Sunday, January 25, 2009

This stuff fascinates me. Or: the brain in exile...

This stuff does fascinate me. Which is why I put it in my blog where it may or may not fascinate you.

OK. Bear with me.

The Belarusian People's Republic, also called the Belarussian National Republic (BNR) to disinguish it from later Communist states, was declared on March 25, 1918 during World War I, when Belarus was occupied by the Germans according to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

The Belarussian People's Republic was absorbed into the USSR in 1920 and recast as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus which later became independent in 1991. In 1920, a BNR Government-in-Exile was created in, er, exile.

It still exists today. Its current president is a woman named Ivonka Survilla.

Two years in existence. Nearly 90 years in exile.

Just like my toothbrush*.

* Long story.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Life, friends, is a journey

Another from the random memory department:

My cousin, who was the more or less same age as me but grew pubic hairs much earlier, was my best friend for some time. We used to play frequently at his house. More so than my house – because his parents, my uncle and aunt obviously, were much looser than mine and also because of the sheer force of his personality which brought me to him rather than vice versa.

Anyway, this one time, many years prior to puberty, I was running in his back yard, down one grassy, plum-tree shaded side of his house and I tripped. I put out my hands to protect myself and was amazed to find one hand sliding across the ground.

I discovered that my right hand had met with a fairly fresh dog turd belong to the retarded spaniel-cross known as Kelly. I stared in amazement at the smear which had lubricated my palm’s path across the parched earth. I looked from my darkened hand to the black skid on the grass and back again. I was amazed. Disgust came later but amazement got there first.

I don’t remember where I was going that afternoon or what I was running from but I do remember the journey.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Insanity and decadence. It's a twofer!

This afternoon I did some quick shopping before my kids arrived at 4. I hadn't seen them since Christmas morning and I wanted to pick up a few little items like an extension cord but also wanted to look for new sheets. I went to Dickson intending to go to Harris Scarfe (formerly Allens. It's freaky to have encountered Harris Scarfe like this given they were the perennial low-rent department store as I grew up in Adelaide. To suddenly explode across the East Coast after so many years of sketchy docility is a little weird.)

Anyways (rolls eyes at own digression) I noticed a new two-dollar-crap store in Dickson called Bill's Bargains. (I love these stores and god bless capitalism (but mostly China) for being able to serve up all kinds of handy stuff for less than the cost of a sandwich. I mean, 100 LED fairy lights with variable sequences for $21? (Although you can quite readily get three sandwiches for that price I'll grant you). Try explaining that to Edison -- his being dead won't be the only barrier to comprehension)

Anyways, in this store, there was a tall, very thin, weird looking bloke chatting affably to the store owner (who may or may not be "Bill". History does not record. Which is History's loss).

I wandered from aisle to aisle looking for flash gizmos or tasty ethnic handicrafts for the price of a fancy sandwich, all the while eavesdropping. (Confession: I do like to eavesdrop on strangers at restaurants and in shops. You hear some fascinating stuff. I justify this as research for a novel. Any novel. Maybe Watership Down, for example. I would imagine rabbit dialogue is quite hard to do.)

He was talking non-stop to the owner who was merely nodding and aha-ing and mmming.

Here’s what I recall of what the dude said: ‘Yeah, it’s going to be great for Canberra. [blah, blah]. It’s going to clean the scum from the streets. [blah, blah in which I gather he’s talking about a caravan park somewhere which will apparently draw all of Canberra’s impoverished disenfranchised scum into one handy location]. Yeah, I’m going to manage it [may have been: I should manage it]. Because I know all the people and all the trouble-makers and all the tricks and all the deals. [blah blah, something about being interviewed by the police but being kicked out because he’s a drunk.] Yeah, I’m a drunk. [blah, blah, something about it being the police’s loss because he has some tasty information]. I could have told about that time twenty years ago that somewhere broke into the police armory and took all that cord [I think that’s the word he used]. They thought it was terrorists but I know it was right in their back yard. Milo tins full of the stuff with fuses. [So I gather we’re talking explosives. Blah, blah, something about heavy interstate bikers. Blah blah.] Of course I know a lot more than that. But if the police pull me over and ask me now I’m not going to give them the time of day.

At this point, I rounded the final aisle and came face to face with the owner for the first time. He gave me a sweet little eye-brow raise by way of greeting, part hello, part kill-me-now. I gave him one in return, part hello, part I’m-not-sure-the-authorities-would understand. You’re on your own Bill/notBill, purveyor of bargains.

And then I swept out elegantly past the tall thin drunk and went and bought 400-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Decadence! Now if only I could have got them for the cost of a sandwich.

I will however view powdered drinking chocolate a little more suspiciously from now on.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Krap post for the new year

Hi! Sawadee krap (krap being the masculine ending for many words in thai apparently)

Oh god, the pressure of the blank pixel has never seemed so real nor so alive! I'm sitting here in an internet cafe in Bangkok with paid-for minutes ticking away idly and I get to thinking: why are Thai shopping centres so bad at signage? Is it because the Thais were never colonised by a more geography-conscious European power or is the reason more sinister? Are the Thais in fact all vampires who navigate from dairy to toiletry aisles by smell alone with no need of direction-giving placards? Could that be the reason I wake in the morning pale and wan or is it just how I went to bed the previous night...? (I swear I'm getting browner, I swear).

No, I got to thinking: blog quiet. blog post end blog quiet. kill blog quiet good. hammer keyboard til black writing-sounds show on bright square. appease almighty web god. spare first-born in spring etc.

So this is the result. A cheap and tasty blog post that will leave you wanting more when I return in mid-January.

Oh, god is that the time? I have two minutes left! Must dash! Pad thai doesn't fellate itself...