Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twists of the knife: Hitchens on Bhutto

Both contrarian and iconoclast, Hitchens is someone I don't always agree with, but always enjoy reading. Even as he mourns Bhutto's assassination on strategic grounds, he reaches forward and twists the knife into her character, reminding us that most of what most of us have read about her hasn't probed much further than her Oxbridge education and gender, paired with pictures of this light-skinned stylishly-dressed beauty guaranteed to enhance her mainstream Western appeal. Dark haired Diana of the East.

He notes that the moderate icon played a role in fuelling extremism. As with the CIA's support of the Mujahadeen, the following smacks of short-sighted idiocy:

"...when she was prime minister, she pursued a very active pro-Taliban policy, designed to extend and entrench Pakistani control over Afghanistan and to give Pakistan strategic depth in its long confrontation with India over Kashmir."

Someone say something about coming home to roost?

For me her obsession with righting her father's wrongs brings to mind the great lame Megawati, a bit of an icon alongside her father's memory in Suharto controlled Indonesia. Neither Megawati nor her bapak had much to offer the country in the long run, and I do end up wondering why a country of umpteen million gets stuck with the privileged children of its previous blights coming back after power like it's a private dominion.

I suspect there's truth in Hitchens' assertion that:

"...the PPP, a supposedly populist party ... never had a genuine internal election and was in fact—like quite a lot else in Pakistan—Bhutto family property."

Then there are the nukes, and the corruption allegations. And her family's gift to world peace:

"...the two main legacies of Bhutto rule—the nukes and the empowered Islamists—have moved measurably closer together."

Rest in peace m'dear, your death only slightly less tragic than those of the innocents in the crowd.

But you're no Mother Teresa. Damn, Hitchens has tarnished that icon too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Those would be stars

In the dark we stand, looking back down the track to her great grandpop's house. 4 generations dined there this eve, celebrating 85 years, a lucky man, a skillful shot, a dogged survivor. We are all grateful he saw off Kokoda and Borneo. That he married a fine lady, whose nickname became Bear's middle name, and built a family on a fine piece of dirt.

We stand on that dirt, in the dark, the voices of the others fading as they enter the other house behind us. I hold Bear close, she works a piece of my neck between her right fingers, holds my upper arm with her other hand. It is so dark, dark like it never gets in the city. But I can see her wide-open eyes in the starlight.

"Those are stars. Twinkle twinkle indeed, the real thing" I tell her. She takes in everything, silent, amazed.

Much is pitch black, but the outline of the tops of the trees can be made out. Above them, the rich spray of unfamiliar stars. Down the track opposite great grandpop's there's a weak reflection from the water of a small dam. In other directions are hills, precursors to the Snowys, and in closer the vines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc all have their genesis on this land. Like the trees, they can be made out in places, but as black-on-black adjustments to texture and shape.

No cars, voices, music or humming appliances. No bogans shouting at each other randomly. You realise how penetrating the background noise of the city is when you get out this far. Here the frogs and crickets are a different medium altogether, as loud on the ears, maybe, but softer on the soul.

We stand for several minutes. A normally fickle and restless Bear remains fascinated, her eyes still wide, her breathing even and slow. I am in awe too, of the place, the dark, the quiet. And of the little ball of wonder in my arms, this tiny girl who puts such faith and trust in me, to be sitting so calmly in this alien darkness.

I kiss her head. She has coined a new word on this trip; "nang-nang." Nang-nang, her Uncle (beloved's sister's beloved) has deduced, means infinity- everything entirely, expressed as an equation of nang.

I am a grumpy old man in some respects, have been since about the age of 7. But standing there in the dark I realise that Bear's capacity to make me completely happy, content and at peace with the world, just by being herself, is nang-nang.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Being a home dad is as easy as...

Mud crab tying. A sport in the NT. Someone with several beers in them has to tie a live mud crab without hurting or damaging the poor critter. Unlike mud crabs, children don't generally sever fingers. However the moment Bear feels the change table touch her back she summons up an incredible amount of torque, arches up onto the tip of the back of her head, reaches diagonally across and behind her head with her right hand until she has a vice grip on the back of the table, then yanks, pulls, and squirms until the nappy is on and sealed. Ten minutes or so later. At which point she relaxes, sucking her thumb calmly...

Being a wicket keeper. Not that I could ever catch a ball. How about a heavy skull? The answer is- don't stuff up dad or it'll be off to the GP again. Today's example, she's hauled herself up to standing position by the couch, holding on as she is wont to do. She stands there, as per usual, me dangling a couple of feet behind, half an eye on her, waiting for the usual process whereby she tries to lower herself back down and I gently assist. Suddenly she simply lets go with both hands, no warning, and falls directly sideways with her head hurtling towards the floorboards...

Being a hypnotist. Whose method involves an intuitive mix of low-pitched (or very high falsetto) songs, patting, holding at just the right point on the upper arm while rocking, and a high speed re-tuck under the sheet that would make a drill sergeant proud. This arvo it was the re-tuck, amazingly effective on occasion.

Being one of those bright-jacket-wearing, shouting, pointing, traders. Trying to watch something small and squiggly while fiddling with crap in your hands, all the time knowing everything you have is on the line. Picture being in the kitchen, her food, my coffee, 2 cats getting underfoot, and somewhere, always moving just out of line-of-sight in the living room, a Bear with a passion for climbing and eating.

So yes being home dad's surprisingly straightforward... and yes, my hand slipped under the nape of her neck about 2 inches from the floor. Bear life, I say, Bear life. But it's heaven to be here instead of wedged into my cubicle pushing through files at work. On such a nice day. Speaking of which, it's park time...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yes yes yes yes yes!!!

Eat it. Lap it up. Those of us on the side of good may lap gently, savouring.

Those on the side of bigotry, small-mindedness, and a complete lack of conscience...

Those who lied in public, in the media, on the web, about the reasons for going to war, or for persecuting boatloads of desperate people...

Those who trashed everything we've fought for in this nation from the Eureka Stockade to Mabo...

Those who sneered, and oh how they sneered, at anything passing for intellectual thought wherever it tried to manifest on our continent...

Those who pretended the earth was flat, and denied that which was incontrovertible, refusing to sign up to the future...

Those grubby little self-serving rodents who worked so hard to trash the concept of egalitarianism wherever it lingered...

Eat it. Take it all down, swallow it whole. It's been a long time coming and we won't forget the breathtaking nastiness you brought to the table as you ruthlessly attacked the very notion of civil society and tore us decades into the past.

Oh, how it tastes. The Pommery is pretty fucking nice as well!

Here's cheers to the true believers!

Here's cheers to the lefty blogosphere!

Here's cheers to armagnac'd for predicting that Workchoices was a bridge too far way back when they brought it in... and cheers to my, Jeremy's, Guy's fears of the past few days proving to be baseless- some things you'd rather be wrong about!!

