Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Form Follows Fabulousness

I'm a design nerd. I will freely admit to that. All my life I have bought expensive magazines, full of even more expensive things, just to sit and look at all the pretty. I've trimmed my magazine addiction over the years, because frankly if you are spending more on Wallpaper* / Surface / World Of Interiors than food, then you've got a problem. A toss up between pot noodles or Elle Decor is a tough call, people.

Anyhoo. I also love vintage design. Put 'vintage design' and 'magazine' together and, well, hello priapism. So I was very excited to discover that German design magazine Form have put their entire 50 year archive online. 1957 to 2007.


Here are 3 pages from issue #77, from the year 1977. You want to know what was hot in 1977?:

Nanna hats. Matching vests and underpants. Cheese.

Big gold caftans. Bilateral amputation. Poirot Poiret Pierrot style.

Chic 'Daughters of Bilitis' lesbians. Naughty nuns.

In 1971 modernists Interlubke had a 'moment' with patterns which they'd possibly now wish to forget:

Meanwhile, Letraset was getting its groovy on:

OMG, Letraset! (I fully expect half of my readership are currently going Letra-what? It's what we old folks used in the days before desktop publishing. After desks, but before computers.)

Do you even know how much of my inner font nerd began with these little rub down letters? Hey, those Star Trek fanzines didn't write themselves you know...

Well Done Australia

So Big Brother has limped to a close after another year. I can't say I'm not glad because this year was pretty dull. Too many people I didn't like, and too few that really shone out from the pack. My flatmate has been a big fan of the show this year, so it's frequently on at our house in the evenings asnd I kind of feel like I've absorbed much of the show through osmosis.

Having said that, things got a lot more interesting with the introduction of a rather sweet, very girly, corset making (and sometimes wearing), proud young gay intruder half way through the series. Zach put some interest into the show for me, and certainly livened up a dull house. It's a tough call to enter a show like that half way through, and survive. But he strode in in a suit, corset and fedora and said "This is me folks." His combination of sense of fun, sweetness, genuineness and pride in himself quickly won over the majority of the housemates.

Lots of gay guys are turned off by really camp guys, but lets not forget that freedom of expression to that degree can make you an easy target. While the rest of us 'pass' and slide by under the radar. After all it was the nelly queens, the drags, and the trannies that stood up to the abusive cops at The Stonewall all those decades ago, and are credited with starting the modern Gay Lib movement.

Ok, I'm not trying to say Zach invented modern medicine or cold fusion, but to make it through the show means that he had a lot of support from the viewing public. Mums, dads, teens, kids, and probably lots of gay people all picked up the phone and voted for someone both flamboyant and very open about his sexuality. So when it was so close last night that they had to keep stalling to check the results, and then Aleisha won with 51% of the vote to Zach's 49% it still felt like a win of sorts. The furthest any intruder has made it through, and certainly the first camp gay guy to make it this far. (Although other gay and lesbian housemates have sometimes done fairly well, but never final two.)

Chalk one up for changing attitudes. A small step maybe, but a very public one.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Say It Now

I think sometimes you can carry around a lump of pain in your chest for so long that it becomes something that feels like a part of you. Something that you just learn to scoot around, ignoring and trying not to probe, until it becomes second nature and you almost forget it's there.

I was channel surfing on Friday night, through the newly expanded set of channels afforded me by my new digital set top box (aka The Miracle Machine), when I found a repeat of the Belinda Emmett episode of "Australian Story" on ABC2. Belinda died in November last year after a long struggle with breast and then secondary bone cancers, being first diagnosed in 1998 when only 24 years of age. You'd probably be hard pressed to find an Aussie who doesn't know the bare bones of her story, a fairly successful career in tv and music, and then her marriage to well known young Aussie comedian and chat show host Rove McManus. Over the years it became clear that things were not all well with her, as she looked increasingly thin and frail during public appearances.

Anyhoo. I had avoided watching the show for a whole raft of personal reasons, but primarily because having lost both my parents to cancer at a fairly young age I thought it would probably be far too close to home. Too likely to probe that tender place, the one so frequently avoided. As it turns out, I was glad to watch the show but, oh man, it slayed me. It certainly was close to home, and at one point I wept so hard I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stop.

I was doing ok until I got to the part where her father was talking about saying goodbye to her, and being with her as she passed. Which was an opportunity I missed with both of my parents, and I think that the pain of grief is maybe easier to live with than the pain of regret. Of lost opportunity.

The important thing I took away from this, and a lesson I'm thankful for being reminded of, is that it's best to say NOW the things you need to say, because one day you may miss the opportunity forever.

The Ubiquitous Semi-Frequent Monday Morning Weekend Recap


I spent the majority of Saturday afternoon on my hands and knees with my ex. Fun times! Nail punching, sanding, taping and painting his skirting boards. Mikey (the lovely ex) had all new floors put into his glamorous apartment high above Darlinghurst a few months back (think pale grey washed timber, very swish) and with new floors come new skirting boards. Only in plain unfinished MDF (not so swish).

Painting together highlighted one thing about Mikey (tle) and I. Mikey is very result oriented. I'm very detail and process oriented, and enjoy the journey. Mikey manifests this as what's the shortest route to an end result? (ie let's slap the paint straight on). Where I manifest this as you do know that these need to be nail punched, filled, sanded, taped off and undercoated, right? Oh, and by the way, that tape isn't straight. The Virgo nature runs deep to the bone, people. I'm not saying Mikey's approach is wrong, at all, in fact Mikey kept the end result in sight. I can get too bogged down in minutia. A blend of the two meant that we got all the prep work done, and about three quarters of the undercoating. Neatly.

