Monday, January 30, 2006

My Name Is Andrew, And I'm A DVD-aholic

The joys of cut-price DVD sales has seen me go a little crazy buying DVD's just of late. Recent additions to the shelf, courtesy of the sale tables, are:
  • Arrested Development: Season 1, $28.98 down from $44.99. Flat out hi-larious. I sat down and watched almost all the episodes in one long obsessive marathon. Buster cracks me up.
  • Babylon 5: Season 1, $54.95 down from $100. Not the best season of Babylon 5, because they really hit their straps in Season 2, oddly enough about the time they replaced the original Captain Wooden main actor. (Probably the only tv show ever to be improved by the addition of Bruce Boxleitner.) I was enticed by the heavy discount to start buying the whole series.
  • Love Is In The Air, $18.99 down from $74.99. A 3 disc box set of the very cool tv series about the history of Aussie music. Contains the soundtrack of my youth, although sadly my youth wasn't narrated by Toni Collette.
  • Tales of the City, $19.99 down from $36.99. I was a massive fan of the book when I was young, and the PBS mini series didn't disappoint. Marcus D'Amico and Bill Campbell, what's not to love? I still might buy the box set of this plus the two sequels one day.
  • Daddy and the Muscle Academy, sale price $19.99. The story of Tom of Finland. OK, it's art people, m'kay?! (Note the absence of the cover image on the JB HiFi website - it's a tad... saucy.)

With all this to get through, I might never leave the couch again.

[Updated: I completely forgot to mention that I bought a copy of "The Princess Bride" too. Love that film!]

Lame, Clever, Or Dangerously Close To Copyright Infringement?

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

(Oddly, no drinks to be had either.)

Eating, Swimming, A Comedy Of Errors & Cursing My Arch Nemeses

This weekend capped off the end of my friend Stephen's visit to Sydney from Brisbane, and we planned a little trip to both go and visit our friends Ian and Steve who live in Penrith (about an hour of Sydney city) on Saturday. The cunning plan had been to meet on a particular train from the city, I would get on in the city at Central and Stephen would get on at Parramatta, one of the stations along the way. I was already on the train to Central when I realised that I had forgotten to bring Stephen's phone number, or the number of my friends in Penrith, just in case something went wrong with the plan. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

Now pay attention, because this gets complicated.

Well, of course my arch nemesis Shitty City Rail would pick this weekend for trackwork, so the line was closed and buses would be replacing the trains. Oh-kay. Express buses from Central straight to Penrith, with no opportunity to meet up with Stephen at Parramatta. What I didn't realise was that after I left home, Stephen rang my house to say that instead of getting the train he was going to be getting a lift into Penrith.

As he had missed me, Stephen and his friend Andrew (who was giving him a lift) instead concocted a crazy plan to meet my train at Parramatta and wave me off the train instead of getting on, so that I could join them in the car. Confused yet? The only problem with this plan is that it assumes that a) I would have been sitting on the platform side of the train, b) I would have seen them and c) I would have had time to get off the train. Oh and of course d) I was on a train at all, not an express bus. Anyhoo, the City Rail slow learners at Parrammatta station told Stephen and Andrew that yes there were no trains, but that the buses pulling up at the station to take people to Penrith were the only buses coming from the city (not true).

So I boarded a bus to Penrith, assuming logically that Stephen would be getting on a bus at Parramatta and we would instead just meet up at the end of the journey at Penrith Station. Instead Stephen was hanging out at Parramatta Station trying to see if I was on any of the buses that pulled in. For over an hour. When I arrived at Penrith I waited for a while as there was nobody at the station to meet me, then I decided to use a phone box to call Ian and Steve and find out what was going on. Only my second new arch nemesis Telstra told me that their number wasn't listed (untrue). The fuh?

So I jumped in a cab and set off to Ian & Steve's house, at exactly the same time that their friend Leonie left to come and see if I was at the train station. Cutting the story slightly shorter, about two hours after I arrived at Penrith (and a bunch of telephone calls later) we were all united at Ian & Steve's house.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with their dog Jack, hanging out with Ian (Steve was at work) and going into Penrith Plaza for a bit of a shopping expedition. When Steve got home we had a swim in their pool and then Ian, Steve, Stephen, Leonie and myself went out for dinner to the Penrith Hog's Breath Cafe. Dinner was OK, although a steak house is not the best place in the world for a vegetarian to have dinner. Afterwards we hung out and watched DVDs until the early hours of the morning, introducing Stephen to the twisted joys of Little Britain and reacquainting ourselves with the camp tackiness of Flesh Gordon.

Stephen and I crashed out at Ian & Steve's house, had a leisurely breakfast the next morning and then caught the Penrith to city bus back together around lunch time. Stephen had go leave to go back to Brisbane in the evening, so we headed our seperate ways. I spent the rest of the day pottering around, doing laundry and watching the DVD of my beloved Tales Of The City that I had bought in Penrith.

So a pleasant and relaxing weekend, despite comedy of errors and the efforts of my two arch nemeses. Lots of laughs and the company of friends. Good times.

Friday, January 27, 2006

One Sad Puppy

I cannot look at this picture and not crack up. I mean, who knew ugly could be so funny?


Marigolds 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I love the colour orange, in all its varying shades. (It's not a colour I can really wear though unfortunately, I'm a 'Winter' don't you know.)

