Saturday, December 31, 2005

Telling Our Stories

Tell Your Story
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I was searching around for ideas for my last post for the year. Should I recap the year, the hardships and successes? Should I post a bunch of 5 Things about 2005? Should I snark about resolutions not kept, or more accurately not even made, in 2005?

None of it really sat right, but then I walking through Newtown yesterday afternoon and decided to take some snaps of my favourite 'story tiles' that make up part of the public art installations outside the Newtown Community Centre. Then I came across the piece of graffito above, that exhalts people to tell their story.

Story Tile 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

It got me thinking about this little home on the web and what it became to me during 2005. Even though I started this blog back in 2004, it really became something I relished during 2005. As I started getting more comments from you nice folk, it became a more rewarding exercise. Mostly because it was connecting us. Blogging is partly a solitary exercise. It's mostly me and the keyboard. What makes this medium come alive for me, the person driving the bus, is when you guys drop me a little line and show me a little of yourselves. If I had gone on forever not getting any comments I probably would have given up. I can't imagine writing away like the old school journals of years past without the ability to have people interact through comments.

Story Tile 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

If you leave me a comment, and you have a blogger profile, you can be 100% certain I will follow the link back and read your blog. Guarranteed. I've been a reader of online journals, and then blogs, for over 10 years. I can't get enough.

I don't intellectualise about it too much. Initially I wanted this blog to be about 'good' and 'serious' writing, but I'm much happier with what it has become. I like sharing things, whether I think they are dumb, funny or profound. Each time I make a post I guess I'm showing a little of myself, telling my story in tiny little idiosyncratic chapters.

Story Tile 3
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I like the little glimpses other people's blogs give me into who they are (or who they'd like to be sometimes). I've become addicted to Flickr for the same reason, people's snapshots intrigue me and fill me with admiration, laughter and even awe sometimes.

Story Tile 4
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

So, as 2005 comes to a close I want to thank each and everyone of you for reading. Thanks to those of you who decide to leave me a comment, they are always much appreciated. A huge thanks to all those people on my sidebar who have blogs of their own, you guys entertain me, make me laugh and make me think every day. Thanks for telling your stories.

Have a wonderful New Year celebration, however you decide to mark the turning of the year. I hope 2006 turns out to be everything that you want it to be.


Friday, December 30, 2005

Queer Screen 2

This post continues on from my post last week about gay films, and films with gay characters, that for one reason or another I found some value in. As I knew I would, I forgot a whole bunch of films, so here is part 2.

My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985.
This film was hugely important to me when I saw it at the tender age of 21. In the mid '80s gay characters in tv and cinema were a lot harder to find, and not frequently presented as anything other than stereotypes. A film that starred two masculine guys who happen to be gay, and in love, was quite a revelation for the time.

Grief, 1993.
Creaky production values, and an (at times) meandering script, let this film down a bit but the performances from Craig Chester, Illeana Douglas and Alexis Arquette go a long way towards saving it. Having said that, there is some great dialogue and very funny moments, but I feel like it never lived up to its full potential. Worth seeing though, just don't shell out for a full priced DVD.

Zero Patience, 1993.
Zero Patience sets out to de-demonise the French Canadian flight attendant who was incorrectly labelled 'patient zero' (ie the epidemalogical source) of the AIDS epidemic in the US & Canada, in the early days of the crisis. Subtitled 'a musical about AIDS' this film works best during the musical numbers, and many of the songs are great (I bought the soundtrack). The film does get a little pretentious at times, but overall is very enjoyable. I have a personal connection to the film because I knew Michael Callen, who makes a singing cameo as 'Miss HIV' in the film and also made a singing cameo in "Philedelphia", and sadly died of AIDS later in the same year these two films were made.

Priest, 1994.
I love this film, and can never watch it without crying bucketfulls! Linus Roache gives an amazing performance. It is made all the more powerful by the fact that at the start of the film he is not very likeable at all, and yet he transforms through the film as he faces his true nature with increasing honesty. Highly recommended, but get the tissues ready.

The Sum of Us, 1994.
I feel like it is a bit of a ring-in including this film, because I'm actually not a huge fan of it. However, I saw it twice as a play (with Jack Thompson in the same role as in the film) and adored it. Not that the film is bad, but for me it suffers in comparison to the play. It stands up well on it's own though, is worth seeing, and for me probably marked the last time I found Russell Crowe even remotely charming. The nice thing about the story is the depiction of a loving and supportive relationship between a father and his gay son.

Beautiful Thing, 1996.
A sweet, funny and tender film about coming out and finding your first love. Singlehandedly upped the sales of Body Shop's "Peppermint Foot Lotion" amongst young gay men. The lovely Scott Neal co-stars, beforehe went on to play a young copper who eventually comes out as gay on the BBC tv series "The Bill". I haven't seen this for many years, but remember it fondly.

Big Eden, 2000.
I had never even heard of this film when Mikey The Lovely Ex lent me the DVD to watch. I'm surprised this film isn't better known, because it's a gem. It's nice to see a film where gay stereotypes are challenged, and deliberately avoided for the most part. Arye Gross (from the "Ellen" tv show, "Minority Report" and a bunch of other films) and Tim DeKay ("Carnivale") both turn in excellent performances, and Eric Schweig rounds out the love triangle (of sorts) with a character who is so likeable and charming that it's possible to overlook his slightly less polished performance. Writer and director Thomas Bezucha has just written and directed a new big budget film "The Family Stone".