Afterwards my ancient knees and lower back were protesting, so I spent the night in with David Tennant. First Dr Who and then David's appearance on Parkinson. Who knew he has such a lilting Scots accent? Oh my gawd. Maybe it's my Scots heritage, but don't ever bother to dirty talk me, or whisper flattery in my ears, just pretend you're from Glasgow. Or Edinburgh. Och aye.

Yesterday I saw the latest Harry Potter film with my friend Stephen who was visiting from Brisbane for a few days, and a couple of other friends. The film was lots of fun, slick and lush as expected, paced fairly well, engaging and one of the most fun cinema experiences I've had for a while. All the films have a consistent look to them, but some of the design elements of this film (the headquarters of the Order Of The Pheonix and the Ministery Of Magic in particular) were stunning. And not in a predictable way. I think the design team on this film, and the groundwork laid by the previous films' teams, really should be commended.

Afterwards I headed into Woolloomoollo to meet up with James O'Brien and attend the Gay Bloggers Meet. I was supposed to then go and do a photoshoot with a band after the Blogger meet, but I got a message to say that it was cancelled, so I was free to stay on at the meet and have a few more beers. I had a great time. James describes me as far more social than he is, but there were times last night when I felt unaccountably shy and it seemed like the shoe was on the other foot. I certainly met a nice group of guys, and suddenly have a whole lot of new blogs to check out. So afterwards James dropped me off in his neighbourhood, and as it was quite a mild night, I walked the rest of the way home.

A nice end to a fun weekend. How was yours?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Passionfruit Toes

I mentioned a while back that I was going to join The Cult Of Sock Knitting, and well, I did! I'm knitting the basic simple ribbed sock from the last issue of Interweave Knits Magazine. Toe up and with a short row heel. (Non knitters - if that means nothing to you, don't sweat it because a few months ago I had no idea what any of that meant either!) My only adjustment was to add some stitches to the width to accomodate my EEE hobbit feet.

I cast on last weekend using the most cunning seamless 'Middle Eastern' cast on, and after some schooling up (and some talking down off the ledge when things got hairy) by the Knit Whisperer, our very own TOA commentor Cecilia, I'm now powering along. The yarn is lovely, a hand dyed fine merino from The Knittery in the 'Passionfruit' colourway (apropos?).

Here's the proof:

It's early days yet. Once finished the sock will be blocked (dampened and stretched on a form) to give it a more traditional sock shape. The pattern results in a slightly pointed toe, but once on this should stretch out into a more regular shape. The yarn is beautiful, both in colour and feel, and should result in a handsome pair of soft, warm socks. Passionfruity ones.

I PR Things, Sweetie!

I had the pleasure of being Mr James Charles O'Brien's Plus One to a CD launch last night at the very swish Hugos [sic] Bar Pizza in King's Cross. (Yes, James, as you mentioned I still hold my ground on the apostrophe issue. It even burns me to write it.) This was the pink drinks function I wrote about a few days ago. The pink drinks were thematic you see, as the CD being launched was Hey Eugene! by latin lounge 'genre bending' 12 piece outfit Pink Martini.

Cameraphone Photo by Mr James Charles O'Brien, Esq

What a fun night!

As James mentioned in his blog entry, we were probably the oldest people in the room by at least 10 years. Having both come straight from work, we probably also looked like the only people in the room with serious jobs. Industry execs style.

I don't know what I was expecting, but it was kind of a fabulous but strange event for a launch. Maybe this is the way things are PR'd in this day and age? Hire a swish and expensive venue. Put a 'door bitch' glamazon on the door who takes her job very seriously. Spend a fortune on free nummy nums cocktails, stacks of free CDs on every table (I took a few, natch), free gourmet pizza, dim the lights, strew rose petals all over the venue (and even in the drinks) fer Chrissakes... and then invite a bunch of (almost) teenagers who look like they could hardly afford a CD, let alone work in the industry. That's sort of it. Have some free drinks, and some free pizza, and help yourself to as many free CDs as you want.

I guess it works though, I had a great night and I have been playing the CD all morning... and I love it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm TOA, Fly Me

Up, up, and away,
With TOA,
The friendly, friendly waaaaaaay! *

It's an homage to air travel here today. Not boring humdrum discount air travel, but the days of highballs, smoking sections and Pucci miniskirted 'Stews'. Glamour. When people dressed up to travel, the food was real food, the flight attendants were glamazons and the young Brioni blazered exec in 12B was a likely candidate to join the Mile High Club with.

  • Braniff International were one of the first luxury airlines. Vibrant sexy uniforms by Pucci (and later, a more subdued Halston) were just one of their trademarks. Sadly the days of shag carpeted aircraft and upstairs bars on 747s are a thing of the past. Look back in awe on the Braniff International official site, and a Braniff tribute site and the Braniff pages.
  • Gail Salenius runs a customised Barbie doll site, but was a Braniff hostess back in the day and has kept all her Pucci designed uniforms.

