they could get some footage. The kids happily obliged. I was shocked and was working up the gall to say something — knowing Dee hates it when I get righteous — but some old ladies beat me to it. They forced the kids out pointing out they could get sucked into the drain and drown.




ImageThis is the intersection of Milton Road and Torwood St. You could hear the emergency siren in the distance.






That night the water disappeared and all that was left was mud.

I got up and grabbed an old broom and headed over to a house in Aldridge Street where friends of friends needed help cleaning up. I arrived early so just volunteered to help at the house next door. Soon I was carting out all sorts of personal items which I was told to chuck. And this just might have included a stash of pornography, but I shouldn’t confirm, nor deny this story.

But then I was expected to trash some important looking papers and I thought I should check with the owner but it turned out he didn’t care. So I heaved them on the increasingly huge pile of shit across the road but it nagged me a bit cause it seemed like he was in a daze — and not really capable of rational thinking. And then deeper into his under-house-tip I also had to lug stuff that looked suspiciously like asbestos sheeting — which thankfully was wet, but still broken and fibrous and I just had to pray it was something benign like plasterboard.

In that vein it should be said that in Torwood Street over-zealous “helpers” had chucked out someone’s perfectly salvageable kitchen while the owner was absent.

An hour or so later, car after car started arriving with people enthusiastically offering help — but we had to turn them away as the area was already choked with volunteers. And one group were distinctly “Aussie” and were already on the turps and concerned they would get breathalysed on the way home. It seemed this was a party to them.

On the way home I noticed an important-looking heavy vehicle was trapped in a side street. So I held up my broom and the cars stopped and the truck could escape. But then I didn’t get a thank-you wave. UGH!

Then I went over to South Brisbane to help another mate at his home on Cordelia St and got to ride in mud at least 3 or 4 inches deep. Crazy.

That afternoon after deciding the shoes I had worn all day weren’t salvageable I went for a lazy ride over to the western freeway bikepath. I did some laps and then on the way home I decided Milton Road was too chaotic so I headed up past the Botanical Gardens thinking I would go home via Birdwood Terrace.

Unbeknownst to me, the police had issued a request to cyclists to avoid the area as the quarry was being used to dump flood clean-up waste. In any case I cruised through and was waved through by a stop/go person and just as I was past the quarry turnoff — without disturbing any trucks I should say — suddenly this TV cameraman from Channel 7 leapt at me from across the road and got right up in my grill filming everything I did like I was famous. I was rattled so I stopped the bike and asked what was going on. The cameraman just said, “Oh, my boss just asked me to film bikes here.”

Then the stop-and-go guy was shouting at me that I was blocking the road — which I wasn’t — and so I turned around and headed home the shitty way, not really sure what had just happened. At home I realised that the news was going to attempt to pillory cyclists again and this time it was going to be me as their poster-boy of nastiness.


Thankfully there was nothing on the news about me, but that’s the power of the media. I was just finding a safe route home yet they could paint me as some kind of demon. And I later thought, “Why didn’t I just show him the address on my ID?” Or point out all the caked-on mud all over me. UGH.

All that “flood-hero” nonsense really annoyed me. People were just doing their duty, but many it seemed walked around like getting a broom out made them superior.



A few weeks ago I got into a bit of trouble. At the time I was too embarrassed to write about it, but now I guess I am over it — so here goes.

See I’d just spent a week off the bike and once home I knew I needed some distance to appease my Garmin Temple. And because I felt all fat and heavy from all the food-decadence that traveling entails, I skipped breakfast on top of a light dinner the night before.

So Ryan and I headed out towards Nudgee Beach and we were taking it easy cause we left rather late and it was pretty damn hot. I think it was the hottest day of the summer so far. Around 45ks in Ryan had stuff to do so around Nundah I said goodbye with the plan being I’d stick around to do some laps of the crit track.

So I smashed around and around just pushing myself, trying to be as tough as possible. But soon I started feeling a bit weak, so I headed home, a journey of around 18km. In my mind I was thinking about going for a few Strava records on the way but as soon as I approached these segments I felt awful — and increasingly so. In fact, right in the middle of the one I was gonna concentrate on — I had to stop to have a rest.

