Please join me in a big cheer for all the folks who are manning the checkouts and stocking the supermarket shelves for keeping food (and toilet paper) distribution going. These people are going out every day and facing 100’s of people who might well be carrying the virus; a few of whom are exhibiting seriously horrible behaviors as well.
Normally these are people who we regard as lowly unskilled workers; whose managers no doubt tell them often that they are unimportant, easily replaceable and lucky to be paid properly.
I was thrilled to hear the ABC describe them this morning as essential services workers and I hope when they are handing out medals for courage in the face of the virus, they give some to the supermarket workers too.
The Inaugural Australian Role Playing Industry Awards were held last night at the beginning of ARCANACON 2020
I had the great honour to be one of the judges along with Reece Carter and Melody Watson. It was a tough Gig. Who knew so many Australians were doing such excellent work writing roleplaying games and related items? We chose a very fine group of works out of about 15 other very fine works.
Game of the Year – Good Society (Jane Austen) by Vee Hendro and Hayley Gordon from Storybrewers Roleplaying https://storybrewersroleplaying.com
Best Scenario – Reign of Terror (Call of Cthulhu does the French Revolution) by Mark Morrison, Penelope Love, James Coquillat, Darren Watson https://www.chaosium.com/reign-of-terror-pdf
Best PDF only product – The Facility by Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovskiy self-published on DriveThroughRPG and itch.io Best Rules System – Good Society Best Art work – the Disk of Ryleh by Allan Carey of Type40 https://type40.com.au/ Best Electronic Product – Syrinscape The Waterdeep DUNGEONS & DRAGONS RPG Adventure SoundPack syrinscape.com Best Cartography – The Facility
It’s spring. One of my regulars, a large cheerful man with out of control hair, (and Herald/Sun political views 🙁 ) is building a shed/bush hut/office/bunker and he’s brings all the materials down from Bunnings by train. About five times a day he gets off carrying long lengths of pine or large sheets of chipboard.
Meanwhile a large brush tail possum has been roaming round the station for the last few days. Possums are nocturnal creatures and for one to be roaming around during the day is a sign that they’re ill or have been kicked out of their hollow by another tougher possum. Judging from the wound on this guy’s face one of these scenarios is true. But I’m not overly worried about him. He’s the size of a large cat, has serious claws and is well enough to climb trees. He is so not bothered by us humans. Also he has enough sense to cross the railway line by the pedestrian crossing after looking both ways.
A terrible scream came from platform 2 yesterday. Some poor passenger jumped out of his skin when the possum appeared out of the rubbish bin he was using. The possum sat for a while looking disgruntled and then climbed down into the next bin. When I took its photo it was calmly chowing down on some apple cores. The wound seems to be healing nicely.
By the way – My sick magpie pulled through. The dangling leg healed at an odd angle but can now be stood on while dragging worms out of the ground. So a happy ending there after all. (Except if you’re a worm.)
One of my regulars, a flamboyantly dressed gentleman with a rather camp voice tells me he is “73 and has 5 children by 4 different women – and ten grandchildren.”
He’s in the construction industry, but would rather be a singer and sometimes does perform in clubs. He has a lot of blingy jewelry, a big watch (sadly wasted on me as I have no ability to judge what’s real and what’s costume with jewelry) and an obsession with staying young, He dies his hair “and I’ve spent 10,000 dollars on this nose and I’m thinking of going back and having these re-done.” He rubs the spot on his temples where laughter lines normally grow. His are oddly smooth and shiny. I tell him he looks fine.
“Aren’t you lovely,” he says. He’s a sweet guy.
He’s not so open with everyone. I caught him talking to a younger, prettier woman the other day.
“Yes I’m 73 and have ten grandchildren. You wouldn’t know, would you? Nobody thinks I look 73. I eat a lot of vegetables. I swear by them.”
Clearly he doesn’t tell everyone his secrets. Probably he doesn’t think me worth impressing. But I can live with that.
Railway stations are also market places. I’ve seen people selling bikes and I’m pretty certain a lot of drugs change hands.
But this is unexpected – the alleged sale of a sugar glider, seen in the hands of the middle woman, for 1 thousand dollars in the waiting room at North Melbourne station.
Deeply illegal and bad for the environment. ( not so great for the sugar glider either.)
Station staff noticed and reported it to the police, but I don’t know the outcome.
Here is the article from The Flinders News
Three women are being sought over the alleged trade of a live Sugar Glider at a Melbourne train station.
