Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Growing Up Nicely

At risk of seeming to be an old perv, I just spotted this picture compilation of Daniel Radcliffe on the Sydney Morning Herald online edition (photographer not credited, except 'Reuters') and I have to say, considering he's only 17 it would seem that he is growing up to be a handsome young man.

[Update: Oh, I see the above pic on the right is actually a crop.

::clears throat::

Um, the original (below) has, um, some artistic merit, doesn't it? Boy wizard, indeed.]

Anyone got a Valium?

Weird Space

I'm in a bit of a weird space today. Not motivated to do any work, thinking a lot about impermanence, about change, about loss. Feeling like I want to run away and not waste precious time. Walk out the door and just go.

Tonight a bunch of us are meeting up at the restaurant that was a favourite of our friend Aveline, Aveline who just left us so young from an aneurism at 39. Tonight we'll celebrate her with her favourite Indian food and some drinks. Aveline's death has hit me harder than I would have expected, we saw each other so rarely, but she always lit up a room with her extraordinary prescence and it hurts to think that that light has gone out.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Want To:

  • Surround myself in colour. Flowers. Refracted light. Billowing curtains. Squiggles of paint on a canvas.
  • Swim in cool blue water.
  • Purge, throw out, give away, make do with less. Bring order. Give space and calm.
  • Dance. Really, really dance - like I can't remember how to stop.

Puppers Playtime

On Sunday night, after yum cha with Mikey and his parental units, and a beverage fest at the Green Park Hotel, Steve and Bec invited Mikey and myself back to their place for dinner.

Of course this means more pics of Rex the baby Papillon (oh, and 'smokingly hot Steve' as he is now known).

Cuddle time with Rex and Steve.

Still tiny, but getting bigger every day. I think the ears grew first.

Licky Face!
Licky face! Rex and Mikey

Nodding Off

I started a new 'intermediate' two year Buddhist studies course last night, an in depth study of the Lam Rim teachings of Atisha and Lama Tsongkhapa.

We had just got settled and said the preliminary prayers prior to the teachings, when one of the office staff showed in a late comer. There were a couple of cushions available, including one right at the front, just in front of the teacher. (Often if there are spare cushions it's usually up the front, as people seem to be a bit shy of sitting right up close in front of the teacher.) This newcomer took the cushion at the front, and actually scooted forward so that he was sitting just a few feet in front and eye to eye with the teacher. Really close.

One of the other students gave him his handouts, which he didn't really even look at before placing them on the floor. There is a small etiquette point in our tradition, we don't place teachings or images of the Buddha on the floor or anywhere where they might be stepped over, it's considered disrespectful. New students often do this because they aren't aware of the etiquette, so it's not treated as a big deal, but more experienced students are usually aware of it and avoid doing it.

About 10 minutes later, as the teacher was getting into the body of the teaching, I noticed that he was struggling to stay awake. This is nothing unusual; a warm room, a busy and tiring day, the soothing voice of the teacher, you often see people have moments of drowsiness. Then things started to get a little surreal. With his head in his hands, he was eventually leaning forward and folded almost double. Then he fell even further forward until his head was resting on the small table in front of the teacher. To his credit, the teacher gave him a small smile and carried on without breaking stride. Fast forward 15 minutes and this guy is sitting up, having rallied somewhat, but then tilts over sideways alarmingly. One lurch and he's lying down. Then he starts to snore.

By this point the realisation made it around the room. Not just sleepy, drunk.

It was really interesting watching my own reactions to the scenario. Most of the time he was kind of sitting quietly, so I was able to tune him out and concentrate on the teachings. At other times I was in turn horrified, concerned, annoyed and even a bit amused. A lot of the time I was concerned, as it was such odd behaviour, then I was bemused to think that anyone would attend teachings drunk. I exchanged a few nervous looks with a couple of the other students, wondering whether we should leave him to sleep or wake him up.

The class ended shortly afterward, and as we packed up the teacher stayed behind to have a chat with him and see if he was ok. When I left they were still talking, and it sounded like it had turned into an informal counselling session.

It made for a slightly surreal first class...

Monday, January 29, 2007

RIP, Mistress

Bye bye Aveline. Gone far too soon. Sitting and talking with you was always like throwing open the doors of a fabulous Cabinet Of Curiosities, my only regret is that we never got to do it often enough. Hopefully we'll meet again on your next go 'round.

Speedy has posted a moving tribute over at For Battle!

[Updated: Bunnikins has created an official link list of tributes to Aveline.]

Australia Day Pics

As promised, here are some pics from the lovely afternoon spent on Friday at Michael's farewell lunch.

Tigger Zelda
Celia's beautiful old boy "Tigger" (left), and Jeff & Patrick's gorgeous girl "Zelda" (right)

Pink Tinted Frangipanis Pink Tinted Frangipanis
Pink tinted frangipanis in Celia's beautiful courtyard

Zelda & Jeff Zelda & Jeff
Jeff and Zelda, and a finger dipped in apple juice

Hooded Sculptural
Some more shots from the courtyard, lush plants and sculptural bits of industrial machinery blended in surprisingly well with the Mediterranean style.


