Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday, Bloody Monday

Is it just me, or are Monday mornings a drag? Problematic. Kinda sucky.

(Don't you feel like someone should invent a cute name for it, like Mondayitis or something? That's be cool, right?)

Actually, to be honest today isn't really so bad. I mean, if I took away the post weekend food hangover I'm labouring under then it would certainly not be too bad. Oh, and the person who keeps trying to fax us on my phone line, if they took their fax off auto redial then it really would almost be a nice day. That would certainly free up the phone so that more clients who have been stewing things over all weekend could get through to complain.

And The Internetz is kinda quiet on a Monday. I often want to write whingey posts on a Monday (case in point). Comments are few and far between usually. The Northern Hemisphere are all tucked up in their Sunday evening beds, having turned in thinking shit, I can't believe the weekend's over ALREADY.

I can't believe it either.

All Consuming

I don't know what the hell got into my head over the weekend, but it was like I heard the rumour that food was about to be discontinued. Panic eating or something. I ate. And I ate. Boy, did I eat. It's like I was trying to create a whole second person from raw materials.

So, carrot sticks, lettuce leaves and a shamestorm from this point onwards...

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I was happily channel surfing this morning, as you do, when I came across a telecast of the 2007 Miss USA Pageant. I only watched snippets of it because frankly I really dislike American beauty pageants. And as to the relevance of this for Australian audiences? Well, I don't get it. (I'm sorry Max & Tim, I know you boys love them so.)

Anyhoo, so I caught a wee bit of The March Of The Fembots (oops, sorry again boys) and into frame came the co-host, a smart suited piece of loveliness with a subtle British accent. I've never seen the US show "Access Hollywood", and didn't grow up watching the UK kid's show "Blue Peter", so this was my first glimpse of the lovely Tim Vincent.

Not his best shot, but nonetheless 2 hot bitches, right?

So well scrubbed and, well, clean. Shiny. In a hot model boy/spokesmodel sort of way. I'm not sure if it was the smart suit or the British accent (probably both), but I just want to ruffle that hair and make him a bit mussed up, you know? To start with.

So that was all well and good. Minor crush material. Then I consulted The Google. I found these pics from the charity events Dressed To Kilt. (That's Tim on the right in the second picture.)

Oy. It's kind of all a blur as to what happened next. I suspect I fainted, or maybe my head exploded. Here's a secret, I love the look of guys in kilts. You know, hot guys especially, but really anyone looks good in one I think. Maybe I'm biased because I'm Scottish on my father's side. I have a short kilt that I wore once to the big Mardi Gras dance party (shut-up), but one day I would like to ket a proper full sized kilt, sporran the works. Now, if I'd ever have the guts to actually wear it, that's another story.

Anyway, this is about Tim not me...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Twinkle Toes

While I'm on the topic of things knitting related, here's a pic of my friend Judy's latest work in progress. I refer to Judy as the sock knitting demon with good reason.

Purdy, non? The colours, the pattern, it's got it all going on. And yes, those bare toeses will eventually be encased and snug as 5 bugs in a rug. Just in case you were wondering.

Click the pic to see it full size.

A 'Mo In A Mofo Of An FO

Well, it's done. My first FO! (Knitspeak for a Finished Object).

A simple beanie in Jo Sharp "Silkroad Aran Tweed" wool, silk, cashmere mix. Colour #117 "Potpourri". The colour is actually darker than it appears in the first couple of pics, it's a really dark purple with other coloured flecks.

I didn't need a pattern, just some basic maths of how many stitches and rows I would need to make it the size I wanted. Probably the hardest part was planning the decreases, and that wasn't that hard. I love the look of spiral decreases, and the amount of stitches I had divided neatly into 5 spirals. Star, starfish or pinwheel? You decide.

It fits! And you know what, it looks pretty good. I've never been a beanie wearer but I'll make an exception for it this winter. Oh, and as promised here is a beanie and beard pic.

Please excuse the bags under my eyes, this was taken at 6.45 this morning as the sun had just risen and the maid was being tardy with the Industrial Strength Eye Cream. Not my best time of the day. That expression is the look of someone trying to take their own picture; doing am I in the frame?, are my crow's feet showing?, how can I hide the double chin?, am I about to drop the camera?... all at the same time.

So, I'm happy with it. My first go at knitting with DPNs (double pointed needles, c'mon catch up) and it got a little hairy trying to juggle all these as it got to the very few stitches at the end. The yarn doesn't have a lot of stretch, and so the rib at the bottom isn't all that stretchy. It fits snugly though because I was careful with the sizing, so I don't think it will be a problem. I'm happy with it, and I have a whole second ball of the yarn left over to put towards something else...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Zwei Toothpicks, Bitte

I had one of those restless, too hot/too cold, twisted up in bedding, face down and drooling sort of nights last night. It's not love that's a battlefield, it's my bed. In the wee small hours of the morning I considered popping half a sleeping pill, but then I would have lurched out of bed as a chemically induced zombie this morning rather than one brought on by sleep deprivation. Tough choice. I'm 2 hours and 40 some minutes into my work day and 2 coffees down, and I could faceplant right into my keyboard at any given moment.

