Saturday, January 28, 2006
Good news on the Perth art front, with Freo-based painter Rachael Coad making the list of finalists vying for the 2006 Metro 5 Art Award valued at a whopping $50,000.
Yes indeedy, the winner of the Judges' Prize takes away $40,000, while the People's Choice category is worth a cool $10,000. It's worth more than The Archibald and it's only open to artists aged 35 and under.
In my four years doing PR for the gallery not one West Aussie cracked a finals guernsey, so it's great to see a Sandgroper finally in the running.
And even better news for Rachael's chances, one of the members on this year's judging panel is fomer Perth artist - made for the blade - Emma Langridge (you may have bought a book from her at Elizabeth's circa 2001).
The winner is announced in February, with paintings by the finalists on show very soon. Go Rach!
Metro 5 Gallery is located in High Street, Armadale, Melbourne and is quite seriously one of the best places to view quality contemporary Australian art anywhere in this country.
Check out the artists on their books: Jason Benjamin, Tim Storrier, John Olsen, Tanya Hoddinott, Mina Young, Anthony Lister, Emma Langridge, Yvette Swan, Zhong Chen, Yvonne Audette, David Laity and Locu Locu. I'd recommend that you check out their work on the website.
Be careful though when viewing the Laity images - the painting above - a rendition of a 19th-Century woodcut by the Japanese artist Hokusai - attracted bomb threats when displayed in the gallery's street window. But as we say, all publicity is good publicity and a woman having oral sex with an Occie is bound to attract some attention.
Friday, January 27, 2006
"And they said to one another, 'go to, let us make brick'. And they had brick for stone, and slime they had for mortar". Genesis, 11:3. The earliest written record of brick production.
Just thought I'd give you a bit of brick news to kick the weekend along...
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
After a few days of prickly hot and humid weather, the sky above Perth opened up last night and the sweet, cool rain came tumbling down in buckets.
I sat out on the back verandah watching the water cascade down in front of me like a raging waterfall and the outside down pipe from the gutter proved to be the perfect outdoor shower.
There's nothing like going to sleep to the sound of fat, heavy rain drops pounding out a steady beat on a tin roof...
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It's the cocaine of the sea world my friends. 'Hey man, you wanna score some primo whale vomit? Pure Minke Gold my friend...' Of course, the sharks of this world would be cutting it with a bit of blowfish puke, or a smidgen of salmon sick. The old lament rings out, 'You just can't buy pure whale chuck like the old days...'
It's been reported that some unscrupulous dealers are kidnapping whales and sticking their fingers down the back of their throats to force a vomit out. To date, not many people have survived the practice, but I'm sure if anyone can the Japanese will. Sorry my Japanese-based readers, but harpooning whales off Antarctica under the guise of research is quite frankly enough to make me sick.
So, how do you recognise the good stuff? Authorities tell me there is one vital ingredient essential to all puke whether it be whale, human, or whatever - the ubiquitous diced carrott - it's everywhere.
Happy puke hunting!
Whale spew find may net $1m for family
A family on South Australia's west coast has discovered a rare specimen of whale vomit on the beach that is tipped to be worth over $1 million.
The specimen, known scientifically as ambergris, is sought after by perfume companies and worth about $US20 per gram.
The sample found on a beach near Streaky Bay weighs 14.75 kilograms.
Ken Jury, who is representing the family, says this is the first discovery of ambergris in South Australia.
He says the last specimen found in Australia was in Queensland.
"Two small pieces were found that I would suggest together would make up half the size of the one that's been found at Streaky Bay, and they realised something like $190,000 each," he said.
Monday, January 23, 2006
It's over people.
Chuck those Trax skateboards with the Super Juice wheels in the bin and say goodbye to the simple, long haired, flair wearing days of the seventies.
One of its idols (star of the 1978 hit film 'Skateboard'), Leif Garrett, has been banged up for fare evasion and posession of heroin. He's balding, bashed, bearded and altogether burned-out.
I found this great pic of the Leifster while browsing through the weird and wonderful world of Jack Lords' blog site - Leif, Eric and Jack all in one post, talk about a blast from the past!