I sat in the shade and drank some fluids feeling utterly emotionally defeated but expecting to feel physically better very soon. That didn’t happen. In fact, I suspected I was feeling worse, so I soldiered on, thinking I should just get home, have something to eat or sit or have a cold shower.

My belly was screaming at me for food, but I didn’t feel one bit hungry. Instead I felt like vomiting and assumed if I tried to eat something, that would make me puke and I would be in an even worse state.

Once on the Bicentennial Bikeway I started feeling dizzy and it was getting hard to focus on the path. I started becoming quite scared. I was reminded of a ride in September 2011 where I visited the ultimate depths of the pain cave. That ride, Day 2 of an overnight adventure to Woodenbong, was fucked up. I was in the middle of nowhere, with only a few drops of water left, with no phone reception, and utterly exposed to the heat of a 35 degree day. I was suffering so much I couldn’t keep up with the other guys and they disappeared miles up the road while I limped on at a pace a kid on a trike could run circles around me.

I have never, ever felt so sick and so alone and so desperate. It seriously made me question whether I ever wanted to ride a bike again.

So that feeling was starting to sweep over me. At a tap on the bikeway I stopped and dragged myself off the bike and then lay flat on the shady concrete with my water bottle trying to hug the cool with as much of my body as possible. I was feeling dizzy and ill and considered calling Dee for rescue. But because I was on the bikepath, which is isolated by 6 lanes of Coronation Drive, and invisible to the road anyway, I felt there was no way she could find me or be of much help.

I started thinking I needed some other type of rescue. But the bikeway was pretty deserted. It was so hot other riders and joggers had sensibly abandoned the place. But every few minutes someone passed and I looked at them looking helpless and thinking I should ask for help but everytime I balked. Eventually I couldn’t stand it anymore and I raised my arm at a passing cyclist and he slowed and stopped.

“I feel really sick,” I said. And the dude got off his bike and asked if I needed an ambulance and I said, “I don’t think I am at that stage yet, but if you don’t mind sticking around for a minute or two just in case — that would be awesome.”

He filled up my water bottle which I tipped over my head. And then I started to improve. I tried to keep talking just to prove I could make sense — which I hope that poor dude who stopped understood.

Soon I felt better enough, and embarrassed enough, to start riding home and recover some dignity. I thanked my rescuer and said I only had a few ks to go.

But soon I was in bad shape again and I had to jump off the bike just climbing up some short hill that connected the bike path to Coronation Drive. At the top I felt fucking disgusting again — like I was about to pass out. Having experienced that phenomenon many, many times — I know to be weary of that feeling. I almost had to sit down but then the lights changed and I could cross. The next 2km could only be described as an ordeal and everything went so slowly, making everything so much worse.

I made it to the friendly grocer which is within sight of my street but I had to stop again. I sat outside the shop with my head in my lap for a good 3 or 4 minutes trying to recover enough to have the energy and composure to go inside and act “normal” buying some gatorade. But I couldn’t do it.

And so I called Dee for rescue. And I was within 500m of home. How crazy is that? My mind was a jumble and I was so fucking scared of this pain I was in. It was just so unnatural.

As i waited I felt well enough to stand, and then desperate enough to get that gatorade.

There was no sign of Dee so I just walked the bike towards the house thinking I would intercept her as she came for me. But as it turns out she had gone a different way and spent ages looking like a mad-woman at the shop! Soz babe.

At the gate I collapsed again and called Dee who was sounding as desperate as me.

So I made it home, I had that shower, I had some food, then more food and I laid down for a few hours and eventually…eventually I felt normal.

Trip to Toro and Sizzler, plus more thoughts on the new chooks


On Wednesday evening I set up camp on the deck with a perfect view of the chooks playing in the front yard while I read a book about raising backyard hens — but more on that later.

Soon Dee and Laura were home from their trip to GOMA.



And then we were off to Sizzler for dinner. I am not sure if I need to describe the cultural phenomenon that is “Sizzler” — but I will attempt to describe what it means to me. It was the very first restaurant I ever went to. But in saying that I am not sure if Pizza Hut came first.

Anyway — Sizzler had the gimmick of the “salad bar” buffet — which to a kid is just orgasmic. Having the omnipotence to choose what you felt like eating and your portions was just pure gold. The first Sizzler I went to was in Ipswich courtesy of my “rich” grandparents and we had to line up to get a table. It was all worth it.

