Friday, June 29, 2007

Unfortunate Name

My friend Judy just sent me this on email...



...which just goes to show that she understands my sense of humour perfectly.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

File This Under "Keeping The Wolves From The Door"

My job here at the Big Christian Charity finishes tomorrow, and given the recent arrival of my nemesis I'm ready to move on. (My nemesis and I had a massive fight yesterday! I didn't tell you because I would have spilled stinking black bile all over The Internetz. Today, I've moved on.)

The person I normally deal with at my agency is on leave at the moment, so getting someone else to take an interest in my case has been frustrating. I did some lobbying and networking of my own today and I've scored a short term stint back at the first department I worked at here at the Big Christian Charity. It's a compromise, but at least it means gainful employment for a little while and a safety net to find something permanent.

Plus it's back with a bunch of people I used to enjoy working with... and no nemesis.

Actions Have Consequences

One night of passion...


Jackie Beat and 'friend', [courtesy of Thom at Fabulon]



Can mean a lifetime of explanations...




Photo by George Platt Lynes

The Wednesday Night Irregulars

I feel a wee bit improved today, still hacking and all but not as badly and my chest doesn't feel as tight. Oh, and it's not raining! Not! Raining! (Sure, rain is forecast for later, but let's not be a buzzkill m'kay?)

Maybe it's the therapeutic powers of beer and conversation. After hardly going out at all for the past couple of weeks, I decided to catch up with the regular Wednesday pub crowd. The irregular regulars, if you will. Fun! Beers and laughs were had, and conversation ranged far and wide. As far as the comparitive bulges (or 'bluges' thanks to a famous typo by James) of all the current crop of Big Brother boys, for example. Highbrow!

As it was I was home and tucked in bed before 10.30, and only had a couple of beers, so I'm sure the evening could be labelled therapeutic.

Good for the soul, at least.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Have Succumbed

There comes a time in every novice knitter's life when you just have to look deep within yourself, to search the darker recesses, to consider the daunting and the scary and to bite that bullet and say to yourself "It's a right of passage, and I'm up to the challenge."

To knit the first pair of socks.

Oh, you may laugh. You may until you go ahead and pick up those skinny little double pointed needles (that's sharp at BOTH ends, just so we're clear). All FIVE of them that is. Five needles! At the same time! 5 teeny, skinny, doubly pointy sharp needles that look like they are so skinny and so, well, many that you just know the stitches are going to fall right off those suckers as you try and juggle 5 needles with only the 2 hands that nature saw fit to give you.

So, I'm ready for the challenge.

Oh and I've got some cool yarn on the way. Passionfruit it's called and it's giving this fruit the passions, and that's for sure. The photo doesn't do it justice. It's all purply and olive green/grey in real life, and even though it's also scarily fine to go along with the scarily skinny needles I still love it unreservedly.

Fun times ahead.

Well You Can Colour My World With Sunshine Yellow Each Day

Fresh on the heels of me extolling my love for the Grammercy Park Hotel's new colour palette, comes a collection of colour palettes inspired by Old Master paintings over at ColourLovers. Fabulous! I think I need to paint a dining room 'Picasso'...

[Link via the always colourful thingsmagazine.net.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Miraculous

On the way home from my (aborted attempt at an) honest day's labour yesterday I popped into Borders at Parramatta to find something to read. I normally prefer to shop at the small independent booksellers, but Parramatta is pretty short on those and I needed something for the ride home.



The upside of shopping at Borders is that they seem to be having some pretty agressive sales on some interesting new books these days. A week or so ago I had flicked through a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver in a bookshop in Newtown. I put it back down again though when I decided that as interesting at seemed I didn't want to pay the $29.95 paperback price at that time. So I was especially pleased to see that Borders had dropped the price by $10 to $19.95!

Does that make me sound cheap? Tight? I hope not, but with the rate I churn through books it can get to be an expensive habit when you buy lots of books around the $30 mark.

Anyhoo. I was really intrigued by the idea behind the book. Barbara and her family relocated to a small farm, and took this as an opportunity to try and spend a year only eating food that was seasonal, locally produced, or at least whose provinence they could vouch for. Basically eating the way recent generations ate, and much of this planet still does. What they couldn't produce themselves they would source from local growers.

Along the way Kingsolver examines how the industrialised food production system works, the phenomenal amount of resources expended and cost added in trucking out of season produce across the world, obesity and processed food, and how out of touch most consumers are with really fresh good produce. It's fascinating stuff, and just starting to read it has made me want to seek out local growers' markets and think more about the value of a really good in season tomato. Or apple. It's kind of sobering to think about just how old some of this stuff is by the time it arrives in the supermarket, how little the grower receives and how much of the value of the item is made up in petrol and freight.

It's an interesting read, full of the personal as well as the political. There is a website associated with the book, where you can read more about it and even print off some of the recipes that are in the book.