These Marigolds were flowering in a curbside planter box on George St, the main street through the middle of the Sydney CBD. The city council has done a great job this year of brightening the Summer streets with lots of planter boxes and floral displays.

Sydney, I love you!

Australia Day Recap

[I would have posted this earlier, but every time I tried to post it Blogger was having some sort of meltdown. *Sigh*]

It feels a little weird to be doing doing a recap on a Friday, but yesterday was Australia Day (Americans, think 4th of July - kinda) and so it was a public holiday. Back at work today, and then w00t! tomorrow is the weekend. Yay!

Stephen, my friend (and ex boyfriend from back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) is in town at the moment from Brisbane and yesterday we planned a night out on Wednesday night and then to spend the whole day together yesterday.

Wednesday night got off to a bad start because I couldn't find my ATM card, and so I was stressing out about not having any cash for the evening or the next day (when the banks are of course all closed for the public holiday). After I tore my room apart in a major panic attack, Stephen ended up having to largely treat me for the evening. Exactly what I had planned on doing for him! We had a fantastic Vietnamese dinner at VietKing in Newtown, and then headed over the road to the very busy and buzzy Newtown Hotel for a few bevvies.

Yesterday we met late morning in the city at Books Kinokuniya, where Stephen proceeded to plonk down a fist full of vouchers and some cash and walked away with bags full of manga and graphic novels. I could have spent about $500 in the design section alone, Kinokuniya is that sort of place for me. I have a thing for stationery shops (and hardware stores), and the stationery section at Kinokuniya is like heaven. It brings out the inner 16 year old Japanese girl in me.

After Kinokuniya we headed down to the DVD section of JB HiFi, where I bought Season 1 of "Arrested Development" on sale. Score! I swear, temporarily diminished funds was all that stopped me from blowing an absolute fortune on discounted DVDs!

After the spending spree Stephen and I had a fantastic lunch at the Galeries Victoria Wagamama. Since I gave up drinking I haven't yet found a drink I considered as delicious as a Caprioska, but Wagamama's fresh apple and lime juice combo runs at a great non-alcoholic second.

I had pre-bought tickets for an afternoon session of "Brokeback Mountain" (my comments on the movie are in my previous post), so we headed back to Newtown to see it at The Dendy. They had two screens showing it and every session was sold out, which made me glad I had pre-bought the tickets. We got there well ahead of time, and by they opened the doors for our session the line was snaking right down and around the cinema. The atmosphere was fun and expectant, and I certainly wasn't let down by the film.

Stephen headed off to see some more friends in the evening and I cooked myself some dinner, blogged my thoughts on the movie and went to bed. A pleasant way to spend Australia Day! January 26th is also the anniversay of my Dad's death, and some years it has been an emotionally fraught day for me. This year I was a little bit more distracted that some previous years, and while I didn't let the day go by without thinking of Dad I didn't get maudlin. It was a good day.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I saw Brokeback Mountain this afternoon with my good friend Stephen, part of a wonderfull day we spent together, and even though my expectations were very high the film exceeded them tenfold.

"Come on now, you're sleepin' on your feet like a horse."

I know there is a huge chorus of us praising this film (especially we big ole Internet 'Mos), but this really is a beautiful, intensely moving and very important film. You won't find a dissenting voice here.

I sort of don't know where to begin to wrap all my feelings about the film up into one neat bundle for a post. First it is a strikingly beautiful movie; the scenery is gorgeous, the sense of place in the small towns and wide open country is beautifully captured, and the two leads are charismatic and handsome without tipping over into pretty-boys in cowboy drag.

I absolutely believed in Ennis and Jack (and Alma too) as living breathing people. The performances are truly stunning. The chemistry between Jack and Ennis is astounding, and the actors really have to be lauded for fleshing out these two men so beautifully. When Jack strokes Ennis's cheek it's a gesture that's simple and believable, yet also intense and loaded with meaning for these two men who are sharing something powerful that nobody else can even begin to understand.

Jake as Jack Twist

I know I'm gushing, but I was really swept up in the film and very moved by it. I think the movie has something for everyone in it, and it really does have universal themes that most people would be able to relate to. Love, attraction, loss, missed opportunities, fear, needing and wanting to fit in. Obviously it resonates very deeply for many gay people, and seeing the 'love that dare not speak it's name' given such a sensitive and moving treatment is special. It's a beautifully made and beautifully acted movie.

Go and see it. It is more than just a "gay cowboy" movie, it's a movie about human love and human fraility.

Oh, and marvel at the physical beauty of Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist. My goodness.

Michael has posted a thoughtful review over at Pipedreams. Here's a collection of photos tagged 'Brokeback' on Flickr, including lots of movie stills. The movie also has an official website.

Seen it? Care to share your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gottle Of Geer

Gottle Of Geer
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Who thinks to themselves, "You know what, a string of fairy lights just isn't decorative enough... Oh, I know! How about that decapitated ventriloquist dummy I had somewhere areound here?".

Seriously. That's just plain weird.

Maybe it's a warning to the packs of rogue Vaudevillians that roam the neighbourhood?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Complaints Department

You know what? In my office I've become the go-to-guy for anyone that wants to have a whinge. Seriously. Not just about work related stuff either. Or about stuff that is either my responsibility, or within my powers to fix.

