Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turkey, a taster...

So in September Iggy and I headed off for Turkey, with a brief stop in England, and Norway. We spent nearly all of October traversing the varied and magnificent terrain that is Turkey, and immersing ourselves in an ancient cultural landscape, from Istanbul, to Goreme, Izmir and Pumakkale, and Ifes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hanging with Iggy, London one year on.

Already we've been in the UK for four days not including Friday when we arrived in the evening. It's lovely to travel with Iggy and has been an absolute delight to see Oscar and Jasper in the flesh. The boys are so similar to my babies when they were small. Travelling with a teen is interesting. It's about this age that teens need social interaction with their peer group and Iggy is already missing this. He spent the entire day at a publishers office bored to death and sleepy, feeling quite lonely and out of it. 'I hate your work face' he tells me, furious at his wasted day as I drag him to the British museum in a huge taxi, little amuses him and London is not his favourite place. He's wrong, London's wild, he just doesn't know it yet. 

What he does know, now, is that mummy is good at her job, and she's bossy there 
as well as home; the British love to queue, like REALLY LOVE IT, and sometimes a castle is not really a castle, and a cave is not really a cave, no matter how much you pretend. 

He seems to adore the multitude of accents, and when the British are on THEY ARE ON, but they can be so rude, and you can say that of any group of people anywhere, and if your going to apply sweeping generalisations in an attempt to be an amateur anthropologist then keep them nice. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

We are the lucky ones

We are the lucky ones. We are safe. We are the lucky ones. We seek no home, no safe haven. We are the lucky ones. We seek no food, no cloth to cover ourselves. We are the lucky ones. We are bold, hold our heads high. We are the lucky ones. The world is ours for the taking. We are the lucky ones. Our houses stay standing in storms, our counsels regulate our buildings. We are the lucky ones. Fruit trees line our streets, not soldiers. We are the lucky ones. Our speech is free, our education top 10 in the world according to the OECD. We are the lucky ones. Our science is some of the best in the world. We are the lucky ones. Our health system is one of the worlds best. We are the lucky ones. Our country is full of protected environments. We are the lucky ones. We voted for Tony Abbott. Are we still the lucky ones?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Call of Duty. Ghosts. Black ops. Modern Warfare. Stroke Team. World at War.

The top of the teens Christmas wish-list was 'Call of Duty' (COD). He was talking about COD for Playstation in particular, irrelevant, but it's interesting to note that the dude that invented and developed the game, Ben Chichoski  has sold it over multi platforms and made over $120 million for his efforts. Back to my teen, and my conscience, as I am a conscience buyer; Hamish and I dropped into EB Games at Northland and found a shop clerk over 14 years of age, in fact he seemed an almost bonafide adult. I asked him, about the games for Playstation, and their appropriateness, or lack thereof for a 13 year old. He was quick to say, as an experienced gamer that COD was not for kids and was really an intense game, and that he wouldn't let his kids play. Done. We didn't get the game. Why then, I asked does Playstation and XBox make games either for young children or adults with a huge gap where the teen games should go? And he said the market demanded it, and as kids always wanted to be older and they consequently wanted the older games. The wanna be grown up becomes the games greatest marketing tool. And parents buy this message with ease. The consoles are sold as 'games', games are for kids, ergo, the games made for the games machine is for kids. But no.
I've heard rumours over the years that the COD series was made by the US military, but I can't substantiate that. However, I can substantiate that the US army jumped on board with COD by placing XBox machines in malls around America as a recruitment tool.
'The Last Starfighter'? This concept has been explored before; however, I've got a feeling this doesn't translate to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and the many countries around the world in a state of war.