The Trip, 2002.
Another overlooked little gem of a film I discovered by being lent the DVD by Mikey. Part love story about two men from opposite ideologies, part bizarre road trip, and part tale of redemption and the importance of righting past wrongs, this film manages to amuse, entertain and move. Probably hard to find, but worth looking for.

Cowboys & Angels, 2003.
A lovely film about friendship, specifically the friendship between a straight man and a gay man, who initially having judged each other based on appearances then go on to find a strong common bond. The two young leads are both very likeable and funny, and also handle the dramatic moments well. Recommended.

Latter Days, 2003.
Funny and heart warming story about seduction and ultimately love, with two very appealing leads. Unfortunately the beautiful Steve Sandvoss, who plays the sexually repressed Mormon missionary, has been quoted as saying some less than flattering things about playing gay since the film aired. Hopefully he was misquoted! Worth seeing.

Eating Out, 2004.
I like this film, but I find it flawed in some areas. A huge part of the appeal is the eye candy and charm in the shape of the two leads Scott Lunsford (Caleb) and Ryan Carnes (Marc). This film has one of the hottest, and probably least politically correct, seduction scenes I have seen between two men. Oh, and a couple of full frontal nudes from the two cute boys, *cough*if you like that sort of thing*cough*. It's a low budget indie film, and sometimes it shows. Some of the performances aren't that polished, such as Jim Verraros (from American Idol apparently) who sometimes seems to trip over his dialogue a bit. It's forgiveable though because his character comes across as quite charming. I think one of the best features of Eating Out is the fact that no punches are pulled in depicting intimacy between the male characters, something that you don't often get to see in films, even gay ones. Writer/director Q. Allan Brocka has his own myspace blog.

500th Post

It has a certain sort of pleasant symmetry to it that as the year comes close to drawing to a close it's time to celebrate a milestone of sorts. 500 posts. That's close to a post a day on average, but then I started off slow back in 2004.

Thanks for reading and commenting, it means a lot to me. Hopefully you'll stick around for the next 500.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas 2005 Pictures

I was having trouble with the database element of my camera software so it has taken me a few days to get these pics off my camera. I didn't take a lot of pics, but I think the photos of my nephews enjoying their gifts are just priceless. They both got exactly what they wanted this year, and were very sweet about making sure my sister and her husband understood how grateful they were. They're good boys.

A Very M & M Christmas
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

My sister's family tree, with M & M decorations.

Santa Gives Good Bike
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Connor unwraps his bike helmet, with his bike (and the bikes my sister and brother-in-law gave each other) in the background.

Happiness Is A Warhammer Starter Set
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

...when you're 11. James couldn't be happier.

They Call Them "Lapdogs" For A Reason
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

My sister's Shih Tzu "Poochie" (with a Summer clip). She spent 80% of the time I was sitting on the couch, on my lap. My sister also has a beautiful big black labrador, but it's Poochie who rules the roost.

More Attachments Than A Vacuum Cleaner Factory

Yesterday was a whirlwind of shopping and desire.

My employers had given us all $200 gift vouchers from one of the big department store chains for Christmas, so yesterday I braved the post-Christmas sale crowds and the heat and went shopping. The intent was for clothes, and I didn't do too badly on that score. I was little bit stymied by the fact that my sizes were already sold out in a lot of the ranges, even though it was only the second day of the sale. Who knew there were so many munchkins in the world?

I decided to trawl the rest of the store for bargains, and so added a complete set of fab bedlinen to the mix. (I could have spent a fortune on bedlinen alone, they had some gorgeous sets at between 30-50% off.) Not bad when the whole day's shopping cost me under $300, and would normally have cost me over $500.

(I'm still trying with the whole 'Budhist non-attachment' thing, really I am. But c'mon, these were bargains!)

The menswear departments were a sea of beauties, which was both pleasant and very distracting. I swear that straight Australian men are just getting better and better in the style and grooming department. Although I do greatly applaud this, and appreciate the eye-candy, it can however wreak havoc with the gaydar. Things were so much simpler when we had hair care 'product'... and they didn't.

In the afternoon I was passing a cinema and decided to go and see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe. I absolutely loved it. The four kids turn in fantastic performances, Tilda Swinton is great, the overall design of the film (and the creatures especially) is wonderful and I found it a really satisfying experience. I was a huge fan of the book as a child, and I think they have done a really great job of translating it to the screen. C'mon, I cried for goodness sakes! That's got to be a good thing, right?

I tried to organise a night out last night, but most of my friends were either out of town still or are working this week. So I did something I rarely do, and decided to go out alone and see if I could run into anyone I know (or wanted to). Ok, I was horny, alright? I wandered down into Newtown with the intent of going to the pub, but it was dead. There was hardly anybody on the street, and only a modest crowd in the Newtown Hotel. So I took a pleasant stroll along King St instead, enjoying the warm night, and headed home for an early night. Not as satisfying as getting new sheets at 50% off, but it'll have to do.