Rejoice one and all because the new Premier of our beloved State of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter, is a dyed in the purple wool Fremantle Dockers supporter.
See the almighty glow emanating from Subiaco Oval upon announcement of the new incumbent last week!
This means that we now have someone to give Macca's brother a run for his money in the Number One Ticket Holder category.
Word is, he still wants to retain his seat in the outer, but only if he's allowed. A nice thought, but we don't want to expose him to any Collingwood supporters - especially those smart and wealthy enough to arrange their own interstate travel!
And, just as our State has a new Premier in office, so shall we have a new Premier in the football world - the planets have aligned, the purple moon of Uranus has cast its shadow over Jupiter and all is good in the world.
Coincidentally, in recent times my extended family has expanded by one and the newcomer is indeed a blood relative of Sean 'Wounded Knee' McManus. Need I say more...
Yes, while three great whites were scaring the living bejeezus out of the Margaret River folk - someone's obviously just pulled in a big harvest of hydro - I spotted two white tipped reef sharks doing laps around my very own bathtub. Got the kids out in the nick of time, but not before I lost two rubber ducks in the process...
The only answer for all this shark madness is that there must be some sort of conference being hosted over here - it would explain why the vast majority of our finned friends spotted of late have been wearing poorly fitted leisure suits and cheap sunglasses. If they had feet, no doubt they'd be wearing white shoes as well.
On the serious side, haven't sharks always been around?
I remember on a trip to Esperance seeing two Tiger sharks in a feeding frenzy while two Danish tourists flapped about in the water right next to them shouting out, 'look at the dolphins!'. When we advised them of their minor mix up, they were out of the water so fast that they actually swam half way up the beach into the sand dunes.
The very next day I was sitting on the main beach and saw the most enormous dorsal fin rise out of the water in front of me, cruise along for 5 - 10 metres and then slowly sink back under the surface. I decided to swim in the hotel pool for the remainder of my holiday...
Got a shark story to share?
Friday, January 20, 2006
I've always thought of snakes as being rather cold, single mined, nasty little buggers to tell you the truth - see something move, lick lips with scary little forked tongue, lash out and bite, poison and/or crush it and swallow whole.
So, what in God's name happened that this particular snake on spying a moveable feast - the triple cheeseburger of snake meals - suddenly decided, 'nah, bugger it, I think I like this little fella.' It's a bit like a White Pointer swimming up to you and playing 'Flipper' - rolling on its back for a little tummy tickle and a scratch on the snout.
Let me know if you have any ideas...
Snake 'befriends' snack hamster
Aochan, the snake 'seems to enjoy' being with Gohan, the hamsterA rodent-eating snake and a hamster have developed an unusual bond at a zoo in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
Their relationship began in October last year, when zookeepers presented the hamster to the snake as a meal.
The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe.
"I have never seen anything like it," a zookeeper at the Mutsugoro Okoku zoo told the Associated Press News agency.
The hamster was initially offered to Aochan, the two-year-old rat snake, because it was refusing to eat frozen mice, the Associated Press news agency reports.
As a joke, the zookeeper said they named the hamster Gohan - the Japanese word for meal.
"I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much," zookeeper Kazuya Yamamoto told the Associated Press news agency.
The apparent friendship between the snake and hamster is one of many reported bonds spanning the divide between predator and prey.
What I can't understand is how they came up with that name? Was Condaleeza Rice-a-Riso watching a Checkhov play one night and happened to overhear someone say, 'Oh, that was an extraordinary rendition of Uncle Vanya'. So she got to thinking, 'Wow, that's a great term for abducting prisoners and torturing them overseas - I'll run it by Dubbya in the morning'... WTF???
Better get off the subject before I come under friendly fire...
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I've been experimenting with my i-mate jam phone camera of late to see what sort of images I can capture - especially in the late afternoon.
Like Jeremy at Antipixel Blog, Western Australian sunsets are something that draw me in every time, especially when there's a bit of cloud mixed in to 'bloody' the mix of light.
This is an image I captured recently and I sorta like the fuzz and distortion that comes with using a 1.3 mp device that is primarily designed for communication purposes... but then again, a picture is worth a thousand words they say.