The fairly spoilt teen was devastated not to receive COD in some manifestation on christmas morning, although he will survive. In the evening we hung out with some relatives who were fine with the COD for their 12 year old. Teen begged me to have a look at the game and play it, really assess it. And as I watched the POV of a solider, as me, slaughter people in the street, wander through towns and wipe them out indiscriminately, knowing that in some versions they represent arab people. An oppressed and hated people by many in the West, and it sickens me. 
Boxing Day, I find myself back at EB Games, this time with the teen in tow, well, he's towing me. And I ask a shop clerk again for their opinion. The very young fellow we speak to epitomises my fears when he says, 'COD is not as bad as Grand Theft Auto, as that's realistic, whereas COD is total fantasy'. I'm incensed and proceed to embarrass teen thoroughly, by saying 'are you serious'? COD is a tool that makes it more comfortable for the western people playing it to see and swallow the killing of Arabs, and this suits western governments on many levels'. 

And that's where I stand on COD. We don't have it. I don't want it. And I'm confused that it's so common, so acceptable and so OK in a world that's heading off to hell in a hand basket. 

This is what war looks like. It involves rape, murder, death, carnage, blood, mutilation, fear, terror, torture, and desperation. It is something we never want our privileged children to face or endure, not like the many children of the world who are actual child soldiers. Who play this game for real.
Would the people who let their children play this game and any of the COD series let me show their children these real images of war? 

 This is what war looks like. It's NOT a game.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lobby group

Anyone who knows us or has read this blog knows that we had a very tough year last year with our little autistic boy and the mainstream school system. By the end of last year we had had such trauma at the hands of the school principal and her education department minions that Q had developed a breathing tick related to stress that is now, six months finally, for the first time in his schooling life Quinn is safe and happy and the tick is resolved. Last night at Quinn's OT appointment I queried his height. Stunted growth apparently, is a result of severe stress; severe stress has of course played a big part in Q's life. 

I'm looking forward. I'm being brave. I have to because he is so very brave. But my guts are wretched, and my heart hurts. How can adults we trusted damage our child so much and be completely without responsibility without blame? If they remain so, then they will do more damage to other children. I will do my best from this year forward to push for legislation to change that. I believe that teachers, including kindergarten teachers need to have a mandatory reporting system for children with autism. I believe they need to then have the accurate training, which will be enforced as a part of the curriculum in education. I believe that even over-reporting of 30 per cent would be a worthwhile figure as early intervention is the only means of treatment for children with autism, and other conditions relative to autism benefit from the same treatments. 

I am starting a lobby group and I will be working towards pushing for this mandate basing it on Sections 182(1) a-e, 184 and 162 c-d of theChildren, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.)

I'm recruiting, anyone interested?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

new house in pictures

Not all right on the night

We moved house on Saturday last week. It started out hilarious and moved to slightly insane, wrapping up in a CAT team and tears.

So how did this come about?

My brother is a Store-man for Yakka, a big company with lots of workers, he is a staunch believer in OHandS and takes physical lifting seriously. Our wonderful volunteers are actors, film makers, photographers and writers, and not so experienced with the heavy lifting, and icing on the cake is Hamish's kind hearted but suspected autistic dad. You can guess where this is leading but my brother became frustrated pretty quickly as my friends failed to form even basic rudimentary lines (which is why I love them).

But my dearest friend on earth, whom I love so very much has been through hell and back, in a series of personal events from a dark place. My friend lost their shit and their calm in a way that was terrifying and unexpected. And I mention this because I want to talk about the pressures on single mums in our society.

My dearest friend is a single mum and in the same week that Julia Gillard inspired the world with a speech about womyns equality in politics she fist-fucked single mothers and removed their support mechanisms, which were already paltry and replaced them with the Newstart allowance. Essentially dropping their financial support a few hundred dollars and pressuring them to work around the hours that children can attend school. All of the single womyn I know do not own houses. All of their exes do.

All of the single womyn I know struggle to find or maintain work that does not damage or leave their children vulnerable. And after having a teen, I am convinced that teenagers need just as much attention as toddlers to help them overcome their emotional stuff.

Just say a womyn came out of a relationship, onto Newstart dealing with heart break and loss of income and job and she worked with him in his business so her career had to be reassessed and realigned and immediately she receives notification from Newstart to seek employment or lose benefits. Just up and do as you're told or the government will smack you for not being good enough to hold on to your partner. NOT FAIR, NOT ON!