Here's cheers to the future, because we aren't in the '50s any more!

Here's cheers to K-Rudd, man of the hour!

...And here's a whopping CHEERS to Maxi, because, no matter what the last few postal votes bring, you've delivered the the sweetest, most blissful, humiliation, and served it on a plate to the rat....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

c'MON Australia...

Don't let me down.

Just take the plunge.

It's time.

Heading off to the hustings. Knew it would be close, as the late polls are showing. The world my Bear will grow up in may be fundamentally altered by the last minute impulse of a few thousand people today.

c'MON people...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coalition Cracking; sounds of love and joy

Losing confidence in the will of the people? Threaten to use lawyers to overturn their decisions:

The legal opinion was provided to the NSW division of the Liberal party and Mr (Sandy) Street SC is absolutely categoric in his advice that there would be a need for a by-election if Mr Newhouse is elected for the federal seat of Wentworth.

(Sandy Street, formerly Rocky Road QC, of Bedrock?)

The man with the job of selling their climate change policy thinks it's retarded. He's not alone:

Former New South Wales Liberal leader Peter Debnam has broken ranks with the Federal Coalition, saying the Kyoto protocol should have been ratified long ago.

The New South Wales Opposition energy spokesman has told an energy conference clean coal is an oxymoron and nuclear power is not a realistic option for Australia.

Bet he's thinking of another moron as he says it.

Back to the lawyers for a quick cover-up so the next phase of Workchoices stays under wraps.

Then it's off to slouch in the couch (was Peter's slouch deliberate, or a result of an excision of the backbone?) and try to tell everyone that you love each other. As if we couldn't tell already!

But don't relax too much, those funny country folk who share your bed have a habit of letting one go just as you're drifting off:

Barnaby Joyce has contradicted his party leader, deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, by saying he would not try to block Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's planned industrial relations changes in the Senate...

A nasty distraction for Vaile as he tries to pick up popular support for the idea that public bodies should participate in cover-ups to assist the Government of the day:

Mr Vaile suggested bureaucrats should be subject to tighter restrictions during the caretaker period of an election campaign.

Although given it documents highly improper misuse of public funds I guess none of us would be any happier in his shoes.

Scrambling. Dusting off old clothes, CVs, moderate dissenting policy positions. Quite gratifying to observe.

4 days out, I'm feeling slightly optimistic.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Diet solution found!

Put on about a kilo and a half- 50 % of my promise to Bear. Upped my benching by 10 kilos. Commenced growth of a manly mo. Consumed protein en masse. Worked hard for weeks on end. Walked around house with handgrips. Push ups on my knuckles up from 2 or 3 to over 10. Almost ready to cultivate super mullet and fake tan.

Spewed for an hour, shat for a day.

Lost a kilo. 2 steps forward 1 back, to be mathematically precise.

So if you've come here because you googled the heading on this piece my advice is don't waste money, just hang out with a baby with gastro.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keep the champagne corked - the marginal dictatorship saves its worst for last

Rudd is not trouncing Howard. I predict this, claim it, without the armament of extensive psephological analysis of poll numbers. They interest me, but election night results interest me more.

The election isn't being fought on any of the grounds it should be; the long history of abuses of power, the disregard for the environment our children will grow up in, the rise of sneering racism and anti-intellectualism in our culture, embedded by the endorsement of small-minded self-serving besuited bogans.

It's 70% pocket and 30% gut. Work Choices is pocket, Howard's tax cuts and economic claims are pocket. And that's a conservative gut, one that enjoys its overcooked steak and 'taties.

The economy isn't bad. Sure he lied about interest rates. But anyone with a modicum of intelligence knew that the first time around. And since when did lies lead to a poor outcome for an Australian election candidate?

It's not a rational argument. I mean, if it were, there is no way on earth a party that has so messily botched up foreign affairs would be leading the polls in that department. Surely no conservative views Iraq as anything other than the mother of all fuck ups by now?

Last week's 4 Corners had interviews with several people in marginals, following their reactions to various announcements as we entered the campaign. The one who embodied the difficulties faced by social democratic parties more than any other was the woman with the godfrigginalmighty mcmansion.

There she was, with a huge behemoth behind her, or indoors with vast plasma TV and a thousand other spoils. I don't begrudge her this, beyond thinking there's no accounting for taste and moderation. But all she cared about was her pocket. Each promise to give her a handful more bucks caught her attention, to the point that she was coming across as a potential swinger. No wider issue even registered.

A swinging voter in a marginal; key election winning territory. And she, with all her needs and a busload of wants amply met, could not care less about any policy that impacts anyone except her.

She's a natural creature of the Right; singularly greedy and lacking empathy. Yet in a marginal dictatorship she's all that counts, politically speaking.

She's undecided. They're undecided. I hope I'm wrong and he slams it through next weekend. I do give Kev odds-on, but only just. The champagne's corked and stashed. It ain't over 'till the CUB lady sings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A face full of gastrovom makes the love go around

Wednesday was the first of my new daddy days, pursuant to a 4 day week. A poor Bear had been pretty quiet through the night. I strolled in at 7, excited about my new role, figuring she'd be in great sorts.

The smell of vomit hit me immediately. She'd actually crawled her way around the cot during the night and deposited about 5 separate, foul pools of vomage. I don't know why she didn't tell us, she must have been miserable.

The day progressed.

It was a joy being on Bear time. Beloved went off in the arvo on a photography course, a present from Bear and I. We hung out in the park, swung on the swing, slid on the slide (well, the 2 foot bit at the bottom, she's a bit small to come all the way down yet!). I chatted to other parents, it was nice.

Yet Le Bear was fusty. She didn't eat much and kept spitting it back at me. After Beloved came back, we were changing her when she made an 'announcement noise' and suddenly a big flood of vomit filled her mouth and started pouring out. At that point, she decided to blow a great raspberry. I copped a faceful.

I don't know if that's when I caught it. What I do know is that this is the gastro from hell. Last night Beloved had a horrible session of impersonating Linda Blair then, before I could finish laughing, I was hit with the same. Everything I had eaten and drunk for hours, there in the sink, mocking me. Blowing bits of broccoli and carrot out my nose for the next 40 minutes.

And so it kicked off. We each had about an hour's sleep all up. I took the first sickie in aeons, after nearly falling over when I got out of bed. And all day we've gone from being crumpled on the couch, to attending to Bear and some choke risk she'd started engunging, to feeding her, to grabbing short naps, to being crumpled on the couch.

How much fun can you have!? Both of us violently ill, a recovering Bear needing attention, all my work files buzzing around in the back of my head like blowflies. Our muscles ache, joints are sore, every 20 minutes or so we just completely flake.

If this is how the poor girl felt on Tuesday night and Wednesday, then she's made of firmer stuff than us.

The weekend's trip to Rutherglen is off. Misery loves whole familes apparently...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hours drag at the Royal Children's

We did not cope well with the F word.

