Saturday, February 24, 2007


It's snowing today so I thought I'd get a couple of action shots. The lighting sucks but I blame winter.
We have had Darwin for a week now and she is settling in just fine. Very friendly and cheeky. She has a jaunty spring in her step and likes being near us. She sleeps under the bed or under my bedside table so if my hand dangles it gets a helpful 3am lick.

Rob's folk's chocolate lab Harley tolerates her, just. Darwin want to play, Harley tries to ignore, occasional words are spoken not that it deflects Darwin for long and she is back boinging around.

It amazing the sheer amount of dog stuff you can buy. There are whole catalogs devoted to dogs and cats. From prams so your dog never has to walk, caskets which look creepy and baby size, bling, pink frilly dresses, heated water bowls and more stuffed squeaky toys than I ever had as a kid. Gone are the days of a slimey tennis balls and sticks from the bush. Now you can get plastic, dental and vet authorised sticks.
I did buy Darwin a squeaky Tarantula which she has a chew on when its not my bras or Ob's undies. Lucky she isn't a chewy dog and its all a bit halfhearted unless its Harley's toys then shes out for blood.

She can now be let off leash when we walk into the bush, which is good and will sit when asked mostly. We will get there, she is smart enough and we are motivated to have a well trained dawg.


Thursday, February 22, 2007


On Sunday after the Ralph Stanley show, we headed out for more culture of a different kind.
Stephan and Marianne friends from Darwin who have moved and stored all their stuff while they travel for the next 3 months came visiting for a few days.

Drove out East to Sunset Crater and Wupakti National Monument. Sunset Crater is the aftermath of a volcano that went off about 800 years ago. All lava flows and black cinders giving the place a moon landscape feel.

From there we wended our way down into the the desert. All red earth and sage bushes. Wupakti is a Pueblo Indian complex built in the 12th century. My most favorite structure is a stand alone building called Wukoki. I've been here four times. It awes me. Its beautiful.

The day was overcast so the contrast between the blue sky and red rocks was lost sadly, but its still impressive.

A couple of miles down the road is the main large complex Wupatki, 100 rooms with ball courts and blow hole.They think 100 people lived there at its peak, and seemed to be a large trading center with item like copper bells from Mexico, shell beads, and the remains of more than 40 macaws from Mesoamerica.

This was really cool. A natural blowhole which was blowing a gale. When the pressure outside is lower than inside the underground cavern it blows, the other way it sucks.

It does not snow very often there cause its only about 5000 feet, but when it does I'm there. I've seen photos of it in snow and its stunning. Also the Grand Canyon in snow. Its my goal.

Monday was Presidents Day, but Rob still worked, someone has to feed me. I went with Stephan and Marianne out to Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert, a couple of hours towards New Mexico.
A whole huge forest turned to stone. Somehow in that area were the exact conditions to transform acres of trees. A lot had been taken away before it was protected in 1906 but there is still heaps. The colours are beautiful and you can still see and feel the bark, rings and borer tunnels.
It is also part of the Painted Desert, which is mostly in the Navajo Nation and is just like a Tony Hillerman book. Lots of eroded, coloured hills, mesas and buttes. Big sky country and the view goes on forever.
I have pictures but they are not on up on Flickr yet.

Yesterday I went for a 10 km cross country ski and didn't fall over, not once. I cheated a bit on 2 steep slopes and went down sideways but the rest I managed to cope with. Cross country skiing is fun, sort of like moonwalking only forwards. This was my second try at it and I've never downhill skied so I was quite happy with myself.


Monday, February 19, 2007


A few weeks ago I emailed FlopearedMule about some Bluegrass guy coming to play, he seemed all "O Brother Where Art Thou" but had no idea. Well her prompt reply went a little something like this
He practically spawned the "O Brother sound' OMG!!"

So last night 7 of us wandered down to The Orpheum in Downtown to check this living legend out.
The venue is really cool, big open seat area, a upper balcony and in between a bar area. There are no bad seats in the house. So we settled in with a beer or two and was highly entertained.
The opening band were The Burnett Family, Ma, Pa 2 daughters and a son who was 17 the girls probably a bit older. Home schooled and can play about 4 instruments each. They rocked on with Double Bass, Gitar, Fiddle, Mandolin and Banjo. There is something very infectious about that combo. Even if you are not huge fans of the genre there will be some top tapping whether you want it or not.

