: : crazybrave has moved to <a href="http://crazybrave.net">http://crazybrave.net/</a>: July 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Budding enthusiasm

The cherry trees are starting to blossom and the lilacs are swelling. It was still frosty this morning, but it's slowly getting warmer.

Pavlov's Cat has been out having an pre-spring frenzy, and was moved to post a delightful sonnet on her garden. It inspired this one from me:

Garden Sonnet

Four scratching chooks, a busted trampoline,
wasteland veggie gardens - one each side.
An old and sooky kelpie, long past lean,
sleeps underneath the table, always tired.
The hills hoist, weighted down with tiny clothes,
spins slowly over scratchy dried out grass.
The sprinker's somewhere - busted, I suppose.
We've watering restrictions, can't be arsed.
Beneath the wint'ry fruitless fruiting trees,
discarded toys are scattered left and right;
a sandpit of old brown papery leaves;
a rusty drum for fires on cold nights.
My iron claw foot bath sits near the door -
I soak, survey and do not dream of more.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dear Sage

Mummy and Daddy have got a very special surprise for you. You might have been wondering why Mum's been eating lots of dry biscuits, eyeing off Dad's wine and anybody at all's cigarette while endlessly complaining about being tired and not playing soccer anymore. Well, you're going to have a little brother or sister! Yay!

Mum will go to the Birth Centre to have the baby, and I'll be a fucking shambles bit sore and tired for a while after it comes. Would you believe that babies come out of their Mummy's gineup*? I didn't think so. We'll probably bring home the little baby the next day, and you'll discover a whole new world. Of it not being your turn yet. Babies are lots of fun. So it will be great. After a while. At first it will be a bit hard and Dad and especially Mum will be braindead and distractedVERY busy looking after the baby.

You will need to be gentle and loving to the baby. All the time. Even if you're very cranky, or tired, or hungry, or sad or bored. Mum will try and do the same for both of you, God help me.You'll get to practice sharing a lot. Mainly Mum at first but sooner than you think possible all of your possessions too.

But when the baby gets a bit bigger you'll have a playmate and someone to dob on and fight with in the back of the car on long trips. Mummy and Daddy will still love you just as much, we always will it just won't feel that way.

With all my love


* genuine Sage word

Friday, July 21, 2006

We shall fight *coughs* in the fields and in the streets!

Being a post in honour of Miss Lucy Tartan's "Hot Statutory Pron!" , a series at Sorrow at Sill's Bend which guides us through the open air sculpture of Melbourne. She's encouraged others to join in, but I have until now resisted, due to the calibre of most of the sculpture in Canberra being what it is (oh, and me knowing bugger all about sculpture except what I don't like).

There's something really nice about working at my old university - the rush of nostalgia that comes from cycling past old haunts or seeing the same dishes (and very possibly the same actual food) at the Asian Bistro, that kind of caper.

Of course, much has changed and there are sometimes surprises lurking in the bushes.

WC 1

Can you see it lurking?

WC 2

Here, little bit closer - see it now?

WC 3

Yeah, that's right - behind the monkey bars!

WC 4

What the devil- it's Winston Churchill!

This statue, a cast of the one opposite the Palace of Westminster in London, used to grace Churchill House on Northbourne Avenue. Churchill House seems to have relocated and brought Winston with them. He was quite tucked away at his old home, but you would have to be VERY dedicated to find him here.

There's a special reason I am so fond of this statue. A million moons ago when the sweet'n'sour pork was first gracing the Asian Bistro's bain marie, my best mate's housemate was going out with a Liberal party staffer. For a rather high profile and horrid MP. (I know! She couldn't evict her, she was there first.) The boyfriend went on to grace the inner circle of the Prime Minister and - but I musn't, for I'm not whispering this in your ear at the pub, am I?

Anyhow, said boyfriend/staffer shared his later boss' enormous respect and affection for Winston Churchill. But also liked a bit of outdoor romance. And why not combine the things you love? Even if it is on Northbourne Avenue.