In the shower, le Bear waves her little reverse wave from her perch in Beloved's arms. They head off downstairs. I close my eyes and breath up the steam.

There are two thumps in quick succession and beloved lets out a sound that's neither shout nor cry but somehow both. Time stops. The water hangs in mid air around me. I shove the shower door aside and start running.

For a moment, there's a thought in my mind that hasn't yet congealed but it is surrounded by a mist of pure fear.

Bear starts crying as I turn the corner at the top of the stairs. I'm instantly relieved because I can see they are both ok. Beloved holds her, they are getting up.

Just a slip onto her bum. A Bear was held tightly, as she should be.

The crying doesn't cease immediately. She protects her leg, uses the other- clearly in some discomfort. But things seem to improve, and I go to work.

A bit later she's still a bit ratty, still not shoving with that leg when she commando crawls. Beloved calls. We agree, a visit to the GP just to be on the safe side.

GP says all fine, but perhaps, just to be sure, drop in on the Royal Children's.

I join them in the waiting room from work, with chocolate for Beloved and food for a Bear. The nurse thinks she's fine, but a quick once-over by the Paediatrician should confirm it.

He thinks she's fine, but an X-ray might be ideal, just to be sure.

We hold her down, wearing our heavy lead suits, and she has a cry on the X-ray table. Not nice for a girl...

The X-ray looks fine, says the Radiologist. I'll hand it back to the Paediatrician for a final check and you'll be out of here.

We wait a bit longer, chat to other parents. It's a sad place, the Royal Children's. A girl has damaged her eye falling in a cartwheel, somehow. She is the embodiment of pathos. I chat to her dad, not really saying anything useful. We shrug, and wait some more.

The Paediatrician walks in with the X-ray. A hairline fracture, he says.

We just stand there. Neither of us has ever broken a leg. A Bear isn't 10 months and she has a fracture.

It was a sad, sad night.

Meanwhile she recovers in days, without a fuss, and is charging around again as if nothing happened.

We hate the stairs. Oh how we hate the stairs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tsunami set to wash away dead wood

What is that pompous fool talking about now? A recession? If a recession was threatening to hit Australia, now, after more than a decade of Peter Costello being Treasurer, how could that possibly be a positive for him?

Is this a tsunami we had to have?

My thinking is that a tsunami of irritated voters threatens Costello and if I were he I would be ringing all my mates on Collins St hocking my CV around.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Getting it all wrong

We split at the supermarket. Beloved and Bear headed home for a feed, I went in, with my pottering mother, on a mission to buy just two things- muesli and cat litter stuff. Half an hour of pottering later we emerge laden down with random items.

I got the wrong muesli. They didn't have the preferred brand (Lowan Tropical, since you asked) so I picked up something that looked nice. I mean, it is birdfood and all, is there a difference? Oh, how I've learned about birdfood, sorry muesli, this evening.

It was wrong, all wrong. It has clusters that dissolve too quickly. It is too high on simple sugars. It's made clear I've made a major stuff up and this will need to be rectified by beloved going herself the next day.

I'm a failure.

So, after I drop my mum at a random church we found for her, hidden away between a couple of quiet suburban streets just where you expect a huge brick monolith to be planted, I head back to the Supermarchet for round B.

I painstakingly read the contents of each and every muesli packet there is. I make sure the leading contenders have no nuts (in case we then touch Bear), are called muesli, look completely like birdfood with no novel features like clusters, and have markedly less sugars than what I bought before.

I note in the process that what I bought before has less sugars than almost all the 'proper' mueslis, but, mine is just to do or die.

I get the rolls royce. It's the better part of $10 for a tiny pouch. I cannot go wrong.

Scroll down...

You know it's coming...

Just about there...

I fucked up royally. This muesli has a code word in the title. Apparently bircher is lithuanian for 'needs soaking overnight or in the microwave like some sort of lumpy porridge.'

Do I give up? What do you think? I'm actually so far past my wits end generally, covering a 1.9 FTE load at work, trying to keep up with what's going on at home, that I just coast on from issue to issue. Flatlining. Not at my best.

Monday, October 01, 2007

This corner of the Planet too Lonely for some

Met by a roar of indifference, Lonely Planet has caused a quirky individual cultural icon based in a struggling suburb in a small nation in the South to be swallowed up by a vast British media beast:

Lonely Planet, which is famous for its international travel guides, is being sold to BBC Worldwide by founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler, and advertising magnate John Singleton who became a shareholder in 1999.

Cue vaccuous weasel-word tripe:

'Joining BBC Worldwide allows us to secure the long-term future of our company within a globally recognised media group,'' the Wheelers said in a statement. ''In our discussions with (BBC), we felt that BBC Worldwide would provide a platform true to our vision and values, while allowing us to take the business to the next level.''

De da da da. They can publish 500 titles but can't come up with a sentence free from inane jargon to explain their decision. I mean, the next level? Does Maureen want to be Secretary General of the UN?

With significant operations in Australia, the US and UK, Lonely Planet publishes about 500 titles including specialist activity guides, shoestring guides and phrase books in various languages. The company also produces and develops factual programming for international broadcasters through Lonely Planet Television and online.

Times are tough.

I know, I'm not making any real point, they're entitled to do whatever they want and no-one has any dignity in business. It's just a shame.

They lead their field, they are already global. They have built so much out of their warehouse digs in Footscray and are an exemplary Aussie start-up and exporter. Despite the considerable handicap of not being based in one of the two nations who think they are entitled to completely dominate most aspects of publishing and the media, they've managed to go round the world and back and completely change travel publishing. If they can't stay here, how can anyone?

Hey Tony and Maureen, would it be that hard to drop the drivel and just say "we did it for the money"?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Baby Gaol

We has it.

Baby Bunting at its most literal. Bear rode around in her Bjorn, facing out from me, her willing mule, flapping her arms, kicking her legs, cackling every time mum turned around. Kids everywhere, some even smaller than a Bear.

I followed my girls around as we saw gates, playpens, toys, clothes and strollers. I kept an arm around her, smelled her hair, enjoyed, as always, the mere being there a part of things. Strollers are $200 or more a pop but the good stuff's free. And dads can't afford to take anything Saturday for granted.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pleasure in simple Friday finishes

A Bear already sleeps when I get home.

Beloved kisses me, comes in close. We hold for a while. Lie on the bed, tempting sleep. My suit goes into weekend hibernation.

Easing the door open so a girl doesn't wake. A girl needs her sleep. She is there- one arm out and one behind her head. Dreamings of posings. I fust with her growing wisps, cup her entire head in my palm, tell her daddy loves her.

I'm sorry I didn't manage to catch the last dad train. I'm here now.

Many things happened and I can tell them to you says Beloved, and in her words I return to the family fold, become part of the day, no longer lost. She found wine and fish. I drink, rolling the flathead in cayenne, ginger and flour. She eats the liquorice I bought her from the sweets shop in the station as I awaited the already too late.

