Monday, November 29, 2004

(*) Monday's thoughts

Summer's hit here with a vengence... it was 34c (93f) here today, and they're predicting 36c (97f) tomorrow... looks like an afternoon sitting in the local air conditioned RSL Club writing again! lol Wednesday is looking to be a whole lot cooler - whoo hoo!
Running around a lot today trying to find work...

Week 96
I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Limited time only:: life, not as we know it, not as we know it...
  2. Voluptuous:: rounded, well-developed chest
  3. Nutritionist:: Ronald McDonald...?
  4. Belt:: across the back (only kidding!)
  5. Star crossed:: lovers - Romeo and Juliet.
  6. Snakeskin:: laying across a fence
  7. Athlete’s foot:: Running Shoes
  8. Boom:: Crash Opera
  9. Freezer:: Burns
  10. Store hours:: 24-hour ice Creamery

It's a sort of 'pot pourri' this week. Since I'm moving in a couple of days, I'm inviting everyone who participates this week to offer a question for next week's MM. I know I've done this before, but I really appreciated all the wonderful suggestions. I will use them if they've not been asked in the recent past. Thank you all for playing, and I wish you a wonderful week! =)

1. How did you choose a name for your blog? Mallard is a chat nickname I've had for a few years; it originally was 'The White One', which became 'Whitey", which became 'Malster', which became the 'Loppy Mallard'... the evolution of a nickname! lol
2. How many times have you changed the name of your blog? Not yet!
3. How many blogs to you update regularly? Three, but one about 3 or 4 times each week.
4. How many times have you moved in your life? Too many! About 15 times... the joys of 6-month rental leases when I was first married...
5. On a scale of 1-10, how stressful is moving (in your opinion)? I hate moving - packing, really, but it's about a 6. It's easier moving as a single white male than as a whole family!
6. When moving, do you/would you rent a moving van/truck? Absolutely - yes! i drive it myself.
7. Do you wear glasses? If so, how old were you when you needed them? Sure do - I'm short-sighted. First started getting eye-strain headaches when I was about 11, but wasn't until 1995 that i started wearing glasses full-time.
8. What one question would you hope someone running a meme, would ask? "What's a 'meme'?" lol

Mallard d'Quackers

And the time here is...

It's just something I stumbled across... it took forever to get this clock, too... a total waste of time, in my opinion!

I think this clock is much more reliable, in my opinion...

In my local RSL Club, there's this monstrosity sitting in the 'Fishing Club' display case on the wall! Argh! It's a monster Murray Cod!

I was sitting in their nice cool air-conditioning yesterday arvo, watching the Test Cricket on the large screen TV! What a way to chill-out on a Sumday!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

(*) Missing person - close to home

You've all heard the "it won't happen to me" line? Well - it did happen. She was my ex-wifes' cousin. She was only 14 years' old - and simply disappeared off the face of the earth. She has not been seen in over 7 years.

I first met Jess (and her slightly-older sister, B) when M brought them down to Sydney to stay and visit when we were first engaged. Good kids - Jess was only about 10 or 11 at the time. We took them to the beach, attempted ice-skating - stuff like that. Their home life was hellish - their mum was an alcoholic and drug-user, and they were frequently left home alone while their mum was off at the pub or wherever. M often got late-night calls from the girls, when they were home alone and frightened - mum hadn't been home for hours and hours. M would have to try and find their mum at the pub and try to get her home. And M was only 20 at the time herself. Not a good scene. It was heartbreaking. M and I would always say (more often seriously than half-joking) that we would adopt the girls ourselves, simply to take care and look after them. Sometimes M would have the girls stay over at her place rather than leave them at home. I have a memory of those times of about a 12-yo Jess refusing a piece of toast I'd made with about an inch-thick scraping of Vegemite as a joke!

After M and I married, we saw the girls on a regular basis as they were growing up. The elder sister was always a bit of a 'rebel', but Jess seemed to be a quiet, 'good' kid. As time went on, her elder sister got herself involved in the whole 'drug' scene, fell pregnant, and was living with an 'undesirable' type of bloke. When the son was born, both M and my hearts broke to see the child living in such an unwholesome, unpleasant situation (the boy is about the same age as my first-born son.) But there was nothing we could do about it. Jess, on the other hand, stayed completely away from that whole 'scene'. She and her sister remained very close, often only having each other to turn to when things got crazy, as they must have from time to time.

Then the unimaginable happened. As the story unfolded, Jess and a girlfriend were out at a 'pinball arcade' place late one night, and foolishly accepted a lift hitch-hiking to a friends' place. A struggle ensued in the car soon after, the story has been told, and the other girl managed to get out of the car, but Jess was unable to. Jess, the car and the driver have never been seen since. She was only 14.

Stuff like this doesn't happen in nice country towns like ours, does it? Sadly - yes. After a huge police investigation - nothing. Absolutely nothing. No clues, no trace of her anywhere. Did she simply run away? The simple answer is - no. She wasn't that type of girl. If she had just run away, she definitely would have at least made contact with her elder sister (they were very close in that way), telling her that she was OK, but she just wanted to get away - something like that. All of the family who knew her agreed with that too. It wasn't like Jess to just simply up-and-disappear like that. Especially as the other girl in the car with her told the police the story often enough.

So - what happened? We do not know. We may never know. That's always been heartbreaking for all of us who knew her. Her mum was a broken woman. Sure, her choice of lifestyle probably wasn't 'socially acceptable', but no-one deserves to have your youngest daughter simply vanish into thin air. For the mum, things got even worse. One of her 'boyfriends' decided to burn her house down, and the mum lost everything she ever had of Jess - clothes, pictures - EVERYTHING! That was a huge blow. Soon after, as a special tribute to her missing cousin, M contacted all the relatives (she comes from a very large family), and made a collage/montage of pictures of Jess on one huge mounted display. It looked amazing - she digitally copied heaps of pics of Jess from everyone's family collections from when she was born until they had last seen her. She mounted them on this huge display, and gave it to Jess' mum. That was M's way as a special tribute to her cousin, and someway for her to support Jess' mum during such a horrid nightmarish time.

