Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here There Be Dragons

Stone dragon, Chinese Garden of Friendship. Darling Harbour, Sydney, July 2005.

I'm not a big believer in astrology, I find most of it pretty general and non-specific, and although I keep an open mind about it, I have never found that the descriptions of Virgos ring all that true to me. Yet I find that the descriptions of my 'star sign' in Chinese astrology seems to be quite a bit closer to the mark (and generally a lot more flattering than the usual 'neat freak, nit picky, blah blah' Virgos usually get!).

I am a Wood Dragon:

"Dragon people are the most eccentric in the Chinese Zodiac. Soaring high into the serene heavens, they can be stubborn, passionate, excitable, honest, and brave, wear purple and walk barefoot in public fountains. They listen to their own drummer, thank you very much, while the rest of the world stands in amazement. People always admire their individuality and feisty personality. Dragons are capable of doing great work for mankind and they inspire trust in almost everyone. The Dragon symbolizes life and growth and is said to bring the five blessings: harmony, virtue, riches, fulfillment and longevity.

Dragons are majestic creatures. These Dragons are the chivalrous knights and guardian angels of life, generous with their friendship, compassionate, even heroic, in their deeds. Showing great tolerance towards others, they move easily among all social strata and travel extensively, opening their minds to new things. Brave as matadors, their courageous lives are truly inspiring. Natural curiosity leads Wood Dragons to pursue very interesting career paths. The dichotomy is they are successful human beings but not all that successful in their careers, despite all the help they get from friends and mentors. Fortune comes to them anyway! Now, as you know, the chances of winning the lottery are pretty slim, but Wood Dragons just might do it. Rainy days or sunny, good fortune seems to shine on these money magnets, just like magic. The Wood Dragon is steady as a rock when it comes to Love & Relationships. They just don't believe in love at first sight. To them, love, relationships, and marriage follow a progressive course, evolving naturally and slowly out of friendship. Once the love bug catches them, their love is deep and passionate. The Wood Dragon partner is loving and supportive of the loved one's needs and love is never taken for granted."

Quote taken from this site.

It's nice to be a called a 'majestic creature', and anyway, it's not like I was going to post a picture of a virgin...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme The News!

Just got back from seeing the doctor and getting the test results for the huge collection of tests I had done after my freakish blood pressure result. 90% good news! Blood pressure still high, cholesterol at the top end of normal and triglycerides (some sort of blood fat - ewww!) was waaaay high. All other results were normal, and he tested things I didn't even know could be tested.

Surprisingly, no mention of my Sanguinity...

I have three months to lose some weight before I get it all re-tested and book a check-up visit to the cardiologist. I lost 16kg about 4 years ago, and then put about half that back on after my car accident induced immobility a couple of years back. So I know I can do it. I just celebrated the good news with a fatty carbo-load of pasta, for tomorrow we diet!

From here on in, if I start posting endless diet entries, someone please shoot me. You have my permission.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Just Can't Get You Out Of My Head

Yesterday morning I woke up with the following going over, and over, and over in my head:
Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen,
pour myself a cup of ambition,
and yawn, and stretch, and try to come alive...

I am not making this up. It's been running through my head periodically since, but not incessantly like it was yesterday morning. I don't know what this says about the dreams I was having, but there are worse ways to wake up than having a bouncy Miss Dolly warbling '9 to 5' in your head.

On the topic of things sleep related [touches wood, strokes rabbit's foot and throws salt over shoulder] but my sleep 'issues' are getting better it would seem. Last night I slept right through the night, even though I did wake an hour and a half earlier than I needed to. Still, baby steps.

I'm Not Mad At You, I'm Mad At The Dirt.

A bunch of cancelled plans yesterday meant that I ended up with a whole unplanned Sunday stretching out before me. A sunny and warm Sunday. So I did the only grown up thing I could do, threw open the doors and windows, cranked up the music and cleaned like whirlwind.