She falls asleep. A Bear still sleeps. I sit down before the computer and Chairman Mao leaps from the bed to my lap with barely 3 steps in between. He purrs, falls asleep. I complete sentences where I can. Minh, the princess, purrs deep in a blanket. Sometime around the start of this paragraph it became Saturday.

Forget ye not the Battle of Midbogan

Forget the polls. Howard remained in pole position until he conceded that he'll retire next term. An astonishing move from a political veteran, one that marked the moment when Kev's nose broke out in front and Labor really became odds-on favourite.

Still not by much. Forget the chatter, this war will be decided over a few Midway-esque battles in conservative marginals. And they're still marginal.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vampyres, father and daughter

A Bear has one of her vampire teeth coming through. A sharp razor's edge can be felt when stray fingers are grabbed and stuck in the finger sharpener. She's waking a few times a night, with stuff to say about it and all.

As for her dad, I'm down a tooth but walking around with the constant seeping taste of blood in my mouth. The stitches are holding, so far, and Dr Lisa seems to have done a pretty tight job, but it's far from comfortable. I'm slightly high on codeine, and at work I'm finding I have to beware of that old medication-tourettes issue, as I just can't be bothered niceing things up for people at the moment. Roll on Friday, roll on...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Torn out by the roots

Tomorrow one of my wisdom teeth will be torn out by the extremly chipper and forthright Dr Lisa, Oral Surgeon.

In a week where I am also travelling to Canberra it is hard to decide which will be the highlight. Probably the former, because the drugs will ensure that while the surgeon shoves her knee into my chest and yanks at my mouth with a pair of pliers, I will be dreaming of a land of clouds and guitars.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Androgens Redux

Shortly after the wonder that is a Bear entered our life, I was, you may recall, a complete psycho. A flood of hormones overtook me and I experienced something I can only theorise is nature's way of ensuring that the male gets eaten by the sabre tooth while mum and bub make a getaway. My eyes were a little wild. Beloved hid the larger kitchen implements.

Anyway, 8 months on and I'm (reasonably) sane again. Then a couple of weeks ago there is a discussion, a friend is over and she is talking about her partner who is a little prone to getting into argy bargy and coming away with a red noggin. Lovely chap, may I add... not at all an aggressor, just... prone. Red noggins. Moving along.

The conversation moves onto an incident I'd all but forgotten, where beloved was in our (then small) car when some duelling-banjo trash slammed into her, clearly in the wrong as you tend to be slamming into people from behind, then proceeded to abuse her and accuse her of being at fault.

When she was in fairly late term, extremely obvious, pregnancy.

The fact that there is such subhuman trash scraping its inbred 3 toed feet around our society can sometimes escape you. When it does you relax in the assumption that we've moved on from being chimps thumping each other with rocks. Indeed, when you have no responsibility other than yourself, and are blessed with a quick tongue and fairly good endurance in a chase, you can probably wrangle your way free of almost any situation.

But what if you're on the road and some throwback is threatening violence, and directing it at your wife? Your little daughter?

The lump of offal referred to above didn't actually do this, but the discussion threw some switch that kept me up half the night. I know it will sound like the most regressive male tubthumping, but while being a husband certainly brings out some protective instincts of its own, being the father of a daughter is gut-churningly terrifying when I stop to think about it, and I'm overwhelmed by the sense that I'm not equipped to protect her.

In a society that, for all its pretence to progress, is still phenomenally violent:
Police said the man and his 32-year-old wife were admiring a silver-coloured Hummer - a large, US-style four-wheel drive - outside Kings car park on Flinders Lane, between Spencer and King streets, about 5.30am (AEST) when they were set upon.The man said "I love your car" before he was attacked by up to six people, with at least one brandishing a metal bar. "The victim was severely beaten and left unconscious," Detective Senior Constable Brett Hampson said.

??!! The perfect crime, they all concluded as they sped away in their SILVER HUMMER. Why, there's 5 in my street alone, they'll never be caught! Moving along...

A dad knows he'll never be some Marvel Comic superhero capable of trussing up all the bad guys then changing back into his suit and dorky glasses. A dad will just be the dork in the suit and glasses. But he hopes, at minimum, that if he has to get eaten one day he'll last long enough to let those he loves escape to higher ground.

Or be able to pull a fallen bookshelf off them, or haul them off the edge of a glacier, or out of a sinking car. OK, that's a bit Marvel-esque. But I'm starting with a modest, simple objective.

My humble aim, for a Bear's first birthday, is to put on 3 kilos of the working stuff. No cardio for me, no samba dancing cross training, no techno yogalates. For me it's leg press, dips, bench, lat pulldowns and a routine that nods to Bulgarian weightlifters. I don't care whether it is noticeable on the aesthetic front, as long as I know I can shove something heavy away from me.

I'm serious. Stop laughing. Even beer consumption, incredibly, may experience some slight reduction in pursuit of my Spartan goal...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So close bear, you can do it

Le Bear is almost crawling.

Well I don't know what the step before crawling really is, but this looks about right. She gets onto her forearms, puts her head down, sometimes grunts, and raises her butt into the air about a 2cm, wobbles up and down a fraction, then collapses to the ground.

After a couple of shots at this, with dad going "whoop whoop, c'MON bear you can DO IT" in teh background, she switches to one of her other moves- the 360 rotation or the why-not-backwards-instead push-slide.


No news is good news, and currently I am enjoying the short periods of play we have together, knowing soon I will be on a 4 day week and no park in Northcote will be safe from our collective insanity.

Her eyes are huge, her cuddles go for 10 minutes at a time. A dad's heart is not currently fixed in this world.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Weekly gay bashing

While I'm posting, a couple of days ago I swear I read that Howard was proposing to pass laws rendering illegitimate any children adopted by gay couples overseas. Anyone heard more?

I see this one sneaking up, suddenly being out there, suddenly being rubber-stamped by the ALP, and I'll be in the biggest crisis of my loyalties since Tampa. I have never been able to discern a single, rational thread within any argument put forward by those who verbally abuse, are intolerant of, or want to restrict the rights of anyone with a slightly non-mainstream sexual orientation. Where are the right's libertarians when you need them?

A Bear, a Bear Market- what's to do but stay put?

We made a decision tonight, and in the resolute spirit of that decision I hereby proclaim: the house search, for now, for at least a sanity-restoring little while, is over.

We came, we saw mostly crap, we attempted to conquer by bidding exhorbitant amounts of money on more than one occasion. This has not worked. It is not, for now, meant to be.

The sense of disappointment is modest, but the relief is a rush like coming to the surface of a pool after holding your breath. To have been earning well, yet in constant fear of money, of being broke, has been just plain lousy.

Searching, in itself, was interesting. I've developed a fascination with the design of the humble family home that I wouldn't have predicted. They can combine the artistic and practical, there is no other human concept like them. And we've learned a good deal, things to watch for, how to do it better next time, whether in 3 months or 3 years.

