Monday, July 31, 2006

The Best Monday Morning Email Ever

[Caution: the following post contains some bad, bad, bad words.]

Take away coffee? - check. Monday morning ass drag into work? - check. Mood requiring a little lifting? - check.

Step 1 turn on computer at Christian Charity Organisation workplace.
Step 2 log in.
Step 3 open up email.
Step 4 scan through boring work emails, la la Christian-y work announcements, pray for this (pray for that) exhortations... spot unusual 'Quarrantined Email' announcement from Christian Charity IT Department.
Step 5 read the reasons for email being quarrantined, shunned, and painted with a giant red "A" on its chest.
Step 6 spray keyboard with coffee, lose shit and cackle like a maniac!

I know it's automated, but I had an image of some poor little Christian-y IT Department operative analysing and then typing the following:
"Scenarios\Incoming Rude and Explicit
  • The phrase "fuck" was found

  • The phrase "sex" was found

  • The phrase "ass" was found

  • The phrase "cock" was found

  • The phrase "fucking" was found

  • The phrase "xxx" was found"

Hee hee. It's even funnier because it isn't spam, it's an email from a potty mouthed friend.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Brief Hiatus

I'm taking a short break from blogging guys. Just until next week. I've got lots of irons in the fire this week, some shit to pull together, and some neurons to either fire up or fire. Add to that the fact my sweet friend Robbie is in town at the end of the week, someone who's known me for half my life so far, and we've got some town to paint pink. By next week this should hopefully be Anecdote Central.

See you next week, and in the meantime think rest not retirement. Ta ta my lovelies. Later!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Craving Blue Skies

The Two Towers
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

See that big blue sky there? That dome of unbroken blue, right behind and all around the gorgeous entrance towers to Luna Park?

I'm craving it. I need warm sun on my skin, some heat in my bones.
Yeah gods, I swear that Winter has never affected my like this before. I want it over. I want shorts. A pair of slides on my feet. Sun streaks in my hair (natural or otherwise).

Last night it rained torrents. Big heavy downpours that shredded the flowers and beat down the plants in my garden (but thankfully didn't down anymore trees into my courtyard). I lay in bed listening to it crash and roar, enjoying the drama of it but wishing it was the whir of a ceiling fan and the drone of cicadas instead. Bring on Summer.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Of Christmas, Small Dogs & Pirates

Weekend recap time! This weekend was a busy one. A weekend marked by long train journeys, social events with good company, small puppy dogs & pirates.

Morgan had a full weekend of his own planned, one which involved a trip to Canberra to meet up with a couple of friends, so in order to try and fit all of the things we both wanted to do this weekend we had to divide and conquer. I stayed in Sydney while Morgan went to Canberra.

On Saturday two good friends of mine Ian and Steve hosted their annual Christmas In July party at their house.* I spent a large part of the day just getting there, because the 1 hour trip out to where they live stretched to almost double that on account of trackwork and the need to take a different route. Curse you CityRail! Once there I had a great afternoon and evening, catching up with the boys, my good friend Stephen who was down from Brisbane, and other folks I only see once or twice a year. I stayed over in order to avoid a long train ride home late at night. That way I also had more quality time to play "Where's The Monster?", "Get Your Ball!" and "Why Does Your Breath Smell Like Ass?" with their adorable little Jack Russell terrier.

I was invited to go to a wedding on the Sunday, which was the other reason my friend Stephen from Brisbane was visiting. The wedding was in the mountains in the afternoon and the logistics of getting there and back ended up being too hard unfortunately. I could have gotten a lift up there, but as most people were staying over Sunday night getting a lift home afterwards was too hard to organise. I couldn't take Monday off without giving up a day's income, so had to skip it.