Hundreds of loads of laundry later, a whole mess of things thrown away, a whole bunch of other things dusted/washed/waxed/aired out in the sun, and finally the inner voice I like to call 'Martha' was stilled. It was sort of like a day of home detention, only with music.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

I just went and deleted 11 SPAM comments from my last post, and it's happening more frequently, so I'm going to trial a Blogger feature to try and stop it. I just turned on the 'Word Verification' system in Blogger comments. If (when!) you go to comment Blogger will show a word on the screen that you have to type, sort of as a password.

I hope this isn't a pain in the arse, and please let me know if it is!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ready For Spring

It's been a bit cool and grey in Sydney today, and I'm feeling that particular itch that you get when you're done with Winter and you just want it to be warmer already. People reading this is the Northern Hemisphere are probably rolling their eyes at the thought of a Sydney winter, it's true it doesn't get all that cold here by international standards, but when you live in a place that does warm weather really well, well you get a little spoilt.

August, 2005.

I took this pic just over a week ago, and I'm really very pleased with it. It's one of my favourite recent photos. This looks very dramatic and tropical, but in reality this bush grows out of the footpath a block away from my house. The combination of the early morning light, and exposure contrast with the background, has made this come out much better that I had hoped. I hope you like it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

On The Nightstand

Well, I finally plowed my way through the remainder of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". The verdict, it was my least favourite of the series so far although to be fair the last quarter of the novel did claw back some of my interest.

At the other end of the spectrum, I just bought Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomas and I can't put it down. I'm only a third of the way through it so far, but the creativity of the concept has me hooked. What would it be like if overnight everything you knew changed? If you were classified into one of four 'personality types' and sent to live with others deemed to be of the same 'type'? What would it be like to live in a nation divided?

Thomson never fully explains many of the logistics of his concept, but the main character's blind acceptance is an important part of the story. Thomson also uses the premise to play with ideas of totalitarianism, eugenics and human adaptability, but his straightforward writing style avoids the story being bogged down in abstract concepts.

Meanwhile he has me turning every page, eager to find out what happens.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Death Takes A Train

Sydney rail commuters have had their limits tested of late; major delays, cancellations, closures for track work and a myriad of other inconveniences. This morning my train pulled into the next stop after my starting station, where it sat for a few minutes, and then the guard announced that there would be a short delay as we waited for the signal ahead to clear. Nothing unusual.

A short while later the guard announced that there was a deceased person on a train a couple of stations ahead of us, and that there would be further delays heading into the city while emergency services dealt with the situation.

I found the reactions of many of my fellow commuters really disappointing and saddening. More than a few did the usual rolling of eyes, checking of watches and reaching for mobile phones that normally accompanies a delay announcement. Like it was a regular everday inconvenience.

It just struck me how horrible it is that we have become so walled up in our internal landscapes of self-talk, delusions, ego, petty angers and frustrations that a person could die and they get treated as an inconvenience. That person was someone's father, mother, sister, lover or friend. Also, what of the other passengers that were with that person in the train, as they died? What must that have been like to be beside someone and to perhaps have tried in vain to resucitate them, or to have just noticed that the person next to you was dead, or to have been so overcome with fear and self-doubt that you sat there not able to help?

I've been thinking about this person all morning, about the stranger on the train that is now no longer with us. I hope their death was painless and swift, and pray they have an auspicious rebirth.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I Heart Travel Blogs

While I'm chained to my office desk, working like a complete working thing, part of me is off dreaming of elsewhere. In this spirit, here are a couple of travel blogs I like:
  • Mike Pugh's travels are long since over, but Vagabonding really set the benchmark in excellent travel blogs, and still has some great content.
  • Konchok Ngodup is a young American Buddhist who is travelling through Tibet, China, and other parts far Eastern, learning to become a translator. His blog Sojourning Across The World chronicles his experiences and has plenty of interesting photos.

Apologies for the light content of the past couple of days, I keep telling myself that work will settle down enough soon for me to go back to my old web surfin' ways!

Monday, August 22, 2005


Isobel at her birthday picnic. Sunday 21st August, 2005.