Over the years, whenever I hear on the news that a 'body has been found' - I still prick my ears up. It never leaves your subconscious. Even just the other week a story of a skeleton being found brought the sad memories back. The awful fact is - no-one knows what happened to poor Jess or where she is. In the days after her disappearance, relatives jumped in their cars and went driving for hours around, simply trying to find a trace. It was heartbreaking. It seemed so 'unreal' (not real, an unfathomable nightmare) at the time for all who knew her Even as the national media picked-up the story, there was still no news, despite a massive co-ordinated police investigation. They simply did not have much to go on.

So, back in October this year, her elder sister arranged a Memorial Service for her younger sister. It'd been 7 years. 7 years without any sense of closure, answers - or knowing what, why, how...? As her sister reportedly said, she was doing this for Jess as a memorial. There's no closure, but it was a special way for people to remember her.

I wish there was a good news / happy ending to this story - but there isn't. Life is sometimes cruel, unfathomable, and nightmarish.

PS. I have emotionally struggled for a while whether or no to post Jess' story on here. But I realised that Jess needs her story told again and again.

Mal (ie. Mallard d'Quackers)
Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net

"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Excuse me, which way is the stage?" (Audience member, lost at Altamont, 1969.)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Friday, November 26, 2004

(*) Long distance invisible friends

An old online friend of mine from Istanbul, Turkey, sent me a lovely picture of herself and her young son together. Awww - thank you Ecka! I met her (along with a whole swag of other people from across the globe) in an old MSN Chatroom, about three years ago now. While I no longer can be bothered with the whole 'chatroom' thing anymore, we keep in touch fairly regularly via email and IM (whenever I'm on it long enough!), and we've shared lots of laffs and tears over the years together. It's nice to have a long-distance 'invisible friend' like that still, after all this time. We've compared notes about the ups-and-downs of raising sons too - that's been refreshing. English isn't her primary language, so some of her howlers have been from pure misunderstanding what we've been talking about - it's been a continuing fun experience having a Turkish friend!

I finished making and preparing Ix's birthday prezzies this evening. One of the thoughts is an acrostic (using the letters of his name) and using suitable words that nicely define his character. I've printed it up nicely on good paper and will frame it - a great simple yet effective prezzie for him to keep. I did the same 'Words of Affirmation' for Seb for his birthday the other week too. I thought it was a nice touch. Sure, they may be a bit young to fully appreciate it right now, but in years to come they'll look back at it and think... kewl!

I also put in to have Ix's 'Birthday Call' over our local radio station on the morning of his birthday too - Seb said it was a spin to hear his name on the radio the other week, when it was his turn! I'm looking forward to Tuesday... six years already? NO WAY! hahahaa.

I stumbled across a very bizarre and quirky 'Mature Audience' animated cartoon show on SBS at 10pm last night (Thursday), called "Happy Tree Friends and Friends." It's like a grown-ups version of 'Itchy and Scratchy', along with classic moments like 'Bird Man'. I dunno how... I can't describe it... here's a link for this loopy weirdness! Good old SBS - the station that brings you other assorted bizarre loopyness like South Park, Velvet Soup, Pizza, etc etc.

On This Day...
Born: Tina Turner (singer, 1938); Olivia Newton John (singer); John McVie (Fleetwood Mac, 1945).
Died: Tommy Dorsey (big band leader, 1956).
Events: Cream play their final gig, London 1969.
Useless Trivia: At age 88, Pablo Casals was still giving cello concerts.
My Soundtrack:
'Rattle and Hum' U2 (1988).
Weather: Glorious Spring day, mid-20's, cloudless, light NE air.

Mal (ie. Mallard d'Quackers) :o)
Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net

"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Excuse me, which way is the stage?" (Audience member, lost at Altamont, 1969.)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

(*) A space in time's fleeting movement

I really really enjoyed writing that post from last night, remembering about childhood Xmas bits. I might refrain right now from doing another one... I'm feeling tired right now, and I don't need my brain to be over-stimulated right when I'm trying to get back into regular sleeping patterns! Argh! lol.

Ix's turning six next Tuesday... already there's a few groovy pressies I've got stashed away for him. And yes - I've already 'arranged' to be able to spend time with him on the day - yeeessss! JD finished his school 'Space' project this week - sounds good. And the boys will start a weeks' worth of swimming lessons with their school next week - let's hope this beautiful weather holds for them all. The schools' Presentation Night is in mid-December... last year the kids put on a beach Xmas-themed concert and sung and danced... wonder what they'll be doing this year!

My scalp (affected by nasty eczema now and again) is much better again - at last. It seems that this nasty overnight flare-up last week may have been somehow triggered by a reaction to a new multi-vitamin capsule I'd started taking a few days before! Damn! Once I stopped with the daily capsule, the scalp calmed down almost straight away! Crazy! I never had any problems at all like this ever! My sleeping patterns are slowly evolving into some kind of semblance to normality again (whatever 'normal' might be...though I fear it's really just a setting on the washing machine, you know...). I hate getting occasional periods of insomnia, and I hate just laying in bed tossing and turning, when the brain keeps churning churning churning endlessly over stoopid little things. I end up having to get up and if not read something light, then turn this machine on... but, my body clock seems to be slowly turning back to some regular patterns again - about *&%$#@ time. A bit of exercise surely helps - after that short jog the other day (which my calves are still complaining about tonight, actually - d'oh!), I whipper-snipped the postage-stamp-sized back yard grass this arvo... it'd only been about 2 or 3 weeks, but with this rain / sun / rain / sun cycle we've had recently, it's perfect grass growing bezerk weather. looks good now tho. My little alyssum flowders are growing like nuts (when I keep the water up to them!), and some mixed herbs and tomatoes are now taking off. Alas, the roses have passed their peak already.

Petrol has dropped again in price - by 6 cents/litre. I got $20 worth today at just 102.9c/l - saving about $1.20 from the other week! I like my little car... in the few weeks' I've had it, it's done about 350km, and hardly used much juice at all. It's because I'm just pottering about town - and I'm not a rev-head lead-foot... you really can't be in a Corolla! hahahaa.

