Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Housemate Country was describing my cat Jonah's latest effort in the litter box of doom. The stench was unbelievable given the size of the kitten. You could market them as weapons of mass destruction. Death wrapped in fur and four legs.

Holy shit says Country. If he was a bloke I have high fived him.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Go Fish

Scumbagland yielded a whole lot of hours of boring waiting around today.

It had rained, typically, for the entire Christmas break, making the mine we were going to impassable. At least until the dozers had knocked a few layers off the existing roads to expose a bit of dry dirt. What does that mean? Five hours of waiting around with people you don't know much about.

I've been in this situation before, you see. Plenty. One amazing guy broke the awkward silences by bringing in riddles for us all to do. I've played music games. We've all spent hours playing target practice with the plentiful stones. I have a collection of fossil leaves and other interesting stones from trawling around where the truck has been parked for hours.

And I also have a pack of cards.

That's where that interesting cross-section of people becomes far more of a hinderance. We're constrained to what everybody knows how to play. The lowest common denominator. Sometimes you can jag some really good card players and set up a tournament of sorts... Other days, like today, it's junior style cards in the form of Go Fish!

There's something campfire-ish about tucking a bag of rags under your butt and dealing out the cards while you're sitting out there in the nothing of a mine. People open up to slagging each other off a bit, letting out their sometimes guarded senses of humour, relaxing a bit around people they normally don't talk to. Face it, it's better than ignoring each other and trying to sleep on a wonky bench seat in the back of a truck [ie sauna]. Sometimes a decent person will emerge through the chance to be sociable.

Go Fish stumped me today. That's a pretty basic card game. Should we hold Scumbag interviews with a mandatory gaming skills test?

Should I be campaigning for a card game rules book to be part of the daily equipment?

Dear Scumbag Boss Peoples,

I am writing in order to place a request for a copy of certain card game rule books to be placed in the glove boxes of all working vehicles (and possibly those that aren't, for later). We lower Scumbags feel that it is in the best interest of crew dynamics and sociability that group activities such as the participation in card gaming are an asset to crew dynamics and staff satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to a greater sense of camaraderie amongst employees and therefore a more positive approach to the safety of others within the crew.

Yours Sincerely,
The Scumbags in Scumbagland.

Can we have some staff training days too?

Monday, December 28, 2009


It's leading up to the end of the year. That precious time where you think of all the resolutions you can make for the coming year. Where you plan to instigate changes, usually radical, and hope they make your life swiftly better.

Reality usually reduces that to one simple sentence.

"I'm never going to drink again."

However, I face another New Year's Eve of not drinking and instead falling asleep on the lounge in front of the television. In previous years I have played in front of drunken mobs of idiots, wishing I could join the throng in order to not witness the tragedy from under the bright lights of sobriety. This time around I've got to work a nasty long shift New Year's Eve, and a 4am start isn't particularly condusive to partying after work.

So what will be the focus of my lounge-bound life-altering resolutions?

Up Yours, Alright.

Up Yours, All Right

That's it. Whatever way I can find to say Fuck You, This is ME I want to embrace and try it out.

Hey, something's gotta work. This past year I've been run down by the people I trusted, I've given myself more the enough knocks of my own doing, chance has given me some dodgey turns and frankly I didn't want to come out of it alive.

Why? I think I got so caught up in wanting to be wanted that I lost sight of the real me. The sometimes funny, intelligent musician who had a genuine love of seeing new things and finding wonder in the world. I want it back. Fuck you, this is ME.

And if you can't hack it...

Don't bother sticking around.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do You Ever?

Do you ever:

Wish you could play music all day and never stop?

Want to work with friends and not losers?

Hope that the chick you just saw a picture of and thought she was gorgeous would realise that Mr. Wonderful was actually you, the person who doesn't actually have a penis?


Maybe it's just me then.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

PhotoHunt: Fast

The PhotoHunt theme this week is Fast. The immediate thoughts are of speed and motion. Trains rushing along a set of tracks in the middle of nowhere. Jet contrails. Streaks of tail lights in long exposures. The blur of a cricket bat being swung during a game in the hot Australian summer.