  • Speaking of uniforms, Cliff Muskiet is a purser with Dutch airline KLM, and has a huge Stewardess Uniform Collection.
  • Look back on the glory days at The Airchive, a comprehensive museum of commercial aviation, old and new.
  • Search through AirlineMeals.net and compare the plastic wrapped lunch boxes of today with the Wedgewood china Chicken Kievs with Chef Salad of the past.
  • Remember Pan Am? Here's a fab Pan Am tribute site (with a sobering list of accidents).
  • Eero Saarinen built a fabulous one or two, but check out some other beauties at Old Airline Terminals (shield your eyes, the webpage design is a little horrendo and bright.)

There are some passionate collectors of airline memorabilia out there. Both fabulous and strange:

* With apologies to the late, great Aussie airline TAA.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Number 1 Song In Heaven

It's a funny old thing, memory. A comment over on Thombeau's fab blog Fabulon about a song being 'disco heaven' reminded me of the phrase "the number 1 song in heaven". Which of course can only lead to one thing... Sparks! Here's another big love of mine from a time (and galaxy) far, far, away. 1979 in fact. A place and time when as a budding homosexualist I used to think the lead singer, all curly brunette mullet and all, was kind of cute.

"The Number 1 Song In Heaven" by Sparks, 1979:

The Big Question

While I'm all about the questions, answer me this:

Who in this building has a mobile phone ring tone of Celine Dion singing "I'm Alive"? And further to that, how do you define justifiable homicide?

Pink Drinks

What do you think it says about me that I scored an invite to a function that advertises complimentary pink martinis? Discuss.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It Is, Indeed, In His Kiss

Here's a quickie post I had sitting in my Drafts folder for the past few days. I didn't want to overload you all with too much YouTubey goodness, but in lieu of time to write anything with a high fabulous quotient today I present this for your edification. The two clips are "Torchwood" related montages set to music by fans. Both feature Cap'n Jack heavily, and pay more than lip service to snogging.

"It's In His Kiss" an hommage to Cap'n Jack and the art of kissing, created by the very talented misanthro.

"Filthy/Gorgeous" - a tribute to the boys of Torchwood by claritylore. When the text graphics kick in on this one it really gets fun!

Oh, and both feature a degree of man-on-man action so depending on where you work might be considered NSFW. If that's the case, get yourself a new job stat.

Work, Work, Work

Sweet Jebus H Cripes on a cracker, it's nice to sit a spell and have some me, me, me time with The Internetz. Which is to say that yesterday I was actually doing work people. I know! Mark that one on your calendars. On the upside, my work day entailed me whoosing out the door at 3.45 in the pm to run an errand for the boss. Nice work if you can get it. It would appear that I'm going to need to manage their expectations though. I mean, more work today.

Sorry for this less than average blog service. You'll accept my apology, right? You're kind and generous, and I really don't deserve you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

There's An Army On The Dancefloor

OK, so the server at my new office doesn't block YouTube like it used to and frankly I'm like a kid with a new puppy. Excitable, much? You know what, I don't even care if alarm bells are ringing all over head office because I can get my 80s music clips on! Expect a tour through my youth for a while.

So, here's my big love The Psychedlic Furs. I own this album on vinyl, and even saw these guys live once in the 80s. As a reformed French Horn player I was beyond excited to see they used one on stage. It's the little things, right?

"Love My Way" by The Pyschedelic Furs:

My local pub The Newtown Hotel has this on the video jukebox, and every time I play any songs (3 for $2 - a bargain) I include this in the set. If you are in Sydney and visit The Newtown Hotel, and this comes on, well look for me in the crowd.

Can I Mop That For You?

On my way into the office I usually stop off and buy a coffee, and every once in a while I'll swing by the bakery to grab something if I didn't get a chance to have breakfast at home. Even though I'm trying to stay on the path of righteousness and rectitude, this morning was a bakery trip morning. I know, I know. Sheesh.

Anyhoo. Moments after wandering into the bakery, I put my coffee on the counter but I misjudged the distance somehow (elderly confusion, I think) and my coffee ended up all over their nice black & white tiled floor. I was mightily embarassed. I get all English embarassed, you know? Not just regular embarassed but all can I mop that for you?, here let me pay for a new floor or at least give you the entire contents of my wallet, I could stop by the ATM too, and I'm a big 'mo but otherwise I'd offer to give you my first child in compensation...

Mortified. In fact so embarassed that given that I was the only one in the bakery, and there were no staff at the counter when it happened, for a brief and unconscionable moment I considered just fleeing. I know, bad right? But I didn't.

I just bought the most expensive danish they had.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I caught the end of the movie National Treasure on tv last night. I saw it at the cinema a few years back, when it was first released. It's an ok film that mines a similar vein to The Da Vinci Code et al, Freemasons, secret codes etc, and at the time I quite enjoyed it despite all the 'as ifs' the film engenders. (Lanterns still filled with oil that light first try, after 200 years? Oh-kay.)

What really sold me on it at the time though (and I was pleased to be reacquainted with this fact last night) was the presence of a certain compact, blue eyed, most handsome of nerd sidekicks, Riley (as played by my next future husband, Justin Bartha).

Can I get a Hell Yes! from all the boys in the house? Sweet Jebus H Cripes on a cracker.

If you need to see more, and join the Justin love, check out his fansite. Lots of yummy pics. Oh, and the good news is that the sequel to National Treasure is currently in post-production and Riley returns. Le sigh.