Here's a small sampling from this afternoon:
  • That bookshelf over there is leaning.
  • My boyfriend's son left to go back to Melbourne (after his mad mother drove all the way over to collect him, without telling anyone she was coming) and he didn't even say goodbye, despite everything that we've done for him.
  • I can't download the pics off my digital camera. Software, what software?

Now, the people I work with are all rather sweet. Some I get along with better than others of course, but there's not really any bad eggs. I know I'm a good listener. I make the appropriate noises, try and give helpfull suggestions, and I am genuinely interested in people.

Having said that, jeezalou folks lighten up just a little! I am not Dear Abby or The Help Desk.

Big Things Ahead

I've been chuckling my head off for the last 10 minutes. Why? Because I just logged onto Flickr and found an invite to join a new group. Ladies and gentlemen I bring you the inspired lunacy that is Big OZ.

I don't know what it is about the Australian psyche, but we have embraced the concept of Big Things like nobody else. Oh sure, you'll find this sort of weirdness in other countries, but drive through any country region of Australia and you can't go far without striking something Big. Some are frankly pathetic, and some are so over the top loony that they make you want to ask "What the fuh?".

Now all I have to do is start snapping something Big...


Double Orange Flower
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I mentioned in my last post that I'm appreciating Summertime flowers this week, and here's a perfect example. I spotted these growing on the front porch of a house in my neighbourhood. I don't know what this flower is, but it's pretty cool looking.

5 Things I've Developed A New Appreciation For This Week

  • The tv show Supernatural, if I'm going to be scared I absolutely want two hot boys to be doing the scaring.
  • The concept of "Jazz Hands & Spirit Fingers Tuesday".
  • Summertime; flowers, lazy cafe mornings and ceiling fans on hot Summer nights.
  • My own limitations and expectations.
  • Privacy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Photo Friday - Pink

Pink Flowering Vine
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

It's been quite a while since I participated in a Photo Friday challenge, but I took this pic of these amazing hot pink flowers on the weekend and then discovered that the challenge this week is Pink.

The People's Car

Love Bug
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Somewhere in my neigbourhood it's still 1972.

The Weekend That Was

Some weekends are just so good, you don't want them to stop. The weather here the past weekend was absolutely glorious. Hot enough that you think "Hey, it's Summer!" but not so hot that you want to lie face down on your bathroom tiles and whimper.

Bodhi (reader and frequent commentor) moved into my place a week ago and has settled in nicely. On Friday we both looked at each other and had the same thought "Let's go out". So, we trotted off to The Newtown Hotel to watch the show, currently an all go-go boy extravaganza called Filthy/Gorgeous, and enjoy the company of fellow 'mos for a while. Afterwards we headed to The Imperial for some dancing and Praise Jebus! but the music was much better than last time we went. Weirdly though they still seem to have a work experience student as DJ because they couldn't mix tracks to save their life. You would literally hear a ..::scccrrrack::.. as the needle was put down on the next track, and the beats would be all out of synch. Weird for such a popular venue. Bodes and I cut up the dancefloor and had a good time. I headed home about 2.30am and left Bodes to it.

Friday night my friend Stephen arrived in town from Brisbane, and on Saturday late afternoon some friends of his threw a combined house-warming for themselves and party for Stephen. We sat outside at a great big long table in the balmy night air and ate, drank and had a great time. I met a bunch of new people, and caught up with some folks that I only ever see when Stephen is in town. Old work friends of his from his days at the comics store.

One of his friends who I absolutely adore, a woman who is really beautiful, funny and bubbly, shared with me that she made it to the final 40 contenders for the Aussie version of the US tv show The Biggest Loser. Sky didn't make the final cut, but the top 40 do get to make a special appearance and hang out with trainers Bob and Jillian. If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that I'm a complete tragic for the lean streak of tattoed hotness that is trainer Bob Harper. I made Sky promise to give Bob a kiss from me, with tongue. Knowing Sky, she might do it too.

Sunday morning I had an uncharacteristically good sleep in, watched a fab documentary on the ABC about the life of the Buddha, and then raced out the door to meet up with Stephen and some of the friends from the previous evening for a late breakfast. French toast with maple syrup & fresh berries, some great coffee, and lots of laughs later, I then headed into the Buddhist centre in the afternoon and caught up on about 4 hours of data entry. Sunday night was the usual chill-out, watch Carnivale, upload some photos from the weekend to Flickr, sort of night.

So, a great weekend. It's wonderful having Stephen back in town, and I'm pretty sure that we've convinced him to come back to Sydney to live within the next year as things haven't worked out for him in Brisbane. Thursday is a public holiday here, and also the day Brokeback Mountain starts at the cinemas, so I already have tickets and a date for Stephen and myself to go and see it before he heads back north next weekend. Woot!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Show Us Your Desktop

Sam showed us how neat he is. Ryan did it too, and his was frankly a little scary to me. Terry gave us both work and play versions. Michael Guy gave us a dose of sleek and sexy, but we'd expect nothing less.

So, I decided it was time to join the bandwagon:

A Windows window.

