Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Yes, I'm late with my rent again

But unlike this one, my landlord can spell.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I can rant about "unfriendly" music shops and the people in them until the cows come home, get fed, mill around and leave again. But instead of launching into a full-blown missile-launching stream of nastiness... I'm going to have a say about my local shop.

I love these guys. There's two guys, sometimes three, but it's very rare that they're all working at the same time. They are the type of music shop that lets the parents know that they can get away with their child learning on a budget classical guitar for quite a while. They're honest about quality. They maintain a list of local teacher's numbers and give teacher numbers out when they sell an instrument. They know which books the local teachers prefer to use, and make sure there's a good stock of them at this time of year, when school is starting again and a lot of parents are taking the my child should learn an instrument path.

So you have to hassle them for some things. They know me well now. I stop in, hassle, have a chat and come back again a couple of days later to hassle again. I recently had to do this with my bass amp. For a total of two replacement models after the first purchase, they rang Behringer to find out what was going on every time I dropped in. But they probably wouldn't have if I didn't remind them by dropping by.

And while I'm on equipment - they're more than happy to let me take an amp to a gig to try it out. Or just borrow one. I done play much electric guitar in public, so I've only got a little practise amp at home - getting bass amps has been a higher priority, since that's where the gigs are - but when I've needed a guitar amp I've been able to ask them.

They run a good, customer based business, and that's the way it should be.

Monday, January 29, 2007

One of those iTunes random things

Lame, I know. But I just wanted to see what would come out.
The first ten songs that play when I put iTunes on random just now...

1. Please Forgive Me - David Gray from White Ladder
Definately not skippable. I like the little guitar riff that comes in, except that it's just a little too repetetive. And what a brilliant line - "I got half a mind to scream out loud". When I first heard this song I was disappointed because the drum beat is so... dance music? Like the producers tried to make it club friendly. But it's grown on me now.

2. I Wanna Ride You - Medeski, Martin and Wood from Uninvisible
Oh yes, funky. A really nice bluesey intro, and then into a great organ riff interlocking with some really cool bass. I first realised I liked these guys when they did an album with John Scofield called A Go Go.

3.Company I. = 96 - Kronos Quartet
Okay, lulling. It doesn't fit into my listening repertoire very often. Not now. Skip.

4. Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes
A cover, which my band does a cover of. It's funny that you can go through years of playing these songs, but still enjoy hearing them. I feel like I know the song more intimately.

5. How You Remind Me (acoustic) - Nickelback
Now here's an example of an acoustic version that doesn't work very well. Skip.

6. Dirty Cash (Money Talks) (Dirty South Remix) - Mind Electric from Ministry of Sound 2007 Annual
This also doesn't fit into my listening repertoire very often. Mostly I like the Ministry of Sound annuals for cleaning to, or pumping up for going out. I'm a fan of the chillout albums a lot more than this style.

7. Four Seasons In One Day - Crowded House from Recurring Dream
It's hard to go wrong with a Crowded House tune. This one fascinates me since it has a canonic solo section. It's just cool that they thought to do it.

8. Mary Jane - Alanis Morissette from Jagged Little Pill Acoustic
I think Jagged Little Pill has been played so much that I know every song backwards, so now it's really nice to hear this album played differently. I could have a rant about riding on the one succesful album she had, but it doesn't beat the fact that I enjoy both versions.

9.This Love - The Magic Numbers
I have a bizarre liking for this band. They're just different to most of the stuff you here. My sister introduced me to them after she heard them support U2. It's pretty, but slow, this one, and I don't know it as well the last song. Skip.

10. Night Time is the Right Time - John Scofield plays Ray Charles from That's What I Say
Just some really effortless playing, not my most favourite from this album, but I still love his playing. My favourite from this album would have to be Unchain My Heart (Part 1) because the way he plays the vocal line is brilliant, falling off the notes, just holding back a bit. Mmm. And the bass line is just funky cruisey stuff.

