Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not the story of a transexual

So I came across this in a bookshop today.

In other news I'll be in Melbourne next week.  Apart from that, not much to report to you guys at this point.  Only that I'm looking forward to catching you Melbourne crew when I'm down under in a couple of days' time (please not my fully sic apostrophe); I'm in one piece and intend to remain so for the foreseeable future; I'm enjoying being surrounded by geeks/nerds (never really could distinguish a meaningful difference, c'mon guys, help me out in the comments) this week.

Marntaj.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hottober

A month of increasing humidity and high thirties temperatures.  We've had a few sporadic patches of rain,  interspersed with sporadic parental visits: Mother and her man have been trekking through the desert.  They graced us at the Taj with their presence before kidnapping me for a several day sight see of Litchfield before depositing me in Darwin for a weekend out on the town.  They endured the sticky top end capital for a while, but ventured back down to drier (though still fairly sweltering) Katherine and have now embarked on the homeward stretch to the cooler climes of Southern Oz via Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

I, meanwhile, who have been slogging away at work, have somehow accumulated the busiest schedule in the history of the world for the hottest season of the year.  My timetable as of the coming week includes: A week at Jilkminggan, three days in Batchelor to tutor, another week at Jilkminggan, a week in town (or possibly Ngukurr), a week in Jilkminggan, another three days in Batchelor, another week in Jilkminggan.  Thankfully all this will be topped off with a visit to Sydney for Summerfest2008, and then on to Mtown for a brill xmas with family and friends.

Hope Mtown is keeping all you groovers satisfied with its bookshops, caf├ęs, and whatnot.

Mayawa,
(Mangarrayi: that's all)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Waist Management

So it turns out at the weather gets hotter I start craving sugar, chocolate bars and ice cold milk shakes.  What makes this a particularly bad recipe is that as it gets hotter, I feel more and more slothful, only able to muster enough energy to sigh about how hot it's getting.  Ok, well that's a slight exaggeration.  But not for long; soon the buildup will be in full swing (it has been dubbed by meteorologists to have already started) and sweat will roll, heads will loll, and moans will escape parched lips.

So, apart from vague hopes of being able to sweat it all out, my cravings seem to be leading to an impractical layer of insulation around the middle.  Oh well....  at least laps at the pool are more appealing (though the sweltering bike ride to and from may be something to be endured)...  Lolling in the Taj pool is much more likely.

Well,  haven't heard from any of you Melbourne mob in a while (perhaps it is because you have disowned me for gratuitous use of the word 'mob'?).   Hope all well in the down under of down under.

xx  Love from the North.  xxx

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Racism sucks

I've just come from 2 hours' volunteering at the book exchange.  Some days this involves  being flooded with customers - mostly tourists, interspersed with some locals and occasionally friends who drop in to say hi and laugh at the 80s sewing patterns which are accumulating in the art and craft corner.  Other days, it involves sitting with a book or a crossword (or, in today's case, a Sudoku) enjoying peace and quiet, not a customer in sight.

Today looked like it was going to be a 'no customer' day.  After one and a half hours, a lovely old lady came in.  Dissatisfied with her current Miss Marple, she perused the shelves for another murder mystery.  She settled on another Agatha Christie which we both hoped to be better.  She was traveling on the Ghan - the only way to do it: first class!;  She enquired about my dreadlocks - Now that I'm up close to someone with them, I've always wanted to ask: how do you wash them?  As she was leaving, she told me how disgusted she was with the amount of rubbish around the tourists information centre.  Somehow, her disgruntlement at the litter escalated into sweeping generalisations that 'Aboriginals' were responsible for it, and that 'the white man' shouldn't be cleaning up after 'them'.

I grappled with self-composure while trying to dissuade her of her assumptions by pointing out that many Indigenous people are employed, work hard, don't throw rubbish around, while many white, highly educated tertiary students leave rubbish all over university grounds, and that you can't make statements about an entire race based on the behaviour of a couple of people you saw in a public place.  She would not be moved.  She continued 'us'-ing and 'them'-ing, and making irrational arguments about how well behaved 'they' were in Darwin (because there's less rubbish in Darwin - heaven forbid this has anything to do with our respective town councils' diligence in rubbish collection!  No! It must be how 'they' behave themselves that accounts for Darwin's messlessness!).