My current work desktop, a picture of a window I took at the Chinese Gardens of Friendship and posted here back in August 2005. My office has no windows, so it's the best I could do.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Blog That Never Was

Well before I started this blog I had a false start at getting one going in late 2002/early 2003. I was going to call it "Chiffon Tents" as a reference to the expression 'Camp as a row of pink chiffon tents'. I downloaded MovableType, tried to figure it out and the intricacies of server side blog posting etc. Then I discovered Blogger and ready made templates, and took the path of least resistance.

Before I did that though I had lots of fun making titles and decorations for Chiffon Tents, the blog that never was to be.

One thing rediscovering and revisiting these titles, and the early layout experiments I did, has done is to convince me that I need to work on a nicer template than the one I'm using. I mean, really.

The orange deco version. I think this one was my favourite.

The scary clown version. I consider this a bit of an oddity, and really just an attempt to include the cool scary clown.

Experiments in transparent pastels. The overall look was to be brown and blue, very 2002.

Something a bit 'summery' and retro.

I learned how to blur, the world was my oyster. Bit of a Buffy moment.

Thou Shalt Not Junk Mail

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Lust Has A New Name...

...and that name is Hrithik Roshan.

(Two of my favourite things a) Indian men and b) soccer kit drag. Be still my beating heart!)

Status Anxiety

A while back a friend of mine lent me a copy of Status Anxiety by philosopher Alain de Botton. I caught parts of the companion tv series when it was shown here on the ABC, and I had always been interested in reading the book. He has some very interesting things to say about the nature of snobbishness, envy and why we compare ourselves to some and not to others. It's quite thought provoking, and got me to thinking about my own attitudes towards things and whether I ever suffer from status anxiety.

I'm not an envious person in general, and certainly not about material things. Frankly I'm not that concerned about material status symbols, and the more I study Buddhism and work on my own attachments I get less and less so each year. I find the idea that status anxiety arises when we see people who we could be, because they are from a similar background or similar circumstances, rather than people who are too far removed from ourselves, like celebrities or the intensely rich, quite interesting.

Around the time I turned 35 I had un petite crise about getting older and not having acheived lots of the things that my peers had. More to do with not having a long term relationship, not having travelled as much as I had hoped to, not owning my own place etc. Looking back some of this was because people around me, people I was friends with and had grown up with, had acheived these things. It quite surprised me because I always considered myself to have few expectations about how things 'should' be and rarely ever feel overt envy.

Last night I had the opportunity to go out with an old friend and a group of his friends, but didn't go. These friends of his are all buff 'Oxford St' party boys, and frankly I feel like I don't have a lot in common with them. I can laugh at their wild stories of doing lines of blow in the back of a ute in South Africa, but it's not something I can relate to. Worse, I find them intimidating and suspect that they consider me a misfit, with my short stature, lack of a gym built body and reluctance to get out of it and dance 'til dawn at ARQ.

That sounds a bit bitter and judgemental, but I think it's a fairly accurate analysis of the situation. Some of them are quite likeable, but I just don't feel part of the crowd and they do seem pretty focussed on how physically attractive everyone is. Some of it must be that their status as desireable party boys is something that I won't ever attain. Weirdly, it's not something that I particularly aspire to, but I guess the status anxiety part of it is that we often desire that which is out of our reach but is available to others.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Much Ado About Proulx

Further to my post of yesterday about real life gay cowboys, you might be interested to read the Advocate magazine interview with Brokeback Mountain author E. Annie Proulx. She has some extremely complimentary things to say about the movie, even though she wasn't directly involved, and especially about the perfomances of the lead actors.

I've yet to read her collection of short stories Close Range: Wyoming Stories which includes the short story Brokeback Mountain. Years ago I read and loved her novel The Shipping News, although I found the movie a disappointment.

It sounds like I won't have that problem this time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Home On The Range

Andy Towle of Towleroad has posted a sad story of a true-life gay cowboy romance. At a time when gay cowboys and domestic partnerships are both hot news items, it's worthwhile remembering why legal recognition of gay domestic unions is important on so many levels, not just for issues of emotion and respect, but legal ones as well. The story makes me so angry, and is only one in a long history of gay domestic partners being screwed over after the death of their loved one. Gah!

On a cheerier note, I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing Brokeback Mountain, when it starts its general release here in Sydney on 26th January. Not just for the beautiful Mr Jake Gyllenhaal in cowboy drag, but that sure does help.

Hump Day Link-A-Rama

  • I love the vintage quality of these 1949 pastel Looney Toons cartoon townscapes. (The accompanying analysis of townscape design is a little uninspiring, but the pics alone are worth a look.) They make me think of Little Golden Books and the classic 50's Disney style. Wah! I want to live in a little pink townhouse on a curvy cobbled street!
  • Planning a holiday? Don't fly Oceanic Airlines. Oh wait, you can't because all flights have been cancelled.
  • Need to re-write history? Re-invent yourself? Do a 'Frey', or even a 'Demidenko'? Maybe it's time to update your artisitic licence?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Footpath evolution in Newtown. A nifty little piece of stencil art in Camperdown Rest Park.

Here's A Thought...

Why not join up for a pilates class, but insist on always pronouncing it so it rhymes with 'pirates'? Pie-lates. Oh, even better, show up for your first class in full pirate drag, eye patch, parrot, the works, and when challenged state that you "must have misread the flyer".

[Added: Err, I attribute this bit of unhinged thinking to the heady stench of herbal tincture I'm stewing in. At least, I think that's the reason...]