Is it just me, or is two cyclones in the same region within a month a slightly odd phenomena? And why is it so bloody humid in Perth these days? The weather's almost as bad as Sydney and come to think of it, so's the freeway peak hour traffic!
Back to Daryl, now what sort of name is that? All I can think of is Daryl Sommers bearing down on the coast and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
I recall the great man touting for the tourism industry up that way with the slogan, 'you'll never ever know, if you never ever go'. Has a certain harsh irony to it now doesn't it...
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Where were we? Ah, SHARKS!!! Yes, Perth and indeed much of Australia, is in shark sighting frenzy right now. Indeed, just yesterday a six metre "monster" was spotted lurking off Mullaloo Beach with evil intent in his beady little eyes. No doubt he was hoping to snare himself a stray bogan or two wading into the ocean with a full stubby of VB in fist and a tasty mullett flapping out behind in the sea breeze.
I think it's time we all gave ourselves a collective slap on the face and settled down a bit - we're scaring the bejeezus out of the kids, ala the great Jaws debacle of the 1970s. I can tell you that after watching that movie as a 13-year-old, paddling out at Scabs on the old Len Dibben pin tail was never the same again - robbed of my carefree surfing youth I was.
When the Dibben fell out of the boot of Dad's Commodore and snapped in two on West Coast Highway, I was secretly pleased... until I got the 6'3' Cordingly Pin Tail for Christmas that is. Straight back into the maw!
You see, post-Jaws, life at the beach for me was sullied forever more. The final straw was probably one day when I went surfing (for those who know me, it was a long time ago!) off Cottesloe Beach (see Ken Crew) and decided that instead of going to shore with my mate, "I'll just catch one last wave in..." If it was a scene in a movie, you know what was coming next. Sure enough, out of the black, weedy water in rapidly fading light, up bobbed a big black shape right next to me... thank Christ it was a seal. I didn't need that next wave to get me into shore and I haven't done much surfing for that matter either.
But despite the fear that's been instilled into my generation, let's not have our kids in a blind panic every time a piece of seaweed brushes their leg. Let's take a firm grip on our Len Dibbens and give the polaroids a good wipe before we start shouting 'hammerhead at 50 metres!'
In the WA category my money is on Blandwagon and best overseas/Australian blog has Antipixel a mile ahead.
Antipixel is a site developed by my old uni cohort Jeremy Hedley, who swapped the vagaries of student hippiedom for a life in the fast lane in downtown Tokyo. If you hear strange tales about people doing even stranger things on the cliffs in North Fremantle, odds on it was us.
I urge you to visit both sites and do your bit by voting quickly and voting often... oh, and next year can someone nominate me! ; -)
In the dream I found myself perched high in the Great Southern Stand at the MCG as the ball was being delivered 'centimetre perfect' into our forward line - Peake if I'm not mistaken.
Streaking out on the lead is none other than the great man himself, Mathew Pavlich. He marks just outside the 50, lines up the bick sticks, walks in and, BANG, right through the high-diddle-diddle.
Yes indeed, the wrath of Pavlich shall be brought down with an almighty fury in season 2006 and I can't wait for it to begin!
Monday, January 16, 2006
I say brave because he could have chosen to withdraw from public office for "family reasons" or some other vague notion, but instead he has met the problem head on and in a very public way.
In doing so he will help thousands of other people out there who suffer with this same condition to recognise their illness and take steps to treat it, before it's too late.
I wish him all the best.
It is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression.
Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways. It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so, that I sought expert help last week.
My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career.
My commitment to politics has always been 100 per cent plus. I now need that time to restore my health and well-being. Therefore I am announcing today my intention to resign as Premier of Western Australia and Member for Victoria Park in the State Parliament.
It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure to serve this State and witness the wonderful progress that is being made. I would like to thank the WA public for bestowing on me the immense responsibility and thrill of leading this great State for just under five years; and my colleagues for giving me the honour of leading the WA Labor Party for the best part of 10 years.
I would particularly like to thank the residents of Victoria Park for the support they have given me for nearly 20 years.
