Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Howard’s End

To paraphrase Bill Hicks and Frank L. Baum, “Ding Dong the Liberal Party beast is dead!” Its time to pop the cork (or preferably the Czech beer cap) and enjoy the downfall of the worst Prime Minister Australia has ever had the misfortune of being saddled with. John Howard’s miserable 11-year reign saw Australia tighten its belt in order to accommodate an anorexic view of both domestic and global affairs. The PM’s resultant myopic tendencies were fed via a dangerous infatuation with G.W Bush and US Republican politics.

Whilst there were positives during the Howard era, such as low unemployment and large federal budget surpluses, those gains came on the back of the misery dealt out to those who could least afford it, among those being single mothers, public hospitals, public education, a large chunk of Aboriginal Australia, the environment and investment for the future. Not to forget that the Howard Government's positives also owe a great deal to the industrial boom of the North West that has contributed significantly to the economy and employment statistics. The past 11 years are a monument to greed and the self-indulgence of the most prosperous among us and their lack of consideration for those less fortunate. Money withheld and ripped from the poor were poured into Peter Costello’s money pile, creating the impression of sound financial management, when such surplus funds were desperately needed in a number of key areas, and particularly those previously mentioned.

John Howard and the Australian Liberal Party destroyed the positive steps made for justice in regard to Aboriginal land rights on the back of Mabo and introduced new measures to ensure that hard won civil rights would also be taken from Indigenous Australians, particularly in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal owned enterprises confiscated and returned on lease, along with large tracts of land and no apology in sight for the matters of the past – Is there truly any wonder for that matter, given the sheer number of ongoing crimes committed by the coalition?

Howard pandered to those industries with little or no room for growth, such as coal and timber, whilst doing little to help those industries invest for their future survival in renewable energy and sustainable logging via regrowth respectively. An out of touch leader showed that he was clearly struggling to understand the future of the planet, let alone how Australia should proactively develop new industry and encourage investment in new technology and resource management here and now.

As our kids were getting fatter and our education resources were re-allocated to those institutions already swimming in private funding, our telecommunications industry continued to lag behind the rest of the world, our scientists and nurses headed offshore for realistic reward and the country became progressively more xenophobic, Australia moved ever closer to becoming a turd resembling our recently deposed leader. Thankfully, with more Australians having come to their senses that particular ageing and irrelevant turd has now rounded the s-bend and been flushed out of the system alone.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

My first jersey

Do you have a favourite possession, or an item that tends to remind you of days gone by? Today whilst my brother was digging through his clothes and various odds and ends, which included a large inflatable hand that at one point he had accidentally glued to his head (don't ask) he managed to find my first ever Souths jersey - an original minties version, complete with a 7 on the back and Ignis as sponsor on the front, but missing the rabbit logo. I don't know why my brother ever had that, but it was quite a surprise and one that brought back plenty of memories. I think that I'll have the jersey framed along with my collection of early 80's Souths football cards (minus Phil Gould).

Ok so the above is kind of accurate. I did have one previous jersey, but it was one of those cheaper jumper style jerseys they made for little kids (horrible photo to come).

Well, at least the 3 Souths fans who occasionally/rarely read this blog might appreciate that!

Saturday, 10 November 2007


I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number, I'm a dummy because I didn't get her number..

What a hell of a day(s).

I left my house at 9.30am on Thursday, thinking that I'd probably be back in an hour or three, maximum. Obviously my grasp of how the Australian court system works is faulty, because it was somewhere around 4pm when finally my brother had his minor case heard. It's not such a bad thought considering that neither my brother or I had ever been within the grounds of court before, let alone inside one.

I was there in support for my brother over a matter where he failed to stop a door from slamming shut as the door in question naturally does, which caused a glass pane to shatter. But who could blame him, he was too busy chasing after his girlfriend who was in tears after both he and her had been heavily insulted by an officious bureaucrat at an employment agency - one that in this town has failed the vast majority of people to have ever had the displeasure of being registered with it. But I digress.

After my brother was ordered to pay for the damages, rather than simply having been asked to, we left and decided to meet up with some friends at the local Workies club for a few games of pool and drinks. A nice way to wind down a stressful day before winding back up again to a small extent for Thursday night pub trivia.

Before trivia, the crew were invited to Matty and Marnee's for a few more drinks, topped off in grand style by Marnee's cooking. The girl is a damn fine chef at that. I'm not quite sure what we ate though. I should have asked. A kinda taco looking tray of stuff.. but it vanished rather quickly. Just like all the alcohol I bought for everyone did.

So after Matty won the round of Trivial Pursuit and we had devoured Marnee's dinner offering, we all set off to the pub for our weekly trivia game. It would seem that the warm up game of trivial pursuit didn't help too much. Not that it ever matters!

What did matter was the company. This evening in particular had a new injection of interest. J-Lo had joined us for the evening and with him came his daughter Cindy, who was quickly dubbed C-Lo. Now is this the part where I start writing like a gibbering idiot? Here's hoping some dignity shines through!