So going to Sizzler with Laura is a tradition that has only been running one year — but I suspect no one cares. YOLO.



Potato Skins!


But I am getting ahead of things because on the way we stumbled upon a brand new bar with one of those “sub-60-people” licences. It was called Toro and it was on Milton Road just down from The Deer Duck Bistro. (In fact we discovered it is an adjunct to the Deer/Duck restaurant proper).


So we were the only ones there seeing as it was so early. But the decor and the vibe were still amazing. We ended up coming back to Toro after our trip to Sizzler!



Mirrors on the ceiling!


This bad-boy






We got amazing cocktails and a couple of complimentary bad-boys.

So then it was off to Sizzler and we were telling our awesome bartender ‘Carmelo’ (not sure if that is how you spell his name) our tale about how awesome “cheesy-toast” is.

So we had to SHOW him. And we did just that. Laura sacrificed a section of her cheesy-toast to bring back wrapped up in a bunch of napkins. Carmelo seemed to like the cheesy-toast or did a very good job of pretending. In my heart-of-hearts I would reckon it was the latter. Anyway – this came next:


Then Carmelo made us his own version of a “Flaming Moe/Homer”. Just look at Dee and Laura’s faces!



And then the spices were thrown in!


Wow! Just “WOW!”

The chooks are a revelation. They are now my “ladies”. I think about them all the time and indeed I dreamt about them two night’s ago.

They are so fascinating to watch. They are always doing something, unlike the cat, so its almost clinically theraputic just watching them scratch and poke around and be interested in the minutia of the world. You start to doze off into this relaxing zen just casually observing their movements. All your troubles fade away as you just sink into their simple universe like you were slumping into a big lounge chair.

They also make the cutest sounds. There’s two distinct registers. One is the traditional hen cluck and squark — but there’s also a very cute squeaky tone about two pitches above but crucially far, far quieter.

The louder register I am getting to understand. There’s only a few tones but I am beginning to suspect what they mean.

You can kinda observe their personalities too. Freddy is possible the dominant one, even though she is smaller. But because they are inseparable, it’s hard to determine which one is dictating the direction the two move in.

It’s not that hard to pick them up, though sometimes they get a bit flustered. I find if you grab them together and hold them close to your body — that seems to work.





ImageThey will sit on your lap quite happily


ImageImageAnd the cat, well it is curious, but essentially indifferent. And if they get too close — scared.  Which is A-OK with me!

DSCN3470And look at me! I am starting to LOOK like our chooks!

New Year’s and our new Ladies

So we have/have had visitors. Wintah has stayed with us the last two nights and Laura K arrived yesterday and will be staying here about a week.

This is Wintah playing us his new song:


And this is Laura who is visiting from the Old Country:Image


So after a big night where Sarah also visited and we finally got to meet one of Wintah’s many half-siblings (Bridget — who dropped him off) we woke up incredibly, incredibly dusty.

But I had a plan. Wintah didn’t realise it, but he was going to help me finish the chook-pen. When this was announced he looked bewildered, but not incredulous because I think he is used to the fact I get crazy ideas sometimes.

As we inspected the site of the proposed enclosure (which Dad and I had half-made about a year ago) he said, “Have you got the wood?” Yes. And then, “Do you have screws and stuff?” Totally.

“Do you have a measuring tape?”

I fucking do! And I am totally down with all the sweet adages: “Measure twice, cut once”. And “Hold a beer by the neck, a woman by the waist and a hammer at the end.”

Wintah seemed just a bit impressed by this. But just as he was starting to come around he said — “Do you have any tools?” To which I replied, “YES! Except…well…I don’t have a drill. I was thinking we would just use nails and hand drill stuff. Yeah.”

“I think we need a drill,” Wintah said, quite soberly and authoritatively. I thought about this for a moment and decided he was right:

“OK! New plan: road trip: get booze, get tools.”

So I bought the cheapest drill available at Paddington Hardware and Wintah bought some French champagne for later which was an insight into how sophisticated Wintah has become!


And so Wintah and I made a door! A fucking DOOR! It totally works and everything!

Previously to this I had thought house building was pretty basic. I mean — back in the early days of Brisbane — people would regularly build their own houses. But yeah — I think I have a new appreciation for carpentry. So yeah — I am FUCKING glad Wintah made me get that drill. Oh yeah.