I wonder whether he had a hand in moving the statute to this much more discreet location?

WC 6

I wonder if she held onto his foot?

WC 8

Did she cry out, and what did she say?

And what do you think John Winston's saying here?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"You're not allowed to say it, but I'm saying it."

So there

My much-loved new car sticker. The post title is a quote from the man himself.

Infrequently asked questions

This being an "energy superpower" caper - is it any different to our old standby of "selling rocks to the furriners"?

Because the White belongs to lovers!

Because the White belongs to us!

Laura has proposed a Patrick White reading circle at Sarsaparilla.

This endeavour will provide opportunities to stick it to The Man at The Australian while talking about a good book with interesting people.*

A Big Brother style vote is being conducted in comments at the linked post - so go and nominate which works to save or evict and then hunt yourself down a copy. And does anyone know what that pug is so cut about?

* Also bad puns there for the taking.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Angela Shanahan continues to get it wrong, but at least it won't be stuffing up my Saturday morning anymore

The last item in "The Diary" in the media section of today's Australian was so good it roused me from my sickbed to share it:

ANGELA Shanahan is distressed to have been dumped as a columnist for The Canberra Times. On Monday the new editor, Mark Baker, sent her a note sacking her. Shanahan, wife of The Australian's political editor Dennis Shanahan, describes Baker's actions as "censorship" because of her views on the ACT's gay marriage bill, which stirred up a lot of debate among readers. "This would be the equivalent of The Australian sacking Janet Albrechtsen or Phillip Adams, just because some people didn't like them," Shanahan tells Diary. Baker says he discontinued Shanahan's column after reviewing all the opinion writers. Baker, a former deputy editor, opinion editor and diplomatic editor of The Age, became editor last month following the departure in March of the contentious Michael Stevens, editor since 2001. Baker, who promises to reverse the Crimes' circulation decline, says Shanahan had two years writing on the paper and it was time for some "fresh voices". He denies Shanahan's conservative politics have anything to do with his decision. "She is a person with forthright views and she has every right to express them," Baker tells Diary. "But I have other people who come from a similar direction to her writing for the paper."
Yes, "Censorship"! Oh, how I laughed.

Take some personal responsibility, Angela. It's because you're not very good.

Remember the olden days, when humans used to answer the phone?

Did you know that if the Centrelink Child Care assistance talkbot enrages you sufficiently that you tell it to get fucked, it replies "I think you said goodbye. Is that correct?"

136150 if you don't believe me. Their website, btw, is even worse. If a person with two university degrees and a website can't negotiate it, I don't think it's good enough. Fortunately if you do manage to get through to a human, they are always helpful and polite.

I was ringing them because they sent us a letter saying "here's what we estimate for your income next year, answer us to change it or do nothing if you agree with us". It was more or less right so we did nothing - and then got a scary letter to the effect that we hadn't answered them, so they might take our benefit away, BOOGOODA BOOGOODA!

Perhaps it's best not to try to interact with these people when you've got the flu. I'm giving in and going to bed with some lemon tea.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some thoughts on Peter Costello

From today's Australian:
Costello felt liberated by the thought of telling the truth about the 1994 meeting, but wasn't about to become a martyr on the backbench in the name of leadership pursuit.
Oh, shit or get off the pot you big sooky la la.


Did Mischa catch this juicy rat by asking nicely and waiting politely? Well, no.

And my, aren't The Smiths good for songs to dedicate to politicians? Here's one for the Treasurer.

PS - later in the same article we're advised "Amanda Vanstone, in a hot pink top, said she was looking forward to a constructive cabinet meeting." Jesus Christ, they'll tell us she's fat next. FFS. The article's credited to Steve Lewis and Dennis Shanahan. It's an embarrassment that (a) either of them thought Vanstone's blouse was front page material, and (b) the subby didn't get rid of it.

- don't miss Gianna's beautiful take on the same irritating sentence at She Sells Sanctuary.

PPS - the carcinogenic artificial sweetener on the window sill is for my Dad. Honest. He likes it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rug (and blog) nerds ahoy

An article about how the project I'm working is making innovative use of blogging as a research tool has been published in today's Higher Education Supplement in The Australian. I've posted the full text over the fold if you're keen.

Mum will be pleased!

Carpet wars go online

ACADEMIC blogs can do more for research than merely disseminate it. They can help us carry out traditional tasks of scholarship in innovative ways.

With Tim Bonyhady of the Australian National University Centre for Environmental Law, I am conducting an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on the war rugs of Afghanistan.

An important tool for our preliminary research has been the blog The Rugs of War, hosted by ANU at http://sts-dev.anu.edu.au/rugsofwar.

The blog bears the university's badge and declares it is subject to the university's policies on attribution, plagiarism and ethical behaviour.

Our use of the open-source technology (the WordPress blogging platform) has evolved into a collaborative model that fits with the participatory ethos of blogging a lot more comfortably than the top-down approach of using blogs as just another form of one-to-many communication.

In our case, it became necessary because there are no institutional collections of war rugs, almost no serious art historical or anthropological scholarship, and thus very little is known about the circumstances of the rugs' production and distribution.

The war rug tradition originated almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when rugmakers began incorporating complex imagery of tanks, helicopters and Kalashnikovs into their otherwise traditionally structured and coloured designs.

These practices continued throughout the decade of Soviet occupation and have persisted through subsequent military, political and social conflicts.

War-related imagery continues to be incorporated in rug making today, including motifs such as the hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York and images apparently copied from US propaganda leaflets.

We don't have a large readership or receive many comments; our readers are more likely to communicate by email than by commenting on a blog post.

Yet Rugs of War has given us access to collectors and dealers who operate outside existing institutional contexts.

This is particularly significant in an emerging field of scholarship, where institutional support for the field of study is yet to emerge.

We also wonder sometimes if other academics with an interest in this emerging field may be lurking with intent, that is, reading but not commenting or participating because they plan to publish independently.

Many colleagues have raised this issue, anticipating the worst outcome. In our experience, however, collaborators have more than outweighed predators.

We have received amazing help, and generous contributions of images and expertise. The blog has enabled us to seek advice, interpretations and translations in ways that orthodox research would not have made possible.

In the process we have found - in fact, were found by - such pioneers as the Turin architect Luca Brancati, whose exhibition of war rugs in contemporary art galleries in Italy in 1988 signalled the beginning of Western art analysis engaging with the rugs.

Some weeks ago we were contacted by Tatiana Divens, the US-based defence analyst, who published the first scholarly article on the genre in Oriental Rug Review in 1989.

Existing outside institutional frameworks, such crucial early researchers were otherwise invisible to orthodox modes of scholarly research.

Of course, there are parts of our project for which blogging provides little assistance. Obviously, the rugs do not speak for themselves, and the poverty and isolation of the makers means direct communication is exceedingly difficult.

At the beginning of a project such as this it's impossible to know much about a given rug's origins, where it was made, or the identity or even sex of its maker.

Rugs traditionally are made by women and children, but we know that men, for example, have been making rugs in the refugee camps of Pakistan.

However, the participation in the rugsofwar blog by a dozen collectors worldwide has begun to indicate ways of solving some of these dilemmas.

We also don't know to what extent the rugs are made as commercial or domestic products, who the intended purchasers might be or the extent to which dealers may influence production.

But by exploring the images in collaboration with our readers, we can trace the evolution of various motifs, such as the increasingly abstracted appearance of helicopters or cruise missiles, and the integration of text in various languages.

The rugs produced in response to these tumultuous events may well constitute the world's richest tradition of war art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and yet there has been no significant engagement with the genre by contemporary art history and theory.

Blogging is never going to be a complete research tool in itself, but it has proven to be an invaluable resource in this new field of academic inquiry.