Saturday, December 30, 2006

Confest again

I'm going up to Confest for New Years. Me and Boonie are catching the bus to Deniliquin tonight, and Ray is going to give us a lift from there to Confest. Will probably be coming back Monday night.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Went and saw Eragon just before, and it's absolute rubbish. Some of the special effects are okay, but the script, acting, plot, charcterisation, costumes and pretty much everything else are awful. It's very similar to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
Another problem I had with it (which is a problem I have with most fantasy narratives) is that it's a version of the myth of redemptive violence. It says that there are people groups (whether they're orcs or Muslims or Americans) that are purely evil, and that by destroying these people a perfect world can be created.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


On Thursday we had the Credo Christmas party, down by the Yarra.

Marcus ranted at us for a bit ...

... and poured water all over the table ...

... and gave little cricket bats to some guys from the cricket team.

Ali and Luke and Kate handed out presents ...

... and then we had lunch together.
We packed up at about three o'clock or something, and then headed to the Vic for our last staff drinks of the year.

Yesterday morning I cleaned the laneway, and then caught the train out east to visit my family.
I gave Adam a watermelon for Christmas:

Justin gave me a t-shirt, which I think is meant to make me look scary:

As you can see, I also ended up with some weird 'Christmassy' things that Mum had been given by people. (They should make good Crap Cringle presents.)
Grandma (Mum's mum) and Uncle Mike (Mum's brother) came over for lunch.
For tea we went to Uncle Ian (Dad's brother) and Aintie Jenny's house.
This is me and my brothers and our cousins and our cousins' partners (some people are missing though):

(Note that Adam is doing the Thai movie star pose, and that there are souvienir teaspoons on the wall.)
This is my dad and his brothers:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Families not funds - time to focus on the things that matter'

There's a good article in The Age about what Father Bob reckons Christmas is about.

"Do no harm and do a bit of good," is his plea for Christmas. How do you do that? "By treating others as a facsimile of yourself."
It's stripped-down New Testament material retooled to the language of a blogger, podcaster, TV star and veteran helper of the disadvantaged.
Good can be done at ground-level, he says, by us, without needing help by religious leaders. "It's got to be trickle-up. What worries me about religion and the way she has been merchandised is that you get the impression that everything is trickle-down." Basically, he says, do it yourself. "We better get down and dirty," he says. "If you really want to make a change in the world you have to put in."

Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Coke's Christmas promises

Have done a post at advoc8 about Coca-Cola's Christmas advertising campaign. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Elevator party!

Tonight after staff prayers (which was also Nate and Ali's de-comissioning) we had a party in the elevator.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Because this is our last week together, the five of us Urban Seed residents decided to go away together for the weekend one last time. So Saturday night we drove the van down to Nomes' family's holiday house down at Sorrento.
After we'd unpacked the van we had some wine with Nomes' parents, and then we went and had tea at this Greek restaurant where they had a blow-up Santa.

After we'd had tea we went to the Sorrento Hotel, which was pretty noisy and crowded. On the way there these girls asked Ali to sing them a song. (One of them was having her hen's night, and it was a dare.)
When I went to use the toilet this really drunk guy who was also there said, 'Hey, what's in yer backpack?' There wasn't much in there except my Bible, so I said, 'My Bible.' I'm not sure if he understood what I'd said, but he said, 'Ya got any happiness in ya backpack?' I said, 'Yeah, lots of happiness in there.' He said, 'Can I 'ave some?' I said, 'Actually, I was just bluffing,' and then I exited, as I'd finished drying my hands.
We didn't stay there very long because the place closed at 11.
When we got back to the house we had some wine out on the balcony and played with Shadow, Nomes' family's talking dog.
This morning (Sunday morning) we had breakfast pretty late and spent a fair bit of time discussing theology with Nomes' parentds, and then went down to the back beach for a while.

