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The beginning

College is back in session. After a breezy 5 week holiday, waking up at 7 or 8 AM is murder. No new G4’s in class as promised, which isn’t really surprising, and (at first check) I have no demented lecturers this semester. This is my final semester here at West Coast College of TAFE, so in 20 weeks time I’ll walk out of here with some kind of certificate, or something. After that, who knows. Whether I get a job or throw myself into university again for further “education”, I’ll have to decide later.

Stayed at Fiona’s last night and don’t have class until 2:30, which would be a pretty sweet deal if I didn’t have to be at work at 6... giving me about 20 minutes of rest between class and further toil. As I write this, it’s just after 2:00 PM. I have this nasty habit where I’d rather be half an hour early than five minutes late, especially for class. Fiona is the opposite, but you know what they say about opposites.

This morning was a gift-a-thon extravaganza for Fiona’s sister, Marina, who turns 21 today (cue stupid song). After Marina was done receiving jewelry, a coffee machine, coffee (conveniently enough), and an assortment of novel crap, Fiona took charge of making the coffee for everyone, since she was the only person in the house with experience in that kind of thing. I’ve put last weekend’s bout of dribbly noses and cluster headaches behind me, swallowed a few billion pills, brushed my teeth and I’m back in the groove. Hopefully I can also make some progress on a couple of web projects close to my heart.

So ashamed

Today I was looking through my CD collection, looking for stuff I haven’t listened to in a while (as you do), and happened upon Jagged Little Pill. I haven’t touched that kind of thing in, seriously, 5 or 6 years, so I gave it a spin and Oh! the memories!

It really is a good album, in places. Of course, some of it just sucks, and some of it makes me want to do bad things to women, but she honestly does have a talent -- even if I did walk out of her concert five minutes after she started playing. Harmonica and man-bashing aside, there are moments which one might call “inspired”.

I decided today that my taste in music is what you’d call “strange”. Too broad to be confined to the punk scene, too narrow to be considered diverse. Let’s just say I know what I like, and that few people have ever been able to engift me a CD that I didn’t seriously contemplate exchanging.


With yesterday’s musical posturings still fresh in my mind, I decided to go through my CDs and separate the wheat from the chaff. My goal: to define the Top 10 of my life.

Flicking through CDs, furrowing my brow and sighing from time to time, I managed to compile a list that weighed in at 100+ songs. Waaaay too long. I needed to cut the really great wheat from that other wheat — which was still pretty good in itself — to get to the really, really great wheat. 10 really great grains of wheat, to be precise.

To make the cutting easier, I told myself “you can't have more than one song from the same band, no matter how much you love them,” which really only served to make it harder. I had to wave goodbye to some of my favourite songs, and even to some of my favourite bands. As it turns out, there are a lot of bands in my collection that consistently produce great stuff — but nothing that strikes me deep inside the chest, screaming “I am a fantastic song, make me thine” or something to that effect.

In the end, came this list: my can’t-live-without songs. Honestly, some of them have been known to bring tears to my eyes, and the rest send shivers up my spine regularly. I don't care if you don’t like them, you're an asshole, that’s just the way it is. In alphabetical order, I present to you my Top 10.

AFI: Morningstar
the Beatsteaks: We have to figure it out tonight
Garbage: Parade
Jewel: Amen
Massive Attack: Teardrop
NOFX: Total Bummer
No Use for a Name: On the Outside
Propagandhi: Purina Hall of Fame
Sarah McLachlan: Possession
Tool: Parabola

A day in the life

Today was a very, very long day. I don’t know if there’s something about funerals that make a day such a long, grinding, emotionally and physically draining ordeal... or whether it was just because I skipped breakfast. Fiona’s Dad, Rob, was buried today. Well, cremated... I suppose “buried” is just the default expression you give to a funeral. It was (though I am mostly inexperienced in the ways of funeral direction) a nice affair. Linda (Fiona’s Mum), Marina and Fiona all said great things about Rob... mostly pertaining to his wicked sense of humour and his great attitude to life.

He was, for the short time I knew him, a terrible invalid — burdened with both rheumatoid arthritis and emphysema. Through this and his recent downturn in health, the only complaint I ever heard him make of his condition was that I best not shake his hand too firmly, should I break it. He was a good man, he liked fixing Datsuns and drinking red wine, and I wish I could’ve known him better, or longer, or both.

Linda and Marina spoke at great length about Rob’s loves, his life, and his character; and Fiona’s brief speech was laden with symbolism and metaphor, gilded with a flair for words I’ve come to expect from her. Fiona closed her speech with a reading of Gwen Harwood's “Reflections”, and though I get the impression that some of the crowd missed her point, it was the only point you could expect her to make at a time like this — she loves her Dad, and misses him very much.

All in all, I don’t think it matters whether or not anybody in the crowd understood what she was saying, she said it the way she knows best, and I suppose that’s why I love her.

The AM

Six in the AM is not my favourite time. It’s winter, it’s dark, it’s cold, and here I am in a crispy white shirt; raisin toast in one hand, coffee in the other, plinking at the keyboard. Woolworths has a lot to answer for already, but more than a year of 7:00AM starts has started to warp me somewhat — late-night drunken fridays have become rare, like some kind of precious metal, and I’ve started not missing them so much because I know that they make me feel like total shite at 6 the next morning, preparing for an 11 hour shift at Woolies.

Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Oh, what a night

There are few things funnier in this world than walking into Don Camillo’s Seafood Smorgasbord with a group of noble, sophisticated, italian relatives; and leaving three hours later with a stumbling bunch of pissed farts.