And no, I have no idea why I titled this post in German.

ANZAC Day Knit-&-Gin-A-Thon

It was a public holiday for ANZAC Day yesterday, and I had arranged to spend the day hanging out with my friend Judy. Judy's husband John was marching in the parade with the other Vietnam Veterans, so it was just Judy, myself and her 23 year old cat Rover. Throw into the mix a cool rainy day, some gin & tonics, chocolate, 6 episodes of Rome on DVD*, lots of knitting and lashings of fish & chips and you have a pretty good day of slugging out and chillaxing.

I made a boo boo on the beanie I started knitting a few nights back, but ripped it back and started again from where I made the mistake, and got it 90% finished last night. w00t! I'm loving it so far, not least because the yarn is a lovely slubby aran tweed wool/silk/cashmere mix. So delicious I could almost eat it. It should hopefully be done tonight, my first official Finished Object.

All in all not a bad way to spend the day.

*(Can I just say that one highlight of this show is definately the sneak peek at Mark Antony's fairly substantial willy. James, nice one dude. I also discovered I have a particular affection for the big lug Titus Pullo. Not just because he's called "Pullo" ::snerk::)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anyone For A Hotdog?

Men of the world, I defy you to read this and not squirm.


I woke up at 3 this morning with what sounded like Niagra Falls pounding down outside my bedroom window. After so long without any substantial rain to speak of last night the heavens opened. Like a Grand Opening. Like all of a sudden they remembered how to rain and thought, oh shoot we best clear the backlog. There you go.

It was kind of nice to be home, like some old nanna with my knitting and my 'stories' (although, can I just say that they really need to bring back Scotty on "Brothers & Sisters", because fankly its appeal is tarnished without him). Oh, and to the producers of this year's brand spanking 'new' "Big Brother", when you said that this year the housemates would represent "all walks of life", I didn't realise you meant so long as they were blonde and between the ages of 22 and 24. Nice try with the teetotal Mormon though! (Even if she isn't a virgin.)

Anyhoo. A quiet night at home. A bowl of vegetarian chilli and toast. Knitting. Watching the teev. Turning up the teev because I couldn't hear it over the torrential rain storm outside thank you very much. Even waking a few times through the night was ok because it was kind of nice to hear the rain pounding down, for a change.

Rainy Day Haiku (Or, Short Man's Lament)

Please let me help you,
A cold compress for that eye?
Stupid umbrella...

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Grand Ole Time

I had a great weekend, I hope you all did. It was a real ripper. Put all the superlatives for 'fun', 'relaxing' and 'social' in one place, pile on some frosting and sprinkles, juggle it all by a (not scary) clown - and that's how much fun it was.

I knitted. I shopped. I discovered the kindness of strangers, when someone handed in my accidentally dropped ATM card at the train station. I went to a fabulous 1st birthday party. I went to a pub knitting "Stitch 'n' Bitch' at my local pub, and met a great bunch of people under a giant Frangipani tree. The sun came out. It rained a bit. I had some 'down time'. I slept.

It was positively grand. You?

[Updated: I almost completely forgot to mention that I started with the other prerequesite for a good weekend - a hangover. Thanks in part to Graeme and James on Friday night, and the tricksy deliciousness of beer. Good times.]

One! This Is A Story Of One!

I spent a wonderful couple of hours yesterday at the 1st birthday party for The Dinghy, the little 'runabout' of regular TOA commentor, and my friend, World Peace & A Speedboat. There were friends, cupcakes, sunshine, and somewhere between a dozen or fifty small children (depending on how fast you can count moving objects). I cuddled babies, took lots of pics and ate more sugar than is logically feasible.

A perfect party.

1st Birthday Cupcakes!
Fabulous cupcakes made by the birthday boy's mum, my friend, and regular TOA commentor Speedy (aka 'World Peace & A Speedboat'). No two the same, and all delicious!

Birtday Cake! Anticipation.
Cake for everyone! (left) and the anticipation (right). You could have almost heard a pin drop. Almost.

Given Wings To Soar I Had To Fight A Dozen Small Children For This.
The birthday boy is given wings to soar (left) and I had to fight a dozen small children for this (right). Yum.

Full Of Beans Madonna & Son
Kiddie crack (left) and madonna & son, Adrienne and Oliver (right).

[Click on any of the pics to see them bigger, or view the set.]

Friday, April 20, 2007

Important Question

I know you're probably thinking "yeah, yeah knitting, poopy nappies/diapers in the street and well hung boys in cargo shorts with no underwear are all well and good, you know whatever, but more importantly how is The Beard going?", right?

Well, I'm starting to dig it. It's filling in a bit, it gives me the illusion of a jaw line, and it's kind of soft and fun to rub in a 'I'm giving this concept due consideration' kind of way. Which is now my second most favourite thing after fixing people with The Look over the top of my glasses. It's an expanded repertoire, folks.