Since when has the obvious been fun? A deadline prevents me from bothering to set myself up for any of the obvious shots, however let's pretend that I've actually been clever and approached the task from a different angle completely.

What goes fast around here?

I mean, REALLY fast.

345mL Is Not Enough

That's right, BEER. It doesn't stay for long at all. It comes and goes again altogether far too quickly for my liking. Especially at this time of year.

Why on earth does the silly season demand that people "get together for a few drinks before Christmas"?
Fuck off.
Why not get together for a few drinks at any time of year for absolutely no reason but the hell of it? It would make Christmas a hell of a lot easier to cope with when it comes to cash flow. Not only do I need to buy presents for the family, I've had to buy carton after carton of beer.

Stuff the silly season. In future, if you really want to drink with me you won't wait until December.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Family Extended

Ah, that ever-evolving process of change that is life. I’ve taken on a flatmate, known as Country. He’s a fellow Scumbag Industries worker and a true champion. To my home life he’s brought hours of supermarket indecisiveness He’s a fellow Scumbag Industries worker and a true champion. To my home life he’s brought hours of supermarket indecisiveness, a brilliant excuse to cook more often, and of course, several too many hangovers. It’s only been a couple of weeks.

Another addition to the Groove Shack is Jonah. A kitten who is both frustratingly loaded with testosterone and unmeasurably cute. He’s perfect.

Jonah came into my life in a typically weird way. Every day the Scumbags stop at a particular bottleshop on the way home, to grab a beer after a long day of dealing with grime and grot. Consequently, we all know the staff by name and have a good relationship with them. One day my favourite staff member showed me the stray kittens that had been born out back of the shop.

Marg, I want one.

I didn’t get one that particular day, but about a week later. I was working alone, so I had a whole dual cab ScumbagMobile all to myself, and nobody else in a hurry to get home at the end of the day. Perfect for kitten-catching.

The kittens had holed up at an abandoned shop next door to the bottle shop. I made my way through the overgrown yard, plucking blackberry thorns away from grabbing at my work clothes as I went. For the first time this summer, I was glad for the heavy thickness of our uniforms. The trek through the yard behind me, I climbed onto the verandah of this abandoned shop and peered around for these supposed kittens. I spotted one, a black and white little cutie with blue eyes who looked scared to death - like he’d never seen a human up close before.

I made a diving lunge for this kitten over boxes, milk crates and old shop shelving. Missed. Nowhere to be seen. But then… I spied the tips of a pair of little black ears. I reached in and snatched. Hauling him up by the neck, we stared each other down. He was incredibly scared but bold. Too young to figure out what his claws were for, he waved them around in the air and instead leaned in and latched onto my thumb with his teeth. Little fucker drew blood.

Meanwhile, old Marg is peering over the fence. She’s pretty short, so all I can see is her eyes and the top of her head.

Did you get one? She yells.

Holding my little trophy in the air, still by the back of the neck, I showed her. There was blood streaming out of my thumb and running down my right arm.

Fucker bit me Marg!

Here, put him in a box she says, and flings an empty beer carton over the fence at me.

It doesn’t end there. I grabbed a beer from Marg, still bleeding and laughing uncontrollably about the whole adventure, then proceeded to try to make my new little charge a bit more comfortable for the long drive home. I’d grabbed a bunch of rags and the plan was to put them in the carton with him so that he had something to snuggle up on and feel comfortable in. I’d keep the box at home as a bed for him, something familiar.

Nice plan. Thankfully I’d thought enough to roll up the windows on my ScumbagMobilebecause as soon as I opened the box my little guy made a leaping dash. Smack! into the window. He then Made a run to hide somewhere in the back of the truck.

Ah well, I thought. I’ll find you when I get back to the yard.

It must have looked great on the security cameras at the vehicle yard. It’s about nine o’clock at night and there’s Vic crawling around the back of this truck for a while and then coming out hugging a beer carton! Not only that, but talking to this beer carton.

Ah well, the things you do to build a family.