Then came Dr Ralph "If I live till Feb 25th I'll be 80 years old" and his Boys, all seven of them, including his son and 14 year old Grandson.
They were great. The skill and respect and their enjoyment coming from the stage was a lot of fun to see. They all have their own albums outs so all had turns doing their thing intermixed with banter and laughs.
Dr Stanley sung "Man Of Constant Sorrows"- first recorded by him in 1948 and "O Death" with no accompaniment. The movie version with the men singing it sent shivers down through the feet but his version really showed the strength and timbre of his voice still going after 80 years.
A good time was had by all, and I may have bought a couple of items and I may have got them signed by the Man Himself and I may send them to Floppy for her birthday but shhhhh.


Sunday, February 18, 2007


Everyone say HI to Darwin.

Rob has already introduced her over at ForBattle. She is part Blue Cattle with a hint of Red, part who knows what and part Navajo. She and her 2 brothers where found under a house in the Four Corners Reservation, which (I think) is part Hopi and part Navajo.
Rob's Mum coworker rescued them and took them to the Second Chance Animal Shelter. They stayed there for 2 weeks were spayed, vaccinated (rabies!) and microchipped. We had heard all about them but never saw her till yesterday. We were half sold on the idea 3 weeks ago. For some reason a 'Res Dog' sounded intriguing.
She is about 4 months, was a little nervous last night and slept under the bed. Was more happy today, and we went for a good walk in the bush. She kinda comes to her name, and until she does she stays on the leash. Not sure if she was a tad worried or the cattle dog in her but she likes being behind us when we walk. Least she is not nipping ankles.
I love Cattle dogs having grown up with them so getting a Cattle mutt is great, they really are a good breed. (Despite the one which tried to drag me under the ute ripping my jeans at that rodeo all those years ago.)
It will slow down our traveling in the future a bit but I know the fun will outweigh the problems, plus there are so many dog friendly places now.


Friday, February 16, 2007


Nestled in between absolutely stunning landscape. Rob took a short work break and we drove down to Sedona on Tuesday afternoon and came back Wednesday. It only an hour south of Flagstaff but a world away in terms of landscape and community.

Most of the buildings follow the same Adobe and Spanish Mission look (which i love the look of). Muted reds, browns and greens. It all blends in really well with the landscape. Even the Maccas has Teal Arches instead of Golden ones.

It's all very touristy. which is all fine but its not exactly cheap. Every second store called seems to be called ' Western Traders', you want Cowboys and Indians this is the place. You want really expensive art works this is the place. You want more New Age Pagan Fairy Wanker stuff this is definitely the place. You want beautiful red mesas, buttes and cliffs to walk around over and through then look no more.

We did two walks both about 6 miles long. We had rain, hail and sunshine and at times all three at once. I could go on all day about the interplay of light and shadow and how it changed everytime you looked. It was truly beautiful and my photos barely does the place justice.

One of the reasons Sedona is full of crystal suckers is supposedly there are Vortexes of energy in certain places. The Boynton Canyon walk we did has one, so they whirling maelstrom, not interested.

Just need to make my fortune in Vegas and the US$79,000 metal horse is mine.


Sunday, February 11, 2007


Last night we went and saw Pan's Labyrinth. I wanted to see it before we left Australia, it sounded so good. It was that good. I loved it even though it was ALOT different than what I first thought it was about.
It's rated R here and what I read it mentioned violence, fantasy and adult themes. I was thinking more like LOTR type style. No. It was LOTR meets Full Metal Jacket meets Reservoir Dogs meets Dark Crystal.
Not for kids even ones who coped with Big spiders and Worgs.

The fantasy was a back seat driver to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and that was where the violence was, sudden and shocking. I recommend it big time but be strong.