Here’s the drill in action! And below — all finished!


Then Laura arrived while Wintah and me were being all manly and soon we were finished and went off to Brookfield Produce store to get some hens. We decided on Bantams cause they are apparently good pets, affectionate and we don’t need a shit-load of eggs. Even though I really do like eggs.

So we chose a black-one and a white-one to match Sasha. Here is Dee “Releasing the hens!”



Dee named one “Freddie” (Fredericka) after Freddie Mercury. And I named the white one “Yoko” cause I wanted to name her after a woman I respected. Then I accidentally realised that it was also a pun on “yolk”. So if anyone asks — the official story is she is like “Yolk-o”.


Then we got the BBQ running and bonded with the chooks. They are really cute and friendly and I am pretty sure I love them already. I was quite surprised birds could elicit this reaction in me. I assumed I was a bit like Dale Cooper who dislikes birds. But I loved how they seemed to be losing their shit just wandering about the garden — just like when the cat got to play outside for the first time. It was like they were saying, “OMG! Grass!” or “HOLY SHIT — real dirt!”

And they sat on my lap and they had incredible warmness. Amazing.



Ok. After that we got a bit adventurous and went to a house party in Morningside. On the way there the taxi was driving across the riverside expressway just as the 9pm fireworks were going off — fucking incredible.





Then I got a bit drunky and needed a walk — so Craig led me to the Southside Tea Room where Dee and Loz were reunited with Kristie.



11:58pm NEW YEAR’S EVE

So in order to get home safely we got a cab at 5 minutes to midnight. But that meant we got to see the fireworks again on the way home. Wintah, sadly, missed everything.


I checked on the chooks when I got home and they looked like this:


Then, at about 6am, I woke up and fed the cat and let the chooks out to play and the cat was completely fine. Indeed she was secretly terrified of them. When they got close to her you could see her heart leaping out of her chest and when an Indian Minor bird swooped and both chickens flapped and made a fuss, the cat ran away in terror. Cute.Image



UPDATE (+ “Road Trip pt 1”)

I have not been quite so attentive of late. But I have been busy, but then again maybe not so busy. It’s christmas. I guess that distorts things. But maybe also I have also reached a point where this little digression is increasingly peripheral. It takes so much time to do this shit, and although I get the occasional compliment, it doesn’t seem like I am really making a difference. I guess to my life it was interesting for a while. To my future existence — or indeed anyone else’s that is weary of my sphere of influence — it might also be worthy. But right now I am thinking this blog’s day’s are numbered.

For the time being I am kinda soldiering on — so here are some pics and later a story.


I cooked for Dee and it was a triumph. Usually she turns her nose up at anything I cook. This time she was impressed. I have to thank my mum’s BF John for the recipe/inspiration.




I think this is the first real-life fire I have ever witnessed.

ROAD TRIP (pt 1)

I am getting increasingly rubbish at driving. I just don’t do it enough these days. And this became apparent when I sideswiped a parked car just outside our house as I tried to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. The other car suffered no damage, yet Dee’s car was horribly, and expesively damaged.

But aside from that utter fail, when I drive in general conditions I find myself a bit lost. For example I accidentally choose routes that are only traversable by bike and have to backtrack or just aggravate the trip with excess milage. And this malaise is overly exacerbated by our river and it’s infinite twists and turns but it’s very finite crossing points.

So it is summer holidays here. A forced period of work leave. For Dee it is closer to 17 days, but for me it is just 10.


And then Dee and I wanted to do something unusual with our summer holiday random free-day — so we went antique shopping in the country. And it seems everyone else was at the beach so going inland seemed obvious to me as a ginger and a recovering agoraphobic and perhaps to Dee too who just likes road trips and getting to be master of the tunes on the car stereo.

Secretly I wanted to also visit Kulgun, the farm my great, great grandad ran in the late 1800s.


We navigated there just by sense. I kinda knew the idea from google maps but it was kinda awesome just turning down roads we weren’t sure led anywhere and suddenly being on the right track.


So this is my great, great grandad’s farm. His name was Henry and here is his handwriting,  his ledger about the farm: how many animals he had, what crops he tried to grow, how little money he made. And the crazy thing is — he kept this ledger for decades. Perhaps that’s not so crazy seeing how poor they were. It was such a struggle to survive back then.