My usual path to the train station was blocked by a torrent of water from a burst water main this morning. As I was walking up my street I could see all this water gushing along the drains, and then I turned the corner to be greeted with this sight.

Click the pic for a bigger version.

4 baby faced cops stood around directing traffic, but there wasn't much else they could do. Hopefully I'll have water when I get home tonight...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Australia Day Redux

It's late(ish) Saturday night and as we pass the halfway point of the Three Day Weekend the oracle has burned rare earths, applied ungents, sorted the entrails and cast the stones, and decreed "Outlook good".

Friday (Australia Day) I went to a long leisurely lunch at the home of a friend of mine who is heading overseas for a few months. He lives in a huge Victorian terrace with a very talented artist and her beautiful old Staffordshire Terrier "Tigger". It was such a wonderful afternoon. A Morrocan influenced vegetarian feast for 12, all of us gathered around a huge refectory table in the gorgeous paved courtyard. A hot day, but with dappled shade and some cooler afternoon breezes.

I only knew a few of the guests beforehand, but enjoyed meeting everyone. The eclectic bunch included a 71 year old herbalist (amazing woman!) and two gay couples, one who had been together for more than 30 years and the other couple (only in their late forties) who had been together for 25 years. Two of the guests brought their own dog "Zelda" along to play with Tigger, and in the late afternoon the hostess collected a beautiful blind old Border Collie she was going to be looking after for the rest of the weekend. By dusk we had discussed lefty politics, dog shows, Spanish cinema, pop culture psychology, Buddhism, feminism, tartan coffins and writing your own eulogy. All in all a fantastic afternoon.

(My verchacte home pc won't let me post the photos, but I'll post some early next week. Expect dog pics.)

Today I went into the Buddhist centre and spent 3 pleasant hours restocking the bookshop shelves, unpacking from the event last weekend and putting the place back to rights. It may not sound like fun, but I pottered and tidied, and then my friend Alan gave me a lift home in the afternoon. Once home I did a quick ring around to find someone to have a beer with* (verdict: "My sources say no") but settled for a night in with Iron Chef: America and a repeated (but still good) episode of RocKwiz. Not exactly up to the grade of cracking a coldie in a room full of homosexualists, but I've had worse evenings. Relaxing really.

Tomorrow's agenda is Yum Cha in the am with Mikey (the lovely ex) and June & Frank (the lovely ex-inlaws), and then an afternoon beverage-fest in the outdoor courtyard of the Green Park Hotel with Mikey and some other friends. Then I shall have my coldie, and there will be homosexualists too. Yay.

* Stil & 'Pong, apologies if you guys were free tonight but I just realised I should have rung you guys too!

The Question Deserves Asking:

R&B music video clip, or a 4 minute infomercial for mobile phones?

Seriously. I was up early this morning and turned on Rage on the ABC, right in the middle of a block of female R&B video clips. Each and every one of them had the most blatant product placement for mobile phones.

I know I'm busy singin' but I just gotta call my man/call my girl/snap a picture of my girl posse/snap a picture of my bitches. Look, see how this flips open just like this? Can you see that name, that's right N-O-K-I-A. Urgh, tacky.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Power Of Observation

Scene: Hairdessing salon interior. A young, pretty hairdresser starts working 'product' into the newly cut short hair of a man of indeterminate age*.

Me: Wow, that smells nice. What is that, Aveda?

Hairdresser: [With faint scowl] No, it's the stuff I always use.

* Hah, I wish.

Three Of The Best Words In The English Language

Three. Day. Weekend.

It's Australia Day tomorrow. For those in the Northern Hemisphere think kind of like a lower-key 4th of July and you get an approximation of the flavour. There are all sorts of debates on here at the moment, some reasoned and some hysterical, about the flag and the use of it. The story of a concert promoter's attempt to ban the flag at a concert to be held on Australia Day today (for fear of sparking nationalistic and racial violence) made international news. In the backlash Australians are being encouraged to fly the flag more than ever this Australia Day, and the day seems to have taken on a heavier weight of patriotism.

My plans involve a lunch for twelve at a friend's house, part get-together for Australia Day and part farewell for the host who is off to India for a few months. A trip which includes a pilgrimage of sorts to sacred Buddhist sites in India.

It's also a bit of a family day for me. It's my little nephew Connor's birthday and the anniversary of my Dad's passing, many years ago now. I kind of like the fact that some of the sadness of the day was taken away by Connor's birth. My sister gave Connor my Dad's first name as his middle name, in his honour. In my Buddhist way I like to see it as a nice reminder of the cyclical nature of existence too.

The rest of the weekend will be taken up with bits of housework, some chilling out, some work at the Buddhist centre, some photography (hopefully) and some general lazing about. So fellow Aussies, what are your plans for Australia Day?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Out Of Step

I love the blogsphere. Oh, sure, there are blogs I like and there are blogs I don't, but in general I feel like bloggers are my peeps. My posse, or some such misappropriated 'street' term.

