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Coffee Bitch #55. Silver Hills Nursery, Pialligo

Coffee Bitch

two and a half beans

Silver Hills Nursery, Pialligo

Awesome coffee. Suprised? So was I.

Why Pialligo? Apples. It’s still apple season. In the island of old Canberra farming that is Pialligo, nestles a bevvy of orchards selling direct. [Read more →]

Gertrude’s Diary #110 – Alien Abduction

Thanks are due to Vladimir for suggesting the topic for this week’s instalment of Gertrude’s Diary.  He wants to know why it is that aliens seem to abduct only obscure, uneducated or disreputable people, when presumably their quest to understand humanity would be better served by interviewing our leading talents in the arts and science.

I did a little research on this topic, and farmers do seem to be over-represented.  Loggers also are likely candidates for abduction.  Of the eight documented cases I identified during my research (an hour or two on wikipedia), two separate incidents concerned forestry workers, and at least another two incidents involved abductions from forested areas.  Maybe the aliens are actually a race of super-intelligent philodendron, and they were trying to talk to the trees:

“Greetings tall, woody, life-form.  Would you like us to remove these annoying primates that are seeking to crush the very fibre of your being and turn it into something with which to clean their waste besmeared bottoms?”

But no.  Other information provided by abductees suggests that the aliens are interested in examining the human race.   Betty and Barney Hill claim that they were abducted while travelling through a forested area of New Hampshire.  Their stories have been written off as the consequence of vivid dreaming, or the result of stress associated with being an inter-racial couple when such things were rare.

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Will There Now be a Reckoning?

Regular readers of my contributions to this blog, from back in the days when I used to regularly contribute to it (the which days may be returning, perhaps, I feel a slight surge of scribbling juices which could easily fade but you never know) will be aware that I had a long running obsession with the tragedy that I saw befalling the United States under the leadership of George W Bush and the cabal of radical neo-liberals that made up his administration.

America, leader of the ‘free world’, the global economic powerhouse and, for better or worse, hegemon, had in eight short years been reduced to an epic ‘fail’. Failure in Afghanistan, failure in Iraq, failure in New Orleans, a failure of leadership on (or even understanding of) climate change and of course the GFC, these are the big five in a mind-numbing series of ‘fail’ moments.

For those of us watching the Bush administration closely, the horrors of dubiously justified bad policies delinquently deployed were shocking and unforgivable in their own way, but scarier still was watching the rapid erosion of the very freedoms, rights and protections, implicit in its own Constitution and numerous international conventions, that America was apparently, and unsuccessfully, attempting to export to other countries.

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Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Jess, Graham Sorrelle

Our guests are Glen, Ian and Pete of Waterford.

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod109.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 14th April, 2009. Track list and more pics after the jump

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I’m in the midst of my annual battle with the house fly, wherein I vainly attempt to murder as many of the little bastards as I can with my lethal swatting skillz. If you follow the previous link, you’ll find pictures I took a few years ago of a fly that got it’s head stuck in the flyscreen. This year I think I went one better with an expert swat which, rather than splatting the fly’s blood and guts all over the wall, had the following rather unexpected result. Click the images to see a bigger pic.



Gertrude’s Diary #109 – Film Reviewing Made Easy

Judging by the feedback I’ve had from my last entry regarding Top Gear, Gertrude is captious and cruel.  But hey, I was only having fun.  Besides which, they started it.  And anyway, I was just trying not to be ingratiating.  Sheesh.  You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, and the rest of you just like to have a good whinge.

However, in a spirit of reconciliation, I’m offering readers the following information to help prepare them for the rest of the post.

WARNING:  The following paragraphs may contain the material that is:  flippant, critical, tasteless, crude, facetious and deliberately dimwitted.

I’ve been watching a few DVDs recently, and in order to make sense of them I’ve taken to distilling the most important lesson from each movie into a single sentence.  Here’s a few selected at random from the shelves of the local library.

Instinct, with Anthony Hopkins, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Lesson:  Anthropologists get really f*^king tough when they’ve lived with gorillas for a while.

The Celestine Prophecy, with actors you’ve probably never heard of.
Lesson:  Crap books make even crappier movies.

The Exorcist, with Max von Sydow and Linda Blair
Lesson:  ADHD may be misdiagnosed demonic possession; a pubescent child doing unspeakable things with a crucifix is the dead giveaway.

Donnie Brasco, with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp
I couldn’t decide what the lesson was here, so please choose one for yourself.
Lesson #1:  Human nature is never purely dichotomous, and strict moral judgments about good and bad are not representative of the truth.
Lesson #2:  Audiences never get tired of stories about greedy, violent men.

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Little Sister

Present: Jim Boots, John Griffiths, Sharkie, Jess

Our guests are Ellen Kimble and Jonathan Coen of Little Sister.

Click Play Audio to play podcast. Click here to download

If you’d like to download the podcast, tap this URL: http://the-riotact.com/~john/insban/pod108.mp3 into iTunes or your media player or whatever.

There is a facebook fan page for people to marvel at here.

This link is for people who have podcasting software which you can find here.

Recorded on Tuesday 31st Mar, 2009. Track list and more pics after the jump

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Woohoo Review @ The Front

Woohoo Review @ The Front

Chiffon #94. A Thought (Not)


It could be said (but only by me) that I have spent a very calm few months and the toll is showing upon me. It is as if I have been cut down, inflicted with apathy and largess and an enviable lifestyle, you could say, but only after I say it.