Here's a nice blog I've stumbled across yesterday - Lorie's World.

Plus I also stumbled across this interesting site - How Much Are You Worth? It attempted to calculate that I'm worth $1,632,485.04! How much are
you worth? So - what price a human life? Without cost - naturally! Priceless.

On This Day - August 17...
Born: Davey Crockett (famous hat inventor, 1786); Mae West (actress, 1892); Shane Porteous (Aussie actor, 1942); Robert De Nero (actor, 1943); Sean Penn (actor, 1960).
Died: Rudolph Hess (former Nazi, 1987).
Events: The Who play Woodstock, 1969.
Useless Trivia: Mary Hardy Reeser spontaniously combusted in her home in St Petersberg, Florida, on 1st July 1951.
My Soundtrack:
'Dire Straits' (1st album, 1978).
Weather: mid-20's, gloriously sunny, light NE winds, almost cloudless skies - perfect Spring weather.

Mal (ie. Mallard d'Quackers) :o)
Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net

"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Nuts" (US General, Battle of the Bulge 1944, in reply to German surrender demand)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

(*) Some of your questions answered

Caroline asked (at some ridiculous time of night - go to bed! lol):
1. What do you like to do for fun? Hang out with friends, play music - as in jam with other musos, boogie boarding (a bit hard living 200km from the sea...!), kite flying!
2. Do you have a favourite animal? Maybe the Blue Whale... how can something so huge be so gentle and eat only plankton?!? A close second would have to be the dolphin - joyously free.
3. What's your favourite food? Hmmm... tacos... well, anything that's a nice home-cooked meal. I enjoy my food, but I'm not a connoisseur.

Ruby asked:
1. If you could save just one Cd from your collection what would it be? "A Hard Days' Night" by The Beatles - I was listening to this at age one, and probably will be for the rest of my days! lol
2. If money was no object, what would you do or where would you live? So long as I could have my sons with me, I'd live on the Greek island of Hydra. No contest!
3. If you were made to live as a woman for 24 hours, what would you do with it? Oh wow - that's something I've never been asked before! It may sound funny - but go thru 24-hours of labour and childbirth, or PMS... us stoopid males know what it must feel like, but we just don't really know and so don't truly fully sympathise in many ways...

The Third Daughter asked:
q1. can you describe your perfect job? Teaching and training adults in their workplace, meeting them where they are and helping them do what they love to do - more effectively! It's the one-to-one face-to-face getting alongside people aspect of training that I like - although I find it very emotionally draining.
q2. why did you move from the northern beaches to bathurst and did you live anywhere else in between? I grew-up in the Manly area. My wife was originally from Bathurst, but we spent the first three years of our marriage living in the Manly area happily enough. We'd always thought we'd end up in Bathurst, but years and years later - maybe to retire! I finished 2 years' of Bible College, and literally in a period of two weeks we'd moved to Bathurst after i) a job became available ii) a place to live became available iii) a social network we'd already slightly developed already existed in Bathurst. So - we moved! We'd lived in Bathurst for 7 years when we moved to Ilford (half-way-between Lithgow and Mudgee NSW) on a camp/Conference Centre - in the middle of nowhere! Beautiful! Then we moved back to Bathurst. After we seperated, I spent 3 months living with friends in Tweed Heads, then a year back in Bathurst, then a year on the Central Coast, and I've been living happily back in Bathurst for about 18 months now. And yes - I HATE moving!
q3. what is on the 2nd shelf of your fridge right now? That's my housemate's shelf! It's got a few beers, some cheese, youghurt, a bit of salad stuff... not a whole lot else! My shelf's the bottom of the three - and that's usually overflowing!

Mal (ie. Mallard d'Quackers) :o)
Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net

"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Nuts" (US General, Battle of the Bulge 1944, in reply to German surrender demand)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

(*) Putting your voice on your blog

I'm &%$#@! because I just spent about 15 minutes writing this post out - then lost it! Argh! However, let me outline it again, for those of you vaguely interested!

I saw this thing on someone elses' site - forgive me, but I just can't remember who's it was on! D'oh! Mine was just a trial-and-error thing that worked!

If you live in the USA, you can post audio to your blog from any phone. Just dial a number and speak. The audio will automatically be posted! It's here at Audioblogger.

Because I don't live in the USA, that thing won't work for me here in sunny Australia. Instead, I recorded a 'crappy' voice recording, uploaded it onto my free Geocities website, and linked to it from my blog.
  • Record voice using Windows Sound Recorder (or whatever your machine uses)
  • Upload file to remote internet host (I put mine on my Homepage that I've had for a few years' now.)
  • Link to WAV file thru your blog.
  • Thus: Hi Mal - wave file
If you don't have an external webhosting service (you should have one with your ISP account that came with your email service, with the people who provide your internet service), then I don't know how to put a sound file onto your blog! I've spent a few years stuffing-up webpages thru a process of pure trial-and-error learning - and I'm still in the dark as to how the whole HTML-thing really works!

I hate trying to be the whole computer geek guy - it's really not me! Argh! lol If none of this makes sense - fair enough! Tis a mystery to me, the whole finer points of website coding...

Maybe I should become a member of the "Dull Men's Club"? What do you think...?
(Thanx to Third Daughter for the link).
Have a laugh at what Uncle Bob gets upto this week! He's the clown/DJ?!?

Here's a challenge for today:

(A) First, recommend to me:
1. a movie
2. a book
3. a musical artist, song, or album

(B) I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.

(C) Then I want you to go to your blog/journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything & say that you stole it from me.
(Thanx again Third Daughter! hahahaa!)
Mallard d'Quackers, his granite banjo, and his orchestra...
mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net

(*) Wednesday after Tuesday before Thursday

I want to thank Ruby, Zinnia, Susan, Amnesia, Caroline, Pauline and Yvonne - amongst others - who have recently really encouraged me thru their kind words in this blog - thank you so much!

