Will Type For Food


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Christmas, as we all know, is a wonderful festival about eating*, and in preparation to relatives visiting tomorrow for a Christmassy sort of affair, I have been preparing lots of food and then eating the results. I suppose I've been leaving some over as well, but sometimes it's hard to tell.

First up was a big batch of Pfeffernuse, a delicious German word that is thankfully easier to bake and eat than it is to spell and pronounce. Not all of them turned out perfectly; for instance, some broke apart in the cooking, so I had to eat those. A few more had, you know, cracks in them. Utterly unsightly, though thankfully not utterly untasty; and into my mouth they went. Then a few more just for good measure. At some point some of the remaining pifflemouse or whatever it is called started looking lonely, so I had to clean that up too...

Next up, two rounds of fudge. I made some this morning and it looked and tasted completely delicious. Unfortunately, oh, what a terrible accident happened! Some of the fudge got in under the foil resulting in fudge with bits of foil right through it. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can't let the folks see that. So I had a slice of fudge. Then another. The Baron walked in at that point, so obviously I had to give some to her, and a few more helpings for me.... I asked the Baron, by the way, to come home with some chocolate for some chocolate fudge tonight. Which she did. And we promptly ate that, too - the chocolate, I mean, not the chocolate fudge, though if there was some we'd probably eat that also. I'll just check.

Speaking of chocolate, everyone should get chocolate for Christmas, don't you think? I think so. I mentioned that to my nephew over the phone the other night and he agreed and asked for chocolate for his present. Then I mentioned this to my brother and he said I'd better not get my nephew any chocolate for Christmas. So he's definitely getting some chocolate, then. Sorted. 

*And so, come to think of it, is New Years, Easter, birthdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays.... if these events have another purpose then it's surprising we haven't heard of it yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

No! No! Not more poetry, I beg of you!

He often pulled such merry faces,
Transfixing folks in public places
Or drowning puppies in the bath - 
But then, he was a psychopath. 

Tim, what a horrible poem, I hear you cry! How can we hear less of it?

(By coming to my poetry feature at the Dan O'Connell Hotel from 2 pm tomorrow, of course - it's on the corner of Canning St and Alexandra Parade in Carlton. There'll certainly be less of that poem, though not so much of others... )

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Breaking the news until there's nothing left to be broken....

ABC to produce more economic, streamlined version of all shows by rolling them into one 14 and a half minute broadcast

The Religion Poetica Report Arts Foreign Affairs Briefing Talk Chat Track Weekend Daily Show Project with added thirty second Phillip Adams Rant is due to go on air January. It will feature intelligent intellectuals having intelligent intellectual discussions about the arts in a Middle East church during a fast-developing international crisis. There will also be a cheerful soundtrack composed by an up-and-coming Australian composer, soon to be announced, for Casio synthesizer and the 'flute' button on Casio synthesizer!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cleaning up the language, one letter at a time

At the pub the other day a thought suddenly struck me, which was surprising for all concerned (I'm never going to suddenly think again). I realised with a shock what a lot of wasted letters there were in the English language these days, letters just sort of floating around, maybe as a flailing linguistic attempt at an acronym, sometimes not even that. What? Allow me to demonstrate: observe the ever-present egotism of the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod. Without the 'i', you'd just be left with a 'phone' (for phoning people), a 'pad', (for writing stuff on), and a 'pod' (for..... whatever the hell it is that pods do).

Is that all? As the smelly hippy said to the corporate suit offering him a job, no way, man! I haven't even started! Anyway, there's the S-Bend, which is, I presume, a bend in a street, and you probably shouldn't try J-walking over it, though I do wonder whether you'd find S Club 7 trying to do a U-turn at the corner? While we're on the road, you'll also find E Street meeting Avenue Q at the T Intersection of the L bend (or, to put it bluntly, a street, an avenue, an intersection, and another bend). Hey, maybe there's even someone standing around with an e-cigarette, because you're not allowed to e-smoke one of those things inside because of the dangers of e-passive smoking from all those e-fumes.

While we're on the 'e's, there's a few items to get through. There's the e-toothbrush, the e-book, and the e-chair - a toothbrush, a book, and a chair (that you wouldn't want to be sitting in, obviously). Scientologists use an e-meter, though funnily enough, if you take the 'e' away, you're not even left with a proper meter. Maybe it only works in e-space. What else? I suppose some people are in the habit of dropping pills of 'e' - though it would seem rather cruel to take the letter away from them, since they wouldn't be left with much either.

T-shirts, m-theory, x-rays, and Charles Dickens' charming Aged P next come to mind, though it should be noted that P G Wodehouse had the good grace to come up with a character called 'Psmith', with a silent 'P'. (But then, all the best 'p's are silent). One question that occurs at this point is, does Mr T from the A Force prefer Special K or Cheeri-Os or Cheezy-Os? Then again, subtracting the superfluous letters we end up with something Cheezy, something Cheeri, and something Special, so it doesn't sound so bad. Vitamins A, B, and C without the A, B, or C are still vitamins, and I still have no idea why they're supposed to be good for us.

