Sunday, December 31, 2006
I had half drafted a long navel gazing post about the year past. A link-tastic review of a year of TOA existence. Me, Me, Me. And you, because without you I'm nothing, natch.
It still sits in draft, and I have to be out of the door in half an hour's time. Plans to finish it off were derailed by a lovely gourmet lunch at a friend's house that turned into a three hour session of sweaty dirty monkey love. (Too much information? Trust me, you haven't heard the half of it. Anyone know if concealer can cover poppers burn?) So now I'm racing to get ready and then I'm off to a New Year cocktail party above the lights of Sydney. There will be cocktails and fireworks.
Sounds a bit like this afternoon, really.
So, sorry for the rushed New Year's wishes. I hope you all have a great and grand New Year, but if it's ordinary then my advice to you is don't get too strung out, because it isn't an omen for the year ahead. It's just what it is. See you all in 2007, like tomorrow! My biggest thanks possible for hanging out here in 2006, hopefully you'll stick around for the year ahead. I'll be here.
Be good, be naughty, have fun, and see you over the hump.
Lots of love.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
It's a beautifully made film. The quality of the animation is absolutely spot on, with all the penguins successfully being given quite distinct personalities. I mean, they're penguins right? Just how unique can you make a penguin seem, next to another penguin? They manage it though, which is commendable.
I enjoyed it, but it sort of didn't work for me in parts. The concept of the penguins singing, each one finding it's own 'heart song', and what happens to a penguin who can't sing was nicely done. There were some interesting metaphors for ostracism due to difference, acceptance etc, that can be applied to anyone with a 'difference'. Gay people, people of colour, people with disabilities...
What didn't quite work for me was how dark some of the film was, and I found some of the ecological message a bit heavy handed. The smaller kids in the audience were quite restive during those parts of the film. Having said that, it is a great achievement in animation, the music and dance scenes are really well handled and on balance it's an enjoyable movie experience.
Sing it, grrrl!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I hope you all had a fabulous time. I'd love to post that I did, really I would. However, in the spirit of truth in reporting I have to say it was 50/50 between really, really sucking the big one and being fabulous. I'm such a creature of extremes. Like, really.
Pre-Christmas stress (especially of the financial kind) got the better of me this year, and so I largely opted out. Non participatory. I sent some gifts across for my two nephews but agreed with my two sisters, one of whom just bought a house recently, that we wouldn't bother with gifts this year. I struggled with the Christmas spirit, in part because I knew that I'd likely be the recipient of gifts from friends, friends who wouldn't receive one in return. Kind of dreading disappointing others is not a great way to enter into the spirit of the season.
So, it wasn't fine 'in theory' but it was all going to be theoretically, well, manageable and ok. Except, it kind of wasn't. I got strung out, I felt sad and disappointed, crabby, pressured and frustrated. I had social plans for Christmas day lunch. However a combination of my mood on the morning, screwing up the food I was to take, a mess up with the transport plans that I thought meant I'd be catching 2 trains across the city with a full picnic basket on my own, and then breaking a shoe as I was about to leave the house, sent me into a shitstorm emotional spiral. So I elected not to go. Then I got a phone call from the train station saying that without my knowing it the transport arrangements had reverted back to their original plan and "where was I?". Where I was was sitting at home on the edge of not just tears, but reasonableness as well.
I didn't go. What I did do was have a cry, pull my shit together, deal with my anger and frustration, collect my thoughts, ring back and apologise for my melt-down on the phone, go for a walk and get some perspective. It sorted itself out. I made it sort itself out.
In the evening I co-opted Mikey (the lovely ex) and we went to Christmas dinner at my friends Meaghan and Jamie's house, with many of the greater extended clan. It turned out to be a wonderful night, a perfect antidote to how I felt in the morning. I still felt a bit odd and fragile, and weird about being given gifts by friends I had nothing for, but in a much better mind set. Food and drink were consumed, babies were held, kids played with, cats patted and old friends caught up with. It was a good night.
Yesterday, I spent a wonderful day with Morgan and a bunch of my friends from Flickr at the home of Kt and her family. A long afternoon into evening of food and drink, playing "cross country croquet", chatting to friends and people I just met, and playing with various and sundry kids put some of the Christmas cheer back into Christmas.
So. It was a strange one this year. I've had negative times in my life, but rarely do I want to shout and cry, and have a good old fashioned melt-down like I did on Christmas morning. I'm normally set to a slow simmer. On the upside, I pulled myself out of it fairly well. With the help of friends that have known me for a long time and take me as I am, and that I care very deeply for. Even though none of them knew what had been on the agenda earlier in the day. The rest of the day, and the following day, were much better.