The Body Electric

Today has been one of those days where I seem to be leaping around all over the place, unable to settle on just one thing, one idea, one task. I'm quite busy at work, but I'm feeling charged, fired up, almost like electricity is about to shoot out of my fingertips. (PS. How cool would that be?!) Not in a bad way, but I do feel a little unsettled.

Aside from work I've been thinking about a big pre-Spring clean out at home. Maybe listing a bunch of the things I never use on an email and circulating it amongst my friends to see if any of them could use any of it (note: include the Breville Health Grill that's been languishing in its box for, oh, probably a few years now!), or giving it to charity. Thinking about buying some new furniture, maybe even trawling the second hand shops for funky pieces I can restore or salvage.

It's a cool but clear and sunny day today, so it could be that there's a hint of Spring in the air. I think that maybe the new job has lit a small fire in my belly, making me think about planning, about to do lists, about simplifying, about streamlining and organising. It's not the first time I've felt like this of late, but it feels like the momentum is building. I've been kind of in limbo the past few months, uncertain about future income and coasting along without making any plans. Time to change that I think.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Don't Know When To Start Or When To Stop

You know when you get a song stuck in your head? And it just goes around, and around, and around until you think maybe I might just be stuck like this forever? Like when your parents warned you about making that face, because you know the wind might change and then you'll be stuck like that?

The source of my current brain lock is "Tenderness" by General Public. Oh gods I loved this song when it was released in 1984. I bought the 12" vinyl (remember those kids?) and wore that thing out dancing around my bedroom. Pure, bright, shiny 80's pop.

(Trivia factoid - If you've seen the movie "Clueless", the song was used over the closing credit sequence.)

A wise person once said that a problem shared is a problem solved, so in the spirit of solving my problem here's a clip from YouTube:

(And here's some background info on the band over at answers.com)

At the time I knew nothing about General Public, except that I loved the song. In Oz they pretty much amounted to a one-hit-wonder, promptly disappearing without a trace once the moderate success of "Tenderness" was over. What I didn't realise was their background in the UK ska movement as members of English Beat. I liked a number of ska bands in the 80s, but was never that familiar with English Beat.

Oh crap. Just thinking about ska made me think about The Specials, which made me think about "Ghost Town", which means that I have a new song running through my head now...

This tow-ow-own,
Is coming like a ghost town...

The (Un)Kindness Of Strangers

As I was locking my front door this morning I noticed that someone had stolen one of my plant pots from the front of my house. Now, what you need to understand is that I live in a renovated cottage, of the type that used to be known as workers' cottages around these parts. It's cute and it's been nicely renovated, and from the footpath to my front door is approximately... oh, 3 feet. Max.

So stealing something from my front porch only really entails leaning over the waist height iron railing. Consequently I'm fairly sanguine about the risk of leaving anything there. I have another pot there still, but you wouldn't lift that giant mo'fo without giving yourself a hernia. (And that my friends would be karma in action, of a sorts.)

Anyhoo. This reminded me of a story I read on a blog years ago. No, not a blog, pre 'blogs' even. An online journal. Of the sort that had to be scratch built and added to without the benefit of pre-made blogging tools. Pioneer style. The journal is long gone, but it was hilariously funny in its day.

I don't condone revenge, but this journaller had it down to an artform. There were the times she snuck fabric dye into her own bottle of laundry liquid, because her neighbour was stealing it. But this made me think of the long saga she had with pot plants being stolen from her own front porch.

She had a suspicion that it was one of her nighbours, a women she would frequently chat to as they walked their dogs in the park. So after numerous attempts at catching the thief, and a bunch of pot plants later, she hit upon an idea. She purchased powdered black hair dye from Chinatown, the sort that when mixed with water becomes a very strong (and very skin staining) black dye. She powdered her pots with the stuff and waited. Secure in the knowledge that the dye looked like regular dirt, and that the person would eventually go to wash their hands and activate the dye.

Sure enough a few days later her dog walking friend was at the park with dark grey stained hands, and a somewhat guilty demeanour. Sometimes karma needs a helping hand I guess.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I woke up this morning and thought to myself well bugger me, it's a bit chilly. It turns out that this morning was the coldest morning in Sydney in 21 years. Ridiculous! Global fucking Warming it's supposed to be called. (I guess we lucked out and got Climate Change instead.)

Anyhoo. Aside from the airconditiong in the building, we have an additional heater going. I'm sorry about the environment, really I am, but this building is cold and it's either the heater or I set fire to my desk. I can now comfortably report that my toes are starting to defrost. I've also passed the second coffee point, and my boss here at the Big Christian Charity just bought me a cherry danish.

(And can I just say, people enough with the food already! I'm beginning to feel like I'm being fattened up for human sacrifice. Christians, I ask you, do you guys still do that stuff? Frankly I'm worried.)

So, warm toes, caffeine and a belly full of cherry danish as it turns out is a perfect recipe for satisfaction. Well, perhaps not perfect. Throw in a bit of 'under desk action' from John Barrowman and that would be perfect. Simple pleasures.


You know the goal posts have been shifted when you get to the end of an episode of Torchwood (like last night's episode) and think "Hey, no fair! There wasn't one single bit of man-on-man action!".

Monday, July 16, 2007


In a rare example of departure from the hivemind, Thombeau and I have been having a discussion in his blog comments about our divergent opinions on the sexiness of fashion designer, turned furniture designer and photographer, Todd Oldham.

