Friday, November 30, 2007
I scored some balls of this vintage Patons "Totem" 8ply wool. Can I tell you how much I love the purple? Seriously. It's shot through with plys of red and blue, giving it a nice lively aspect. (I love a good lively aspect, but who doesn't right?) I don't know how old this yarn is, but it had a distinctive mothball smell which is now thankfully fading.
So, I cast on for a simple 2x2 rib scarf, fairly skinny and hopefully fairly long. I have 4 balls of the brown and 3 of the purple, so I'm knitting the stripes in the same ratio. I find knitting rib kind of tedious, so I've definately made a rod for my own back with this one. However, it's pretty mindless to knit, and I wanted to knit something reversible, so rib it is. Good car ride/watching telly knitting.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I've noticed lately a lot more street art that is being done on paper, and then pasted up like posters. I guess because it lends itself to screen printing and other forms of image production than just stencils or freehand drawing. I still have an issue with where some of this stuff is pasted, for example there is a sculpture in Newtown that has been effectively ruined by various forms of grafitti, including paste ups.
However, despite that I do like the actual designs of some of this work, and like these 2 examples from the park around the corner from my house, the way they get distressed, weathered or intentionally defaced over time sometimes adds to their charm.
So that's my start to the day, what's yours?
(Oh yeah, diet be damned. Whatever.)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
But answer me this. What does one wear to a Gay & Lesbian Bush Dance?
A. Hazzard Drag?
B. VP Cowboy drag?
C. Clampett drag, drag?
Or, D. Something with a more 'Aussie' feel?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It transpires that we are to be paid a visit from the head of our Big Christian Charity on Thursday. People, you would think Jesus himself was coming (again). Apparently the Rapture will be preceded by freak-outs, tantrums and urgent directives to Make Neat! Make Neat! and hide any non-approved items/office equipment/ideas.
In all seriousness, a manager from down the hall just walked in and wondered if we should take down a couple of the framed prints that are in this office. Too many $20 framed posters of Aegean seascapes (with whitewashed church and potted geraniums) equals decadence and a disregard for the Bible, I guess.
Were I a praying man, I'd be praying for strength right now.
Naturally I made a beeline for the Craft & Hobbies section, to see what gems might be on offer. Treasures were precious few, but there was at least one. And at only $2! (Marked down from $3.)
Selected Highlights From "The Women's Weekly 'Best Ever' Knitting Book" 1978.
Got a troublesome naked Cocky? Keep them snug and restrained in this pretty cardigan/straight jacket combo.
Glamour for bed. The sort of glamour that says "This office is closed for business".
Designs to suit every decor!
Tell him to throw out all his old tabards. Start your divorce in style and be sure he stays single, with this snazzy new tabard!
Monday, November 26, 2007
I watched hour after hour of the election night coverage on Saturday night, eager to see what my fellow Australians would do. Whether the Liberal government of the past 11 years would be returned, or whether Australians would vote for change.
They voted for change, with a huge swing away from the sitting government.
We now have a new Labor government. It just goes to show, you can beat the drum on money and the economy all you want, but you cannot forget a strong social agenda. Record low unemployment and a strong economy (partly due to the current mining and resources boom) is not enough if people think their rights are not being respected, if schools and hospitals are being underfunded, if the disadvanteged are not being given a voice, and if long term issues like climate change or not being addressed.
It seems to me it was as much an anti-Liberal vote as anything else. Especially given the fact that John Howard appears to also be only the second Prime Minister ever to also lose his position as the local member for his own electorate. It will be close, and postal votes need to still be finalised, but it seems like it's not just the party that has been given the thumbs down by Australia, but the man himself.
- You cannot assume that you know what another person is thinking. Mixed messages can be sent out by all of us, even those of us with good intentions.
- Buddhist concepts of impermanence, of non-self, the idea that everything changes from moment to moment and so there is no such thing as an unchangeable "I" or "Me" are important to remember. Especially in the realm of self-esteem. If you fixate on "I am this", "I am that" or "this thing makes me, me" and all the expectations that go along with those beliefs, then anything that doesn't fit that template can come as a blow.
- Consequently, feeling you have been judged and found wanting hurts like a bitch.