Instead I made the trek home on the train, scared the shower alcove to death by giving it a major exfoliating scrub (ewww!) and then headed out in the late afternoon to meet up with some of the Sydney Photobloggers from Flickr and Morgan (freshly back from Canberra) for some food and a movie. We saw "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and I loved it. A real romp of a film, which although it covered some of the same sort of ground as the first film, stood up fairly well as a sequel I thought. Good old fashioned uncomplicated fun. With pirates. And squid faced people. A good night!

So a busy weekend, with lots of socialising and many miles covered.

* It's hard to explain the Christmas In July concept if you are used to a Northern Hemisphere Christmas, but imagine having Christmas in the middle of a Summer heatwave. Sound odd? Well that's what we have every year, so some enterprising hoteliers started to popularise a second Christmas 'Yule' type event in the middle of the year (when it is winter here). Christmas pudding, songs about sleigh rides and pictures of snow covered trees all seem a bit more enjoyable when it's cold outside. Basically it's an excuse to have another big eat-fest, without the need for airconditioners.

Friday, July 21, 2006



Take away the clues about context and even photos can be abstract works of art. Add in something that creates scale, something that is identifiable and a known reference point and suddenly meaning starts to take shape.

Blue Balls

But throw in something unexpected or seemingly out of context, and the meaning is probably no clearer.

Monkey Bars

[All these photos were taken at the retro bowling night with the Sydney Photobloggers. The ball storage racks were all lit with different coloured lights, making cool patterns of the chrome bars. I'm sure the other patrons wondered what the hell I was doing, and at one point a dude came and took one of the balls away while I was in mid-shot. Making art is hard yo!]

The City Of Lost Shoes

Ever notice something, say a person on crutches or a redhead (for example), and then for the rest of the day, or the rest of the week, you keep noticing the same thing?

For me this is Lost Shoe Week. It started with a man's black brogue in the gutter near my house. Then the unusual sight of a pair of Adidas men's slides in another street in my neighbourhood. Unusual because the Lost Shoe seems to be normally a solitary beast. Yesterday it was a lavender coloured child's Croc clog in the gutter outside a pre-school near my house (since collected). Today it was a cheap multi-coloured lady's mule, sort of a summer sandal type thing, in a street near my work.

It would have made a good photo essay, all these Lost Shoes, but being such a reclusive creature they only seem to come out of hiding when I don't have my camera with me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Congratulations Mr & Mr Hayes

After years of avoiding the question, ex-Savage Garden lead singer Darren Hayes not only comes out of the closet but marries his boyfriend Richard. Congratulations on the marriage boys, and congratulations on singing it loud and proud Darren. As far as I can tell nobody was all that surprised, but kudos to him for standing up and stating it.

It sucks that they had to get married in the UK though, c'mon Australia it's time to treat all your citizens with the same degree of respect.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Was Dreamin' When I Wrote This...

I rarely ever wake in the morning with any awareness of having dreamt during the night. I know I do dream, or at least I believe the researchers who tell us that we all do. If I had to swear to it though, based on personal experience, I would say that I don't 99% of the time.

Lately I've been dreaming up a storm. Huge technicolour widescreen dreams, big sexy or scary ones. Ones that wake me up, full of things that writhe and pulse with dark shadows and grainy light. Maybe it's on account of the book I'm reading at the moment which is all dark, gritty and gothic, or my diet, or the cold and wet nights... any number of things. I think it's only the odd ones that are bothering to make themselves known, the quiet sweet little ones are content to disappear. The meek.

While it lasts it has been quiet interesting. I don't buy into the concept of dreams as portents or significant psychological markers. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. Me, I subscribe to the theory that they are purely mental gymnastics; a clearing out of pathways, of the brain stretching, relaxing and having some fun, a clearing out junk - sort of a debrief and defrag all in one.

However, the one last night, the one with the worms, that one I could do without.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Small Kindnesses

Morgan and I went bushwalking at Wattamolla Lagoon in the National Park a few weekends back. Along one of the paths someone had found this bracelet and then carefully placed it over the guardrail for the owner to hopefully collect. My attention was drawn to it because we passed a little girl who was chattering about who owned the bracelet, maybe we did?, as we passed her.

