Friday, January 26, 2007

accidently patriotic

An ordinary life. Not draped in any flag. Not watching any sport or having thoughts of sport. Walking around outside most of the morning. Hanging out washing. Corned Beef sandwich for lunch reading the papers with a Cascade beer in backyard. Mooching around the net whilst trying to figure out the odd hard disk misbehaviour. Tweaking speakers. Listening to swordfishtrombones for the first time in years. Hello. omg. wtf!!!!

Well it's hotter 'n blazes and all the long faces
there'll be no oasis for a dry local grazier
there'll be no refreshment for a thirsty jackaroo
from Melbourne to Adelaide on the overlander
with newfangled buffet cars and faster locomotives
the train stopped in Serviceton less and less often
There's nothing sadder than a town with no cheer

Vic Rail decided the canteen was no longer necessary there
no spirits, no bilgewater and 80 dry locals
and the high noon sun beats a hundred and four
there's a hummingbird trapped in a closed down shoe store

This tiny Victorian rhubarb
kept the watering hole open for sixty five years
now it's boilin' in a miserable March 21
strapped the hills in a blanket of Patterson's curse
the train smokes down the xylophone
there'll be no stopping here
all ya can be is thirsty in a town with no cheer
no Bourbon, no Branchwater
though the townspeople here
fought her Vic Rail decree tooth and nail
now it's boilin' in a miserable March 21 strapped the hills in a blanket of Patterson's curse
the train smokes down the xylophone

Tom Waits - Town With No Cheer - 1982

Offspring draws up in new purchase. 1995 Commodore V6 Acclaim.

Bugger me.

I'm patriotic without even trying.

How Australian is that.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

name authority file

Years ago when I borrowed a book from the library it would be stamped in the back with a due date on a card. Often there would also be a card on which various borrowers would initial it to show themselves that they had read the book. Some would write their full name and a few comments, always in pencil. I enjoyed reading the names and comments so much that I took to leaving my name and a few comments penciled in as well. It was often surprising to get a loan of a book that I would have thought was popular and to find that the date on the back of it told a story of only being borrowed once or twice and then not taken out for three years.

Now that’s all gone. The books I get each week are scanned, often by myself, and there’s a truncated printout of what I have borrowed. I can however enter my library online from home or office and access and search the whole catalogue and more. I can see a list of what I have out and I can renew books. I still feel a bit guilty about renewing all my books the day after I borrow them, but I find it saves me many dollars in fines. And I justify it by reminding myself that if I “reserve” a book that is sitting at a far away library in the system, and I do it online to be picked up at my local library then it costs me $1.70. But if I physically walk into my local library and ask for the book to be transferred over it costs nothing. To my mind the online transaction should be cheaper.

Although I can see the books I have out online I cannot save the complete list as a .txt file with author etc. I can, funnily enough, save each book detail one by one on the library’s online system then email the details of each one, one at a time per email, to myself and then cut and paste it into a document. Time consuming and tedious.

I’d like to see a simple system whereby I could call up all the books I’ve borrowed in say the last year, save it as a text file or a .csv file with author etc. I would also like the ability to have a local library Wiki entry for each book where I could simply upload the record and note that I had borrowed an item and add some comments, as could other borrowers. I imagine that it would be helpful for me in choosing other books and I might get to meet others with similar reading interests.

I wonder if any library is fostering this sort of online thing – it seems simple enough to do

Anyway this is what I carried home this week according to my card:

Bert Stern's Jazz on a summer's day [dvd] With : Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Gerry Mulligan, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton, Anita O'Day, George Shearing, Jimmy Guiffre, Chuck Berry, Jack Teagarden, Thelonius Monk, Big Maybelle, Sonny Stitt, Eli's Chosen Six ... [et al.].Takes a look at the music, musicians, and spectators at the Newport Jazz Festival, 1958.

Burn : the epic story of bushfire in Australia / Paul Collins.

On murder 2 [text] : true crime writing in Australia edited by Kerry Greenwood.
On murder [text] : true crime writing in Australia edited by Kerry Greenwood.

Continent of mystery : a thematic history of Australian crime fiction Stephen Knight.

Gothic Matilda [text] : the amazing visions of Australian crime fiction -Michael Pollak, Margaret MacNabb.

Complicated shadows : the life and music of Elvis Costello - Graeme Thomson.