Food for thought. (Sorry, had to.)

One Of THOSE Mornings And One Of THOSE Entries

I'm still struggling with this verchacte bronchitis, and frankly it's getting even more boring for me than it is for you. For realz. Trudging into work every day through torrential Winter rain is officially Not Helping me get rid of this thing. After one of the worst drought periods in history we now have been blessed with endless, endless rain. Or so it seems. Right now I'm starting to doubt that I may ever be completely dry again.

(Oh, and I become a drama queen when I'm sick. Prone to hyperbole.)

Yesterday I made it into the office, stayed an hour and a half, and then turned around and went home again. A total of nearly three hours of travel time for an hour and a half spent in the office. You know, something is not right with that equation and I should have just saved myself the bother. Hindsight, you know?

I feel a bit like that maiden aunt that does nothing but talk about her bad veins and bursitis at the moment. Middle of the night coughing fits do not good blog posts make. Hey kids, let's rap about sputum!

See?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Flame On!

I caught Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer on Sunday morning with Mikey (the lovely ex). The verdict? Somewhat disappointing. Thank God that Chris Evans has a completely gratuitous contractual obligation shirtless scene. Seriously. It took my mind off the script for a minute (actually, it took my mind of everything else but his furry pecs for a minute). That's a Good Thing.



And if I didn't have a thing about the skin tight wetsuit look, then I do now. Nice packaging, huh?

Such a big budget quality franchise and yet such a lame cobbled together script. How do they do that? It had great moments, the action scenes were largely, well, fantastic but the poor actors looked like they were struggling to get enthused with some of the lines they had to utter.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Long Way From 28 Barbary Lane

My friend James mentioned to me on Saturday that he had bought the new "Tales Of The City" book "Michael Tolliver Lives". I was kind of surprised that I wasn't aware of it before because I'm a big fan of the series (having started reading them around 20 years ago when only the first few had been published). I was stuck for a book to read on the train home a couple of days ago, so I popped into Borders with some excitement to see if they had it. They did.

I was a bit daunted by the $32.95 price tag on the large 'trade' (appropos?) sized paperback, especially when a flick through it showed that the text was equally oversized and a bit sparse. Given that the book is set in the present day with our young hero Michael 'Mouse' Tolliver now a 55 year old, maybe the large format text was thematic.


The cover of the Australian edition. In my opinion, thoroughly underwhelming.



I'm not a fan of the Australian edition cover (above). The design itself is ok and very eye-catching, but unless it crops again up at the end of the novel (I'm not there yet), the orchid shown on the cover is only mentioned in a throw away aside in one line in one scene. It just doesn't seem to fit this book. I much prefer the overseas style cover (below) which at least places the story in the context of San Francisco, the city which itself is almost a character in all of the novels.




The cover of the overseas edition. I think this places it much more into the "Tales Of The City" oevre.



It pains me to write this, but it's just ok. I haven't finished it yet but I'm around 75% done. The other "Tales Of The City" books always entertained with their outlandish coincidences, topical storylines, loveable characters and sense of this large collection of friends being 'family'. I don't get that from this book.

I read a somewhat scathing review in the online UK Guardian, much of which I sadly agree with. (A less opinionated publisher's review is here.)

The novel is entertaining enough, but doesn't read like a 'Tales' book. For a start the invisible narrator (Maupin himself) is absent and the novel is written in Michael's first person voice. Sure the characters are older and their journeys have changed. Sure people that we loved intensely once and thought we'd be Best Friends Forever with move on. Sure we live in complicated and difficult times. But, where's the joy? Where's the novel 'family' we grew to love? Largely absent, sadly. Taking some of the charm with them.

I don't hate it. Not by a long shot, but I loved these books and these characters. I do think Maupin has lost his way here somewhat. In trying to make a later instalment with older, more adult characters who reflect the changes of ageing he has lost the fun of the earlier books.

I guess reading it makes me feel sort of a bit sad and old myself in an odd way. Like you sat down with a bunch of longterm friends, only to think "you know what, we used to be more fun than this".

Pirates, Log Cabins and Small Men In Big Coats (or The Post In Search Of A Theme)

Sweet, sweet Jeebus it was freezing cold this morning!

I got to bed late last night (hey thanks The Amazing Race: All Stars! and adios princecitas Oswald and Danny) and when I woke up this morning it was cold and dark and I really, really did not want to get out of bed. But I did. Lurching around my room like a zombie in search of robe and slippers (if zombies shiver and cough like they are hacking up an undead lung that is). Fast forward to a freezing cold bathroom and a hot, hot shower which gave rise to a thought process around the concept of staying under that stream of warm deliciousness forever.

An hour and a half, two train rides and some steely resolve later and I'm trudging the 20 minute trudge from the train station to the office in my big English cashmere & wool coat, scarf and somewhat pinched face. I'd like to think I looked Wintery and stylish and so very European, but suspect the effect is more cranky Teletubby than Milan catwalk.