After rediscovering that norty 'Landover Baptist' satirical website the other day, I rediscovered these norty phrases I'd found in the Bible from years' ago! They really are in there!
  • "She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys, and whose emissions were like those of horses." Ezekiel 23:20. (A good reference to give to blushing young girlies! lol)
  • "Doomed with you to eat their own faeces and to drink their own urine." 2 Kings 18:27; Isaiah 36:12.
  • "Him that pisseth up against the wall." (KJV) 1 Samuel 25:22, 34; 1 Kings 14:10; 16.11; 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8.
    • Let's not forget the incestuous couples...
  • Lot and his daughters, Genesis 19:30-38.
  • Sarah married her half-brother, Abraham, Genesis 20:12.
  • Nahor married his niece, Genesis 11:27, 29.
  • Amram married his father's sister, Exodus 6:20.
  • Amnon raped his half-sister, 2 Samuel 13:2, 14, 28-29.

Now, let me slip on a more 'serious' hat for a moment! As I was cruising thru Gammamom's blog the other night, she reminded me that re-telling our stories can be so beneficial not only to ourselves, but to others as well. It's something I used to teach people again and again all the time when I was training other teachers - I'd just got so caught up in trying to 'blog' that I think I'd forgotten how to tell my stories. I think I need to relearn that skill all over again.

She was talking about their old family Xmas traditions. Now, I'm no 'traditionalist' by any stretch of the imagination, but I know how important it is to create positive, life-long positive memories for our children at special occasions in their lives. I usually try to do this at their birthdays and Xmas, altho the last 3 years' have become increasingly difficult for me to have the freedom to do that. But - that's a different story. Gammamom helped me to remember some of the Xmas 'traditions' I had as a child growing up with my own parents. Now, I'm sure to shed a tear as I think back to my old man, dead now over 8 years already. Gees, I still miss him, you know? But, that's OK.

We had polished floorboards, and a 50-foot-tall sliver tinsel tree covered with glittery tinsel and multi-coloured bulbuls as a young kid. The highlight was the family 'angel', a pink feathery thing that adorned the top of the silver glow. All the Xmas decorations lived in an extraordinarily-old black heavy shipping box, with small rusty hinges and a rusty brass-coloured flip-lock at the front. It lived most of its' life atop my parent's wardrobe - on my dad's side of the top, if my memory serves me right. I have a snapshot in my mind of that tall silver tree, topped with pink angel, wooden reflective floorboards, and a mountain of brightly wrapped presents sprawling underneath. Come Xmas morning (we always opened our presents on Xmas morning), mum would be so excited watching the rest of us - dad, my brother and I - open our pressies, she'd forget to open hers. An early Xmas memory is a picture-book of 'The Prince and the Pauper', sitting on my dad's knee as he read it to me (I'm crying already). I can almost feel the flannel pyjamas and that old brown dressing gown underneath me as I sat on his lap. Dad wasn't a big 'read-a-book-to-the-kids' type of guy (I guess that was mum's assigned role), so having a specific memory of this is very precious. I have vague recollections of that book and the coloured drawings, in a big blue cover. I have no idea what happened to it (as an aside) - I guess we passed it forward to another family when I outgrew it.

That tree survived I don't know for how long - maybe 20 years or something? My 10-years' older brother remembers it when he was a kid, so my parents surely must have got some usage out of that poor old thing. At the end of the season (usually early January), an unspoken signal meant it was time to put the tree and decorations away for another year. We might have had a garland (what do you call those things?) hanging outside the front door, but not every year. Like I said, I don't know how that tree survived all those years without becoming prematurely bald with shedding-mange! There was always a shimmering pile of silver glittery 'tree' left over on the polished wooden floorboards afterwards, which I'm sure mum would have dutifully swept up and carried away. But it eventually became my family role to i) build and decorate the tree, and ii) pull the tree down and pack away the decorations into that old black trunk/box. That box was like a tardis - a keeper of hidden mysteries. Dusty, with that old smell (gees, I can actually smell it - freaky!), with bits and pieces of old decorations from years' past that I guess were never quite thrown away. I think there might even have been some old curled-edge black-and-white photos hiding in the bottom as well - but that just might be my brain playing tricks with me. The pink feathery angel had its own little box that it lived in during its time away, and I'd carefully wrap the thing in the enclosed soft white rustling tissue paper and almost reverently place it inside its little box and put the lid back in place. The seemingly miles of tinsel, bulbuls (I have no idea how to spell that!), and all the little bits and pieces that I'd made as decorations over the years would be placed gingerly back inside that black dusty edifice. I remember the occasional hand-painted pine cone, the paper-chains - stuff like that - which I must've contributed at times over the years. Every house must have that 'there's something missing now' feeling as soon as the tree goes down. There's that gap in the room - I know you know what I mean. The front chairs would be moved back into place in front of the large front window (with distant views across Queenscliff into the blue Pacific), and the black packing box would mysteriously find its way back atop dad's side of their wardrobe.

As an older kid, one thing dad and I used to do on Xmas morning (as a family we very very rarely went to 'church' as such on Xmas - not that it's a memory for me, anyway) was, after the pressies had been opened, and all the huge mountain of bright crisp coloured paper cleaned away, dad and I would go down to the local sailing club for a short breakfast. The people there would each bring a gift to give away to the children at Stewart House (?), who didn't get any pressie that Xmas. It was always cool seeing the big pile of gifts that would end up at one end of the room, as people wished each other a Merry Xmas and hugged and stuff, sipping orange juice and lemon squashes. It didn't take long before all those pressies would get carried out the door into the back of someone's truck, and they'd take them up to the other kids. I remember wrapping up my 'Ker Plunk' game one year, because I thought someone else could use it. Dad would usually make some sort of short happy speech most years (he was the president there for quite a few years. ps. this wasn't some big posh snobby 'Sailing Club Inc.', this was just a little amateur club operating out of a converted boatshed). Somehow, one of those little speeches of dad's got taped one year, we discovered a few years' later. How we missed our dad as we sat down as a family and listened to his voice again, a few years after he'd left us. It was like he was right there. It was him, his voice. I could see, smell and hear the echoes of that glorified boatshed as he spoke, as if it was actually happening. That was a great memory.