One Of Those Days?

Shortly after sitting down at my desk this morning I noticed that I had some sort of brown shmutz all over the front of my jeans, and my first thought was that I'd dripped some of my morning coffee on myself. Then I went to get something out of my backpack and I noticed a strong smell. Oh, gack. Yup, the $80 bottle of herbal mixture I got from my naturopath has leaked all through my backpack, and must have been seeping out the bottom onto my jeans when I had my bag on my lap on the bus. I had the bottle in a plastic bag, but that only stopped some of the leakage. It's all all over my study notes and the novel I was reading. Sadly Vanessa is ruined. Now my jeans look filthy and I (and my bag) smell like a ripe sort of blend of alcohol and herbs.

Things can only improve, right?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Four! This Is A Story Of Four!

Cozalcoatl of For Battle!, A Cunning Plan and Page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald boinged me for a meme.

(Coz's post is here.)

Four jobs you've had in your life:
Salesperson in a luxury watch boutique
Fragrance & Cosmetics Buyer for 14 stores across Australia & New Zealand
Database administrator for a Child Protection service
Registry Officer for a Familial Cancer Registry, part of a clinical genetics service

Four movies you could watch over and over:
Wizard of Oz
The Cheap Detective (silly Neil Simon comedy)
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Broken Hearts Club

Four places you've lived:
Morecambe, England - until I was 1
Adelaide, South Australia
Sydney, New South Wales
Back to Adelaide for a couple of years (does that count?)

Four TV shows you love to watch;
Star Trek (any version, except Deep Space Nine)
Anything with French & Sanders, French OR Saunders in it
The Amazing Race

Four places you've been on holiday:
Great big slabs of Australia, (but not NT or the red centre yet)
Berlin, East & West pre-unification

Four websites you visit daily:
Temporary Trouble Spots

Four of your favorite foods:
Fresh lychees
Salty hot chips, with lashings of tomato sauce
Pasta with homemade coriander (cilantro) pesto
Good yum cha

Four places you'd rather be:
(A Free) Tibet

Four Play:
I tag
Michael Guy

Smellin' Purdy

Inspired by Miss Guy and some mentions of fragrance in the comments a while back, I thought I might likewise give a rundown of my favourite scents. Give you a window into my soul, my psyche, or at least an idea what I smell like.

I'm a bit bipolar when it comes to fragrance. You know those guys that wear one sort of style of fragrance? Not me. My tastes are as fickle as my moods, and vary along with the seasons. Light & fresh one day, heady the next. Complex, you see.


Kenzo Pour Homme. Marine, Cloves, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Vetiver. For me the perfect balance between spicy and woody, but with the fresh 'green' smell of the ocean. One of the earliest 'marine' (or 'ozonic' as we called them in the trade) fragrances, and great for Summer. Think a forest grove near the ocean. Fire Island maybe.

L'eau par Kenzo Pour Homme. My other favourite by Kenzo. Yuzu, Ho Leaf, Lotus Leaf, Aquatic Mint, Green Pepper, White Musk, Mandarin, Rosewood, Waterlily, Floral Musk. If that ingredient list is hard to imagine, you're right. The balance is soft and light, an ideal daytime Summer fragrance. I'd buy it anyway, just because it has something called Ho Leaf in it.

Gucci Pour Homme. Sexy, sexy. White Pepper, Pink Bay, Ginger from Yunnan, Papyruswood, Orris Rhizome, Vetiver Root, Amber, White Olibanum, Leather. Heady, sweet, spicy and yet somehow sleek. I have more compliments when I wear this than almost any other fragrance.

Tactics by Shiseido. This is a very strange scent, but one that grows on you. Very floral but with a strong 'green' chypre note and quite woody. The ex-boyfriend of an old friend of mine used to wear it all the time after he bought it in Japan, and I had to seek it out after smelling it on him. I haven't had a bottle for this for ages, and it's very hard to find.

Santos de Cartier. Strong, intense, sweet, floral and spicy. Ideal for Winter. Smells like diamonds, expensive watches and arrogance. Lavender, Basil, Bergamot, Nutmeg, Cumin, Juniper, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Vetiver. Was my signature fragrance in the early 90's when I was a fragrance & cosmetics buyer (read, free samples) and I've worked my way through a few bottles of this since, but it's very expensive.

Very Irrestible For Men by Givenchy. The new kid on the block. A Christmas gift from some friends who got it very right. The name irks me slightly though because it sounds a bit like a tautology, don't you think? I mean, something is either irresistible, or it isn't, right? Anyhoo. Grapefruit Peel, Mint Leaf, Sesame Seed, Mocha, Hazelnut Wood, Virginia Cedar. Woody and citrusy, tres masculine and a bit exotic. I've been wearing this since Christmas, to rave reviews.

L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme by Issey Miyake. One of my all time favourites. Watery, clean, fresh, yet woody and spicy also. Verbena, Tangerine, Cypress, Yuzu Zest, Coriander, Clary Sage, Geranium Bourbon, Blue Water Lily, Nutmeg, Saffron, Cinnamon Bark from Ceylon, Amber Tobacco, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Musk. Sounds edible, non?