But the first thing we've learned is this- until we can buy something that isn't an unrenovated latrine in a suburb we want to live in then we are happy to contribute to the landlord's super.

He's a lot nicer than the bank manager.

A Bear agrees. I discussed it with her. Perhaps I'm allowing my own preferences to cloud my interpretation of her response, but what I heard was 'yes daddy, I want you to be fiscally free to go part time so you get to know me before I'm in kinder'.

Thanks Bear, noted, agreed. Sweet little cherub, we already have everything we could ask for in this world.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How to be a perfect parent

...the accumulated wisdom of my observation of others and receipt of their generously-offered advice...

Buy a $1700 pram that Choice says is unsafe for kids. Sneer at anyone without one. That'll make you look smart.

Don't wake baby up if she is sleeping past her usual getting-up time, that's just cruel, waking a baby. Like flailing them with a cattle whip, but far worse.

Don't sing them songs you like, or anything with more than 2-3 words or notes. If you do you are just being selfish. Everyone knows kids exposed to complex music and melodies grow up musically retarded. It says so in this book right here by Dr Foncilot Krunt who lectures at UCLA.

Take lessons in parenting from wound up tightwads who shout at their kids twice per minute.

Your kids need a big backyard more than they need you. Commute an extra hour, you're only working 10 hours every day and missing bathtime at the moment.

Still on the music thing, here's further proof, if only they hadn't been exposed to so much adult music in early childhood Prince, Mozart, and Bjork might have become famous musicians, instead of. Stuff.

If a baby cries there's something wrong with them.

A bit of chub on their cheeks at 6 months and they are going to be fat and have body image related unhappiness. On the other hand having rude relatives who call people fat will not ever give a girl body image issues.

... and final wisdom dawning...

People who make uninvited rude comments are always the last to work out why they don't get many visits.

Grouchy rants aside, a Bear is doing very well, she has a huge smile and the biggest eyelashes around her great blue eyes that a proud dad has ever seen. Beloved and I are well. Still sans house. C'est la vie....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hey Hitler, wanna run a Synagogue?

This is why I'm all but won over to the view that the UN is wholly corrupt:

Western countries and human rights organisations were outraged yesterday by the choice of Zimbabwe to chair the UN commission on sustainable development.

Apparently this acid-in-face statement was made by the nations of Africa, who had the vote. Which shows us 2 things:

1) That one of the main reasons Africa is so impoverished is its unbelievably incompetent and corrupt leaders; and

2) The extent to which flagrant racism is acceptable to and even endorsed by the UN and much of its membership when it happens in a 'non traditional' context. That is, not involving white-on-other. Something that's to the detriment of everyone from Darfur to West Papua.

My response, as Howard or Downer, would be to reduce my contribution to UN projects until the commission is reformed or wound up.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy 1st Mother's Day

There is nothing more beautiful to me than you, my wife, with our child. Bear feeding, with her little hands fusting around, that uppermost hand working little circles on your skin, fingers opening and closing, you holding her with infinite patience as you do day in, day out.

The look on a Bear's face when she's on your shoulder, relaxing, waiting for a burp to come, after being fed. A look that says I feel loved, completely and utterly.

The patient care with which you wash our Bear, carefully, thoroughly. Most nights alone, me still peering out of a Connex window with the Nano on shuffle.

Peering in when a Bear's been inconsolable, crying her lungs out, and seeing you patiently bent over the cot with your head down, gently patting a Bear with one hand and holding her on her side while letting out a slow shusss, the uncomfortable and highly particular method that works. Works with patience and love and a mum with a bottomless reserve of strength.

Oh I still admire the sheer determination that drove you from waters breaking to holding our little Bear just 5 hours later. You're tougher than nails. Sometimes you scare me. I'm the one who carps on about episodes of androgens but I know if anything ever threatened our Bear you'd tear them apart with sheer force of will.

Thank you. From Bear and I. We love you more than we can ever show.

Every day I'm glad, no, more than glad, fucking ecstatic, that I have started a family with you. Thank you so much for our beautiful child.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is that it? Not even a K.I.S.S?

A few workshops and an Asian Languages program.

Yeah! That's reclaimed education as a core Labor issue.

No doubt in voters' minds- we're for the smart country.

All they needed to remember was to Keep It Simple Stupid:

Education. And. Health. Are. And. Must. Remain. Labor's.

Currently, the Libs are ahead, on appearances at least, on education. They're both crap on health. How's this happened? How's it either good politics or good policy?

Dollar sweetie must be wrapped.

... I'm adrift. Thank God I've got Beloved, Whirlyjig and the Catst, I'd go insane otherwise.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

To Zoe and Copperwitchy

Blogger as usual is being a piece of unmitigated crap, so I can't link, but they're both in my list over there >>

Zoe, love to the little fella, may those hips align and be nice to your bundle of love. Bear sends hugs to her potential future husband.

Coppermum, you remind me that however long a Bear lasts in this world, I'll enjoy and treasure every moment. Hugs to you too from our corner of the burbs. He's a handsome boy, your lad. It's the journey that matters, the smiles you gave him are the best things, the real things that make a life worthwhile.


Bless you both. Bless all mums, including she on the couch downstairs patiently supplying the evening breastacchino to buggles. I must, once again, depart...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Buggles Vignettes

Waiting, on a poo, for to carry it home (sung to Waiting on an Angel, with feel). Over a week now and there've only been 2 small, moussy excretions. A Bear is mighty constipated. The potential energy welling within is fearsome.

Conversations extend. In particular she makes lively noises when I sing to her. Dorky shoulder movements to accompany the songs go down a treat as well. Her bald, goatee'd dad standing over her dancing like Pete Garrett and singing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' prompts quasi-giggles.

When her face pulls into a smile I lose it. When I leave in the morning and she twists almost 180 degrees to watch me, with an anxious look on her face, I lose it. There have been some late starts recently.

I usually miss bath time. Total contact per day is about 20 minutes in the morning, 5 to 10 of them with her off the boob and playing, and about 30 or so minutes late at night when she's feeding while half asleep.

We allowed her out of either of our sights for the first time since hospital. There was an incident where the nurses took her out to weigh her or somesuch. I nearly had cardiac arrest with images of her being dropped, exchanged for another similar looking bub then sent interstate, having organs removed and sold on Ebay etc. The nurses did NOT succeed in removing her for a nanosecond after that.

We waved goodbye, as her extremely trustworthy (and indeed trusted) uncle and aunt wheeled her off in the pram. I walked back inside. I started walking around in circles while beloved patted me on the arm. Then it all just came out and I didn't stop bawling hysterically until about 3 minutes before they arrived back. From a 10 minute trip to the shops.

Sanity is just a construct.

I trust a few people in this world, but I know no-one loves my Bear the way beloved and I do. Still, she was fine. I've let her out of our sights since, I'm chilling. Not quickly.