Anyhoo. So every now and then I feel like I'm out of step with this huge diverse community. This 'hood full of my homies. (That's my last one, I swear bitches.) It's kind of hard to tiptoe around the blogsphere these days without someone giving a shout out to how much they love Lush. Maybe it's the blogs I frequent, but I don't think I've ever read a single dissenter. (Sure I mostly read blogs by women and people of the homosexualist persuasion, so it's a skewed sample I agree.)

I can't bring myself to even walk into the store. I will scurry past as fast as I can, I have a Lush Aversion situation happening. Here in Sydney there is a big Lush store in the basement level of The Queen Victoria Building shopping precinct. Here's my issue. It stinks! You can't even walk past this place without wading through a thick fog of various really strong smells. It's so strong that I've even looked to see if they aren't pumping some sort of spray out into the arcade.

Not to mention that the store looks so hectic, music pumping and staffed by young spokesmodels. If I want to buy an anti-wrinkle product I do not want to be made to feel old when I do it. Cut me some slack, like the skin on my neck. Give me an octogenarian saleslady and subtle lighting, preferably.

I think my aversion is fed by the fact that just a few doors away is that temple of calm, that serene edifice to subtle scents and savagely expensive eye creams with stuff like ground up tourmaline in them (That's a gem stone, people. It's like jewellery for your skin!) called Aveda. Sadly no octogenarian salesladies, but you can't have everything, right?

All Praise The Mental Health Day

I took a mental health day yesterday, a "sickie" as we say in this country. Rang up and called in disinterested.

It's been go, go, GO for me the past couple of weeks and having been doing so much prep work for the teaching event last weekend, and then working at it all weekend, I was sorely in need of some downtime. Couple that with a string of hot, still nights and subsequent poor sleep (plus being woken up numerous times a night as my flatmate is up and down like the Assyrian Empire most nights) I woke up yesterday morning and thought "Nup, ain't gonna."

I read, I surfed the net for porn, I had a huge 3 hour nap in the afternoon, and then finally scuttled out of the house in the cool of the early evening for provisions. (Maybe with the napping and the nocturnal foraging I'm part bilby? I don't think they're net-savvy though...)

While I was out I popped into a local record store and bought a sale priced DVD of TransAmerica. I kicked myself for missing this when it was on at the cinemas, so I sat down and watched it when I got home. So. Good. Felicity Huffman and Kevin Zegers (dish!) were both fantastic. This movie has been out for ages so I can't really add anything new to what's been said already, except that if you missed it like I did then you should go and see it.

Not the most productive of days, by most standards, but I was glad to catch up on some sleep and have some chilling out time. Tonight is bucking the trend by being haircut night (yay), when I'm usually more of a weekend haircut kind of guy. I cancelled my appointments twice on account of other committments, so a) I look like a monster and b) I'll just be so pathetically grateful to get it cut that I'm happy to do almost anything. Almost.

Monday, January 22, 2007


It's just tiredness and lack of any 'down time' over the weekend, but today I feel a bit like I put this somewhere and now I'm not sure where.

So many things go when the mojo goes. Adverbs. Irony. Complicated concepts rich in originality. Instead you find yourself Googling "Austin Powers" and then hating yourself for it.

[See that bottle up there? The worst news? It's a real product. Or was.]

Every Day Can Be Just Like Reality!

I just laughed so hard I nearly choked. If you're a fan of 'reality' tv (the name is ironic, don't you know) then you've probably seen more than one person stroll onto the screen wearing something that looks like these.

Make life easy for the guys in the editing suite.


Excuse me if I don't get up honey, I'm pooped.

So, what a weekend! Exhilirating, energizing and very, very physically tiring. I know that sounds a bit contradictory.

After working a full 38 hour week in the office I spent most nights at the Buddhist centre last week getting ready for running the bookshop at an event we organised this weekend. The event was a public talk on the Friday night, and then 2 full days of teachings on Saturday and Sunday with the amazing teacher Ven. Robina Courtin. The topic was "Becoming Your Own Therapist", Buddhist concepts of transforming the mind, dealing with problems and growing love and compassion.

Running the bookshop was the physically tiring part. Everything else about the weekend was very energizing. The teachings were fantastic, the customers at the bookshop friendly and appreciative of what we had on offer, I got to meet Craig of Expatriate Bohemian, I spent some personal time with chatting with Ven Robina both in the bookshop and over lunch, and I met some very nice people. The most amazing thing though was the quality of the teachings. I have heard Ven Robina teach on the topic three times now, and each time it's like a breath of fresh air.

After pack up I was happy to get home and collapse on the couch, have something to eat, watch "So You Think You Can Dance" and then go to bed. Very tired but having had a good weekend.

Of course Monday morning has rolled around way too fast for my liking though...

[Here's some more info about Ven. Robina and the Liberation Prison Project which she began, and is director of.]

Friday, January 19, 2007


I'm a bit hampered by not being able to listen to the audio interviews on this blog, but for the pictures alone I found the blog Sans Houses a very moving experience. Tasha French (aka frenchpress) is "...using photography and sound to attempt to capture a piece of those in and around the homeless community in Nashville."

The photos are stunning, and she obviously established enough of a relationship and trust with her subjects that they have allowed a real degree of openness with the camera. This sort of project could tip over into exploitation, something that always concerns me when I see photos of the homeless by other photographers. However, these people are largely made invisible by many of us, we might look away and try not to see (or be seen by) them. These photos were very humanising.

