Reasons I am not applying to rent your flat

I am flat hunting.  I need an affordable one-bedroom flat, preferably with fly screens in the windows and space for at least one of my eight bookshelves.  Near public transport, preferably also within cycling distance from the city.  And it has to accept cats.  And — I realise I’m asking a lot — bonus points if it’s not totally grotty.

At first I thought I was being too fussy, but, you know, I have to live in this place.  I’ve had homes so hideous I cringed every time I came home, and I don’t want another one.

On the other hand, it’s a really rough market for renters.  I can’t afford to stay in my beloved inner-north, so I’m shifting to the less gentrified inner-west.  But even there, way too many places are just … imperfect.

And so, to all the landlords out there, here are some of the reasons I haven’t jumped through hoops to inspect your properties:

  • It is clearly haunted.
  • Inspection time coincides with the deadline to lodge important court documents.
  • Why would you even schedule inspections to take place during work hours?  This wasn’t happening last time I was house hunting.
  • This retro kitchen would absolutely be worth missing work for, except for the no pets rule.
    This retro kitchen would absolutely be worth missing work for, except for the no pets rule.
  • Pretty sure a serial killer has been burying bodies beneath the porch.
  • Your real estate agent’s Instagram filter failed to disguise the rust stains in the bath.
  • It is 80 million miles from public transport.
  • It is too small to swing a cat.
  • Look, cat swinging just happens to be one of my hobbies, and I’ll thank you not to judge.
  • Sometimes the cat buries his teeth on my arm, and I swing it around wildly trying to dislodge him.  Nothing weird here at all.
  • I’m quite certain I’ve transcribed search warrants being executed on this property.
  • Fairly confident that’s an unmarked police car in the foreground of the exterior photo.
  • My hipster chic aesthetic doesn’t extend to keeping the washing machine in the living area.
  • Likewise, I don’t like my fridge so much that I want to hang out and watch The X-Files with it.
  • There is a strong possibility that the carpet has mind control powers, and I don’t want to place myself at risk of being psychically possessed by a green shag carpet.
  • I'm into the concertina room divider, but the carpet's like a Rorschach test for your feet.
    I’m into the concertina room divider, but the carpet’s like a Rorschach test for your feet.
  • Nine out of 10 crime scene cleaners rate it their favourite job site in Melbourne.
  • The real estate’s use of the adjective “humble” is worrying.
  • Something about the gang signs spraypainted on the fence is off-putting.
  • I’m yet to embrace the meth house aesthetic.

Tomorrow I’ll be at the Abbotsford Markets, trying to sell some of the contents of those eight bookshelves.  But next weekend, unless I get lucky, I’ll be out there.  Again.  Inspecting unfamiliar houses, smelling unfamiliar smells, and wondering what it takes to find a not-hideous flat in Melbourne.

hashtag lifestyle choices

On the same day as Tony Abbott announced a decision to close more than 100 remote indigenous communities, he compounded injury with insult (literally) by justifying this move as the defunding of a ‘lifestyle choice’.

To live on Country is obviously not a lifestyle choice. To live on Country is a right and a responsibility and also, get your goddamn white man shoes off the land.

Here are some Indigenous voices:

Utopiana: Parliament House is an unviable political community.

At the ABC an article that has a lot of quotes from people, including this truthy beauty:

The chairman of WA’s Kimberley community of Djarindjin, Brian Lee, said it was a cultural obligation to live on traditional country and it could not be a “lifestyle choice”

“We are obliged to look after our country and that’s why a lot of us are out here on country,” Mr Lee said.

“Unless you live out here, you really can’t make any judgement on that.

It’s not that hard a concept. Even if you move it away from cultural stuff (you shouldn’t), it’s still about a sense of place and stewardship of the land, and how are we still in a place where white people think their science is always right; their politics is always right; their traditions are always right?

By Kate Galloway and temporarily outside the paywall at the Alternative Law Journal, Indigenous dispossession in the 21st Century: The Northern Frontier.

I say this a lot but are you following Luke Pearson and/or Indigenous X? Luke is thoughtful and excellent, and Indigenous X is a different Indigenous voice every week and every voice is amazing.


Not Indigenous voices, but excellent, at SBS Comedy: Indigenous Australians Still Not Thrilled About ‘Lifestyle Choice’ To Take Their Land.