High highs and one very low low. I can see where I went wrong. Where I planned poorly, took too much negativity on board, let difficult circumstances get to me, and placed stress of expectation and regret on myself. I'm not beating myself up, just being honest and learning from the experience.
Monday, December 25, 2006
...make the Yuletide gay, people!
Whatever you celebrate I hope you have a happy and safe holiday everyone, filled with love, good cheer, happiness and joy. Failing that, at least a nice hug from the hot friend that your cousin brings along. Thanks for being here!
Friday, December 22, 2006
AJ is delighted
Originally uploaded by Karinne Taylor.
Check out this photo by Karinne, taken at the Chrissie Pissie I blogged about early in the week. I love this photo! I had just taken some pictures of AJ and was showing him himself on the screen on the back of the camera. Just after this pic was taken he moved in closer and kind of gave me a cuddle as I scrolled through the pics I took of him. Then he shot me such a huge smile I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest.
(Oh, and yes. When I look at this picture I can see that the older I get the more I start to resemble my father. Spooky.)
Picture by Janie Barrett - Sydney Morning Herald
I don't want to spoiler it too much for people who haven't read the book (but given that it is mentioned on the book jacket and in everything written about the book and the play, it's not that much of a spoiler I guess) but the story follows the relationship of John and Tim. After meeting and falling in love at High School in 1976, the story follows their 16 year relationship, the good times and the bad, until John dies from AIDS in 1992, followed two years later by Tim himself. The book was written during the years after John's death and published posthumously in 1995. Since then it has had worldwide acclaim, and certainly would rank as one of the most important works of gay literature, and probably one of the best autobiographies, to come out of Australia.
It is an extremely sad and moving story, but ultimately it's a story about love. About human frailty, about mistakes, consequences, guilt, forgiveness and joy. It's also very funny at times, and the production certainly emphassises this aspect as well as the loss. As an historical look back at the early years of the AIDS crisis in Australia it's also a sobering reminder that this disease is still around.
The story, and the play, is told from Tim's point of view. Aside from John, four other actors play all the other characters (about 40 in total I think), sometimes even crossing gender boundaries. The production was spare, but very clever in it's use of sound and even puppets to tell aspects of the story. Interestingly, Tim Conigrave acted and wrote theatrical pieces, and was heavily involved in the Griffin Theatre. So there is a beautiful symmetry to the production being commissioned and staged by Griffin.
The season is a sell out, but it is coming back during the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. I'd certianly recommend it to anyone able to get a ticket, and I also really recommend the book. Have tissues handy.
The Griffin theatre is a perfect venue for a play like this. Tiny and intimate, where you can almost reach out and touch the actors. Where you can see the tears and the smiles close up. Wow. The cast, especially the two young leads, do an amazing job. The two boys are both fantastic, handsome, charismatic and with a genuine chemistry. No actory fakiness in evidence here. When Guy Edmonds as Tim cries it's real tears we see.
It was real tears in the audience as well.
[For more info here are some Wikipedia entries on Tim Conigrave and the book Holding The Man, some production information about the Griffin production, and a fantastic review of the production by The Sydney Morning Herald.]
[Updated: Morgan's has posted his review of the production on his blog also.]
Thursday, December 21, 2006
So this is likely it for today, my lambs. I know, one crappy Christmas Tree pic and this waffle! You all deserve more, you know it.
The good news is I finally got the gifts I'm buying for my immediate family posted yesterday afternoon. Along with the shame storm for dilly dallying I got to pay a premium postage rate to make sure they got there in time. Fun! Christmas makes me feel so judged. I'm also off to the theatre tonight to see a fab play about The Gays, which I'll endeavour to review tomorrow, assuming the friggin' phone shuts up for 5 minutes.
Things could be worse I guess, I could be getting sued for US$7.6 million. Although, somehow I think being described as a pudgy poseur would hurt more.
Tinsel, mirror balls, lights and odd coloured cherubim. This picture doesn't really do the scale of it justice, it's huge! I think they made an error of judgement though, this thing doesn't need a star on top it needs a drag queen.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Laubscher and I have only met a few times in person, although I follow his photostream on Flickr and his blog with almost the same enthusiasm as a stalker. Almost. I like to think of myself more as an enthusiast, m'kay? He's an ace photographer and a genuinely nice guy. Smart, funny and friendly. One of those people that you can chat to and half an hour later you feel like you known him for ages.
Once again, congratulations! Best Christmas gift ever.
