Sunday, May 11, 2008


Yesterday I made some astro turf out of a green plastic bag. It's a very tiny square of fake grass.

Today I'm trying to resuscitate my blogger and flickr accounts and get stuff joined up. I'll see how I go. Maybe I'll be able to post a picture of my knitting.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil

Matthew gave me the latest George Saunders book, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil. It's a novella, or possibly more correctly, an allegory. It's very cool, and very odd, and yes frightening. There is, however, no satisfying end, or particular point, to the lesson. Not that I could see. Perhaps the point is that it's very difficult to get it right, that there is no conceivable way of not getting it wrong yet again.

The book also includes In Persuasion Nation. A set of short stories which could be renamed The Long and Appalling Reign of Market Forces. These stories are great, and very, very frightening. They're about the world slightly on from now, but scarily close. A grandfather wants to take his grandchild to see a play but is forced to watch a series of ads for "Personal Preferences" on the way to and from the theatre, downtrodden characters from a series of advertisements rise up in revolt, young people are brought up as an in-house focus group. All very peculiar, but too close to the bone.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin: national hero

Steve Irwin died today after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray.

The news started off reasonable size with a top of the page article on, but by the time I was going home from work the story had stretched to a banner image of Steve and a goanna across most of the page, and now there's 3 articles and video, photos, a pop-up location map, and a link to "Your Say: Vale Steve Irwin".

Or not.

The last time I remember such a huge spread across the SMH site was September 11.

So I guess Steve passing is an important event. Or not.

Friday, August 18, 2006

2nd half

On Monday I turned 42. Houston sent me a congratulatory email, which was supposed to have a link. He forgot the link, but when I asked him about it, he sent me this: OK Go - on treadmills.

It's a great present, and remarkably apposite. For the last year I've worked with a group of people, the majority of whom are at least 10 years younger than me. They go to the gym, they work out at home. We're research nerds and yet there's this body culture thing going on. So for my birthday I asked for, and got, an exercise ball, and some weights. Am I suddenly going to become glamorous? I'm certainly not going to get younger.

Houston's link is the only cultural present I got this year.

I'm trying to balance this all out by reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Autumn of the Patriarch which I got for my birthday back in 1985. I didn't read it back then, I got through the first couple of pages and gave up. Now it's easier somehow, and the density is gripping rather than repulsive.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

64.29% vote for Aeroplane Jelly song

Matthew in Sydney ran a survey amongst his friends, of which I am one, and the results showed that:
64.29% of people ARE in favour of changing the national anthem from the bloody boring Advance Australia Bloody Fair to the Aeroplane Jelly song! This must be the best survey result ever!
Too bloody right!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a grocer in kensal town

I've been investigating my mother's mother's family history.

On Monday I found out via the 1901 Census that my great-grandparents had a grocery shop in Kensal Town, on Southam St.

Today, using a really old copy of the A to Z, and Google Maps, and flickr, I found some indications of what the place looks like now.

Southam St, Kensal Town on Google Maps Southam is the street between Adair and Golborne.
Kensal Town photos on flickr
Booth Poverty Map Charles Booth did a survey of the 'life and labour of the people in London, the Poverty Map is from 1898-1899.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

turquoise chair party

Originally uploaded by flotson.

I love this photo. It's like the aftermath of a party for turquoise chairs: they all came and got trashed, and there was no-one left to make sure they got home safely so they all had to stay . . . and they woke up in the morning, dishevelled, and it'd been raining, and someone had set fire to the ground, which made it very dirty, so they all dozed off again . . .