I realise my mum has always been critical. I'm listening to renditions of what has happened during the day while she, beloved and Bear are hanging out at home. My first reaction is 'So?' The reason is I've gotten used to such constant digging. It's probably shaped me in ways that aren't wonderful. Words are had, criticism subsides.

Mao has become exceedingly affectionate. Minh-Minh however has taken to sitting at the top of the stairs, on the ledge in the visitors' room or on our bed when we aren't in it. She waits, giving us looks. When I pick her up she purrs instantly, it's a switch being flicked. As with a Bear, I wish I had more time for my furkids.

Still a bit of a nutter- watched Insight, some verminous trash were peddling falsehoods in defence of advertising, especially sexualised advertising, aimed at young girls. I hurled invective at them and made all sorts of rash promises to have every one of them locked up before a Bear hits the tweens. Offered beloved my unwelcome ideas as to what I would do if some West Coast player sledged me with graphic, paedophilic comments about family members. I think my suggested response involved use of thumbs and permanent incapacitation. And why did the tribunal throw the charges out after only 10 minutes? What sort of monkeys think they can make a decision on something where evidence is in contention in 10 effing minutes?

A Bear cares not. She slumbers. It is time she enjoys a (just before) midnight snack. I will have a single malt and watch my girls, at peace with the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kevin takes bridge out behind dithering Johnny

A potential masterstroke.

Allow me to jettison all humility. Way back a few eons ago I predicted that the IR laws might just be the bridge too far that ends the Howard dynasty. The arrogant attack on the people who've delivered him power over Labor.

Well this could be the counterpoint that completes the melody. Infuriating to the hardcore unionists, no doubt, but a timely move that will almost certainly win Rudd more votes than it loses.

After all, who's a hardcore left winger on IR issues going to back between the final 2? Howard? Even the Greens don't really stake this out as priority territory, they can see what being too close to the CFMEU does for Labor's forest policy.

Rudd may have wanted this confrontation in any event, to assert himself and make clear that he, and not Combet, is running for PM. He may also be planning to pick up where Crean left off and work at bringing the power of rank and file party members closer to that of the old guard.

Or he may not.

Because the strongest reason for setting out a moderate, centrist policy on IR is to blatantly take the option of retreat away from Howard.

Howard has been preparing the ground for such a move, talking of being open to change, of 'listening', acknowledging his problems in the polls. He'll have realised by now that Workchoices was strategically unwise, and he doesn't like the idea of going out on a loser.

So there he was, bridge too far, starting to edge backwards and "whoosh"; Kevin's landed and it's too late.

Centre ground. A reasonable policy. Unfair dismissal in small businesses but only once you've proven yourself. Secret ballots- whatever could be wrong with that?

Knight takes Rook.

So I get a few minutes to blog

And blogger doesn't work properly, no editing tools, everything moving at 2 nanseconds per decade.

Thank you blogger, fuck you very much.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Does a bear shit in the woods (or just all over mummy...)?

As was described to me today over the phone while I pored over the administrative crap that seems to dominate my job at the moment, a bear shat. She let rip. An explosion in a sewerage processing plant. A world of choc for mum and bear to share.

She'd been funny for a day or so, eating too little, not sleeping enough at times, not pooing enough, several times in a row. We worried; could she be sick? Is it something we did? Something mum ate? Something dad fed to mum? Is it bird flu? The bubonic plague?

But I didn't think she was ill. Although she was more pensive (or something looking like 'pensive', perhaps pent-up's more like it) than usual this morning, during my daily 5 minutes of lap time before I am wrenched from my loved ones by the irresistible pull of 8.30 Epping line, she seemed alert, her skin and eyes seemed fine, she still spoke... adwu... argool.... ewou...

And it would seemed her message was simple: stand back, I got something brewing. The explosion got past her nappy, past her legs, onto beloved, beloved's clothes, furniture. Her bowels announced their arrival in the world of serious movement. And we were proud.

What a good little Bear!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Bear Regency

Another grand Saturday looking at houses with Bear. Really, she's such a good girl. While the process is slightly testing on her parents' patience, Bear quietly slips off into dreamland in her capsule and stays that way while dad carries her around and works his maligned muscles manoeuvring her through doorways and around the legs of fellow house inspectors.

"Does this floor need a restump or did the earth just do a little shift?"

*blissfully sleeping Bear*

"Oh, pink and white tiling in the kitchen, how tasteful!"

*blissfully sleeping Bear*

"Nice to see the neighbours have 3 V8s, we'll have to have them over for bookchat..."

*blissfully sleeping Bear*

So it goes.

We've moved north from the Northcote Hub, hill, knob, whatever one might call it, slid up along the slats of temperate Thornbury, and now, along no doubt with everyone else who doesn't have a spare $600,000 wedged in their arsecrack, we are undertaking recon missions into hitherto uncharted territory- Preston above Bell Street, Coburg, Pascoe Vale South, Regent.

A level of geographical precision takes hold, as Preston becomes a hierarchy of preferences from South Preston West to North Preston West to Preston Proper not-too-close-to-Northie. Regent West trumps Regent Ressie. Coburg North and Pascoe Vale Proper get excluded.

Bear looks out the window at alternating period homes and butt ugly townhouses springing out of every spare crevass. The decision's yours, she implies, just get on with it. Mao and Minh-Minh concur...

Proximity to cafes and shops becomes at once more relevant and harder to achieve, because when you have a Bear and two energetic catlings to cultivate the fact that a 3 bedroom fully renovated period home with a nice garden in Regent is the same price as a small rickety townhouse in Northcote, 10 minutes down the road, is hard to resist.

Bear sits next to me, waiting for hugs, so it's adios for now...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gorillas don't hug their babies

Who died and appointed all the experts in the world of child rearing?

Which ones? Dunno, the ones that write all the rules. Like the ones that mean you have to put the baby down half the time, make sure she's in her cot when she sleeps, et sarte.

Clearly babies have evolved to be suited, at optimum, to being in a room by themselves in a cot. You don't see Gorillas holding their little ones constantly do you? No, good, moving along.

I mean, could it just be possible that between the rituals and enforced separation and parents who have to go to work at 8 and arrive home at fucking 7 and spend a total of about 10 minutes every day with the daughter they'd cut their own leg off with a blunt saw for and mothers at mothers' group with $3000 prams who'd probably let go of them if they saw a pile of cash and all the other bullshit that's evolved into the standard, could it be possible we see an inkling of why politicians end up having to vie for power by kicking the downtrodden for the edification of the empathetically retarded moral majority?

Could it be? I don't know, I know nothing anymore, 'cept I'm not happy with the status quo and a huge readjustment of my concept of what constitutes reasonable hours of work looms as quickly as my negotiating power can be harnessed.