I was overcome with a thought after watching Alien and as a result I have a theory or at least a question? No! It is not another theory, just the same one that is involving everyone.

In all these sci fi movies that pop up from time to time, have you noticed that domination of the universe seems to basically sum up the plot and these all stem from a master space ship and this seems to be what’s goin’ on now in real time?

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Vietnam Letters #28

Postmark 5th March, 1970

218807 Pte Jamieson
8RAR Dcoy 10PL 1Sec
GPO sydney 2890


My Dearest Sandra,

Thank you very much for your very welcome letter, which I received to-day. Am very pleased to know that you are starting to feel better. It’s good that you had a pleasant day with the Stoddards. Am back in Nui Dat to-night and going out again to-morrow. I guess it will be great to sleep in a bed again to-night. Have had a shower and clean greens on and I feel great. Sandra all I want is for you to wait for me untill I come home to you, I don’t think I could go home if you weren’t there waiting for me. I am sorry that I cannot write as often but being out in the bush it’s impossible to write everyday, as I just never get time to write out there except when we are in a relatively safe location, and then again there is just no way of getting mail out everyday. But Sandra you know that I love you and am always thinking of you and say a pray for you every night. I love you Sandra. [Read more →]

Gertrude’s Diary #108 – STop Gear

Top Gear incenses me, but there’s nothing else on television at 7.30 on a Monday night.  Tomorrow I’m putting the television into the shed, but for now, in order to transform this anger and resentment into something more positive, I offer here a retake of the testosterone-charged, fossil-fuel driven indulgence that regularly graces our screens.

INTRO:  Jeremy Clarkson

“This week I’m riding a bicycle to the shops.”  (puff, pant, strain)

“I asked for a titanium frame and racing slims, but because I’ve managed to offend so many people over the course of previous seasons of Top Gear, I’ve been given a 10 year old Repco girls’ bike with a deflating tyre and a disintegrating wicker basket strapped to the front.”  (note to producer:  I’m happy to offer my bike as the necessary prop. G.)

James May:  TO CAMERA

“So many viewers wrote to me screaming for revenge when Clarkson arranged for my beautiful piano to be squashed by a semi-trailer, that we’ve devised the following scenario.  Along the route to the shops we’ve positioned squadrons of amphetamine and rum-crazed petrol heads who are going to harass Mr Clarkson by beeping their horn, poking their bottoms out the window, opening the rear doors at strategic moments, and deliberately swerving into muddy puddles adjacent to Clarkson’s lycra clad arse.”

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Wild Thing

I just found out a feature film has been made of one of my favourite kids’ books, Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. Sweet. Here’s the trailer.
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Gertrude’s Diary #107 – What’s so Good about Friday?

Like many lapsed members of the Roman Catholic Church, I find Easter to be the Christian feast day most likely to evoke childhood memories.  As I attended a publicly run primary school, I am able to compare my own experiences with those of my classmates.

me:  “What did you do on Good Friday?”

them:  “We went to the Show.” (ie we spent 4 hours in sideshow alley knocking our brains around in our skulls.  Then we bought our own weight in show bags and spent the next day in a sugar coma.)  “What about you?”

me:  “Nothing much.” (ie.  I looked forward to the end of Lent and went to the longest Mass of the year.  The priest wore black and read an interminable Gospel.  There was a lot of shuffling.  Then we went to the Stations of the Cross.  Time stood still.)

them:  “What did the Easter bunny bring you?” (ie. On Sunday we got up and ate chocolate until we were nearly sick.)

me:  “One big bunny, four middles and six small ones.  (ie. We got up and fasted and then dressed in our best clothes and went to Mass again.  After that we went to a big family lunch that required us to sit still and not get our clothes dirty.  We were not permitted to spoil our appetites with confectionary.  Eventually we got home and were permitted the few nibbles of chocolate our bloated stomachs would allow.)

I may be embellishing slightly.  For instance, I remember that at least one year I was treated to an icing sugar egg, due to the fact that my twin sister suffered from migraines and chocolate was considered a trigger.  It was deemed unfair to let me eat chocolate when GertBySea wasn’t allowed.  At least the trip to church that year didn’t seem like such a chore.

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Desert Devils @ ANCA

Desert Devils @ ANCA

Gertrude’s Diary #106 – English Woman 1959

This week, instead of actually writing anything, I’ve been reading about how to write.  Firstly in a collection of essays by famous writers of the 19th and 20th century, and then with the fourth instalment of Clive James’s biography – which assured me that writing anything takes a lot of sitting around doing almost nothing to get into the right mood.  This knowledge gave me the confidence to read an anthology of short stories by Tim Winton and to work on my 3D Pinball skills.  Thanks, Clive.

Then a friend told me that Gertrude is too ingratiating, and this further delayed the necessary steps required to reach the decision to start writing.  Anyway, I’m really, really sorry about being ingratiating.  I hope you all don’t mind too much.  We’re still friends, right?  I’m not sure what is the proper response to being told you’re too ingratiating.  Perhaps a nice, blunt F&*k You is the only way to show that one is taking the advice seriously.

No matter, because I’m finally here in the site admin section.  All I needed was the proper inspiration, and this week that inspiration comes in the form of English Woman magazine from July 1959.  Because it is in such a large format, English Woman (the Australia and NewZealand edition) was difficult to capture on my A4 scanner, so I spent a lot of time farting around with various editing tools.  My limitations in this area prevented me from including a wonderful quiz which featured such questions and multiple choice answers as these:

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