So many pretty word pictures, right? Anyhoo, that's been my morning so far but let's press on.

In a bid to try and rid myself of this kennel cough I stayed in last night and consequently subjected myself to some bad television. Specifically, Pirate Master which is the sort of show where people labelled Scientist/Exotic Dancer wear bad pirate drag like they are drummer #2 in an Adam & The Ants cover band, and stomp around a really shoddy piece of art direction talking about how they 'intimidate' others. Right. If being a wanker is intimidating, sure. I suspect what they really mean is "I have a history of problems with people, but I'm not prepared to consider that the fault lies with me.", you know? They cannot be blamed for their fabulousness being a problem for others, obviously.

So. Pirates. Or Survivor: Eye-patch Edition as I came to think of it.

The one thing I did do last night that I'm proud of, and that did not make me want to throw anything at the television, was try some log cabin knitting. Love it! I started knitting some squares for the charity Wrap With Love in preparation for the Knit-In next month. 25cm squares of garter stitch (just basic knit stitch repeated endlessly) are kind of boring to knit, so I thought it'd be a nice little object to give log cabin a try. Fun! I might take a stab at knitting a throw rug for myself at some point using this technique.

My night ended with The Amazing Race: All Stars! to the clack of the needles before I tottered off to bed. And now gentle reader we have basically come full circle in one of the rambliest posts in a good long time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Living Colour

I'm a very visually driven person and I absolutely love colour. To be truthful, it's a love that borders on an obsession. I've studied quite a bit of art history over the years, read a lot about art and have even taken some colour theory studies for artists. I'm an art fag, it's true.

In particular I've always been really drawn to the beautiful jewel tones of lots of Medieval and Renaissance art. The dark reds, clear greens, rich blues and browns that are derived from a palette largely made from mineral pigments. I especially love the Northern Renaissance painters like Jan van Eyck, who seemed to have been able to make these colours glow even while embuing all of their works with the cool grey light of a Netherlandish winter.


Jan van Eyck's portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his bride, 1434.



So I was particularly excited to see the Apartment Therapy story about The Grammercy Park Hotel. The Grammercy Park Hotel recently reopened with a complete makeover inspired by this exact sort of colour palette, in this particular case based on the works of Raphael.




The 'Cowper Madonna' by Raphael, c1483-1520.



Oh my gah, I'm in love with these interiors! Weirdly such intensity of colour almost looks modern to me. Maybe because we've become so used to the ultra moderne white box by now, that to see such rich and vibrant colour handled so skillfully looks kind of new. Instead of very, very old like the inspiration it comes from.





It may be a bit much to have an entire house done in such a scheme, but I think it works beautifully for somewhere where a bit of drama is called for. Like a hotel, a nightclub, or in a home perhaps a dining room! Could you imagine a candelight dinner in a room such as these?







Fabulous.

Thanks

Thanks for the sweet messages and well wishes everyone! I'm still not well, but definately on the improve. Sadly it appears that I have passed the baton to my poor flatmate who is now suffering badly. Oops.

I share because I care, you know?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Checking In

Hey ya'll. Thanks for the sweet Get Better Soon! messages after my last post. 3 solid days of staying in bed and sleeping as much as possible (surprisingly, between coughing jags, quite a large amount) seems to have broken the worst of it. No more fevers and even my cough seems to be more Chihuahua now than Irish Wolfhound.

I'm back in the office today, even though I still feel quite shitful. I'm so dedicated! To income. I'm dedicated to not starving.

As a welcome back gesture my nemesis decided to totally rearrange my desk to her needs in my absence. Moved my monitor, changed my chair set-up, went through my desk drawers... Oh, she slays me. I don't think she's going to last her probationary period to be honest. Her latest trick is shouting down the phone at our elderly clients, not angrily but it's like if they didn't understand her the first time (she has a thick Singaporean Chinese accent) then SHOUTING WILL MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND.

Anyhoo, this is about me not her. I'm still low on energy and verve so I'll hopefully be back with something entertaining tomorrow. Kisses, and thanks again for the good wishes!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Short Break

Sorry for the short break in transmission everyone! I'm really sick with bronchitis at the moment, so I probably won't be around much for the next day or so. I had the start of a cough at the end of last week, but then getting caught in torrential rainstorms on Friday and Saturday helped it along nicely to being a full on bout of bronchitis. I've basically been in bed since Sunday. Fun! I guess I have hot lemon drinks and crap daytime television to console myself with.

Anyhoo, have fun and I'll see you in a day or so.