[Updated: It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who liked the movie. Oh, and yaniboy thanks for the heads-up that the very cute boy who plays Peter is 18. Sure, I still feel like I'm a pervy old bastard, a pervy old bastard that sits alone in a cinema surrounded by shopping bags and shedding a manly tear, but it helps my mental health to know that he's not like 15 or something. Oh, and yes I agree that Mr Tumnus was also the hotness, even though you just know that he probably whiffs like wet dog or something.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Wrap (Up)

I hope everyone had a great festive season. I had a good time, but it was also quite physically and emotionally exhausting. A string of late nights, poor sleep, and very early mornings all started to take its toll by the fourth day and it was nice to get back late last night and sleep in my own bed. Except for my two little nephews, I was the only non-smoker around for the four days, and although they tried to be considerate and none of them smoke indoors or around the kids, it was kind of hard to get away from the constant fug of cigarette smoke. Nicotine Fest 2005.

I'm trying to sort out my feelings about the trip, and it isn't easy, so this might waffle a bit.

I did have a good time, it was nice spending time with my sisters and her family. My two little nephews are now 7 and 11 years old, and are really nice kids. Funny, sweet and thoughtfull. It was lovely watching Christmas through their eyes, and also really nice to see how appreciative and gratefull they were. It was also really nice to catch up with my brother-in-law's brother and his boyfriend. Scott just turned 30 and is about to celebrate his 10 year anniversary with his partner Matt, and it was nice to see that they were both happy and well.

I had forgotten how pretty a town Ballarat is. Much of its history as a gold rush town has survived intact in the form of wonderful architecture, and even the tree-lined suburban streets are wide enough to to take a fair sized marching band. I tried to get some time to wander the city and take photos of some of the buildings, but time and family obligations made it too hard. Many of the streets are lined with wonderful timber Federation era (or earlier) timber houses with ornate iron lace balconies and verandahs.

Time spent with my sisters was both good and also difficult, pretty much as I expected it to be. My oldest sister's physical condition has deteriorated quite a bit (she suffered a major stroke about 4 years ago), and along with that she has lost much of her motivation to try and do things for herself and has become more frustrated and bitter. On the plus side (because I don't want to give the impression that it was all bad), the three of us did have some nice times times hanging out together.

Of course it's more complex than I can explain here, and I think that I should perhaps consider their privacy and not go into too much intimate detail. After a frank discussion with my sister on the way to the airport I felt a little more comfortable about my perception that I'm not physically helping as much as I could be and that the situation is rough on her. It's one of the more in depth discussions we've had on the subject, and it was nice to know that that isn't how she feels about it and that there is no resentment.

Whew, I didn't mean to get that heavy. Anyhoo, Christmas lunch was chaotic and fun. The guests included a couple of people who didn't have family to spend the day with, and in the afternoon the extended group of us played board games and watched the kids play with their new toys. Lunch kind of dribbled into dinner and became a day long eat-fest. It was a fun day. I didn't do so well in the Christmas loot department, received a few things I already had and some other things I would never buy for myself, but that wasn't important to me. It was more fun to see that everyone liked what I had bought them, and good to spend time with them.

Oh, and on the way back from the airport I was approached by a guy that lives in my neighbourhood, and who I often see around and have flirted with a bit in the past, to share a cab. We had a nice long chat and even shared a kiss goodbye at the end of the cab ride. Slightly surreal, but fun!

I hope you all had a great day!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Make the Yuletide gay.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone. Have fun, enjoy yourselves, be nice to your loved ones, tolerant of your second cousin's wife that nobody likes, play with the kids... and have a wonderful time.

A big hug from me, with my thanks for reading and participating through the Comments over the past year. You've made me think, made me laugh, and a few times made me shed a (manly) tear. This blog keeps being a positive experience for me, and you all are the biggest part of that.

I'm off to the airport in a few hours, with packing et al as yet undone. So I'll sign off for now. Have a great yuletide. (Michael, I'll sing a special rendition of "Goy To The World" just for you.)

Back on the 27th of December. See you then!

Kisses, Andrew. XXX

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Queer Screen

Some comments on one of my previous posts got me to thinking about the portrayal of gay people in movies, and in particular about the movies I have enjoyed and can relate to on a personal level.

I don't think I can understate how important it was to me when I was growing up and coming out, to see images of other gay people in film and tv. Often those images weren't exactly flattering, but I still greedily sought out anything that had a gay character in it. I guess validation is important when you are struggling to put together an identity that goes against the grain of the popular 'norm'.

I think I'll have to take a few stabs at this because I need to rack my brains for all the films I've seen over the years, but here's a start anyway of a list of films that I've seen over the years and gotten some sort of value from:

Parting Glances, 1986
An early favourite, I love this little indie film for its naturalistic portrayal of two guys in a relationship. A bit rough around the edges production-wise, and very '80s, it still remains one of my all time favourites. Notable for an early appearance of Steve Buscemi.

The Wedding Banquet, 1993
A very entertaining romantic farce by Ang Lee, I kind of fell in love with Mitchell Lichtenstein (son of painter Roy Lichtenstein) a little after seeing him in this film. Great soundtrack, which I went out and bought after seeing the film.

The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, 2000
I love this film, it's so funny and has a good heart at its core. I can relate to all the characters in one way or another. One of my favourite gay films.

All Over The Guy, 2001
Richard Ruccolo co-stars in this very entertaining romantic comedy about two mismatched guys and the rocky road to romance. Great cameos by Doris Roberts, Christina Ricci, Lisa Kudrow and Andrea Martin. Appealing Dan Bucatinsky co-stars, directs and also wrote the original play.