Oooh, I'd forgotten about that tape too! Thank you for reminding me of it, people! (Crying again - happy tears). Ooooh... I LOVED writing and thinking back to all that! Thank you thank you thank you! Aawww. I just sat and typed, not worrying about typos or spelling, just getting it onto 'paper' (as such!). Now I'll go back and read it and correct the blatant boo-boos, and reminisce some more... that was a brilliant exercise! That you so much for prompting me to do it, Pauline!
Here's a pic I found of a Great White Shark 'breaching'! Awesome!

On This Day...
Born: Scott Joplin (muso, 1868); Donald 'Duck' Dunn (muso, 1941).
Died: Freddy Mercury (Queen, 1991).
Events: Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald live on TV, 1963; Beatles release 'Hello Goodbye 'single & 'Magical Mystery Tour' LP in US, 1967.
Useless Trivia: James Cagney never spoke the words, "You dirty rat!" in any of his movies.
My Soundtrack:
Crowded House Live CD & 'Recurring Dream'

Mal (ie. Mallard the Quackers) :o)
Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net
"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Nuts" (US General, Battle of the Bulge 1944, in reply to German surrender demand)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

(*) Monday Madness & Unconscious Mutterings

I wanna try something I saw on someone else's blog... well, a version of that... This is a sound file of me saying hello (if it works, that is!) It's a 6 second 55kb wave file (of really poor quality - it's only a first attempt!)
Hi Mal - wave file
"Hi, this Mal - just saying 'G'day!' It's good to see you here at my blog - thanks for coming, and I'll see you again soon. Byeee!"

I suddenly realised this evening (a light appeared in the blackness and... no no, that's not it...) - all of the people I seem to communicate with thru this blog - are female! It's not that I'm flirting or anything - you can ask anyone!!! Is it a case that women are more comfortable sharing their feelings and their days thru the anymonity (sp?) of a blog - than a bloke? Or is it just a case that I enjoy talking about what's been going on in my brain a few times a week thru this here blog? It may remain one of the great mysteries of the universe...! Whatever - it's good to be getting to know you all this way. Thank you for the privilidge.
I got off my lazy buttocks and went for a short jog this arvo - the first time for 'quite a while', shall we say... I've been doing lots of walking, but I felt like getting a jog into or out-of my system. In the long run, I only managed one lap of the nearby school oval before I had to pull up! Now - THAT'S embarrasing! So, I walked very briskly the rest of the way, including to the top of the nearby steep hill, then staggered back home. Actually, I feel a whole lot better for it... now, if only my calves would stop whinging about it!

I see wee Blogger is playing silly buggers still when people try to post a comment. I have NO idea why it's doing it! It's doing silly, norty things with me tonite too! Argh! I'll drop a line to Blogger and ask them. PS. If you ever see a gif image (like the dancing penguins, for example) that'd you'd like to borrow - go for it! I get half of my images from other blogs, so you might as well use the ones I've found too.

I can't believe I sat up in the middle of the night trying to work out the price of petrol around the world, can you? My maths was obviously totally wrong! D'OH! Anyway, it showed me the huge differences there are - and as caroline noted, even huge differences in different parts of the States! Sheesh! I know the price is about 10c/litre less in QLD than it is here in NSW - something to do with different states' taxes or something... typical...

Week 94
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Reconnect:: the past becomes the present
  2. Gearshiift:: 5-speed Holden Monaro
  3. Mania:: Beatle
  4. Manhattan:: Bart mixing coctails for Fat Tony
  5. First date:: a kiss at a playground fort across the road from my house!
  6. District:: region of Central Tablelands
  7. Yearbook:: 1982 - a loooooong time ago...
  8. Breakup:: never painless
  9. Episode:: depression
  10. Costume:: Neil from the Young Ones

Sunday, November 21, 2004

1. What is your favorite sport? Sailing. I used to sail 16' Skiffs on Sydney Harbour as a teenager, with my dad - I loved it!
2. Do you watch sports on television? I love watching cricket on TV. It's the whole competativeness of the game.
3. In high school, did you (or do you) play any sports? I used to row bow in the school eight. hey - we were Public schoolboys, not 'Private' school! We used a borrowed boat - and whipped the arses of the GPS schools' boats! Whoo hoo!
4. Any favorite teams? I grew-up within a bulls roar of Brookvale Oval in Sydney, so I naturally still follow (albeit from a distance) the comings and goings of Manly Warringah in the NRL.
5. If applicable, did you (or do you) attend your child's games? I do, I do - whenever I'm told they are on, that is!
6. Do you think professional athletes make too much money?
Absolutely! I mean, $20 million for just kicking a football about? Come ON!!!
Mallard d'Quackers

Monday, November 22, 2004

(*) What happened to the Kiwi's???

I went to turn on the 4th days' play of the first cricket test between the Aussies and New Zealand this arvo - and it was all over! Argh! NZ were all out for 76! Australia won by an innings and 156 runs! OMG! Even McGrath and Dizzy got half-tons! It was looking like a good game a day ago too! Oh well...

You know it's late when... you work out the conversion price of petrol from Australian dollars into US dollars - litres into gallons! The price of fuel here at the moment is $1.089/litre, which is (ruffly) $3.825 US per gallon. What IS the price of fuel in the US or UK, my overseas bloggers? Just for fun sakes? (Fun??? lol)

I found a conversion chart that tells me to convert gallons into litres you multiply by 9 then divide by 2 (reverse for litres into gallons). That makes one gallon = 4.5 litres (that's what my calculator says, anyway... maths is not one of my strengths!) 1 litre is $1.089 AU = $0.85US. Therefore, $0.85 x 4.5 = $3.825 per gallon US. (Oh come on Mal, it's late - it's like 2.30 in the bloody morning! pmsl!) Does my maths stand up? What is the price of fuel in the US, anyway? Is ours better, worse or the same? I really have no idea!

STOP PRESS! Rather than my bodgy maths making a huge mistake (by the looks of it!), I used the Net! By comparison (using Aussie dollars), 1 litre of petrol costs:
  • Australia: $1.089
  • USA: $0.815 (average)
  • UK: $1.86 - $1.94!!!
That's really amazing!!!