Friday, June 15, 2007

5 Wintery Morning Commute Observations And/Or Joys

  1. The Chinese Blanket Lady. There is a tiny sparrow of a woman that I pass many mornings that I like to think of as The Chinese Blanket Lady. She wears this coat that is possibly the ugliest thing you have ever seen, made from some sort of slightly fuzzy and very acrylic looking blanket material, with a design of large stylised Chinese flowers in pastel colours. Peonies writ large. The rest of the coat is trimmed with a knit rib in the most incredible hot orange colour, almost but not quite Hazard Orange. But oh man, she looks so tiny and snug in her big ugly blanket coat that it always makes me want to go over and give her a hug or something. I don't think she'd like that somehow, at least not out of the blue.


  2. The Toasted Sarnie. I had a long cold walk to work from the train station this morning. Eyes tearing from the cold wind and nearly getting blown over as I crossed over the Parramatta River. The light at the end of that tunnel, the gold at the end of the rainbow, was a piping hot toated cheese and tomato sandwich. The sandwich of corner milk bars, car holiday roadside service stations and childhood. White bread, cheddar cheese, thick(ish) slices of tomato, salt & pepper, and then all pressed flat and toasted until the end result is something even thinner than one slice of bread, but crisp and filled with yummy melted goo. Heaven.

  3. Gristle Guy. I have to take a couple of trains to get to work every morning, and one of the longer train rides takes about half an hour. On that trip this morning there was a guy sitting opposite eating his breakfast from a plastic container. Except, in the half hour period he took about 3 bites and it took him the whole trip to chew them. Both cheeks full, chomp chomp chomp he went. He was kind of wiry and skinny and it did cross my mind that he probably expended more energy chewing than he was getting from whatever he was eating. But what could he be eating? What takes that much work? I was thinking beef jerky, giant balls of bubble gum, pure beef gristle, the stringy bits (only) from celery or maybe even a few floorboards.


  4. The Strapping Lad. This is less of an observation and more of a joy really. I'm no Chicken Hawk. Ok, I know I've mentioned young guys in the past but I normally go for guys close to my own age. However, there was a boy of about 20 in the train station this morning that stopped me dead in my tracks. Tall, brunette, massive broad shoulders and yet with a lithe athletic build. All wrapped up in a form fitting cream sweater. Man, I'll bet there are a whole bunch of broken hearts/petty jealousies/distracted tutorial attendees/proto-gay boys discovering themselves on whatever university campus that beauty stalks.


  5. The Sunflower Principle. I'm a bit of a creature of habit and tend to get on the same train carriage every day. Consequently I usually stand in the same spot on the train platform at Redfern, where I board my second train of a morning. Redfern station platforms are mostly open to the elements, so I often find myself standing in roughly the same spot on the platform with roughly the same group of people. Some are there to smoke. Some are there (like me) to get on the first, and usually fairly empty, train carriage. As the seasons have changed we've all moved along a bit. Just a month or two ago the unseasonable warm weather meant we all clustered around the shade given off by the solitary (and slightly feeble) tree in a planter on the platform. Now the cold wind and weak Winter sunshine has us all moving along out of the shade, trying to warm ourselves in the sun. Turning towards the light like sunflowers.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

It Goes Beyond Lust, Now It's Officially LOVE

Because I'm shameless and incorrigible and have no respect for copyright I stole this picture fresh off Mr Mike's Pipedreams. We love the 'Dreams! Go read it right now if you never have. I can wait.



My future husband T.R. Knight, aka George from Grey's Anatomy aka Intern Cutie Pie. The T.R. Knight who stood up to a workmate that called him a faggot, standing his ground and saying "None Shall PASS!" In summery plaid. With a nice set of forearms. With his dog Arrow. The cute puppers that was saved from a shelter and was a gift from his workmate and friend Katherine Heigl.

Cute. Check. Has strength of convictions. Check. Likes dogs. Check. Has loving friends. Check. Looks mighty fine, even in a Western shirt. Check.

Seriously, who can resist this? If you can, well then you are made of sterner stuff than I. There's only one McDreamy/McSteamy on that show as far as I'm concerned.

Connected

About a year ago (or even more probably) I lost my mobile phone. Gone. Lost in the seat of a taxi. On the plus side was the fact that I had been to the cinema and it was still turned off, so nobody racked up thousands by calling their brother in Albania or their aunt on Lesbos, thankfully.

I used to use it and quite liked it when I had it. (Not least for the snerk value of it being a Siemens, because juvenile is how I roll y'all.) I've never been a mobile phone maven though. Once I didn't have it, well I just did without. I know some of my friends think this must be some sort of posturing, about taking joy in being a Luddite. It really isn't.

Or wasn't because now I have a mobile phone!

I met up with friends for drinkies last night, as per a regular Wednesday, and Graeme presented me with a carry bag with a brand new mobile phone in it. He had been cruising around a Telstra store and seen a stack of phones going out really cheap on sale, so bought me one, set it all up for me and put $10 worth of prepaid calls on it as a starter.