Hedwig & The Angry Inch, 2001
What's not to love about this film? Camp, humour, pathos, great songs. Not strictly a 'gay' film, but one about people who don't fit the mould.

Sommersturm (in German, aka "Summer Storm"), 2004
A very sweet film about coming of age, coming out and exploring attraction for the first time. A bunch of teens go away for a rowing camp and competition, and encounter a team made up of gay guys, which galvanises one of the guys to explore his own attraction to guys. A young cast all turn in fantastic performances.

This is not a complete list, I'll post more as they come to mind. Care to comment on your own favourites?

Christmas Lunch 1

Christmas Lunch 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Emily, Matt & Tash.

Christmas Lunch 2

Christmas Lunch 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Mary & Goran. Even though I don't drink anymore, the thought of Goran's cold beer was pretty enticing. It was close to 100F during lunch.

Christmas Lunch 3

Christmas Lunch 3
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

The gang. Cathy (in the striped shirt) is my closest confidant in the office, and an absolute riot.

Christmas Lunch 4

Christmas Lunch 4
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Quickie

A busy morning of last minute work crises, and then an afternoon of eating and baking in the sun by the water at our work end of year break-up/Christmas lunch today. I'm not normally a fan of blogging about not blogging, but this is probably going to be it for today I'm afraid.

Know that it doesn't mean that I love you any less, m'kay.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

'Tis The Season To Be Screeching

I'm a huge bundle of stress today. Our office is closing for the holidays from lunchtime tomorrow, when we head off for our staff Christmas lunch, and of course we are up to the eyeballs in work that needs to be done before then. The office is tense, everyone is tired, one of my bosses (the one who ended up in hospital with a stress related physical meltdown just over a week ago) is barking orders and stomping around telling us not to plan on going home anytime soon.

It's not normally this bad, but right now it's off the hook. Thank God for these little wonder tablets, otherwise I'd probably be having an aneurism right now. I've barely started my Christmas shopping, and am going to have to try and get it all done on Thursday. That should hopefully be doable.

Jolly? Hmmm, not yet. Maybe in a few days.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Other Weekend Snippets

  • Those biscuits of Martha's that I mentioned I was going to make? They rocked. I decided to add some lime zest and juice to the Chewy Coconut Bars to cut the sweetness, and I had to up the flour quantity in the Lime Meltaways (but I was converting from Imperial to metric and halving the quantity, so the mistake was possibly mine) but the end results were great. Next time I'll add even more lime to the Meltaways I think, but they were still very nice. (My co-workers can vouch for that, they descended on the left-overs like a bunch of Gannets.)
  • I was happy to find the movie The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy on the shelf at a local DVD store, it has been hard to get and listed as 'unavailable' on DVD websites for ages. I was so happy that I watched it 3 times over the weekend. (Here are some cast photos from the premiere in 2000. I heart Justin Theroux btw.)
  • If you are in Australia and didn't watch the Christmas special episode of Spicks & Specks last night, well shame on you. I almost peed my self a bit, I was laughing so hard. I've mentioned before that I have a "thing" for the host Adam Hills, and it was only fuelled further by watching him snog Hamish Blake on the show, even if was just to get a laugh. On a sad note, gosh Belinda Emmett was looking frail.

Caarma Chameleon

Caarma Chameleon
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

A cool numberplate Bodhi and I spotted yesterday on King Street.

Breakfast Of Champions

Yesterday was a gloriously warm and sunny day in Sydney, just perfect for breakfasting and shopping. I met up with my friend Bodhi, and his daughter Ashley, for breakfast at Barmuda in Newtown. Fantastic potato & vegetable stacks, and a huge order of ricotta hotcakes with fresh berries were consumed. Afterwards we wandered King Street south and parts north until our feet gave out.

Breakfast Blingfest
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Ashley's hat and purse. Some days, the only viable option is sequins.

Born To Shop
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Like father, like daughter. At this point they were looking at movie posters, and "oohing" and "aahing" over Hayden Christiansen I think.

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

It's a little washed out in this last pic, but the sky was a beautiful cerulean blue. It made me think of the line from a song by Roisin Murphy:
"Where the sky goes on for miles,
and never tires,
of an improbable blue."

Good times. On a day like this, why the hell would you want to be anywhere else?

Sunday, December 18, 2005


As I mentioned in my previous post, last night was the annual Chrissie Pissie at Speedy's house. I didn't take a lot of photos this year, some, but not any that are really blog worthy. No shots of the lush backyard this year. Speedy and her mum have just started the process of re-creating the beautiful backyard which had to be sacrificed for the building of house extensions.

It was a lovely afternoon. Despite the age differences, most of the kids are now old enough that once the initial shyness was overcome they were all able to play together. They're a nice bunch of kids, well behaved for the most part and too charming to ever get too taxing.

Surly Santa did his duty again this year and handed out the $15 Crap Presents. Once handed out we go one by one around the circle opening our gifts, so that everyone can see what you got. I got a tiny remote controlled tank this year (which I accidentaly left behind I realised this morning) which elicited a smile from Karinne when I announced "Hey, I got something that promotes agression!".

Highlight of the party, as always, was sitting with friends and talking. Catching up. I had a wonderful conversation that went long into the night about faith, morality, civility and ethics. I was especially touched by comments a few others made about family, and how this big circle of friends is a form of family, and about change and how we choose accept it. These are good people, and I'm glad I know them.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Chrissie Pissie

Later today is the Chrissie Pissie, the Christmas party hosted by my friend Louise (who goes by the handle World Peace & A Speedboat in my comments and on the group blog For Battle!). A long afternoon and evening of eating, drinking, catching up and having a good time.