Police have released CCTV images of three women after the alleged possession and trade of the native animal at North Melbourne station on February 12, about 1pm.
The first woman is described as Caucasian, in her 50s, with blonde bob-length hair and wearing a black cardigan, blue shirt and grey pants.
The second woman is perceived to be Asian, in her 30s, with black hair in a high ponytail. She was wearing a grey cardigan and black-and-white printed dress.
The third woman is described as Caucasian, in her 20s, wearing a grey hoodie covering her face and red spotted pyjama pants.
The Victorian Department of Environment says it has intercepted hundreds of native species being illegally trafficked in recent months.
“We continue to pursue offenders in a bid to stop these cruel, illegal practices. Help us put an end to wildlife being trafficked, traded, and traumatised.”
Yes its on again. Everyone looks great! The place is full of talented people offering books and art.
Jane and Penny are back in Publishers Alley with a collection of their fantasy books.
Come and see us. We’re right near the front door.
It’s late one Sunday night. Workmen are replacing the wooden sleepers with concrete ones on the tracks at the Junction. Since the trains cannot run, I’ve been rostered on to put people onto buses. An Eminem concert, a Japanese festival and the Caravan and Camping show have combined to make the day very busy.
But later as the night comes down and the lights turn everything softly golden and shadowy, the crowds clear and there is time to stop and watch the men working.
The sight has a strange beauty. Machines advance and retreat, lifting rails or dropping or tamping ballast and their human attendants follow them with the elegant precision of a dance number. There are no whistles or yells, not even much talk, just the love roar of machinery and the rhythmic clanking of steel on stone. The men have done this a thousand times all over the system and everyone knows his job. One gang waits at ease while another moves in step tightening rivets with sledge hammers and special hooks. Here and there small groups huddle secretively over wielding rigs. Watching these big beefy guys falling in behind the huge machines reminds me of watching the infantry fall in behind the tanks in old war movies or the Guild of Navigators in David movie of Dune.
By the time morning comes it will as if no one has been there except that the wooden sleepers have now turned as if by magic to concrete. And very probably none of the day commuters will even notice they’ve been there.
After two decades of wishing I could swim in the sea more often and 10 years of working out of the Junction, I finally clued to the fact that there’s a beach 20 minutes train ride from there. Doh!
An organizational task which seemed at first overwhelming, checking train-time tables, packing uniform and bathers and towels, proved on closer inspection to be perfectly doable.
All my life I’ve assumed a visit to the beach must begin with a hot hour (s) long drive to the beach, a heavy hike across dunes from the car park and a day spent rubbing sandy sun screen into boiling skin in the inadequate shade of an unstable umbrella.
But all through this long hot summer, I’ve taken the 8.47 to BeachTown and spent an hour bobbing round in the crystal green ocean, peering at fish and sea lettuce through my goggles and getting well and truly chilled to the bone. Sometimes a friend comes too so much talking gets done.
A quick rinse off and maybe a muffin and a cuppa at the kiosk and its back on the 10.55 to the Junction in time for work. A low carbon treat that has the added pleasure of sounding like I’m in a novel by Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle or Enid Blyton. (hopefully without the murder)
Last week I entered the mysterious world of Hanson fans. Two middle-aged women fans met in the waiting room and with the shining faces of true believers were talking of their love for the band while waiting for the train. That was how I learnt (1) that Hanson the band (MMMBop – yes that Hanson) were still playing after 25 years and (2) that they were playing two sell out gigs at the Zoo after playing a sellout gig at the St Kilda Palais.
“I’m going to all their shows and next week I’m following them to Sydney to see all their shows there,” says the middle-aged woman in the brown floral dress.
“Me too,” says the other one, a tall woman in a tight leaf-pattern sheath. “They’re so good to their fans, every year they hire out at a resort in Jamaica where you can spend a week with them.”
“Is it a competition or do you pay to go?” I ask.
“Oh I paid. Last year I went. It was awesome”.
“You went!” cries brown floral dress. “You lucky thing.”
“They appeal to everyone” says leafy dress. “I took my daughter to the gig at the Palais.”
“I took my mother,” says brown floral dress.
“And do they still look as wonderful as they did back in the nineties?” I ask thinking of the bands I used to follow and how they have aged.
“They look better,” says brown floral dress. “My mother took one look at the drummer and said, “You have no business being so pretty.””
There are so many other realities out there and when you brush against them and try to imagine living in them the world gets bigger and stranger.