Tomorrow (26 January) is a public holiday in Australia, marking the day white colonists arrived at what’s now Sydney and began ethnically cleansing Aboriginal people to take the land for themselves. Here’s a great article on the subject by Gundai-Gunditjmara woman Meriki Onus.

Addition (3½ hrs later): A Twitter thread by the same author, outlining the reasons for and demands of the Invasion Day marches. ✊

Today Viv and I drove out to the Dandenong Ranges on Wurundjeri land to do the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk. We went a slightly long way round, so it was about 10km through temperate rainforest, a bit hilly with one really steep section. (The more direct route has two really steep sections, so I felt like we went the better way.) The weather was warmer and sunnier, but the forest was as beautiful as when we walked through it in June 😊

a photo from Sherbrooke Forest; thin fern-like trees towering upwardsa photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a fallen log amidst the ferns, sunlight behinda photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a fallen log in a shady patch of fernsa photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a walking trail shaded by ferns

Not only is it a scenic walk, but I find the sounds of the birdsongs and chirping insects really peaceful and relaxing. We saw a number of native species that we don’t often see in the city (but kept our distance, so I don’t have good pictures) – a wallaby, who kept an eye on us from a distance, probably hoping we’d leave it food (we didn’t…); two kookaburras, and a few crimson rosellas (we do have rosellas in our suburb, but they’re the Eastern variety).

Viv and I have been talking about slotting bushwalks into our routine more often, and today’s experience – exhausting but fulfilling – has made me even surer that we should. It’s great to get out into nature sometimes.

It was a warm day today, so Viv and I took a late afternoon walk to our local beach.

a view of a beach from up high, with many dogs and beachgoersa view of a different stretch of the beach from up high

On our way home, we ducked into a bottle shop that’s only been open for a week or so. We wanted to check out their range of beers, and were pleasantly surprised – it’s really extensive!

fridges at a bottle shop, displaying many colourful cans of beer

Confronted with so much choice, in the end Vivian was the one who made the decision and went for this novelty lager.

a six-pack of beer cans, branded 'GET ON THE BEERS' by Bogan Brewery. A description on the rightmost can reads 'In these unprecedented times, Bogan Brewery reckons we can all agree on one thing… It's time to grab your mates and GET ON THE BEERS!

In the end, it was a pretty ordinary lager. But surely the sacrifice was worth it to give us an excuse to reminisce about this classic press conference moment by our state premier, and the months Victorians spent moaning, “Can we get on the beers yet?”.

Political labels on the Left

If I ever asked you to describe your politics, the exact word you’d label those politics with is a lot less important to me than the actual ideas and principles you’d be using that word to describe. This is something that comes to mind a lot when I’m asked to describe my politics (or am trying to put a label on myself, like for a social media profile). I know what my politics are, but putting a label on them is always fraught, because different people use the same words for drastically different things.

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📚 Finished Amnesty (The Amberlough Dossier #3) by Lara Elena Donnelly. For anyone even remotely interested in accounts of living under fascism who enjoys speculative fiction (with great queer representation, too!), this is one amazing trilogy. Full review up on my homepage 😊

🐈 Gidget likes to shepherd us humans off to bed when it gets to 10 or 11, then watches us like a hawk to make sure we go to sleep and don’t stay up late like naughty humans 😅 Honestly, how boring would life be without pets?

a tabby cat sits on a bedside table, glowering

🏏 Sometimes I almost wonder why they even have reviews of LBW decisions… the bar to overturn a decision is ludicrously high, but it’s also so rare that a team reviews something so carelessly that they actually lose the review. Non-serious suggestion (because I know the system’s there to prevent howlers, yadda yadda): save some time and just skip the review 😂

(If I could somehow have screenshotted my TV to show you the review that prompted this post, I would have. But it was Lyon to Pujara and the ball was completely demolishing one stump but apparently not by a large enough margin to overturn the on-field decision…)

The dog beach was the place to be yesterday! Beautiful weather, and many many dogs. Gizmo certainly enjoyed himself 🐶

a shot of a beach, sand and grassy hill behind to the left, marina behind to the right a small white dog paddling in shallow ocean water, looking awaya small white dog paddling in shallow ocean water, looking at the camera

For anyone curious about COL in different cities – I found this neat tool that compares it in selected cities around the world (no southern European ones though 😔). I do disagree with it comparing mean salaries instead of median ones – median salaries are much closer to “typical salaries”, as they’re more resilient against being thrown out by crazy outliers. To put it this way: half a dozen billionaires in a given city doesn’t make the minimum wage any higher. That said, just ignore the “income” numbers and you still get interesting info on costs of housing, utilities, groceries etc. around the world.

It’s actually ridiculous how much time I’ve put into this, but after posting the other day about wanting to track my reading on my own site better, I’ve started making some of the changes. In particular, I now have a reading “portal” which shows what I’m currently reading, and links to other content; and I have a “to read” list which got surprisingly massive as I added all my different silo “to read” lists together (from Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.) 🤯 And I’ve also imported another big batch of reviews from my Goodreads! Bit by bit I’ll get this done.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society. See her homepage here.