- Been spattered with toothpaste from some too enthusiastic Sonic-ing. (Not noticed until on the train to work.)
- Been rained on.
- Been grubbied by being bashed into a piece of scaffolding, after some curbside jostling at the traffic lights.
- Been splashed with coffee.
I, and my shirt, shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning. We'd be cleaner and unbruised for a start.
The most appropriate Christmas Cracker toy ever.
At first I couldn't figure out if it did anything, then Lou pointed out that you fill it with a tiny amount of water and it's a teeny tiny water pistol... damn, I've given away the secret.
Hey, come here and let me take your picture!
[Updated: Karinne scored an action shot!]
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Well, promises are made to be broken it would seem. Even the ones we make to ourselves. Scratch that, especially the ones we make to ourselves. Although, in my defence (as Mikey would say) I've had some unexpected expenses these past few months that have screwed with my plans somewhat. It's patently not my fault you see. Sort of. :)
I've reigned things in heavily and pared it all right back this year, modified my plans. Limited who I'm buying gifts for, and staying in Sydney to save the cost of interstate airfares. Maybe it's because of this, but I'm seriously lacking in festive cheer this year.
Oh sure, as you can see from my last post, it's not all Bah Humbug. I had a great time at the Chrissie Pissie. The other 90% of Christmas is passing me by this year though. Shopping feels more like a chore than it has in the past. Normally I love buying gifts, wrapping them, giving them, the whole thing. This year I'm just not getting the usual pleasure from it. The deadline is looming to post off my gifts and I'm still not done.
So, I'm stressing. Christmas has become an exercise in deadlines, budgetary restrictions, and the possibility of causing disappointment by not giving many gifts this year. Gack. I know that I'm causing this stress on myself, but I'm just going to have to let it go. Do the best I can, try and not let it get to me, and try and see the bigger picture. Still, some of the joy has gone.
I guess it's kind of 90% Bah Humbug after all.
[Updated: OK, I've gotten over myself a bit since I wrote this and am now not feeling like such a big baby about Christmas. I stand by what I wrote though, because it is stressful this year and I am feeling a bit ho ho hum about the whole thing. And no, I didn't miraculously win the lottery or find a bulging wallet in the street during lunch, nor scored a Sugar Daddy, so the bit about financial stress is still accurate. Sadly. I was kind of pinning my hopes on the Sugar Daddy one.
Further Updated: Hmmmm, I'm not the only one feeling Grinchy this year!]
Monday, December 18, 2006
To describe it as an afternoon and evening where the huge extended 'family' of friends gets together with potluck food, drinks, kids, 'secret Santa' random surprise gifts and lots of laughs falls short of capturing the magic. A big part of the fun is buying the cheap crap/fabulous gifts that are then handed over to Gordy (aka "Surly Santa") for distribution that manages to be both random and arbitrary. Once handed out, the gifts must then be opened one by one in an orderly fashion so that everyone gets to enjoy the delight/embarassment. Its completely awesome.
The passage of time has been an amazing thing to watch. Couples have formed. Kids have been born and grown. New friends and partners have joined the clan. This year was particularly marked by the arrival of more kids, with a whole buch of newborns in attendance. It was a great afternoon that slid into evening, and I was home about 11pm pleasantly full of food and drink, and brimming with good cheer.
Persephone the pirate!
Isobel discovers the joys of a gift as big as she is (left) and Rachel helps Surly Santa hand out the crap/fabulous random 'secret santa' gifts (right)
Rachel models the fantastic Valkyrie Evening Wear gift, Elvis glasses sold seperately
Wigstock! Ken (left) and Coz (right) get in on the action
James scored the Elvis Impersonator Kit - envy!
Lou and the fabulous Avenging Unicorn (left), while Scruffy scores a HO
Avenging Mousicles, a blur of purple tie dye and whirling plastic knives (left), and Harriett in motion, having a great old time (right)
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
When they moved house my brother-in-law's younger brother brought along a friend of his to help them move. This friend runs a boarding 'motel' for dogs with his wife, near where my sister lives. In conversation this chap told my sister that he breeds Australian Silky Terriers. My sister told him how she thought they were cute dogs etc and by the way her brother (me) used to be in a relationship with a guy in Adelaide who bred and showed them.
It turns out, this guy is his estranged brother, who left Adelaide after a huge fight with the guy I used to live with. Something I understand entirely, as I did basically the same thing. I mean, what are the odds? Spooky.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The closest thing to a remedy I have to hand right now is my boss's "80's Dance Fever!" CD currently playing in my computer. Rick Astley just promised me personally that he's never gonna give me up, he's never gonna let me down, never gonna run around or desert me, he's never gonna make me cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell me lies or hurt me. Now, on the advice of the Kane Gang, I'm respecting myself.