And the ledger also cryptically noted other amazing episodes in his life (in those days you didn’t necessarily put stuff down like we/I do these days) plus it acted as an address book. It was only rediscovered this year when I tried to find all my poppa’s research before it was lost forever. And in that process I managed to give it back to one of my relatives — Darren — who still runs the farm — all these years later.

So Kulgun is still our soil. And Thursday I got to see it for the very first time, and I wanted to see the views, the land. I wanted to see what they might have seen.






So while it is very true some people develop a “drinking problem” — I had somehow developed a “sober problem”.

And this may seem quite bizarre to people who know me now and didn’t know me then. Because we all know what a boozy McBooze-hound I am now.



And having a attention span that might generously be described as “fleeting”, and crucially a very, very low threshold tolerance for fools — this led to a disastrous social life. I was boring — like epically boring. And serious and judgmental and generally a massive deadshit.

On top of that I think I had a mild dose of agoraphobia stemming from *that* incident on the plane where at 16 I vomited all over myself and was forced to sit there for half an hour (plus vomiting again to add to my woes).

Here is a story from those years.

But then I turned 27 and that is the cut-off year for being eligible for Miss Universe — and also the year Brian and Jimi and Jim and Janis and Amy and Kurt and Robert all died. And that dude from the Manic Street Preachers went forever AWOL.

So I had a birthday party — which was mostly an excuse to have my new band play it’s first show. And although I specified no presents (and I was pretty obviously not a drinker) someone bought me a bottle of vodka. And so I put it in the freezer cause I remembered from when I was a kid you could do that cause one of my dad’s ex-girlfriend’s liked vodka and blew my mind when she proved it didn’t freeze.

And it sat in my freezer for a while, not turning to ice, which I was still quietly impressed by. But then one evening I decided to see what happened if I indulged. I “destroyed” maybe an inch and a half of the bottle and had a glorious time and went to bed fully prepared for a massive hangover the next day — but for some reason I woke up feeling strangely fine. No ill-effects.

It took me a few weeks to finally finish that bottle and I remember then experimenting with wine. And I did get into some trouble occasionally, but gradually I worked out my *limit* and I was pretty determined about it. I can remember being out and talking incessantly about my limit. I must have been thoroughly boring to all those around me. And this was the last vestiges of my sober-deadshittedness.

So then I started hanging out with drinkers and there are a few people I need to acknowledge.

My mum — who visited once and was appalled to find no bottle-opener (or wine glasses) in the house — so promptly ensured I was well-equipped.

My Dad — who showed me how to safely open a champagne bottle (hold the cork still with your left hand and twist the bottle at the base with your right) — just as a safety-sam dad would do.

Wintah — who taught me what “wintah-drunk” looks like (and I am not sure I really want to go there — but cheers anyway)



Pat — who taught me how to fall asleep when things got too much. I have used this technique occasionally and managed to party on quite effectively.

Laura K — how to vomit ANYWHERE and how to talk at a million miles an hour. Laura also has a secret super-power of being able to inform EVERYONE at ANY STAGE OF THE EVENING exactly how many alcoholic beverages she has consumed like it was crucial life-or-death knowledge.


Dale — who taught me that if you are playing a rock n roll show in some form of intoxication — just adopt a wider stance for extra anchoring. (And he also said that if you wanna perform drunk — you need to get accustomed to rehearsing drunk too. Sage advice.)

Craig — how to turn up early to maximise drunken opportunities.

Mitch and Timmy — how to be the happiest/most-zen drunk ever.

Ryan — for the stories — which probably shouldn’t be documented.

Liesl — for being all sober like me for ages — and then getting over it too.

Gypsy — who years later still seems to be gobsmackingly overwhelmed at how crazy I can get on the turps.

The “carpark” — when we were all poor and more adventurous we would get drunk on takeaway booze and head up to the top level of a carpark at the top of the Chinatown Mall. We had this great view and a bench to sit on and only very, very rarely any hassle from security.

Dee — who taught me that when I am pointing or accentuating any statement by smashing my finger into the table — I need to get a taxi.

And finally Steve who I am reliably told survived trying to take a piss from a ledge three-storeys up.



