Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Not much happening around here lately. I had to go for a brain scan which was a novelty and now i've got one of those amazing sets of images of cross-section shots of my brain which is at least proof i've got one. Nothing else was revealed though so the mysterious visual effects (like an amoeba crawling across my field of view) followed by a two-day headache go unexplained. Most likely a migraine i think but i've never had one before in all my 44 years and hardly ever even get regular headaches. Still i'll happily suffer a migraine if it means i'm not having a stroke.

It's well and truly winter here now and this is when my garden starts flowering. I've had aeoniums for years because they're indestructable and the first time i saw one in flower in someone else's garden i was really
surprised. Who'da thought it? Well after growing them for over ten years one of mine has finally produced its huge yellow conical flowerhead and it's a marvel. They must need to be a respectable age to flower - mine all grew from cuttings but i've noticed they're back in vogue because even the garden centres are stocking (and charging crazy prices for) them. Fashion is a drag but at least it'll mean people will be keen to buy them at the fete.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


last weekend i flew an hour and a half north of this winter afflicted town and entered a parallel universe. Same state, different flora, different fauna, different colours. There was turquoise, aqua and a gazillion shades of white. Snorkelling, we saw angel fish, parrot fish, butterfly fish, rays, seasnakes, big coral bombies, sponges, urchins, anemonies, a huge octopus and so much more!

We were out for about an hour in the darkish patches at the back of this photo then we came in for something to eat and a beachcomb. About 5 minutes after this photo was taken this guy below cruised past in about 2 feet of water. And he wasn't a reef shark, he was big! About 2 metres long! And Fast!

After that i was happy to just sit on the beach.

There are more blue and white photos here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I was pleasantly surprised by three wild cards from the video store last weekend. First up we watched Tarnation - Jonathan Caouette's doco of spliced together super-8 film, video, short art school movies and other bits of memorabilia stored up from throughout his life. All these remnants come together to paint a bleak picture of dysfunctional family life. This movie's been criticised for being self-indulgent but seriously - what movie isn't, and at least it was made on a budget of a couple of hundred dollars rather than several million. One critic's complaint was that 'the filmmaker makes little attempt to comment or find meaning' and to that i say 'thanks filmmaker - i prefer to find my own meaning (if there is any ultimate meaning to life's labyrinth)'.

I prefer these types of small personal stories anyway. Head On was a German movie about two Turkish immigrants who meet in a mental institution. It's about Turkish culture in German society and the different forms it takes. At first i thought this movie was straying dangerously close to romantic comedy but Fatih Akin the director is likened to R. W. Fassbinder on the jacket and the film accordingly packs a realistic, painful punch.

The third movie we watched was 21 grams and while i didn't like it as much as Amores Perros, the director IƱarritu's earlier film (and one of my favourites), i didn't think it was at all bad. The chopped up timeline is becoming a pretty popular device but i guess this film is 4 years old. Mr M opined that the mangled timeline was used because the story wasn't much chop on its own but i don't think a riveting storyline is necessary to make a good film (Mike Leigh's Naked is another of my all-time favourites and not much happens at all). I don't think movies are about telling stories but about how you tell the story so while this particular story was very uncomfortable viewing for me (a woman loses her husband and two daughters in a car accident) i thought the telling was worth watching.

I'm flying up to Exmouth tomorrow for a weekend of sun, surf and snorkelling (gulp) with Mr M, who's already there. It will be the first time i've ever spent more than one night away from the girls. See you when i get back.

Monday, June 04, 2007

the sleep files

when you have your first baby you think they're a clean slate but you soon realise they come hard-wired with all sorts of likes and dislikes and preferences that have nothing to do with you. My first daughter wouldn't sleep unless she was on me until she was 6 months old. By then she was rolling over and the first time i managed to get her to sleep in her cot she'd flipped onto her belly and i patted her to sleep like that, full of anxiety because of all the sids warnings about putting babies to sleep on their back. She didn't sleep through the night until she was one and even then she woke at 5 o'clock every morning to start her day. She had two twenty minute naps a day, on her belly, until she was 2 and then gave them up all together. I was a wreck and figured it was all my fault somehow.
She's eight now and reads in bed until nine every night and gets up at six. And she still sleeps face down.

My second daughter saved my sanity and self-respect by sleeping like a dream, but at about 6 months she took to hugging a cot sheet when she slept. When she was about one she discovered all the extra pieces of the sheet i'd torn into hugging sizes in case she lost one and started sleeping with all of them. For the last five years she's gone to bed with an enormous bundle of ever disintegrating rags she calls her huggies. This is what excessive hugging can do to a piece of flannelette.

And this one sleeps when and wherever she likes.