I know these things are caused by viruses. The part of me that still hears my mother's admonition that "You'll catch your death of cold." from wandering around in bare feet, can't help but wonder if the sudden swings from hot to cold weather we've been having haven't had some affect. Grammatical complexities aside. I'm still not convinced about the bare feet thing though...
So. Feeling a bit poorly, slept lots, missed episode 2 of Weeds (sadly) on account of extended sleeping behaviour, etc. Currently at work, and outlook slightly improved by cup of coffee and cracking open the gift tin of assorted biscuits from one of our clients.
Come to think of it, I had kicked my shoes off yesterday. Can you catch your death of anything wandering around in socks?...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
It's Tuesday. It's grey, overcast and cool. Work is kind of dull and yet frustrating at the same time. I'm on my second cup of coffee and my shoes are kicked off. Nothing's wrong, it's all just a bit meh today, you know? No real highs or lows, just coasting.
Oh, by way of a follow up to this post about books I can tell you how much I'm loving "American Gods". Two thirds of the way into it so far and not wanting it to end. I might tackle "Anansi Boys" next, especially after the props given it by Michael.
That killed a few seconds. So just which one of the muses is the muse of bloggers? No, I'd like to know. I mean, if Olivia was the muse of rollerskating and leg warmers then surely there's one for blogging?...
Monday, December 11, 2006
At least I was lucky enough to be there for the blowing out of the candle and the opening of the presents! And from my point of view, fortunately it was long enough to take some snaps of Oliver.
I discovered a little while back that children are amongst my favourite subjects to shoot. One of the benefits of the baby boom amongst my friends is that there are all these beautiful kids around to photograph. Sadly, people sometimes doubt that your motives are pure if you try and take pics of kids, so I only like to shoot the children of my friends. I like the fact that I'm helping in my own small way to document their lives as well.
I was also lucky to be there long enough to see Zoe, the new daughter of my friends Meaghan and James. Born Tuesday the 5th of December, and absolutely adorable and just perfect.
Yay! Another subject... :)
We played about 6 games, gave out "secret Santa" gifts for all, had lots of laughs and then retired to the cool of the clubhouse for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a really fantastic afternoon, with lots of laughs and friendly competition. Lawn bowls is deceptively hard, and most of us sucked badly, but that was all part of the enjoyment.
Whoever decided to market what was traditionally an old persons' pastime to young people definately came up with a winning concept. The clubhouse had a funky nightclub feel to it, and the place was packed with young people. We had an easy on the eye young American guy (think 'frat boy') who gave us the run-down on how to play, and made sure everyone kept their shoes and drinks off the green.
Other groups were obviously having Christmas parties as well, including the group who were all dressed up as things starting with "P", such as pirates and professors (above right). Good times y'all.
[Here are all of my photos from the afternoon, and here are everyone else's.]
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Everyone had a lovely time, the food was good, the entertainment was fun, we gave out some door prizes*. It was a blast. For the brief bits of time that I actually got to sit, I sat next a lovely couple and he told me fascinating stories about his 43 years in the police force. It was also great to see the friendship between our field workers and the clients. Lots of Christmas hugs and kisses being exchanged, and even some small gifts.
The worst thing about the day? HAT HAIR from wearing a Santa hat all day.
The best things? Being referred to by one of the clients as a Christmas Elf (good call), all the "thank you" comments and best wishes, getting to play Christmas Elf and hand out take home gifts of tiny Christmas puddings as everyone left and best of all one lady took my hand and told me that she'd had such a good time that it will be enough to carry her all the way through Christmas and into the New Year. (She nailed me with that one and I almost lost it entirely.) It was an exhausting but very rewarding afternoon. Christmas doesn't have a religious significance for me, but you could certainly feel the true spirit of Christmas in the air. Giving. Kindness. Thinking of others.
Good times y'all.
* Michael Guy - you'll be pleased to know that we were giving out potted poinsettias! The sort you love so much.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Let's pause and consider that for a moment, shall we. That's like eating Christmas lunch with your grandparents 30 times over.
It'll be lovely. There's entertainment (sadly not a Z grade Korean 'Elvis' like I was pushing for), a tiny Christmas pudding to take home (for all but the diabetics) and crackers to pull. The crackers may not be a wise choice, but we'll just hope for the best. See you on the other side.