Some Past Favourites:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Not Just Geeks, But Famous Ones

My friends Coz (aka Coazlcoatl, aka Carolyn) and Rob (aka Anti Ob, aka Rob Cozbonker) - husband and wife, weasel owners, geeks, bloggers and gamers extraordinaire made the Saturday papers. The article is about people who spend very large chunks of time playing computer games, and features a pic of Coz & Rob in their 'Geek Room'.

Coz & Rob make page 3.

Not only are they top class geeks, but they're pretty too, so they were a natural choice for the pic I would think. I just hope they're not too famous to still be my friends...

(Thanks Speedy for the heads-up, I might have missed it otherwise!)

Robes & Aprons

Bookshop 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

A shot of the bookshop I ran yesterday at the public talk given by Ven Robina Courtin. We hired rooms at the huge Masonic Centre here in Sydney, and this room we were using for the bookshop and information tables was part of their museum. Full of strange and amazing things, including items and records from Masons who were getting together to do their Masonic practices in secret while they were interred in POW camps during the second world war. I was won over by the beautiful embroideries and amazing regalia in the collection, much dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Bookshop 2
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Come and get your enlightenment!

Masonic Apron 1
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Above is a 19th C embroidered Masonic apron in the collection of the Museum of Freemasonry, Sydney. These pics don't do them justice, because the lighting level was quite low and flash photography was verboten, but the embroidery on some of the aprons in the collection was really beautiful.

Masonic Apron 4
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

Beautiful 18th Masonic apron in the Museum of Freemasonry, Sydney.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Insult or Compliment?

Trash Queens
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

My current favourite piece of Newtown graffiti. Remember, if you see trash pick it up.


I hate to post another post about being sick, because let's face it if you wanted to hear someone complain about their health you'd spend more time with that great aunt with the bad veins, right?

I'm on the mend a little, medications are doing their business (Although almost disconcertingly well, I mean, it's like someone jammed the brakes on hard. I hope I don't forget how to... you know...). Having said that I did completely the wrong thing last night and went into the Buddhist centre after a full day of work and priced and packed books ready for the event we are running this weekend, not getting home until about 10pm. By which time I was feeling very under the weather, tired and a bit shaky. I was up and down all night unable to sleep, watching tv, trying to sleep again, sitting at the computer for a while, and finally dropped off to sleep about 2 hours before I had to get up for work. Fun.

Tonight I have to have a mad race around to get the house ready for Bodhi to move in tomorrow (yay!) and tomorrow I have to be at the venue for set up of the event we are running at something like 7.30am. That's in the morning. On a Saturday. Soooo, caffeine and vitamin B will be my major mode for today and tomorrow I think.

Was it Bilbo who complained of feeling a bit stretched, like butter spread over too much bread? Maybe it's a hobbit thing, but I second that sentiment.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Sorry about the short break in transmission, I've been sick for a couple of days. Some sort of stomach bug that had... well, somewhat horrible results. I'm still feeling rather yucky, but have dragged my sorry carcass into the office today. May be a wrong move, but here's hoping that the medications do their stuff.

I'll see if I can rustle up some good cheer for later in the day, but currently I'm pretty flat. When you're sick is never a good time to take mental inventory, but I've been sleeping very badly, feeling a bit pressured about everything I've got on this week (little of which has been getting done) and feeling a bit down as well. I'm certain 90% of it is probably this bug, but just consider this a heads up that content here might be a little on the sparce side for a couple of days.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Newtown Vignette

Newtown Vignette
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

One of my neighours being out and proud, and showing their affiliations.

Rainbow Flag. Soft toys. "Bush Lies" sticker on the window (partly obscured). Could I love my suburb any more?

Monday, January 09, 2006

5 Very Good Things

After a short dour patch, here's a list of 5 things I discovered in the past few weeks which made my life just a little bit better:
  1. Star shaped ice cubes with flecks of edible gold leaf. Meg made these for her New Year's Eve dinner and not only did it make those of us of the teatotalist persuation feel like we were getting some Goldschlager style action, but as Sarah discovered you can fish the gold leaf out and gild yourself with it.
  2. Early morning summer rain. Few things sound better after days of baking heat.
  3. A new favourite fragrance.
  4. Fresh, succulent cherries.
  5. A new show at The Newtown Hotel, full of fresh, succulent go-go boys.


Red Hybiscus
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

These beautiful big red hybiscus flowers are blooming in the front yard of a neighbour's house, further up my street. I love their deep red, waxy centres and hot red colour.

Recappin' Fool

Not a huge amount to recap from this weekend, but a Monday without a weekend recap just doesn't feel right somehow.

So you know about my Friday night out with Bodes already. I just re-read that post and it comes across as quite downbeat, but actually I had quite a good time. Really. Not without its frustrations, but still I would say that it wasn't a bad night.

It was a late one on Friday though, and I couldn't sleep when I got home, so I stayed up until about 4am. I'm not a person who can sleep in very well, so I was dragging my butt a bit on Saturday. I pottered around doing bits of shopping and housework, and didn't achieve very much. Oh, and sat looking for free porn reading The Internets for endless hours (as you do), and then decided to have a quiet one in.

Sunday I had to do a stocktake of the bookshop that I run at the Buddhist centre, so I headed on in about 9am to start preparing. My helper arrived at lunchtime and by around 5pm we had counted all the stock and I had entered the results onto the computer. I still have to go in and do some more work on the computer during the week, but the worst of it is over.