I don't tend to give much thought to first impressions. They so often tend to be scratching the surface of what one tends to learn as time progresses, where you are able to learn to appreciate a person for their true worth. So having said that, it's all the more baffling to me how this girl managed to hook me in so readily. And not just me. She made a fan of everyone she spoke to. J-Lo made the comment that Cindy had made more friends in one night on the town than he has in the years he has lived here (on and off)! Some people are just incredibly magnetic I guess.

So, apparently people didn't think I was too subtle in making sure I always had an empy seat next to me. Was I that pissed? I don't recall doing anything too overt, except really enjoying the company and conversation.

Anyway, like I said - we lost pub trivia, but so what. Afterwards we all headed off to Mark's karaoke at the Court House Hotel. Top stuff, as always. A cold night and the fireplace burning, good tunes and great company. I did my usual "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, and it turns out Cindy can knock out a tune like a natural. "Simply the best" by Tina Turner was the choice. We considered a duet, but I didn't fancy my voice in handling Bon Jovi! J-Lo made me smile when he said as a proud father and in reference to his daughter's singing "hey when I make something, I make it well."

The evening wound down, but with some of us still wound up I saw my brother and Jas off to home and I headed out for post karaoke drinks at J-Lo's, with the man himself, Cindy and Jill. More scotch, music, German neighbours complaining, fried garlic prawns, and steak with pasta, the night only died when 7.30am rolled around and Jill headed for home. I stayed, slept on the couch and then rose at 12.30, had a shower, changed into clean clothes that Jill, Jardine and Jas brought me and then headed off after an excellent cooked breakfast made for me by Cindy.

An excellent 24+ hours. I must admit though, for one reason or another I'm now finding it very hard to concentrate.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Don't you just love..

..wasting time filling out questionnaires? Maybe it's just me, but it's a fun way to kill time. Jill, I nicked this from your MySpace (with slight modification).

Name & Station : Monsignor John, ex Universal Life Church minister and now proud independent cult leader
Date of Birth: 77
Birthplace: Grafton, NSW
Current Location: Lithgow NSW
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Dark brown, a few traces of grey
Height: 6ft 3
Heritage: Aboriginal Australian, Irish, English, Swedish
Piercings: none
Tattoos: small one on my spine, below singlet line
Favourite Band/Singer: Too hard/too many
Song: Be my baby - Ronnettes (no, I'm not kidding)
Movie: The Razor's Edge (1984)
Disney Movie: Condor Man
TV show: Battlestar Galactica
Color: Cobalt blue
Food: Home made Hawaiian pizza with sun-dried tomato, oregano and thyme
Pizza topping: Pineapple
Ice-Cream Flavor: Lime spider
Drink (alcoholic): Theakston's Old Peculier
Soda: Pub Squash
Store: Utopia, Broadway - Sydney
Clothing Brand: Threadless.com
Shoe Brand: Converse (blue, pin striped)
Season: Football
Month: October
Holiday/Festival: Steak & B.J Day
Flower: Dorrigo Orchid
Board game: Scrabble/Literati (challenge me)
Sunny or rainy: Heavy rain
Chocolate or vanilla: Strawberry
Fruit or veggie: Fruit
Night or day: Night
Sour or sweet: Sweet
Love or money: Love
Phone or in person: In person or online
Looks or personality: Personality (mostly)
Coffee or tea: Tea, or a sweet hazlenut latte
Hot or cold: Almost too hot
Your Goal for 2008: Finish my book
Most missed memory: Mates at Uni
Best physical feature: Tongue
First thought waking up: Need a wizz
Sesame street alter ego: That "noony noony" typewriter dude
Fairytale alter ego: Jesus
Worst crime: Chasing my brother and his 5yr old friends with fake dynamite
Greatest ambition: You will have to ask.
Greatest fear: Great White Sharks
Darkest secret: You will have to ask.
Favorite subject: History
Strangest received gift: A pterodactyl in a snow globe thingy that won't shut up when it asks to be fed.
Smoke: Never
Drink: Yeah
Curse: Yup
Shower daily: Yeah, although I'm not finicky about it
Like thunderstorms: Love them, except when on the computer
Dance in the rain: Slide in the mud, but no dancing, unless I have an umbrella and a street lamp to spin 'round
Sing: Karaoke 1 - 3 x per week
Play an instrument: Recorder and a bit of guitar. Planning to buy a trumpet
Get along with your parents: Yep.
Wish on stars: Nah
Believe in fate: No, but I like that others do.
Believe in love at first sight: No, that's lust.
Drive: Choose not to.
Sew: Limited, but yes.
Cook: Yes and I enjoy it
Speak another language: Bits of Bundjalung, in various dialects
Dance: I do enjoy more structured dancing, but I suck at disco type stuff
Sing: Yeah, kinda. I'm not very good but my voice suits Sinatra and Robeson
Touch your nose with your tongue: No, but I can touch yours with it
Whistle: Yeah, not the finger thing though
Curl your tongue: And how!
Been Drunk: Yep
Been Stoned/High: No
Eaten Sushi: Maybe I just got a bad batch, but yurghk..
Been in Love: Yeah
Skipped school: I quite good at that
Made prank calls: I had a free phone line between Wagga and Bathurst Uni campuses. What do you think?
Sent someone a love letter: No
Stolen something: Yeah
Cried yourself to sleep: No, but I might have wanted to
What annoys you most in a person? People lying regularly to impress me
Are you right or left handed? Left, despite violent school teachers efforts
What is your bedtime? Between 11.30pm - 3am
Name three things you can't live without: Learning, family, trust
What is the color of your room? Blue
Do you have any siblings? Yes
Do you have any pets? A dog and cat
Would you kill someone you hate for a million dollars? Yes
What is you middle name? I don't have one. My first name is Johnathon-Trent
What are you nicknames? John, Big John, JJ, Johnny, Johnno
Are you for or against gay marriage? I don't care what others do if it doesn't hurt anyone.
Do you have a crush on anyone? Besides Jane Russell? Maybe.
Are you afraid of the dark? I was when little. I've since climbed a mountain in the dark.
How do you want to die? Happy
What is the largest amount of popsicles that you have eaten on one day? About 15 during a bushfire
Would you take a bullet for the one you love? Yes
Believe in Aliens: Yes, but I very much doubt they could ever have travelled here.
Believe in God: No.
Believe in Ghosts: No, but I am open minded to the reality that many things are weird and as yet unexplained.