An essential part of the Chrissie Pissie tradition is the buying and giving of the $15 Crap Present. All the gifts go into a box to be handed out willy nilly, so issues of taste, gender and age all go out the window when you are shopping. The rule of thumb is, cheaper, funnier and tackier the better. Surly Santa (Gordon) will hand these around, and every now and then someone will hint that a pressie would perhaps find a good home with one of the kids or whoever, but aside from that it's generally random.

Presents about to be handed out. Christmas, 2003.

I found a bunch of shots from the Chrissie Pissie in 2003 on my computer. It's fun to look back on these. Kids have grown, new kids have been born, or will be by next year (congratulations again Speedy!) and most of us have seen quite a bit of change in the past 2 years, but yet many things don't change. Friendships have, for the most part, survived those couple of years, and will do for many more.

Coz, dark angel, rocks out. Christmas, 2003.

Dspite the fact that this pic is out of focus, I love this pic of Coz rocking out with black angel wings and an inflatable guitar (both two of the more superior $15 Crap Presents). Good times.

If You Listen Closely...

If You Listen Closely...
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Chances Of Anything...

The Chances Of Anything...
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

...coming from Mars, are a million to one, he said.

A piece of street art from my neighbourhood, now sadly painted over.

Things That Make You Go "Yay!"

  • My friends Daen and Adrienne had a baby boy on Wednesday, welcome to the world Oliver Waters-Ekkers!
  • I caught up with friends I hadn't seen in ages on Wednesday night. A couple of them are from my old home town, and we have known each other for years. If you have any interest in the pop group ABBA, go check out their little home on the web.
  • One of my favourite blog reads from way back when is back, the wonderful Johnny A Go Go.
  • In about 40 minutes of shopping last night I bought 3 Christmas gifts, which was pretty quick and relatively painless. It's looking like it's going to be A Very DVD Christmas so far.
  • I bought her fabulous looking "Holiday Cookies" special issue magazine, and I'm going to try a few of the recipes this weekend. Oh sure, you laugh now but it'll be a different story when your face is crammed full of Lime Meltaways!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I Am A Very Bad Person

I just rang my ex to let him know that a mutual friend of ours had her baby, and in the course of the conversation he mentioned he was hung over from going out for birthday drinks last night.

"Whose birthday?" I asked.

"Mine." he replied.

Umm, oops. He was fine about it, but I felt like an asshole. Hey, hang on a second, why wasn't I invited?...

A Thursday Five

Hopefully the madness here at work will settle somewhat a bit later today and I'll be back to posting a bit more regularly, in the meantime here's a quick 5 things for Thusday:
  • I actually ran to catch up with a guy who was walking ahead of me in the street this morning, on my way to work. The reason, I needed a closer look at his amazingly cute butt. (Chunky little dirty blonde. Gorgeous.)
  • I've been so busy at work, and been doing an early morning ritual at the Buddhist centre, and so hadn't walked into work for around a week. I gained over a kilo... brilliant. ::cries::
  • I've decided I need a better camera, I'm finding the focus and zoom limitations of my curent camera are starting to frustrate me. Hey, it's Christmas. Anyone?
  • When I woke up this morning at 5.30am, I could swear I smelled incense.
  • I was glad it wasn't toast, because I once heard that people having a stroke often have an olfactory hallucination that smells like toast.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Now With Less Snark

I would like to tender my apology to all the lovely, bright and sunny, happy gay couples out there. Sorry, I don't know what came over me. I wish you all well. (Got any single friends? Email me, m'kay?)

While I have my Apologist Hat on, today is going to be a little light on posts. Sorry for that, but I'm feeling a bit crap (sore throat) and am insanely busy at work. So far I've spent less than half an hour wasting time on the internet. That busy.

So, in the interim why not go and get your cute on?

[Link via the ever fabulous Freakgirl.]

Monday, December 12, 2005

Note To Self

Next time you're having a bad day, feeling flat, you might want to rethink the idea of looking at all the happy smiling couples on the Flickr group Gay Boyfriends. Just a thought.

Lest you're tempted with the urge to reach into the computer and wipe the smiles off their faces. Again.

Flickr Sydney Photobloggers Meetup

I decided to get myself along to the Christmas meetup for the Flickr Sydney Photobloggers Group on Sunday. What a fantastic day! It was a large and very friendly group, 16 of us in total.

We started the day with a walk through the beautiful Queen Victoria Building. I work just around the corner from the QVB, and walk through it every morning on the way into the office, so it's familiar territory for me. The QVB is currently home to a 4 story tall Christmas Tree (brought to you by Swarovski Crystal) that is covered in thousands of crystal ornaments.

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

QVB Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

After the walk through the QVB we went down to Chinatown for a lovely yum cha lunch; ate, drank and went around the table giving snippets of information about ourselves. After lunch we encountered a human rights rally protesting the Chinese Communist regime, which turned out to be a perfect photo op. The protestors and people putting on cultural displays were more than happy to pose for a bunch of enthusiastic shutterbugs.

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Free Tibet
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Ready For Action
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I didn't get any photos of the group, but Meredith took this lovely group shot and she snaffled a passing guy to take this (slightly out of focus!)one of us all. Yankinoz snapped this pic of Gadgetgirl, myself and James.