Lost, And Not Yet Found

I love these little gestures of kindness that people pay to each other. To unknown strangers. The acknowledgement that someone would be upset to lose something so pretty, that it would be wrong to just take it, that it would be nice for them to find it and have it back. There's kindness, a degree of respect for an unknown stranger's feelings and hope that is sweet.

Sure it's only a small gesture, and you might think I'm blowing it out of proportion, but I sure hope she found her bracelet. Maybe it's still there.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Birthday Is Less Than Two Months Away - I Need This

But if you can't get it for me, just give me the book instead.


Last night Morgan and I, and around 30 of the Sydney Photobloggers, went to a retro bowling night to celebrate Elton's birthday. A while back the Sydney Photobloggers conspired to make Elton a star, so the least we could do was have an event in his honour - complete with groovy retro style t-shirts and a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Elton of course. Oh, and there were prizes. Mini books of photos of Elton, of course.

I Should Be So Lucky

Poetry In Motion

Devil On One Shoulder...

Like The Potatoes

It was a fantastic night. We all got to dress up and have fun. The yellow shirt I'm wearing is a vintage bowling shirt - which judging by the stitching on it was previously owned by someone called "Corky" who bowled for the Allegheny Creamery team. Therefore it was only natural that my name for the night was Corky St Clair. We finished the night with a late dinner at the pub next door, before heading home around midnight. More good times with the lovely Sydney Photobloggers crowd.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What Can I Get For This Semi-Functioning And Sometimes Reclacitrant Stapler?

The news story of the blogger who swapped a paper clip for a house has really fired up my imagination. I mean, I have all sorts of office stationery lying around this house... I'm sitting on a freakin' goldmine!

It's a pretty cool story. I like the ingenuity of it, and the fact that he wasn't out to scam anyone. With each barter he tried to make sure that the person he was trading with genuinely wanted whatever he had to trade. I like it because it says a lot about how good natured people can be, that they took on board what he was trying to do and decided to help him out. Oh sure, the publicity did none of these people any harm, but that was part of what he was trading them in return. I think it's pretty cool.

His blog has the full story and details each trade. Now, where did I put that stapler?...

Friday, July 14, 2006

It Was The Marinara What Done Him In

It seemed to be a Wednesday like any other. No, scratch that. A better Wednesday than most because I was able to cut out of work early and have a haircut in the late afternoon. Long and scraggly locks be gone. The way to a mo's heart? A good haircut. Can I get a "hell yeah!" from my sisters?

Anyhoo. Morgan and I went to the movies to see the very, very entertaining Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story. (Think a "Waiting For Guffman" or "Best In Show" style mock-umentary about the making of a historical drama. Very, very funny.) Afterwards we went to a local pasta place for a quick bite.

Do you see where this is going? Spaghetti with Marinara sauce. Later that evening, it was like I was in my own technicolour drama. Widescreen, and my seat was waaaay to close to the screen. There might have been wailing even, although the sort of wailing done with clenched jaw and clenched buttocks. Perhaps more of a keening... You would think I had changed religion from the amount of times oh God! passed my lips.

So I avoided having to be anywhere yesterday; work and The Internetz were all just too hard quite frankly. Today is much better. Whatever it was left my system, along with all my electrolytes and a couple of (hopefully) minor organs I think. Still, never mind. I'm sure they'll grow back.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Alone Again, Naturally

It's just me in the office again today folks, until my boss pays a flying visit to relieve me for lunch. I'm trying to be nice about it, after all my boss is a single parent and it's school holidays, childcare problems means she has to work from home and look after her son, but c'mon. Seriously, this situation is a pain in my ass. And not in a good way.