Miss Isobel,
This week you are one year old. One! Who knew just 12 short months ago that you and I would be such friends!? In that time I've seen you learn to do so many things, but the new one, the hugging thing, that's my favourite.

I knew that I would probably like you, because your parents are good people and I figured the odds were stacked in your favour. I was kind of surprised that with one bat of those big brown eyes I turned into 100% Doting Big Gay Uncle. Oh, and the first time I saw you fix someone with an appraising look, I knew we'd get along just fine.

I'm glad you enjoyed your party, and I'm glad I'll get to see you have a lot more of them.

Uncle Andrew

[This week's Photo Friday theme is One.]


Today is another day of work frantic-ness so just a little update post on the weekend, including a recap on things medical:
  • Friday was a birthday extravaganza for my friend Bodhi, which was a heap of fun. I was feeling a bit tired and off-colour, so wasn't exactly the life and soul of the party, but I had a good time. From the comments Bodhi left on my previous post he certainly had a good time!
  • Saturday was a chilled out sort of day, I had slept really badly on Friday night so was looking forward to a quiet day and an early night. Unfortunately my next door neighbours had a party until the small hours of the morning, so a good night's sleep was elusive.
  • Sunday was a gloriously mild day, and I headed to a local park for my God(less) daughter's first birthday picnic. It was a lovely afternoon of eating, playing with the various babies in attendance and seeing friends I hadn't seen for a while.
  • This morning I went to see my new doctor (who I heart very much already) for a follow-up on my alarmingly high blood-pressure from last week. I had a better BP result (although still high, my diastolic measurement was down by 16 points) and he did a lung function and ECG test. Lung function was good and my ECG showed a small electronic anomoly at first glance, but nothing that looked to be outside the range of normal. I'm having a full set of blood and urine tests, and I have a feeling that I'll probably find I have a Cholesterol problem. I have another appointment next week to get results, but already I'm feeling a little less stressed about how things might be. My new doctor is really nice, and being similarly of the Munchkin persuation, when I climbed on the height/weight machine was stoked to find out that I'm shorter than he is. It's so easy to please some people.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Happy Birthday!

It's my friend Bodhi's 40th birthday today. If you have read this blog for a while then you will have heard Bodhi's name crop up quite frequently. He's a friend, a fellow Buddhist, an all round good egg and a blog commentor par excellence.

Go give him some loving. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Herbalism For Fun & Profit

Some insights and thoughts after my visit to the Naturopath about my sleep and chronic sinus problems:
  • The herbal sleeping tablets (aka "The Great White Hope") he prescribed are, frankly, a disappointment. I'm still waking up in the middle of the night, but instead of the usual Bing! Wide Awake! there is a noticeable degree of grogginess. The jury is still out on whether this is an improvement.
  • Horseradish, Garlic & Vitamin C tablets sound like they'd taste disgusting don't they? They do, not least of which because they're coated in aniseed. BLECH!
  • Is it weird to fall in love with a nasal spray? My new saline and eucalyptus nasal spray combines almost the exact same degrees of life enhancing qualities and ick factor as some boyfriends.
  • Major doses of vitamin B make me borderline speedy, I'm that cheap.

Wave The Flag

Blogger have just added a new feature, which I'm not sure I like. See up in the top right hand corner of the page there... go on, I'll wait... see the new FLAG? button. (PS. Why the question mark? Not sure if it's a flag or not?)

If you hit that, and please don't until you're off my site, it lodges the site as having 'Questionable Content' with Blogger. Now, when I played Blogger Roulette a while back I ended up on some weird sites, some I really didn't like, and a couple that were thinly disquised commercial 'blogs'... but I'm not sure I like the idea of people in effect labelling other people's blogs as 'questionable'.

Who administers this at Blogger? Who decides if the blog is bona fide 'questionable', and on what criteria? If you don't like gay people/haikus/Outback House/overuse of italics could you label my blog as 'questionable'? So many questions!

Perhaps this was prompted by hate blogs, or by people posting sexually explicit pictures without appropriate warning pages. Maybe there are instances when this could be genuinely handy, but right now the idea makes me uncomfortable.

Some New Reading

Because we all need more blogs in our lives, here's a couple of new Gay Boy Blogs I've stumbled across in the past couple of days:
  • fourfour not only posts some of the funniest cat pics on the interweb, but he also does high-larious recaps of the new Whitney "Houston-we-have-a-problem" & Bobby Brown 'reality' show. [Link via Michael McHotterton at Pipedreams]
  • Duane Moody; 26, cute, has a loving boyfriend, with whom he bought a home that they are renovating. I'd hate him if I didn't want to be him so bad.
  • Angel Headed Hipster, who I'm prepared to love just for his domain name alone...

I'm always on the lookout for new reading, so if you have any recommendations hit me up in the comments.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I Like Nice Big Round Numbers

That WhineFest of an entry from earlier today (too much work... last minute changes... woe, woe I say!...) was my 300th blog entry! Talk about celebrating in style.

300! Given that I started this on a whim (and knowing my own lack of discipline and 'commitment issues') I'm surprised I made 30, let alone 300.

Stand Back! He's Gonna Blow! (...And Not In A Good Way)

Urgh, yesterday I blogged about my blood pressure... and right now I think I should get that sucker tested again. You know that thing at the Carnival, where if you hammer hard enough the puck thingee shoots up to the top and rings the bell. Right now my blood pressure is ringing that bell!

(OK, that's a weird metaphor that doesn't really work, but you get the drift.)

I've spent the past few days creating a whole bunch of documents that need to go out to a client today. Complicated stuff, all different share plan offers, some with all sorts of performance criteria... blah, blah. My boss just came back to me to review my drafts, and in the process handed me all the info he had (that was pre-approved by the client) but which he hadn't handed on to me. Well, I have to trash 90% of what I have done already.

Ho, ho. The client is so not getting this today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Time For A Little Uncharacteristic Self-Disclosure

So this morning I had an hour long consult with a Naturopath about my issues regarding poor sleep and lack of energy. Long story short, I have a bunch of strategies to try in terms of modifying my diet, and some herbs and stuff to take, to also combat my chronic sinus problems and a few allergies I knew about. As I thought might be the case, my sinus issues may be contributing to my disturbed sleep.

It wasn't all good news thought because apparently my blood pressure is majorly broken and needs some big time fixin'. Given my interesting family history (cancer, heart disease, strokes... nothing major) alarm bells are ringing off the hook. So, I gots me an appointment to see a new doctor for some blood work, and for a referral to a cardiologist for some tests.

I've been burying my head in the sand for a while about the possibility of cardiac issues (La-la-la, I can't hear you!) My father had his first heart attack in his early 50's and all of his siblings never made it to 60. Given my sister's stroke in her late 40's, well I'm about to turn 41 and we are now entering the red zone.

Anyhoo, even though I'm a little rattled by how bad my blood pressure was at least I have kicked off the process of getting things checked, and either way whether the news be good or not so good, informed is the best way to deal with it. Right?

Update: In the interests of honesty, I should amend this post so that the term "a little rattled" actually reads "absolutely crapping my pants". Just so we're clear.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dr Who Gets Some Man-On-Man Action

I've really enjoyed watching the new Dr Who series. Saturday night saw the airing of the final episode in the first series, and sadly Christopher Ecclestone's last episode (boo!), Parting Of The Ways.

I missed the episode where the lovely Captain Jack (played by the equally lovely John Barrowman) was added to the series. Consequently I missed some of the set-up of his character, but what I did start to pick up on from the subsequent episodes is that Cap'n Jack is a notorious flirt, and... bisexual. As the BBC website coyly describes him "...he has a lot of love to give". Indeed.