I'm in the 'pro' camp, so to speak. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the nerd-chic look he always sports, possibly the tattoos, potentially because he's kind of slightly built and sort of compact, maybe it's the industry discounts and To The Trade access...

Jebus, easy on the filtering and soft focus. This is Todd Oldham not Liza or Bette.

Maybe it's his funky furniture designs....

Many, many years ago I saw a magazine spread with him, his cute husband (are they still together?) and their dogs, which made me kind of warm & fuzzy and bitterly jealous all at the same time. That's how I roll.

On Being Picked Last For The Team

The hot new website amongst the knitterati is a site called Ravelry. It's an online community that's not dissimilar to sites like Flickr (for the photo community), one that let's you share your projects, post photos, communicate with other knitters, even log all of your yarn stash. It's so hot right now. You have to apply to join and are put onto a waiting list. I signed up on the waiting list a while back, because quite frankly I hate the idea of missing out on the fun if there's fun to be had.

While I was at pub knitting yesterday the topic of Ravely came up, and a couple of the knitters there mentioned that they had signed up and around three weeks later were approved and doing their thing. It reminded me that it's been a while since I signed up. Coincidentally Kris just linked to a page on the Ravelry website, the ansty page, that let's you look up where you are on the waiting list.

Here's the thing. I signed up over 6 weeks ago, and there are still more than 2,000 people ahead of me. WTF? I don't know what the criteria for approval is, but as an enthusiastic novice knitter I'm really keen to get on there and start sharing. Ravelry, don't make me use this blog to talk about NOTHING OTHER THAN KNITTING. I will do it.

Suddenly, it's like being 10 and waiting, waiting, to be picked for softball.

Random Bits (With An Emphasis On Retail Therapy)

I am now the sort of man that celebrates special events, like the new job, by splurging and buying two knitting books from the Internet.* Rock on!

After being sick and tired of my less than fabulous tv reception at home, I broke out and bought a digital set top box late last week. Folks, it's a miracle. I'm still struggling with getting one of the channels properly, the signal keeps breaking up, but aside from that everything is crisp and lovely. O joyous day! I had a moment of pause when I realised that the channel I wasn't able to get properly was Channel 7 and that meant no Sunday night Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. I think I even cried bitter, bitter tears a bit. But then the stars aligned and I was able to get passable reception long enough to watch my stories. Yay! George being pensive in high def! Izzie cried (again)!

I spent a lovely afternoon on Saturday with Mikey (the lovely ex) buying house paint for his apartment. Artisanal house paint. Not just any house paint, but the bloody Gucci of house paints, sweetie. Then of course, being who we are, there were drinks afterwards.

I've been knitting a ::blah, blah:: ::secret project:: ::blah, blah:: for a friend and I have one row left to knit before I can take it off the needles and sew it together. w00t! The first time I've followed a pattern. I was dead dog tired last night but I considered powering on regardless. Except, that my friends is when you drop stitches at a critical point and completely screw it up. [/end voice of experience]

Speaking of knitting, yesterday afternoon we had a visitor all the way from the U.K. for our pub knitting session at The Courthouse Hotel. New Zealand last week, and Scotland (via Yorkshire) this week. International Pub Knitting that should be. It's interesting because hobbies like knitting (and the same goes for photography I've discovered) are the great icebreakers. With a common interest like these there are plenty of experiences that are universal, and it's never that hard to get a conversation going.

* For those who might be interested - I bought Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann, because I secretly aspire to joing the Cult Of Zimmermann (and I want to be Brooklyntweed when I grow up). I also bought Scarf Style because there are at least 3 or 4 patterns in there I want to make.

Friday, July 13, 2007


The folks at The Big Christian Charity just made me a job offer, of sorts. Instead of doing my poorly paid temp job they're interested in creating a financial management role for me. Intriguing. ::places pinkie in mouth::

All the positions are graded, so they're coming back to me with a ballpark salary figure but one senior manager has already told me that I can ask for what I want. (The moon, I'm thinking. The moon would be good.) All the benefits that come with working in a permanent role would be good, and something that's worth factoring in.

I guess I'll wait and see what they come up with, but so far they're highly motivated to keep me. Which is nice. It feels good to be the one holding the chips.

[Updated: Well, their people spoke with my people, offers were tabled, negotiated and run up the flagpole to see who saluted, and I've taken it. The job description is still being written, but they've committed to what the job entails and frankly no brainer. How do I put this politely, they have a set of expectations that are somewhat lower than out in the cut-throat commercial world. I did some quick sums, looked up the current tax rates for the salary they're offering, and I should come out well, well ahead. Apparently they also offer some sort of salary packaging deal which should reduce my tax even further. Sweet.]

If You Loved Me You Would Show It By Buying Me Things

I don't wear a lot of t-shirts (I'm normally a polo sort of guy) but I absolutely must have this t-shirt. Oh crap, no wait, this one. OMG.

So. Awesome.

[Link via Freakgirl.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Old People Can Be Poofs Too

I'm currently working for The Big Christian Charity in a service that works with the elderly. My workmate in the office is a very funny young Italian girl. Here is a conversation we had a short while ago:

Her: This client's name is Peter*, but it says here that his partner's name is Greg*.
Me: Mmmmm hmm?
Her: But he's like 70 years old.
Me: [laughing] So? His partner must be a man.
Her: But he's 70 years old!
Me: [laughing] So, old people can be poofs too.
Her: [laughing] I know, but...
Me: But he's 70 years old.
Her: Right.
Me: ...and what, you're thinking it was only invented recently.
Her: [laughing] I guess so!