In a Member of the Opposite Sex:
Hair color: Any
Eye color: Don't Care
Height: Don't Care
Weight: Anything, just not obese.
Most important physical feature: Must have skin.
Biggest turn-off: Money Driven


It's half past a brass monkey and I'm sitting in my big lounge with my feet up, with the heater on, ignoring work and messing around on my family tree project and blog. It's been a very ordinary few days since my last post.

In regard to my family tree, I think I may be getting closer to solving a few mysteries that have eluded me and other distant cousins and researchers. This excites me. I'm sure you're either shrugging your shoulders or looking for the next topic, but I find that genealogy is more enthralling than any other form of mystery. So very few people know what their background is beyond 3-4 generations. I started from a point where I didn't even know the names of my maternal grand parents, so there was much to learn.

Since having started my project I've made many discoveries. I've learnt of my Swedish heritage, the areas of Ireland in which many ancestors came from, and that my English roots touch more than half the counties in England and with those details so far having been traced back to the mid 1600's. A parliamentarian, several convicts dating back to 1788, a fellow who founded a NSW country town and a woman who escaped the gallows for a new life in Australia make up some of the interesting characters in my mother's side of the family.

On my paternal side, I've found indigenous connections that tie me to people from as far and wide as the Northern Territory, South Australia and even the first nations of Tasmania. Not to neglect the fact that no less than 20 NRL players, 3 AFL players, numerous professional boxers and several major political/historical figures appear in my family tree. It's a fun hobby, even if it is one that is generally perceived as being quite geeky. But that hardly matters. It's not like I've ever bothered to fit any other stereotypes.

I'd imagine that like in the UK, once the Australian version of the TV series Who Do You Think You Are goes to air on SBS I'll be joined by a large influx of new genealogists. Hopefully one or two of those will have some of the answers I've been looking for.

Anyway, for the heck of it - here's a picture from last Saturday's Halloween gig. My brother the zombie.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Halloween 2007

Whilst Halloween was just another day and Saturday was expected to be the same, that wasn't quite the case. I knew I was going to see a few mates play in their bands on Saturday night but it was a surprise to me that there would be a Halloween costume competition (although I don't think any prize was ever handed out). So from midday when Jill came around for a cuppa, we got to work on costume ideas. After a quick trip to the Warehouse and returning with some glue, fake blood and an Aussie afro wig, I was set. Out came the paints and the afternoon was spent gluing various pieces of tissue paper scars to my brother, Jasmine and Jill for the zombie effect, and rubbing my wig over a dirty car engine to make my evil clown guise look all the more disgusting.

The end result, a picture of me at 3am after returning from the pub.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Women and oysters

OK so that was quick. I'm a single man again. Sometimes you can find someone you easily connect with, but if goals don't match then often no amount of compromise can help. A shame, but that's life and I gained a good mate.

So - what else is new? I'm glad you asked. I had the best steak I've ever had the pleasure of slicing into, at Wallerawang. The "Top Pub" may not be much to look at, but it's certainly a friendly place and their service in regard to food is excellent. It was a quick jaunt before the usual Thursday night pub trivia. Jas, myself, Jill and J-Lo. Curried pippies (mild) might be my thing, but I've never been keen to try oysters before, despite growing up in a North Coast fishing hamlet, so I surprised myself when I tried one of J-Lo's platter whilst waiting for my steak. The verdict - shithouse. I had nothing positive to offer. It was like eating a snotty fishing line. So my surprise only increased once I tried one with tabasco sauce. I actually enjoyed that one. The texture was altogether different and much more appetising, and I'm not one for hot food at all. It's always good to try something different, regardless of initial fears or prejudices.

Oh, and for the record, with the team halved for various reasons, we later went down in pub trivia by 1.5 points. So close!