So, cut to Saturday night's episode. Firstly we get a cute one liner about Jack wanting to get in on a hug The Doctor and Rose were having, with The Doctor not Rose. Then when Cap'n Jack says his goodbyes (convinced the Daleks are going to kill him) he gets into a nice long lip-lock with Rose... and then turns around and gives The Doctor a big long lingering wet one. Yup folks, old Aunty Beeb gives The Doctor some man-on-man action. Yeah baby!

The best thing, there was no mouth-wiping or weirdness, just a smile from The Doctor as if to say "Thanks very much, that was quite nice actually".

Not So Wild About Harry

I'm working my way through a borrowed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I say 'working' my way through it because (as of page 294 so far) I'm finding it, well, kind of tedious. I feel like this makes me some kind of heretic, but I'm just not enjoying it very much. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but at nearly 300 pages in there just doesn't seem to be much going on that's holding my interest.

I have also read the other 5 books, and while I quite enjoyed them, as an adult reader I haven't been swept up in all the fuss surrounding the series. I have, however, found the books to be quite entertaining and diverting reads - just not exciting.

What I do think is absolutely fantastic about these books, is how excited children are about them. Anything that gets kids excited about reading, and so excited that they would sit down and read a whopping great book in a single sitting or re-read them several times, is just fine by me.

Monday Morning Ramble

As I intimated in my Friday Haiku entry, my workload last week was pretty much out of control. I have a major client project due on Tuesday, so once that is out of the way, this week should quieten down considerably.

After the frenetic week I just had, I wasn't up for much other than being lazy this weekend. A goal which I pretty much acheived. The only noteworthy things to report from the weekend was a lovely afternoon spent with my ex, Mikey. We had lunch at a new little pasta place in Newtown, sitting out on the footpath discussing Mikey's latest misadventures and watching the passing parade of DIOK couples (Double Income, One Kid), inner-West tribals and urban hipsters. After lunch we went to see the movie Tarnation, which Mikey found a bit depressing but I found really interesting. Jonathan Caouette quite obviously blurs the lines between fact, fiction and 're-creation' at times, but I found the view into the chaos that mental illness brought into his family sobering and ultimately fascinating. Afterwards Mikey needed a drink, so we headed to the Newtown Hotel for a couple of late afternoon beverages, before heading our seperate ways. A pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


The latest Photo Friday assignment is Violet

Princess Tree flowers, 2004.

I took this picture last summer, of a tree growing in a neighbour's front yard. These trees are quite common in my neighbourhood, and have the most glorious blue-purple flowers. I can't remember the real name of this tree (starts with an 'L'), but I have heard them referred to as 'Princess Tree'.

I kind of like the name 'Princess Tree'...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Haiku

Work, why pile up so?
In monster teetering stacks,
Making me feel small.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Interesting Events Of The Past 24 Hours

  • Last night I slept like a baby.
  • Let me just check I have this right. It is babies that wake up every couple of hours feeling cranky and demanding, isn't it? I wasn't wet or squealing to be fed (those days are a few decades off yet) but I sure as hell was cranky.
  • I made an appointment to see a Naturopath about my sleep issues. I'd rather try a gentle approach to solving it first, but am keeping the option of industrial grade drugs in reserve.
  • The departure of one of the senior staff members at my work has meant that changes are afoot. Myself and another staff member just scored ourselves a wonderful pat on the back, some scope to tailor make our job roles and yet more $$s. Sweet!
  • My work load has also just exploded. Not some nice little lady-like champagne cork pop of an explosion, but a regular Big Bang. Right now I have more work than I know what to do with.
  • I just made one of my bosses' day by showing her how to take the LEFT and CONCATENATE functions in Excel to convert a table of hundreds of client names and convert them into valid email addresses based on the format the client uses. There was squealing and jumping around in delight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


This week's Photo Friday assignment is Complexity.

Window, Chinese Garden of Friendship. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

I love the way the windows in the background repeat the same type of carpentry as this window surround. I'm somewhat carpentry 'challenged' so I can't even begin to imagine how time consuming it must be to put it all together, with all the corresponding angles and such.

This photo is from my visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship in late July, the rest of the pics from the trip are here, here and here.