In short, I dined with Fiona’s family last night. Her extended family. So many drunken italians, so many embarrassed-looking teenagers, so many sick-looking children having eaten too much white-chocolate mud cake, so many memories. I can see why Fiona and Marina are so frequently embarrassed by their “crazy” family, but hey, they’re not my family — I had a great time! It was like partying with my friends... only everybody was much older and married.

Conversation covered the following topics:

They make my family look like a bunch of boring assholes, so it’s a nice balance. After dinner we went to the Subiaco Hotel, and then to the Red Sea. I don’t know whether my mood was to blame on the long day I’d just had, or the fact that I was the designated driver, but my evening took a tumbling dive into shite the moment we stepped into Club Red Sea. I hate human beings and I loathe clubs. How many desperate jackoffs does it take to fill a nightclub? and how many dosed-up sluts found themselves waking up in a gutter this morning after going down on some total stranger last night? When I have to pay five bucks to get into a smoky room, pay another seven bucks for an orange ruski because “we're out of beer” and then listen to Kylie Minogue/New Order’s bastard “Can’t get Blue Monday out of my head” I am ready to kill.

Fiona and Katie’s desperate attempts to get me on the dance floor were tedious, and four-hundred strangers jiving to some of the world’s worst music ever is my own private hell. Then again, maybe I just needed some god-damned caffeine and I wouldn’t be in such a spiteful mood.


After a week or so of tinkering here and there, I’ve finally finished stage one of the front page. Though I installed MT and began blogging over a week ago everything has been noticeably blank, so today I finished tweaking the design and the back end, and present it here your pleasure.

The girl (ie: Fiona) spent several hours last night demanding a guest spot on decaffeinated... at first I told her to get screwed and go to livejournal or diaryland, but in the end I caved. Damn women.

Fiona: i have a feeling that tomorrow won't be all that great
Fiona: but i still think it will be worth writing about.
Clarko: well, you can complain at length in your weblog
Fiona: so i won't have to complain to you!
Fiona: you'll get happy girlfriend ALL the time
Clarko: excellent
Fiona: cranky girlfriend can reside online.
Fiona: you have unleashed a particularly unpredictable monster.
Fiona: this is going to be great.
Fiona: if only this ovary would shut up.

Fiona's all new weblog is available here.


Biology is not your friend

I don’t know how or why it happens, but my body routinely demands that it sleep until midday. It matters not whether I went to sleep at 10:00 PM the previous night, or 1:00 AM that morning, or 5:00 AM that morning — I still wake up at midday.

10:00 PM to 12:00 PM seems a little excessive, sure, but I get the impression that 5:00 AM to 12:00PM is what “normal” people call a “normal” length of time to sleep. Seven hours is what they recommend these days, but for me it just happens to be at entirely the wrong time of night. Something tells me I should move somewhere where the time zone reflects my sleeping habits, but the clock (a far more reliable source than “something”) tells me that such a time zone is only found in cities like Cairo, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Abu Dhabi; and though the middle-east sounds mighty tempting, I might pass that one up.

Although... Garfield was always trying to hitch a ride to Abu Dhabi. Whenever Jon and Odie started getting on his nerves, he was out on the roadside with his ‘Abu Dhabi or bust’ sign. That Garfield... what a character. Maybe there’s lasagne to be had in Abu Dhabi. One can only hope.

A little googling and a little dictionarying just revealed something disturbing to me. “Lasagne” (or Lasagna. your choice) has its roots in (assumed) Vulgar Latin. Lasania means cooking pot, but lasania gets its roots from the Latin — lasanum, meaning “chamber pot”. Chamber pots (for everyone who didn’t play King’s Quest III) were where noble folk in days of olde took their craps. In a pot, beside the bed. Nice.

Deceptively Simple

Last night at work, while discussing with Garth and Lee exactly what our respective plans for the future were, I made a startling decision. I want to go back to university.

For the uninformed — I was a Curtin student for about 5 months last year before I quit. Why did I quit after less than a semester? The course I was doing just wasn’t my bag. Parts of the course were definitely my bag — I really loved some of my Mass Communication core units, but Journalism and “Graphic Communication” (which, incidentally, was a year-long “introduction” to Photography) started to annoy me immensely. I have (and had) no desire to be a journalist! I only chose it because it was the best of a bad lot of electives — one of the infamous ‘List A’ subjects.

So I’m going back to uni. That’s the plan. But guess what? I’ll be doing the same degree. Why? Because now I'll choose my electives more carefully, I can get credit for the subjects that I did pass last year (by some freakish accident), and get even further credit for my college studies! On top of all this, I can get youth allowance and live like a king, working half the time I am right now!

I suppose there’s my motive right there — 3 more years within the safe confines of an educational institution — except this time I won’t be living at home and I will be getting youth allowance (also known as “get paid to study, because the government figures you’re not capable of fending for yourself and studying at the same time”).

In the mean time, my agenda is as such:

  1. Finish this year at college, walk out with Certificate IV of Interactive Multimedia and my sanity (it's remarkably mundane... but for some reason I need the “accreditation” to get a job)
  2. Fix Isaac (my poor, poor car), I’ll need him to commute
  3. Move in with Garth

The next few months are set to be interesting

Communique? I doubt it

ring ring!! ring ring!!

Clarko: Hello? Chris speaking.
Elio: Graeme?
Clarko: No, it’s Chris
Elio: Oh, it sounds like Graeme
Clarko: Yeah, that’s why I say “Chris speaking”