I don’t want to…

from knowyourmeme.com

My country disgusts me. More specifically, a large proportion of the people I have to share it with. I maintain a small degree of optimism for the rest of the planet; continental Europe seems – at least at a cursory glance – to accommodate more accommodating types.

This article from the Herald Sun is a brief piece about the possibility of round the clock childcare. And here is a small selection of comments from it:


I can’t even begin to point out all the problems with what these people have said, and how they’ve said it. I just don’t know where to start. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read this stuff. Maybe I’ll just address each one individually…

George of Melbourne: If people didn’t have kids, you wouldn’t exist. Nobody you know and love would exist. And if people were allowed to have kids up until now, but must suddenly stop, all of a sudden every person working the childcare or education industry will be unemployed immediately. In the longer term, the entire human race will die out. Thank you for playing.

HK of user and abuser land: I have no idea what your ‘name’ is supposed to signify, but that’s not really the point. Many, maybe even most, people with kids do look after them. I look after mine. But that doesn’t mean that some childcare wouldn’t be handy, for all sorts of reasons. You appear to be implying that no parent is permitted to take a break or have a rest until their child grows up and leaves home. That is unreasonable and counter-productive; every job lets you have time off. Thanks for playing.

An accessory after the fact: Is that what you’d do? Any of your friends? No? I thought not; nobody I know would do that either. Thank you for your hyperbole.

Brett of kids first: Tell me exactly why it’s a horrible idea, please. It seems unconventional to you, I can see that, but that doesn’t make it objectively horrible. Try for some evidence to back up your assertion. Also, shops in Europe do open on weekends and in the evenings. I’m afraid I can’t do anything but point out that you are just plain wrong on that one. Thanks for playing.

There were some more comments, but I couldn’t fit them all into the screenshot. They were all equally ill-informed and narrow. I’ll just go and shut myself in a linen cupboard now, and hope that when I get out, people have learned… something. Anything. Please.

Why other Atheists annoy me

You know I’m an Atheist. It says so, right there at the top of this blog. Look. See that? I am an Atheist. I don’t believe in God.

So why would other Atheists annoy me?

For starters, it’s because the lack of believe in God is about all that we have in common. On other matters – even including what to do with our lack of belief – we violently disagree.

But mostly, I think, it is a lack of knowledge about what it is that we deny.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on religion. I have done a couple of subjects at university which brushed over it incidentally, plus one or two subjects with a focus on it, and I’ve read most of the Bible. But there is one thing I understand which a huge number of Atheists seem to disregard:

Not all Christians are the same.

It’s something I see again and again: an Atheist will attack a Christian for being ignorant about their own religion, but what’s really going on is that the Atheist assumes the Christian is a Catholic. The fact that there are many denominations under the Christian banner, and that they all hold their own differing beliefs, seems to go completely unacknowledged in the Atheist community.

Don’t get me wrong; all the denominations are equally wrong. But you can’t lump them all together and say ‘All Christians think/say/do [whatever]!’ It just isn’t true. Not all Christians even recognise the same set of books of the Bible! There have been more books written than feature in any commonly available version.

To me, that sort of behaviour undermines the very point of being an Atheist. Shouldn’t we be more educated than that? Shouldn’t we be aware of every aspect of the thing we oppose? Shouldn’t we apply logic and critical thinking to everything we say, as well as everything ‘the Christians’ say?

Unless you’re prepared to put in some effort and educate yourself about Christianity, you should label yourself an Apathetic Atheist at best, or an Agnostic. You can’t define yourself by a lack of belief in something when you don’t even understand what it is you’re not believing in, or who your opponents are. You might just as well call yourself a tennis player, and then try to engage Layton Hewitt in a game of badminton.


I read the Hunger Games trilogy in three days and now I have a massive book hangover.

Aidan is sick and just wants to stay on the couch. He has a bell on his phone to ring when he needs attention from Nurse Me.

Evelyn barely slept last night; she was up – happy and bright and bubbly – until about 10pm, and even then she slept restlessly. She just wasn’t tired! Weird.

My mum came to visit yesterday, just because. It was nice.

The Olympics are on, and I haven’t watched any. My interest in the whole thing is completely dead.

I am gaining weight. Too much junk lately. Must cut down on junk, and leave house more often.

I submitted an essay for uni on Friday. Not very confident on this one, but I generally say that and then get quite good marks. Now I guess I should start studying for my exam which is coming up in a couple of weeks.

It’s cold.