But, here's the thing. I kept looking across at one of the guys (and not just because of the salt & pepper hair, blue eyes and slim figure) and he kept furrowing his brow and looking so worried that at one point I thought he was on the verge of tears. So much so that it was kind of odd. It certainly wasn't encouraging. Wow, if he's that concerned we should be really panicking.
It made me think about the times I've had my photo taken, for instance, and I've been pulling an expression that I didn't even think was in my repertoire. Once a senior manager of mine pulled me aside and mentioned to me that sometimes in meetings my face is an open book, especially when I think someone is proposing a stupid idea. Contempt writ large. I was kind of floored and had no idea I was doing it.
I'm sure nice marketing man with the piercing blue eyes wasn't really all that concerned, but he's kind of giving off signals that indicate otherwise. Maybe not even signals he knows he's giving.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
1. Tyrone Giordano
2. Dermot Mulroney
3. Luke Wilson
4. Paul Schneider
5. Brian J White
6. Jamie Kaler
7. Craig T Nelson
8. Robert Dioguardi
Because I'm such a big homo I've restricted myself to the male members of the cast, but given the chance you know I'd at least make out a bit with Dianne Keaton, right? I mean, the gossip! That woman could spill a few stories, you know it.
Also, don't feel bad for Robert Dioguardi. He's only on screen for a few seconds, so it's not like I even had time to form an attachment. I agonised over where to place Craig T Nelson, because in terms of fun in the sack I'm sure he'd be a riot, but that Jamie Kaler is pretty cute though!
So, there you have it. Care to share your rankings?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
My morning 20 minute walk from the train station was almost conducted in a crouching position.
I'll come good. There's the morning vitamin B tablet to kick in yet and I have full and free access to the coffee maker. It's all good. I've got that edge that comes with tiredness, the one that has already loosened my tongue enough for me to ask The Office Pen Clicker if she could please, pleeeeeease stop clicking her pen (forgodsakeorimightjustgopostal).
Monday, December 04, 2006
I planned on not doing a lot this weekend and I achieved it. See, see how task orientated and disciplined I am? I set goals and I go for them. I might consider a career change to Life Coaching, I'm so good at not do anything. I could not do anything for hours, and still find time to not do things.
So. I did go to drinks, dinner and a movie on Saturday night with Mikey (the lovely ex), Steve and his girlfriend Bec. Shortbus again. I enjoyed the evening, although the combination of a wet Saturday night around three weeks before Christmas meant that getting a taxi at the start of the night was hellish. I loved the film just as much as the first time, and probably picked up more from it the second time around. I certainly caught a couple of lines that I plan I using ad nauseam. "I used to want to change the world, now all I want to do is the leave the room with a little dignity." Har.
Mikey's first question of the evening to me was "So, have you cleaned your room yet?" (Ack. You know you're in trouble when friends bust your chops about promises you make to yourself on your blog.) In keeping with this weekend's goal orientated theme, I set to yesterday afternoon with vacuum cleaner and Scotchbrite 'Miracle' cloth. I didn't exactly produce a miracle (false advertising?) but I did pretty much part the Red Sea Of Detritus. I'd say I got the job about 60% done, which given my other goal of sloth I figure wasn't too bad an effort. I'll tackle the remainder during this week.
If Santa brings me a man for Christmas, at least my room will be ready.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I heart Haircut Day.
Also on the agenda, cleaning my room. It kind of looks like a landfill site at the moment. If there was a landfill site comprised of size "Small" menswear, back issues of magazines, some piles of books, and the odd bit of detritus that is. With a bed perched on top.
Sadly, one of the things about being a fast reader is that sometimes even magical experiences are over too soon. I tracked down the sequel that I mentioned here and devoured it in a night. I tried to make it last, really I did. Loved it! It's not that often that a book makes me cry, even though I'm a big ole softie, but I shed a few tears during this one. Anyhoo, my point being that I have some reading time this weekend and I'm open to suggestions. Hit me up in the comments if you've something to suggest. Remember, it's Summer here now so I'm looking for nothing too weighty and challenging. Think your better class of Beach Reading and you're on the right track.
Given that it's December 1st, my pre-Christmas panic has kicked in. Must. Start. Shopping. I enjoy gift giving but it can get a bit stressful, so the last thing I plan on doing is leaving it to the very last minute. I really don't want to be stalking the shops the day before Christmas feeling like the 10 seconds of Think Music is counting down, and I haven't yet come up with the right answer.
::dunka, dunka, dunk... dunka, dunka, dunk::
So, that's my plans. Not rivetting, agreed. Not entirely suck-worthy either. There's room in there to mix it up, be spontaneous, and avoid doing some of them (room cleaning, specifically). You?