Adult conversation

Every night, Damjan and I go through Mia’s bedtime routine: feed, bath, read a book, sing a lullaby, and into bed by 7:30pm.

Then it’s time for adult conversation, which is a real treat for me after a whole day of ‘Un gah gah’ and ‘A boo’.

Here are the demand and supply curves that Damjan and I drew one night, when we were trying to work out how is it that a regulated minimum wage does not lead to unemployment. Damjan argued that the mechanisms for this effect could probably be shown with conventional demand and supply curves. I wasn’t so sure.

Demand and supply curves for minimum wage employees
Demand and supply curves for minimum wage employees

Car share schemes in Melbourne

Damjan and I have lived the inner city car-free lifestyle for a while now. We wondered if would be possible to continue without a car once Mia arrived.

It’s been five months now and I think the answer is yes. Public transport and walking still gets us almost everywhere we need to in a normal week. Beyond that, car share gets us to the beach, friends in regional towns, Ikea and Bunnings.

We had been thinking about joining a car share scheme for a while and Mia’s impending birth finally brought it to the top of our ‘to do’ list. Being the analytical people that we are, it would not surprise you that we put together a spreadsheet of all the car share options in Melbourne (11 plans from three companies). The spreadsheet allowed us to work out the most cost effective plan for our lifestyle.

The three companies in Melbourne (Flexicar, GreenShareCar and GoGet) have different fee structures (e.g. hourly charges, distance charges, toll administration, insurance). It’s quite tricky to line them up side-by-side unless you have a spreadsheet… which you now can do, my readers, because here is a link to our handiwork.

Australian car share cost comparison

Australian car share cost comparison
Our spreadsheet lets you put in scenarios for car use so that you can see which of Melbourne’s 11 car share plans is best for you.

We worked out that we might spend around $1,000 per year. Which is bloody good, considering how much the insurance and registration would be just to own a car for occasional use. Even better, instead of an underused car sitting in our car space, we’re renting the space out and the rent covers all our public transport.

Head over to Damjan’s site for his write up of the spreadsheet.

This blog is 10 years old

My first blog post was on June 8, 2004. This is my 1,059th post. I am amazed that this has been going for 10 years.

In the first few years, I wrote every second day or so. Last year, I posted only 15 times. I enjoy blogging as much as ever and am making the effort to write more often. I’ve learned that the more I write, the more ideas I have for posts. Blogging breeds blogging.

When I started my blog, I worried that I would stop writing my diary. Actually what happened was that the blog took the place of long emails to friends.

I am embarrassed by my posts from the first year or so. It took me that long to work out what I was doing with the blog. Like most public internet diarists of the time, I tried to be zany and spent too much time on things that mattered to me and not to my audience. At least I can accurately reflect on how I’ve matured over the last decade. If I ever become famous, though, I am doomed by this blog.

This blog has had five makeovers. In June 2004, I started using a service called mblog, which was shut down in October 2004. Vera rescued my writings from her Temporary Internet Files.

Joanium's Soapbox in 2004
Joanium’s Soapbox (2004). I used to like how clean this looked. How times have changed. There is so much STUFF on this page.

I looked into what other blogging services were around and moved to Blogger before Google bought it. Blogger looked after me from October 2004 to January 2009. This was when I introduced the coconut icon. Back then, my blog was anonymous (no surnames). The coconut was a hint at my surname (Ko Ko nut) and possibly my zaniness. Hilarious.

I might have been violating copyright on that coconut image for the past five years. Perhaps it’s time for me to pay up… if I can work out where the image comes from.

Coconut Joan on Blogger
Coconut Joan on Blogger. I kept the orange highlights from my mblog and introduced the coconut.

I think I was procrastinating in January 2009 when a web hosting deal sucked me into buying  my domain name and a two year hosting plan. This was the end of my anonymity and when I started using WordPress.

I have used three themes over this time. They’ve all been blue and white and have become increasingly minimal, following wider design trends on the web.

First WordPress site, January 2009 to January 2013
First WordPress design, January 2009 to January 2013
Second WordPress design, January 2013 to June 2014
Second WordPress design, January 2013 to June 2014. This refresh involved the radical elimination of sidebar cruft and the move to a serif body font. I like serifs, I’m old fashioned that way.
Third WordPress design, June 2014
Third WordPress design, June 2014. Now with no sidebars and friendly to tiny mobile phone screens. Totally on trend with a big fat serif body font.

Thank you Internet Wayback Machine. I did not have the foresight to save these screenshots.

Oddball series

You meet some strange people on public transport.

In one day, I shared my trips with three oddballs. The first one was on the train. He got on at Collingwood rail station with two boxes of food. I recognised them as Vietnamese beef and red rice with salad, which I love. He loved it too. He would take a bite then cry out, ‘Oh yeah! That’s great’ and ‘Wow, mmm…’ throughout his hurried meal.

The second oddball was on the tram. He was a young man with a Nokia dumbphone, which was blaring out tinny hip hop music. His views on the world were ‘The old ways were the best! Who needs a sh*t smartphone, the old ones were the best!’ and ‘Sisqó, I love it. Not this new music cr*p.’

The third oddball was also on a tram. He was dressed like a working professional. He kept telling everyone, ‘The platform at Flinders Street was packed. The platform at Flinders Street was packed.’

I wonder what happens when one oddball meets another? Do they recognise each other as kindred spirits? Or do they each think, ‘What a weirdo.’

Magic music from nowhere

We were changing a very tired baby last night and she started screaming hysterically. It’s not like her at all. Then out of nowhere we heard music.

‘What’s that?’ I thought maybe I was imagining it.

‘Is it your phone?’ said Damjan.

‘Sounds like… lullabies…’ I said, holding down flailing arms as Damjan tried to thread them through the sleeves.

‘Like the cot mobile?’

We stared at the cot mobile, which wasn’t lit up or spinning as it normally is when it’s on. I leaned in to listen.

‘It is from the mobile!’ I was astonished.

‘It must turn on when the baby cries.’

‘That’s crazy! I’m looking that up on the internet.’

Sure enough, the VTech cot mobile I bought for $20 off Gumtree, without instructions, has a sound sensor that turns on soothing music when a baby wakes up and cries.

VTech Sing and Soothe Mobile
The high tech VTech Sing and Soothe Mobile


Last weekend, Cobi and I went to see Breastmilk, which was showing as part of the Human Rights Art and Film Festival. Cobi suggested that it was the perfect outing to bring Mia along.

Actually, there was no mention of whether or not babies could attend the film on the website. I emailed the organisers to find out. Appropriately for a human rights festival, there was an email address dedicated to questions about access.

I wondered if there would be any graceful way for the organisers to decline my request to bring Mia. One option would be for them to enforce the 18+ classification for the film showing. ‘Sorry, your baby is too young for the movie.’

You’ll be glad to know that the festival organisers did not say anything so logical and ridiculous. Of course, do bring your baby, they said.

As it turned out, Damjan looked after Mia while I enjoyed this fantastic film. There was at least one baby in the theatre with us. I hope he or she enjoyed the food porn.

Pink wash

When we told our families that I was pregnant with a girl, we said, ‘No pink!’

I was determined that our baby would be dressed in green, yellow, purple, blue, grey, white and red. There are so many colors other than pink but if you looked at the clothes targeted at baby girls, you wouldn’t know it.

Well, the best laid plans often go astray. A generous donation of an entire wardrobe of first year clothing, plus gifts from people who didn’t know of our edict means that Mia has so much pink clothing that we could now run a pink wash of laundry, alongside the whites and coloured loads.

At least she has no pink nappies.