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Monthly Archives: March 2010

One wet season day; snapshots

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Rainfall at GOF's Place

March 2010                   838mm        (34 inches)

Progressive 2010       2180mm        (88 inches)

I'm happy to round that off to an average of one inch per day, for the entire year so far.

There is still no-where else in the world I would rather live.

However, as we have not seen the sun for 20 days in a row, my solar batteries are now
depleted.  I will resume blogging when the weather improves.

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Stirring up some scientists

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I am convinced that one day humans are going to evolve into large blobs of cerebral matter encased in sallow skin with a texture like tripe, where all means of self propulsion have been lost through neglect. They will be totally reliant upon mechanical locomotion.

"Rumination genes" will become dominant, and "common sense detector genes" recessive, while all of our accumulated artisan and practical physical skills will be lost forever.

The early signs are evident.

Our world is increasingly populated by philosophers, cogitators and theorists who would not know a grommet from a gimlet, or be able to identify a wigwam for a goose's bridle even if it came up in broad daylight with sirens blaring and bit them on the arse five times in a row.

Furthermore, many of those with all the brains are wasting their lives by concentrating on minutiae.

I, of course, have an example for you, just to annoy any critics who might like to suggest that I write nothing but unsubstantiated rubbish.

Three researchers spent 5 months at the MacFarlane Burnet Institute in Melbourne cooking up the following piece of intellectual swill;

"Longitudinal Cohort Study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research Institute"

Motivated by the regular disappearance of teaspoons from the tearooms in this boffin sanctuary, the erudite trio wasted somebody's money determining eventually (with a statistical significance P=0.88) that indeed 80% of teaspoons disappeared from the tearooms during the trial period.  
Spoon replacement cost; $A100 per year.

So what practical recommendations or solutions did this educated-beyond-their-intelligence lot come up with?

None. Zero. SFA.

Instead they provided one little gem of bureaucratic equivocation;

"Development of effective control measures against the loss of teaspoons should be a priority."

Now this piece of academic drivel was published in the highly respected British Medical Journal, (whose motto incidentally is; "helping doctors make better decisions") and presumably doctors all around the world made the stupid decisions to read it when they could have been doing something useful…like treating patients.

So, for the benefit of the three geniuses who were bereft of practical solutions, please allow GOF, the intellectual mouse, to help you out.

1. Anchor the spoons to some anvils, wall studs or concrete pillars
    with short lengths of towing chain welded to the spoon handles.

2. Superglue the spoons into the ends of 6 foot long broomsticks.
    If you see someone who looks suspiciously like the Wicked
    Witch flying out the door after work you can make a reasonable
    assumption that she probably has one of your precious
    teaspoons tucked between her legs.

3. Buy a hundred battered teaspoons from the Lifeline Opportunity
    Shop, then further disfigure them with my 12 inch fencing pliers.
    Then you can waste another 5 months longitudinally and
    cohortionally studying just how many of them your light-fingered
    staff knocked off in comparison to all your poncy silver
    fancy-pants $100 a year cutlery.

4. Compulsory strip searches for all staff leaving the tearooms.
    (Any volunteers? Prior experience and knowledge of what a
    teaspoon looks like and the places where they can be hidden
    will be viewed favourably.)

5. Provide plastic spoons or wooden stirrers.  Or is that beneath
    your collective over-educated dignity?

Sheesh!  Why do I bother.

Now, in what nook of our cave did Mrs GOF hide my spears this week.

I'm going out on a very long trek to see if I can catch me a hairy mammoth for dinner.

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Another close shave with the law

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 Australian Criminal Code 1899  Section 415415
  It is an offence to; 
 "Make threats to cause detriment"

Well yes, I know now that it is something that I probably should not have said or done.

However, the two young men who had only recently arrived from Utah  dressed inappropriately for the tropics in suits and ties, did bicycle onto my property uninvited early on Saturday morning, and knock on my door after I'd only had a couple of hours sleep.

I now apologise unreservedly for the threats that I made.
(Ed;  GOF spends a lot of his time apologising)

On reflection, the suggestions I made about suitable parking arrangements for their bikes were probably both diplomatically inappropriate, and biologically challenging.
In exchange for my sincere apology, these very nice men no longer intend pressing charges against me.

They quite generously took into account that I am still under a good-behaviour bond resultant from my little misadventure last year, which some of you might remember, involving accidental body contact with a couple of women in the shopping centre.

We parted on a friendly basis.
As it was an extremely hot day, I'm sure they appreciated the very large orange juice concoction I prepared as a peace offering before they pedalled somewhat unsteadily back up the hill towards the main road.

I am sure the mobile breathalyzer unit does not operate on Saturday mornings.

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Your worst nightmare

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My Form 3 science teacher in country Victoria used to constantly regale us with his favourite life observation;
"There are two stinking cities in the world, and Melbourne is BOTH  of them."

I vividly remember this little piece of trivia, whereas the finer details he taught of Archimedes experiments in bathtubs has suffered, well…….. displacement.

We were never provided with empirical evidence or statistical data in support of the "Melbourne Hypothesis". 
Perhaps he was simply, during childhood, belted around the ears a lot in that city, or maybe, in love, he lost a Melbourne girl who went on to become Miss Australia 1958.

Over the years I have become a subscriber to his religion, whilst broadening the parameters somewhat to include every settlement in the world with a population over……oh, let's say 50.  
They are not places I would ever by choice want to live. 

The time has come however for me to adopt a more realistic view, for one day I may need the convenience of city services to comfortably live the final chapter of my life.

The reality is that living at GOF's Paradise requires a minimum level of physical fitness.   Being responsible for your own housing, transport, water, and energy supplies brings with it a certain workload of continual maintenance. 
There is no-one to call to "fix it".  You have to do it yourself.

Refrigeration, for example, only happens after driving 100 km to buy some 60 kg gas cylinders, then manhandling and connecting them to the plumbing.

Our isolated location also means that there will be no volunteer organisations offering to help us out with life in our senior years.

Globet (our daughter…aka Inga…..for newcomers) has been charged with the responsibility of ensuring that GOF makes a timely and dignified transition into civilisation.
She will argue till the cows come home that "dignity" and "GOF" are two incompatible items, but nevertheless, if, one day she moves me in next door to you, wherever you are in the world, I plan to be a thoughtful and considerate neighbour.

Please let us be kind to each other, otherwise the old reprobate inside me might just decide to start learning to play the bagpipes.

At 4 am.

With my windows wide open.

Starting with this version of AC/DC's Thunderstruck;

(Vox is having a hissy fit and refuses to load Youtube link normally)


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I hope you dance

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I Hope You Dance

(by Lee Ann Womack)

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.
You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.
May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed.

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking.
Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making.

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter.
When you come close to selling out, reconsider.
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance.



And, if Ms Womack does not mind I'll also post pictures of,

Some Birds for Breakfast

(In the "as company" sense as opposed to "on the menu").

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An epistle on shacking up

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Why is it, when the past few decades have seen so much substantial social reform, that marriage and defacto relationships remain temptingly simple to enter into, yet present us with legal minefields to exit?  

Let me pursue the courageous idea that the entry requirements should be tightened.  

I bring some small amount of experience to the debate having, 40 years ago, been lured hook line and sinker into a period of unholy matrimony which eventually required expensive legal representation and court determinations to get escape from.

Yet today, anyone over the age of 18 is still permitted to shack up, then accidentally or deliberately procreate, with as much forward planning as would apply to making a selection from the menu at KFC.

The only prerequisite is some cursory determination that the potential partner complies with at least one misty fairy tale fantasy, and/or has been rendered at least temporarily desirable when viewed through the blurry lens of either alcoholic intoxication, post-coital bliss, or both.

Not much prior thought is given to the 50% probability of the union failing, which then legally requires splitting all possessions including the cat and budgerigar down the middle, regardless of whether one partner has been an unproductive, obnoxious, conniving and bludging slob who deserved nothing.

We often do more logical clear-thinking research before buying a used car, by checking it's mileage, fuel consumption, upholstery condition, and diligently interrogating one or several prior owners about the vehicle's foibles and handling behaviour on the road.

There has to be a more practical partnership model available than that currently in use, especially for those bringing children into the world.

A partnership policy that requires a greater investment and commitment by both partners than simply muttering a poorly rehearsed  "I do" before a celebrant.
One which requires more patience, counselling, and mandatory jumping over an assortment of personal-relationship skill hurdles.
Perhaps then we could have a greater percentage of enduring relationships where children could look forward to having more than one parent in attendance.

I am almost tempted to recommend New Guinea's "bride price" system, where any instant desire to cohabitat is customarily prevented by the requirement for the man to firstly raise sufficient cash and pigs to afford the transaction with the bride's family.

Having initially invested so much livestock and hard currency in the partnership, Mr Pangu is then less likely to run away from Mrs Pangu with the excuse that she gained ten pounds in weight after childbirth and accordingly was "no longer the girl that I married".
When the temptress down the road offers him the prospect of more exciting fringe benefits, he will think twice about accepting them, because ongoing use of those benefits will automatically require him to raise another 20 pigs along with accompanying loot.
He will conclude that, in the long run, some things in life are probably just not worth the extra farming effort. 
Mrs Pangu is also adequately deterred from getting into mischief because then her extended family will be obliged to return all the original goodies.

When I seek election as the world's first less-than-benevolent dictator I might adopt as part of my electoral platform the following ancient custom in an attempt to make youngsters think twice before entering into partnership commitments.

This is from "The Last Unknown" by Gavin Souter, concerning
explorer Dr. Sterling's first contact with the Nogullo pygmy tribe
in New Guinea in 1926.

     "The Nogollos were polygamous but there was a shortage of
     women and few men could afford more than one bride price.
     Marriage was not easy.  The bridegroom was expected not only
     to pay for the bride, but also to undergo an hour-long ordeal
     during which he did his best to dodge arrows fired at him by the
     bride's male relations.  As part of the subsequent marriage
     ceremony he was required to chop off one of the bride's fingers
     with a stone axe."

Please excuse me for rushing off like this in the middle of our little discussion, but I am expecting a phone call from the Womens Electoral Lobby, confirming their endorsement of me as their preferred dictatorial candidate.


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Post script…… drivers

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Just 10 months ago I posted a story in appreciation of three taxi drivers who for many years occupied the same corner table at the breakfast eatery which we patronise in Cairns a few times each month.  
Here is an extract;

"Each time we visit, there is the same group of taxi drivers also refuelling after their night shift.  One of them looks like Clive James. Another Keith Richards. And Steve Martin. They are all somewhere around my age, and, to phrase it politely, all very large gentlemen.  They chain smoke while enjoying large helpings of greasy bacon and eggs washed down with bottomless cups of coffee.  I presume they are in attendance most days of the week.
Some of their conversation involves sharing graphic updates of their current health problems, ailments, and treatments.

I choose to write about them because this group of men, regardless of the topic of conversation, exude happiness in bucketloads.  Their laughter and good humour infects all patrons within earshot.  They are content in their own skins, and find comfort, companionship and cameraderie with their contemporaries by sharing a common gender and occupation.

Perhaps in a way I envy them, yet I know their lifestyle is not for me.  I derive equal happiness and contentment from "aloneness" and my own company and solitary occupation.

So…..long live my taxi driver "friends".
You have each, unknowingly, contributed in a small way to my happiness."

February 2010

For the last month their table has been empty, so I asked the proprietor what had happened.

One had died,
One has motor neurone disease and can no longer drive.
The last one had to retire because of ill health.

Mrs GOF and I miss them all.  
The final curtain has fallen on our breakfast entertainment.

Another reminder for me to appreciate the scenery of life today, because tomorrow either one or the other of those two commodities may no longer be there.

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Giant moss

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I have been reliably informed that this species of Dawsonia is the  largest-growth-habit variety of moss in the world.
It grows in great abundance around GOF's place in full sun on very poor soils.
During dry conditions it shrivels up and looks brown and dead, yet within 30 seconds of getting a drink of water the entire mat of moss springs back into life looking like a forest of miniature pine trees. 
Each "tree" is around 75mm (3") in height.

Never fails to intrigue and amuse me. (I am easily amused)

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