Me and Ray waded in the rockpools a bit, looking at the the limpets and anemones and other weird little sea creatures, and talking about the Christmas break. We found this weird little red creature that looked a bit like an underwater spider with waving legs. Then we went and lay on the sand with Nathan and Nomes, while Ali was away meditating. When Ali came back we went for a walk along the beach, and I got knocked over by a big wave.
After lunch we went to this cafe at the front beach and had coffee and played cards.

For tea we had fish and chips (except me and Ray had vegeburgers) with Nomes' family, and Nathan played some of the songs we sing before lunch at Credo ('John and Jesus', 'Irish Blessing', Kelsey's song (I can't remember what it's actually called)) and we we sang them together.
After tea we packed up our stuff and talked with Nomes' dad about nuclear energy and nuclear waste and nuclear weapons (he's a radiation scientist), and we thanked Nomes' parents for their hospitality, and headed off.
Before we left Sorrento we went to this really nice place to watch the sun go down.

I can't remember what the place was called though! We just sat there for ages watching the sun go down. I was feeling pretty sad thinking that Nathan and Ali will be moving out soon, and while the sun was disappearing I just said, 'Yous are my big brothers and sisters!' (This may mean that I've unintentionally adopted them into the Brooks family.) Nathan said, 'You're my annoying little brother!'
We got back here at about 11:30. EcoPaul was sitting at the door writing a letter, so I got him to take a picture of us.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas cooking

In Credo this afternoon we did a whole heap of cooking, for presents to give people at the Credo Christmas party next Thursday.

Father Abraham had many sons...

This morning I went to the appeal of the Islamic Council of Victoria versus Catch the Fire Ministries case. (This was the first case based on the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act 2001.) The ICV was saying that Danny Naliah and Danny Scot from Catch the Fire had been saying at a conference in 2002 that the Islamic community is trying to take over the country, that they are in control of immigration, that they are demons and that they make money from illicit drugs. They were also saying that the Q'uran promotes violence and that terrorists are true Muslims. In 2004 the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decided that they had breached the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act. Today the appeal was accepted, so the case is going to be sent back to VCAT.
I think it's really tragic that Christians and Muslims have been unable to resolve this conflict outside of court. I hope that we can find more of the things to unite us rather than divide us.

Media coverage:
'Court orders vilification retrial' - The Age
'Church race case back to tribunal' - Herald Sun

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mini golf

Yesterday as a break-up activity for Credo team (the volunteers and satff who run Credo), we went out to Dingley to play mini golf.

On the way home we got sideswiped by a truck. Luckily everyone was okay.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


As of today I'm blogging at advoc8 as well as here.
(advoc8 is Tear Australia's site for youth and young adults.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rusk continues

This afternoon we played Rusk, using the board we made on Wednesday, four packets of jelly babies and five dice.

First we placed neutral armies (the purple jelly babies) on various strategic territories (eg. The Country Everybody Wants, Credo, Central Island). We divided the remaining territories by each taking it in turns to put one of our jelly baby armies on a territory, until each territory had one army. Then we each placed another ten armies on some of the territories we'd chosen.

We decided that at the beginning of each turn, each player would get two extra armies if they had taken over someone else's territory the previous turn, plus one army for each territory they were occupying. As well as that you could get extra armies if in the previous turn you had taken over one of the strategic territories I mentioned earlier, and managed to keep it.
Attacking and defending was the same as in Risk.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dumpster diving

Saturday night I went dumpster diving with Barry, Ash, Ross and Pete. Barry, Ash and Ross do it all the time, and get pretty much everything they eat from dumpster diving. They basically took us on a tour of the inner northern suburbs, in the van that they live in. Barry was saying it was like being in Bangladesh, because the sky was grey from the bushfires, but the sun was so bright and hot.

The bin at the first place we went to was full of cases of pancake mix. I didn't really want any, because if I was going to make pancakes I'd prefer make them myself out of normal ingredients, rather than using a mixture that's full of preservatives and artificial flavours and stuff, but the guys insisted that I had to take some.
There wasn't any food in the next dumpster we went to, but there were an awful lot of books. I grabbed a heap of hardcover books with Korean writing on them, because I use hardcover books for making journals and sketchbooks to give to people. Also got a paperback copy of Catch 22.
Next we went to a bakery. There was a whole dumpster full of stale bread.

At the next surpermarket we went to, the dumpsters were locked, but they're pretty experienced at opening dumpsters, so we get a whole heap of lamb cutlets, lamb chops, beef steaks and kangaroo, as well as some capsicums and really big bag of pizza bread. While we were getting stuff out of the dumpster a guy and a girl came up to us because they were looking for food as well, so we said that we'd take it back to the van and divide it with them.

We all went to another supermarket across the road and it was unbeliveable how much good food they'd thrown out there. There was a watermelon, three jackfruit, heaps of potatoes, eggplant... We had to put it all in a shopping trolley.

After that we took all the stuff back to the house of the people we met, and divided up what we'd gotten, and ate the watermelon and a sponge cake with them and their housemates. We hung around there for a fair while talking about the ethics of consumption, and when we left one of them gave us a big bag of organic lemons from his mum's lemon tree.
When I got back home with my share of the food, I actually chucked a fair bit of it out again. The others had insisted that I take a whole heap of the pizza bread, and hadn't really gotten that I wouldn't be able to eat it because it's so oily and would make me feel sick. So I had to chuck that out. There was so basil, which still had roots, so I planted that in the herb garden. And there were three capsicums and ten potatoes, which I washed, and will probably cook tomorrow. And there's a loaf of sourdough bread, which I've been using.
I admire that freegans are using a whole heap of stuff that would otherwise be wasted, but I'm not sure that freeganism offers much of a long-term solution to the problem of how much food gets wasted. I think it's good that people are choosing to try and participate as little as they can in the corrupt economy (corrupt because if something isn't sold it's disposed of), but by living off the waste people are still dependant of that corruption. I think it'd probably be better for people to be using freegan tactics, but also growing their own food or consuming responsibly (eg. local and organic products).
But that's just what I reckon. What about you?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Last year, when Luke was living here, he and one of his friends decided they wanted to play Risk. However, they went to a shop and discovered it cost about $100 for a Risk set, so they ended up inventing the wonderful (and cheap) game of Rusk.
Today after lunch we created a new Rusk board, with Ben, Jase, Dave and Cara:

According to Luke, it's actually more fun making a Rusk board than actually playing it, and by once you've finished the map there's not usually much time left to play anyway. Once we'd finished the map, and worked out what the rules should be, we'd run out of time. So we're going to play on Monday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

Went to see A Scanner Darkly this afternoon. It's an adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's novel of the same name, filmed and then digitally converted into animation. (The director, Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock) used the same technique in Waking Life, which I wrote a fair bit about last year.)
The film set 16 years into the future, where America's War on Drugs and War on Terror have become pretty much the same thing. The protagonsit is Bob Arctor (played by Keanu Reeves), an undercover police officer who is supposed to be spying on his drug addict household, and ends up becoming an addict himself. The drug he is using, Substance D, causes the part of him that is the spy and that part of him that is the user to split, and he ends up spying on himself.
There's trailers here (Windows Media Player) and here (Quicktime), and you can watch the first twenty-three minutes for free here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Isolate yourself

Isolate yourself
Saw this on the way back from the market this morning. Reminded me of a discussion I was involved in recently, where someone was talking about her brother being given a portable DVD player for Christmas, and how that encouraged him to spend less time with other people.
It's going pretty crazy in the city now, because it's getting close to Christmas. There's fake stars everywhere. (You often can't see the real ones around here at night, because of air and light pollution.)
Noticed that some of the Christmas advertising is encouraging isolation too: