Monday, February 28, 2005

Dysfunctional, Party Of Two!

My last post about the Amazing Race prompted a little hating on Jonathon and Victoria. Well, if you can stomach it, they have an 'official' website. Surprisingly it isn't called (and would that make Victoria a Mental Magician's Assistant? I'm just askin'.).

I love the one line entry on their so-called blog "Dr Phil Feb 15 2005 CBS 9pm enough said". Oh, from what I hear nowhere near enough was said, especially by Victoria. She got a little bit of side-line coaching from the Mental Magician and got about 3 sentences in. Control issues, much?

I hope this eventually airs in Oz, I think it would make for sad but fascinating viewing.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

In Media Res (Or, I Watch Too Much Darn Television)

  • Aussie Queer Eye For The Straight Guy has been cancelled after putting to air just three episodes. It was a tad lackluster, but I didn't think it was that bad, and the second and third episodes were much better than the premiere. The ratings sucked big time, apparently.

  • I'm digging the second season of My Restaurant Rules, despite the move away from showing as much of the couples struggling to open their restaurants, and tricking up the format with the addition of classic reality tv show 'challenges'. It sooo does not hurt that Rob and Todd are quite the tasty dishes themselves. I do mourn the loss of the lovely Curtis Stone as host though.

  • My favourite show that I have never seen, has to be Project Runway. I first started reading the recaps after seeing the posts about it on Too Much Free Time. As far as I know nobody has plans to show the series in OZ alas.

  • Still loving Lost, Desperate Housewives and my beloved The Amazing Race. Oh, and trying hard to avoid reading any recaps of The Amazing Race, given that the series ended a while ago in the US and I still don't know who won...
  • Mizz Grizz

    Sometimes, all you can do is stick Spit Rat(TM) on your head and hope the look works for you...

    Isobel and Spit Rat(TM) at Sarah's birthday picnic. 26th January, 2005.

    ...even if it does make you look a little, well, drunken.

    Isobel gets a buzz on. 26th January, 2005.

    This is the delightful daughter of two friends of mine, 'Miss Grizzobel Moans' (aka Isobel). 6 months and going strong. I fell in love with her just a little bit yesterday. She sat in my lap for an hour or so; playing with my watch, pulling on my mala (Buddhist prayer beads) and grabbing baby fistfulls of the hair on my arms. Awwwww...

    Saturday, February 26, 2005

    Get Me Henny Penny, Stat

    When I arrived home this afternoon from a picnic in honour of my friend Sarah's birthday, I had trouble opening the front door. The reason? Apparently, while I was out HALF MY HOUSE FELL DOWN!

    OK, not quite, but the architrave over the front door and one long side of the hallway came crashing down. I'm just glad none of us were under it and nothing else was damaged. Getting it fixed is going to be a huge pain, as I'll have to organise it myself. I rent from friends, who have now moved away. To Korea.

    Of course it didn't happen while I was unemployed and could have hung around the house making small talk and inappropriately staring at some (hopefully) hunky repair men...

    Two views of my modified hallway:

    The sky really is falling. 26th February, 2005.

    5 Songs That I Liked As A Teenager And I Foolishly Thought Gave Me Street Cred Because My Friends Had Never Heard Of Them

  • Money (That's What I Want) by the Flying Lizards, 1979. Melodic with just the right amount of cacophony, and the greatest deadpan vocals ever.
  • Lucky Number by Lena Lovich, 1979. Fab electronica overlaid with Lena's kooky vocals and eccentric stylings. (New Toy was excellent also.)
  • Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs, 1981. Gravely vocals, a wonderful melody line and lush production values made into a track that manages to be tender, sad and a little angry.
  • Ever So Lonely by Monsoon feat. Sheila Chandra, 1982. Pre the 'World Music' pop phenomena Monsoon brought a fabulous mix of Indian rythms and instruments mixed with Western pop. Ever So Lonely was covered a couple of years ago, with most of the charm of the original being lost.
  • Guilty by Classix Nouveaux, 1982. New Romanticism meets Electronica, with a health mix of proto-Goth styling. Many years later lead singer Sal Solo went on to lead a Christian rock band.
  • Dear Internets,

    Please excuse Andrew (the other one) from attending for the past few days. He has had a virus of the nastiest electronic kind, rendering his Beige Miracle Machine(TM) completely useless. Oh, and the dog ate his homework.

    The Parental Unit

    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Tick Tock Rover

    Gary Numan and The Tubeway Army asked "Are friends electric?" Well, perhaps they should have asked "Is man's best friend clockwork?"

    This new sculpture just showed up in my neighbourhood this past week, and I love it. It is a hugely tall fluted column with a strange clockwork dog on the top. So far it is shiny, pristine and lovely.

    However, what does it all mean?

    Sculpture. Newtown Square, King St, Newtown. February, 2005.

    [Update: My local council newsletter has the scoop. The sculpture is by an artist called Richard Byrnes and this is one of three to be installed in ajoining neighbourhoods. They are poster bollards, they actually want people to stick their advertising posters on the column, rather than all over any other vertical surface in the area (as seems to be the case now). The dog theme was inspired by the dog friendly nature of my neighbourhood. Cool.]

    Sunday, February 20, 2005

    Blogger Comments

    Yay, finally Blogger have amended the comments system so that a Blogger account is no longer required to post as anything other than 'Anonymous'. On the comments screen there is now an additional option called 'Other' which allows you to enter a name and/or website url (both which are optional).

    Down the track I might switch to another commenting system, but at least in the meantime this should help get around the annoying insistence of having a Blogger id when posting.

    A Liberating Feeling

    Today I participated in a wonderful Buddhist practice to liberate some animals from certain death (or to be more accurate, in this case some crustaceans from certain death). It may seem like lunacy to some of you, to spend a small fortune in money at a fish market to buy some beautiful big crabs, only to set them free. I must tell you though, the experience of seeing these guys turn and look at us after we let them go, and then turn and scuttle away into the deep, was a joyous thing. Prior to setting them free we spent the morning doing Buddhist rituals and chanting mantras to pray for long lives and auspicious rebirths for these guys. Even the sound guy who came along to record us for a religious radio programme got to set one free, and he was just as stoked as the rest of us to see these gorgeous creatures scuttle off to freedom.

    We have done this practice previously, after first checking with the Fisheries Department (who gave their enthusiastic blessing) to make sure that it would not harm the ecology of the spot we release them into. Crabs were chosen because of their good chance of survival, and because they could be released without harming the environment. The organisers have also been careful to keep our releasing spot a secret, there is probably a lively colony of beautiful big crabs out there by now and the last thing we would want is for someone to go and fish them out for dinner.

    Mantras and blessings for a long life and auspicious rebirth. February, 2005.

    Liberation. February, 2005.

    Mr Pinchy waves goodbye. February, 2005.

    Saturday, February 19, 2005


    The past few days have given me some really cool lessons about friendship to ponder over.

    This afternoon I went to a teaching at the Buddhist Centre I attend, and during a break we sat outside and had tea, fruit and cake in the garden. It was so nice to sit there with a group of 'spiritual friends' (even those I didn't know all that well) and feel like we were all on the same page; all looking at life differently but with a similar seeking attitude, a similar compassionate outlook and a similar code of ethics. No matter what religion you hold dear (if any) having a group of spiritual friends is of great value I think.

    During the week someone who reads this site took the trouble to send me an email and share some of his experience as a fellow gay Buddhist Sydneysider. Our life stories are quite different, but we have both ended up at a similar place and both value these kind of friendships. He seems like a great guy (Hi Bodhi!) and maybe a new friendship will come from it.

    Later this afternoon I was talking with a friend of mine who has been having a tough time lately. Just very recently things have gotten to be even more difficult for her it would seem, with depression and then the messy end of a problematic relationship. When I was talking to her she was giving me a bit of a run down of what was going on in her life, and at the end of it as we made plans to try and catch up tomorrow she shared some advice her therapist had given her. Spend more time with your friends, they love you.

    Maybe I need to hear this lesson too. I have a loving circle of friends, but if things aren't going well I don't find it that easy to share it with them. I'm not sure why, it certainly isn't that I'm not an open person, because I'm very able to discuss my feelings. I think maybe it stems from having grown up tagged as 'the mature one' or 'the stable guy', and in my friendships I have been the one that was a shoulder to cry on. I'm also quite introspective, and am often more likely to go away and think my way through a problem than to share it. It works for me, but it can mean that it seems that I retreat from the world at times.

    Since leaving my job at the end of last year I've had a few up and down times. Nothing major, but I see now that I have been isolating myself a bit from my regular circle of friends. I haven't had money to do stuff until recently, so it has gotten to be easier to sit at home and surf the net, watch tv etc. I've also been very involved in the Buddhist centre which has meant that I need to be more proactive about seeing these other friends.

    Can you make February Resolutions?

    Not Your Average Graffiti

    This guy just appeared recently, and I kind of like him. He's... festive.

    Graffiti art mural. Camperdown Rest Park, Newtown. February, 20005.

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    My Waters Are Running Fast & Shallow

    Today, being Friday, I'm feeling unusually superficial:
  • *surface magazine makes me want to be thin, rich, Eurotrash
  • Need a pair of (shush, last season) Balenciaga duds at 50% off? A cheeky Helmut Lang tank top at $108, U.S.? The folks at Yoox can show the way.
  • However, skip their CD range. When I checked it out it consisted of two cds. That's not a range, that's the contents of someone's glove compartment
  • I though this company would sell all manner of cool bombs and trip wire activated things to foil the Road Runner, with a name like ACME. They do make nice computer bags though. I wonder if they have one to fit a second hand, circa 1995, beige miracle machine, about the size of a family sedan, with a cooling fan that sounds like a Hell's Angels drive-by... because I could use one of those. (It'd need wheels I suspect.)
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Rufus Redux

    Last night I went to see everyone's favourite 'mo crooner Rufus Wainwright at The Basement here in Sydney, with my ex and a couple of friends. Mikey is a huge fan of his music, and introduced me to his stuff early on in our relationship when he bought a CD of his for me as a gift. I think Mikey got initially tuned into the pining for the boy you can't have/unrequited love songs Rufus writes and sings so well, before moving on to his more joyous songs.

    Some impressions from the gig:
  • 40 minutes late on stage is quite a while to keep any audience waiting.
  • Rufus is cute, although is it just me or does he seem, well, to be kind of out of it just a little?
  • Is he slurring? Yup, I think he might be a bit drunk.
  • He sounds camper than I thought he would. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but from his singing voice I thought he'd sound a bit more masculine.
  • A disasterous blind-date of Mikey's is in the crowd, and Mikey's trying to avoid him and being a bit rattled.
  • Rufus is excellent, and if he was drunk initially, well, he seems to have recovered fast.
  • He's very funny, particularly the story about the time Bea Arthur told him to fuck off. What is it with gay men and The Golden Girls?
  • Sobriety (mine, not Rufus's) is good, but I think concerts are a bit more fun when you have a couple of shots under your belt. I have drunk so much soda water that I need to pee like a demon, and there is no hope of me getting through the crowd to the bathroom.
  • Wow, three encores and about 8 songs later it's getting late and I think the staff want to go home. Me too.
  • All in all, a fantastic night!
  • Best Product + Company Name, Ever!

    So day four of my new job rolled around yesterday, doing bookkeeping/payroll and general accounts type stuff for a construction company. I'm plugging away at the stack of invoices, when I get to one from these guys.

    It took all my resolve not to spray coffee everywhere and a good couple of minutes to pull myself together. Who ever said accounting wasn't fun?!

    The worst thing, I pity the poor receptionist that has to answer their phones all day...

    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    Critical Eye For The Queer Eye

    Wednesday night saw the premiere of the Aussie version of 'Queer Eye For The Straight Guy'. I was quite interested to see how well they would do with it, given that a)it would likely be an 'imitation' of a known format, always problematic, b)interest in the original Queer Eye seems to be waning slightly, as the unchanging format and much of the gags become repetitous and c)much of the charm of the original is in the casting and personalities of the guys.

    Well, they actually did better than I thought, but in the end my reaction was a bit meh. Sure it is only episode 1, but it may or may not have been the first episode they filmed and it is the one they chose to premiere with. On the US series the first episode 'Butch' was one of the best of the season, and you would assume they wanted to open with a strong episode here too.

    The format was basically a repeat of the US version, right down to the camera shots even, which was to be expected. I was pleased to see the opening graphics had a bit more of an upscale look, more of a 'indie graphic novel' style of design about the drawings, and of course it was fun to see the Sydney skyline shown and the use of 'Bent St' (which is a real street in Sydney) to replace the US 'Gay St'. I always thought the US title graphics looked a bit cheap, like they made them for a little show they thought might not get picked up (elements of truth in that).

    I think a big part of the problem was that the 'guy' came across as a bit reticent, he didn't seem all that emotionally involved in the process - although the proposal to his girlfriend was quite touching. There wasn't a great deal of the 'process' shown I thought either, we got a quick lesson in why shirts have collar stays and how to buy missmatched chairs and fish, and then it was pretty much done. Pretty much no shots of the house being decorated, no haircut/skincare grooming yadda yadda except instructions to shower, shave and put on moisturiser.

    The clothes were nice but a bit bland, the house was likewise nice but a bit bland, ditto food... I'll watch the next episode with an open mind, but at this stage I think it is not adding anything new to the franchise, except maybe that now we will see products and stores that we recognise.


    Working 9 To 5 (30)

    The time finally came to get off my rapidly expanding ass and emerge blinking into the sunlight. I started my new job on Thursday. It's only estimated to be a five week contract position, but I'm replacing someone who is very ill and has gone on extended sick leave (and it was whispered to me she may never come back, she's that sick). I hope for her sake that she recovers. It's a basic bookkeeping gig although the company is quite large, and so it's a busy office. They are really well organised and both the office and my co-workers are nice, so I think it'll be a good job for however long it lasts.

    Oh and even better, it's a construction company and I had no idea that two of my new favourite words would be junior engineer. Add those my other already favourite word redhead, and well, some serious mojo right there. This particular Vision Splendid passes by my office about 20 times a day, but who's counting?

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Hot Town, Summer In The City.

    Village sculpture. Camperdown Rest Park, 2004.

    Today is hot. An hour ago the weather report put the temperature at 36C (97F). Walking to the Buddhist centre this morning to do some volunteer cleaning I felt baked, seared. A couple of hot and tiring hours of cleaning later, and I'm spent. Fortunately I ran into my friend James and his little daughter Isobel down in Newtown, just as they were about to scurry home out of the heat. So my 10 minute walk home became a couple of minutes in an air-conditioned car instead. Sweet.

    Newtown is a bit like a village, I can often bump into someone I know when I'm walking along the King St shops. This sculpture (above) is an apt piece for the neighbourhood I think. A little village surrounded by a maze, which Sydney definately can be.

    I grabbed a DVD of the M. Night Shyamalan film The Village while I was in Newtown, which reminded me that I had taken the picture above a while back. I liked the look of the film very much, but found it curiously uninvolving. I guess it was partly because I already knew the 'twist' at the end, but I just didn't find that I cared enough about anybody to be really invested in it, nor did Shyamalan hold the suspense through the film I thought. Having said that, there were some great perfomances in the ensemble cast, including the lead Bryce Dallas Howard, and there was much to enjoy in the film. 6/10 maybe.

    Monday, February 07, 2005

    Reasons To Be Cheerfull, Part I

    I avoided posting anything yesterday, out of respect for the blogosphere. Yes my ducks yesterday was woe, woe, WOE IS ME! day. I woke up with a headache and a sore throat, which turned out to be the high point. There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Of course, I'm not talking literally here but I think I came close.)