And now I'm satisfied that I've done it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tagged by the Cap'n

Well, must obey orders then.

5 things you don’t know about me (one of which be not true):

1. I own a piano accordion, and want to learn to play it.
2. I'm half Bermudian.
3. I like to eat raw beef.
4. It takes me six months to go through a cask of wine.
5. I feel out of sorts if my music collection isn't categorised or alphabetised, but go through a constant dilemma of categorisation over alphabetisation especially where fusion music is concerned.

So, which one isn't true?

I guess I'd better tag a few also: eb, Sassy Sundry, and Dive

"The world would be a better place if ________. "

Well. Here goes:

The world would be a better place if:
- couples were subjected to an IQ test before being permitted to breed.
- slow workers did not exist.
- cockroaches were eradicated.
- ditto mosquitoes.
- small businesses were more supported by the public.
- I wasn't hung over.
- I could find a girlfriend.

What happens on Australia Day?

Our national public holiday. Tanslates to: Day Off. Where we do what we do best: BBQ and drink.

Okay, there's a little more to it than that. Some places have parades, my parent's town had raft races last year. Tamworth (self-proclaimed country music capital) has a parade where they try to do the world's longest line dance. There's speeches, people getting citizenship certificates and Australian of the Year awards as well as the downright fun stuff. My town, well, for the second year running we had camel races.

The City Band (yes, a brass band) played for the ceremony stuff. Here's a pic of myself trying not to be shitscared that I need a lot more time practising before I should be playing in public. Thank goodness we didn't have to wear our godawful blue jackets. It's a horror uniform when you're sitting in the sun at about 38°C. Funny, though, the uniforms look really good when the band is all together.

Then the camel races were started and the band I play bass in was meant to play for two hours. We started late because the ceremony stuff went overtime, and then we had to stop every time they even thought about having a race, or a lolly scramble, and listen to the announcer bloke carry on for the most part unintelligbly except for saying 'bloody' far too many times for a family event. So in total we played about ten songs, and were getting paid $400, so that works out about ten bucks each, per song. $400 is a fairly rough price for a good band to be paid, but it's a community event. I like pub gigs so much better. No faffing about, just play your set, take a break, play another, and so on. Yeah, you get idiots, but you don't get idiots that try to organise you and want you to stop and start playing at the drop of a hat. Anyway, here's another of me and my bass. It's a Yamaha 5-string which I dearly love even though it's in dire need of a set-up and a set of new strings. No that anyone needed to know that.

Then, of course, I went to the pub. Drank far too much and walked home.

I missed out on playing goon of fortune. That's my regret for the day. A friend only recently told me about this game, and that they play it for Australia Day. What it is: a goon bag (the sack thing out of a cheap cask of wine) on a hill's hoist (rotary clothesline). Everyone stands around it and then you spin the clothesline. Whoever it lands on drinks. Beats the hell out of swinging from the clothesline.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

List for the future:

1. Organize the teaching studio - this weekend - like most work spaces this gets progressively worse until the major clean-up happens. Then there's a few weeks of ultra-organised bliss followed by a long, slow downhill run. Repeat cycle.

2. Plan and start the vege garden - this evening, continuing into next week, ongoing - it's time to implement the semi-self-sufficiency plan. I no longer get paid to work with vegetables, entitling me to a discount, so I need to make them very cheap.

3. Get the drum kit fixed up - near future, temper and expertise permitting - I have a kit minus cymbals on extended loan from a friend who doesn't have the space to store it. This friend is also the drummer in the City Band, where I play percussion. He's recently undergone medical nastiness and two other percussionists have gone AWOL - leaving me and a boy who hardly comes up to my elbow as the only contenders. He and I both started playing percussion last year, but I think he's a little small to reach all the bits on the kit yet, so this drum kit parts have fallen to me. Crap! I need something to practise on.

4. Start posting my compositions - this month - mostly they're student-oriented, and I'm a bit nervous to put them up for judgement, but I'll get over it. Just need to write more and record them.