Dear Universe,

Thank you for the (almost) compensatory sight of the hot muscle guy in tight, tight pants this morning, however, in future I would rather not be greeted by the sight of a used disposable nappy* sitting in the middle of the footpath.

Missed it by that much. Eww.

OK, thanks.

(* aka diaper)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Boos & Yays

Seriously, too much seriousness today?

I haven't done a boos and yays for what seems like ages, so here goes.

  • Fit young men in cammo cargo shorts who decide, on looking at themselves in the mirror this morning, "Yes, today is a day for a tight singlet and no underwear." (YAY!)
  • Small children (and their keepers) who a) possess a constant nasal drip, b) cannot grasp the meaning of "tissues" and c) do that gross sniffle/snort thing all the way through my morning commute. Seriously, it was enough to put me off my remedial level Sudoku. (BOO!)
  • Banana Bread, source of much deliciousness (YAY!) and calories (BOO!).
  • Leaving the coffee maker on all night in the office (BOO! Oops.) and the office not burning down (MIXED EMOTIONS).


I mentioned earlier in the week about feeling like I had come through the other side of a small battle with the back dog of depression and some health wobbles. As part of that I've been thinking about how different I feel now, how much better, and thinking about changes in my life that I can make to keep things on track. Trimming unneccessary stress was one of the things I've been thinking about.

I just bit the bullett and handed in my resignation from my volunteer job. As much as I have loved running the bookshop at the Buddhist centre, it's become something that takes up progressively more and more of my time, and with the big conference we will be running in mid June (where His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be a speaker) I was staring down the barrel of a period of enormous physical and psychological stress. It was a hard decision to make, because it has been something I enjoyed doing and especially because it's not nice to feel like you might be letting people down.

That one especially. I really don't like to disappoint people.

When my depression was at its worst (and to be fair, it was still quite mild) I felt like the responsibility was a massive weight. I had deadlines to meet and things to organise, and I just couldn't seem to get motivated or organised enough. I started avoiding. It's true that one of the big symptoms of depression is that you find it hard to get pleasure from things you normally enjoy. I knew that intellectually, so even while I was feeling depressed I didn't resign from the job. Waiting for the feeling to pass.

Now though I feel like I owe it to myself to protect myself from back sliding. It's the same result but a different motivation. I would have quit before, thrown in the towel, but now I feel like I'm taking a positive step. Simplifying. Giving myself time and space, and focussing my attention in the right direction. It might sound like being selfish, but I feel more like it's being sensible, acknowledging my limitations and making sure that this positive momentum is kept up.

Colour Theory

After yesterday's post I'm still obsessing about colour. I once did a fantastic one day workshop in colour theory for artists, and it opened my eyes to how colours interact, how even colours we think of as 'hot' (like red) can have 'cool' or 'warm' versions, and how colours can be made to harmonise with each other. It truly was an eye opener.

Cara over at January One blog has been posting some interesting posts about a fantastic colourful blanket she's been knitting, and how she has been developing the colour palette. She's been using a simple and interesting technique to get colour inspiration from photos of nature. Cara's first and second posts explain the idea, and mention her original inspiration from this blog post.

The idea is to use the "Stained Glass" effect in photo processing software to beak the photo up into a range of its constituent colours and tones. The same way that pixellation works. The size of the filtering can be adjusted, and can be used to decrease or increase the amount of tones and colours that are seperated out. Cara mentions Photoshop, but I discovered that even the free Microsoft Photo Editor can do this.

I tried this with a few photos and got some really interesting colours. Colour pallettes that would be usefull for craft projects, or even for web design or graphic design. One concept I learnt during the workshop I did was the value of 'chromatic greys'. If you want to include colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel, blue and orange say, and want to make them harmonise together, then tossing in a small amount of one of the sludgy greenish brownish warm or cool greys that result from mixing the two original colours in varying quantities can do the trick. It's interesting how these harmonising colours and tones crop up when you do this process with photos too.

It's a bit of fun, and can open your eyes a bit to colours you wouldn't see otherwise.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I'm in a big time visual groove today.

I spent most of my lunch time trawling through pictures from recent menswear collections, trying to get inspiration for Autumn and Winter clothes this year and especially to get ideas for things to (maybe) knit. Oh sure, beanies and scarves may be the extent of my knitting skill at present, but I can dream can't I?

Aside from the fact that staring at all these tall skinny minnie boys makes me want to stop eating immediately (and grow a foot taller), one recurrent theme is the colour. I'm already a big fan of grey and black, but I also love purples and burgundy reds and all the shades in between. (I also wear a lot of blue, and some tones of green, but this year I'm thinking it's the Year Of The Plum. Sugar Plum Fairy, anyone?)

Last night I knitted a swatch to test the gauge for a beanie I'm about to start, and it's a beautiful deep deep purple (almost black) aran tweed yarn, with flecks of other colours through it. It's part of the Jo Sharp yarn range I'm so keen on (click "Silkroad Aran Tweed" on the website's sidebar menu and look for colour "117 Potpourri").