Reports from various Indigenous leaders indicate that first Australians are still not thrilled about colonisers making the ‘lifestyle choice’ to steal their land and kill their people.

Though understanding it was the invader’s personal decision, Indigenous elders noted that the cost of being systematically oppressed greatly outweighed the benefits, namely due to there being no benefits.

“It certainly is a lifestyle choice,” said one indigenous elder. “Some people want to become plumbers, some want to be electricians, some want to attempt to steal sovereignty from a native people.

No Award’s top invasive species of australia

Ranked according to a complex system based on cuteness, novelty value and overall destructiveness, plus chaos theory, ie, the order in which we thought of them.

    • Cats
      Now, No Award is very fond of cats — well, Liz loves her cat a lot, even though he has put three people in hospital so far.  But ecologically speaking, they’re bad news.  ABC Fact Check says it’s impossible to verify the number of native species killed by cats, but it’s a lot.
      (Note: that link includes a picture of the contents of a feral cat’s stomach, and said feral cat post-stomach-removal.  Guys, no.)
      Be a responsible cat owner: get your moggy neutered and keep it inside.
      (Liz wishes to point out that Harvey has never killed a single bird, on account of how he’s actually pretty scared of them.  He has, however, caught two mice.  We hope they were just common housemice.)
    • North Pacific seastar
      By far the prettiest invasive species around.  Yes, it has spread itself throughout the oceans of the world, consuming resources needed by native species, but come on.  Aesthetically, it’s totally worth it, right?

      The Regina George of invasive starfish.
      The Regina George of invasive starfish.

      Also, if you cut off one its limbs, it will regenerate.  Into a white British dude, probably.

Actual depiction of a sea star with regenerated limb.
Actual depiction of a sea star with regenerated limb.

ETA: You can participate in some getting-rid of sea star activities from St Kilda Pier once a month with Earthcare St Kilda.

  • Asparagus fern
    Fact!  If you “accidentally” plant one, it will smother everything you love! it is officially known as a “dense infestation”, and that’s a call for respect.Its main hobbies are smothering native plants, performing as a foliage world-wide in cut flower bunches, and being illegal in many areas of Australia.
  • Rabbits
    Like white people, they invaded Australia on the First Fleet in 1788. They were released into the wild by a white dude in Victoria, for hunting, because they could do “little harm.” AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    nobody likes rabbits
    nobody likes rabbits

    Despite being introduced deliberately, they are illegal to own as pets in Queensland.  Liz once watched with interest as a rabbit at the zoo burrowed underneath its fence and hippety-hopped to freedom.

    Stephanie’s favourite rabbit is Mixie, from The Ferals.

  • Foxes
    Why were foxes even introduced?  *google*  Oh.  Hunting.  Of course.  Thanks a bunch, England.
    Anyway, foxes are very pretty, but also jerks.  Between the wild foxes and the feral cats and the feral dogs, the poor old dingoes really have to work to get ahold of babies!
    (Too soon?)
  • Camels
    Camels were introduced as desert transport, but then the car was invented, and they were turned loose.  These days, they roam around, being jerks to native wildlife and providing transportation to extremely tedious memoirists whose iconic books are studied by bored first year Auslit students.  Sorry, camels, you deserve better.

    mate do you need a cold tinnie?
    mate do you need a cold tinnie?
  • Gold fish
    So it turns out that when you get bored and release your fishies into the wild, they establish feral populations. F.E.R.A.L. Because they are fucking hardcore and can survive all sorts of environments.
  • Bucky Barnes and friend.
    Bucky Barnes and friend.

    “But goldfish are so pretty!”

    Yeeeeeeeaaaah.  You’re gonna love it when they fin-nip native fish and kill them. It’s gonna be awesome.  They also love digging and uprooting plants, which alters the nutrients and kills locals, and they get more food. Yes. Best.

    You know that picture book about the kid who feeds his goldfish too much, and it ends up becoming ENORMOUS and (I think) destroying a house?