5. Build a wood-fired pizza oven - long term, before October - the aim is to have a pizza party in October, where everyone has to bring a weird topping along. Then they can mix and match and cook their own. By then there should be plenty of home brew to go with it.

Stories of today: II

I will endeavour to post pics of this event if the newspaper man ever decides to email them to me...

I'm about forty minutes into a 3 and a 1/2 hr - 4hr drive home from the coast when the works truck that I'm following just up and crashes.

There seemed to be no reason. I was following this truck that was laden with stop/go signs, traffic hazard signs, witches hat and other goodies that 19 year old party throwers like to steal for their own backyards..., thinking about when the next overtaking lane might be so I could get past this slow monster. Suddenly he veers off the road - I actually thought hell, you're pulling over real quick, there - but then he crashed into a couple of wheelie bins, swerved about a bit and then veered off the road again. He merrily smashed through what used to be a service station awning and into the shopfront of the old service station, which is (was, now?) an antiques shop.

So while he's causing merry hell to buildings, because I'm directly behind him I'm swerving to avoid stuff that's been jolted out of his vehicle. I saw bits coming toward me but I don't remember hearing anything hit me. I pulled over straight away and the first thing I did was go to check on the guys in the truck. Someone else beat me to it, and they were all right.

Checked my car later on and I had a bit of panel damage, but that's okay. The company's insurance will take care of it.

Mini rant: The car directly behind me did not stop. The one after did (gold star for them in my mind). How could you not stop after seeing that happen? They had more time than I did to register the fact that this truck was half buried in a shopfront. Assholes! I was on my way home to attend a fairly important appointment, but to me it was far more important to at least check on the driver and make a statement of what I saw. I see it as a sense of community. If we don't get together in situations like that what hope do we have? I hope those people are one day involved in an accident and have nobody stop for them. What goes around comes around.

So I was in there, giving the people my nice little stash of cold water because they deserved it more. There a was big selfish part of me that wanted to be the person that helped them cope, but also that sense of community thing was there. I was directly behind, honorarily involved, and I wanted to help out. Someone showing the same kindenesses toward me if I'm ever in that situation would help ease me through it, but if I don't behave in that manner how can I wish to be treated the same way?

Stories of today: I

My sister finally gets the replacement keys for her hire car.

The story goes like this:

Family Christmas was postponed so that Sis and Sis's husband SurfMan would be able to join mum, dad and myself as a stop on their abridged world tour. So Sis and SurfMan hire a car when they hit the country so they can go surfing in the mornings and also get away when Mr. Easily Angered Parent raises his ugly head...

So Sis and SurfMan go to the beach and the keys to the hire car end up in the surf. On a Friday. After many, many phone calls they organise for overnight delivery of replacement keys on Monday - if they gor it AirExpress on the weekend it was going to be something like $150 compared to $22. Then the parcel gets lost. Nightmare.

It was a nice little car until it got stuck in the parking lot of a secluded beach for four nights. Luckily it isn't damaged by vandals.

Moral: Rather than saying "Remind me to remove the keys from the pocket of my board shorts" do it while you're thinking about it.

Addendum to Moral: Upon hearing "Remind me to ...", make sure the atsk is immediately taken care of....

Monday, January 22, 2007

Glorious day, take two

Back at Byron Bay for the afternoon. The surf was crap near the shore and really big out back, so I didn't have a go on the board again. Had a go yesterday and got creamed. Not only did I get creamed, but I scored a suspected blue bottle sting across my belly which ended the session pretty abruptly for me. Caught some beauties today just bodysurfing, though. Cleared the sinuses again, but it didn't burn so much this time. Maybe the nostrils are getting immune to it.