Born: Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, 1940); Jamie Lee Curtis (actor, 1958).
Died: US President JF Kennedy, 1963; Jack London (writer, 1916).
Events: "With the Beatles" (2nd LP) released 1963; "The Beatles" (White Album LP) released 1968.
Soundtrack: "Past Masters Vol.1" The Beatles (groan! lol)
Weather: I've absolutely no idea! It's pitch black outside!
Useless Trivial Info: The world's strongest beer is 16.9% alcohol by volume. (Hic - stagger - fall over...)

Mallard d'Quackers

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Landover Baptist Church

Someone gave me this hilarious satirical link years' ago - but then I lost it! I accidently stumbled across it again tonight! Whoo hoo! If you have a healthy sense of humour - check it out. (As an ex fulltime Missionary, I think I'm fully entitled to have a laff at this stuff! lol.)

Grab your bible - it's IN there! I'm thinking of using this as my new mousepad... what do you reckon...? Hahahaa!
(Check the 8th line of this link...!)

(*) At the circus

The boys and I had an absolute blast at the circus on Saturday arvo! It was a really spectacular show, with all sorts of amazing acts - even Guinea Pig Juice (!)
2 1/2 hours once-a-week (if we're lucky - today was an exception to the norm just lately tho...) isn't hardly enough time for the four of us to hang out together, is it? (NB. Click on a thumbnail pic to see the larger pic open in a new window.)

JD and Ix... it was funny trying to take a picture in pitch-darkness - it becomes hit-or-miss photography! But these three turned out great - considering I only took 4 pics today.

JD - try and guess how old he is?!?

Seb's turning 8 next week! Whoo hoo!

I love my three sons forever! It breaks my heart to be apart from them - that's one of the main reasons why things get so 'dark' for me sometimes - just being physically seperated from them makes me feel so empty. One more step at-a-time

Mallard d'Quackers

Friday, November 19, 2004

(*) Friday after Thursday before Saturday

Hiya. Just a quick newsy update this time. Hope you're keeping well, happy, safe, having a laugh and enjoying those you're with.

The car's going really well for me, handy little zippy thing. It's still a bit of a novelty for me, I'm embarrassed to admit still - I went for a drive for an hour late the other night - because I could! D'oh! hahahaa. Petrol costs $1.089/litre here at the moment - not good. Gees, I remember as a kid when it was 22c/l!!! Then when I was first driving, it was stuck on 49.9c/l for seemingly for ever! Those days are sure gone forever.

I went to see a free solicitor last Saturday. They run a free advisory service every Saturday morning, and it was good to hear from a legal perspective what my rights as a divorced dad with equal custody are, and how I have not been exercising them at all for the past 2 years. Well, that's gonna start changing from now on. M will not like it - she will jack-up about it for sure, but I'm totally within my rights to see more of the boys than I currently am, and without her ridiculous draconian restrictions. So, it's tread softly for a little while.

Scalp & eczema - again! I've had 2 whole weeks straight without any pain or itching or anything yucky  - that's been a first in a long, long time. But - for no apparent reason (probably a delayed reaction to the stress of seeing the solicitor etc), literally within 24 hours - bang. It came on suddenly, and it's all yuck again. Damn - I was really getting used to not having to take pain-killers to lay on my pillow at night so I can at least pretend to try and get some sleep! D'oh! I'll keep trying the Neutrogena T/Plus shampoo treatment - it's worked wonders upto this flare-up. Grizzle bugger &%$#@! It's just annoying, that's all.

One of the results of this emotional and physical disruption has been the disruption to my body-clock. I just haven't been able to sleep at night (my mind won't turn off!), and there's been a few morning's when I've watched the sunrise from my pillow - argh! It's a catch-22 - if I don't get enough sleep i get a little potty, which doesn't help me relax enough to fall asleep... argh! It's slowly getting better tho - fingers' crossed.

Tomorrow will be Thoon's First Birthday! One whole year of having a little goldfishie of my own to love and cuddle and... well OK, skip the cuddling bit... Thoon IV is going 100% well - fantastically well, in fact. He knows when I come into the room (dancing fool that he is), and knows right away what's going on when the lid opens at feeding time! Chomp!

We've had more good rain here recently, and even the dam is at 84% capacity - thank goodness! Unfortunately, a bottlebrush in our backyard blew down in a big windstorm about 2 weeks' ago. It was a lovely big bushy thing, about 5-feet tall, but now it's all cut up and gone. Oh well... now there's a whole new lot of tomato plants and some herbs (legal herbs, thank you! hahahaa!) to keep the water upto.

My housemate gave me a free pass to get into the Long Track Championships the other week - it's a dirt motorbike race-thing. i dunno - it doesn't 'do' anything for me. i just went to have a look-see, get a bit of mud splashed onto my face, smell the bbqs and hear the roar of the bikes. i only stayed for about half-an-hour... like I said, that whole scene doesn't do anything for me. But it was still fun to go and see it all the same - especially at the price! 'One of the perks of living with a journalist' my housemate laughed.

I did something I haven't done in over 2 years the other Sunday - I went to an informal church service. I still don't really know why I went, except maybe I guess to meet new people. But - nothing had changed (it was a different church and service than the one I used to go to), and I left after about half an hour. I could go on about it, but I think I'll just say - it was once again a reminder of the lifelessness and joylessness of churchianity.

Circus tomorrow - whoo hoo! I love the way they advertise 'family prices' - for the three three boys and myself - $61!!! Sheesh! At least it's a 2-hour show.

Check out this site: Weebl & Bob... what can I say? Enjoy some absurdity! Have a look at all of them!

On This Day...
Born: Allan Tate (writer, 1899); Jodi Foster (actor, 1962).
Joe Hill (political activist, 1915).
Useless Trivia:  a 7.76 meter (25+ ft) tall sunflower was grown in The Netherlands in 1986.
My Soundtrack:
Jimi Hendrix Live @ Monterey, 1967; "A Hard Days' Night", The Screaming Blue Highland Jellymen of Yeoval Mens' Spittle Choir and Slightly Yoghurt Reservists (Inc.).