    Anyhoo. Today is a better day:
  • The weather is indescribably gorgeous

  • I had had a smashing falafel, eggplant and homous wrap for lunch

  • Followed by a Blueberry Danish ice cream (so wrong, and yet so right)

  • I got a phone call from the employment agency and I have a temp job starting later this week, which should last for 5 weeks

  • Tonight is the second week of the current module of my Buddhist course, and I'm really looking forward to it

  • While I'm listing all the Good Things(tm), I went over to my ex's apartment on Saturday and we hung out and watched a few DVDs. I got to see one of my favourite films of all time again, Hedwig And The Angry Inch. Yeah Gods I love this film! Then to add colour and shade we watched something not so great, Equilibrium. Eh, not good. Potential, but not good.

    Equilibrium Haikus

    Christian Bale looks cute
    Sean Bean likes to feel, that's bad
    They both have nice hair

    The future is grey
    Long dark coats, look like Prada
    Where is Keanu?

    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Latter Days And Happy/Sad Days

    I rented this film Latter Days the other day. Considering that it was the project of a first time director and starred a couple of rookie actors, I thought the film was quite well done. In other words, it isn't perfect but the charm of the leads and the spirit of the film carry it well over the odd rough spots. The fact that the two leads are both very handsome was also a bonus! On balance I really enjoyed it, in fact I watched it twice before taking the DVD back to the video store.

    What I didn't expect was my emotional reaction to it. You see the film is a tale of star crossed lovers, with the Mormon Church and the huge cultural edifice built around the church as the divide between the Montagues and the Capulets. I won't give away the plot (rent it, I'm certain you'll find the film enjoyable) but it touched on a few places in me that had me crying out of all proportion with how happy/sad the film was. I walked around for a few hours afterwards with a lump in my throat, feeling like I could cry at any moment.

    I tried to put together what it was that upset me so. I think it touched on a part of me that is missing having a big love in my life. I don't particularly feel lonely, but I think there is a nugget of loneliness there that was touched by the romance in the film. A feeling of being overlooked. A need to feel that someone has said I choose you, above all others. A want to have that sort of excitement where the sight of someone's face across a crowded room makes you happy, safe, wanted. It isn't just about me either, I feel the need to channel my love, to care about someone deeply.

    Also, when I was at the end of my teens I had a boyfriend who came from a Mormon background. He had a terrible time with his family, they threw him out of home and he ended up sleeping in their garage at one point. Years later, after we both moved on and lost touch, I found out that he had killed himself, when mutual old friends of ours tracked me down to see if I had contact details for his family, who he hadn't spoken to in years. Through a Mormon chap I worked with, and the extensive Mormon database, we tracked down his parents. At first they refused to collect his body or identify him, but with the help of their local pastor's intervention they eventually did and Michael was laid to rest. So I think part of my reaction, on top of the pity party about my own life, was a core of sadness I have carried around for years about what happened to Michael and about the walls of prejudice and religion that some people hide behind. RIP, sweetie.

    Friday, February 04, 2005

    Well, Future Shock Would Do That To The Best Of Us.

    Used bookstore owner's kitty; King St, Newtown. December 2004.

    Summer's End?

    There is a sure fire way to tell when Summer is close to ending. Rain? Cooler weather? Shorter days? Well, yes. I guess.

    But there is one other sure fire way to tell. The ratings season starts up again, and all of a sudden TV becomes watchable again. Lost, Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives... I might never leave the couch again.

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Scritti Politi

    The 'Cow Pain Manifesto'. Graffiti. Newtown Park, Sydney. February, 2005.

    I love this piece of graffiti, even though it pisses me off that people deface public property in this way (in this case the sandstone wall that seperates my local park from the cemetary).

    The lunacy and left-of-centreness of these sentiments crack me up. I mean a fruit forest, without any electricity to run my juicer? I think not, 'mkay?

    I like to imagine the author standing there, paint brush in hand, with the following internal dialogue:
    Now, is that cow's pain or cows' pain?... of screw it, who's going to care?!