You can have straight A students, they can be A1, of A quality and then the next minute you'll find them hanging around in Y fronts listening to ZZ Top while reading X-rated literature. I suppose they did say that X marks the spot, although all of a sudden you find that they're actually reading about the G-spot. Talk about g-force! It's enough to make you want to say the f-word or the f-bomb, the c-word or the c-bomb, the s-word or the s-bomb, though not (thankfully) drop the h-bomb or the a-bomb.

Bringing up the end of my catalogue, we have v-day, d-day, o-rings, c-cups, O Magazine, and someone called K Dog. Which makes you wonder what it's all about, really. Take the 'O' away from 'Magazine', and you still have a magazine, though not necessarily a very good one. A 'dog' somehow seems preferable without the 'K'. But, you know, once all the frivolous letters have been removed from all these words, you end up with a 'C, A, T', a 'H, A, T', a 'P, U, G', a 'J, A, F, F, A' and a 'Q, U, I, L, T'. I'm sure there's more, but let's throw those in the room with the dog, the bomb, the vitamins, the strange nameless man called Mister, and the students standing about in their y-less fronts reading good clean ordinary literature and see how they get along, shall we?

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Ode to Sloth

An Ode to Sloth
How wonderful is Sloth,
The vice that's nice! 
To lounge about the house all day,
A coffee icecream debauchee, 
Eat all the chocolate from the box 
Replete in dressing gown and socks,
And then to dream in comfy slouch - 
A couch! A kingdom for a couch!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bees (CLUNK!) bees (CLUNK!) bees (CLUNK!) bees (CLUNK!) bees!

I type this (CLUNK!) with a heavy (CLUNK!) every few words as my (CLUNK!) pinkie hits the key-(CLUNK!)-board, having swollen (CLUNK!) up today after being the chosen spot (CLUNK!) for receipt of a bee-(CLUNK!)-sting.

From this you may fairly adduce that we did some work on the hive today. Things were never meant to happen this way; we had done a fairly standard job on the hive on Friday - we whisked off the top box, which is usually where the bees tend to put their honey, whacked an escape board on top of that, closed the hive up again, and waited for evening to collect the frames. Coming back in the evening, we found they were full of (bugger!) larvae, not (blast!) honey. We put some back into the hive though, unfortunately, in the process of extraction some of the combs had got broken anyway. We had been unprepared for this operation, too, so in doing so we had initially left a lot of extra space in the hive, no combs, etc; so we knew we'd be coming back soon to do more work.

So this Sunday morning we found ourselves preparing for another biggish job on the hive - rather reluctantly, because the bees, as you can imagine, rather begrudge our occasional incursions onto their sanctum, which I can quite understand why. We collected the hive tool (it's like a.... tool.... for the hive) and the bee brush (it's just a big arse brush) and cleaned and prepared several frames and collected our smoker and had half struggled our way into our suits, we heard a familiar whine from out the back door - our next door neighbour had decided Sunday afternoon was an excellent time to start whippersnippering the edges of their garden (they're weird that way).

It need hardly be said that bees and lawnmowing don't mix. Bees and neighbours don't mix very well either (we, er, may not have forgotten to mention our beekeeping habits to them somehow). And as for bees and lawnmowing neighbours*.... well, we decided to sit it out. We struggled out of our suits and flopped about on the couch as the whippersnipping whipped and snipped, on and off, for an hour or so. Eventually it stopped. Of course by this time we were doing another vital activity, ie, checking the internet, so we weren't able to struggle back into our bee suits for another few minutes.... by which time another familiar growl started up from the same place. The neighbour, apparently so satisfied with their whipping and snipping, had decided to upgrade to a proper lawnmower (they are very strange).

Eventually we got to it. The usual drill: bees everywhere. Bees climbing out of the sides of the hives to get at the interlopers. Bees zooming around our heads looking for something to sting. Bees generally pissed off. They were even more eager to do it this time, of course, having been set off on the previous two occasions that we were likely to try something like this. And, amongst all this, a lot of heavy moving and grunting and shifting as we rearranged the hive to our satisfaction, if not theirs.

It was only in removing my suit again that I got stung, on the end of my pinkie. I never even saw the bee that did it (which would, at any rate, have dropped dead soon after).

So, anyway, once again, great story old man, and can't I even muster up enough courage to admit to our neighbours that we have bees? But no, actually, apparently I can't. Though I can tell you. And the other hundred odd readers that drop by this website from time to time. So, as they say in the classics, it's just between me and you, alright?