Gluten free beetroot and chocolate cake

I’ll do anything to get Elspeth to eat a vegetable. Including cooking one into a chocolate cake! It works; she loves it! A word of warning though: in true gluten free style, it is rather crumbly. Worth the mess, though, it’s delicious.

Gluten free beetroot and chocolate cake


100g cocoa

230g gluten free self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

100g dark cooking chocolate, in pieces

125g butter

250g cooked beetroot (steamed or boiled), grated

3 eggs


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a cake tin.

Mix flour, cocoa, and sugar together in a large bowl.

Melt butter and chocolate together – either in the microwave, or in a bowl suspended over a saucepan of hot water.

Add beetroot and eggs to the butter and chocolate, and mix well.

Then add that all to the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Pour into cake tin and cook for 50 minutes. Leave in tin to cool for 10 minutes.

Nom! Possibly with cream.

Nom, with cream!

Geeky boardgame heaven

Castle Panic

For a little while now, Aidan has been watching Will Wheaton play boardgames on Youtube, which he claims is much more amusing than it sounds. An interstate friend of ours, Terry, has also been watching. The show has inspired us each to buy certain games that Will Wheaton demonstrates, and now between us all we have an accumulation of awesome games, but very few people to play with.

So this weekend, Terry came down from Sydney, and our friend Andrew came over too, and we had a boardgame extravaganza! Four people make for a much better gaming experience than two, and I believe much fun was had by all.

We played Castle Panic, Discworld Ankh Morpork, Ticket to Ride, Trivial Pursuit, and Munchkin.

I couldn’t tell you who won and who lost; I play for the entertainment, not for the competition. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose everything, so that’s fine!

Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again soon, and maybe even send the kids off somewhere – or get a babysitter in – to minimise distractions and interruptions. Although honestly, they weren’t too bad. More games, please!

Turning three

I am clearly very good at blogging random musings, but less good at recording important events! On Sunday, my daughter Elspeth turned three. Three whole years! I think what I find the most fascinating about the passage of time is that in some ways those three years have whizzed by and her birth seems like yesterday; but in other ways, it feels like I’ve always had her, she’s been here forever, I barely remember life any other way!

Oh Elspeth, one day you’ll grow up, and you might read this. You won’t remember the day, but I’ve got plenty of photos. Just ask. You had Winnie the Pooh on your cake. A big chocolate cake, gluten free for the sake of your poppy and I. It was delicious! We went to Child’s Play with some of your small friends and some of my big ones. It was a lovely day, and everybody was happily exhausted at the end of it.

Elspeth, for three years I’ve had you in my life. You’ve amazed me, delighted me, melted me, and made me furious! You’re an incredibly smart child, maybe too smart for your own good! I have a feeling it won’t be long before you are officially categorised as ‘gifted’, whatever that really means. Life is certainly going to be interesting, especially now that you’ve got a baby sister – Evelyn turns one in just a few months. You two keep me on my toes.

But as much as I complain sometimes – about the tantrums, and the lack of sleep, and your wilful nature which clashes with my own – I love you wholeheartedly, and having you is one of the best things I ever did.

Hoping the next year is as much fun!



Liking tea – or not

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love my tea. I enjoy a great many varieties, and whilst I do have my old favourites, I’m not averse to experimenting and finding ones I’ve never tried.

In my cupboard at this moment are the following varieties of tea: Melbourne breakfast, French Earl Grey, Lady Grey, peppermint, white jasmine, Earl Grey, English breakfast, Australian afternoon, Russian caravan, Brisbane breakfast, and one or two others.

I’m also what you might call a tea purist: I take all my teas without milk or sugar.

I used to think it was very odd for somebody to dislike tea. All tea, tea in general, any tea. And then I had a revelation: one of the most commonly available and aggressively marketed tea brands is Lipton. And of course if Lipton is the one you try first, you’re going to dislike it. Lipton tea is awful. It would naturally give the entire beverage a bad name, and would put you off trying others.

So if you’re out there, reading this, and you’ve only tried Lipton tea and didn’t like it, do me a favour: try another tea. Twinings, for preference; I find Twinings Earl Grey to be a very palatable tea, soft and easy to drink, with none of that tannin bitterness to it. If you don’t fancy that idea, wander into T2 or Teavana or whatever you’ve got in your part of the world. Have a look, have a sniff. If you ask nicely, they’ll often brew you a tea you’re interested in to taste. Explore the vast and endlessly fascinating world of tea!

Best of luck in your adventures. I hope you return to my blog a convert, or at least less stridently anti-tea than you might have been before!