31 March 2009

bligh's big broom

I can’t believe it’s only TUESday. I am too knackered for it to be only TUESday. Am wondering whether this recurring fatigue stalking me is perhaps a latent viral thingie. Ironic, since today at work my pod-sters started calling me ‘the canary’ in a weird tip of the hat to my rampant health. (Which I actually prefer to 'Prouds' - an antidote to there being two Sams in the pod. My brother was called 'Prouds' at about age 13 by all his sweaty ruffian mates, and I really don't need these kind of flashbacks at work.) Anyway. To explain. My rampant health is sort of known. I’m the last chick standing after successive sustained lurgy attacks through the office. The girls in my pod think I'm an over-achieving health geek. So naturally, they laughed themselves silly at the chance to declare me the barometer for office ventilation issues after I went all queasy when the air con crashed.

Anyway. The real news at desk is Don't-Fluff-With-Me Anna has pulled out her broom and made a clean sweep of the army. My whole department has been abolished!!

[Delighted evil giggling.]

Super departments focused around ‘issues clusters’ are the future. Ironically, I now find myself back in the department (it's a new department but with the name of an existing one) that seeded my loathing for my bread ticket. DFWM is promising no job cuts, but there WILL be rationalisation of corporate services.

[Practically explodes with delight at prospects for life at desk. Or not at desk.]

The changes are in name only at the moment. But the broom is out.

BTW, am completely over all things ‘stimulus’. I’m with Satyajit Das. So hair of the dog.

28 March 2009

two wheels good, four wheels bad

With my usual deft display of indecision, I finally bought a bike. Not a mountain bike as originally planned. Original plans got dusted a couple of weekends ago when I tried D’s road bike and discovered that I am a speed freak. Oh. My. This must be what surfing feels like. Except on water. Yeeeeeee-haaaaaaa!

So, realising that I still needed a bike for commuting, I sprang for the Trek 7.3FX, which flies along like a road bike but has the hardiness to handle Brisbane’s pot-holed streets. And importantly, is not white. Ironically, I'd taken this bike for a test ride a while ago and liked it, but had MTB on the brain. I got some basic stuff (pump, lights, water bottle cage, lock) but have since realised I won’t get far in my commute quest without a rack and pannier. And tools. The wisdom of getting toe clips or cleats has also been pointed out to me and I suspect I’ll soon be hearing about the virtues of gel pants, special shoes and assorted lycra wardrobery.

Yesterday, after an afternoon river loop ride with lunch at the Japanese Garden at Mt Coot-tha (and a quick dash and grab through the herbarium – I blame my mother for my botanical banditry) I rode to the supermarket. On the way home, I passed the Critical Mass riders – bike enthusiasts who ride every month in a kind of ‘reclaim the roads’ demonstration of pedal power. They spied my white flashing light and binged their bells at me in a kind of mating ritual, saying “join us, join us!” … I smiled and continued on home to fridge my dairy, slightly suspicious of their hippy bike-love happiness.

I have entered the cult of bike...

12 March 2009

two wheeled $timulu$

Apparently it’s my national duty to spend. So while I ethically can’t justify buying crap I don’t need, I’ll acknowledge that I’ve got a couple of years worth of significantly reduced discretionary spending to make up for. So I’ve been plotting how to spend a lot of money really quickly, aka buy a bike. I’ve been round all the bike shops within a 10km radius of the central boring district. I’ve websurfed bike forums to the point where I get what ‘lbs’ means without having it explained. (local bike store, duh!) I’ve decided new over used. I now know more about componentry and geometry than I ever learned in high school mechanics and maths (I sucked at both).

So, in my search for a mountain bike that I can put slicks on to hoon round my ‘hood, but still take on long road rides and the occasional trail… I found the Trek 4300. Light frame, good componentry, NightRider-esque paint job, nice to ride, all round excellent entry-level mtb (mountain bike, duh!) Decision made…

Til I webstumbled upon the Gary Fisher Wahoo… superlight frame (same as their v expensive models), has lockout (the Trek doesn't) and even better componentry than the Trek for about $30 more. And a super smooth ride. BUT… the top bar on the Fisher is a lot longer so it’s got a much longer reach, which supposedly is THE measurement I should be worried about for potential back/neck/wrist strain. The other glitch is I can have it any colour I want, as long as it’s … white! Even the saddle is white! I'm worried it'll lead to an urge to call myself Powderpuff and get an 80s afro-perm...

So… what to do? The bike that has more bang for $, feels great now, could cause problems later, looks naff the whole time... or the one that is ok but defintely looks slick... or waste more weekends looking instead of riding!

If you know stuff about bikes… or hauling thy butt out of indecision, please, little help!!

08 March 2009

the black russians

Got to love a tomato that sounds like the Soviet mob. I remember growing tomatoes in plastic garbage bins when I was a long-haired, bare-footed little person. Actually I should say I remember making dirt tunnels in plastic garbage bins while one of the not-then-relics planted tomatoes in the not-yet-tunneled garbage bin. Anyway, my black russians, which I have nurtured from seedlings (thanks Dad), through a three-state, three-day road trip and three Brisbane addresses, are about to deliver their lycopene goodliness!


I have looked after these little grommets like a mother-in-training, hauling myself out every night during a swampy Brisbane summer, shagged from work, to water them by bucket. I've hauled them round in my car from house-stay to house-sit to housebound-bliss. Frankly I've never invested so much grunt into a plant before. Well actually that's a lie... but I am not going to flaunt my criminal past here. Anyway, today I made three loaves of sourdough and am thinking the russians will go nicely with that, a little olive oil and some of the purple basil that I have unbelievably managed to sprout from seed and which is now growing like medusa on speed in my little potted garden. A perfect, if hard-won, home made lunch.

06 March 2009


It’s official: I live in the best neighbourhood in the 4000s. Yes, this is a dorky ode to my new hood, because we have:

1. The best video store (think Black Books but with moving images and social skills, staffed by film students who let you keep stuff if you haven’t quite managed to watch it by the due date).

2. The best markets. I have probably raved enough. So you'd think I'd be over it after about five non-continuous years of patronage. Nup.

3. The best felafels and the competitors yet to try.

4. The best Tibetan, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Greek...

5. The coolest apartment block (mine!) which has a water tank, compost bin, resident blue tongue lizard, and a rooster down the road who is not really mine to claim but makes me feel like I’m back in rural Laos every morning! And the girl upstairs who plays a sweet guitar and the boy next door who makes honey.

6. The Greeks across the way have perfected the art of sitting on the balcony watching the world go by.

7. Furniture gifts by the roadside. Hello new cane deck chairs and lounge.

8. Walking to and from work. Who needs the bus?! iPod, backpack, hotshoe over the Goodwill (pedo bridge), through the botanical gardens, along the river, look at the boats and pick one to take out for the day, shower, desk, brekky. LOVE IT!

9. Getting round on two wheels, a VERY exciting prospect. Coming soon.

10. The local thrift shop. Reverse Garbage. The Green Grocer. Mick's Nuts. The Rumpus Room, Lychee Lounge, wamble home. Neighbourhood lolly bag of the good stuff.

I am planning on moving anytime soon WHY?

04 March 2009

hobson's choice

(HOB-suhnz chois) noun The choice of taking what is offered or none; an apparently free choice with no acceptable alternative.

This week I was asked if I wanted to do my boss’s job again. When I say ‘ask’, I'm being overly generous. The 'offer' was disguised as a question, but before I had time to respond I was told the work would probably fall to me anyway so I may as well get paid for it.


I wouldn't mind so much but there are some icky team issues that do my head in.

I must have sent my hesitation flapping up the flagpole, as the next day, my boss 'offered' a retraction. In the vein of "don't feel you HAVE to do it, I can always do [the big cahuna's] job and my job".

GAH! (money in the bank, money in the bank, ommmmmmmmm)

Glimmers on the horizon:
a new bike
camping at Easter at Bunnoo Bunnoo
dinghy sailing course in May, yay!
Dreaming Festival in winter
idle daydreams of running away travelling with Ren