*Not to mention lawnmowing bees and neighbours, which induce in me a state of utmost fear and paranoia.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Concrete, a love song

It was while watching a big concrete mixer pull up outside a nearby house the other day and wondering if they were going to get their backyard neatly concreted over that I first thought of writing this. Lalor, Epping, the whole vast expanse of outer northern suburbs out here are largely exercises in concrete. Days after we moved here we learned that P. and M., a couple of doors up from us on this street, had recently got their backyard jacketed in a neat grey coat of concrete. We are a concrete suburb, a suburb that would provide joy to grey and stony hearts of developers and town planners and politicians everywhere. There may even be someone out there now, in some remote street of this obscure suburb, that is getting their whole yard neatly paved over with the good grey stuff, rubbing their hands with pleasure at the thought of what it will look like once they are done.

Many and plentiful are the charms of concrete. It is hard, it is neat, it is grey, it is.... I can't think of any more of its many and plentiful charms right at the moment. But one thing I do like about it is the way this neat and useful substance neatly and usefully records its past. I walked over a footpath the other day that had the form of a leaf finely imprinted within it; other footpaths around here have purposeful lines of cat- or dog-paws printed in them. These sights, like that car I may have mentioned that has been parked for so long in someone's front yard in Preston that is now encrusted with several layers of lichen, or that astroturf lawn down the road from us that has Oxalis poking up through it, bring me an inordinate amount of pleasure.

Does it ever end, this gradual concreting-over that is happening to Lalor? Are we tending to a final end point where the entire suburb will be a uniform grey stretch of this landscaping material, a calming horizontal surface useful for parking cars on, or driving cars over, or otherwise levelling out land that would otherwise be rough and stony and otherwise dirty? Perhaps, though sometimes the process goes in the opposite direction, like that time when my brother came round here with a mallet and cheerfully pounded up several flagstones of concrete in our back garden, yielding us several more feet of rough, stony and otherwise dirty soil for doing gardening in. I know, we're perverse that way. My brother got so excited that when we ran out of flagstones for him to pound, he took out an axe and started chopping up the parts of a tree that had been felled previously. He went off, originally presumably to find more flagstones with his mallet back home.

And that, surprisingly, is the last thing I have to say about concrete for the moment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

To boldly go where no feminist has gone before

Feminists successfully land remote-controlled probe on Matt Taylor's bowling shirt

IN A WORLD FIRST, feminists today have successfully guided a remote-controlled probe from a rocket to land on Matt Taylor's bowling shirt.

"This groundbreaking work will allow us to answer many of the mysteries of the universe," said Boadicea Hilbertum of the European Feminist Agency. "Where did Matt Taylor's bowling shirt come from? What is its chemical composition? Why does it contain pictures that demean and objectify women who as we all know are able to do anything men do, including landing remote-controlled probes on Matt Taylor's bowling shirt?"

This is not the first time such a daring mission has been attempted. Previously, men's rights activists have made several failed attempts to land a remote-controlled probe in Germaine Greer's hair.

It is planned that the probe will stay for several days, and take samples of the bowling shirt, running them through standard feminist analyses before sending the results back to earth for further verification.

In other news, a lot of the world were apparently distracted from this groundbreaking mission by looking at pictures of a big empty rock in outer space.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


If you see something, say something.

If you see someone do something somewhere, say something to someone somehow.

If you see someone do anything anywhere to something, say anything about something to anyone somehow, before something happens to someone.

If someone sees anyone saying anything somewhere that is somewhat suspicious, say something-or-other to someone-or-other in someplace-or-other to prevent someone doing something everywhere sometime-or-other. 

If anyone everywhere ever does anything anytime to anyone everywhere else, say anything to someone somehow to prevent everything happening everywhere forever. 


The Department of Existential Security

Note: Oh, and this: be alert but not alarmed. Definitely do not be alarmed. Do not be alarmed about being alarmed either, merely remain alert to signs of alarm, rather than being alarmed at your alertness. By being alert to the alarming possibility of alarm about your alertness, you will avoid this alarming alarm about something done by everyone anywhere somehow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

How to terrify humans: a guide for chickens

You're a chicken, right, reading this post? Good! Because now I'm going to tell you how to terrify humans, one horrifying, gut-wrenching step at a time. Let's begin:

1) Sit in the back of your coop, adopting a fearsome visage and a grim demeanour. As a chicken, you may be uncertain on the meanings of the words 'fearsome', 'visage, 'grim', or 'demeanour', but don't worry! They'll just come to you! 

2) When humans come to your coop to say hello, make yourself look extra fluffy. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Humans are absolutely TERRIFIED of fluffy things and certainly will not want to pick them up and cuddle them straight away. In fact, expect them to run screaming in the opposite direction.

3) In case the human hasn't been turned into a quivering, gibbering wreck yet, by your fearsome visage, etc, or your general fluffiness, whirr at them in a melodious and lyrical tone. (Again, you may not be aware of what 'melodious' or 'lyrical' mean, but just run with it. Consider this: when your fearsome and terrifying ancestors, the dinosaurs, were roaming through the primordial forests, they  made themselves fearsome and terrifying by whirring at one another in melodious and lyrical tones. Oh cripes, I'm getting a heart attack just thinking about it!)