* Names changed to protect the elderly and homosexual.

English Takes A Beating

I know that my hangover has set me to a shorter fuse than normal, but someone here at work just sent me an email to inform me that a form on our system has been OBSOLETED... and it made me want to break something.

5 Life Lessons For A Thursday Morning

  1. Thursday morning hangovers are Not Good. For a start you can't console yourself with thoughts of "I just have to make it to the weekend".
  2. Does it mean you had a good time if you seem to have one less item of clothing the next morning? Ok, it's only a scarf but the principle still applies, right?
  3. On a cold, wintery, hangover morn the smell of bacon frying is extremely seductive. Like crack seductive. Even to vegetarians. (Or this one at least. But no, I didn't. I sure thought about it though...)
  4. Be sure and check the train station boards before boarding the train. Lest you might look out the window only to find your station whizzing past, as you are on an express train to parts unknown. (At least I got more of my Sudoku done.)
  5. Some mornings you notice someone checking you out and you think to yourself "That's nice. I've still got it going on." and then on other mornings, like this morning, you spot someone checking you out, notice the big fat wedding ring on the finger, and think to yourself "Eh, whatever."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Workplace Hazards

I'm trying to be good. I am. I'm trying to stay on the path of righteousness and rectitude, but yesterday the boss bought us all pizza for lunch and in the afternoon everyone was dished up chocolate cake (special occasion: unknown). Today three seperate people have come into my office and left me chocolates of some description.

Are these people mad? Would they install a slot machine if they knew I had a gambling problem? Would they declare every Wednesday "Open Bar Day" if they knew I had an AA membership? I mean, ok, either of those addictions could escape notice at a casual glance. But can't these people see that I have an issue?

One glance at the double chin and the muffin top isn't enough?

::help:: ::they're killing me::

Parasols & Engine Oil

I just saw this over at Pipedreams, and given what a complete and utter Firefly tragic I am, just had to take a stab at it.

Your results:
You are Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)

  • You are good at fixing things.
  • You are usually cheerful.
  • You appreciate being treated with delicacy and specialness.

(Hey! Yes I'm good with my hands and I'm kind of a cheerful person, but they left out my fondness for parasols and Dr Tam! Oh, Simon! Sadly, like Kaylee I ain't had nothing twixt my nethers for a while either.)

From this point forward I expect to be treated with delicacy and specialness, even though from a grammar point of view that really sucks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just One Of The Reasons Why I Love The TV Show "Torchwood"

..but it's a good one!

More Blogflat Than Blogsphere

Does anyone else think that The Internetz has its own tides? Its own cycles and ebbs and flows? Biorhythms? I know I only dip my toe into one tiny corner of the blogsphere, but it seems like we're either all really firing, shooting out killer entries and polishing our sparkling wit, or else we're all kind of flat and uninspired?

Ok, that's a generalisation I admit (and apologies to those of you who are currently creating entries that shine like diamonds, and there are some of you) but I've been struggling with a lack of inspiration recently and it seems like I'm not alone. I'd like to blame the weather (it's certainly been miserable around these parts of late), or the spirits of the spheres and the ether, but it doesn't seem to be that simple, or that mysterious.

Maybe it's viral? Maybe we need to culture some fast replicating memes? A booster shot to innoculate ourselves against creeping ennui? To start a course of anti-boredom drugs to shore up our flagging inspiration?

This Stella needs to get her groove back.

Monday, July 09, 2007

To Market, To Market

..except I didn't go there to buy a fat pig.

Man I had a great weekend! Saturday morning I was up at the godless hour of 5.45am and out the door just around 6.45 to go to the monthly Growers' Market at Pyrmont. I hadn't been before but my friend Judy and her son John are regulars and had all the inside scoop. I was a little uncertain about getting there so early, I mean 6.45 on a weeked is just cruel, but it was a wise choice. We were able to walk around and look at all the produce and fantastic gourmet foods, but by 8am the place was packed. The emphasis was definately on the 'gourmet' end of the spectrum, but it was amazing to meet the producers, talk to them about their wares, taste new things and see what's on offer. It was a really friendly atmosphere, aside from talking to the stall holders I stopped a number of times and chatted to people about their dogs, or what they were buying.

Afterwards Judy and I headed off to have breakfast, before doing a small crawl of the yarn stores. Sadly one was closed for stocktaking (On a Saturday? Wouldn't it have been better to do it on a nice quiet day during the week guys?). I scored some new needles to take a stab at knitting some socks, and Judy scored all sorts of goodies. Having started so early it felt like we had a packed a whole day's worth of activity, but it was only like 11 o'clock.

After lunch at Judy's house we headed into Newtown for the fortnightly Sydney Sity Klickers knitting get together. This time we had a pair of international guests! James of Fibre Alive blog and his partner Ian.

Judy Judy, James & Kerry
Judy knitting 'sea silk' (left). Judy, James and Kerry (right).

Chenille Greens
Chenille yarn (left), and sea greens lace weight yarn (right).

Bex & The World's Largest Yarn Ball Kerry
Bex and the world's largest yarn ball (left). Kerry kitting socks (right).