After a fair thrashing in the water, I decided that rather than spend my whole time alternating between lying on the beach sopping it up and battling whatever the waves wanted to throw at me, I should do some in between stuff. We hadn't brought the frisbee, so I turned to a bit of sand doodling. What started as a large scribble turned into a mass excavation, and well over an hour later I was finally done. A few kids had taken up the idea as well and a mermaid had popped up near the shoreline, as well as one girl with a mass amount of sand sketches - if she went on the excavation run she would have been there for days.

In hindsight, I should have faced the entire project the other way - just so it's the right way up in this photo.


A not-critter thing sighted yesterday,
along with a whistling kite and several pods of dolphins.


There's something about the coast, especially in summertime, that brings critters.

Mosquitoes: 2 bites so far thanks to a bucketload of repellant and a mozzie mat thingy next to my bed at night.

Other bugs: Things just land on you all night. Especially if you happen to have been indulging in a little pre-sleep reading.

Spiders: After doing odd bits for my father doing yard work and clearing out sheds I didn't think there was a type of spider I hadn't seen or had crawl on me. Then we went bushwalking. It was a vale of spiders. The trees arched over the pathway and there were webs everywhere. There was one particular tree that had a huge mother spider and four other minions around it. No thanks. Normally they don't scare me, but I felt well into their territory and quite out of my depth...

Frogs: Green frogs. In the bathroom. Last night there were seven. Tonight one. Next time who knows... Apparently there's a whole family who live there but the little buggers haven't worked out how the toilet roll works yet. They jump on the thing, which of course rolls over and sends them spilling off into space. Then the freak and try to jump up the sheets that are spilling off, causing it to go faster. Every now and then one will jump onto my bedroom window with a splat. It's a pretty funny thing to see a frog from underneath.

Snakes: Only seen one - a baby, thank goodness. Was on my way out to lock up the sheds, barefoot, and there it was. A baby brown snake. I looked at him. He slithered. I stood still. He slithered more. I stayed until he went.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Comet sighted

I missed Halley's Comet back in the 80s. I had my family telling me where to look [above the clothesline, a little to the left] and stuffed if I could see it. I was young and the binoculars were crap, but the rest of the family saw it.

So tonight I'm sitting on the back patio with a guitar and a beer, just playing and chilling out a bit. For a bit of background this area is pretty open and has an awesome night sky. I look over at the horizon and think what the hell is that??? Comet McNaught was really bright, with a huge tail that if you hold your hand up it stretches for the length of it. Amazing.

Ahh, redeemed. The first in the family to spot this one! Apparently it's the brightest comet in 40 years, but still.
I didn't actually take this photo - it's by a member of the North Casino bushwalk group (Casino is about a half hour from where I'm staying) and was posted on an Ice In Space forum.

Jack n' the Cap'n did it.

Your Inner European is Dutch!
Open minded and tolerant.You're up for just about anything.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cat blogging

This is one of my parents' cats - actually my sister's before she moved overseas. Now they consider it theirs until they want to hold it against her.

The washing basket, however, is mine. She was desperately trying to make herself comfortable, but it didn't end up working out for her. She left the basket with a look of disgust toward the idiot with the camera.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I eat more when I'm bored.

That's it. I really do.

And it's not exciting food, or food I'm really bothered to prepare and put thought into - it's open the fridge, scrounge for a leftover, and then go back and look at the same scene five minutes later.

I could be doing something constructive, but no. Not today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Glorious Day

Spent the day today at the beach. I'm still staying at my parents' place on the coast, and every time I'm over here I make an effort to get to Byron Bay. It's the most easterly point of the mainland, and has this gorgeous bay that has probably the best learner surfer beach in the country, The Pass, where the waves actually roll along the beach rather than crash straight into it. It's really laid back, easy surf in a really laid back, easy town.

I grew up on the coast. My parents have not moved since well before I was born and aren't planning to. So growing up I was ten minutes from the beach and right on the river. A water kid. Mum and my sister would be there baking away on the beach and I'd be in the water looking at them thinking you pair of boring losers! Pretty much because I wanted someone to play with, but also because my main approach to sunbaking is to lie there and let the board shorts dry off.