There are lots of great photos from the day on the Sydney Photobloggers Group page, and why not also go give some love to these fine folks who made the day so fun:
James M
Alex Craig
The Department
Matthew L Stevens (no photos yet)
Red Eric
tALSit de CoD
Amatr Sam

Friday, December 09, 2005

I Didn't Make Him For You!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show seems to have conspired to leap back into my consciousness over the past few weeks. I was in a DVD store recently and noticed that they had the 25th Anniversay DVD on sale which, although I already have it on video, I decided to buy because I don't really watch videos that much any more and the DVD had extra features on it. I didn't get around to watching it until a few nights ago.

Watching Rocky Horror is quite a nostalgic experience for me. When I was in my late teens (which places this firmly at the start of the '80s) I used to go to Rocky every other Friday night at the lovely big old Chelsea cinema in Adelaide, and after a while started performing in one of the crews that acted out the movie as part of the audience participation. I would have gone every Friday, but I worked on Saturday mornings at this time and couldn't really cope with dragging my ass to work on only a few hours of sleep every week. All up I saw it more than 60 times.

My love for Rocky was deep and abiding. Back then the audience participation was the highlight of the show. In the early days only about a third of the audience knew the cues and the lines, and we would call them out in unison to the delight of the rest of the audience. The lines were clever, affectionate and risque but not crass. More people understood about the throwing of rice and other forms of audience participation, but we would give the 'virgins' their cues and pass around rice, newspapers, toast and playing cards so they could become part of the show. We celebrated the film's birthdays with parties, and would celebrate the birthdays or other milestones of the 'regulars'.

It was a great time. I was already out of the closet at that time, and it was so cool to be in a room with a bunch of like minded freaks who wanted to live by the motto "Don't dream it, be it". Sadly, like anything that becomes too popular, its success eventually killed it for me. The crowds got bigger, with more people who came to gawk rather than participate. The audience got rowdier and much less clever, with people not understanding the timing, or the nature of the lines that were designed as affectionate digs at the film, and designed to enhance the fun. It got so you couldn't hear the film at all, and the mood changed to something more aggressive and less fun.

It still runs here in Sydney, and I haven't seen it for a bunch of years, but last time I did see it I was still disappointed. I don't love the film itself any less, and watching the DVD made many of the old lines pop straight back into my head, which was nice. I might even drag out all my old collectibles (like my complete set of bubble gum cards and original movie posters) one day and have another look at them.

Inside, a part of me is still a seventeen year old in my sister's cast-off platform shoes, a garter belt (which my mother bought for me) and surgical gown, striding up the aisle with a water pistol telling Janet to "Buy an umbrella you cheap bitch!".

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wish List

Minty Fresh?

Assume the following:
  1. You are of the male persuasion
  2. Like me (and apparently him too) you are a somewhat frequent pee-er
  3. Consequently, you have just headed into the men's room for one of many trips to the urinal today

Ok? Everyone have that firmly in the forebrain?

So, assume that you are standing at the urinal. In the act of ensuring aim, you look down and see, sitting in the bottom of the urinal, the following item - a sprig of mint. In the sudden rush of thoughts that run through your brain, would they include:
  • Air freshner?
  • Garnish?
  • Where in this building are they serving Mojitos?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

5 Wednesday Snippets

  • Even when I am not trying to be, I am such a fag. Today I went and bought a diary for next year; nice, matte black, soft cover, day to a page. So I'm back at the office and start writing in it, when I notice the diary has a style name stamped on the cover, in nice big friendly letters. I'm now the proud owner of a diary called Vanessa.
  • I think I pee more than any other human being. Sure I drink lots of water, and I started the day with two diuretic coffees, but seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if my workmates think I'm cruising the men's room.
  • Given the new batch of hot European students at the intensive language school on my floor, maybe that isn't such a bad idea... (No, I kid! Really. For a start, half of them don't wash their hands.)
  • It's neither Autumn here, nor do we celebrate Thanksgiving* (and even if we did it has passed already I know, but it takes US magazines a few months to get here). Despite these facts I went ahead and bought the Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine anyway. This just reinforces the first point, right?
  • I cannot function on 6 hours of broken sleep. It may not look like it, but I've actually been napping with my eyes mostly open since about 3 o'clock this afternoon.

* OK, I know I went to a Thanksgiving dinner this year but that was given by an American friend and the rest of us are really there for the free food.


Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Jeezalou but it's hot here in Sydney today. The forecast was for 33C (about 92F I think), with a storm this afternoon. It's like being in the tropics out there today, only without the palm trees. It feels like it has already passed the 33C forecast, and it's headed towards something much hotter.

Oh, and a big shout out to my friends in the wintery Northern Hemisphere! Holla!

In honour of overheated tropical days here is a pic of a big old flower that is blooming near my house. It currently stands about 5 foot high. I'm not sure, but I think it might be a triffid.

[Updated: OK, according to a reliable commentor (Bodhi) and the little weather-bot thingy on my sidebar, at just before 2 pm this afternoon it was 39C or 102F. Woohoo. Sorry, can't talk, busy melting.]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not Nagging, Reminding

Bloggers in the Sydney area, don't forget that tonight is the monthly Sydney Weblog Meetup!
Tuesday 6th of December
Coopers Arms Hotel

221 King Street, Newtown.
6-6.30pm start, Trivia starts at 7pm.

C'mon, you know you want to.

