Help an evil genius

My friend Greg is on a quest to become an evil genius. He spotted an abandoned missile base for sale on ebay, and is trying to raise the money to buy it.

He writes: “People have donated to help some ditz pay off her credit cards, some kid go to college, some stripper get breast implants… why wouldn’t they donate to help a budding evil genius get his first lair?”

He’s a pretty nice guy, so I bet he’d be a benevolent evil genius.

See how you can help at

Here is my backyard

It’s not a big backyard, but I was never going to be able to afford a big property in the suburbs I wanted. Oh well, there’s a large park quite nearby.

The fence isn’t really that crooked. It’s a trick of the photo stitching software.

Likewise, this picture makes the backyard look pretty microscopic. It isn’t really: by my calculations it’s about 13 metres across by about 7 metres deep. Like I say, not big. But usable.

Here is my couch

Here, looking very posed, is a piccy of me on my new couch, which arrived on Saturday.


Super-comfortable. Feels quite high off the ground, compared to the old, saggy one (which hopefully some lucky Freecycler will want). None of the pictures taken quite captures the colour exactly, but this one is as close as any of them.

Here is my grass

This is the nature strip outside my house. I leave it alone apart from organising to get it mowed every so often. All it gets is (comparatively rare) rain water. It’s lush and green. I don’t know why.
Nature strip

This is my front lawn. It gets some greywater, and a regular mowing, but is otherwise left alone. It’s a little grizzled, but surviving okay. One patch has a fresh growth of new grass.
Front lawn

And this is my back lawn. It gets lots of greywater (from the youngest’s bath) several days a week, and I’ve even tried putting new seed on it to get it kickstarted again. It used to be lush and green, but is now mostly barren, apart from a thin strip along one side. I think it was instant turf stuff, laid by the previous owners when the house was for sale, to look good at the time. I’ve just about given up on growing anything other than dirt on it (at least until autumn, when I’ll dig it all up and put new seed and soil on it). Maybe I should start a dirt farm.
Back lawn

Literary meme

I was tagged for a literary meme.

1. One book that changed your life

I’m struggling a bit to think of anything, but if I had to nominate something, I’d probably say Ben Elton’s Gridlock. It’s not an earthshattering philosophical work, but I think it (subconsciously) triggered a lot of my thinking about issues I’m now actively involved in campaigning on. (Where I talked about it previously)

2. One book you have read more than once.

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers books.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island.

Something long, engrossing, and thought-provoking.

4. One book that made you giddy?

Christopher Koch’s Year of Living Dangerously. There’s nothing like reading a well-regarded text and realising that what you’ve been told is true — one of the characters really is based on your own father. (My review)

5. One book that you wish had been written

I’d love to read a history of my family on my father’s side. Okay, so it’s very personal, but I think it’s sad that so few people know the personal details of their own ancestors. (There’s already been a history written of mum’s side.) I think my uncle is working on something, though I don’t know how much detail there’ll be. It leaves me wanting to ensure that what I write in this blog is kept for my descendants to read.

6. One book that wracked you with sobs?

I’ve read some moving books, but I don’t recall any that had that effect on me. Unlike, say, the Father’s Day episode of Doctor Who the first time I saw it. As its author, Paul Cornell recently wrote: Drama isn’t your puppy, it’s a tiger. It’s not meant to make you comfortable. It’s meant to make you feel alive. Something applicable to books as well as TV, I reckon.

7. One book you wish had never been written

Having sampled Angels and Demons, I can honestly say the world would be no worse off if Dan Brown hadn’t bothered. (My review)

8. One book you’re currently reading

Doug Grant’s Incompetance. It’s amusing enough, but there’s little thought-provoking or devastatingly intelligent about it.

I’ve just read the bit with the railway station that was served by no trains. As ridiculous as it sounds, in outer-SE Melbourne there’s a hospital with a bus stop which is served by no buses. (They’re fixing it sometime soon.)

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read.

Three books really: Neal Stephenson’s Baroque trilogy is high on my list.

10. Now tag five bloggers

I’ll go for (hopefully) a variety of reading tastes: My lovely Marita. Beth. Tony. Konrad. Erm.. one more… one more… who else wants to have a go?

Here are my desks

Today I’m working from home. Here is my (still relatively tidy from Saturday’s pre-party cleanup) home office. With the new flat screens ‘n’ everything.


You see the stool at the far left? That’s got most of the bits of paper on it that were formerly cluttering up the desk. I’ll get through those and sort them out properly… soon…

I’m working from home because I was waiting for the washing machine repair guy. It started leaking water on Saturday, dammit. Turned out to be a cracked door seal. Ch-ching, $118.70 inc labour and parts. (Mind you I’m relieved that this time it wasn’t something I could have fixed myself.)

Okay, back to work for me…

Here is my stove… and my dinner

It’s just about dinner time. I’ve been attempting (for the first time) to cook a beef stew, a meal designed and built around the half-a-bottle of red wine I had left over from Friday. It’s been slowly cooking for about six hours or so, and I’m getting very hungry.

Here’s what my (ancient) stove looks like:

Old stove

Update 9:30pm. Oh man, that was de-smeggin’-licious. The mushrooms in particular… superb. Perhaps not quite enough meat, and too much carrot in it. But a great cold winter’s night meal.

Hope the leftovers are as good when re-heated. Given how easy it was to cook, I can scarcely believe I’ve never done it before.


Music meme

Tagged by Rae: Seven songs I am listening to right now and a lyric or two that sounds good

New Mistake, by Jellyfish — I have no idea what this song is about, but I like it. Got hooked on this band after seeing the music video for it (which is just as confusing) on Rage, years ago. As a marketing tool, sometimes music videos work.

So Father Mason, clutching his crucifix
Baptised the baby in whisky and liquorice
What a lovely way
Drowning sins and tooth decay

The Circle, Ocean Colour Scene — about a circle of friends. I got hooked on this band after one of their songs was used on a TV show. That works as a marketing tool too.

Saturday afternoon
The sunshine falls like wine
Through your window

Good Day Ray, Powderfinger — after all these years, the whole Internationalist album is still a favourite. Now the kids have got hooked on this particular song, as have I. It’s been played something like 25 times on the iPod that Jeremy’s had only four weeks.

You, you’ve fallen down the stairs again
You might have to take it easy

Love Letter, Professor Ratbaggy — the most accessible of PR songs (it’s Paul Kelly in disguise) and probably the only one to get a guernsey at a PK gig. I snuck it onto a CD of music for my sister’s wedding, years ago. (I also tried to get on The Proclaimers’ Let’s Get Married, but with all the classical music they’d ask for, it wouldn’t fit.)

You’re every rich man’s prayer
You’re every poor boy’s dream
I wanna make a deep connection
Between you and me

Second Class Citizen, Area 7 — your standard call of justice for youth. Maybe I’m a bit old for it, but it’s something I try to recall when seeing the yoof out and about. And when I see yet another profile of Barry Humphries in the paper.

Well I don’t know what they think we do with our time
Try to tell them that being young’s not a crime
We try to tell them but they just don’t care,
This f—ed-up system’s so unfair

Song 2, Blur — it’s pure enjoyable unadulterated noise.

Woo hoo!

Boy with the Arab strap, Belle and Sebastian — theme from Teachers, but highly enjoyable in its own right.

Everyone suffers in silence a burden
The man who drives minicabs down in Old Compton
The Asian man
With his love hate affair
With his racist clientele

I’m not going to specifically tag anybody, but if you want to have a go, leave a comment or trackback.