In fact, what has made this announcement all the more difficult today is that I love being Premier, I love the work, I love the State and I love its people. In order to do the job, you need the support of your staff, the Cabinet and your Parliamentary colleagues. They have all been magnificent and I will always cherish the times I have spent with them working on ideas for a better future.
Even though change of the sort I announce today will bring its challenges and will be disruptive in the very short term, I am confident that the Government will continue its excellent work.The State Parliamentary Labor Party at its earliest possible convenience will decide my successor. In the meantime, Eric Ripper has kindly cancelled his scheduled leave to continue to act as Premier.
I hope you will appreciate the pressure my current condition has placed on my family, who have been a tower of strength and a source of great support. I now need the space required to start the process of full recovery and for this reason I will not be taking questions nor doing any further media interviews.
I thank you for your co-operation and I wish you all well for the future.
I'm watching the news last night and there's this bloke who was mauled by a 3.5 metre white pointer and came away with minor lacerations to his ELBOW. Apparently he poked the shark in the snotter with his spear gun - like trying to harpoon a whale with a toothpick - then swam away and hid on the ocean floor while it circled around him disappearing in and out of the gloom. How do you hide from a shark, aren't they almost blind anyway?
Bleeding and cowering in a hole in the reef, all seemed lost until his diving buddy turned up wearing an electronic shark deterrent that immediately caused the big white pointer to bugger off in search of easier prey.
Fair enough, but our fearless diver's closing words in last night's interview when asked if he'd ever dive again were, "yes, but not without wearing my Shark Pod". I'm surprised they didn't throw up some details on stockists and a run a 1800 number across the bottom of the screen.
If I was being REALLY cynical, I'd say there was a bit of an accident out at sea (elbow slashed by a broken stubbie, a stray gaff, gang hooks, etc) and our diver's mate - who I believe has a vested interest in Shark Pods - saw a little light bulb flicker above his head.
However, I'm probably totally off the mark and way out of line here.
It could very well be that this bloke - who looks a little James Garner don't you think? - did get attacked by a massive man eating shark, miraculously suffered only a minor elbow laceration in the encounter, managed to hide in a reef and was saved by an anti-shark device. You'd be buying a lotto ticket on the strength of that one...
And on that note, some words of wisdom for us all:
1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.
6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.
14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.
20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I'd hit the beach, but what with all these rabid bull sharks and hammerheads lining up off the coast like hungry teenagers at a Maccas counter, the wading pool might be the safest option.
Just about to hit the couch and watch John Waters' latest offering, Dirty Shame, starring Tracy Ulman. Let's hope it's better than Ice Cube's effort, Are We There Yet? Even the young bloke found that a bit hard to digest.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Man the barricades, break out the gas masks and boil the oil - there's been a border incursion!
Yesterday was shopping day (yes, day not night...) and there sitting boldy (and beautifully) on the kitchen bench when I got home was a box of CHEERIOS - the last bastion of Americana now washing up on beaches from Broome to Bullamakanka (do they have a beach there?).
Forget the Indo boats pinching our trochus shell, we need the border patrol on Cheerio watch now, before other insidious US-made products sneak across our shores like spam spiders gone mad.
I remember a day when Cheerios were an untouchable fantasy that lurked on the back pages of Archie comics with Twinkies Cupcakes, X-Ray Specs and Sea Monkeys. God help me, I can even remember the day when Hubba Bubba was introduced onto the market and consigned Bubble O Joe to the depths of gum obscurity - loved that Joe...
No, I'm sorry, but this is the US-Australia free trade agreement gone mad. US farmers are contemplating early retirement on the back of this shonky deal, while all we've got in return is boxes and boxes of freakin' Cheerios.
Johnny Howard, I suggest you pack a few boxes of the stuff into the back of the Landy, take it out back of Cunderdin way and show the people of this great land first hand what George W has done for them. Oh and make sure you wear that special akubra of yours, it makes you look so Steve Irwin.
I'll be rooting for you all the way.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
The AHA can bleat on all they like about how unfair it is, but at the end of the day, what's wrong with a bit of additional competition?
The AHA should also remember that there are still plenty of lazy buggers out there who would rather drive an extra 10 ks to visit a hotel just so they can go through the drive thru without leaving the safety of their car.