My very first taste of alcohol was at the house of the family that cared for me after school during the period of grade 1, 2 and 3. We couldn’t afford after-school care, so at least four days a week — after school — I was billeted out to the family home of my classmate — Damian and his massively fat, ugly mother who would whip me with a spoon for any infractions — which usually turned out to be me mimicking the anti-social psychopathy of her deadshit offspring.

Damian would play games like throwing rocks at passing cars. I just joined in. I mean — I was stuck here trying to fit in. It was a very quiet street and the game ended in spectacular disaster when the car we pelted (and I am pretty sure any rock I threw purposely missed) resulted in a very irate gentleman stopping the car and storming up to the door while we scurried under the house. That episode resulted in not just a lashing with her wooden spoon (and she had one specifically for corporal punishment) but my dad making things much worse and a lot more anti-justice.

So my dad spent a while congratulating her for her example of discipline and apologising for “my behaviour”. He then proceeded to deliver a threat that has lived with me forever. Right in front of her, in the street in front of her wretched house, perhaps attempting some symbolistic public humiliation — my dad threatened to pull down my pants in front of the police and spank me silly if this ever happened again. He didn’t ask me what happened — he just took her word.

But in “happier” times the father of this household must have got home a bit early and I rarely got to meet him. But on this occasion I remember he was drinking his beer out of a glass and he encouraged me to take a sip. Naturally I was disgusted at the taste and that was his point and he was pretty amused. But it seemed Damian was already used to the taste.


At home my dad would make me do chores incessantly. He thought it was a bit of a joke. In those days my dad had custody of me and my sister — but from 10 to 13 — it was just me and dad. My dad was good at getting me to fetch him stuff. Perhaps that’s why he suddenly got very, very fat at about 30. An example would be that when he woke up he would bang on the wall that divided our rooms and that meant I needed to bring him a coffee in bed and turn on the stereo.

Dad would drink occasionally — perhaps more so but I was oblivious. He would make me fetch it from the box of cheap cask-wine in the fridge. I remember once he asked me if he “was acting differently” and I said, “no.” And ‘no’ like it was a silly question. Now I think about it he must have been seriously wasted.


Despite all that It was an entire decade later that I tasted booze and that was despite a lot of peer-based encouragement. I was 16 and she was 15. And because we were having a very bland evening where all my charms fell on her deaf ears (which were used to much more rock n roll activity) I suggested we get ‘drunk’. I didn’t know what that meant or really cared — I just wanted to engage with this girl I was utterly obsessed with. Even though she was a whole year younger than me, at 15 she looked like a woman while I looked like a boy. And this process accentuated that. She waltzed into the bottle-o and emerged with a massive bottle of rum, while I slunk into the 7-11 and emerged with a humble bottle of coke.

That was where I sat and she stood in this equation.

But that night I imagined we were equal. And various things happened in that period which booze or no booze made things pretty magical — but there was no consummation — even though we agreed we just might do it the next week.

So after an awkward episode of extreme daylight — and sobriety — the next school-day, in front of all my friends in the lunch-time schoolyard — she absolved herself of everything that had happened and very ceremoniously handed me back that bottle of rum — which was still half full — telling me that I had paid for it so it belonged to me.

There would be no consummation. This was THE END.


When I turned 18 I was stuck in an HSC holding-pattern. I was so scared of not getting into university and I was living in the sticks of Marrickville. But I managed to celebrate the event by hobbling over to a football game at the SFS. And that was a big deal for me. There was no drinking or parties or really anything that resembled a celebration – but I think I at least got some vitamin D that day. And maybe that was for the best because I was still wearing tracksuit pants and jumpers my grandma had knitted.

The next time I tasted alcohol was when I moved to Queensland after high school. I moved up there cause all my high school peers were such utter deadshits. Like, they have big careers now and money and live overseas and stuff, but pretty much each and every one of them was a deadshit.


The next taste of alcohol was bad. At NYE when I was 18 I vomited after 2 beers and had to go home before the midnight stuff. After a few more episodes of epic embarrassment I assumed I was allergic to booze. And after another try which resulted in me vomiting different colours and spewing out a window down two stories I gave up booze.

I then became a designated driver and a very, very surly late-night companion. I was sober and naturally not being that type of soul — that made things even worse.

My week away. (Canberra and Melbourne)


So it’s been over a week since you’ve heard from me – but I have been busy.