I went today with Sallie and Laura to part of the Winter Fest program. The Northern Arizona Celtic Society does a High Tea with silent auction every year. Most years they have Flagstaff writer made good. Diana Gabalon, who i never heard of till 2 weeks ago but has a big following here, she has a PHD in Ecology, very smart and seems like a really cool person to get drunk with. Her inspiration for setting her stories in 1750's Scotland was watching an old Dr Who episode where the good DR picks up a young man in a kilt. The image of spunky young men in kilts appealed alot, and who can blame her!
She is a great speaker and chatted about getting her books from Romance to Historical Fiction to all manner of genres to winning the Quill Award for Best Sci-Fi/Fanasty/Horror beating George R.R Martan and Stephan King, which shocked her.
I'm about a third though 'Outlander' her first book, which is not bad. There is 7 in the series which I'm not sure I'll get though. Time travel, scottish history, sex, love and bagpipes.

She had a great quote from a German interview, she claims she was tired.
Dude " So what it the appeal about men in kilts?"
Diana " well they can have you against the wall in less than a minute.."


Saturday, February 10, 2007


When you decide to get out of the house and stop bothering the working man. Drive across town looking for WallyMart on the pretext of needing new undies. Think you are on the right street but the huge PET BARN sign catches your eye instead. Go inside the barn full of pets and products.
Ohh and Arrr over the dogs, Budgies, Gerbils, Hamsters, Ferrets, Snakes and Poison Arrow Frog complete with 'Do Not Touch' sign. Chat to Pet Barn lady about various beasties and get directions to the supermarket.
Go and buy sensible things like undies, socks, mixing bowls, Maverick 12 gauge shotgun , wine glasses, measuring cups, road map.
Happen to drive past PET BARN just for one more look and come home with these.

Dwarf Hamsters- like normal Hamsters except with beards and Riding Goats.

Rob only sighed and mentioned 'freak' a few times. My justification is if you are going to get cute, fuzzy, useless pets may as well go the whole teeny, tiny, beady eyed hog.

Thinking about it for an hour still is a impulse buy, in my book.
We need names, not that I can really tell them apart and I doubt they will answer but identity is important. Whoever can come up with the best names will get a cheap and cheesy tasteful and well thought out Route 66 pressie, so put those fuzzy thinking caps on.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


A) Home invasion
B) Escaped ferret near tender naked bits
C) Park bench being moved on by the cops
D) Perky Republicans

I choose D.

This morning, picture it if you will. Sun is shining, the snow glinting, us sleeping in.

ME- played by ME
Perky Republican: played by polite young women who one day may see the light.

ME: zzzzzzzzzzz
bring bring bring (mobile ringing)
ME: huh snaaahg
PR:Is this Coz?
ME: hugaddle
PR: Is this Coz?
ME: yeah
PR: Hi I'm representing the Republican party, and now Hilary Clinton has announced she is running for the Democrats, we must start the campaign to destroy those fem nazis, gay lovin, war hatin, liberal pinkos and.....
ME: umm I'm not a citizen so I can't vote, but if I could I'd vote Democrat.
PR: Oh ok, sorry to bother you, Have a nice day
Hangs up
ME: What?! How the hell did the Republicans get my number?? I've only had the phone for a week and used it twice. Jeezbus!
ROB: zzzzz...ughhale..snert

I got my Green Card now. Its not really green and I am totally disappointed and rethinking the whole shebang. It says 'Permanent Resident", no mention of Aliens at all. Whats the point!! Mike said he got to be a 'Legal Alien' so they must have changed it. pfft BIG POUT!

Went with Mike to his mates place to watch some football game last night. Everyone was excited, lots of armoured dudes ran around running in to each other, Prince got up to sing in a loverly char womans scarf.
The Indianapolis Colts won 29-17 crushing the Chicago Bears.
I drunk beer and noticed how tight and shiny the pants were.

Now all I need to complete my American experience is godbotherers sniffing around and telling me I'll burn in hell for reading Harry Potter. Can't wait.


Friday, February 02, 2007


Been listening to JJJ for the last few days.
Its great.
Even Rosie from Request Fest hasn't annoyed the hell out of me yet.
Not that the local stations are bad...much. Country and 80's have their place and its important to get the local flavour.
But it is nice to hear a friendly accent now and then.