This is not the first time I've encountered racism.  Nor, unfortunately, will it be the last.  Whether it's locals or visitors, I am always astounded (not to mention disgusted) that this attitude persists, almost unchecked.

When I complained in person to the local rag about a racist cartoon published last January, they told me to write a letter:  
Thumbs down to [the local rag] for publishing such a distasteful, nasty and racist cartoon last week. With the theme 'Australia Day' no less! Are there no moral guidelines (let alone media guidelines) to prevent such a things from going to press?
Despite short letters being preferred, mine was never printed.

Racism is something that isn't talked about in this town.  Redneck locals will knowingly confide to each other their opinions on 'their' alcoholism, unemployment, social dysfunction, domestic violence, packaging their prejudice neatly into one term:  'anti-social behaviour'.

Nothing could be more anti-social than racism.

P.S.  Despite the misanthropic bent of this post, it ain't all bad; check out what I'm going to next weekend: Lipstick and Ochre.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kath to ELQ

Guess where I went on the weekend?

If you guessed El Questro Wilderness Park then you are spot on.  :)  Different timezone: sunsets at 5:15pm and sunrises at 5:00am (as opposed to the 6:30am NT sunrises I which I happily sleep through).  Temperate climes and fantabulous company (the King and the Legal Eagle).  A total distance of 604km and about 7hrs' driving.  Top it off with a swag under the stars, a photo shoot with yours truly  the Hoochery, and some gorge-ous hikes.  Ah, bliss!

Here's the rootin' tootin' route:


Punyu!
(Gurindji: awesome!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Welcome to the Taj

Rules:
- 1. Anything can be recycled if you put your mind to it.
- 2. Learn Backgammon. Right now; off you go!
- 3. Keep the clutter off the bench.
- 4. There is no rule four.
- 5. Don't bump the gate.  This includes the King!

Consumables:
- The Lord's Classic, or Roo'n'Salad (pron. 'Ruined Salad')
- Orgasms, aka The Best Coffee in the NT.
- Champion's Breakfast
- Fridge Surprise

Delights:
- The King's "Good morning! Good morning!" sung in the wee hours.
- Noodlicious Pool Volley Ball.
- Charm.

Cardinal Sins:
- not refilling the ice-block tray.
- plugging country music at high volumes on Saturday mornings from neighbouring houses.
- lobbing petrol bombs into the yard.
- buying the product because the packaging will look cool when recycled.

Tajisms:
- Fresh as a lettuce (trans. bright eyed and bushy tailed)
- Fresh as a Woolies lettuce (trans. not so bright eyed and bushy tailed; often a descriptor of those who may have boogied at the Base the previous evening)
- Have you been eating clown shit? (trans.  Who's a f***ing comedian!?)
- Captain Selfish (def. something created from uninhibited, free and conscious choice for the self and the self alone).

Friday, June 6, 2008

It is TIME

So, I guess it's time for a new blog. Perhaps a not-so-cryptic one this time.

What's the haps?

I'm going to Barunga (pronounced Bar-oong-a) Festival tomorrow morning. This year we have a stall there, with all our languagey wares. Am looking forward to it, and hoping that manning stall won't interfere too much with participating in all the other festival activities, such as witnessing the spear throwing contest, or the road-safety song comp. V. excited about seeing Archie Roach, as found one of his albums in plastic bag of random tapes in back of previous house's linen-press and have grown quite fond of it.

In other news: I spent the first half of this week relearning what cold crisp air smells like: four days in Alice Springs for professional development was just what the doctor ordered. Though, two 16hr bus rides in one week is a little taxing, one has to admit! The trip resulted in a new ambition: to see the Todd River flowing through Alice. It only happens every couple of years, and it hasn't even rained in Alice for over a year.

Thanks to all concerned re my stressful situation. Things are still quite strange, though I am now in possession of the notion that things will be ok, the sun will rise tomorrow (and even tomorrow's tomorrow!), and, thank you Gloria Gaynor, I will survive. Truth be told, things are even becoming somewhat humorous as new an bewildering events unfold before my eyes.

Well yumob,

That's all for now. Please update me on what's your haps in the comments.

Ngulajuku
(Warlpiri: That's all)
(Pron: Ngoo-la-joo-goo)

Friday, May 30, 2008

The new coriander of the herban mob?

Yes. You've found me out, readers: I am, in fact, blogging purely because I thought of a title idea and had to put it somewhere. I could have micro-blogged on Facebook, I s'pose, but this one felt too titlish: I just had to splash it out to the world at large. Please comment if you need further explanation. Interpretations welcome.

Addendum: Upon rereading this post, I feel I should provide at least some explanation (however, obscurity is still my object)

Most people who know me know how I feel about Coriander.
Herban is a hyper-correction.

This title is chiefly for Lol.

Again, I invite interpretations of the title...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[insert expletive of your choice]!

Well well well. There's water in a well, and there's bullshit in corrupt, nepotistic, power-tripping maniacs. Especially when there's two of them.

But there's at least some entertainment value in 'evil stupidity' (as it has been dubbed - something like the antithesis to 'evil genius'). And one can only trust one's ideals that, some time soon, sanity will prevail (chuh!). Where's the good? Where's the rationality? Where's my union membership? (Ah, here it is! Phew!)

And besides, it's only because I have an attitude problem (or so the new king dick accuses!) that any of this is in the least difficult, uncomfortable, distressing or - let's face it - of questionable legality. And that's not to mention the lack of etiquette for the whole thing. Gosh. Unthinkably arseholic adventures are afoot. See you on the other side!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging about blogging... for the sake of it

Judging by the complete lack of response to my last post, perhaps I should presume only to blog when I have something in mind I wish to blog about, rather than blogging for the sake of it.

This brings me to by current dilema of whether I can justify blogging about not having anything to blog about. Is this enough of any excuse? Or is it as lame as blogging for the sake of it?

Well, I guess I'll let you readermob decide; and your silence (or lack thereof) will dictate whether I continue on in my ranty ways, or whether I defect and start writing some quality prose, not just blogging for the sake of it.

I s'pose, one thing I haven't considered here is that perhaps your silence is no slight against me; perhaps it is nothing to do with how 'for the sake of it'-bloggy the previous post was; it could be purely the product of youse guys busy in your busy lives, not having hours and hours of free time to scour the internet for trashy blogs written by people who just blog for the sake of it.

Well, I feel sufficiently themed to leave y'all now, in peace or in confusion. Perhaps one day I'll blog about something so uber-cool, that my stat counter (had I one) will explode from the strain. But not today, for I suspect even today, I've been blogging for the sake of it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Humbuggery

Ahoi hoi All!

I'm sitting in the office, it's close of day, and I'm about to go home. Day has seemed extra long, but somehow I made it through to the end of the day. Tomorrow, some of my friends and I are going to on an overnight hike to Sweetwater pool at Edith Falls. It's only a short hike, and there's a swimming hole at the end of it, so we're all looking forward to it.

What have you mob been up to? (You'll notice, I've adopted some Northern Territory-ese, but Dee, I'll try not to say 'thing')

Umm, Imo's friend Jess came over for tea, and then cooked us tea. There are about a gazillion linguists buzzing round the office at the moment - there are heaps of visiting linguists - Hello yumob! It's all very exciting, we had two of them over for tea on Tuesday night. S - my non-linguist housemate - made a swift exit while L, myself, and our two guests nerded it up discussing the origins of the word 'torte' and how to spell the sound [u]. What fun :)

Well, I have to toddle off and check my scrabulous scores before the 'Woolies run' for the camping trip.

Si Yumob.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What’s a good thing for a hangover?

Drinking heavily the night before.

Well, here’s my most recent recipe:
Ingredients
1 Friday night
1 generous shot Benedictine over ice
1 boogie to local radio show hosts by boss and housemate
5 glasses red wine
Several pieces garlic damper
1 slice Tziki[sic – that’s how they spell it on the menu!] Pizza
1 shot J├Ągermeister
1 bottle lime flavoured beer (?!)
1 boogie to classics blaring from the local pub
1 pot unidentified alcoholic beverage bought by your mate (prob vodka/lemonade)
-1 Captain Selfish snack
Some water

Method (huh! there was no method to this madness!)
Take Friday night, preferably sapped of energy from the preceding week’s work. Add alcohol continuously (pausing for pizza) stirring occasionally with boogies from local radio, and pub classics. Return home, watch housemate cook and consume food. Note: do not consume food yourself, as this would undermine the spectacularity of your hangover. Drink token glasses of water, not too much, for same reason.