So, I'm doing the only responsible thing I can do and surf The Internetz for a little while. Got to give those boys in head office IT something to do, right? Did I mention I'm working for a Christian charity at the moment? Big "C" and little "c". They do good work, but conservative. Methodist. So, no porn... not that I would ANYWAY, of course, but well... we always want what we can't have, right?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekend Recap

Time to dust off the old tradition of the Monday morning weekend recap, to shake off the mothballs and see if it still fits over my hips without straining.

Friday night was a night out with the Sydney Photobloggers, dinner at "Super Bowl" in Chinatown and then a stroll for gelati.

Mob Scene
The Sydney Photobloggers mob outside Gelatissimo in Chinatown, click the pic to go to Flickr and see who's who.

The post-gelati plan was for a visit to a burlesque show, but Morgan and I were both a bit weary and wanted to have an early start to Saturday so that we could go bushwalking. I know, I know, I built up all that expectation about going to a burlesque show only to disappoint you. There were about a half dozen brave souls who continued on, to all accounts the show was lots of fun. Risque but not sleazy.

On Saturday Morgan and I went bushwalking in the National Park. It was a cool but clear day, and by the time we walked inland a bit and out of the cool coastal breeze it was warm and lovely. We did some of the coastal walk and saw a few water spouts in the distance, our second encounter with whales this migration season. We finished the day with really good pizza and settled in at my place for a night of DVDs with Bodhi and his daughter Ashley. I could not believe how much The Brothers Grimm sucked. Yikes.

Sunday morning Morgan and I took a stroll through Newtown to find suitably retro gear to wear for the retro bowling night the Sydney Photobloggers are having next weekend. The brief is 60's/70's but as it turns out my retro bowling shirt and 'letterman' jacket will put me more into the 50's than 60's. I guess I can always explain that I'm a late adopter... Having said that, I'm pleased with what I'll be wearing and I already owned most of it, which is a plus. Morgan picked up some really cool second-hand gear, and should look really good.

So here I am, Monday morning. I'm a bit pissy because all of my work mates have called in sick, not showed up, or emailed me to say they are working from home. It's just me here folks. Of course everyone has been saving up their queries all weekend, so the phone hasn't stopped. I'm working for a charity that deals with the frail aged, and sometimes the phone calls are hard work. Aaargh!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sunday Is Available When?

Sunday Is Available When?
Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.


A bit of inspired lunacy from the Red Rooster fast food chain, just around the corner from where I am working at the moment in Summer Hill.

[Click the pic, best viewed large.]

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tiny Bit Scared the thought that tonight's Sydney Photobloggers meet includes a burlesque show.

I mean, I've been to a sleazy strip joint. Once. I was 17. I told my friends that dragged me there for a Boys Night Out that I was gay almost immediately afterwards. (Yes, having to never go there ever again was a motivating factor.)

You see, the show is called Pork Hotel and the advertising flyer features what appears to be little piggies tumbling out of... a woman's... um, 'lady area'...

Scary, huh? I'm guessing I might have one hell of a blog post from this one though...

A Long Week

This is not a downbeat "Yeah verily for I am weary" post, but Jeezalou it seems like this week has gone on forever. I know that my US readers had a holiday this week, so this one is not likely to speak to you on a personal level, but for me this seems to have been a loooong one. It's been at least, what, 9 or 10 days so far, right? I'm sure of it.

Maybe it's end of financial year/start of the new one which has made me busier than usual. Maybe it's after hours busy-ness with stuff to do at the Buddhist centre. I'm not sure what the cause is but it sure has made me look forward to the weekend. I was supposed to be working on a book stall at a Tibetan cultural festival tomorrow, but I've had some volunteers drop out and it has put the project in jeopardy. You know what though? I'm not that bothered. It would be nice to have the day free. Tonight is a night out for dinner and a burlesque show (!) with some of my favourite Flickrazzi peeps, so not getting up early tomorrow would be nice.

Real nice.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bodhi Is An Enabler

After the recent talk of Mint Slice biscuits, and their wiley mood enhancing ways, I arrived home last night to find a new food item in the now sparkling (and still vanilla scented) refrigerator... a gleaming new packet of Mint Slices. Ahhhhhh.