Sweet huh? Isn't that just thoughtful and kind and I'm so happy about it. Oh, and it makes me happy that it's a win/win situation. You see it also helps Graeme's mental health by no longer sending him into paroxysms of frustration that I don't have a mobile. Ha!

It's cute and compact and precious and flips like Cap'n Kirk's communicator and it's mine, mine, all mine. Oh, and it's silver and Lady Penelope pink.

I'm down with that. It takes a Real Man to use a pink phone.

[Updated: It's only tiny, but here's a pic I found on online. Cute, non?]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Comfort Food Is Aptly Named

It's officially Winter in this neck of the woods. Dark early, light late, gee my bathroom is fucking cold in the morning, once-in-a-generation raintorm-ingly Winter. Ok, sure, no snow drifts, blizzards or whatever people in the Northern Hemisphere deal with in Winter. Agreed. But still, when you are used to a temperate climate it kind of hits when it's not so. Temperate that is.

Anyhoo. Lately I've taken to dreaming of nummy, warming Winter comfort food on my long commute home. Sometimes this morphs into can't-be-bothered-pizza-delivery by the end of my loooong commute, but in the past week I've been in the mood to cook better and eat better. I've been reading cookbooks and foodie books and that is definately both a cause and a symptom.

So last night I decided that what I really craved [strict vegetarians LOOK AWAY NOW] was a fish stew. Buttery. Garlicky. Frenchy sort of fish stew. I stopped by the supermarket on the way home and bought potatoes, leeks, a red capsicum, some fish (sadly frozen was all I could get), fish stock and some sourdough bread. I knew I already had some butter in the fridge and some garlic in the pantry cupboard, so I was all set.

So I thought, I didn't count on the garlic being well past its natural life span. Small setback. So I crossed 'garlicky' off my expectations and soldiered on.

It was good. I put the potatoes, leek and capsicum into a pan with a little butter and the lid on to sweat over a low heat until the veggies were soft, but not mushy. (Have you ever smelled potatoes and leeks cooking in butter? I would marry that smell if I could.) Then I threw in the fish stock to cover and upped the heat until it was simmering. Next the cut up fish went in to simmer until opaque and cooked through. Once all that was done I lifted it all out with a slotted spoon, and cranked the heat to reduce the stock left. I mixed a little butter and flour into a beurre maniƩ (That's French, bitches. All of a sudden I'm Julia Effing Childs!) and whisked that in to cook a bit and thicken the sauce. Parsley from my garden, then salt and pepper next and I was done.

Pretty easy really as much of the time it was just busily sweating or simmering without too much attention from me. With a couple of slices of sourdough to sop up the juices it was perfect cold night fare. I would have liked to have tried it with a good whack of garlic in it. Maybe even having roasted the garlic in the oven first to give it a mild flavour. Perhaps next time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Knitting In Public

Here are some pics from the Worldwide Knitting In Public Day get together on Saturday.

What you can't really see in these pics is the torrential rainstorm that was thundering down about 10 feet from where we were sitting. Dramatic! Oh, and cold. It was really cold! Despite it being the worst rainstorm in about 30 years we had 27 intrepid (and well rugged up) knitters in total. Not a bad turn out and all, and a fun afternoon.









Big thanks to Kris for organising the event!

Cruel And Unusual Punishment

I must have been a very, very bad man in a previous life. Not even the 'good' bad, but the nasty, mean, evil type of bad. Bad, bad, bad. I am paying for my past transgressions. Karma is a bitch y'all, take it from me.

I'm to spend most of today doing one-on-one training with one of the newbie staff. Yup, you guessed it. Her.

It's entirely possible that by day's end only one of us will leave here alive.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Old Queen!

(No, not a reference to yesterday's post.)

It's a public holiday for the Queen's Birthday! And it's not even her actual birthday! I love the Royals and their eccentric ways!

It's been a weird and kind of disappointing weekend so far. I went to Worldwide Knit In Public Day on Saturday, but not before running around like a crazy man in the morning trying to get things done and arriving home to find my sweet friend Judy was early. Aaargh, pressure! So I threw my things together and we headed out. In a torrential rainstorm, the likes of which Sydney hasn't seen in 30 years. Cold! Wet! (Yay)

To cap things off I managed to break my beloved 50mm F1.8 camera lens somehow. I don't know how, but it was in 2 pieces when I pulled the camera out of my bag. So I was cold, wet, pissed off and even working up a good headache by the time we got to the venue. I actually had a good time and got some pics with my back-up lens (pics to come), but was feeling the cold after a couple of hours. Or actually not feeling my feet anymore. So we spilt. I ended up staying in and watching the teev for the rest of the evening while the storm raged.

Yesterday I futzed around in the morning and then headed off to the pub knitting get together in the afternoon. The weather had cleared a bit but it was still pretty cool. I bought a beer and some food and waited. After waiting for about 50 minutes and nobody else turning up I got tired of sitting there like Nigel No Mates and split. Cue a second night of staying in watching the teev, only this time there was a pizza to mix things up a bit.