Essentially I’ve spent the week in Canberra and in Melbourne.


A decade ago I kinda worked at Parliament House, in the sense that I worked for a Queensland MP and would visit there occasionally during sitting weeks. I had a very important looking pass with my picture on it and I got to go anywhere I wanted, except through doors that said “Members Only”. If I had a suit (you need to wear a jacket in there) I could have ducked into the Reps chamber too.

But the reason I was in Canberra this time was because I was part of a delegation lobbying for a parliamentary inquiry into public sector job security. We had meetings with Adam Bandt from the Greens, Bob Katter, Peter Slipper, Tony Windsor’s Chief of Staff and finally Kevin Rudd. But along the way we also met with Larissa Waters and a few other politicians.

I think it is safe to say that it was quite a “through the rabbit hole” experience — but dear readers — unfortunately I really can’t provide any more detail.


Parliament House predominately has these hard-wood floors — saturated with the pock marks of high-heels. And so all the while you walk around it, making so much noise — you actually get this vibe that you are in the corridors of power.


But I can say that Dee was giving me points for political celebrities I spotted. So here is the washup:

1) 2 minutes after entering the House I was walking through one of the big, heavy doors and realised someone was behind so I held it open for that person — who turned out to be Andrew Wilkie. At that point I was not sure how many points he was worth — but it felt like I should get a bonus.

2) Bill Shorten just buying tea at the Aussie’s cafe/store.

3) Tony Abbott jogging (in t-shirt and jogging shoes etc just seconds after Question Time finished) through the corridors of Parliament House. I suspect he wears his jogging attire underneath his suit. That’s the only way I can explain such a quick costume-change.

4) As Joe Hockey walked passed he recognised my boss and then shook his head in disgust and because I was the only one looking at him — he had to direct that silent rant at me. I am pretty sure I was flattered by someone who is so much part of the problem thinking we were scum. LOL.


Beautiful art-deco light fixture. I fucking love almost every bit of the design of Parliament House. It is inspired.Image

PH has real art everywhere — like sourced from the National Gallery. It is quite surreal to casually wander past a Brett Whiteley (above) or notice an Albert Tucker hanging on the wall behind you — and you only notice as you get up to leave a meeting.

5) Talking to Kevin Rudd about Lego. We walked into this big, important meeting with Kevin and bizarrely he had a Lego set on the coffee table he was building. And he had meticulously separated all the little pieces into tea cups and the big bits into breakfast bowls. Upon seeing this I couldn’t help myself but exclaim, “OMG! I have this set too — it’s AWESOME!” He explained that it was a recent gift and made a joke about how it was a barometer about how his meetings were going — if everything was getting too boring and people started playing with the Lego things were not going so well.

I then went into great detail about the specifics of the build and followed that up with an epic story of how Wintah had recently broken it. Eventually I suspected I was getting close to freaking Kevin out and being quietly ejected so I shut up and let the business stuff continue. But if you are reading Kev, any help on Lego you need — just let me know.

As the meeting closed and I was doing a video I said to Kevin that my beyonce used to work at Riverbend Cafe and was a big fan. It was then Kevin finally actually warmed to me and kinda blushed. I could see him thinking, “Maybe this crazy lego-nerd ain’t so bad”.

6) I got big points for Insiders regulars — but I only saw Peter Coorey, Laura Tingle and that gangly photographer that appears on Michael Bower’s “Talking Pictures” segment (my favourite part of Insiders). I did see a lot of First Dog pictures.

Others: Peter Garratt, Chris Evans, Darryl Melham, Ian McFarlane, Jenny Macklin, Tanya Plibersek, Craig Emerson, Peter Dutton, Wyatt Roy, Joel Fitzgibbon.

Unfortunately I didn’t see Annabel Crabb or Julia Gilliard or Chris Pyne or First Dog on the Moon which would have sent the points system in meltdown. Oh well.


Me in business-mode waiting for the lift.



Look at this crazy-cat



There are over 2500 of these exact clocks all over the House. The ticking they make is unbelievably loud. “You get used to it,” Adam explained. Periodically these bad-boys go nuts for ages to indicate divisions and other important stuff. The two squares at the bottom are lights that indicate Senate or Reps divisions. 


So then I was off to Melbourne for the FWD2012 conference on online campaigning.

