It's a completely cool, multi-purpose blog.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Blue not green

Maybe it’s Al Gore, maybe it’s the Stern Report, maybe it’s parenthood, but I’m definitely becoming more eco-conscious as I get older. M recently organised for us to use all-green cleaning products, which I thought was brilliant. The recycling system in Godzone is pretty good too, and we try to recycle as much as possible.

My biggest bugbear is over-packaging. Computer games – essentially a bunch of digital data that could be downloaded with zero environmental consequences – usually come in enormous boxes with plastic interiors, simply so that they stand out more in Electronics Boutique. Luckily, M won’t let me buy computer games so we’re clear on that score. We try and reuse plastic bags too, but I generally remember as I'm getting out of the choked up car park at the shopping centre.

Unfortunately, I still drive a 4WD (usually alone) because we got it cheap, and I fly back to blighty once a year leaving a trail of poison in my wake. Modern life, as the man once said, is rubbish.

By the way I just read a great article on the top 10 un-green products. Here’s a sample:

Plastic lawn mower blades
If you have purchased a cheap electric lawnmower in recent years, then you may already be familiar with this nasty development: steel mower blades have been replaced by disposable plastic ones that barely seem to last 15 minutes. They don't so much cut the grass as shred it, and only one sort is compatible with your particular mower. The label is made from 100% recycled paper, which makes me want to kill someone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Spending warm summer days indoors

Dad, Lorna and Allen left Australia this afternoon and should be somewhere close to Papua New Guinea as I write. I feel pretty low because it was great having them here and I don't know whether Dad will ever be able to make the journey again. We're hoping to get back to blighty every year but of course Beth is growing up absurdly fast so he'll miss out on a lot. An emigrant's life is never easy.

We spent the weekend in fairly low-key ways. On Sunday we took the Rivercat down the Parramatta river to Sydney harbour which is always a fun trip. Lots of sport (Arsenal were brilliant), playing with the bairn and watching old episodes of Only Fools and Horses.

If it's a boy they're going to call it Rodney, after Dave.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The London Bus Driver's Prayer

Our Father who art in Hendon,
Harrow be thy name.
Thy Kingston come,
Thy Wimbledon,
In Erith as it is in Heston.
Give us this day our daily Brent.
And lead us not into Thames Ditton.
For thine is the Kingston, the Putney and the Goring.
For ever and ever,
Crouch End

Work, Mostly

I was sitting in a long meeting yesterday, deputising for a deputy and thus experiencing life a couple of pay grades above that in which I currently reside. Gee whiz, it was awful. I’ve reached a stage in my career where I’m engaged in things I enjoy - regular student contact, sitting on working parties that actually achieve stuff, messing about with blogs and podcasts. It appears to me that life higher up is more involved with mission statements, policy discussion and perpetual inactivity. I’d rather be a humble librarian than a library manager.

We are expected to be ambitious but the truth is that I’m not. I have a car and a house, we have no problem paying for Beth’s upbringing (plus any more that come along), I can go back to the motherland every year and I get more CDs, DVDs and so on than I strictly need. Why try harder?

(In other news – everything’s OK).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


We decided to go out for M's birthday after all, and seeing as Dad, Lorna and Allen are still here we took advantage of the in-house babysitting and went to the The Departed. Lots of fun, especially Mark Wahlberg's foul-mouthed and unprovoked tirades.

Another long weekend, starting with a trip up to Avoca. How nice it is to go to the seaside and hole up indoors all day thanks to the searing (mid-30s) heat outside. Better than going to the beach with all that wretched sand, anyway.

We headed back to Sydney for a half-day of watching cricket at North Sydney Oval - rain didn't stop play, but it was heavy enough to send us scurrying home. We made up for it by doing a tour of Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday. It's so naff, but walking down the player's balcony and over th rope onto the pitch gave me a certain juvenile thrill. I thought of the exchange from the movie of Fever Pitch:

"I could've made it if it wasn't for the fags."
"It wasn't the fags, was it? It was the crapness."

ps Apologies for lack of photos and functioning links. Blogger Beta is still a bit of a nightmare. Can we go back now?

pps Librarian readers can look at a write-up of a talk I went to on libraries vs Google at

What a difference a b makes


(Thanks to David for the tip-off)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We're going to Bonnydoon

Canberra is a strange place, a kind of artificial newtown whose only industries are governance and tourism. Government I'll leave for now, but I must admit that they have the tourism thing down pat. Unfortunately, the Floriade had passed its prime by the time we got there, but the War Memorial is brilliant, fulfilling its roles of testament to the fallen and interesting museum superbly. Still, I wouldn't want to live there.

Our road trip also took in a couple of days in the Southern Highlands, which I loved. Some great vistas and I really enjoyed the Bradman Museum.

There were 5 adults plus Beth in our party, and we travelled down in a prepsosterous people-carrier belonging to the in-laws. I'm getting increasing eco-conscious these days and therefore guilty about driving a 4WD to work every day. However, I figured that 1 large vehicle for 6 people was a reasonable trade-off in fuel terms. I still felt a bit silly in it, though.

M's birthday on Thursday and we're going large; she's at uni whilst I'm at the film course. Yowsah!

Let's get out of this country

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just wondering if Sherwood's reading...

What about the voice of geddy Lee?
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Echo point point point

We’ve had a good time with dad, Lorna and Allen since they arrived on Thursday. We took an impromptu overnight trip to the Blue Mountains and had a glorious couple of days looking at views, enjoying gardens and sneezing a lot.

I’m 900 pages through a book called Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and there’s still 100 to go – phew. It’s a very entertaining wizards meet Jane Austen romp, full review will appear at the book blog when I’m finally finished.

Another great piece by Gary Younge from the Grauniad.

Proof that Beth is a genius here.

Theologians don't know nothing 'bout my life