So, I'm feeling inspired by:

Gianfranco Ferre - Fall 07 (Photo by FirstView)

I love the colour of this cardigan by Gianfranco Ferre, and the design of the cables and shawl colour. I don't think I could carry off the extended shoulder line, but the rest of the design I really like.

Custo Barcelona - Fall 07 (Photo by FirstView)

I couldn't do the horizontal stripes I think because it would be Hello Dumpy McDumperson!, but I like this combination of grey, black and the plummy red.

Etro - Fall 2007 (Photo by FirstView)

I really dig the colours of this cardigan! I never would have thought of the burgundy colour with the oatmeal/pale grey and the acid yellow, but I think the combination rocks. Maybe not as a cardigan, but as an accessory like a vertical striped scarf perhaps? ::idea!::

Emporio Armani - Fall 07 (Photo by FirstView)

I like the chunky textured rib of this hoodie, and the black and white trim on the sleeves and hem. I'd probably pass on the apres ski feel of the rest of the look though. Not really me. Not 'inner urban homo' enough.

[P.S. I should add that this idea of planning what to buy is new, and really a result of not replacing as many clothes as have been wearing out. I don't know why, maybe because my weight has fluctuated so much over the past 3 - 4 years, but I got out of the habit of buying clothes. Except for the odd small purchase here and there. Actually, when you're my size all purchases are 'small'. Fnar. Anyhoo, I'm not into the idea of disposable fashion so I'm thinking about making/buying things that are quality and will last.]


The classic text The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones (1910) has been digitised.

This makes me happy. I like ornament. I like pretty.

[Link via the always reliable Things Magazine.]

Turn On The Sun

"Turn on the Sun,
Turn on the Sun,
Light up the world,
Come everyone!"

I had cabin fever yesterday and it was a glorious mild Autumn day, so I decided to go out for a wander and get some sunshine. Instead I ended up in a darkened cinema seeing a film called Sunshine.

(Nice segue, right?)

First off I have to say, this is not a 'ziffin film as my friend Megs would say. If you are the sort of person who watches films with a critical eye, saying to yourself "As if!" then this is not a film for you. That's not to say that the logic within the film is poorly constructed, but the basic premis requires a fair suspension of disbelief. 50 years in the future the sun is dying, and after one failed attempt 7 years before, a huge spaceship is sent towards the sun with a bomb payload the size of Manhattan Island. Mission: to turn the Sun back on. See?

Having said that, the film is suspensefull, well acted, visually stunning and thoroughly enjoyable. Also, this is pretty good character driven drama. Danny Boyle also directed Trainspotting and 28 Days Later amongst other films, and I like the way he uses an unexpected visual pallette to enhance the mood and story. Many of the shots in Sunshine have lens flare, or such shallow depth of field that the background is all light bokeh. It's as if 'light' itself is a character in the film, which in a sense it is. The Sun is certainly the presence that looms over the entire film, both beautiful and terrifying.

The other thing that's worth noting, they make spaceship crews kind of handsome 50 years in the future:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I woke up with a sore and scratchy throat in the middle of the night last night, so I'm gonna take it easy today. Stay home, knit, chill out, maybe go for a walk or see a movie. I probably won't be posting anything else today. Have fun chickens, and I'll see you tomorrow. Kisses.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Is Imitation The Sincerest Form Of Flattery?

Probably not, if you're a designer who comes up with original concepts for a living. Sometimes imitation crosses the line and becomes outright copying, and it's interesting to see the just how blatant some of this design copying is. Now there is a whole museum dedicated to showcasing it.

The Museum Plagiarius (or Plagiarism Museum) of Germany. Awesome.

(Oh, and I really like the design of the building it's in too. I wonder if anyone will copy it?)

[Link via Things Magazine.]


What's that line from that song that goes "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"...?

We've all heard it. In that instance it's about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, about lovers leaving in a big yellow taxi, about not knowing when you've had something good until it's gone. The inverse can be true, sometimes you don't know when things aren't great until after they're over. The blinkers come off and things look a lot brighter.

This blog probably charts the tides and changing seasons of my life more than I realise. Good times show through and the tough ones do too. This was really brought home to me a few months back, when I was at the height (or perhaps depths is more appropriate) of a tussle with The Black Dog, the Big D, the ole' Capital D depression. This blog got dull along with my outlook. The word depressing cropped up a few times in reader feedback.

At the time I was kind of shocked, because I thought I was getting by ok. Functioning. Putting a happy face on it. The ole' Back Dog is an insidious bastard though, my experience of it has been thankfully very mild, but even so it's enough to see how the negativity, insomnia and lack of motivation makes everything flat. 2D. In greige.

Anyhoo, the point is that I can happily say that the worst of it seems to be over. That sucker has pulled away from the curb in a big yellow taxi and there will be no lament sung for it by me. Buh bye, asshole! My personal experience is that insomnia is both a symptom and a cause. Treating my sleep problems has been enough to break the cycle that seems to feed on itself.