Owww, My Eyes!

I don't know why, let's call it today's dose of PMT, but I just read this as someone's 'byline' on their blog and it made me want to claw my eyes out in desperation:

Community encouraging. Grace exploring. Kingdom of God embracing. Progressive politics expressing. Bicycle riding. Snow playing. Family supporting. Indianapolis loving. Future anticipating.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's a perfectly nice person. He certainly gets two thumbs up for the "Progressive politics expressing" thing.

However, all that 'Noun Verb. Noun Verb. Noun Verb...'ing, well ack.

Again with the eye clawing! This just in, from the 'About' section of a fashion blog from Yemen*:
My blog is a window into fashion,for people who don't know how to dress well.Truely,my blog does contain other stuff.People need to read this blog So people can learn how to dress good and do other stuff good too.

* All spelling and grammar is original. Oh, and it's a fashion blog from Yemen... who knew?

Specific Gravity

I woke up feeling lethargic and heavy limbed this morning, and feel like I've been dragging my butt around ever since. Like someone upped the gravity overnight without cueing me in on it. I'm still having some sleep 'issues'; which found me resisting falling alseep on the sofa at 9.30 last night (aided by a dull CSI re-run in part), then going to bed and reading until about 10.30, tossing and turning through the night and waking up this morning just as tired as when I went to bed.

After the frenetic past week at work, things have gone all quiet on the Western Front for the time being. I'm transitioning into my new job working directly for the Managing Director, but without anyone to replace my old position it means that I'm still doing my old job as well. The MD has gone away for a couple of days with all my frantically prepared presentations and offer documents in tow, so that's brought my work load down to a more manageable level. That, combined with the increased gravity and all, has left me sitting here staring heavy lidded at my monitor.

Even the blogsphere has been a little dull this morning. Case in point, right?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Blogger Roulette

Does anyone other than me ever use the NEXT BLOG >> button, on the right hand side of the Blogger Bar on this page? I have no idea what criteria it uses to determine which blog is 'next', but the results can be very bizarre. I just hit it around a dozen times and ended up at:
  • About 6 blogs in a row from Chile/Argentina
  • A 'how to cut the cost of your wedding in half' pseudo-commercial blog, which was oddly anonymous
  • The blog of a homeless man
  • The blog of a fictional character from Star Wars
  • A blog which was in a language that I did not recognise at all, not even vaguely (Icelandic? Inuit? Vulcan?... actually I probably would have got the Vulcan.)

Next time you have 10 minutes to kill, and none of your usual reads seem be updating, play Blogger Roulette! Those bloggers, man, they're a weird bunch.

[Oh, and how tired am I of seeing the sidebar link defaults of "Google News", "Edit Me" and "Edit Me" on Blogger templates? Answer: very. 'Cause one "Edit Me" is never enough! Guys, you may be new at this game, but I think the Blogger template guys never really meant for you to leave their cunning hint of "Edit Me" there for all the world to enjoy... especially when your blog is like 6 months old, it's time.]

Monday, August 08, 2005

Recommended Reading

Michael over at Pipedreams has been posting a few entries about books he's enjoyed recently.

I got me to thinking, if I had to recommend one book to someone, what would it be? Well, there's no real simple answer because I'm a very eclectic reader, so I read a very wide range of books, and obviously one book does not fit all. Anyhoo, I think if I had to suggest just one, based on a book that I think is very well written and that I think most people would enjoy, my pick would be Michael Chabon's wonderful novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It's one of my favourite novels of all time, but I think more importantly it's so well written that I have no issue recommending it to others.

So, if you had to pick a book that you think most people would enjoy, what would it be?

Related links:

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Chinese Garden of Friendship: Part I

As I promised earlier in the week, here are a bunch of pics from my visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship with Bodhi and his daughter Ashley, last Sunday. I've posted the pics in roughly the same order as you'd come across them if you walked around the gardens. This map gives you some idea of the scale of things.