Mal (ie. Mallard the Quackers)   :o)
"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Nuts"  (US General, Battle of the Bulge 1944, in reply to German surrender demand)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Monday's Mutterings

Week 93
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Childhood:: innocence lost, but lives afresh in the memory
  2. Ransom:: what price a life?
  3. Melissa:: ?
  4. Trust me:: I'm a rat
  5. Report:: evidence of the facts
  6. Give up:: no way!
  7. Nightgown:: no way! (lol)
  8. Smokes:: chimney
  9. Cookies & cream:: ooohhh... the sound of clogging arteries...
  10. Gameshow:: bull$#it!

This week we'll choose one or the other of the following....

1. bar soap or shower gel
2. cd's or cassettes
3. television movies or documentaries
4. wall calendar or desk calendar
5. dsl, cable, or dial-up
6. summer or winter
7. city or country
8. camping or stay in a hotel
9. gold or silver
10. fiction or non-fiction books
11. mashed potatoes or baked potatoes
12. ranch, italian, or catalina dressing
13. solid or spray deodorant

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Crayon Box

(Thanx to Lynn at Bacon, Cheese and Oatcakes)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Monday's Unconscious Mad Mutterings

Sunday, November 07, 2004
Name 3 (or more, or less!) things...

1. cannot live without. My feet; drinking water; my teddybear, Edward.
2. CAN live without, but cannot seem to part with. My teddybear, Edward; my puter; the internet.
3. wish to accomplish this COMING week. Commence paid employment; seek legal help re ex.; spend quality time with my sons.
4. have accomplished this PAST week. Put my ex straight; paid bills early; wrote a long, satisying yet messy blog entry.
5. ...on your holiday (or non-holiday) 'wish list.' At least a fortnight on Hydra, Greece; time - just time to do nothing; sunshine and good company.
6. would like to change about yourself. Get teeth looked at; less paranoid; less stressed about things beyond my control.
7. like about yourself. Sense of humour; wierd zone; listening to the world about me.
8. should be doing right now instead of what you ARE doing. Sleeping; sleeping; sleeping.
9. your life that could use a little more organization. My accounts; my friendships; my brain-box!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

1. Code your own website or use a template? Both!
2. Use a digital camera or a film camera? If digital, do you print your own pictures, order them online, or send them out? Digital - still getting used to it, and I get the pictures printed at K-Mart. The rest I store online.
3. Make your own cards or buy them at a card shop? Card Shop - I aint that clever, tho I have made my own wrapping paper in the past.
4. Draw your own graphics or get them from the internet? Get them wherever I can find them online!
5. Take showers or baths? Showers 99% of the time, but who can resist a long hot soak in a tub occasionally?
6. Make your own candles or buy them? And are they soy or paraffin? Buy them... soy? what's that?!
7. Celebrate Halloween or not? Nope, no trick or treaters here either.
8. Sleep in on weekends or get up early even if you don't have to go to work? I try to sleep in, but not always - stoopid body-clock!
9. Correct other people's grammar, or just let it go? What's wrong with their grandma?

Week 92
I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Small Talk:: whispered gossip.
  2. Evidence:: facts, truth in reality.
  3. Drifting:: sitting on a yacht at midnight becalmed watching the moonrise.
  4. Hostage:: sadness at idiocy.
  5. Beauty:: to each their own version.
  6. Automatic:: for the people.
  7. Asking for it:: it... oh no, I said it... I said it again...
  8. Visene:: sinus more a problem than the eyes.
  9. No strings attached:: no accociation beyond the moment.
  10. Frizz:: wet towels.

Week 91
I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Right now:: stressed and anxious about my ex's reactions.
  2. Halloween:: a non-event.
  3. Provider:: hmmm... who's my saviour this term...?
  4. Rescue me:: salvation is found in mankind's folly?
  5. Confidence:: what's that? I've completely forgotten! lol.
  6. Fungus:: the Bogeyman.
  7. Candy corn:: nope.
  8. Reunion:: Do I look that old...?!
  9. Winner:: salt water spray on the trapeeze
  10. Tradition:: or complacency?

Week 90
I say ... and you think ... ?

1. Blackout:: flash-bang lightning
2. Platinum:: PS2
3. Leather and lace:: Cottage Industries Inc.
4. Court:: Unsympathetic Justice
5. Mind your own business:: uninvolvement
6. Gambling:: wastage
7. Lily:: Picture of
8. Evasive:: Manly 16ft Skiff from the 1970's.
9. Turn-on:: and Drop Out
10. Suspect:: suspiciously

Friday, November 12, 2004

(*) Seb turns 8!

Seb turns the big eight! He had heaps of fun at his Bowling Party!

I am soooooo proud of him. I love him sooooo much - I think about my boys each and every single day. It's sooooo hard and heartbreaking being apart from them...
On This Day...
Births - Seb; Neil Young (muso, 1945); Grace Kelly (goddess, 1929).
Weather - beautiful blue skies, winds v.light NE/NW, a bit muggy, about 22c.
Soundtrack - "Dangerous", Michael Jackson.
Mallard d'Quackers

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

(*) Some latest pics and views

I'm feeling a lot better tonight, thank you! But strangely tired - I didn't fall asleep until after 7am this morning, and awake before 11... I can't understand why I'm feeling so tired tonight...! Here's a few thumbnails of some of my recent pics. Click on a pic to see the full-sized image open in a new window (if you want to!) NB. I've scaled the sizes of these pics right down, from the originals I took.
Or, if you've always wondered where your endless surfing and searching on the 'net would finally lead you - this is it!

This was taken just a few days' ago on the top of the local "Mount". I hope your monitor can handle it...!

Here's Ix, who's turning 6 in a few weeks. A typical boy, with a big scrape right along his face!

Here's Seb acting silly in Maccas (naturally!) - he's turning 8 in a few days. JD took this pic - whoo hoo!

Seb and JD - a self-portrait!

My great little car atop "the Mount"! Don't you love that view? That's where I live.

One of the local landmarks, "The Carillion" in the centre of town.

Sunset, "The Carillion".