It's kind of fascinating to see the mind-body connection in action. Just sleeping better, eating better and getting moderate exercise makes a huge difference. Sadly, these are things that it seems hardest to acheive when you're depressed. Motivation is a major issue.

The upshot of all this, and really the reason that I decided to write this, is that for me creativity seems to be a good yardstick too. At my worst I struggled to write blog entries. I stopped working on craft projects. Photography lost its allure. I looked at things I'd been making and thought this is all crap. At the moment I'm in the middle of a huge burst of creativity. I can't wait to have time to plan and do anything creative.

My recent blogging about picking up knitting again may not be that interesting to some of you, but it's a sign of a bigger picture. Happiness.

Klicketty Klack

One of the joys of blogging is connecting with people. Usually just through the written word, but sometimes Das Internetz is the catalyst, the facilitator, the shadchen that brings people together face-to-face. It's always great when you enjoy reading the words of someone, to finally meet them and realise that they are as likeable in person as they are on the screen.

On Saturday my friend Judy and I decided to go along to the Sydney Sity Klickers knitting group, which meets around the corner from my house every couple of weeks. The idea of going was sown by M-H, frequent commentor here and author of the Witty Knitter blog. It was really nice to meet everyone, and also to discover that M-H is as funny, friendly and encouraging of others as she appears to be in print. In fact, we were even discussing at one point how the personality of people who blog comes through in their writing, even if they try to create an artificial persona for some reason.

The talented and friendly bunch of the Sydney Sity Klickers. [Click the pic to see everyone more clearly.]

I was gobsmacked at the beautiful work people were doing, and it was lots of fun to drink tea, eat a really fantastic coconut and rasberry muffin, look at everyone's work, chat and even take a few snaps. If anything I wish I'd taken more photos, because everyone's work was stunning. Next time for sure.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Up Close & Personal

Mikey and I headed over to Gleebooks in Glebe last night to see Adam Sutton & Neil McMahon talk about Adam's biography "Say It Out Loud" (which I reviewed last weekend). You know what? Up close, this guy is adorable. Oh my. Not just handsome, but charming, friendly and sweet. Likewise, Neil McMahon came across as a nice guy, and the two are obviously great friends, but the night was really about Adam.

It was a really good talk, they covered the bare bones of Adam's story, and Adam really came alive when talking about the letters and other feedback that he's been receiving from people. Especially closetted gay rural people. It sounds like the ultra-conservative Farmers Federation is even in talks with Adam to make him a spokesperson to talk to young rural people about youth suicide prevention, issues of isolation and (of course) sexuality.

I got to meet them both, chat and shake their hands, and get a copy of the book signed. They were both extremely friendly, chatting with everyone for a while and asking them about themselves. Afterwards Mikey and I finished off the evening with yummy burrito grandes at Baja Cantina, just a few doors down from the bookshop on Glebe Point Road.

All up a fantastic evening and home early enough to see the first episode of "The Amazing Race: All Stars" on tv. Score.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oh! Suits You, Sir.

Still sticking with the dandyish flavour of the past couple of weeks, I give you my latest obsession - The Sartorialist. Street fashion photos from the streets of New York and Europe. The blogger (and photographer) Scott Schuman also writes a regular column in GQ magazine.

I like his 'eye'. Most of the men in particular have an eclectic style which fits my dandyfied tastes, and even the more traditionally clad guys have a real sartorial polish. Similarly, the women's wear featured is often colourful and eclectic as well. The emphasis for both genders is people who have put together a total 'look'.

Blue Sky Banana

I'm a bit wiped today chickens. I had a late(ish) beer(ish) night with the boys(ish) last night, and today I'm a bit weary. Work is kicking my ass and frankly I kind of feel like kicking it right back.

When I'm short on inspiration for something to write, well that's when I'm tempted to fall back on the pretty for you all to look at.

Blue Sky Banana

I took this picture over the Easter weekend in my courtyard. My neighbours next door have a couple of banana palms that reach high over the fence to cast some much needed shade in my yard. See that beautiful blue sky? That's Autumn folks, because that's how we roll here in Paradise.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mid-Century Fabulous

I'm in love with the collection of mid-century illustrations, collectibles, cruise ship interiors and vintage book covers Tony Davies has posted on his Flickr photostream Bonito Club. In the mid 70s my sister and her then husband travelled to England on the ageing "Galileo" cruise ship, and it's fun to think that they may well have had a drink right here.

Trying New Things

I started growing a beard over the weekend. Just because. OMG, I'm just like crazy like that! LOL. For realz!

I'm not sure if it'll last the distance, but so far so good. I've had a goatee for years and years, but thought it might be nice to give a full beard a go. For winter. You know, butch it up somewhat. The downside is that I don't have a very thick beard growth, so at this point it's looking a little patchy.

