peteg's blog

The Reader

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/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Early-afternoon snorkelling attempt from the northern side of Gordons Bay. Things were going well until I decided to swim across the bay, thinking I'd check out the rocks just north of my usual swimming spot. I ran straight into what seemed to be a flotilla, perhaps even an armada, of blue bottles. Initially I thought I'd gotten snagged in someone's fishing line and cavalierly started bulling the blue threads off my mask and snorkel, until I realised I was surrounded by the pesky little things. Suffice it to say I got stung on the lips, cheek, neck and right inner-forearm. Good thing I was wearing my spring suit or it would've been carnage.

I tried the cold shower then the hot shower, and came away thinking that the hot one reduced the discomfort the most. The bubbling of the skin went away in an hour.

Apart from that the water was very pleasant and I did see a few fish in the few minutes I was in.

David Markson: This is not a novel

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Dave C gave this to me many, many years ago, around the time he departed Australia for good. I can see what attracted him to this experiment in fiction, and also why he so freely parted with it.

Reader feels less appreciation for the non-novel on completion than whilst reading it. Pages were turned, jokes occasionally apprehended.

Artifice wears thin, preoccupations of author too banal, reader opines. Speculation, questions of a rhetorical nature, seem a cheap device. Particularly in the era of reductive analysis. Even more particularly in the face of millenia of art, much providing substantial insight.

To reference is not to create. To refer in French is to posture. To refer in Latin is to solipsistically enjoy the firing of one's own neurons. Reader would have preferred characters and plot to a toilet roll of death notices.

Reader can almost perceive the genesis of Nick Cave's circa-2004 renaissance in this book, with structure and themes closely parallelling There She Goes, My Beautiful World. Reader is relieved that the benefit was not solely the author's.

Michael Collins

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Dark City

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Traitor

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Appaloosa

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/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Early-afternoon paddle at Putty Beach with Sarah. Flat-as and a bit cold, but plenty secluded. We also drove around Woy Woy a bit but didn't find anything too interesting to look at.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Midday paddle at the northern side of Gordons Bay. Getting in from the scuba ramp is a bit tricky without the boots. The water was cold-ish, I went in with a wife-beater and didn't stay long. Very pleasant day for it though.

Watchmen

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At the afternoon session at The Ritz.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Lengthy mid-afternoon snorkel with Rob at Long Bay. We got in at the relatively young Malabar baths, got past the scads of floating detritus and headed out along the southern side of the bay. I was comfortable in a wife beater, Rob in a rashie and a spring suit. Loads of fish, especially immature blue gropers.

Let the right one in

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Eller på svenska, Låt den rätte komma in. Very well constructed, but Moodysson can be that creepy without recourse to the supernatural.

Censorship as comedy

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Well, that took longer than I expected: a derivative of the ACMA blacklist has been leaked, or least that's the claim; WikiLeaks is presently overloaded, and Conroy is not saying otherwise. I guess that if this censorship gambit is going to stake a some kind of claim to legitimacy by being consistent, they must start down the path of blacklisting Slashdot and all the other sites that, however indirectly, point at this list. Heh, they'll also need to make sure all the derived web filtering software locks it down properly too. Good luck with that.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Late-afternoon paddle at Gordons Bay. Loads of people there, far more than I'd expect for a Friday in March, and quite a few dogs too. Flat-as, and the water was as warm as it has been all season.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Mid-afternoon swim at Maroubra with mrak. I ventured out a bit further this time and got creamed twice as often. Beautiful time to be doing it, and the water remains quite pleasant once in.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Mid-afternoon stand-around-in-the-surf at Maroubra. I hadn't been for a few years and was daunted by the fearsome reputation of both the surf and the locals. The problem for me was the sand drops off pretty quick, so halfway out to the breakers I couldn't tell how far out I should go, especially without my specs. I think the surf was quite tame but wasn't sure about rips and all that. Loads of surfers, some loafers but in no sense was the beach packed.

Zoolander

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Censorship as reflex arc

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Seems I was too hasty last month in welcoming the slide of web censorship further down the crapper; the latest is that ACMA will fine you $11k a day for linking to black-listed sites. The scary bit was the turn-around time, between the plant, the complaint, and ACMA's response. One wonders just how routine this is going to become, especially while an increasingly erratic Fielding First remains in the senate.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Late-afternoon snorkel at Little Bay. Absolutely perfect conditions, and pretty good visibility to boot. Lots of fish of all sizes, including some very immature gropers, the old small silvery swordfish things, and something gray-blue, clownfish-shaped that had a single white line up its side.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Mid-afternoon paddle at a very placid Gordons Bay. A few people there. The water is just about perfect.

Zach and Miri Make a Porno

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Ghost Town

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Valkyrie

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RocknRolla

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Absolute dreck. Guy Richie must've needed to pony up some cash to pay off Madonna.

Dương Thu Hương: Novel Without a Name

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Daz gave me this one after he got back from Việt Nam, the idiomatically-Saigonese photocopied edition. I found it much better than Paradise of the Blind, containing a lot less food porn. The plot ambles through the northern theatres of war, skipping lightly over the details of battle, up to the final throws of the struggle with the puppet Southern regime. The author does a much better job of drawing her predominantly male characters than your average male author does on his women.

The Machinist

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Griffith Review #22: MoneySexPower (Summer 2008/2009)

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Here I am, finishing reading the summer's Griffith Review at the tail end of its shelf-life. I think I started back in November. While it is less patchy than last time's, on the whole it failed to grab me. The highlights:

  • Edwina Shaw's tale of teaching in a coughJuvenile Justice Centre, The heaviness of keys, is wryly amusing.
  • I missed the point of Jonathan Raban's Just two clicks, where the activities of a hitherto-unknown-to-me Neil Entwhistle are recounted and somewhat analysed. What the subject did was bizarre and perhaps inexplicable, but for Raban to close out the essay with a string of caveating maybes is weak. It is well written though.
  • Something for the weekend is Tony Barrell's potted history of Rupert's infamous shock rag News of the World, which I always thought specialised in alien abductions. I guess the sordid sells more.
  • Peter Ellingsen recounts his coverage of Tiananmen Square in his memoir China on my mind, reminding me of all that the modern newspaper fails to deliver.
  • In Love Thy Neighbour, Craig Scutt discusses Australia(n men)'s relationship with South East Asia, well, Thailand in one particular, and sexual in another. I think the excerpt in the SMAGE is the better piece as it contains more innuendo.
  • Mary-Rose MacColl was charged with reviewing maternity services in Queensland in the recent past, and her experiences and summary findings are recounted in The birth wars. I expect her book of the same title will make riveting reading for those with a specific interest in this topic.
  • Rachel Robertson's Bonus ruminates on how her mothering of her son, who has autism, defines her as a "carer", worthy of a cash bonus from the Federal Government, because she is "eligible". The art of this essay is to enliven what I'd usually find to be a tedious word-semantic game with life experiences and a style of societal analysis that lacks obnoxiousness. Perhaps the stand-out piece.
  • The "reportage", My Banker, by Wayne McLenan would have been better billed as "bullshit". It's a long and rambling account of a dodgy investment arrangement in Central America, and like a story in a pub, didn't coalesce and didn't end soon enough. The best bits are set in Europe. His weakest piece yet.
  • Charlie Stansfield's The Last Taboo artfully explores the fraught sexuality of people with severe disabilities, based on her experience as a professional in the disability sector, and with professionals in other sectors. Another stand-out.

I found it funny that so much of MoneySexPower was concerned with disability; I was expecting the majority of the articles to cover the topical Wall St big swinging master of the universe type-A's.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Mid-afternoon snorkel at Long Bay. Absolutely perfect day for it, clear and warm but not hot. The bay was a bit too rough to just float around and see everything, or perhaps the spear fishermen had been working hard. The water temperature was just right, though a bit cloudy.

W.

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Fairly tedious. I got the feeling that George H. W. Bush would have made a more interesting subject than Junior. It pushes all the buttons, too many buttons, unconvincingly. Brolin is as good as could be hoped for.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Tried going for an early-evening snorkel from the northern scuba-ramp of Gordons Bay, and got laughed out the ocean by some fairly hefty and powerful waves. Not to be completely stymied I tried paddling at Clovelly and got hammered by about the same. Not a good day for calm reflection in the coastal waters.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Mid-afternoon paddle a mildly rough Gordons Bay. Beautiful day for it, apparently only 22 degrees but feeling a lot warmer, even with the wind. Hardly anyone about down at Coogee. The water is finally generally warm enough to be pleasant throughout the bay.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Braved the dumpers at Coogee in the later afternoon. Quite pleasant in, not many fellow beach users about.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Back to Gordons Bay in the early evening for a swim around (half) the bay, starting at the beach. Beautiful, even as the storm clouds rolled in.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link

Another beautiful late-summer's day in Sydney. I figured I'd try the northern end of Gordons Bay — just south of the Clovelly carpark — and sure enough it turned out to be blue-bottle free. Apparently not too many people were game after yesterday's extreme jellyfish event.

Hunger

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Much better than it had a right to be; not much happens, the narrative is entirely predictable to anyone who knows anything about the IRA and Bobby Sands. The scene in the middle, a twenty-minute plus dialogue between Sands and the priest, makes the movie. The lead actor must have a huge future, like Christian Bale (cf The Machinist) before him.

/noise/beach/2008-2009 | Link
Headed down in the mid-afternoon for a paddle at Gordons Bay, only to find a surf lifesaver boat in the middle of it and a few hundred blue bottles washed up on shore. I'd never seen so many, and there were hundreds more just off the beach. Near as I could tell no-one was in the water.