If you're a human reading this post, why don't you try it too? It might just work!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Statice update

Statice is a small purple flower that just happens to look like limonium perezii. Limonium perezii is a small purple flower that shares more than a passing resemblance to statice. Sometimes, limonium perezii is known as 'statice'. Statice, however, is never known as 'limonium perezii'.

If limonium perezii had a status update on Facebook, that status would read: "Anxiety". That's right. It would have statice anxiety. 

Pictured: limonium perezii in a typical state of existential angst.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Technical corner: how to brew with a spinning wheel

First you have to thread the trub through the rolag. You do this by gradually carding the mash with the doffer tool to separate the neps from the noils, then feeding the eyelash into the draff.

Once this has been achieved, you vorlauf the drop spindle until you have a top whorl and bottom whorl, in a process known as plying. You don't have to ply, but if you don't, you have to work out how to boucle the sparge with the driveband before the batt gets caught at the bottom of the tun and prevents the wort from running through.

Don't forget to mash the guard hair between the flyer and the false bottom to help clarify the hot break, turning with the art hackle every so often. 

Finally, by a process of dizzing the first runnings and roving the kick spindle, you will have produced a fine bowl of curds and whey. Simple, isn't it? Thanks for tuning in once again!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

On the many benefits of espresso coffee for modern-day computer science

Look, I inadvertently spill stuff on my computer all the time. Every hour as I sit over it doing incredibly important stuff like internet and more internet and more more internet and even more more internet and work and did I mention internet? a fine rain of bits of fluff and dandruff and scruff and puff wafts from the regions of my beard downwards. Occasionally I like to conduct little exploratory archeological expeditions underneath the keys on my keyboard with a slip of paper or something; there has to be generations of stuff buried underneath them. In centuries to come, I expect scientists will concoct theorems and rules about the layers of accretions beneath my keyboard. Maybe they'll even start finding fossils in there.

Anyway, the point is - my computer, spills: two things, not entirely unacquainted with one another. Yesterday, though, I gave the whole computer a shock to the system: I spilled an entire latte right over the top of it. It got caffeinated to the core. It was more than a little twitchy for the rest of the day; in fact, for a while there, I was wondering if it was ever going to get over it. (Or maybe it just wanted some sugar to go with the coffee? There's no accounting for tastes...)

On the plus side, the computer did smell pleasantly of latte in the morning. And if I spill so much stuff inadvertently over it, why not manfully take the proactive route forward, and begin spilling stuff over it entirely vertently? I could give it a cup of tea every morning, as a step-down from the latte  - caffeine, yes, but not so much caffeine as to give it the twitches: the "cup that soothes" could prove quite easy on its nerves. Or who's to tell if it couldn't appreciate a little booze in its diet? A hearty ale or two? A refined glass of wine? After all, my computer is at least one year old - which for a computer is incredibly old indeed. Especially if it's my computer. And I'm in the habit of spilling stuff over it inadvertently. Which I am.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lines written on MCing the Dan O'Connell open mic for the first time

Lines written on MCing the Dan O'Connell open mic for the first time
I've been practising...
my awkward pauses
Sudden segues in the conversation,
Non sequiturs at random clauses,
My pointless stories full of too much information....
I've been practising....
My mumbling and bumbling
And grumbling and fumbling
With the microphone and stumbling
And flailing back up to the stage....
I've been practising...
Longwinded boring anecdotes
That ramble on and on and on andonandonandonandon and send you round the  BEND
And stealing jokes from other folks
And then forgetting how they end...
I've been practising...
Forgetting things.... forgetting lots...
It's Whatsisname! You, with the face!
It's Thingummy and Whosiwhats!
It's Whatsthetime at Wheresthisplace?
I've been practising...
At finding ever less exciting ways
At losing everyone's attention
At causing eyes to overglaze
By starting sentences and then for no good reason trailing off before oh well you know what was I saying again...
I've been practising...
And I'm getting better!

How to lose things in reverse

Some things were meant to pair off together. Bread and butter. Knifes and forks. Pies and sauce. Tea cups and saucers. This is one category; another category is things that actually are pairs. Socks, arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, nostrils, dual carriageways on roads, bicycles, and Twix chocolate bars, for instance.

Sometimes it is possible to lose one of a pair of things, thus making the whole lose its function: I'm thinking especially about socks, obviously, but (conceivably), the same could happen with some of the other items so-named: arms and legs (alarming), dual carriageways (how on earth....), wheels on bikes (any monocycle riders around?), and half of a Twix chocolate bar (though I'm happy to report this should never lessen the functionality of the remainder, unless Mars have a very strange manufacturing method).

I mention all this now because my friend EB, of Facebook-land, appears to have had a very strange turn of events. I quote:

Mystery: I now have three pieces of a single pair of socks. (???) 