Black bamboo. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

I fell in love with the black bamboo that was throughout the gardens. In some places it formed thickets which met overhead, almost blocking out the light.

Bodhi (R) & Ashley (L) inside the Round Pavilion. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

My two co-conspiritors on the visit to the gardens, Bodhi (who I met through this blog) and his daughter Ashley, aka The Kid. I really like this pic of the two of them, and I like the dappled morning light coming through the bamboo grove around the pavilion.

The Twin Pavilion, looking across the Lake of Brightness. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

This pic only hints at the large size of the garden, but it does also give you an idea how close the city buildings are. The garden has been cleverly constructed though so that most of the time you can't really see much in the way of buildings, and the various waterfalls go a long way towards masking the sounds of Sydney in the background.

Bridge between the Lake of Brightness and the Lotus Pond. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

Moon Gate alongside the Reading Brook Pavilion. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship: Part II

Here are a few more of the many pictures I took on my visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship last Sunday.

Ashley. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

Ashley gives us an 'inscrutable' look. For only $5 Bodhi & I got to play dress-ups with Ashley, and wander around the garden taking pics for half an hour. This picture was taken inside the the Pavilion where the costume hire was located.

Roof of the Twin Pavilion. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

The Gurr (or Clear View Pavilion) interior. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

This is the inside of the three storey tall pagoda type structure at the top of the garden. All the carving inside the Pavilion was of different types of plants and the lantern was really beautiful.

Winter magnolia. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

We passed these small magnolia blossoms on the way from The Gurr, as we walked around the lake.

Windows. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

This passage way ran behind the Peace Boat Pavilion towards the Teahouse, and I really loved this view through the windows and a glimpse of the banana palm growing in between.

The Chinese Gardens of Friendship: Part III

The last instalment of pictures from my visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship last Sunday.

Peace Boat Pavilion window, looking towards the Teahouse. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

This Pavilion juts out over the water, where you can sit out on the sunny deck and feed the huge Koi fish, or look out through the side windows towards the Teahouse as here.

The Teahouse balcony. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

Bodhi, Ashley and I sat out on the balcony eating cake, drinking Jasmine Tea, and feeding the sparrows in the late morning sun. Of course the conversation turned to life, the universe and... boys.

The Lenient Jade Pavilion and Lotus Pond, from the Teahouse Balcony, Darling Harbour, July 2005.

The Aquatic Pavilion and gardens entrance, from the Teahouse balcony. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

Sydney city skyline. Darling Harbour, July 2005.

Finally, I like this pic taken from the Teahouse balcony as it gives a clear idea just how close to the city centre the gardens are. The tall thin tower is Centrepoint Tower, right in the heart of the Sydney CBD.

Jeremy Sheffield

Jeremy who? I hear you ask.

Jeremy Sheffield. Woof.

Some years ago now, I was watching one of the music clip shows and a film clip by petite little Aussie soapie actress, now pop princess, Natalie Imbuglia came on. That song was Torn. Nice song. Catchy.

What really made me sit up and take notice though was the hugely tall, beyond hot guy in the film clip. A blue sweater never looked so good.

That my friends was Jeremy Sheffield. What I didn't know was:
  • He was a dancer with UK's Royal Ballet
  • He's a jobbing actor, with some tv credits, a movie, some commercials, and a stint on a popular UK hospital soapie Holby City under his belt
  • He is one of the few openly gay actors on UK tv

There's more info, and even better pics of him over at his fan site Jeremy Sheffield Heaven. I feel a crush coming on!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Computer Says 'No'

Urgh, I just tried for the second time to replace my missing mobile phone at a Telstra, shop only to find out that I didn't have the right ID for their purposes. Something about needing signatures from my 1st through 7th grade teachers, a blood sample and the head of John The Baptist on a platter.

Hey guys, thanks for not telling me specifically what you wanted yesterday when you asked me to bring in ID today! No, I don't mind making a third trip in. At all.

Lapses In Taste: Part I

The art of trying to make a Silk Purse Out Of A Sow's Ear...