Tree-kangaroos of Australia and New Guinea - Roger Martin ; illustrated by Sue Simpson

Mystery : an illustrated history of crime and detective fiction - designed by Christopher Scott. Author: Haining, Peter, 1940-

North of the moonlight sonata. - Kerryn Goldsworthy.

The crime Tsar Nicola McAuliffe.

Visions of the universe : latest discoveries in space revealed Raman K. Prinja

The complete idiot's guide to extreme weather by Julie Bologna and Christopher K. Passante.

Sichuan cookbook [text] Fuchsia Dunlop

Native state [text] Tony Cohan

Call for the dead John le Carre

The education of a young Liberal John Hyde Page.

Slow burn [text] : a Leo Waterman mystery : G. M. Ford.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

more family stuff

"Moroccan than you"
From the ashes of Sons of Mothers comes Moroccan Kings.
3 slices of talent spliced into a band Mo'Rockin' than any ever.
Late Announcement: The Moroccan Kings also gig late @ 11:30 PM at The Old Bar, Fitzroy, Australia Day Friday 26 Jan 2007
Disclaimer: FXH says: I only breed 'em. The rest, including copywriting, is out of my hands.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

dale watson in australia

Let me beat Floppy to it. I just discovered that the great Dale Watson is doing a week long Oz tour titled Seven Year Itch Tour Feb 24 to March 5th. It's seven years since Dale was last here and after being dudded by promoters he swore he'd never be back.

Watson is the real thing, possibly the new saviour of country, a Honky Tonker who carries on from Bob Wills, Buck and Merle and for my money is the truck drivin' musical cousin of Dwight. If you saw the doco, Naked Nashville featuring Dale on ABC TV a while back you'll be full of admiration.

After an epic battle with Satan during a psychosis triggered by his girlfriend's death in 2002 Dale was hospitalized. Following this and therapy he took up a Courier Drivers job intending to chuck music away to focus on caring for his daughters. After 6 months of driving and living in Baltimore with his kids, friends convinced him that his talent was far too important to ignore. Then Continental Airlines, which sponsors Blue Harbour, a Mental Health awareness and research organisation, sprung Dale regular tickets for flights between his family in Baltimore and his music in Austin Tx in return for promotional performances.

Dale has finished a movie doco on his crazy episode and a tour directed by Zalman King called Crazy Again

From a Real Country Music interview:
E.B. - I've seen you live twice; we could ask you to sing almost any song of country music and you knew the words.

Dale Watson: - Well, that’s country. That’s what I meant before - Honky Tonk. I know what the crowd wants to listen to. I like to be a part of the crowd. I want also to be able to sing the songs that everybody loves, especially George Jones; I wanna do this. It’s making friends along the way. You share music with the audience and if they want to listen to some songs that are not mine - Merle, Conway, Jones, Cash - why should I say no? I enjoy it too. But I’m not going to play any Tim McGraw or anything like that, that’s for sure. It happened to me [one] time. And what I said was “Man, you are in the wrong place tonight; you better ask [for your] money back” (laughs). That was also the reason why I haven’t been able to be a songwriter in Nashville, because they wanted me to write songs that a teenager in the city would like to listen to. I have no idea how to do that; I don’t know what a teenager in the city likes and I don’t want to do that anyway.

Willie says: “I’m one of Dale’s biggest fans”

Do yourself a favour.
I found the photo curtesy of Honky Tonk Highway blog - read it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

cooking quick or chine-easy

Some people have a passion for cooking and serving the results up to others, some people loving eating, some cook for themselves and many hate cooking. Even in 2006 2007 a lot of men still don't cook and many of those who do cook only cook "fancy" to show off. By cook I mean prepare meals. Sometimes meals are not cooked at all but sandwiches or such.

It would be nice to say I learnt to cook from my mother but other than decent straight forward roasts and chops and spuds and peas we didn't seem to dwell on cooking. I learnt to cook by having to take my turn in worker's camps, share houses and feeding kids and friends. My friend Al described this cooking as Urban Peasant. I like food to be tasty, not just fuel.

There's always the need to be able to do a quick and easy meal for 2 or 8 when you have no idea or urge. My fallback is what I call "Chinese Fish and Rice".

In the cupboard I always have a few kilo's of different rice, Basmati, Sushi Rice, medium grain rice and Jasmine rice. For this cook up I like Jasmine but Sushi Rice or any short to medium grain works.

In the cupboard I also have about 12 tins of Fried Dace from the Chinese Supermarket about $1 each tin.