Over the past few years the problems I have with my skin (Rosacea) have escalated, to the point where my skin often looks quite red and patchy these days. I didn't decide to grow the beard as a cover up, but it will actually cover the worst parts of it if it grows in thick enough. I guess the only problem with that though is that it'll also make it harder to treat the condition with creams, and might have a detrimental effect.

Of course, all that aside, if the thing makes me look even one day older then it'll be gone in a heartbeat.

Pretty In Pink

I don't know what sort of tree this is that is growing around the corner from my house, but it drops masses of small semi-hard fruit all over the footpaths and the cars parked nearby. They're not so hard that they don't squish underfoot, so the footpath ends up being covered in smushed ones too, but they are hard enough that when I was walking past the other day I heard a couple of them go *bonk* onto the roof of a car.


Every so often the council comes and sweeps them up, but between times it's like a footpath covered in pretty pink berries, like tiny pink Barbie apples. It's all a bit treacherous underfoot, but when they've just fallen and haven't yet been turned into mush it sure does look pretty.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Weekend Recap

I haven't done a weekend recap for a while, and they used to be the closest thing to "structure" there was 'round these parts. 4 day weekends are recap-worthy though, don't you think? Even if you skip the 40% of the time spent doing really boring things, the 20% of the time doing things that only appeal to a niche market, and the 10% of the time... well, you get the idea.

Thursday night I met up with my friend Judy after work and we paid a visit to Champion Textiles in my 'hood. People, there's a whole world of yarns out there and Judy is my tour guide. I love purple, so I gravitated straight to a beautiful deep rich purple classic DK wool from Jo Sharp, in a colour called "Amethyst". Doesn't that just make you love it more? Amethyst.

Afterwards Judy and I hung out at my place, had dinner, nattered and Judy clued me in on a better way of doing some of the technical aspects of knitting.

Friday was one of those 40% + 20% days. I just hung around the house, hung out on the 'net a bit, cleaned the bathroom, knitted, started growing a beard etc. Moving on...

Saturday I spent with Mikey (the lovely ex). We met up at lunch time for a cocktail at The Bank Hotel (mine's a Thaijito thank you very much - think Mojito, but with coriander and other goodies). We followed that with a long leisurely Thai seafood lunch at Thai Pothong, before rolling ourselves out the door and heading over to the Dendy Cinema to see Running With Scissors. I loved it. Sure it departs from the book a bit, but oh man it was funny and the performances were excellent. Joe Fiennes, I always though you were beautiful but with the '70s porno daddy 'tache you entered a whole new area of attraction. Sleazy.

After the movie we headed over to Steve, Bec and wee Rex's house for a lovely dinner, nice wine and good cheer. Yes, aside from a brief pause to see the movie I ate and drank all day. It was good. So very good.

Sunday I paid a visit to a surprisingly empty IKEA with Judy and Rachael, a friend of ours from Canberra. We did all the obligatory IKEA things (except eating meatballs); marvelled at the low prices of some things, cast a judgemental eye over others, spotted cuties, received disinterested service, the usual... Afterwards I hung out at Judy's with her and her son John, watched tv (and in the process discovered that lust has a new face), had a delicious Indian meal that Judy cooked, knitted... it was a lovely way to spend an Easter Sunday. In the process I made good progress on the scarfe I had started on Friday afternoon. (Which is now about double the size of the picture below - I am a demon knitting machine people!)

Yesterday was all about unpacking books at the Buddhist centre, a brief visit to Judy's house to pick up my camera (left behind by accident on Sunday), some more domestic duties, some knitting, and some tv watching. Not the most exciting of days perhaps, but a nice relaxing end to what was a great 4 day break. I felt well rested by the end of it. There was a nice balance between down time and socialising, so that I didn't feel like I was racing from one thing to another all weekend, but importantly was able to look back at the end of the weekend and say I had a lovely time.

And most importantly, what did you get up to?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saying It

As I mentioned on Wednesday I bought the autobiography "Say It Out Loud" by Adam Sutton (with co-writer Neil McMahon) for some Easter reading. Well, it didn't quite make it that far, because I finished it on Thursday night. Once I started it I didn't want to put it down.

Adam and his colt Archie.
Walkely Award winning photo by Steven Siewert - Fairfax.

I was really keen to read it, having first been introduced to Adam's story in the "Australian Story" episode Since Adam Was A Boy. A true life story of a rough and tumble young cowboy growing up gay, having a stint in prison for drink driving and vehicular manslaughter, running away from his sexuality, and eventually coming through it all to acceptance and peace. Along the way he makes friends with with Orlando Bloom, Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts on the set of the movie "Ned Kelly", and Heath's role in "Brokeback Mountain" creates a catalyst for Adam to decide to publicly tell his story. An improtant thread running through the book is the lack of gay role models that Adam had, ones which showed that there are many gay men and women who are far outside the stereotypes presented in the media. Deciding to present his own story was a way of reaching out to other isolated gay people, and to challenge the stereotypes the rest of us might have.