So there we have it. I might be catching up with Mikey (the lovely ex) today, otherwise a day of housework is on the agenda.

This old queen really knows how to celebrate!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Birthday Wishes Are The Best Kind

Happy Birthday cutie pie! Have a truly fantastic day. Thanks for being such a sweet commentor and friend over the years. Whether it's here or on your own blog, you know I hang on every word!

Now go ahead, unwrap something pretty!

Kisses.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ay, Dios Mio! It's Crush Time!

[Warning: To all my dear overseas readers please note that The Amazing Race: All Stars is currently still showing here in OZ, so please don't spoiler in the comments if you now how it ends! I'm avoiding the official TAR website links for the same reason.]

Here's my latest crush, The Amazing Race's own Oswald Mendez. Gay, sweet, funny, smart, handsome, caring, a little bit camp (when it's called for) and Ay, Dios Mio! that Cuban accent. Born in Cuba in 1970, and now living in Miami, he is a consultant with an ad agency.

Of all the racers in all the seasons of TAR Oswald (and his race partner Danny) are at the top of my list. They treated everybody with respect and got by on smarts, charm, cooperation and a real sense of fun and adventure. In real life he and Danny are very close, a bond that grew as Oswald helped Danny throught the trauma of losing his partner Nelson to AIDS. Even when the stress of the race got to them they still managed to treat each other with respect and consideration, even when fighting.

I found them a joy to watch.





Mmmmmmmm, knee pads. How thought provoking.





Awkward!

"...and now you may kiss the bride!"


Gown: Gaultier. Embarrassment: model's own.

Picture ripped from the consistently fabulous
Thom of
Fabulon: Life On A Fabulous Planet

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Grab Your Needles! And Your Balls! Of Yarn!

Saturday June 9th is Worldwide Knit In Public Day!



No, I don't know why either! But it'll be fun anyway!

[Actually it's designed to popularise the craft and considering that it is generally a somewhat solitary pursuit, to give knitters a chance to connect, network, compare balls (of yarn, dirty) and generally have fun.]

Kris is hosting the Sydney city event, and one of her workmates Devvy Leys has made these cool graphics to advertise the details. Neat huh?



Click this one to see it full size for more details:



If you're in Sydney and knit, or would like to learn how to, come along and make with the clicky click with the rest of us purling dervishes. If you're in climes more exotic than Sydney then click here to see if there is a group planned near you.

Wrath

I'm furious. Boilingly, white knuckled, steam creating furious. This doesn't happen very often, and I'm not a big fan of it I have to say, but stand back if it does happen. This is going to be a rant...

I've been butting heads a bit with one of the women that I have been training to take over my role here at work. I started showing her the billing process we use, and she has sort of fought me on it every step of the way. Wanting to make changes to the process before she even understands it. I set her the task of updating one of the spreadsheets we use to compile the data and explained the process to her several times. She tore through it, and then when I went in to check her work I found heaps of errors. About half the entries had mistakes. She seems to want to show how competant she is by changing things and working through everything as fast as she can, but the real need here is accuracy.

Anyway, that was frustrating enough. But then I found out that she has gone to my boss and complained that I'm not teaching her anything. (Oh really? Betch.) I explained that this wasn't the case (and filled my boss in on the accuracy issue), and my boss understood immediately. You see, she basically pulled the same stunt on him. She and my boss were talking to our divisional manager, and she said to this senior level manager that she was settling in just fine but that we weren't teaching her anything. Making myself and my boss both look bad.

So she and I now have a problem. I'm trying to get my own work up to date, and write an instruction manual, and answer a 101 daily questions from both of them about everything from how to print an envelope to how to write an email (I kid you not). I'm basically busting a gut and feel like she has backstabbed me big time.

So, next week I will continue to do the correct thing and sit with her. I will show her again the tasks that need to be done, and point out to her that she can change things only once she understands the process and has checked that it stays within the audit guidelines. I will stress accuracy over speed. And if she makes any mistakes I will happily show her just exactly where she has made an error.

If she wants to bring it, I'm up for the challenge.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dominic Cooper

There are lots of good reasons why you should see the film The History Boys. The great ensemble cast. The brilliant Alan Bennett dialogue. Frances de la Tour! (Love, love, love her!)

Here's another inarguable reason, Dominic Cooper:



*le sigh*

Vanity

I had already polished off The Yiddish Policemen's Union (dirty?), so last night as I was getting ready for bed I was casting around for another book to read. (You know about my 'must read before falling asleep' ritual, right?)

Last week my flatmate lent me a copy of a book he really enjoyed, Vanity Fierce by Graeme Aitken. "Vanity Fierce" is a novel of unrequited love, jealousy, schemes and secrets and is set in the Sydney gay scene. That sounds kind of trashy, which is selling the book short because it is actually quite an engrossing read. I had planned on having an early night, but I was still turning the pages well after midnight.