Throw 2 of those plastic measuring cups of rice into the rice cooker for every 3 people. Then 1.5 cups of water for every cup of rice. Turn on rice cooker.

After rice cooker is turned on grab one brown onion, fresh ginger, garlic, carrot and any chinese vegetables hanging around. Bok Choy (Baby) and Chinese cabbage (Baby) are easiest to have around.


Also get out Sesame Oil and Chinese 5 Spice mix.

Slice onion into half and then either angled quarters if you like chunky bits or thickish slices if you like longer thinner bits or as I usually do a bit of each way. Slice up carrots into thinnish 3 inch long slivers, chop up a chunk of ginger and also a few cloves of garlic. Wash dry and chop up chinese vegies in very big chunks. Put all of this on 2 plates ready.

Open can of Fried Dace with Black Bean ready and slice up fish inside tin a bit. Note: tin opening is badly designed and can cut fingers. Have opener nearby.

It's important to get all this ready now as the pace quickens dramatically as we go.

Get out wok. Place on highest heat on gas stove top.

Slop in a bit of peanut, or my new find, rice husk oil, and a decent bit of Sesame Oil. When hot plonk in onions and carrot and stir around with long spoon occasionally, after a short while chuck in garlic and ginger. Stir a bit. Drop in Chinese vegies. Stir. Shake in a bit of Chinese 5 Spice. Stir. Then drop in tin of Fried Dace and Black Bean. Make sure you scrape oil and beans out of tin. Stir to heat only and mix. If you have some sherry slosh a bit in now. Turn off flame.

The rice should have cooked and clicked off to warm about 3 minutes ago. Open lid of rice cooker and fluff up rice with rice cooker plastic spoon. Replace lid.

Grab large asian looking bowls and serve two or three scoops of rice in each and a good serve of fish and vegies mix on top. Alternatively I often put rice in big dish in centre of table and fish and vegies in another dish, throw a bunch of chopsticks on table and let the hordes serve themselves. Soy sauce bottle on table. Some like a bit of sweet chilli sauce but you'll find the stuff is interesting and chinesey enough.

Drinks: A large pot of weak Jasmine or Green Tea or a cold cold beer.

Quick - only takes as long as the rice cooking to prepare and very tasty. The trick is to have rice and fish always on hand. At a pinch you can still make a meal with out the rest. Leftovers can go in plastic meal-for-one size boxes in fridge and reheat ok for lunch next day. I never keep cooked rice more than 12 hours or so.

If you really aren't up to any real effort at all you can just plonk the rice in the cooker, pour a drink, watch TV for 15 minutes, or more, as cooker auto switches to warm when rice is cooked, then nuke can of fish, and put it on top of plate of rice. It works because the fish and it's packing oil are chocka block with chinese flavours and salt. Lots of salt.

Monday, January 08, 2007

tonight at home

Out of the corner of my eye I was watching the Jonathan Demme film of the Neil Young doing Prairie Wind live for the first time at the Ryman Auditorium when Neil introduced the song This Old Guitar and mentioned that it used to be Hank Williams' guitar. I'd known about it before but seeing it clearly on film, up close, worn and used, and being in use, made me concentrate when I'd only been half interested.

There's other pleasant moments in the DVDs and it is good to see Spooner Oldham and Emmy Lou on stage but Neil in acoustic mode doesn't do a lot for me. As a directing template it is possibly a better concert film than any I have seen. It's relaxed and respectful of the listener (watcher) and the artist and the music.

"I've got a Hank Williams' guitar, but I play it all the time. It's an old Martin D-28. I bought it from Tut Taylor. It's always great when someone understands what this is that they're holding, who understands the effect Hank Williams had on all of us. They are sort of awestruck by being in the presence of anything that he touched---to the point that to actually play his instrument elevates them to another level. It's a wonderful thing to have a guitar for that reason. A lot of people who should have played it, have played it. I'm careful about it, but I use it all the time. It's not on a wall in a museum."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

collins street

The cafe calls itself
Sushi & Noodles

I would have liked to try it out but the last few seats were grabbed by an Indian family.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

brave new year

Dateline: Melbourne. Tuesday 2nd day of the new year 2007. 8.00am. Train to CBD. Guy next to me is reading a reprint of an article from a technical computer magazine. I can only read the headlines:

Windows 95.
Does Plug and Play really work?

I guess the answers to some long standing mysteries demand resolution early in the new year.