There is visual evidence. A - pair(?) (what would you even call them now?) - of three identical-looking socks. As I noted at the time, EB appears to have gained a curious power: now, instead of losing one of a pair of socks (a trouble I am all too familiar with), she appears to have lost them - in reverse, gaining a pointless third sock. (Or is it pointless? Just how many legs....)

This is a valuable skill, and ought to be learnt by the rest of us. If I could only lose a couple of my best socks in reverse, I'd quickly gain a pair of three, four, five, six, seven socks. I'm tempted to go off and practice now, but then, I've been practicing losing socks all my life and up to the moment I haven't had much success at losing them in reverse.

But just imagine if you applied this skill of losing in reverse to other pairs. Arms and legs (I could do with three arms), dual carriageways (on roads what direction would they be driving on the third carriageway?), bicycles (thereby upgrading them to - ehrm - tricycles....) and Twix chocolate bars (thereby gaining three bits of chocolate for the price of two - sweet!) And, come to think of it, the town of Wagga Wagga could be upgraded to Wagga Wagga Wagga at no extra cost.

And - what's more - could this skill of losing in reverse also be applied to things that are just paired off, rather than just pairs? If I was drinking tea with a tea cup and saucer, and lost the saucers, could I get two saucers back? Or would I have to lose both the tea cup and saucer before getting both back, redoubled? Would it even be possible to lose things deliberately anyway, or is it rather like learning to fly in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the secret is throwing yourself at the ground and missing). How exactly does this losing things in reverse work?

I think I'm off to practice now....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A miracle of nature

There they were again today. I hadn't seen them for several months, but all of a sudden, a flock of them appeared right in front of my eyes.


Panettones. These shy, elusive creatures can be quite hard to spot, even for the most experienced student of nature. Their life cycle is quite simple: they appear on the shelf in the store around Christmas, Tim buys them, and they are eaten. In the cooler months of the year, they become afraid that Tim will not eat them, and they tend to hide in dark, difficult to find places. But the poor, timid creatures needn't be afraid. I am always willing to eat them, not being particularly fussy about eating them in season. Which I am just doing now.

And so, the glorious cycle of nature continues on, in all its grandeur and mystery.

If you see any panettones in the wild, feel free to buy them and forward on to me for eating, too, to assist them in their life cycle. Thanks in advance, nature lovers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014



Bob the snail! 
Bob the snail! 
He's so slimy and wet! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sheep are people too!

Racial connotations over black sheep prompts changes to Baa Baa Black Sheep at Victorian kinders 
BAA, Baa, Black Sheep has been put out to pasture at some Victorian kindergartens because of concern over the racial connotations of “black”. 

Staff at childcare centres in the south-eastern suburbs told the Herald Sun the lyric was being changed to reflect a multicultural community. 

Herald Sun

Considering it's in the Herald Sun, this story is probably crap. But I'd like to say, hooray, anyway! It's about time that dubious song was thrown out or updated to fully reflect the modern, progressive, right-on mindset. I hereby offer three possible revisions of Baa Baa Black Sheep....
Baa, baa, worker sheep, have you any wool?
Yes, fellow comrade! Three bags full!
None for the master, none for the dame,
All for the Bureau chief who lives down the lane!

Baa, baa, Green sheep! Have you any wool?
Organic and sustainable? Fair trade? Cool!
One for the master, one for the dame,
One thousand dollars for the lot? Oh. That's a shame.

Baa, baa, rainbow sheep! Have you any wool?
None at this moment, sorry, we're all off to the Mardi Gras.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A proposal to end all proposals

Breaking up is always hard to do. But to all those considering separating, parting ways, divorcing, or otherwise splitting up with their partner, I have come up with a simple and elegant proposal to make the whole process much more efficient and pleasurable for all concerned: combine it with a well-known advertising slogan for a popular food product. Allow me to demonstrate:

"Darling. I know we haven't been getting on well for sometime now, and the arguments just seem to be getting worse. Frankly, I don't think we can reconcile our differences anymore. I think you agree with me on that, at least. That's why... I think we should.... have a break! HAVE A KIT-KAT!" 

You should really try it, next time you break up. Not that I'm recommending you do.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

An Aussie poem

A poem which no-one outside Australia will understand, and the same goes for everyone in Australia too - only less.

An Aussie poem
I Tim, therefore I Tam

There's a coolabah at Mooloolaba
With a bogan at the base
And he's sucking on a billabong
With a big grin on his face;
He's weighed how much koalas bear
And knows a cockatoo,
There's an Aussie flag round his tuckerbag,
And his kangaroo's called Blue. 

But the Vegemite or might not
And Collingwood - but won't. 
And the Draught Beer's now all Craft Beer
And your didgeridoo don't. 

At back o' Bourke the Men at Work
Gather with the Drover's Wife
Then fo shizzel with Cold Chisel
Sing of the bugger's life.
And the emu and the Bob Hawke
Form a chorus far away
On lagerphone and telephone
With a Toorali Oorali Ay.