I had quite a visceral reaction to the book. It was published in 1998, which is just after the time that I met a tall, handsome man with dirty blonde hair and a movie star jaw in a bar on Oxford St, in the heart of what was a thriving gay bar scene, fell madly in love, convinced myself he was The One, and hightailed it out of Sydney to live with him in my old home town of Adelaide. If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that that was an unmitigated disaster of Cecil B DeMille proportions. My role was played by Mary Pickford, or someone equally doe eyed.

Reading Aitken's tale of the Sydney bar scene at that time, of living around the area not far from where I once lived, of bar hopping and bed hopping, brought back lots of memories of that time in my life. Nostalgia always wears rose coloured glasses, I know. But, well I couldn't help but think about life then and life now, who I was in my early thirties and who I am in my early forties.

I'm not sure the me then would recognise the me now. And by that I mean both positive and negative, but some of the comparisons were a bit sobering. Eh, that's ageing I guess. I couldn't do the endless rounds of partying I did then now, even if I had the desire to.

Still, it would be nice to meet a tall, handsome man and have him pursue me with the same eagerness that the me then experienced. I wouldn't make the same mistake, but that's what I've learned in the years since, I guess.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Start The Day With A Faceplant!

I was rushing up my street to the train yesterday, and misjudged my footing. I kind of stumbled into a depression at the base of a tree, tried to right myself, and overbalanced. My momentum carried me forward enough that I then did a classic and spectacular faceplant right onto the asphalt footpath. Glamorous!

I took the brunt of the fall on my left knee and the heels of both palms, an automatic manoeuver designed to save my pretty, pretty face. (Otherwise it would have been good bye international modelling career! Close call, don't you think?) The nice man walking in front of me rushed gallantly to my assistance, which was very sweet. You can sometimes depend on the kindness of strangers.

My knee is a bit banged up and still hurts a wee bit. Thankfully my pants weren't torn. Save the fashion! Let me tell you though, you think carpet burns on your knees are a bitch? Or that tiny cigar burn on the inner thigh smarts, the one where Big Daddy forgot himself for a moment? Try gravel rash on both palms. It's not much to look at, just some redness, scrapes and small cuts on both palms. Makes wanking some normally pleasant tasks a less pleasurable experience.

It's a fine line between pleasure and pain.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Recap - The Extended Mix

This weekend was so fabulously fabulous that there is just too much to contain in one, or even two, posts! (Expect lots of adjectives.)

I've already filled you in about the early Saturday morning making of the world's campest cupcakes. Then I've tantalised with a few glimpses of Nat's cocktail soiree on Saturday afternoon. But in my eagerness to show you all the pretty pictures I'm already leaping ahead of myself.

We begin our tale on a Friday eve, a Friday eve like any other. Like any other that is that involves meeting up with Graeme and James, drinking lots of beer, watching drag shows at The Imperial Hotel and developing a spontaneous synchronised seated dance routine to "Blame It On The Boogie" by The Jackson Five. I guess you had to be there, because it all made perfect sense at the time.

(James's has posted about the evening also.)

Saturday I've kind of covered to a point. I only had about 4 hours of sleep, thanks to a roughly 3am home time Friday night and my crap ability to sleep in. I spent some of the late morning trying desperately to pass the 4 hour point, but to no avail. Surprisingly I wasn't too hung over, despite drinking for Australia the previous night.

After the cupcake making and the later afternoon cocktail soiree, Mikey (the lovely ex) and I headed off to the farewell party for Spyder & Gordon. It was a fantastic evening, and very enjoyable even though it was so thoroughly tinged with sadness at saying au revoir les enfants to good friends. (The Cristal champagne helped ride the rough spots. Anyway, who can be sad when there's Hello Kitty around?) Lots of our extended circle of friends were there, and it was great to catch up and share some laughs with folks I hadn't seen for a while. It was one of those parties where you spend 90% of your time in the kitchen chatting, so mush so that at one point some of the boys dragged the sofa in for us. Likewise, it all made perfect sense at the time.

Despite getting home at 2am I was up bright and early Sunday morning. (Seriously, I need to stop blogging about my crap sleep patterns. Like for realz.) So I figured I'd put the time to good use and go and have the underwear shopping spree I had planned, and I headed into the Broadway Shopping Centre.

I decided to swing by and see what was on at the cinemas because I had been meaning to see The History Boys for weeks. (More info about the film on imdb.) As it turns out it was down to one session a day, due to start in 10 minutes. Oh man, I loved it. It probably deserves a post of its own, but suffice to say I am Posner, except for the beautiful singing voice. (Not that I let that stop me from singing Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered all the way home.)