ATM, Darling Harbour, Sydney. July, 2005.

Nope, still a sow's ear.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Link Envy

Blogger Existentialist Crisis #17

Because I feel very close to you, I've decided it's Share Time.

I just discovered that one of my favourite bloggers of all time; someone I admire, someone who I read daily, whose comments I fill with bon mots that glisten like diamonds, who I would almost consider taking up drinking again for just so that we could hang out on their porch and get trashed and talk about boys and how much we love, love, love Mr Ben Affleck (even in the heavy times) and hate, hate, hate Tom Cruise...

(Sorry, give me a moment. I need to pull it together...)

OK, so, imagine if you will someone else from this person's Comments Community goes and gets themselves a blog. Gets some traffic, you even help 'em out a little, link to 'em and send 'em some readers. Show them some kindness.

Here's the kicker, not only do they (let's call them 'Johnny Come Lately') get themselves a shout-out entry, but their very own sidebar link.

Yes folks, I have fallen victim to Link Envy. Now if you'll excuse me, there's poetry to write and a few more Patsy Cline disks to work my way through.

Helsinki - Fashion Capital Of Finland!

My first reaction to this picture was "Oh, no..." I feel very, very bad for this (probably) perfectly sweet and otherwise (possibly) functional young man.

However, what I do require, is for someone, anyone, to explain to me what "My style is incoherent, cheap and ethical..." means. I mean, I think I grasp the 'incoherent' part.

Finally, in this cavalcade of 'style', one of those whacky Finns!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hypotheticals Time

Hey kids, let's play the hypotheticals game! Let's imagine for a moment that:

a) You are a huge fan of tv show, which we'll call 'Firefly'

OK, got that? Right. Then, let's say, the show was axed but fortunately after a couple a couple of years wait:

b) They made a movie about it, which for argument's sake we'll call (for want of a better name) 'Serenity'.

OK, so, let's pretend that:

c) Unbeknownst to you, there was a special preview of this new film, two months before it was due to to be released,

Now, remember that you've been waiting for this film for ages, OK, then let's pretend that:

d) A bunch of people you know, got to go to this preview and you didn't.

How are you feeling right now? I thought so.

[Actually, all joking aside, I am happy for them. No, really I am. Mostly.]

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Best Adjective To Describe My Weekend...

...would be 'SWEEEEEET'!

As if the blast of premature Spring weather wasn't enough to make for a good weekend, in addition:
  • Friday night was a fun party at Chez Harry, with a bunch of old friends that, as it turns out, included the crowd from the For Battle! blog.
  • Saturday was a whirlwind of inertia, web surfing, desultory attempts at housework and a couple of hours of data entry at the Buddhist centre.
  • Sunday was a most excellent visit to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship with Bodhi, and his daughter Ashley. Tea and cakes were had, fish and birds were fed, lots of photos were taken and a good time was had by all. [Photos to come in the next day or two]
  • After the Chinese Gardens I walked the hour long walk home from the city in the beautiful sunshine, pottered around the house for a few hours and then headed off to my friends John & Judy's house for dinner. I got home about 10pm and then sat down to watch the final episode of Outback House.

Like I said, sweet.

The Other Kind Of 'Outing Oneself'

What's weirder: a) finding out that a bunch of people you know have a group blog, b) walking into a party and having everyone greet you by your 'blogging name' or c) all of the above?

Oh, I pick c)!

It's not bad, but it is a bit weird. I kept this blog kinda quiet, partly in case I ever wanted to write hand-wringing, pearl-clutching, hair-tearing entries about how horrible life was - you know, the sort of stuff that you would be embarrased if anyone you knew ever read. Diary stuff. Thankfuly life hasn't thrown me that sort of situation, and in hindsight I would probably never write such an entry anyway.

So when I left a comment on their blog last week, after following a link I stumbled across at a mutual friend's blog, I knew I was 'outing myself' as a blogger.

It's fine and dandy, the world didn't end after all.