But Paul has ceased from Keating
With Howard's Ruddy end
And my Kit-Kat's lost its kitten
Round the riverbend. 

At Minyip stands a bunyip
And he bids the town goodbye
As he rows down old Les Murray
With a sad and knowing sigh
'til Patterson with his Banjo
Bids him stop and rest at night
For a slice of Magic Pudding
At the Great Australian Bite.

Time like a sausage rolls on
And Cloncurry's going cold
I once was so Vic Bitter,
But now I'm XXXX Gold. 

UPDATE! - The Baron has been trying to persuade me that Kit-Kats are not Australian. What rubbish! They're as Australian as Prime Minister Roosevelt Menzies-Churchill the Second, who invented Tasmania using nothing more than vulcanised rubber!

AND ANOTHER THING - For your edification, there is an alternative version of the second chorus:

But Paul has ceased from Keating
With Howard's Ruddy bum;
For it's hard to have a Gaytime
And tell it to your mum. 

Now aren't you glad I didn't tell you that?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

This is the day that was: a dramatic re-enactment

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etc etc etc etc. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Day of the Triffids Hops

Hops are an alarmingly triffid-like plant at the best of times. In John Wyndham's famous novel, Day of the Triffids, the mobile plants are able to uproot themselves and roam the world at will, stinging humans into submission. Hops haven't quite got to that stage yet, but what with their arrow-like buds, their ability to wave around in the air during the day, and their rapid rate of growth - you can virtually see them growing; they gain several centimetres every day in their season - you can tell they could teach the triffids a thing or two.

Ours are currently going like the clappers up the fenced-off bit of garden in front of the beehive. Four weeks ago there was just one or two little nips poking out of the ground. A few days after that, there were six or seven nips poking through the ground. A few days more, and they were waving around in the air, looking for a fence to climb up. Within a week, the longest hop-bine had found the fence, and days after that the other tendrils were grasping at any old piece of fence or netting they could find, too. They grew and grew, going up several finger lengths every day, and creepily twining here and there, almost making you feel like they were turning their heads to watch you as you went around the garden. Three days ago, there was a lull in their activity; perhaps they were deciding what they should do next. Two days ago, they had started developing a system of representative government. Yesterday, they were agitating outside the back door for greater rights for non-animal inhabitants of the household. Today, the situation has become tense and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to prevent them going to war.

So it's been exciting watching them develop in the back garden, all right. I wonder, though, if I'll be able to use some of their cones in my brews this year? We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

An open and open case

Open-plan living. I hadn't known such a thing actually existed, but since I just read about it in this respectable news source, I am led to the unfortunate conclusion that it does.

It sounds awful - simply on the principle that any phrase beginning with the word 'open' is usually a coy euphemism for a dreadful reality. 'Open-plan office': a place where, in an attempt to maximise workplace productivity, everyone is spying on everyone else all the time and no work actually does get done. 'Open-minded people': people who are alert to any and every possibility except the most obvious and correct ones. 'Open relationships': exercises in lies, deceits, and selfishness. 'Open marriages': formalised exercises in the same. 'Open window' - oh yeah. That one's not actually a euphemism, but what the hell? It's cold outside!

As G K Chesterton once said, "Something something something something something open your mind to something something something something close it upon something something something." WORDS TO LIVE BY.

This post is now closed!



It's just an e-bowler hat. Sorry about the little misspelling in the title.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Smoking is fantastic!

Dad retired from work a bit early, and ever since he's been a bit restless. He spends a lot of his time now at home working on projects, "project" being the word he uses in his letters to describe what he's doing with himself.

The Baron and I recently discovered that the best way of finding out what the projects are that he's working on is to surreptitiously suggest them to him. This is the way we go about it: when we're up in Raymond Terrace at my parents', I say something like, "so we were thinking we need to get a [exceedingly rare and improbable item that you wouldn't be able to get anywhere else]". Dad usually pays no attention to this, so then Mum tells him to make it. In this way, we were able to get ourselves a chook carrier (actually getting stuff for ourselves is a, er, side benefit of this). It's really great, with a door at the top to put the chooks through and pegs so we can take the whole top on or off when we want.

Dad's latest project (which we suggested to him, naturally), was a cheese smoker. I had no idea how to go about making one myself - not surprising, though, as I have next to no practical skills in any area whatsoever. Mind you, I doubted Dad could pull it off either. Dad wasn't even sure actually, as in his first couple of letters about the project he seemed distinctly skeptical of the proposition. Eventually he came across a workable design on the net, and a series of tantalising discussions of his project followed in his letters. Last week, the glorious day came when the Baron actually set eyes on the thing:

That's right, it's made entirely out of wood. And it's going to smoke the cheeses. With smoke. From a fire....! The smoke is piped through a tunnel, cools down, and then just wafts around the cheeses until they are imparted with its flavour. Dad gave a series of complicated instructions in one of his recent letters talking about how he installed several "baffles" on the sides of the smoker. They're called baffles because neither you nor I have any idea what they are.

