Went to a street festival over the weekend. Festivals always look like so much fun, don’t they. It’s something about the atmosphere of stuffing three hundred thousand people into a couple of blocks for a weekend. Enjoy the food, watch the people, buy the merchandise, wonder why the bands playing there haven’t made it big… then listen to the music and wonder no longer.

It always looks like about 98% of the people are just roaming around looking at things, with 1% of the people being stall and shop owners, and the remaining 1% being the people who are actually eating, shopping, or otherwise participating in the available activities.

There are three tricky things to do in a festival of any magnitude. One of them involves eating a souvlaki with one hand while trying to hold the can of Coke in the other. The second is trying to move around in one of these crowds. And the third is trying to stay still in one of these crowds. And believe me (parent mode on) – none of these are made easier when accompanied by a wheeled device of perambulatory qualities.

For both the latter activities, it’s easiest just to go with the flow. Just follow the people in front of you. It doesn’t really matter where they’re going – just follow them and enjoy the scenery and atmosphere. Somewhere at the front, there’s a single person who is determining the destination of thousands of people. Let’s hope he’s not going to the toilet.


Why do people jaywalk? Time and time again, I find myself waiting at the crossing like a responsible citizen (and trying to get in the habit of setting a good example for my son), waiting for the little green man to appear. Someone else will judge the traffic carefully, and sprint across the road, breaking every one of Hector The Cat’s rules in the process. Twenty seconds later, I set off after them, and usually after less than a minute of walking at my usual frenetic pace, I’ll overtake them.

If they were in a hurry, why didn’t they walk faster once across the street? And if they weren’t in a hurry, why risk death walking against the signal? Why not just walk faster on the footpath?

Maybe it’s instinct. There’s a historically unsound theory that says that humans want to keep moving, otherwise they might get squashed by a dinosaur.

Crime wave

So, it’s finally happened. I never thought I’d be the victim. I thought it would never happen to me. But I’ve finally become another helpless statistic in the vicious wave of crime sweeping our city.

My bike got stolen.

I noticed it on Saturday – ironically, the day the local police station were having a bicycle marking day, in an effort to combat the apparently large numbers of stolen bikes.

Actually, it could have been stolen any time in about the last two months. It’s been locked up out the back of our block since we moved in, and I’ve only been giving it a glance on the odd occasion that I feel inclined to take the bins out for the weekly collection.

You’ve probably guessed by now, guilty as I might feel saying it, that I won’t actually miss it a great deal. I haven’t used it in a couple of years now, after succumbing to a mild cycling-related illness known as laziness.

The bike itself wasn’t in excessively good condition, as is the case with most bikes that have been neglected for a couple of years. But it’s still a shame. The old man that custom-built it ten years ago for my mum would probably be spinning in his grave.

So whichever bikeknappers… whichever scum sucking vermin cycleburglars have nabbed my bike, will have a pretty hefty repair job to get it into condition. They’ll need to replace the tubes, the gears are a bit wonky, the dynamo gave up the ghost many moons ago, and the ’84 Olympics "Wherever there’s a Will there’s a way to L.A." sticker is horribly dated.

Not to mention the poisonous spike implanted in the saddle. Oh, wait a minute, I took that out after the insurance people said it wasn’t strictly legal.

The police have been notified the theft. They assure me that even now, a sixty strong force dubbed "Operation Daniel’s Stolen Bike", led by someone of the calibre of Inspector Unnecessary-Violence, is combing the streets and probing the depths of the underworld to get it back.

So, I expect the nation’s media to be pounding on the door for an exclusive tear-jerking interview tomorrow, the bike back by Wednesday, and me riding it again next weekend…


PS. Sorry Mum.

McDonalds update

An update from the Swanston Street McDonalds story from last month. I’m told by reliable sources that the word is getting around about the rabid Maccas operative. Apparently she can sometimes be seen standing at her counter waiting for customers while people queue up at the others…

And maybe public opinion about the French is starting to effect the TV ads? The Nokia phone ad, which used to talk about stylish French people in the south of France and their stylish phones has been modified to talk about stylish Europeans and their stylish phones.

Daniel attempts to cook

Sssshhh! Don’t tell any of my mates in the Bear Stranglers Club, but I’ve cooked the last two Saturday dinners. Okay, so I know most blokes don’t know where the kitchen is, let alone spend time in it, but I thought I’d take a bash at it. Light a fire, throw rhinoceros rump on it for half an hour… how hard can it be?

Actually, harder than it looks. Now I know why all the cooks on TV are men. Because a man who has learnt to cook well is special, that’s why. Deserves to be on the telly. Rumour has it that my brother-in-law is a great cook. I won’t really believe it until I’ve sampled his food or seen him on SBS at 7pm on a Saturday night.

So how did my efforts go? The nachos last week were good, though I must admit that even a blind hippo without opposing thumbs could have cooked them. Lasagne this week… well, let’s just say that somewhere during transit through the Daniel Bowen Kitchen Machine, it morphed into a pasta bolognaise dish. Not a mistake, I must stress – just a strategic revision once it was calculated that dinner was going to be around midnight if it got much more complicated. Okay, okay, it’s true – I spent an hour (+ heating time) just preparing the meat sauce. Gimme a break, huh?