Ten Canoes

Last night was full of treats, an embarrassment of riches if you will! I met up with Morgan straight after work (treat number 1), and we had an early bite to eat at Happy Chef in Newtown before heading to the cinema to see the film Ten Canoes by Rolf der Heer and Peter Djigirr (treat number 2).

Oh and there was a Boysenberry choc top ice cream thrown in to the mix too (which understandably was treat number 3).

It's quite a rare gem of a film and a really different cinema experience. Filmed entirely with a cast of indigenous Australian actors and in the Yolgnu Matha language of Arnhem Land, with English narration, it tells a traditional story in the traditional language. It's about the telling of a tale, in this instance an education tale told by an elder to instruct a younger member of the tribe. A simple story told in a complex way.

The 'present day' aspects of the film are set before the coming of white men, with the flashback segments of the story set many generations before, so the setting portrays the traditional lifestyle that most non-indigenous Australians would have limited awareness of. What I loved about it though is that the personalities and humour of the characters come through wonderfully, with the traditional language adding to the experience. The charismatic narration by David Gulpilil also adds to the enjoyment and humour of the film. Aside from the humour, the film has a great look too, with beautiful tight close-ups and sweeping panoramic shots of the Arafura Swamp region of northern Australia.

Here is an early article about the film from a few years ago, when filming was about to commence. This review from the Hollywood Reporter has some interesting factoids about the film.

On the way home Morgan and I had a close encounter with a friendly and very inquisitive possum (treat number 4). I tried to get a picture of him but had trouble focussing in the dark. Morgan held up his mobile to snap a few pics, and got some pretty good ones as the possum reached out for the phone.

A great night.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Name Is TOA, And I Have Seasonally Affective Disorder

At least, I hope I do because then that makes me a victim you see rather than someone who has the poor taste to just be grumpy. Then it's not my fault, capice?

It's grey, it's raining, I'd like to pull up the covers and call in dead today but no work-y no money. Ack, sing a song of woe time folks, follow the bouncing mood swing! Another cup of coffee, maybe a restorative morning tea time Mint Slice biscuit or two four and dry socks/warmer toes later and then expect a post on How Very Grand Life Is.

So. What's to tell, let me see. I changed pillows last night. I've gone so overboard with the kitchen cleaning routine (using my new favourite product Vanilla Fridge Wipe - last night it was the inside of the dishwasher's turn) that my entire kitchen smells like vanilla. It's a bit much. For the second time in about 6 weeks my home phone line seems to have gone down last night. Dead air.

Time for a Mint Slice I think...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

5 Ways To Cure A Sunday Morning Bad Mood:

  1. Clean bedroom* and wash almost every piece of clothing you own.
  2. Organise to have the neighbour's banana palm that broke off and landed in your backyard chopped up and taken away.
  3. Throw out all the dubious food in the refrigerator and clean that sucker to within an inch of its enamel with something strong and vanilla smelling.
  4. Crank up an extended remix of a favourite song, set to REPEAT, and dance in your bedroom, on your own.
  5. Most importantly, meditate on the suffering of others. I spell that P-E-R-S-P-E-C-T-I-V-E.

[* Big job. Make take several bad moods.]

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hurry Summer

Originally uploaded by Other Andrew.

You know how by half way into winter you start to crave the hot sun on your face? Lightweight, flat fronted trousers? Open toed shoes? Lazy picnic afternoons? Boys with their shirts off? Yeah gods, it seems like winter has been hanging around for ages. I'm all caps OVER IT I must say.

Thankfully hibiscus have the good grace to flower all through the winter here. Giving their tropical middle finger to the concept of winter. A litle punch of hot red in the face of a grey day. And yes, it also means that by much of the world's standards this time of year is incredibly mild mannered. Still, it's a question of what you're used to because summer in Sydney is heaven.