Everyone seems to have anticipated one particular difficulty we might have with this cheese smoker, including Dad himself, ie, what's to stop it catching flame while we are in the act of smoking the cheese? Or cheeses, multiple - apparently it can do about fifty. When I spoke to Dad on the phone he pretty much told me to make lots of cheese to smoke in it.

I'm pretty cool with that last suggestion, so I'm thinking in a couple of weeks I might have a smoking party! We'll take this huge contraption out back, strap it up, get a fire crankin' and shove some cheeses in. Might as well make an event of it - because we might be only able to use it once....

By the way, some readers may have thought I was talking about this sort of smoking in the title:

That's fantastic too!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

All about the Big Final

Well, it's AFL Big Final time here in Australia once again, and the question is on everyone's lips: who will win, the Hawks, or the other guys? It's a great time to be alive, that's for sure, but just what is this AFL everyone is excited about? Let's find out!

The Game
AFL stands for Australian Fandangle Lobby, which name doesn't particularly have much to do with the game, but just represents the advanced state of drunkenness the members were in at the time that they settled upon that title. AFL is a game in which two teams of players compete to hit one ball with a racket through a set of hoops at opposite ends of the pool. The game is divided into three quarters, which are positioned at the corners of the field. If the game goes into overtime, horses are brought into pool and the players ride the horses, or the horses ride the players, whichever is easiest, until the outcome is decided. Just how exactly this decides the game, I have no idea, but as I said. Everyone was drunk at the time.

The Teams
There are several teams in the competition - at least three. They are: The Hawks, the Swans, the Tigers, the Lions, the Quambatook Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and the Other Ones. For several years in the formative stage of the game, there was only one team, the Tigers, with an unbroken record of success, but this was found to be somewhat limiting to the competition, and so gradually the number  of teams was expanded. Each of the teams have particular colours associated with them, from the Hawks' distinctive gold and brown costume to the Gold Coast's attractive livery of mahogany and puce.

The Supporters
Historically, each football team has had a broad support base from fans across the country, whether those fans be That Drunk Who Embarrasses Everyone On The Train, That Person Whose Boss Dragged Them Along To The Game, and The Kid Who Doesn't Really Care But Just Goes Along to the Game Anyway For The Donuts Their Parent Buys. The fans are vocal and really help to give the game so much colour and character.

In the end, it doesn't really matter which team you support, the Hawks, the Swans, or the other ones. What matters is that AFL is a proud national tradition stretching right back to at least last year. Can I have another donut?
Footage from the 2013 Big Final. A particularly delicate manoeuvre, in which both teams attempt to checkmate the other. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

In which you find out to your surprise that you do not exist, and I probably don't either

Astute readers of my blog may have noticed the post I did yesterday in which I noted that "no-one reads blogs anymore". This probably means that the astute readers of my blog do not actually exist. I apologise for any pain and discomfort this may have caused: it may take some time for you to adjust yourselves to your newly-discovered incorporeality. I'm sure you're still astute, but.

Anyway, while writing that sentence, I started thinking back about those earlier years when people actually read blogs, and sometimes even commented on them. Do you remember those? Or you could cast your mind back even earlier, to newspapers, which were really great. For those who aren't aware, newspapers were invented in the 20th century by Frank Packer, and printed on large sheets of paper to be delivered to fish and chips stores and places like that (that's why newspapers were invented, for wrapping fish and chips up in). Sometimes, someone would even open up a newspaper, read a story, and then make a "comment" on the story. They made this comment by somewhat archaic means, ie, they opened their mouth and let sounds come out in the form of words until the comment had been made. When Malcolm Turnbull invented computers and the internet at the end of the 20th century, thankfully, more civilised means of making comment by keyboard were found.

It was great writing a blog back in the day, because heaps of people would leave comments. There was a kind of ritual about these things: people would read a sentence in the blog post, and then make a comment on it. Over time, this little ceremony was simplified, so that people would just read a word, or a small item of punctuation, and comment on that. Eventually even that was deemed too complicated, and many people would just pop into blogs, leave a comment on any old topic they desired, and go elsewhere. Thus the inexorable march of the mind continued.

Then along came Facebook and things just got really confusing. Instead of leaving a comment on blogs, people would link blogs on Facebook and others would leave comments there, too. This was rather ingenious, actually, as it allowed another simplification: instead of leaving random non-sequiturs* as comments on a blog, it allowed people to leave random non-sequiturs as comment - on Facebook. Not only would people not have to read a blog post, or a sentence, or a word, or a letter, or an item of punctuation, or a tiny jot or or tittle from the original blog post to respond to it, they wouldn't even have to be on the same page as it. Facebook, incidentally, also sometimes allows people to comment on other people's comments, which is an incredibly revolutionary step which many bloggers could only dream of. True, back in the days of newspapers, people could comment on other people's comments, but only by engaging in something called "a conversation", involving incredibly archaic technology which I have no space to go into here: "dialogue", "thoughtful response", "rational debate". Thank heavens we've moved on since those days.