It's kind of sad that we might need to be reminded that homeless people have the same hopes, fears, needs and wants. To be happy, to be well, to be free from suffering.

More photos from the project are here.

[Link via things magazine.]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

5 Things I Have Stuck In My Mouth Recently That Were Frankly Delicious

  • Fresh lychees
  • Squidgy dates, all the way from the United Arab Emirates
  • French 5 fruits marmalade on sourdough
  • My own homegrown cherry tomatoes
  • Christopher Um, something else

Don't Call Me A Faggot, Unless You Are A Friend

I wish we had the current season of Ellen DeGeneres's talkshow "Ellen" here, because I would love to have seen this interview with "Grey's Anatomy" star T.R. Knight. I've mentioned this story before, about how co-star Isaiah Washington called Knight a "faggot" before getting into a physical fight with Patrick Dempsey over the incident. The altercation prompted Knight to come out and be open about being gay, and as he tells it the catalyst was considering the option of standing up and being honest in a similar way that others like Ellen had before him. What I didn't realise until I caught up on my blog reading this morning is that the story made news again when Washington denied ever saying it during a press conference at the Golden Globes. (Oh, and I so want Katherine Heigl in my corner during a fight! She's aces).

It amazes me that some people don't see "faggot" as being a harmful slur. It's a word that is meant to harm. It doesn't just mean 'gay' or 'homosexual', these are fairly neutral words that label same sex attraction. "Hey, homosexual!" doesn't quite have the same sting. "Faggot" (like the Aussie "poofter") is loaded with associations of being less than, of not being acceptable, of lacking. In Australia you often hear school kids these days saying "that's so gay!" meaning that something is lame. It saddens me to hear the word "gay" being used like this, but it still doesn't have the same degree of sting.

Not that I think Knight or anybody else would, but it makes me wonder how Washington would have reacted if one of his fellow cast members had used a racial slur. Then passed it off as being no biggie, and even denying having ever said it. Words can hurt.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Swedish Librarians: Curiously, Not As Dirty As It Sounds

Hey gadgetgirl, seems like you're not the only stylin' librarian in the world - there are others.

The Back Streets & Lanes of Newtown

I took myself off on a short photo ramble on Sunday morning, never more than about 4 blocks from my house in any direction.

Sand & Sea
Sand & Sea

Sea & Sky
Sea & Sky

Keeping on top of the graffiti means repainting often, and I liked the way some of the walls become patchworks of different toned paint. Like urban abstracts.


The back lanes of Newtown are sometimes fascinating places. Abandoned furniture, hidden murals, little expressions of individuality that people might not want to show to the street.

The Conversation
The Conversation

Recline / Decline
Recline / Decline

Most of the houses in the neighbourhood are being modernised and renovated to retain their charm, but every so often you can find ones that escaped the urban renewal.

Confessions Of A Red Carpet Junkie

I love an awards show. I understand that this could well be viewed by many as a character flaw, but it's time to be out and proud.

Yes it's about the dresses and the handsome guys in sharp suits. Oh, absolutley yes it's about the speech gaffs and the hysterically funny ones (I'm looking at you Hugh Laurie). It's not so much about the robotic red carpet interview-bots though. Trying to be that peppy/polished/wide-eyed/sassy makes me feel exhausted just watching them. Too unreal. Jeebus Mary, relax.

There were some gorgeous frocks on the red carpet this year, and more than enough disasters to keep the Fug Girls frantic for the next 24 hours. Usually the guys have it easy, go down the traditional tuxedo road and you might blend into the furniture a bit but at least you'll usually do it elegantly. Jeremy, what happened?

But best of all I like the triumphs. The people getting their first awards. The unexpected, and the genuinely moved. The people who stop running down the list of agents and producers to express some heartfelt emotion, or the people who have the confidence and natural wit to be genuinely funny and moving. Sure it's all flash and sparkle, but the big old softie in me loves it when you get someone like America Ferrara of "Ugly Betty" who not only genuinely appreciates the accolade but also has done work that she can feel proud of.

Bring on the Academy Awards! Now, what am I going to wear?...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Clocking Off

It looks like my job could be over in a matter of weeks rather than months. The push is on to fill the position with a permanent staff member rather have me fill it as a contractor, and they have just started the first round of interviews. It's not a surprise, when they extended my contract last time they asked me if I could stay until January.

It won't cause me any undue mental anguish as I'm kind of bored with it now anyway. The timing isn't great though, as all the holidays in January mean that I'll be leaving after a lean pay month. Eh, as I said previously - the universe will provide somehow.

The thing is, being bored and knowing that things are coming to a close I've kind of signed off already. Not exactly motivated you could say. When in reality I should be pulling my finger all the way out and getting everything finished, neatened and made shipshape. Gah, just writing that is exhausting. It's something I have in my character, once the enthusiasm goes you can sort of forget about it.

The lights are on but nobody is home.

Helm's Cavity

I don't even have that much of a sweet tooth, but this re-creation of Helm's Deep in candy is fabulous!