Cooking time: Allow to stew for 6hrs’ restless sleep, interspersed with several toilet breaks. Serve at 8am on the porcelain bus.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Marching out of March

Here we are again at the end of another month. The chocolate festival has passed and we’re back to a full five day week. But don’t despair: choir is starting in two weeks; there’s a conference in Sydney coming up; and dry season has started (officially, as in, according to meteorologists and everything).

So, Easter: I spent the first two days recovering from a cold, lazing around the house and reading Gone with the Wind. I finally finished it on Easter Saturday night. Hurrah, hurroo! Sunday brought Erica and Dean from the South, and we have a fantabulous time ‘chilling’ in the pool, catching up on goss (oh, the goss!) and enjoying Katherine in all its glory. Post-Egg-Day Picnic at Low Level by the Katherine River; Erica Ordinary’s debut performance at one of the local taverns. And I do believe E&D even enjoyed themselves, despite the lack of the much hankered for last-night-in-town piss up.

We had a couple of showers last week – the knock-em-down rains. Many blades of spear grass, which was as tall as me, is standing crooked and forlorn, snapped by the weight of massive rain drops pelted from a great hight. These are the last rains of the wet, signalling the dry. We are now in for months of clear blue sky, days of 28~30°C, nights just crisp enough to warrant long legged pyjamas, and we might occasionally wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, or even socks!

Remind me to water the tomato plant…

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...that a single girl in possession of a large book collection must be in want of a life. But instead she opted to pay the book lovers’ society of her choice squillions of dollars and expanded her collection. After all, she lived in a small country town where exciting things were afoot every other weekend. The excitement of life seemed to seek her out, and she relished the stolen few minutes here and there when she would snatch a few more words, paragraphs, pages of a treasured tome. Why, just this morning she had left Scarlett Hamilton (nee O’Hara) toiling over the saintly Melanie’s labour pains……

But, I digress. Life in Katherine has been a whirlwind of visitors since last we spoke. The two solid weeks’ stay of work’s fabulous and newest recruit (delayed on her way to Ngukurr due to the inequitable levels of rivers to roads) was peppered with visits from people up from Kalkarindji, down from Darwin, people going down to Kalkarindji from Darwin, sleep overs from Jilkminggan, and Southern guests up for a taste of NT relaxation. In addition to this, a rogue Mexican has taken up residence for a couple of weeks; however, he makes excellent coffee, so he can stay till the weekend.

We were going to have an Irish guest for the St Paddy’s day weekend, but she got a better offer, so we’ll be indulging in a little ‘sog time’ – possibly in front of the BBC’s definitive Pride and Prejudice. Our systems are in need of purging after sitting through a whole 2hrs of Kira Knighly’s breastlessness and Judy Dench’s disappointing deBurgh. (Though Darcy did get a little more ruggedly handsome with a second viewing… *smoulder*)

It has rained a lot. The waters of the Katherine flowed around 4m last Saturday. By Sunday, less than 24hrs later, the watermark was lapping half way up 11. But be not alarmed compadres! No one starts worrying around these here parts till the water hits at least 16.

In the mean time, I’ve been recovering from a cold, exacerbating my insomnia with Gone with the Wind, and rescuing baby green tree frogs from my bedroom (I have no idea how they get in there, but they’re sooo cute!)

Anyway, bed and book are calling me, so I’ll bid you adieu with my latest Kira Knightly impression:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ai kaan jinggabat neim blanga dijan poust

I have had so many ideas for my ‘next post’ that I must have been too intimidated by myself to write any of them down, or, indeed, post anything. So here goes with a regular, start from scratch, no plans, post.

Umm…. And this is the part where I get tongue tied (or finger tied? Or whatever it is when you’re typing not talking!). So many things have transpired since last I wrote. It’s difficult to know where to start, especially since I’m writing this in a hotel room as a word document, so can’t even refer to my last post for a few pointers.