I was all set to have an early night last night, but during some channel surfing I discovered a Bollywood film that had just started on SBS, our free to air multi-cultural channel. I love Bollyood films! Of course I watched it, and of course as with most Bollywood films it was emotionally overwrought and especially long, and so didn't finish until after 12.30am. I don't even know what the film was called, but it was one of the biggest budget and most photographically lush Bollywood films I have seen. Beautifully shot, and quite surprisingly one of the few I have seen without a happy ending.

I was so tired when the alarm went off this morning that I considered ringing the office and calling in dead, but I'm out of sick leave and so have dragged my butt into the office.

Is this post cheering you up yet? Ack, me neither.

A busy week ahead. I have to catch up on a backlog of data entry at the Buddhist centre and tidy up the stocktake results, and we are running a big public talk next weekend so I have to prepare and pack for a portable bookshop at the event. I also have to clear out the spare room, which I started to use as a bit of a junk room, because Bodhi is moving in next weekend.

Bodhi is moving in next weekend! Unfortunately I'll be busy all day on Saturday volunteering at the event I mentioned before, but he'll be moving in over the course of the weekend. Woot!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lack of Confidence

Bodhi and I went out last night for a dance at The Imperial Hotel, here in my Big Gay Neighbourhood. If you're not from around these parts, or haven't heard me mention it before, The Imperial is a gay bar about 10 minutes walk from my house that has a front bar (video jukebox, pool tables), tiny cocktail lounge, 'Show Room' bar where there are good hourly drag shows between 10pm and 2am, and a downstairs dance bar. It's a cool venue, and only a $5 cover to get into all the other parts of the venue other than the front bar, which is free.

In general it was quite an enjoyable night, but also quite frustrating. The music downstairs in the dance bar was terrible, bar a couple of songs. The sort of pretentious trance-y stuff that would work well very late at night when the crowd has already been taken up to a level of energy. Instead the DJ opened with this and stuck in that groove all night. Normally the dancefloor is packed, but at around 2am (normally a peak) there were less than a half dozen brave souls shuffling around trying to make a silk purse out a sow's ear. The mixing was terrible, with the occaisonal unforgiveable 'dead air' between tracks or really long slow intro.

The drag shows were great, as always, although one of the downsides of the shows at the Imperial is that they often run the same show for a very long time. Consequently the performers sometimes seem to sleep walk through the routines. There was a bit of this last night, but they also deliberately tried to throw each other off, or make fun of stuff ups, so that added some spark back in.

I spent some of the night frustrated with the music, having wanted to dance, and feeling borderline crabby and a bit bored. Early in the night Bodes made a harmless remark about me being a music snob, which for some stupid reason really got under my skin. It wasn't his fault, I knew what he meant, but I let it get under my skin nonetheless.

Adding to the frustration, I got a few smiles from a few guys but I just felt paralysed by lack of confidence to go and talk to them. I was thinking to myself "I never used to be like this, what's going on?" Then it struck me.

This all would have been so much easier, and more fun, with alcohol.

Sad to admit, but true. I kind of missed the lowering of inhibitions that alcohol brings, the (false) confidence to approach guys and the dancefloor energy that comes from a little alcohol buzz. Dutch courage. Of course, this is precisely why I gave it up. I also gave it up because it adversly affects my skin condition (which has now just about gone away completely). Mostly I gave it up because it conflicts with mindfulness from a Buddhist perspective. From being able to think clearly, to think rationally, and to accurately observe my own motivations and actions.

Sadly, last night I could have done with a little less clarity.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hello Officer, Darling.

Maybe the time has come to broaden my 'hot cop' fantasies beyond the prurient and consider getting hitched to one someday.

[Link via towleroad.]

I Am My Own Worst Enemy

I ordered a combo of two different asian tofu dishes with rice for lunch, thinking that the one with the obscure name was some sort of curry. Once I started eating I discovered it was actually a type of satay, choc full o' peanuts.

It tasted so good, I ate the whole damn thing anyway even though I'm allergic. Live life on that edge!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Flower Power

Flower Power
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I am really digging the fun Flickr toys that the very talented blogger flagrantdisregard has created. If you have an existing Flickr account her toys let you do all sorts of fun things with your photos, like this one which uses Mosaic Maker.

Global PMS? Post Holiday Syndrome?

I've noticed a whiff of something in the blogosphere at the moment. Something that has a slight smell of "Is that all there is?", a hint of post-Holidays let-down and a subtle reek of depression. A bunch of my favourite bloggers seem to have caught the bug. I haven't fallen prey to this myself, but I have been a bit flat and tired the past couple of days. Sleeping badly because of the heat here and crazy busy at work. Low on energy and struggling to find the bon mots in my existence this week.

It's a weird time, this Christmakkuh and New Year. Don't you think? I either read, or made up, a statistic that it's the worst time of year for depression and suicides, break-ups, family disputes, outbreaks of lycanthropy. Did you know that 63% of all statistics are made up? Non?

So much frenzy, so little pay-off for the effort sometimes, and the whole "where is my life heading" aspect of New Year's and those dreaded resolution things. Too much food, too much alcohol, too little sleep and maybe too much spending.