She sleeps now, a bliss bomb. Last night, the most beautiful thing.... at 4am she cried, and I went to her, and she sounded different, so I called out to beloved and she came too, and when we were both standing over her little bear stopped, and looked at us, eyes wide open, and started to speak... nothing cogent, but the message was clear: here, now, is where I want you both.

I'm putty whenever I think of her, I'm going to be stuffed at discipline, but I think I figured that out and blogged it ages ago.

Still well up at the work safe ad. Still nowhere near tired of the sound of her voice, even when screaming or crying.

And I miss you all, don't get to read much blogosphere at the moment, feel free to update me on your news right here if you've got any...

Poke out my eye pod

Well I sit down for the first time in eons with a few minutes to blog, and, and, I decide to update my new I-POD at the same time, and, and, it puts some bullshit nonsensical message up on the screen about not being able to update and the computer doesn't 'recognise' it is there, and, and, so now I'm trying not to get pissed off at an inanimate object and a few hundred geeks in the US who make millions and don't give a toss about the pain in the arse their gadget can be.

So I need a few more moments of calming and self-distraction before writing something useful.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Don't call David Jones Corporate Paedophiles!

David Jones aren't into Corporate Paedophilia. They play no role sexualising children, or using sexualised images of children in advertising. And just to prove it they are suing the Australia Institute. For a detailed discussion see LP, but I'm just worried about the damage it could do their image to draw attention to their advertising practises in this way. Surely no-one out there will see the contentious images, or clothes David Jones sell to little children, and draw the conclusion that they are purveyors of corporate paedophilia, right? Anyway, just to help this great Australian company succeed, I thought I'd contribute my modest google standings to their campaign by making the point clearly here: David Jones do not indulge in Corporate Paedophilia. Never. Corporate Paedophilia, not DJs, not ever.

Reports that Jeremy will run the Oz Institute's case pro bono remain, at this point, unconfirmed.

Hippo Birdy two ewe, blossomage!

1 month today, happy birthday sweetheart. I love you more than life itself. Hang in there little one, it's a muddy old world, but we're gonna leave the best footprints we can and have a tonne of fun in the process.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pain and smiling moments

Pain is not seeing your bear all day. In the morning she's feeding as soon as you get up, and resting between feeds as you leave. You get home, it's evening, she's feeding. After, she's asleep. Then she wakes after a good sleep. Sleep is good. You change her, you hold her to comfort her. She looks at you like 'you're the guy who used to be around all the time but isn't any more' then wriggles and cries until mum takes her off you. You go to bed. You get up in the morning, she's feeding, you pull on an iron-free business shirt, button the cuffs, understand why people buy lottery tickets...

Smiling moments include when you get up to go to the bathroom at 5am and she starts crying and you go into her room and pick her up and hold her to your chest and sing her Hallelujah and she stops crying and her little hands squeeze your chest hairs and you feel her go calm and you put her down after 10 minutes and she is already deeply asleep.

The pain is like having an oxy-torch going inside your intestines. The smiling moments are like snowballs made from white chocolate ice cream.

Blossomage is now 4 weeks old. I have at least 3 hairs left.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The week I went back to work

Always wondered about those obsessed idiots with pictures of their kids on their desks....

...I've got a huge colour pic of her right next to my work computer, staring straight at the camera, looking slightly argumentative, with her little fists clenched.

I have another Bear pic as my screensaver.

I have a small album of JPEGs of her and her mum which I look at several times a day. Often my heart locks up and I want to cry.

Work's going ok, but I hate it, being away from her. The first day it was almost pathological, and it hasn't improved much since.

She changes by the day. After a week of looking a teensy bit more like me, she's got beloved-features blossoming again. Perhaps beloved's facial expressions are dominant because I'm no longer around so much.

I hate that thought, resent every hour away.

Beloved is doing magnificently, having some hard times. I've stated the stupifyingly obvious on this blog before, but i'll do it again- it's not easy raising an infant on your own. With 2 cats, admittedly pretty well behaved, to watch as well.

When I get home and I hold my Bear she becomes quite still and looks me straight in the eye. Until I went back to work, at the start of this week, she never looked at me more than a few seconds at a time. Now it's like: "Oh, you, I remember you from this morning, let's eyeball you and see if your bona fides hold out, mista!" I can't move, of course. We've stared at each other for up to 10 minutes, the world passing by in the distance, irrelevant.

I think I've used the cliche-sounding term a few times now, but my chest really does tighten up. She clamps my arteries.

Poet Laureate stuff, hey?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Australian Politics Test- the Gnac Party!

Contrary to the opinion of Jezza Lefty, I reckon this has become a meme, what with all the usual suspects he's linked to who've done it.

The Test, worth doing if you're a politicaphile.

My results placed me Centre Left on most issues, and indicated that, although it is pretty neck and neck, my ideal party is the Democrats, followed by Greens then Labor. All 3 made strong matches, apparently.

Not surprising. Lefty puzzled over the gap between what people nominate as their most representative party and the results. I'd say it's the already acknowledged difference between what your ideal world might look like and what you think a party should have as its platform to be a serious contender for running the country.

It may also relate to just how much you fear the places those parties, in your view, fall down. The Democrats and I see much in common, but they have been poorly run and constituted for years, unable to decide whether to be the deal-making opposition-scuttling keeper of honest bastards, or the centre left "true liberals", or something out wide in competition with the Greens.

No-one so stupid as to stab 'Tash-Stott in the back would ever get my vote.

And the Greens might or might not deserve the extra couple of compatibility points I raised for them, but I do not trust them to manage the economy, foreign policy, or to deal with the expectations that come with the word Green any better than Labor deals with its nomenclature baggage.

Ah, the liberal centre left, an Australian dead zone...

Friday, January 19, 2007

I sent my daughter to a nightclub and she got drunk!

In the US parents are suing MySpace because their daughters met dodgy older guys online there, hooked up and got sexually assaulted:

"In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users," said Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer. The families are seeking monetary damages "in the millions of US dollars," Itkin said. "Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere," he said.

At first this tapped into my parental androgens. Yeah, kids at risk, sue their pants off.

But, you know what I really hate as an upcoming parent is the fact that all these young kids are allowed to play with technology for hours on end, naturally being at risk given the nature of the technology, and because some parents allow this others who want to do the right thing and send them outside to play with their peers must feel irresistible pressure to conform.

Instead of "these lawsuits can spur My Space into action..." how about:

"These sex assaults finally spurred lots of idiot parents into curbing their children's internet access, especially to sites that are inherently designed for complete strangers to hook up, and to taking them outside and showing them what a fucking tree looks like!"

I wish. I know, it's going to be damn well impossible.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Maternity Gold and Right-Shifting Rudd Questions

Has Rudd shifted to the Right? Or is he just 'adjusting' here and there? I've lost track so I'm relying on you to keep me in the loop.

And while I'm asking questions: will the 2 year maternity leave, which on it's face has many attractions, turn out to be his Medicare Gold?