Well, hotel room’s not exactly right; but perhaps that’s a good place to start: I’m in some form of paid accommodation, about 200km North of the Taj (for photos of which, my dear friends, you’ll have to wait till Dee puts them on FB as I forgot to transfer them to my USB ere her southern bound return trip.. will see what I can do). I’m up here tutoring the Diploma of Interpreting at BIITE (google it; can’t be bothered expanding the acronym) in a town called Batchelor, till Wednesday. It’s rained near constantly since my arrival, and I left Katherine River at 7m and rising on Sunday afternoon (don’t worry, it has to get to over 18 before we really panic!). The turn off to Batchelor from the Stuart HWY is sporadically cut off throughout the day as the creek rises and recedes every couple of hours, so whether I can get back to the big K is another story altogether! Well, that’s an over dramaticalisation, but hey!

In other news, I travelled to Melbourne for xmas and New Year, spending a spectacular night on the beach watching an electrical storm out to see, meeting some cool new people, but mainly rekindling my love for all you, my dear readers, my old friends, my People. It was fantastic to catch up with each and every one of you. I’m sorry to any who I missed, and look forward to another whirlwind Melb tour some time mid year.

Upon my return to the big K, I plunged back into the madness of full-time-work-after-two-weeks’-leave, which was even more maddening as I had only three weeks in which to cram things before another two week holiday (woe betide the time-poor linguist who applies for holidays in the month of February!). Dee came for a visit which pacifically [sic] entailed two funfilled trips to Darwin, swimming at Umbrawarra Gorge, a sight seeing road trip to Timber Creek, scenic sunrise flying over Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) and Leliyn (Edith Falls), many dips in the body of water lying just west of the Taj, feeding Maru the cat, and lots of time with hot glue, drawing pins, interestingly stained giant foam, and egg cartons. Oh and caves, lots of caves. And a disturbingly friendly caveman. And don’t forget the backgammon!



Dee, I started missing you before you’d even left. And it was very strange not seeing you everyday – I’d grown accustomed to your face! I hope you have a great time, we had a great time hosting you, and you are welcome back when e’er you wish. ☺

Since then it’s been ‘back on the horse’ and ‘go go go!’, gee up Hooch, you’ve got interpreters to book and train, recordings to edit, and Kriol courses to run. Leisure time was filled on the weekend with the most frustrating, disappointing, let down of a Film Festival of my life. Indeed, I challenge anyone to compete with the incompetence and misfortune which betide the local cinema.

Beware: what ensues is a purging of frustrations. It may not be coherent, or even interesting; if you dare, dear reader, read on.
The first feature came to a climactic nadir when, in the midst of the action, just as the baddy was admitting all the glory of his badness, the film cut out and the lights came on. A minute later, after groans from the audience (who are not unfamiliar with such mishaps occurring in said cinema) the film came back on, and in silence, we could only lip read the end of the menacing monologue. Grr, mildly frustrating, turns out there was some stickytape on the film, oh well, let’s hope they keep and eye out and it won’t happen again. Not so, my friend, not so. The second film suffered the exact same cut out/lights on fiasco, though it failed to be quite as timely. The third (which you’d think could not be topped until you hear the fourth!) started to play upside down with no sound a bit after halfway through. We were told that the film canisters had been labelled wrongly, though our confidence in the projectionist’s abilities were wearing thin at thin point. Yet again, the following day, Katherine’s film fest frequenters, (oh the masochism!) decided to brave another ‘cinematic experience’. Collective and disheartened laughter rippled in disbelief across the audience as the short came on with no sound. In silent horror we watched as we contemplated leaving. For some bizarre reason most of us stayed. A belated apology from the festival host along the lines of ‘sorry, we’ll try to get some sound for the feature’, was met with more groans. We were at the end of our tether, or so we thought. In vain hope, we remained in our seats. The feature came, and – for a moment – all was well; there was sound and everything! From about 15minutes into the film, the sound kept cutting out. But the stubborn film goer clung to the subtitles (yay for foreign films!). We watched the better part of it in silence, a silence broken by someone answering their phone with ‘I’m at the movies and there’s no sound’, then broken by pop music pumping from the speakers, then by a crackly tapping as though someone was testing a mic. Suffice to say I did not stay for the second feature that evening. Alas for those who braved the inevitable. For it is just that, inevitable: our tropical wet season begat a town-wide power failure that not even the local cinema could withstand.