After all that activity I was completely knackered, so spent a quiet Saturday night in. Sunday was cold and wet, so I hung around the house for the morning before heading off to the pub knitting get together in the early afternoon. Despite the weather we had a really good turn out, about a dozen hardy souls all in all. It rained, we knitted, I worked at untangling the major mess I managed to turn a perfectly good skein of sock weight yarn into, we had a few beers and chatted up a storm. A really nice way to spend a wintery afternoon.

So. It sounds like a big weekend of knitting, but really the focus was on the social. Both the Sydney Sity Klickers group and the pub knitting group are really fun and varied groups of people, with a heavy focus on the social and information sharing aspects of knitting together. It was one of those weekends where you look back on Sunday night and think, now that was fun.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Easily Lead

I came across this picture on a French fashion blog, and I keep going back and looking at it over and over again. As far as I can tell it's from the launch presentation for a Victor & Rolf fragrance Antidote. (I sure wish I spoke French, because I'd love to be able to read everything brieuc75 has to say, but instead I'll have to content myself with all the pretty pictures. This blog is a great source of fantastic fashion images.)

I love the look, the style and the elegance of these guys in formal dress dancing together. I think part of the appeal for me is about men subverting a traditionally heterosexual activity like ballroom dancing. But then, I've always loved the look of a man in formal dress anyway, a pair of them is a bonus.

What I was actually Google searching for when I found this blog were pictures of my latest crush, fashion designer Gaspard Yurkievich:

Le sigh. The same designer who scandalised the press with a fashion show that had all the (fully dressed) male models simulating group sex on a pair of green leather sofas. Doesn't that just make you love him even more?

The Gifts Tell The Story

I completely forgot to tell you guys about my farewell last week at my old job. We went out for lunch, which given The Big Christian Charity's stance on The Demon Alcohol was nice but a very dry affair, and I managed to sit far enough away from my nemesis that we only had a few uncomfortable moments. (Given that we'd had a big fight the day before. And given that she mentioned twice in conversation that she had 'increased my blood pressure'. Probably true.)

It was nice though, and I was really touched that a bunch of the staff gave me farewell gifts. Some of our workers who act in a carer sort of capacity are not well paid, the injustice of which is a whole other topic, but yet still gave me small gifts to say goodbye.

Basically my gift haul can be broken down into two categories, and it's interesting to me what it says about how people percieve me. Arty and Foody. Because of my photography, drawing and other 'craft' stuff that I do quite a few of the staff gave me awesome gifts of sketchbooks, art materials, and a couple of photography books. And then because of my love of food, and cooking, I received quite a lot of chocolates and a thoroughly awesome tiered cupcake holder 'tree' thing. Sweet.

I was glad to be moving on, but it was touching to think that I was held in fairly high regard by 95% of the staff (nemesis excluded). And fun to think that I'm the 'arty' guy to most of them.

Past Love

I did something yesterday that I hadn't ever done before, I Googled an ex-boyfriend.

It was partly prompted by a discussion I had at the pub on Wednesday night, about the early days of AIDS education in Australia. Way back in the latter half of the '80s I dated a lovely man called Simon who was an AIDS researcher. Specifically researching the safer sex activities of men, those who identify as 'gay' or 'bi' and those who have sex with men but don't include themselves in those categories. The success or failure of education campaigns was extremely topical then, and is still now. Through Simon I got to attend an international AIDS conference and meet an amazing group of people. I still treasure the signed cassette (cassette!, remember those?) given to me by the late singer/songwriter/actor Michael Callen who I made friends with at that conference (He's perhaps best known for singing cameos in the movies "Philadelphia" and "Zero Patience", the latter in which he played Miss HIV in drag).

Anyhoo, all this train of thought had me thinking about Simon. So I Googled him and there he was. Older, greyer, but still just as tall and strikingly handsome. And I'm glad to see, still fighting the good fight against HIV but now from his base at a University in the US.

It was funny looking at him on a computer screen, across a gap of around 20 years. Simon was a great guy to be with, funny and a bit goofy (and just between you and me, dynamite in the sack!) and if I had been a bit older and wiser I wouldn't have made some of the silly mistakes I did in our relationship. I also dated him around the time I took off backpacking around Europe and then relocated to Sydney, so the timing was bad.

It's funny the things you remember about people. The parties, the times spent lying in bed watching tapes of the US cable tv show Brothers (about a trio of brothers, one of whom is gay), the sex (oh man, the sex!) and Simon introducing me to the camp music of duo Romanovsky & Phillips. Ah, good times.

Interestingly, he's listed himself on a social networking website so that people from his past can contact him. I wonder if I should?... I'd like to thank him for the good times we had, and tell him how even though we dated for less than a year that he had a big impact on me both then and still.

Maybe I will.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's Their Duty To Be Beautiful

One of my favourite Flickr photographers has started up a blog to showcase his beautiful male nudes, Patrick Lentz Photography (not surprisingly, NSFW!). Patrick not only has great skill with the camera, but I like that not all his models are modelly pretty boys.

For a broader range of his photography check out his Flickr profile Violentz (which has even more nudity, so be forewarned).

[Sorry for the paucity of pulchitrude and profanity today. I've been a bit busy, a bit tired after a night out last night, and a lot uninspired today. Not surprisingly, Patrick's boys perked me up a bit! We resume normal transmission tomorrow, thank you for your patience.]

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Why Do I Never Get Protested Against?

I mean, c'mon! If our boring old Prime Minister can get this sort of action, then surely the rest of us can get in on it. I could do something topical. Or boring. Or poorly thought out. I do that sort of shit all the time.