Early days still...

Postpartum Androgens

A wild noise like someone scrambling to get in through the roof woke me a few nights ago. I was out of bed, alert, feeling down into her bassinette with one hand checking, staring into the dark hall outside the bedroom door. The noise came from the end room where we'd left the window open.

Normally I'd probably tiptoe to the door and peek but I marched around the corner into the room with blood pulsing through my face and straight across towards the window.

I stopped a couple of yards away, there letting my brain rouse itself from slumber. Several seconds went by, the noise, nothing visible in the window, me standing there, absolutely ready to kill anything that poked its head through.

It was hail.

I let out half a laugh but inside I was still wound up. Beloved thought it was hilarious.

"Did you think it was hail, or something else?" I demanded, to which she shrugged "Hail."

She trundled back in to check on little bear while I went downstairs to move a couple of boxes of books that were in a flood-spot in the garage. As I reached the foot of the stairs I saw that the sliding door appeared to be open. I tiptoed across the dark lounge and felt for the sliding bolt- yes, it was unlocked. I didn't move for a few seconds while I scoured the space between me and the kitchen. The pulsing blood was back.

I moved quickly across to the implement rack and selected something hard and definitive. I peered in every corner, the spare loo, the space under the stairs where we keep the wine alongside a yoga mat and vacuum cleaner. On autopilot. I moved quickly, using the shapes in the dark as I'd learned in cadets years ago and from walking in the bush at night in Kakadu.

Of course, we'd left it open. No-one else was in the house. Bear and beloved were safe. Me too, given I would not exactly set the world on fire as a Bruce Willis type. And after I calmed down I reflected for a long time.

I'm different, it's hormonal. And it's really striking and powerful; a drug.

Some fool on TV had a careless accident, almost killed a toddler, and I'm baying for the fool's blood. Abusing the constabulary when no charges are announced.

I see this:

Ms Stingel said she did not tell her father, who has since died, about the alleged rapes at the hands of Mr Clark and other men, fearing that he would have killed them."Dad would have shot them all, we would not have been here today," she said.

I think, blood oath, rightly so.

I have serious all-in arguments with people who appear to be defending any conduct at all that remotely and indirectly threatens my bear.

I'm not walking around angry, quite the opposite, I've been on an incredible high since the birth. It's just there, it just takes over when the elements of threat appear.

And I don't think I'd act on it unless the most desperate of situations prevailed. I hope not, little bear needs a dad here, by her side, not dead or in gaol.

But it's fascinating for what it teaches me about ancestry, origins and instinct. Because if you felt what I felt (and maybe some of you have) you'd know that this is chemical, a male variant of the mother's intense protective and nurturing instinct. It is visceral, no mere social construct, as much as it appears to play to so many constructs with their apparent origins in myth and legend.

The instinct is simple, and absolute. In the cave, mum's feeding and keeping bub warm. Dad's at the entrance, killing anything unfamiliar that tries to come in, or dying in the process.


Monday, January 15, 2007

What think the Chairman of this addition?

Chairman is good!

Minh is still a little apprehensive but is improving by the day.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Songs for Little Bear

Had the guitar out a couple of times, at others I just have a bash A Capella, but so far little Bear has had to put up with the following choices of nursery rhymes from dad...

Waiting for an Angel (which I sang to myself at 3 in the morning to keep calm while organising the car and massaging beloved's back through the contractions)
I still haven't found what I'm looking for
Amazing Grace
Let it be
Paper Aeroplane
Silent Night
(guess the inspiration there!)
Sleep (called something else, can't remember, U2 Unforgettable Fire)
All you need is love

and several original with lyrics like "why why baby cryin'? [rpt 4 times] daddy loves you yes he does [note early stages of hormone- induced parental retardation.].

No, lyrical appropriateness is not a factor at this stage!

Any suggestions?

In other news beloved's recovering well, Mao's pretty chilled and interested, Minh's slightly depressed, but I've got lotsa love action going out 4 ways at the moment keeping them all reasonably content (if I may say so myself!).

UPDATE: New songs from the afternoon session...

Karma Police - Radiohead
Lonesome Road Blues - Big Bill Broonzy
Daughter - Pearl Jam
Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
Hunger Strike - Temple of the dog

with all but the first sung along with full chord accompaniment on the nylon string. Can report that the high parts of Karma Police went down particularly well!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

20 second update

Contractions built very quick called hospital 4ish insisted was hectic they said ok come 5 or call when minute long called quarter to 5 drove in clear run took mum up painful by then quick talked her out of pethadine aversion (wasn't hard by then) midwife ok but will just see where you up to first this about 6 she "oh.. nope, you're gonna have a baby right now" right now means just over an hour later but it was better then beloved's confirmed once she pushing it wasn't so painful just a mammoth effort from the woman I worship bub crowning by about 7 obsto arrived 7.20ish smooth delivery in an almightly flood of water at 7.42am mum and dad have a bawl and start loving little bear and it hasn't stopped and she is the most beautiful thing I've ever shared a solar system with.

Back to clean catst stuff and feed them and give them a bit of cloth with bear smell (and arent' THEY intrigued!?) gotta go more soon...

Sunday, January 07, 2007


At 2.30am beloved's waters broke.

It's 3am.

Wish us luck!

Back, in a couple of days, as three.....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bum Butts bring relief to anxious dads

"C'mon sweetheart, daddy loves you, come out and play"

Bear was a bit quiet today. Last night too. She had her butt rammed so far out of beloved's right hand side that her whole belly (and it's quite something now, shaped a cross between basketball and the carapace of a giant green turtle) slung out of whack.

Beloved was uncomfortable, but also not feeling quite right. "I feel like crap", in her own words.

We watched James Bond (I just typo'd it as James Bong and I have to say I see some potential there...) and I thought the noise and the light caffeine hit from the Coke would be enough to get her kicking.

Back home, still nothing, just that hard-slung butt sitting just a bit too far out the side. Beloved still feeling crap. I held her belly in place while we sat watching junk telly. She told me it helped the discomfort but she might have been playing to my eager-but-clueless hubby ego.

I staved off real fear.

Then the bum butts started. There was movement, her position improved slightly. Her feet gave a few prods over the other side. Nothing too lively, but she let us know she had a bit of energy.

"Nothing going on here dad, now stop trying to sing Jeff Buckley songs into mum's crotch, it's embarrassing..."

I hang on everything. I have urges to physically attack people who don't make enough space when wifey's passing through.

I even overreact to ads: I laugh and cheer every time the Commonwealth Bank ad comes on, with the woman thumping the moron who doesn't offer her a seat with a toy, and tonight my eyes got watery - again - at the worksafe ad.

I've seen it 40 times yet I still break out in a huge grin when the kid with the ball sees dad come up the driveway. I grin the same way when little bear gives a few kicks after a prolonged period of excess calm.

Hang in there little bear. I already love you so much it hurts.