Post movie the underwear shopping was completed at Target, and my favourites were even on sale. Thank you Universe! I had a bit of a wander around the shopping centre, then strolled home to collect my things in time to go to Sunday arvo pub knitting. Yet more beer. Yet more laughs. It was a really great afternoon of chatting and knitting with a great set of people.

Thank you for your patience, that now brings us to Sunday evening where the usual Sunday evening tv viewing (Ugly Betty & Grey's) rounds out our weekend experience. Phew. Give yourselves a round of applause for staying the distance.

And you?

[Observant readers will notice something lacking from this recap. Yes, the planned booty call did not happen on account of a scheduling conflict. BOO! Anyway, frankly I don't know where I would have found the time. Make this quick, the meter's running.]

Hello Kitty Cupcakes!

All of a sudden I feel like the gayest gay that ever gayed!

I made 24 "Hello Kitty" cupcakes to take along to the Saturday night farewell party for my friends Spyder & Gordy, who depart for Melbourne in a few week's time. I used the same recipe as last time, but took it up a few notches with pink, yellow and green pastel icing, star sprinkles, and the piece de resistance - soft sparkly "Hello Kitty" sweeties.



Hello Kitty Cupcakes!



These "Hello Kitty" sweeties were a real find. Remember the bizzaro Death Adder sweeties from last year? Yup, same same! These ones I bought from a different store, the cake decorating place Iced Affair in Camperdown. Like the death adders last year, they just came in a plain bag labelled product of Vietnam. Curious, non?



Hello Kitty Cupcakes!



These went down a treat. The platter didn't even make it to the table before it was two thirds empty! Ever seen seagulls descend on some discarded chips? Trust me. Not. Dissimilar.

[Click the pics to see them larger.]

Nat's 60s Cocktail Soiree

Some weekends are just so perfect and shiny, so sparkly and perfectly formed, that you just want to hold them up to the light, caress them, or maybe even pop them in your mouth and let them roll around on your tongue for a while. Savouring.

This was such a weekend. I spent all Saturday morning baking cupcakes (pictures to follow) for a party later on in the evening, but prior to that party I had an invite for a late afternoon 1960s style cocktail soiree at the lovely Nat's house. Nat had taken possession of a re-upholstered genuine 1960s lounge suite, and had decided that its arrival should be celebrated in style!

So we did!

Nancy Sinatra Style

Touch Up

Full Of Beans

Virgin Mary

The full photo set is here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Everybody's Working For The Weekend

This week can kiss my sorry ass. As I mentioned already, I've been training my replacements here at work and it has made for a long, busy and yet rather startlingly unproductive week. Looking back over this blog this week it feels to me a little uninspired, a bit rushed and, well, serviceable but far from thrilling. It's had it's moments, but on balance I judge it and find it wanting.

(I'm not shilling for compliments, because your mileage may vary and you may be worshipping the ground I blog upon as we speak, but it feel to me like it's been a bit lacking in spark.)

Anyhoo. Sticking with a theme, this weekend is going to be a busy one, only a lot more funner than the week that preceded it.

My To Do List.
  • Make cupcakes.

  • Attend cocktail party.
  • Attend farewell party for dear friend moving to Melbourne (take along said cupcakes, and a jumbo box of tissues).
  • Underwear buying spree.
  • Booty call! (Finally, thank the heavens.)
  • Sunday afternoon pub knitting, with beer.



I may well be kicking it off with some recreational beverages tonight, if I can reach my buddies James and Graeme.

Have a great weekend eveyone!

Oy Vey, Detective

I just love it when you find an author whose work consistently delights. Michael Chabon is one of those authors for me. I've read a whole bunch of his books from his first novel written in his twenties The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (soon to be a "major motion picture", as they used to write on book dust jackets), through to Wonder Boys and his incredible Pulitzer prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Now I'm about half way through his latest, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.



From the Harper Collins website:

What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking 'Alyeska', Orthodox gangs in side-curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its mission statement from the Cosa Nostra - but behind Rebbe looms an even larger shadow... Despite sensible protests from Berko, his half-Tlingit, half-Jewish partner, Meyer is determined to unsnarl the meaning behind the murder. Even if that means surrendering his badge and his dignity to the chief of Sitka's homicide unit - also known as his fearsome ex-wife, Bina.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union interweaves an homage to the stylish menace of 1940s noir with a bittersweet fable of identity, home and faith. It is a novel of colossal ambition and heart from one of the most important and beloved writers working today.


Taste in books is a very personal thing, so I hesitate to say that everyone will love all of his books, but I presonally really love the inventiveness and humanity Chabon brings to his works. This latest book is no exception. Using the style of '40s 'noir' detective thrillers works surprisingly well as the detectives battle the clannish closed ranks of the Orthodox sects of Sitka. All sorts of stylistic parallels are drawn, the putz, the hardboiled dame, the mob boss, and they all work incredibly well.

Loving it!