Anyway, it all makes you realise what a wonderful thing progress is, doesn't it? Mind you, there are still some things better about the old days. For instance, fish and chips just doesn't taste the same now it comes wrapped in iPhones and Kindles. All that circuitry really interferes with the flavours. It's a real drag, man.

*Random non-sequiturs: can there be any other kind?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Desperate times

I spent a good deal of this morning avoiding doing work. No surprises there, obviously, but as it turned out avoiding doing work was such hard work that I eventually had to do work as a way of getting a break from the strenuous avoidance of work that I was working hard on earlier in the day.

Which is obviously why you find me here, at the computer, er.... avoiding doing work.

Hmmm. Pretend you didn't read this. (And, since no-one reads blogs anymore, you probably didn't.)

People who really like dogs and numbers

Judging from this list of  titles for craft breweries (and craft beer), those small brewers don't have much imagination when it comes to names. Either that, or they really like dogs and numbers.

Brew Dog
Moon Dog
Hop Dog
Black Dog
Dogfish Head
Two Birds
Two Brothers
Three Ravens
Three Troupers
Two Wives

The perfect craft beer title: Five and a Half Puppy Dogs and Seven Troupers Who Are Wives Go Out With a Fish?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Poetry for the advanced drinker

One of the many cultivations of the advanced drinker is the ability to quote poetry while drinking in an advanced state. It is a wonder what a difference quoting the right sort of poetry will make to a convivial evening's end. Indeed, many will wonder how quoting poetry even started. Poetry deals with all the great subjects: death, life, trees. Stand up and quote the following delightful poem about trees by Joyce Kilmer:

I see that I shall never think
A poem as lovely as a drink.

Then have a drink. You may realise at about this point that the poem has been entirely deforested and has no trees in it. Perhaps it is a case of not being able to see the forest for the pint glass. Better have another drink while you think about it some more.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A political statement

The Queen Wants Scots To 'Think Very Carefully' About Independence

The Queen's views on independence
may have been revealed once more. She has reportedly said she hopes people will "think very carefully about the future" as the Scottish independence referendum campaign enters its final days.

It's simply appalling that people should be insulted in this day and age by someone saying they should 'think very carefully' about their future! Especially in incredibly complex matters that deal with the affairs of populous nations with the lives of millions of people at stake! In such circumstances, it is vitally important that people act blindly and wilfully without thinking of the consequences, before it's too late. Speaking as a representative of the People That Act Blindly and Wilfully Without Thinking of the Consequences, I can't stress the importance of people acting blindly and wilfully without thinking of the consequences highly enough. It's the only way progress will be made! While it is true that objections have been made about a certain highly contentious faction of the People That Act Blindly and Wilfully Without Thinking of the Consequences, that is, the Idiots That Act Like a Bunch of Lemmings Who Stupidly Rush Over A Cliff Without Knowing What Dreadful Fate Awaits Them, those people have acted like a bunch of lemmings and stupidly rushed over a cliff without knowing what dreadful fate awaited them, so that problem has been dealt with. Meanwhile, I would just like to refer you all to the central policy of our incredibly influential party, that is, The Policy of Acting Immediately In a Highly Emotional State Before Something Too Dreadful To Contemplate Happens. It is in accordance with this policy that I would like to announce that I just tipped a bucket full of fresh ricotta curds down my head while reciting the words to Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's Aurora Lee in a fake French accent. Take note, David Cameron! Beware, Tony Abbott! This is just a small example of what the People That Act Blindly and Wilfully Without Thinking of the Consequences will do when forced to.

In conclusion, who does this Queen person think she is? The head of a nation or something like that? I mean, really!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rhyme scheme

Just like businesses and corporations have earnings strategies, efficiency targets, mid-year goals and fiscal outlooks, poets have rhyme schemes. Chaucer had the Rhyme Royal. Pope had Heroic Couplets. Spenser had his own Spenserian Stanza. Dante had Ottava Rima. Whitman didn't have any, but he made so much noise and waved his arms about in a wild and distracting manner, so people thought that he did. Auden had pretty much all of them. I thought it was about time we gave this blog a rhyme scheme, too.

cat hat
contrived to have an uzi hidden beneath his gaily-coloured cravat
dog log 
Dutch clog 
Dirk Harthog
night light
incentivise itemise
corporate enterprise
strategically advise
mild surmise
"Smithers, I can't help but feeling that this once-proud institution is full of spies"
sad demise

The results of this rhyme scheme will shortly be released in a growth-profit matrix, with Powerpoint, a three-day workshop presentation, and a little blue booklet. I really think we're going places with this one.
Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...