    Well, I think we all know the answer to that one. Although free life, that one sounds kind of good.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Link Love

    Today, being Wednesday, I'm rocking the following linkage:
  • Using Aussie blogs to do a bit of surfing around my old home town of Adelaide. Eh, Adelaide? First things first, here's a city centre map.
  • Digging The Adelaide 'Alleys and Side Streets' Project, a curious and wonderful photoblog of the alleys and sidestreets of Adelaide.
  • This is a project of Sparrow, and Adelaide blogger who has a blog called Flight Of The Sparrow.
  • On a more global scale, I've been reading a lot of Indian weblogs lately and especially photoblogs. (I mentioned at least one of them previously, and talked about some others here.) So I happened across a newish blog from a local girl and was surprised to find one of the weblogs in her links list was an Indian photoblog I like, none other than Deepak G. Two degrees of seperation? Interweb, thou art always a surprise.
  • Boom Crash Opera

    Rainy day lily. February, 2005.

    Last night we had a tropical storm of epic proportions, a regular boom crash opera as one of my favourite expressions goes. As I write this another storm is rolling in, and it's dark as twilight and I can hear the thunder in the distance. It was so noisy with torrential rain and thunder last night that I hardly got any sleep, but this morning the garden was looking well quenched after the heat of the past few days.

    I love storms. When I was a kid I used to stand on the front verandah and watch them with my mum, although we didn't get as many electrical storms in Adelaide as we do in Sydney, which is more tropical. Here comes the rain again.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Colour Me Surprised

    Surprising recent events and things I have learned:
  • On Saturday morning when I was all on my lonesome at the Buddhist centre and waiting for the other volunteers to show, I opened the door to two door knocking Jehovah's Witnesses. If the fact that we actually had a pleasant chat wasn't surprising enough, the big surprise came when they stopped just short of calling me an idolator. Restraint.
  • Sitting in my bathrobe until lunchtime on the interweb is not getting me a job, but the seeds of laziness are bearing fruit on this website. Or something.
  • On a three hour car journey June Tabor is waaaaaay more boring to listen to than Emmylou Harris. The surprise? Someone makes Emmylou Harris sound interesting.
  • Having been told by my flatmate* that Dave came second on The Biggest Loser (yes, because I read US blogs I already know who wins), it was a pleasant surprise last night to see him get cut. How much do I love the dramatic ritual of the turning off of the refrigerator? Genius.

    *Flatmate = Aussie slang for room mate. It makes more sense too, I mean we don't share a room. Ewww.
  • Monday Linkfest

    Today, being Monday, I'm meandering my way through the following:
  • Showing my compassion for my Northern Hemisphere friends by reading Notes From A Blizzard Shut-In on McSweeney's. (Need I remind you guys it's Summer here? Heh, heh.)
  • We don't get snow in Sydney, so making a snowman is something I've never been able to do. Although I could manage this, you know, if I wanted to.
  • Have a taste for the bizzaro? Like ugly web design? How about
  • I've never seen the product, but I love the web design of the Oral Fixation Mints company. [Warning: very Flash-ey and slow to load on dial-up, but worth it.] I need to find some of those Mojito flavoured mints!
  • The designers of that website are also the guys behind other interesting websites such as Understanding Vorn and 10 x 10.
  • Still with my design nerd hat on, I also love the information maps and quirky Travel Time map created by the same guys. Very sobering, the weapons map.
  • Tchotchke Central

    I'm not a huge fan of ornaments, tchotchkes or gewgaws. To paraphrase Edina Monsoon from this episode of AbFab:
    "I want clean lines and surfaces, darling. I don't want things, on places. Clear! Clear!!"

    My idea of hell would be a house full of this, or even worse this.

    But having said that, I find these Mouseion Collection by Parastone figurines based on famous artworks oddly appealing. Especially the Bosch, Klimt and Dali figurines. (Not that I would ever buy the little dust collectors of course, but I think for the most part they have done a nice job of translating the images to 3D.)

    [Link to Bosch figurines originally via Things Magazine.]