If this is where you are at, well you have good company. Cheer-up Buckaroos. Nothing is permanent, this too will pass. Tomorrow you'll feel like throwing on your dancing pants and if not tripping the light fantastic, then at least tripping over it.

The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar.

40 Lashes

Sorry for the lack of an entry yesterday, I was furiously busy at work and barely got enough time to have lunch, let alone fit in the endless hours of net surfin' and bloggin' I like to fit into my day. Rude! This week was supposed to be quiet here in the office. False advertising, plain and simple.

You can tell that a lot of businesses are still closed, or a lot of staff are still on holidays, because the city is relatively quiet at the moment. (Oh, except for the food part of Woolworths in the city, that was a scene of human crush and torment the likes of which Dante would pale at. Lots of hot European backpackers though, so some torments have their flipside.) I've been walking into work all this week, but the quieter city meant that public transport home was fairly empty last night. Bliss.

Not so empty though that I didn't get to sit opposite a woman who absolutley fascinated me. She was probably in her mid-fiftes, quite well turned out, dressed all in black (so possibly a staff member of one of the big department stores here), but what amazed me where her eyelashes. She had such a thick layer of clumpy mascara on that her eyelashes looked... well, flocked. It was like two caterpillars had settled across her eyelids. She had enormous thick spectacles on which only served to magnify their impact. Probably she finds it difficult to apply mascara because of the spectacles. Who knows? I would think though that she'd put the specs on afterwards and look at herself in the mirror and think Oh, for crying out loud...

Apparently not.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

To Do List

I don't traditionally make New Year's resolutions, but I had an interesting discussion with a friend on the way home from New Year's Eve dinner the other night that got me thinking. Like me she is a big procrastinator, and she has started to try and organise her life a little better by adding some structure. Setting times and days to do certain things, especially when it comes to things like housework and completing her studies.

We discussed the fact that our parents generation seemed better at putting some structure into their lives. Saturday mornings were for housework and laundry, for example. It made me think about how we might have reacted against this sort of structure, fearing rigidity maybe, and swung too far in the opposite direction. In the name of being carefree and spontaneous, we've encouraged an element of chaos and disorganisation.

So, I decided to make a To Do List for 2006. Some of it is about streamlining and organising, some of it is just things I plan to get done.

To Do List 2006
  • Clear out things I no longer use or wear, and give them away. If I haven't worn it in 12 months, or used it in a couple of years, it should go don't you think? (Exceptions made for aspirational 'thin end of the wardrobe' clothes.)
  • Plan times to do housework, gardening and my volunteer duties so that if I have a time crunch these aren't the first things to suffer.
  • Knuckle down on the studies.
  • Be more disciplined about my meditation practice.
  • If I can swing it financially, and get the time off work, attend the November course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal.
  • Upgrade my camera equipment.
  • The usual lose weight, blah-blah.
  • Go out more, ring old friends up more, I kind of developed a bit of a hermit streak in last 6 months of last year.
  • Keep updating my wardrobe, maybe by buying at least one new thing a month. I got out of the habit of buying clothes this past year, I mean, call myself a homo?
  • Debt clearance plan. Let's move on shall we?
  • Upgrade my home computer. I'm well behind the curve on hardware, just just the mention of 'hardware' makes my eyes glaze over.
  • Likewise ditch dail-up, they have this new 'broadband' thing apparently.
  • Buy a domain.
  • Learn that there is a world of html other than italic and bold tags. (BTW, I always use 'strong' tags for bold not because I think it's slick html but because I like the idea of turning the strong on and off, don't you?)

I'm planning on 2006 being a fun year. My new(ish) friend and frequent commentor Bodhi is moving in in a couple of weeks time as my flatmate ('roommate' for you Americans), which should up the social ante and also cut my living expenses quite significantly. We've already got plans for a house warming party for Bodes, so let the fun begin!

Monday, January 02, 2006


Summer Me
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

It rained during the night in a big heavy summer downpour sort of way, and today is cooler thank goodness. Yesterday clocked well over the old century mark, and was all just a bit excessive. Summer is generally not my most favourite time of year, I normally enjoy Spring and Autumn more. I like the changeability of the Sydney weather during these two seasons, and I'm not a fan of searing heat.

Having said that, I'm enjoying this summer so far.

(I happened to spot this same hat on this slab of handsomeness. He makes it look good, don't you think?)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Billy's Book

Billy's Book
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

I little while back I went to the meet-up for the Sydney Photoblogger group on Flickr and met a bunch of very nice people. One of those people, Billy (aka Figuromo on Flickr), sent me a copy of his beautiful self published picture book a couple of weeks ago. Isn't he sweet? He's a very talented photographer and designer, go and check out his picture blog Shisso. Thanks Billy!

It's Not Natural

...for it to be this frickin' hot! It's over 40C (over 100F) today, and I'd just like to say, I don't like it, it's not natural. Those Aussies nursing hang-overs today, remember... hydration, hydration, hydration.

[Updated: Urgh. I've been dashing in and out of the house all day long, trying to get things done, and ending up risking heat exhaustion and not acheiving half of what I set out to do. Urgh, again I say. Parts of Sydney hit 46C record temperatures today apparently (what is that, about 112F?) which frankly is just ludicrous!]

Chalk Up Another One

Wishing you all the absolute best for 2006.