So watching my friends go through this has been heart breaking, struggling to get by, kids who are in the early years of highschool with no childcare options just looking after themselves! Depressing state of affairs, as we again, take from the vulnerable, and this leads to health problems, including mental health and then the burden in on services which in some cases have been underfunded themselves.

These attacks on the vulnerable need to end!

And as for my part. I am not moving house again!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abduction and communities taking back dangerous places

I'm thinking about abduction. Last week a 12 year old boy was apparently close to abduction by a man with a crossing guard uniform in his car. Three women and a little girl were found in the US trapped in an evil man's basement. A flurry of distress and fear. My neighbours and very good friends told me just the other day about her and her girlfriend being harassed at the local park, along Merri Creek in Coburg, while they were exercising. The guy was on a push bike mid morning, with hoodie, and was hiding and watching them, they noticed the bizarre behaviour and the moment escalated when around the oval, he one side, they the other it became a game of cat and mouse; he presumably emboldened by their fear. They won't use the creek again. And this isn't the only story of harassment along the creek I've heard in the passed 12 months. So, there have been a few of these incidences, and people are fearful and lost faith and connection to a common space; what to do? 

I think that the womyn, men and children who feel affected by this problem, this community violence, should probably get angry. It's a pretty angering situation after all! Taking back spaces is empowering and may knock a bit of boldness out of this and other possible perpetrators of community violence against women and children. 

So how do we take back the space? We claim it, in the areas he and others like him have been hunting, we march with police and media attention, at night with candles and lanterns to 'ward away the darkness'. We walk along the creek and we take it back, we use it - we support others to use it and we leave our presence, chalk messages to these perps perhaps - messages of outrage, anger and power - we post crime stopper pictures under bridges and entry ways to the creek walk and we take back our community space. We tell those selfish, deviant, unwanted perpetrators of sexual violence not to 'move on' but to shape up and that we - as in me and my community, we are watching YOU! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


We bought a house two weeks ago, and we move in in 7 weeks. It's exciting, it's magic, it's a new and awesome beginning! Today a women, who until recently had been our neighbour, died of cancer. She was 30. We knew she was going to die. And it makes the buying of the house seem a wonderful thing to do, a stupid thing to do, and a grand waste of time and resources. BUT, we are going to get bees, and another dog, and play guitar, and sing, and garden, and make art and food, and start a lip balm company, and plant fruit trees, and harvest honey, and raise children, and LIVE, LIVE, LIVE. Because Rel can't, and someone fucking has to.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I just love meteors and space junk, and volcanoes and trains. But today meteors have my attention 

I also love Bruce Willis and have long been a fan of his movie gusto that results in minimum injuries. Always. And, until now it was in movies that people like Bruce Willis could save the earth from asteroids; or, in fact, partially save the earth, as it wasn't a complete success, was it! 

It seems the nerds have finally inherited the earth, and when and if, the time comes that we sit in the path of a meteor bigger than somewhere between a grain of sand and a small star, it will instead be a carefully executed statistical diagnostic rather than muscle and nuclear power, that will save the day. Which is actually quite a relief. 

When I read these articles Meteorite soars over russia and Look out close encounters of the asteroidal kind I envision myself as Willis's nerd side-kick planning, with no emotion and enormous situational gravity the last chances of earth. Hurtling toward the meteor in a tin can called 'RUST BUCKET' (or maybe 'Serenity' if I got lucky); glancing back dispassionately at the shrinking earth in the window behind me, in a 'my time has come kinda way' and rushing to address red flashing lights and shout yes commander, 'sir, we have incoming' etc... 

However, I now daydream myself in an appropriate sized spacecraft with robot arms and finely tuned motor skills fitting rocket boosters onto space rock hurtling with great velocity to earths pending doom, and firing up those beauties, steering them from their path just a few centimetres, probably 50-100 prior to impact, less fanfare, certainly, no impending doom, but so freaking exciting! Where do I sign up!