It's a small step for Perthkind, but one that I hope will eventually lead to me being able to visit a large supermarket chain at 3.00 am to buy a roll of Quickeeze and a spearmint milk, just because I CAN!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Wake up and smell the coffee WA - our state just lost millions in Federal Government funding because we didn't meet trading requirement specifications - we refused to open our doors and we paid the price. Where the hell else in Australia can't you go to a bottle shop on a Sunday???
I thought this strange way of doing business would have gone the way of roster petrol stations and 24 hour convenience shops that charge three times the normal price for everything on their shelves. But no, just like daylight savings, this appears to be another Perthism that's here to stay.
The Big 'O' & Dad at Don Dino's Port Melbourne, circa 2002 -
photo courtesy of Jon Bassett, arguably Perth's only flyfishing photographer.
If you're ever in Melbourne, Don Dino's is a great place for a casual dinner - and, the head waiter remembered my name every time for the 10 years we went there - whenever we drove past it my son would always insist on eating there. On that note, it was the last restaurant we ate at before bidding a fond farewell to Melbourne town.
Other recommended eating options in Melbourne:
Yarraville Village Pizza, Anderson St, Yarraville - say g'day to my mate Enzo and ask him how his good mate Matty Lloyd is doing! I used to enjoy letting Enzo decide what sort of pizza I wanted - they always turned out to be superb, in a very NON 'would you like roasted artichoke hearts with that, infused with a port and pig's scotum cranberry jus...' Just good, traditional pizza, but I do have to have a word about his decor... that Al Pacino poster, Enzo, please!
Cafe Fidama, Ballarat Street Yarraville - great mod cuisine at very reasonable prices, with the pepper crusted quail and chili jam at the top of my list. The breakfast here is renowned, but not much space to spread out The Age unless you grab a table early.
Lemon Zest Cafe, Ballarat Street, Yarraville - you have to try Mama's lamb shanks! Last time I was there, Mama kept peeking out to see if I was enjoying the shanks and post-meal came out to pinch my chek and tell me what a good boy I am!
Misuzus Japanese Restaurant, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - the taster plates are terrific and everything on the menu is organic. Food for the soul.
The Blue Train, Southbank - ahhh, many a cold beer has been sipped on this balcony overlooking the Yarra - try the dhal, it's a meal in itself and the spring rolls are great. Very retro/funky, with enough stainless steel piercings in the waiting staff to hold up the Westgate Bridge. Expect to wait in the bar for anywhere up to an hour for a table, even on week nights. My son ate his first solid food here!
Mecca Bah, Docklands - prop yourself on a cushion overlooking the still (thankfully) slightly grungy Docklands waterfront and enjoy a selection of Middle Eastern delights. Try mixing the beetroot salad with a bottle of Turkey Flat Rose while you take in the distant traffic crossing the Bolte Bridge.
Jock's Icecreamery, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - the must stop shop for the tastiest icecream in the western world. And, there really is a 'Jock' and he looks just like he does in his logo, complete with a semi-afro bouffant. Quite embarrasing though when the kids are shouting out, 'I want Jocks!!!' in public.
Andrew's Hamburgers, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - dead set legends of burgery, complete with a neon sign out front that hasn't changed in decades, just like their burger recipe. Rub shoulders with bikies and builders, lawyers and ad execs - everyone's here for the good grub .
The Gravy Train, Seddon - great family cafe that was a favourite for breakfast. Stylish lattes wash down a very innovative Toad in the Hole complete with polish sausage and Kaiser Flaishen (thick cut bacon), not to mention crunchy home made sourdough bread.
The Commercial Hotel, Yarraville - very funky, very retro and supplied me with the coldest of beers one summer's day when it was really needed - almost medicinal. Outside courtyard is oh so cool, as is the menu featuring classics such as sausage curry, with a modern twist. If you haven't got it yet, Yarraville is a grouse place to hang out, but don't tell 'em I sent you!
The Blarney Stone Irish Pub, Anderson Street, Yarraville - this pub followed me from Port Melbourne... WTF? Superb Guinness, but a menu that changed late in 2005 and to my mind is yet to be proven - I'll report back in a few weeks.
... more to come soon.