Resuming Normal Programming

I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger. I heart Blogger. I hate Blogger...

As much as there are times when I want to take Blogger out for a beer, nuzzle its manly neck and make more seriously inappropriate sexual advances to it, today not so much. I couldn't access a single Blogspot blog for what was probably only about 4 hours, but felt like eons. Were it not for my conversational skills, and a few other non-Blogspot blogs, I would have come very close to getting some work done.

That's a risk I'm not prepared to take.

On Biting The Bullet

I decided yesterday that I needed to stop being such a big old egocentric baby and actually get off my butt and do something about seeing my family in Ballarat (in Victoria, about an hour or so out of Melbourne) for Christmas. Tickets were booked and I'm off to see them for 4 days. If you've read this blog for a while you might already know that both my parents died while I was in my twenties, about five years apart and both from cancer, and that since then it has been my two sisters and me.

Don't get me wrong, I have great relationships with my two sisters. Although I need to qualify that to some degree. My oldest sister (I'm the youngest of the three) had a massive stroke about 4 years ago, and although she started off quite well, her progress stalled and has actually backslid since then. This sister and I are the most alike, and the closest of the three of us, even though all three of us have always gotten along well. When I was a late teen and in my early twenties we would hang out together quite a bit, go nightclubbing and stuff.

Initially it looked like most of her personality had survived the stroke, despite the physical incapacity she now has. The time of her immediate recovery from the stroke was very strange though. She had a brain bleed type of stroke, brought on by an AVM (a malformation where two arteries in the brain meet), and when people have this type of stroke and blood in the fluid that surrounds the brain it affects them in quite startling ways. My sister had no idea who I was at first, and yet we could sit there and endlessly run through all our favourite snarky lines from movies like "A Touch Of Class" and from "Absolutely Fabulous".

Since then she is more back to normal mentally, despite being very physically incapacitated and wheelchair bound, except that she has a much shorter temper, is more negative and can be quite demanding. Part of this is physiological and I guess some of it is frustration, diappointment and anger at her situation. Unfortunately my other sister, who helps her out in the evenings to supplement the daytime carers my sister has, cops the brunt of much of this.

So. The egocentric part of this is that my initial reaction is to want to sweep this mentally under the carpet and stay here with my friends and have a Christmas that is about fun, laughs and good times. Christmas with my sisters will still be fun much of the time, but I tend to get used as 'piggy in the middle' to some degree. Both sisters will bitch to me about how bad the other is when they get me alone, and it puts me in the horrible situation of seeing both of their points of view, while not wanting to agree with either of them. The other aspect of this is that it pains me terribly to see the way my older sister has given up, and now spends most of her days watching cable and chainsmoking.

It's hard to write this because I feel bad about being so resistant to going. My other sister puts in so much effort and has restructured her life, and her family's to a degree, to accomodate the needs of my sister. By comparison I lead a carefree life in Sydney, with few responsibilities. So I've decided to go, and to put my own needs aside and go with an open mind and an open heart. I'll try and use the teachings of the Buddha to cope with my own negativity, and to see it as the valuable lesson that it is. I'll try and be supportive without becoming too involved in all the snarking, and try and help the situation if I can even if only for the short time I'm there.

The situation may well not be as bad as I fear, after all much of my resistance comes from the stories I have told myself about what might happen. But then, isn't that the same for all fears?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Australia's Favourite Films

This is going to be a very Aussie-centric post folks, apologies to anyone who's reading this and has no idea what I'm talking about. You might find the list of Australia's favourite films interesting, otherwise maybe it's time to go put the kettle on...

My expectations for the Movie Show's special episode My Favourite Film which screened on the ABC last night had been pretty low. I find these sort of 'most favourite' type shows are often just a puff piece of poorly strung together clips and some inane banter. When I saw that ABC tv was asking people to go to their website and vote for their most favourite films I was a little dubious how the end result was going to turn out.

I was pleasantly surprised. The list of films turned out to be very interesting, especially the top 10. Not just the blockbusters and old favourites, but some very interesting films like "Donnie Darko" and some real surprises like "The Princess Bride". It's probably too narrow a demographic and too small a sample size to be a true indicator of Australia's favourite films, but it's still an interesting list.

The show itself was great. Interesting discussions about the films that make up the top 10, with well thought out and varied opinions, and some very funny comments about the films. The film recaps were for the most part very funny, and I especially enjoyed the kids tv characters "The Hooley Dooleys" recapping "Pulp Fiction" and nearly fell off my chair when they had a water ballet troop re-enact a two minute version of "Lord Of The Rings". All in all a very entertaining 90 minutes.