It took a little while for the book to get going, but once the story turns to the tragic car accident, Adam's time in prison and then later as he starts to deal with his sexuality, it becomes a very moving read. I shed a tear more than once. I really recommend it, and it would be an excellent book for any young gay person to read in particular.

[Here's a link to the Sydney Morning Herald review.]

[Updated: I discovered that Adam and Neil will be appearing at Gleebooks in Glebe, here in Sydney, 6.30pm on Thursday evening the 12th of April. Tickets are $10 and are available by phone on 9660 2333. Mikey and I are going along.]

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter!

Evil Easter Bunny sez


Um, I think I might have had a bit too much sugar. Have a great Easter everyone!

[Picture from]

Poor Diet (Or: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Easter)

So far this morning, my food intake has consisted of:
  • A plain croissant (I don't normally eat these because I'm not a huge fan of the buttery fatty taste, but my normal breakfast place was closed - rude!)
  • Several small Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs.
  • A piece of a Macedonian marzipan filled Easter pastry thing that one of our clients gave us.
  • Several more small Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs.

And now I'm about to climb under the desk and hide because it's shame storm time.

A Yarn

As I've already mentioned, I thought I would try my hand at doing some knitting over the weekend, so I was keen to get my hands on some new yarn. Something a little less acrylic than the purple yarn if been playing with recently. Even though I kind of dig the purple colour, I'd be more inclined to wear something a bit more subtle, like a much darker purple maybe. (It may not translate well in the photo I posted the other day, but the colour is kind of over-the-top vibrant.)

I didn't know of any specialist shops near where I work in Parramatta, and I was rushing frantically to get to Borders for a book and then buy some yarn before the shops shut last night. This meant only one thing, stealing myself, gritting my teeth and going into Lincraft. I used to love Lincraft, back when it was owned by the original owners and had a fabulous range and pretty good service for a mega-chain. Then they sold, the good fabrics were ripped out and the cheap tat brought in, the staff levels cut, and it all went to Hell in a hand-basket. I didn't renew my loyalty card. It was sold again and the new(ish) owners have clawed back some of the lost ground, but not by much.

The yarn range was crap. Weird novelty yarns and acrylic mixes for days. I had spoilt myself by looking at lots of fantastic yarns and projects on The Internetz, so I was kind of crestfallen. Anyhoo. I dug around and found a couple of balls of a nice darkish olive green pure wool that I would actually consider wearing, and made my way to the register. A queue, with one staff member serving. Welcome to Lincraft!

I paid with a $50 (all I had on me sadly because I'm mega rich and would never consider to carry anything smaller) and got handed back a huge fistfull of $5 notes, without any acknowledgement that this might be an inconvenience for me, or even without being told how much I was being given back. I worked in retail for many years and would always count back the change to customers. I understand it was the end of the day and that Lincraft might be a soul sucking place to work, but lady come on for goodness sakes. It's not that hard.

So I counted them all out in front of her. Oh yeah, you can believe that I showed her. In your face bad service lady!

Anyhoo, diatribe over. My friend Judy (sock knitting demon) then made me an offer too good to refuse, swinging by a specialist store near home tonight with her in tow to provide technical support. Then afterwards maybe even the chance of checking out her stash... So inferior Lincraft yarn, you may yet end up somewhere at the back of the cupboard after all.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dandy Andy

Recent talk of such things as most special agent Lucifer Box and my deep and abiding love for Rupert Everett should clue you in on something - I love a Dandy.

There's more to Dandyism than Beau Brummell, but let's take this as an opportunity to gaze upon the lovely James Purefoy anyway.

Fop, peacock, call him what you will but I loves me a stylish, elegant, well dressed man with a touch of the uncommon about him. A Dandy isn't just well dressed, he has an element of unique self-expression, maybe even a slightly different take on masculinity, a chappy sort of personal style, even if what he's wearing is (at first glance anyway) relatively conservative. It'll be in the details.

The very naughty Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, "The Avengers"

So I was pleased to find that the Dandy has a home on The Internetz, Not sure if you may secretly be a Dandy? Underneath that flannel shirt? Take the test and find out how Dandy are you?

The Blue Skies Of OZ

It may be autumn, but The Wizard (The Great & Powerful Oz) can still pull out a nice day when he gets set-to with his wizardly ways.

Which Day Is "Hump Day" If It's Only A 4 Day Working Week?

We're past the halfway mark chickens, a 4 day weekend looms. Huzzah! Of course, two short weeks means two weeks of short pays which means Hello! to pot noodles. Eh. If you live in Sydney maybe you should send me your address so I can come around for a free dinner sometime in the next 2 weeks, actually come pick me up to save on train fares m'kay? You're the best, in advance. Got any wine?

My short list of things to get done before the weekend includes stocking up on supplies. Buying some nice yarn to start knitting a scarfe with, buying some potting mix to plant out pots of Sweet Pea seeds I've had in the cupboard since last autumn and buying this book (Borders have it for $10 off). Wow, it's all buy, buy, buy around these parts.