[Link via Web-Goddess]

Monday, January 15, 2007

This Blog Entry Is Meant To Do Harm

Sometimes I get a bit obsessive about songs. Just ask my neighbours about how many times they endured end to end playings of "If We're In Love" by Roisin Murphy and they'd all nod the affirmative. I'll thrash a song I love until I start to tire of it.

Metaphor? Um, perhaps.

Anyhoo. My latest enthusiasm on high rotation is the rollocking pop tune "This Piece Of Poetry Is Meant To Do Harm" from the Shortbus movie soundtrack by Swedish glam-rockers The Ark. Think bastard child of The Darkness and The Scissor Sisters and you approximate the queer-friendly glam-rock influenced pop of The Ark. I like The Ark's second track on the Shortbus CD, the Swedish language "Kolla Kolla", but "This Piece Of Poetry Is Meant To Do Harm" is definately the stand out.
You’ve been talking sweet to me
About peace and loving harmony
But I know what you say about me
So now I tell you 'cause I gotta break free

That I can’t give you no false affection
I can do without your phony charm
This train ain’t movin in your direction
This piece of poetry is meant to do harm

Please don’t give me no warm reception
What you call peace to me’s a call to arms
Some are singing to raise affection
But this piece of poetry is meant to do harm

Given my love of other glam-rock influenced artists like The Scissor Sisters and Goldfrapp I guess it's no surprise that I like their sensibility. I haven't heard any other songs by them, but these two tracks have made me want to seek them out. Not shy of making statements in their songs, they've commented previously on homophobia, body fascism and adoption rights for gay couples. Pop with a point of view.

[Read the Popmatters interview for a bit more info about the band.]

Morning Glory Vine

Morning Glory Vine

I spotted this flower on Saturday morning, and was really taken with the vivid purpley blues and pinks of this Morning Glory Vine against the weathered grey of the timber fence. I wanted to showcase the timber of the fence, and framing the flowers the way I did seemed to create a nice balance between the solidity of the fence and the delicacy of the vine, plus it made the flowers 'pop' more. I'm really pleased with the result.

Terry likes to highlight his favourite photo on Flickr each day, and has set up a group to highlight them. I was really touched that Terry made this his favourite pic for today. Thanks Terry!

[Check out Terry's own Flickr photos here.]

Weekend Recaplet

I can't believe it's Monday morning already. It's like I had a mini Rip Van Winkle episode and went to sleep Friday, then woke up Monday. I'm not saying I spent all weekend in a dissasociative 'fugue state' (anyway, that'd never stand up in court - I've tried it) but it did fly by, as if in a dream.

Next Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday, I'm volunteering at a weekend of teachings by Ven. Robina Courtin that the Buddhist centre I attend is hosting. So I spent all day Saturday unpacking and pricing books I had bought in for the bookshop I'll be running at the event. Afterwards I had dinner at a friend's house (think 'booty call') but was so worn out that I called it a fairly early night. It was a nice night, even though I was really tired and a bit sore from toting boxes of books all day, but a lovely dinner and a massage helped put much of that to rights.

Because of a screw-up with dates and times Mikey (the lovely ex) and I missed going to a farewell BBQ for my friends Coz and Rob (aka "anti-ob" over here) so yesterday we met up with them and a bunch of other reprobates friends for late morning Yum Cha and then coffee. Coz is a local girl but Rob is originally from the U.S., so after living here for many years they've decided to go and live near Rob's family in Arizona for an indefinate period of time. At least we'll be able to keep in touch through the miracle that is The Internets, but I'll miss them so. I expect lots of "they're nice and all, but a bit weird and they do things differently over here" style blogging in the future.

So that's pretty much the weekend. Rounded off by a bit of Sunday night tv, a bit of reading in bed and a not too bad night's sleep.

Friday, January 12, 2007

5 Friday Morning Mood Enhancers For 12th January, 2007

  • Fried egg and tomato sauce sandwich on squidgy white bread. I know, but we all have to give in to temptation sometimes. (Oh, and I got cruised by a fellow diner...)
  • Exiting the train station I spent about 5 minutes walking alongside the most incredibly handsome man. Tall and slim, with beautiful clear skin and short, prematurely grey hair the exact colour of antique pewter. He walked with the confidence of the truly good looking, whilst I was happy to sail along in his wake.
  • It's Friday, enough said.
  • Sudden heightened awareness of all the beautiful summertime flowers, possibly because I'm so deeply immersed in reading about Derek Jarman's windswept stone garden. (A couple of Flickr photosets of the garden in it's current state are here and here. I'm pleased to read that Jarman's long-term partner H.B. still lives there.)
  • Reading about how two of my favourite bloggers, one of whom is a big internet crush of mine, got to spend the day together and have big fun. Sure, jealous as all hell but I'm smiling through the pain.

Opening For Business

Opening Hybiscus

Hybiscus flower opening for the day's display in the garden by my office this morning. In the heat of the hot summer morning it had been totally closed 5 minutes before, and by the time I put my bag down inside and grabbed my camera it was already opening. Ain't nature grand?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Summertime Ramble

Some timely applications of miracle cream seem to have started to do the trick with my skin, so thankfully I avoided being mobbed by villagers with torches and pitchforks on my stroll to work this morning. My relief was palpable.