After the first night of ‘enjoying’ the very basic facilities at Queen’s College — shared toilets and showers — I decided to stay at mum’s house. Apart from that fact I am getting a bit snobby in my old age — I really have trouble using public facilities. That’s just how I roll.

Anyway. Mum had a new edition to her pad. This dollhouse — Villa Sibi — based on the Philip Norman house. It comes from Germany. Mum had even made little magazines for the Ken and Barbie occupants inside.


Here’s some pics of mum’s house and Melbz.Image

The view from Mum’s balcony. At dusk it is like a painting that gets better every minute.

ImageA rare Tretchikoff. Image

Those three bowls and stand are apparently extremely desirable. Mum paid 400 euros for them.Image


Hi mum!Image


Mum’s spare room — where I slept — is like an old-school kid’s room. Complete with these amazing original children’s books from ages ago.Image





Adam is super-cool! When Alex makes a joke he gets it!




I bet you didn’t know that Brisbane is the only (major) city in the world named after an astronomer. Maybe you did already, so good on you. But personally I was pretty excited by this revelation.

I first discovered Brisbane was named after an actual person — Sir Thomas Brisbane — when my year 10 history teacher (Mr Hannon) made us memorise the first ten Governors of NSW, and New South Wales almost equated to the whole of white-occupied Australia in those days. To this day I can roll them off without even thinking:

Phillip, Hunter, King, Bligh, Macquarie, Brisbane, Darling, Bourke, Gipps, Fitzroy.

So Mr Hannon, who is still teaching at Sydney Boy’s High, made us get into groups of three and assigned each group one of those ten Governors and told us to spruke his exploits to a class presentation, and then do our best to denegrate all the other 9 governors — no holds barred. He even encouraged gutter tactics, epic sensationalism and Today Tonight style journalism, (though of course TT didn’t exist back then).

It was an exceedingly inspired display of educating. And to this day if anyone asks me who my favourite teacher is — it would be Tony Hannon.


Anyway, today we had a date with Sir Thomas and the Planetarium named after him. This little Brisbane treasure is located in the botanic gardens near Mt Coot-tha and the last time I had been here was back when I was maybe 5ish. And I LOVED it then but never really thought to go back until today. And our other date was Tegan who had just finished her exams and is moving house and needed some celebrations! Yes. We arrived just as it was about to storm — again! It has been an epic weekend of precipitation and atmospheric drama.

The garden got a bit more chewed up than usual yesterday and last night, after another epic slow-storm rolled over, we lost power for a few hours — the first time we’ve experienced here.

The cat has been a bit mental but not as bad as I have seen her when she has been trapped by Queensland’s summer wet-weather.

And just now another big storm is bearing down upon us.

But, back to today.

The Planetarium is a big round building and we all know round buildings are cool – right?



All along the curved outer shell is a gallery of cosmic wonders.

Some — like the view of “Brisbane From Space” are not quite worthy of being displayed so prominently — now that Google is around. LOL.





Meanwhile outside it all got nasty and rainy.

This is the view through the porthole windows. I remember these windows from my visit as a kid. I also remember they obviously didn’t have modern projectors back in that day. Instead they had this weird contraption in the centre of the room that looked so freakishly sci-fi.

In fact you can see it in the background of the picture below. I expect the display back then was no where near as impressive as today — but I still miss that bad guy spinning away in the centre of the room.


ImageThe amazing trippy roof design!


So the actual show — we saw “Cosmic Collisions” narrated by Robert Redford — was fucking amazing. Like I got a few tears in my eyes thinking about how epic it was. It was really, really cool and seeing it on the massive ceiling and having to look around all the time just like you would in real life. Dee and I even banged heads at one stage looking at random views on the edge. LOL.


Then after a cool demonstration of our Brisbane celestiality (I made that word up) where a very nice presenter talked us through what we would see at night time if we looked up, we emerged to clear skies and epic, intense sunshine. BIZARRE!


So then we settled down for Mexican and booze.

But then another storm came.

Dee made me put the car under the house as hail was due. And literally 2 minutes later the maelstrom hit. We’ve never had hail here.











The cat suddenly decided the floor tom was a good place to sleep. She’s never, ever slept here before.


Then it got sunny again and she was here.


This is late last night (Saturday) and so we sat on the deck and brought out a mat for the cat. It was nice.