So I've been an amateur bodysurfer for a long time. I can pick a wave and stick my arms out and have a pretty decent ride. But I've never been on a board. Hang on, not till today. My sister and her husband were there and they're both keen learner surfers.

Next thing, I'm on a board to have a go. These things, you watch surfer kids who've been in it all their lives and these things are a natural extension of their body. I fought this board for the right to even stay on it. Any time I paddled on one side, I tipped in that direction. I didn't fall off (redeeming factor) and I got the hang of it eventually.

Then came trying to ride a wave.

I'd already been warned away from attempting to stand up. I'll leave that for another day. So I just rode the thing like a boogie board all the way up the beach. Loved it. Fast, no water rushing through your ears like body surfing and you could have a bit of a look around. Getting back out there was not so easy since there was a really strong current to go against.

And then my sister tried to help me. She pushed from behind the board I was on (hers) to get me a head start on a wave. I had my weight too far forward on it, I think because the nose of the boardwent underwater and started diving. So it digs it's nose in, the tail end gets flipped forward in the direction of the wave and so do I. Then, somehow, I am under the wave and being carried forward.

I now know of a fantastic sinus-clearing treatment. Charge a bucketload of money and drag people underwater through the surf. My nostrils burned for hours but I'm still working on all clear.

But the funny thing? It hurt, it was hard work, AND I LOVED IT.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Local Man Decapitated

I go away from town and this happens!
Mark Hutchinson, 82, who served against the Japanese with the 2/12 Field Regiment in Borneo and New Guinea, was discovered on Saturday afternoon by his cousin.
As family and friends sought to come to terms with the murder, police confirmed that Mr Hutchinson's head was lying beside his body and that they would pursue several lines of inquiry, including his past.

Divers were yesterday searching a creek near Mr Hutchinson's home for the weapon used in his slaying. Detectives from Strike Force Penfold want to speak to anyone who was at the northern end of Markham Street, Armidale, or nearby parkland, between 5.30pm on Thursday and 2pm on Saturday.

The rest is here (even though all the other papers seem to have said that he was found by his nephew, rather than his cousin) but they really don't seem to know much yet. I used to live a few blocks away from there. It's not that big a town, anyway. Scary stuff.

How can someone do that?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Because it seems to be the cool thing to do

Do your own here.

The Ride-on, The Push Mower and The Line Trimmer

Once upon a time, Mr. Push Mower was difficult to start. Once this was achieved, after soliciting the help of Mr. Easily Angered Parent, it proved to grow to be a difficult thing to repeatedly drag Mr. Push Mower up an embankment. Then Mr. Push Mower ran out of fuel halfway through the job. Not wanting to disturb Mr. Easily Angered Parent, Blogger Vic decides to do the rest of the mowing with Mr. Ride-On and surf the embankment at the end of the run.

So Mr. Ride-On goes fine. Five hours, yes, five whole hours with a few stops to fuel him up again. And then...

Blogger Vic is tackling the nature strip, which is totally overgrown. Blogger Vic knows there is a drain in there somewhere, but is taking her chances. Yep, Mr. Ride-On found it for her. He was on an angle, she was looking down at the water. His front end was bogged. So, still avoiding Mr. Easily Angered Parent, Blogger Vic wades into the drain to push the thing out without soliciting help. Holy hell this guy was heavy!

Then he throws a front tyre. Mr. Easily Angered Parent really does have to be told this time. Oh crap.

So we give up as a lost cause. Move on to the last conquest for the day, Mr. Line Trimmer. Blogger Vic has never swung the Line Trimmer way before but he seemed a likely fellow... But he's caused a break in the fairy lights (snip, whizz, tell Mrs. Understanding Parent and avoid Mr. Easily Angered Parent) and a flaring of the RSI in Blogger Vic's right wrist. His date was cut short and he was unceremoniously dumped in the garden shed.