Oh and food shopping. Those pot noodles ain't going to buy themselves.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Who Are This Person?

I'm busy but bored. You know how that happens? It's late in the day, I have stuff to do but no motivation to start it. No gas in the tank. The mind wanders, roves far and wide about anything but work, as is its want.

So in the spirit of work avoidance I bring you something different. A quizz.

One actress played one character who used the following pseudonyms in one film:
  • Denise Manderley
  • Wanda Coleman
  • Gilda Dabney
  • Chloe LaMarr
  • Alma Chalmers
  • Alma Palmers
  • Vivian Purcell
  • Carmen Montenegro
  • Diane Gluckman
  • Mrs Danvers
  • Natasha Ublenskaya
  • Sophie DeVega
  • Mary Jones
  • Lady Edwina Morgan St. Paul
  • Norma Shearer
  • Barbara Stanwyck

Who played this character, and in what film?


Easter Plans

  • Chocolate. Well, it's like mandatory, right? I don't like to buck the system.
  • Knitting. I'm digging it. Off to buy some nice yarn and start a scarfe I think.
  • Socialising. Just so you don't think I've turned into some sort of bon bon eating shut-in grannie all of a sudden.
  • The having of the sex. If I'm lucky. Very lucky. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket, the odds are possibly greater.
  • Unpacking books. Volunteer work at the Buddhist centre. Possibly my least favourite item on the list so far.
  • Housework. Scratch that, I have a new least favourite item on the list.

And you?

My New Neighbours Have A Sense Of Humour

To wit:

Do you think this means we have a shared interest?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Next Project

I know I said this morning that a scarfe would be my first real knitting project. Predictable though, non? I mean, I think I should tackle something a bit more unusual.

You're welcome.

Earth Hour Is A Drag

According to the statistics published in the Sydney Morning Herald article, anywhere up to 2.2 million Sydneysiders participated in Earth Hour by turning off their lights, unplugging unused appliances and minimising their power usage for one hour on Saturday night. Suburban statistics are still being collated, but the city recorded a whopping 10.2% drop in power usage, a little more than double what was hoped for.

My local watering hole The Newtown Hotel got behind the initiative by turning off the lights from the start of Earth Hour at 7.30, and leaving them off for the rest of the night. The regular drag shows were prefaced by local drag artiste, political activist, Celebrity Big Brother housemate and environmentalist Vanessa Wagner.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 2 Earth Hour Is A Drag: 4
MC Vanessa Wagner (left) and Morgan by torchlight (right).

Vanessa made sure we got the environmental message, and after distributing hundreds of mini torches to the patrons gave us all instructions on lighting the remainder of the shows by torchlight. Morgan and I went along to take pictures of the event, and we had an absolute blast. Maybe it was the darkness, maybe it was the audience participation aspect of the night, but it was one of the more friendly and fun nights I have had at The Newtown. Shooting the event was lots of fun too, and has gone a long way to kicking me out of my phtotography doldrums.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 1
Miner's headlights help the bar staff light their way.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 5
Minnie Cooper gets the crowd going.

Earth Hour Is A Drag: 3 Earth Hour Is A Drag: 6
Kitty Glitter (left) and Tess Tickle (right) perform by torchlight. Quiet please there are ladies on stage.

I was kind of impressed to read that participation in the event across Sydney was so high. Sure, it's a drop in the ocean. Like "Red Nose Day", "International AIDS Day" etc, there is both an immediate measurable result (such as fundraising or in this case a cut in power usage), but also hopefully a knock-on effect of information and awareness.

[Updated: As Stil pointed out in the comments and on his blog, controversy reigns about the exact impact this had. Even if the % is overstated, I don't think you can discount the motivational and possible educational aspects of it as an exercise. The important thing is to maximise its usefulness and keep the ball rolling on the issue of climate change.]

It's Just Like Riding A Bike

Some old skills may get rusty, but they're just lying dormant. Biding their time. Or so it seems.

Sure it's only a small square with some garter stitch rows and some stockinette in lurid (but kind of fabulous) purple acrylic yarn, but it was my first attampt at knitting in over 30 years. It's neat enough to be enouraging, yet not so neat that I can look at it and think My work here is done. You know? Anyway, it was fun and after I took this off the needles I had a stab at a sample of 4x4 rib* with the intention of knitting a scarfe for winter.

Only, not in this yarn. Something more natural maybe.

So, it's like I have a new hobby all of a sudden. My gran taught me to do basic knitting when I was around 10, and I haven't picked up a pair of needles since shortly afterwards. I'm a bit slow and fumbly at present, but at least the results are neat(ish) and improving.

* See that, that's technical knitting talk y'all!

[PS: I should say how much fun I had taking this photo. Early morning, using the lovely grey weathered surface of my outdoor table as a backdrop, and trying to angle a makeshift reflector (foil covered baking dish!) to throw some extra light - whilst shooting with the other hand. Muti-tasking y'all.]