It's another hot day here on the fringes of civilization, in the suburbs of outer Sydney. Huge hybiscus flowers and shoefiti are everywhere, but I'm pretty certain the two are not related. By 8.30 this morning the sun was already scorching as I trudged up the tree-free street to the office. I even passed a bird sitting on the footpath that let me walk right by them without moving, shooting me a look that I chose to interpret as "Whatever. In this heat, who can arsed?"


I just took a message from the HR department for my boss, one that I think might spell the end of my time here. I'm contracting, and I've been extended and extended for months now. I can't say I'm surprised because I did agree to "stay until January" and it's now said "January". It's not a well paid position so I'm not considering taking it permanently, but it would be nice if I could stay here a bit longer to save up some money in case unemployment beckons. January is a suckworthy month financially with the Christmas week holiday and a public holiday for Australia Day, none of which I get paid for. Whatever. Somehow the Universe will provide.

Another cup of Real Coffee. Do I sound directionless, or demotivated or something? I'm not, I'm having an ok sort of day, but one of those days where it's hot, and work's not so challenging, and the temptation to write rambling sentences that wobble wobble along with too many commas is hard to resist.

Good Advice

My love affair with Derek Jarman's book continues:
"Quid sit futurum cras fuge quaerere et quem fors dierum cinque dabit lucro appone, nec dulcis amores...
Try not to guess what lies in the future, but as fortune deals days enter them into your life's book as windfalls."

Derek Jarman, Modern Nature

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Gah, apparently if you go ahead and have a couple of stressful weeks, do too much celebrating with the alcohol (actually, for me almost any is "too much"), get sick with a sore throat bug, have poor sleep issues and then get a little sunburnt... well, your skin goes berserk. Or at least, mine does.

And no, I have no idea why I'm telling you this... except, I'm so ugly right now and I need your sympathy.

[BTW - the title of this post is a shout-out to my beloved Arrested Development. Buster, watch out for that loose seal!]

Minority Report

I'm currently re-reading the autobiographical book Modern Nature by Derek Jarman, and I was really struck by the following passage in the book:
"When I was young society seemed so totally restrictive I found that the time I did not spend on the piers or bath houses wasted. The heterosexuality of everyday life enveloped and asphyxiated me. I numbed myself to this life - something which all gay men and women do even if they bury the hurt of it."

I found this quite a powerful statement. Jarman is writing in the context of his own upbringing in England during the '50s and '60s, and the new conservative Thatcherite Britain of the late 80's. An environment that spawned the infamous Clause 28. I was in London in 1988 and remember vividly the anger of the anti-Clause 28 movement and AIDS activism. The justifiable feeling that gay people were being invalidated, demonised and allowed to die.

In his films and his writing Jarman takes a very sex positive stance, which I admire. It's probably hard to imagine these days, but beats and bath houses were at one time a primary social outlet for gay men not just a sexual one. For some men they still are the primary place where they can connect with other men.

It was the statement about being enveloped and asphysxiated by the heterosexual world, and numbing oneself and burying the hurt of it that really got me. I have to say that this kind of rang true in parts for me. Especially as a young man, and as a teenager, I craved any kind of representation I could find. Validation I guess. I still do seek out films, tv and books that have gay characters. If the statistic that gay people make up approximately 10% of the population is true, even today there isn't 10% of the public media that represents me. Everything from advertising to politics parades an endless stream of heterosexual singles, couples and families.

It is true that the times and environment where I live is a much more positive and accepting one that the one Jarman was writing from. Even still, it is somewhat hurtful to look around and rarely see myself and my gay brothers and sisters represented.

It might sound like an odd suggestion, but the day I see a gay couple mixed in with all the other couples in a Coke commercial I'll feel like we've reached some sort of milestone.


Blogger blog commenting seems to be going through a patch of weirdness at present. First off it gave me a message to say my blog didn't exist... Blogger is making me feel so invalidated.

It seems to be working, eventually, but slow and I just got the exact same word verification on two different blog comments. So hang in there in the interim if it's acting weird.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The other night I caught a repeat of the documentary 42Up on tv, the sixth instalment of the series that revisited a group of children every 7 years to document their lives. Maybe it's because I'm 42, but it got me thinking about my own 42Up. I've probably documented my own version of being 42 here (or big chunks of it at least), but it got me thinking about where I was 7 years ago, who I was 7 years ago, and what I was doing. Here's the potted version:

35Up. 1999 - 2000
  • Having moved back there for love, I was living back in my old home town of Adelaide.
  • I was no longer in love with that man, in fact that relationship had turned out to be quite toxic, with big spoonfulls of the crazy thrown in. We broke up about 6 months after I moved back, about 18 months previously.
  • I had started the year feeling depressed and lonely, living on my own and finding Adelaide not as the lively and fun place full of good friends that it had been in my youth.
  • The later parts of the previous year and very early parts of this year saw me channeling some of that loneliness into sex, into a string of anonymous encounters and a few guys I saw casually every now and then.
  • I had a nice, neat, cheap little 2 bedroom flat to myself but it turned out to be hard to get to by public transport (a regular Adelaide problem) and my upstairs neighbours were noisy and inconsiderate.
  • I was working as a registry officer in a Familial Cancer Registry, collecting family medical history information to build genetic family trees of clients with certain types of cancer. It was a job that turned out to be emotionally stressful for me (with my family history of cancer) and a lack of training and management support for what was a new service meant that my two workmates and I were floundering somewhat.
  • The whole time I was scraping by financially, trying to save enough money to make my return to Sydney.
  • Things started to look up when on a business trip to Sydney for a cancer conference I visited friends who lived with a recently un-closeted Mikey. They didn't know many other gay people and suggested I come over and meet Mikey, and maybe give him another 'mo to talk to. I stayed for dinner and Mikey and I talked until the small hours of the morning.
  • Returning to Adelaide (boo!) Mikey and I corresponded by email and telephone, gradually moving past being flirty to being more romantic, until towards the end of the year when I fled Adelaide back to Sydney and Mikey and I started up our relationship. A long distance courtship you could say, one that consisted of hundreds of pages of emails.

Most of it was pretty bleak I have to say, until the promise of a return to Sydney and a new relationship. New beginnings.

I'm not sure how different I was back then. I do remember how incredibly neat and tidy my flat was, partly on account of having so much more space, but I think I also channeled lots of my energy into making a little sanctuary for myself. I also remember affectionately David the recently un-closeted and divorced young dad I was shagging at the start of the year, who was light years away from wanting to start a relationship with me, but was fun to spend time with every now and then. Except when he would be drunk and horny and ring me in the small hours of the morning.

So, an interesting year.

A New Home

My buddy AndrewF has a new home.

I'm kind of thinking I really should make it a 2007 resolution to get my own domain and move away from this bog standard Blogger template methinks. It's only been about two and a half years, you can't rush these things...


As it turns out, I think much of the sudden worsening of my sleep (sleeping pill issues aside) and the really tired and flat feeling I had over post-Christmas and New Year was the start of some sort of bug I was getting. Low grade fevers, chills and a really, really sore throat mostly. I spoke with Ursula, one of my house guests over Christmas and New Year, and she had the same thing on her return home to Queensland.

I felt really bad by Friday of last week, sweating and shivering my way through the afternoon in the office but not wanting to go home on account of I don't get paid for sick days and hello! I had just come off a whole week of unpaid leave. Saturday I was scheduled to do a stocktake of the bookshop I run at the Buddhist centre, and as I had organised a volunteer to help I went in anyway and did it. I started at 9am and by 4pm, and 80% done, I just had to call it quits. Through gritted teeth. My volunteer was a real champion though, and as well as getting to chat to him and know him better we managed to get a lot of it done. The rest of the weekend I slept, laid on the couch, read and watched tv.

Wow, that's a lot of backstory...

I stayed home yesterday, still not feeling well. However, my day was much more productive and goal centered:
  • Successfully re-watched the entire second season of Arrested Development. "I'm a MONSTER!!"
  • Attempted growth of beard. Limited success if using Neat Criteria, very successfull if using Psych Department Inpatient Criteria.
  • Successfuly remained unwashed until 11.30am. Outcome only affected by need to leave the house to forage for something to eat.
  • Proved theory that you're never to sick to have a sly one off the wrist. Or maybe that's just me.
  • Made first attempt at doing a "Samurai" Sudoku puzzle from the weekend paper. Discovered the "Easy" label misleading, unless of course this refers to Samurai only.

I feel a little bit better today, the fevers etc are gone but some of the sore thoat remains, so back at work. (Yay.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

You're Putting That WHERE?

Given my current obsession with my own sleeping patterns, and how to try and fix them (see previous post), I was just reading an online article about body temperature and sleep. I came across the following gem about participants who spent 3 nights participating in a special body temperature sleep trial:
"During the study, they wore rectal thermometers continously to provide a minute-by-minute record of their body temperature."

Um, I'm not sure about you, but I don't think I'd sleep like a normal person if I had something jammed up my ass. Just a thought.

Widescreen Technicolour Panavision Oddness

I've been having sleeping problems again, and so earlier in the week I took the matter into my own hands and tried a sleeping pill. (A friend gave me two of hers to try, to see if I could break the poor sleep cycle.) Then the next night I didn't take one, and tossed and turned all night with weird and vivid dreams. So, on account of that night's broken sleep I took the second sleeping pill the following night.

Can we see where this is going? Yes, last night I slept without a sleeping pill and all of a sudden I was front row centre again in the Cineplex of me. Imax. Full glorious colour. (Hold the popcorn.)

Whew, kinda. I think in some weird way having a night of drugged sleep made the following night's dreams more vivid. Almost like the sleeping pill sleep was short on dreams and the following night was catch up. I'm not sure the brain really works like that but it's interesting that it happened each time. I don't like medication and avoid it if I can, and this little escapade just makes me think that sleeping pills (this kind anyway) are certainly not for me.

I think one possible answer probably lies in exercise. Or lack there of. I sit on my ass at a computer all day and although I do get a 20 minute walk each way to the office, this clearly isn't enough to keep me fit or make me physically tired at the end of the day. Come to think of it, I'm pretty certain I've posted this before... and not followed through.

Well, January is the time for resolutions, right?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Of The Same

Broken sleep.
Strange, vivid dreams.
Tired and headachey...

I'm tired of this crap. I was kind of hoping deep down that 2007 would see a fresh start and the end of my increasingly frequent sleep problems. Seems like I was wrong.

Normal programming will resume shortly.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pretty Pictures - Part 2

As I mentioned earlier, I have some photo posting to catch up on. Here's the second instalment, and as usual click any of the pics to see a bigger version:

23rd December 2006. My friend Steve is now the proud owner of a baby Papillon puppy, "Rex". Rex is completely adorable! Mikey (the lovely ex) and I paid a visit to Steve and quickly fell in thrall with the tiny bundle of fluff.

Rex, the wee bundle of fluff

Taking A Moment
Steve and Rex share a 'moment'

The Up-Shirt Maneouver
The up-shirt maneouver

25th December, 2006. I had a really crap Christmas morning, and so in order to process things, pull myself together and avoid sharp objects, I took myself and the camera off for a walk. Here are the results (clicky click to see them larger):

I wasn't feeling too sparkly, but this heart cheered me up no end.

Says It All, ReallyExperiment
Apologise not accepted! (left) and this sign made me laugh so hard! (right) "Junk mail biodegradability experiment in progess! Please impale neatly on fence."

Pretty Pictures - Part 1

I took quite a lot of pictures over the Christmas and New Year period. However, with general busy-ness and lack of access to a powerful pc over the holidays, I've gotten behind in putting them up here and on Flickr. So, here's a bit of a catch-up.

A leisurely afternoon of eating, drinking, laughing and playing "Cross-country Croquet".

Boxing Day at Kt & Sam'sBoxing Day at Kt & Sam's

Boxing Day at Kt & Sam'sBoxing Day at Kt & Sam's

Boxing Day at Kt & Sam'sBoxing Day at Kt & Sam's

[Click any of the pics to be taken to the photo's page on Flickr, or click here for the full set on Flickr.]

5 Odd Items On A Loose Holiday Theme

  1. I agreed to feed a friend's cat for 4 days or so, whilst she visited Canberra over the Holidays. On day 1 I thought it a little odd that my friend hadn't left out all the food on the bench, as she said she would, but a short hunt in the pantry located what I needed. Day 2 I thought "I can't remember that bag of groceries being on the sink?", but proceded to empty the kitty litter tray (blech) and feed the cat. Day 3 ditto. Day 4 was HangOverDay and I actually forgot all about it until the evening, but I thought it was the day she was due back anyway. So I rang my friend the cat-owner... yup, she never went away, and had sent a text message to my (lost ages ago) mobile phone telling me such. I had been letting myself in by chance during the times she was out doing errands and stuff, and lucky old Gypsy (the cat) was getting fed twice. Gypsy thinks the holiday rock now. Oh, and Sarah thought she had a constipated cat because the litter tray was looking decidedly unproductive.

  2. Sometimes Sydneysiders surprise me, in a good way. New Year's Eve can sometimes be an agressive time, especially where alcohol and narrow minds are involved. However, on my trip home from Mikey's cocktail party we passed a group at a crowded bus stop of about 6 young gay guys, two of which were clearly a couple, having boisterous high fun. Cuddling, kissing and having fun. Nobody in the crowd particularly seemed to care. Then a young gay couple got on the crowded night bus, and one of them had obviously had way too much to drink. His boyfriend cradled his head against his chest and held him all the way home, stroking his hair and making sure he was alright. Again, no homophobic reactions or aggressive looks, which given that the bus was at least half full of alcohol fueled youngsters, I though was pretty impressive! A very grown up way to behave.

  3. The penthouse apartment in Mikey's building had security guards with headsets and a guest list for their New Year's Eve celebrations. Just breezing through the foyer and past them made me feel so Hollywood. I just needed a tiny dog, huge sunglasses and a red carpet nipple-slip.

  4. The thing you could bank on in Newtown during the entire Christmas and New Year holidays was that you could get Indian food. A couple of other places were open on and off, but the Indian Restaurants seemed to never close. Even the porno bookstores were closed for some of the time...

  5. I was going to suggest this as Hangover Cure #7, but in fact it's less of a cure and more of a way to wallow; read 2 gay romance novels cover-to-cover. Gives you a perfectly good excuse for a) a boner, b) some laughs and c) some tears. All at the same time!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Giving A Bad Impression

Ok, it's much later now and I've rallied somewhat. Whew. I think I was sweating out pure cocktail there for a while.

I just realised that I ended 2006 with an entry about poppers and dirty monkey sex and started 2007 with a post about being broken by a killer hangover. Skank!

Wow. I imagine my horoscope is really spectacular right now. (Insert joke about Uranus...)

I'm Broken

Alcohol is a bad, bad, bad thing... m'kay?

Mein Gott. I had a fabulous time at Mikey's cocktail party last night, but now I'm so very, very broken.