The "East Coast Targa" rally came thru here the other week... here's two of the entrants:

The Bugatti looked amazing - totally renovated - but I think I'd feel more comfortable with the souped-up Mini, somehow...
PS. If you'd like to see a whole lot more of my pics - stuff of myself, the boys, and other bits and pieces around and about myself - just ask me, and I can send you the link. Ta.


(*) Alive... just

Thanx for your kind words of encouragement, ladies. It's been a very lonely, isolating and confusing week. I think I just need someone to talk to. After feeling really positive in the friendly relationship the ex and I have over the boys, she's changed her mind - again. This is going back like 2 or 3 years from where we were like then. It's bullshit, and I feel so absolutely frustrated, helpless, angry - and hopeless. All the work we've got thru together to make sure the boys are happy has gone to pot, because she's gone back on her word - again. Now it's getting near impossible to have a proper decent time alone with my boys anymore, and it's driving me really quite desperate with stress, worry, anguish and despair. 2 or 3 years' worth of building up a sense of trust and expectation that she was happy with the boys and I spending quality time alone together has gone down the shitter - just becaues she doesn't feel like it anymore. Bloody hell. It doesnm't matter what i do, it's never right or good enough. I'm really sick to death of it. It just goes on and on ad on. She plays me so well - she loves to do it. I'm just having a winge here, so donlt take it personally, OK? She loves to be in control, to have all the power, to humiliate me, to take away any sense of authority I have with my boys. Not that she'd ever admnit that. oh no. She really IS turning into her own mother - and that was always her greatest fear. She's so blind to her own quest to 'be in control' that she doesn't realise the damage she's doing to her own realtionship with he boys - by her passive/aggresive attempt to destroy mine. Aww, I'm just talkijng, and I know no one is listening, so this is a good place to just let off a bit of steam. Spelling mistakes, typos and all! hahahaa!

I think I'm at a point where I seriously have to consider seeking legal counsel and advice as to where she's taking things at the moment. She says 'no' more times than 'yes', and now she's not even allowing the boys to either come over to my place to hang out, or even ride in my car! Her reason? "I donlt trust you." When asked what specific things do you not trust me with them, she simply replied, "I'm not comfortable with it." Yes - it's all about her - not the boys. The boys want to come over here and hang out and play - they feel happy to do that. But she continually undermines my relationship as their father by disallowing them to be with me - in the way they have been doing over the past year+. For a year it hasn't been a problem, now she turns around and changes here mind with a 'I'm not comfortbale with it." Well - get used to it! It's gonna be more uncomfortable if we have to get a mediator in to see both sides of the case - if she's still unwilling to sit down and even listen to y side of everything. it's all abgout her, even though she continually uses the boiys as her excuse, her leverage, and her right - to do whatever she wants to do on any and every whim. It's just not right! I have rights as a father - and she even addmitted to me the other vweek that she doesn't think of me having the maturity of an adult! Argh! That's what i mean - she just closes her mind to anyone else but herself. And if anybody else comes along and tells her that she's not right - she just turns off. She shuts down, ignores them - and hopes they go away. I'm notm saying that just to be a nasty bastard. I've watched her do it again and again and again to over 10 people in the 10 years of our marriage - she just freezes people out. The problem is - she keeps forgetting that I just wonlt go away. If it wasn't for the boys, I would piss off and go and live oin the Greek Islands tomorrow. but - I LOVE my boys, and I need them in my life, and they need to know their father in their lives too, wether she accepts or admits that or not.

Sorry - I'm really crapping on and raving away here, aint I? Fairt enough - it is 3.15am in the morning... donlt you hate it when you're brain just wonlt shut off, and you just lay there churning churning churning over stuff over and over again... I really really hate it. Drives me potty. Really. I hate feeling like all this. I really really do. I had to tet up and knew I just had to start typing and talking intot he air... was thinking insane thoughts... writing final letters and shit like that. It gets to depressing thinging like that, so I had to do something else to think about something else. Blah blah blah. Donlt worry - even though I'm broke, unemployed with an $18,000 debt, because i love my boys I wonlt do anything silly to myself or anybody else!

I'm going to shut up now. I wonder how much of this gets back to my ex - I know I've had 'spies' and gossips from my old church tell her stuff waaaay out of context in the past. I know who you are too, RC, you two-faced bastard. Call yourself a church leader? How about someone who craves power! And will lie and gossip and destroy peoples' credibility so as to make themselves look and feel better. You know it's not tru, RC, donlt you? Or - did she get to you, too? (Ahh, listen to that raving paranoiac, will you? Doesn't know his arse from his elbow!) Sigh. No one cares.

I guess that's still the thing that has absolutely broken my spirit over the past 3 years. Going from having your life partner as your very best friend, to having that person turning totally around and saying "I wish you weren't..." I miss having someone here, around, just to be with. I don't think I can ever be in another deep trusting relationship again, having that trust violated and raped from me by someone I chose to willingly love thru thick and thin. Oh well - life sucks, and then you die, i guess! hahahaa!

Like I said - I HATE feeling like this. I abhore it. It makes me feel like absolute shite, and I hate feeling this way. I donlt know for sure if I can go on for too many years' feeling this way - ebbing and flowing from month to month from good to no so good. I know it's depression - believe me (if you would!), but I am a whole lot better than I used to be! It's not having anyone to share the life-journey with - that's so soul-empying for me.

Oh gawd - enough of this thick shite for one night! You poor buggers, having to wade thru all that 'blatt!" remember - donlt take any of this stuff as gospel - I'm just having a spitt...

Mal :o)

Monday, November 08, 2004

(*) Quickly...

Just a quick one... battling major 'black dog' depression over the previous week - that keeps me away from wanting to write anything in the blog. Will write again soon. Keep me in your happy thoughts.

Mal (ie. Mallard the Quackers)   :o)
"If we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light of the oncoming train." (Robert Lowell)
"Nuts"  (US General, Battle of the Bulge 1944, in reply to German surrender demand)
"The Lord survives the rainbow of His will." (Robert Lowell)

Monday, November 01, 2004

(*) Alls' well - just busy

All's fine - car is great and goes fine. Busy weekend - not near the computer over the last 3 days. Will write soon.
Mallard the Quackers :o)