From the Sydney Morning Herald - story here.
"Climate Change Ski Team member Josh Brown of Bega is led away after his protest."
Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Let's not forget that it's winter here and, ahem, that means cold and that means traditionally a degree of, well, shrinkage. So all I can say is Josh, nice work dude.

Colourful Cabins

A little while back I decided to support the charity Wrap With Love by knitting some squares to be made up into blankets. I think the aims of the charity are admirable and also very practical, which really appealed to me. I like the fact that anyone who contributes can see something measurable and concrete that they have contributed towards. Plus the format of the squares allows people to express their creativity, while being a nice small portable project to cart around to the various knitting get togethers I go to.

I thought it would be fun to try out some new techinques on these too, so I did a few squares based on the log cabin knitting idea popularised by the good women of Mason-Dixon knitting. The yarn isn't expensive, but it's 100% wool and I put some thought into a range of colours that would look nice together and still have some vibrancy to them. I'm really pleased with them so far, and plan on knitting a few more (plus some plain squares to go with them) before the big knit in at the ABC towards the end of the month.

I realised a while back that I could do a lot more for charity. I don't have a lot of spare cash to donate, but I can give of my time, creativity and care in a way that will hopefully give someone else a degree of comfort.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rites Of Spring

I've been sitting here in the office all day today looking out the window at the mild sunny day passing me by outside. My good mood is still definately in place but the day has been taunting me with tricksy soft-voiced promises of Spring, even though we're only part way through Winter here. Not even a regular generic Winter, but the coldest June in many, many years which followed along after the warmest May in many, many years. Now that's a world gone mad, and it's just plain cruel.

Anyhoo, I always get ansty like this part way through Winter. You know that by now. The first warm day has me planning long cool drinks in a sunny courtyard, picnics, and photo safaris to the beach. Only to be sorely vexed when I have to drag out the overcoat and brolly tomorrow.

Maybe this year I'll just start a Spring 'To Do' list early.

Ridiculously Good

Oh man, it's like I woke up with a bluebird chirping on the windowsill and a powder blue sky filled with rainbows this morning. I swear Dick Van Dyke is about to pop his head through the window and sing me a happy tune (in a dodgy Cockney accent) any moment now. You know? When you have one of those days when all's right with the world? Giddy almost.

I'm easily pleased I guess. All it takes is a good night's sleep, the last vestiges of my bronchitis being on their way, a warm and sunny Spring-like day, a morning commute that has dropped from one and a half hours to 8 minutes (isn't that just ridiculous?) and the next thing you know I'm skipping the streets like I have a coterie of animated friends.

Ok, there was no actual skipping (or animated friends for that matter) but I kind of felt like it.

I am not complaining. If I could bottle this and pop it into my nightstand I would. In a little bottle that I could take sips from every now and then.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Weekend Of Contrasts

If Saturday was labelled 'chalk' or 'black' or even 'Laurel', then that would make Sunday 'cheese' or 'white' or 'Hardy'. You couldn't get two days more dissimilar. Like matter and anti-matter.

Saturday I did absolutely nothing. Zip. Nada. Sure I showered, did a bit of laundry, did some knitting, and at one point took a walk down the street, but that's it. I didn't do anything social. Didn't really go anywhere. It was cool and windy, and I just kind of stayed in and futzed around, and the time passed.

Sunday on the other hand I was out the door at 8.30 am and didn't get home until 10.30 pm. My friend Judy and I hit the giant Craft & Quilting Fair (shut up) at Darling Harbour first thing. I bought some knitting yarn, we found things both hideous and fabulous to look at, we wandered and wondered.

[Updated: Oh, I should add that one of the highlights of the craft fair was being mistaken for a woman. Judy and I were perusing some yarns, and even though I was sort of turned half towards her, the stall owner said "Can I help you girls?" And you know what, she wasn't being ironic. I would have thought the short crew cut and beard would have tipped her off, but apparently men don't buy yarn. It's a question od context maybe?]

Afterward I hauled ass over to the 75th birthday celebrations for the ABC (the nation's public broadcaster) to have a look around and meet my friend James for lunch. I'm pretty good with crowds, but after a couple of hours of the crush of humanity and playing Dodgem Cars with my shins Vs a few too many strollers I was just about ready to leave (or kill).

Some of the assembled hordes. Note the hundreds of shin destroying strollers.

It was at this exact breaking point when James rescued me by taking me to lunch. As it turns out a Yum Cha lunch in Chinatown + a beer was the perfect antidote. Who knew?

The set of one of my favourite shows "At The Movies", unfortunately sans Margaret & David

James works for the ABC and was being a 'talent' wrangler for the day, so he headed back to face the hordes and I headed off to my third social engagement of the day.

The set of "The Chaser's War On Everything". Kind of like every university share house I have ever visited, only with a model Trojan Horse and stronger lighting.

I met Mikey (the lovely ex) for a few beers at The Green Park hotel in Darlinghurst, or as it turns out the home of the Beautiful People. Man, it's winter here which traditionally means a degree of hibernation, but that memo didn't get around because not only was the pub packed but the handsome quotient was even higher than normal. It was both fabulous and daunting, in roughly equal measures. After a couple of hours we were joined by some more friends, and then headed back to Steve & Bec's house for dinner. A few hours of good food, wine and conversation later and I was headed home in a cab.


So that's my weekend accounted for. How was yours?