  • Asian mussel
    It’s attractive, delicious, and invasive as hell.
  • Brumbies
    Australian rite of passage, possibly limited to girls:
    1.  Read The Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell, about a beautiful wild horse named Thowra
    2.  Discover that brumbies — small wild horses — are real.
    3.  Discover that, due to massive overpopulation and the damage they do to the environment, they are culled by shooting them from helicopters.
    But seriously, No Award is in favour of a catch-and-neuter program for wild horses, thank you.

    mate, wait up
    mate, wait up
  • Dogs
    See foxes.  Only, you know, they were introduced as Person’s Best Friend, not prey for wealthy hunters.
  • Myna birds
    Looks a lot like the Noisy Miner bird, and was named by white fellas who couldn’t tell the difference between an Indian bird and an Australian bird.  Like white people, it enjoys dispossessing locals and pooping on pets.
  • Rock pigeons
    All birds are terrible.  But rock pigeons compound their basic birdness by having acidic faeces.  No.  Just no.
  • Some sparrows
    We can’t remember exactly why some species of sparrow are terrible, aside from the obvious fact that they are birds.  (Stephanie notes that this opinion does not reflect No Award’s official pro-bird stance.)
    But here’s an interesting post about the English sparrow in the US — turns out Australia’s not the only country to have gone to war against a bird.  Although we may still be the only country to have comprehensively lost that war.
    (That link seems to take the position that people who are opposed to invasive species taking over the country are … racist?  Prejudiced against invasive species?  Anyway, we’ll see how you feel when you wake up and your drinking water is full of giant goldfish and North Pacific seastars.)
  • Some white people
    For the record, it has been at least weeks since Liz wiped out a native species.

Bonus! Australia’s least attractive invasive species:

  • cane toads
  • european wasps
  • tony abbott

Real Jobs of No Award: Exploring Out on the Bay

A SERIES: Jobs of real people. We are starting with Steph, because she’s excited. 

Recently I did a (work)day trip down to Sorrento. Down at the Sorrento pier I got on a boat with 40 year sixes, and assorted teachers and parents. I put on a wet suit and then WENT INTO THE BAY.

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Firsts for Stephanie:

First snorkel

First putting on of a wetsuit

First wild seal sighting

First undersea under a pier adventure

Under a pier is like BEING IN SPACE. I get it, why all those space movies are filmed under the water for the imagery. It was incredible! The water under the pier was so deep there were SCUBA DIVERS metres under us! There was seaweed growing on the wood and fishies swimming in all directions. The seals were boisterous and pushed each other into the water when one was getting too stroppy. Turns out Australian Fur Seals laugh like they’re about to take over the world, which I dig. Also they smell. SMELL SO BAD.

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I got to see some dolphins playing in the distance, and the whole thing was so fun I’d like to do it again.


The point of going out into the Bay was mostly inspirational this time around. It’s part of a program to build a sense of place and stewardship around the Bay and surrounds. As we move further into the year, the year sixes learn about waterways and flow-on impacts, for example how the creeks that flow into the Bay are bigger causes of rubbish and litter on the beach than beach-goers, which is the popular assumption (it’s actually, for reference, usually people throwing things on the street which flow into storm water drains and local creeks which then flow into the Bay and then, when the tide is right, flow back up onto the beach). They learn about the creatures that live in and around the Bay (weedy sea dragons! sharkies! octopussies!). They get mentored in teaching other kids about catchments and water and litter, and learn leadership skills.

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You can’t, it’s mine. But I do have a Master of Science (Sustainability) and some years of experience volunteering on the ground with hippie greenie organisations.

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No Award’s Print, Cut ‘n’ Keep Folk Festival Bingo Card

This weekend sees Stephanie heading off to the Port Fairy Folk Festival.  Liz, who would sooner eat her own eyeballs than listen to folk music, is going to stay home and spend some quality time with her cat.

(The cat also hates folk music.  And, for some reason, Radiohead.)

Now, regardless about your feelings towards the music, it can’t be denied that folk festivals attract a certain … demographic.


Bless their peace-loving hearts, but the only thing worse than a hippie is an upper-middle-class suburban hippie wannabe.  Think the Morgendorffers.  Think Homer Simpson’s mother, although she was actually pretty great and who wouldn’t leave Grandpa Simpson?  Yes, all of our examples are cartoons, but that doesn’t change the fact that any folk festival is going to contain at least some of the following:

No Award apologises that this bingo card is presented as an image, and promises to learn to code tables.
No Award apologises that this bingo card is presented as an image, and promises to learn to code tables.