Here's the top 100 as voted, with the films I've seen and enjoyed in bold. Films I don't like are in italics, the rest I either haven't seen or am apathetic about.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2. Amelie
3. Blade Runner

4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Donnie Darko
6. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

7. Pulp Fiction
8. The Princess Bride
9. Gone With The Wind
10. Fight Club

11. The Sound of Music
12. To Kill A Mockingbird
13. 2001: A Space Odyssey
14. Casablanca

15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
16. American Beauty
17. Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
18. Monty Python's Life of Brian

19. Lawrence Of Arabia
20. Apocalypse Now

21. Cinema Paradiso
22. Doctor Zhivago
23. The Matrix
24. The Castle
25. Singin' in the Rain

26. A Clockwork Orange
27. The Blues Brothers
28. Withnail and I

29. Life is Beautiful
30. The Godfather

31. Moulin Rouge
32. Some Like it Hot

33. Lost in Translation
34. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
35. Local Hero
36. The Third Man
37. Brazil
38. Serenity (Can I get a HELL YEAH!)
39. Breakfast at Tiffany's
40. A Room with a View

41. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
42. Dead Poets Society

43. Harold and Maude
44. The Big Lebowski
45. The Wizard of Oz
46. Out Of Africa
47. Picnic at Hanging Rock
48. The Usual Suspects
49. Cabaret

50. Forrest Gump

51. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
52. The Piano
53. Pirates of the Carribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl
54. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

55. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
56. The City of Lost Children
57. The African Queen
58. Love Actually
59. Strictly Ballroom
60. Wings of Desire

61. Raiders of the Lost Ark
62. Babette's Feast
63. The Fifth Element
64. Spirited Away
65. Alien
66. It's a Wonderful Life

67. Napoleon Dynamite
68. Rear Window
69. Romeo And Juliet
70. Dirty Dancing

71. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
72. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
73. Trainspotting
74. Muriel's Wedding
75. When Harry Met Sally
76. The Great Escape
77. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
78. Gallipoli

79. Lantana
80. Garden State

81. Sin City
82. Chariots of Fire
83. The English Patient
84. This is Spinal Tap
85. Chocolat
86. Fargo
87. Look Both Ways
88. Goodfellas
89. Aliens
90. Grease

91-100. 91. All About Eve
92. Citizen Kane
93. Stand By Me
94. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

95. Mulholland Drive
96. Back to the Future
97. High Fidelity
98. The Thin Red Line
99. Being John Malkovich
100. Dead Man

What is surprising, is just how many of these I haven't seen. I must fix that.

Sunday In The Park

Prayer Flags 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Yesterday was the end of year picnic celebration for the Buddhist centre I attend. It was a beautiful warm day, 30C and just a few high whispy white clouds in the sky. We had a lovely spot in amongst shade trees at the park at the bottom of Glebe Point Rd, Glebe (part of the Blackwattle Bay/Jubilee Park band of parks). Once the rugs were down, the prayer flags were up, and the food was out it all looked very festive.

I had been feeling crap with a sore throat on Saturday, but by Sunday morning it had pretty much gone. I got up early and made Delia Smith's absolutely no-fail Coconut & Lime Cake to take to the picnic and headed on out.

Prayer Flags 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Higlights of the day were a fab lunch, some small kids underfoot, lots of dogs for the patting of, watching our Tibetan teacher Geshe-la hitch up his robes and play soccer (great kicker!), and meeting old friends and some new people. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.

...and you? How was your weekend?

[Updated: Oooh, I didn't realise it when I posted this but you can download the recipe for Delia's fantastic Coconut & Lime Cake from her website. It's from her fantastic "Summer Collection" cookbook. This cake is moist and crumbly, and has a satisfying limey tang to cut the sweetness. I've made this a bunch of times and it always gets "oohs!" and "aahs!".]

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Agapanthus 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Recently the city council in Chippendale has filled a number of roadside beds with large drifts of my favorite blue agapanthus flowers.

Another Roadside Attraction

Agapanthus 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

A beautiful roadside Agapanthus bloom in busy, bustly Chippendale.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I wasn't very chatty yesterday, but I want you to know that I did you all a favour. If I had gotten started it would have turned into one of those onesided ranting conversations about me, me, ME! that has you shuffling your feet, looking at the cracks in the pavement, thinking to yourself "Jeez, if he gets any more worked up the spittle's gonna start flying".

I woke up with a scratchy sore throat yesterday, which in retrospect was the highpoint. Work was hatefull, right up until about 8pm when I finally shut the computer down and said "Enough of this vile servitude!" Worst of all, bad hair day and a bit of a skin break-out. I can deal with so much more when I at least feel pretty.

Blah de blah...

Anyhoo, even though I don't believe in God, today I am proclaiming loud and clear Thank God it's Friday! Still hella busy today, but tomorrow's the weekend y'all.

Sydney Blogger Meet-Up

Live in Sydney? Tired of being chained to the computer? Feel like having some face to face interaction, for a change?

First Tuesday of the month is almost upon us, which means it's time for the Sydney blogstars to get together for the monthly meet-up.
Tuesday 6th of December
Coopers Arms Hotel

221 King Street, Newtown.
6-6.30pm start, Trivia starts at 7pm.

Checkout the blogger meet-up blog (just how meta is that?) at Sydney Blog Meetup for more info and updates. My write-up and photos from the last meet-up are here.

It's fun. You will laugh. There's alcohol.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Saint Goose And The Wailing Trees

Weird Mural #1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

More of the mural-y goodness on the construction hoarding outside St Andrew's Cathedral. Prior to this there was a bunch of regular old fashioned quotes from the Bible or something, nowhere near as entertaining as this bizarre collection of oddness.

Clue me in Christians. Which book of the Bible has the wailing trees, the Holy Goose, a bush version of Cookie Monster and the giant singing sperms?

Is This The Spirit Of Christmas?...

Weird Mural #2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

...with creepy wailing Christmas Trees and giant singing sperm?

Detail of the recently created (and somewhat demented) mural on the construction hoarding outside St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney.