Friday, November 24, 2006
Root Shoot Marry #15 : it's a rootin' tootin' high falutin' rodeo game this week!
Have you ever wanted land? Lots of land? Under starry skies above?

How about a ride to the ridge where the west commences, where you can gaze at the moon until you lose your senses? If you can't look at hobbles and you can't stand fences*, you're in the right place to play Root Shoot Marry #15 - a game where even cowgirls with the blues can get a little steamy under the stetson.

Yippee-yi-yo-ky-yay mother pluckers, jump in the saddle and we're away!

I mean, who hasn't been caught up in a Western, at least once? Who hasn't held their breath as the cattle stampeded, the trigger jammed, or the old yeller dog looked up, adoringly, one (sob) last (sob) time...?

Rules are here, or, in brief: pick one to root (shag), one to shoot and one to marry. No dodging the bullet. Personally, I think I've been a bit easy on you AGAIN this week, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding at least a shaggable choice here, even if murder and marriage cause you some problems. **

Remember, it's in your interest to find someone friendly among the victims below - it can get awful lonely out thar on the prairie, if your horse ain't the obliging type.

The Cowboys

1. John Wayne, the Duke

2. Heath Ledger, what a happy young man...

3. Clint Eastwood, Josey Wales

The Cowgirls

1. Jane Fonda, Cat Ballou

2. Jane from F Troop

3. Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead

Hang 'em high, sling 'em wide, rope 'em in...



*What can I say? Ella Fitzgerald made me do it.

** And you know what two easy weeks means? Expect the unexpected next Friday, dudes and dudettes...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Kinky Monkey Pirate Sex
Got your attention?

I'll tell you straight up, this isn't about Johnny Depp

But that was a fabulous excuse to go find a picture of him...

It has been mentioned once or twice here and in Glamorouse that I spent a year in South Africa as an exchange student.

When I first found out that was where I was going I admit I was a bit disappointed. It seemed too similar to Australia and I had really wanted to go somewhere in Europe.

The Rotary exchange system, however, was very big on interviews and screening and just allocating you wherever the Rotarians and (ugh) Rotary-annes felt you were best suited, personality wise.

Later, at our pre-departure camp, a Rotarian explained the country selections to me.

"Look around," he said.

"The jocks and cheerleaders go to north America where they can speak English and keep out of trouble doing sport; the giggly girls go to Japan and Korea where they'll be watched 24 hours a day, and the ones we think we can trust go everywhere else."

He was spot-on about the girls they sent to Japan, but as for the rest of it? There are so many flaws in his argument that I should just leave it there. Not, however, before I pause to enjoy a quiet smile thinking of Suse being a cheerleader type in high school.

The point today is that I had a glorious year in Africa which - who knew? - turned out to be incredibly exotic and not at all like Australia after all.

I left sobbing and vowing to be back within five years.

That was 20 years ago this year.


About 10 years after I'd left, some very good friends asked me about travelling in Africa. Was it worth it, they wondered? They'd lived in England and travelled a lot around Europe and elsewhere and were looking for fresh adventure.

Was it WORTH it?!! I gave them the full sentimental gush. I may even have waxed lyrical about thorn trees and gorges and the quality of the light and the way the air felt different and the sky was bigger and blah blah blah.

I definitely told them about the monkeys. Monkeys all over the place, even through suburban backyards. I loved the monkeys.

In the decade or so since that conversation, which may or may not have helped them to decide, these friends have established the kind of life that most of us might dream of - assuming one allowed one's dreams to include a globe-spanning existence that allows for half the year in one's Australian home and the other half living on safari locations in South Africa and Zimbabwe, writing novels that actually get published and enjoying the scenery.

I'm not sure my dreams would ever go so far. But then, my dreams are usually interrupted by the patter of six little feet. And - sighing - they're not monkey paws.

My good mate Tony, and his wife (who has a perfectly lovely name but Tony keeps calling her 'Mrs Blog' over his way so I will respect the title), Mrs B, are back in Africa again. Due home (this time) at Christmas.

You have Tony to thank for pushing me to add Root Shoot Marry to the Ladies Lounge.

I am very much looking forward to the chance to play it again in real life when they return.

In the meantime, he is back in internet range, blogging his 6-foot-6 heart out, and has recently written a hilariously bawdy account of the Monkey Pirates they deal with on a daily basis on camp in Kruger.

You should go and read about Kinky Monkey Pirate Sex, and maybe some of their other adventures with Tonka, the 22 year old Landrover.

Maybe you could share some comment joy with him, because at the moment it's just me, his Italian publisher and someone called Deb, and honestly, his stories are worth more than that.

And then you can come back and pat me on the shoulder and tell me it's ok.

Because it's sinking in that it has really been 20 years since I left Africa. And it's making me cry all over again.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Window Dressing.
My favourite window in Sydney.

A little menswear shop next to the Wentworth Hotel on - is it Phillip Street at that point? Opposite Chifley Plaza.

No idea what the shop's called.

Look closely - can you see what they use on the shelves?

Is it not beautiful?

Do you not love those socks? Even though they would be completely hideous against any other non-striped background?

I should go for an analogy here.

Something deep and meaningful about how we window dress our lives. How the coloured pencils look like a solid base until someone bumps one and the whole lot clatters to the floor.

But - nah.

I'm enjoying the pretty colours.

Sometimes it's enough, just to plumb the shallows.


Monday, November 20, 2006
Another Nutter's City Limits
And so it was that Another Nutter came into town, almost from the city limits...

It's so odd.

There's an empty chair.

And then it's not.

And no matter how many emails and phone calls you make, you still don't know what to expect.

Instead, suddenly, the chair is chocka-block full of ideas and reasoning and jeepers creepers...

Did we tell anyone yet that it turns out we lived in adjacent country towns for a couple of years in high school?

You heard it here first: Nutmeg and the Ladies Lounge, virtually neighbours. Except no one from her high school or mine ever spoke to each other.

There are topographic issues.

Nutmeg's and mine are VERY small towns. And VERY close together.

(apart from the whole massive mountain range thing)

And a VERY long way from where we both are now.

How. VERY. Odd.

So we hadn't quite dealt with those oddities before we realised we definitely needed another glass of wine.

And pretty soon we needed something to eat.


Wagamama. Positive eating. Positive living.

Positively hopeful that somehow, sometime, one of the five perky waiters would remember that two people meant two orders and maybe a second plate would be handy so we could BOTH eat.

(Nutmeg was the one courageously waiting for her serving - she insisted I hoe into mine. I did.)

Despite the - how do you say? - erratic service, the food was good and the company continued to sparkle.

By the time we'd drunk and eaten we'd established that we wrote differently, parented similarly; and both thought that meeting up was a pretty bloody good idea.

There were any number of other things too, but really: you don't expect a blow by blow do you?

It was infinitely better than I expected - to meet up with someone who could already be counted as a friend of sorts, and find they were so much more interesting. So full of ideas and reasoning and so much more interesting for not having a shared past, because this way we could not get bogged down in the details of common friends' lives, nor too much about our children, nor about work.

Ideas; reasoning; it was fabulous.

But finally it was time to go home.

But not before there was one more photo...

Oops. That didn't quite work, did it?

That's better.

Meeting in Real Life?

Highly recommended.

We'll be doing it again.