A long two weeks...

Been at the parents' house less than 12 hours (including seven of that asleep) and already dad is giving me the cranks. He has a worse temper than I do and doesn't seem to bother even trying to control it.

Since I have no income at the moment, I'm doing yard work and odd jobs for them to earn some cash. This seems like I'm ripping them off - daughterly duty to help and all that - but I was actually planning to find some fruit picking work while I was over here, and they talked me out of it. They'd rather pay to have me around. They don't realise that I need to find at least twenty hours work for them to pay my rent for the next two weeks. Preferably thirty. Ha.

So today is lawn mowing and garden work. Thank goodness it's cloudy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Had to drive 'home' to mum and dad's place today. It's three and a half hours of really nice driving. Between me (tablelands) and them (coast) is a mountain range which goes in a belt for pretty much the entire state, cutting me off from the coast. Not that I mind. I like a good rally drive so winding my way through the mountains at full pelt is good fun.

I love to drive in this country. I went through three herds of cattle and 28km of unfenced road. I've never come across that much roadside grazing before and it's a bit of a pain, but there's something so frankly rural about it that I identify with it. I'm not a country girl by any means, but I love the values. I love the little two fingers lifted off the steering wheel wave that you give to the drovers and anyone you meet on the road. It kinda says howyagoin? and thanks, mate all in one. A childhood friend and I used to practice it. There was (acually, still is) a single lane wooden bridge where we grew up and it's just the thing you do when you go past the other car waiting at the other end. Etiquettte.

No more wholesalers.

I finished my regular day job on Saturday. I ordered and maintained the fresh produce for a small retail outlet at a food wholesalers. Basically a mini-market built around a butcher shop. I also ordered shelf stock, worked the deli, stocked fridges and freezers and menned the tills. There's only ever two staff to run the shop and another two to pack and run the meat section. I've worked in both ends of the operation.

Things I will miss:
- Nice customers
- Working with vegetables. I love fresh produce. I like making displays. It's high maintenance, but a good fresh display is so appetising. I love it!
- The people. Some of them shat me but when you're working with one other person all day, you're bound to get to know them. Scottos, especially, is one person I took ages to work well with. He carries on all day if you give him the chance and it's all crap. But we bonded over perving at the women that came in. I'd get "Vic! Halfway down on the left" as an alert. Or there was a classic day where he looked like a Meerkat when I told him there was a g-string alert. He popped his head up, straightened right up and scanned the room in short jerks of the head. Just like a meerkat.
- Helping myself to the fruit. Oh crap, that one's got a patch of rot on one side! Can't sell that...
- Racing the clock packing sausages in the meat section. For the record my best was five bags a minute.

Things I won't miss:
- Getting paid the same wage as slack staff who refuse to think and stand around talking. And then being told that I have to make those staff work harder.
- Working around dead things. It can be really depressing if you allow yourself to think about it.
- Customers who phrase questions as a statement. Nothing pisses me off more than You don't have [insert highly visible item here]. No question mark. No raised pitch at the end of the sentence suggesting it might be a question. And it's always just spat out at you like an accusation.

Now here's where I go into a bit of a rant. Skip the rest of this post if you don't want to hear it.

Why do people feel they can treat shop staff with contempt? I often get people making the assumption that I am a lower form of idiot because I help them from behind a counter. Or openly discussing pricing in front of me. I often feel like butting and going look, lady. $2.25 is not expensive for onions. Your local big name supermarket has them for $3.98 this week.

I know my stock and I can give you advice on how to prepare it, how to make it last longer. I resent being treated as though I was born yesterday by people who specifically enter my work space for service. How can you expect good service if you act like an asshole?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Best Lesbian Blog Awards!

The folks at The Lebian Lifestyle are taking nominations for the first annual best lesbian blog awards. Nominations close at the end of this month, and voting begins on the 2nd of February.

I'm planning to watch this closely. I think it's a good way to find other like-minded people (blog-minded?) out there, get informed, have a laugh or a few and also a chance to get in and be supportive of each other as a community.

This makes me think about what kind of blog I like. It varies - and I can't guarantee that my preferences won't drastically change in the future - but for now, the blogger has to exert a strong personality over their blog. I'm not hugely into political activism, unless it's humorous or informative. I like rants if they're well written. I like posts about the random bits of oddness people come across. I like thoughts and personal frustrations. I like lists because they say something about the blogger's personality.

As a blogger I aim to express a small portion of my life in words and pictures. Whatever I post is at least attempting to be a good expression of myself, rather than a censored and crafted projection of something I think that others will like. I'd prefer to know that those reading my posts regularly get an appreciation for me as the person I am.

Hope that makes sense.

I was going to post about something else, but...

OkCupid! lovingly sent me another list of new people in my area! that are actually nowhere near me. But I read them anyway, as you do, and came across this little gem:
"headjobs. its like, my natural, like talent! My Mum says that if there was a competition for BEST HEADJOBS she would enter me in one straight away."

Like, I don't like, know or anything, but like, isn't there like, something really like wrong here?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

As per request o' me Cap'n

Yep, short back and sides.

There ye go.

Kiruna, Sweden

How's this for focused on your local industry!

Sweden's northernmost town of Kiruna will move its centre a few kilometres away to save it from sinking into the ground due to underground cracks created by iron ore mining, officials said on Tuesday.

In order to continue to operate the lucrative mine, in the next few decades, the town centre will need to be moved, including all major buildings, the railroad, the railroad station, the terminal, the newly-built highway, homes, water and sewage systems and electrical systems.

Greater Kiruna has 23,500 inhabitants.


But here's the bit that I find funny/disturbing/heartless:

"The railway is the most important thing since it is closest to the mine. It is a prerequisite for the mine to be able to continue its work, since iron ore traffic makes up 90 percent of transport on the railway," Hannu said.
Read the rest of the article here.

It is the biggest iron ore mine in the world, which started as an open-pit mine but went underground in the 1960s. It is also the most modern mine. It seems they've known about the cracks for a while, as it was predicted in 2004 that within 20 years the city would disappear into the mine. It just seems to be a lot about industry and very little about planning.

Here's another bit, from
LKAB has invested some $50 million to dewater part of Lake Luossajärvi in order to access 100Mt of ore beneath it. The KUJ2000 haulage level has been extended to the area, and mining began in early 2003. The former lake bed has been forested in order to prevent dust emissions from the dried bed silt.

- Dammit! There seems to be a lake in the way. What do we do?
- Well that's easy, mate. Get rid of the lake.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Home Cookin'

Made some awesome lamb dishes the last couple of days. I had a leg that I boned out and just chopped into bits. It needed to be used and I really didn't feel like a roast even though I'd spent a couple of days defrosting it.

From it I've made:

- a rolled fetta and olive stuffed portion which turned out pretty nice but the cold cuts off it are disappointing.

- a curry which I had Sunday. I'd worked in the yard all day, so I might have just been really hungry, but hell it was good. I marinated the chunks in a rogan josh paste overnight and then threw everything else in. Very glad that there was enough left for two portions for the freezer.

- made a stock out of the bones and roasted the other bits with garlic cloves. Then last night, which is the real reason for this post, I made my first ever Shepherd's Pie.

I've read that Shepherd's Pie is really designed to use up leftover lamb, so I've never really had the chance to do it before. I'll be making sure there's plenty left in future though.

Looked up the recipe in Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Meat Book and used it, as the man advised, as a rough guide.

Here 'tis.
500g [cooked]lamb, chopped into pea-size chunks
1-2 onions, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
garlic (mine was chopped in with the lamb)
leftover gravy or stock (I used the stock I'd made from the bones, which was reduced down so much that it set into a jelly when it cooled)
1/2 glass red wine (which I misread as half a cup - well, bugger it, that's a big glass!)
1 tbsp tomato ketchup (which I "interpreted" as a splurt of tomato sauce and a little bit of tomato relish)
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Nah..., bit more...)

1kg mashed potato

Fry off the onion, garlic and carrot until the carrot softens. Add the meat and do the same. Add the rest and taste it!!! Adjust amounts of the sauces if need be. Simmer for about half an hour. Pile it all in a dish, pile the mashed potato on top and bake for about another half hour.

I baked up a huge dish of this stuff and served myself a decent portion. It was so good - actually somewhat sweet tasting - that I made a total guts of myself and ate another huge portion later on. Couldn't get enough.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Breakfast is served!

Stolen from


Got a new haircut Saturday. Short, I mean really short, back and sides with a little bit of length on top and at the front. Basically dykey boyish. It's not really new, I gues, because I did it last time, but this time I went a fair bit shorter.

I like it. I have to style it, which in general isn't my cup of tea - I don't own a hairdryer or a straightening iron - but overall I like it. I can slap some gel in and be pretty decent within a short amount of time.

But two things have happened so far with it. The first is that I worked in the yard all day yesterday with a cap on and now the previously hair-protected back of my neck has copped a massive sunburn because I simply didn't think about that bit! The second is that I washed it before I went to bed last night. I got up this morning and near wet myself looking in the bathroom mirror. I look like Sonic the Hedgehog. Except I'm not blue. And I'm not wearing gloves.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Flash Games

I've discovered that I suck at Destroying the World. We'll have to leave that for talented little freaks with lightning reflexes and great left-right arrow combinations. All I did was get smashed by missiles while aimlessly slamming my spacebar hoping to hit something.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Thursday, January 4, 2007

I want one

A Digital Piggy Bank. It has an LCD screen with a guy on it that thrives when you put more money in. Sad, but somewhat cool. It's like Tamagotchi but you actually have to nurture it with real funds.

I'd find it incredibly frustrating. What happens when you raid the piggy bank? Does old mate call the Police to report the theft? Does he get to put in an insurance claim?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Guitar Pieces

Currently I'm working on:

1) A piece called Partita by Australian composer Roland Chadwick. It's fairly easy going and fits under your fingers nicely, so I'm about two thirds of the way through - of course leaving the beasty bits until last. It's listed as an AMusA piece by the">AMEB, but I think it shouldn't be graded as that difficult. Maybe there are some nasty little nuances that I'm skipping in learning it.

2) Midnight by Joe Satriani. For anyone who skipped out on the eighties guitar god thing, this is from the definitive album Surfing with the Alien. It's all done by tapping the strings and isn't that difficult except for the speed. I've never really bothered with it before and thought I'd do it now just for the hell of it.

Monday, January 1, 2007

A Total Shambles

How did NYE go?

1. Drank far too much.

2. Made a very bad, drunk move on Z. Got abused for it. Tried to walk home after feeling very humiliated and in a way totally unbeknownst to me ended up doing a full circle back to the original pub. One minute I was walking home, the next I looked up and clearly thought "Hello? Another one?" But it was the same one. Copped another round from Z.

How did NYD go?

1. Text message from co-worker at 7:30 in the morning. It's like once these people have children they forget what sleeping in is all about.

2. Completely abused body wouldn't let me get out of until after ten, and then that was far too early. Tossing and turning thinking what a mess I made and how I'm not actually sure what went down, but pretty sure that any sort of friendship I had just got ruined.

3. A phone call from Z to see if I got home okay. What the hell? So I say sorry and she says not to apologise. Again, what the hell?

4. Ate Black Eyed Peas and hoped to feel better tomorrow.

The usual: Resolutions

1. Don't necessarily drink less, but binge less.

2. Become more self-sufficient. Start home brewing and set up the garden to be a viable thing. Reduce the cost of living a bit.

3. Spend some of the money saved playing more pool.

4. Have more sex than last year.