- As Mick said, you can't always get what you want.
- Don't try and have a serious conversation after 5 beers, particularly if you feel defensive or under attack. It won't go well.
So, thanks for the kind words and well wishes everyone but Pete and I were not meant to be it seems. It's frustrating to me that I feel like we never really got a chance to get to know each other, but it is what it is. It was a fun experience for most of it, and on one level it was a nice reminder that being intimate with someone is really, really nice. Who was the poet that wrote the line "Always connect"? It feels nice to connect, even if that connection turns out to be only temporary.
I've written those words maybe a dozen times over or more during the life of this blog, but they're still as true as the first time I wrote them. I didn't like my last haircut though, I paid a basquillion dollars and had 2 tones of blonde streaks put in... that went a little, well, awry. More brassy and yellow, and sort of a shade I thought of as Truckstop Waitress, than they should have been. Which the hairdresser then tried to fix by putting a toner over the top. A toner which made the colour flat, and well, gingery.
Gingers, don't get me wrong, I think that most redheads are hot. Really hot. Not me though, and not a good match with my natural dark ash blonde/light brown colour.
Anyhoo. My regular hairdresser was going to be unavailable for weeks, so I made an appointment with one of the others. We had some fun, and now I'm sporting a new look. In the interest of self exposure, here's a crappy bathroom pic so I can play Show & Tell.
This one I like. Short, sharp, a bit kicky, and with just a little bit of the borderline hatefull colour left. Then like co-conspirators, the girl who cut my hair this time and I made an appointment for next time. Like dirty cheaters. Yup, I'm dumping my hairdresser for another woman. I'd like to say that it's not her, it's me, but actually it's her.
In a weekend where I spent much of the time feeling emotionally fragile, and my self-esteem took a major slap-down (more on that to come), a fun haircut makes for a pretty good BandAid.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Yes, that means I took a day off work to do housework. Please call a doctor someone.
Oh, and yes I've had some anger and frustrations this week to subvert. How perceptive of you! Don't get mad, get cleaning.
The timing was also due in part to the fact that I had a valuer coming to value the house last night. It seems like the divorce settlement between the owners of the house is hotting up, and they need to assess all the assets. While I personally can see cobwebs as a gothic inspired design feature, I decided to maybe go for a more pedestrian aesthetic for the poor valuer. More House & Garden than House of Horrors.
So I finished attacking the house, and even the garden got a mini make-over, filling all my bins with garbage (the regular bin, the recycling one AND the green waste bin) in the process. OK, that makes me sound like a mad person who was living amongst huge drifts of detritus, but you know how this stuff easily adds up. I even climbed the f*cking pull-down stairs to the attic storage about 12 muthaf*cking goddam times.
Ever seen a person with sciatica climb a ladder? It's hilarious! Each step a curse more colourful than the last. I was inventing words by the time I'd finished.
In the evening I met up with Mikey (the lovely ex) for a dinner, to chat and catch up as we haven't seen that much of each other lately. I was so tired that once I got through my first glass of wine I nearly face-planted into my Tahini Fish. Good times.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is probably much funnier if you're Australian, but just picture oh, say, calling a street White Trash Crescent and you'd be on the right track for the meaning this has for Aussies.
When I was growing up in South Australia I used to hear the term "bogan" a lot. (No, not directed at me.) So maybe it's a regional/generational thing, but it still made me laugh the day I spotted this street sign.
[More info about the great Aussie bogan can be found at www.bogan.com.au]
So, I'm out for dinner with Pete tonight, and then a catch up with Mikey tomorrow night, and then the regime begins in earnest. Nothing drastic, just cutting back on fat and kilojoules by eating better, and doing more walking. We close for the Christmas break in 4 weeks, so it's only a 4 week challenge.
The prize, a $100 gift voucher. Just go ahead and write my name on it, because it's mine.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The great Airconditioner War of 2007 that is. Our office has an airconditioning system on each floor, and a keypad that lets us turn it on/off and change the temperature. Which as it turns out is both a design feature, and a serious design flaw. Everyone fiddles with it.
So much so that we had to have a staff meeting where everyone agreed to set it at a reasonable temperature (in our case we agreed on 22C) and leave it alone.
Except, that only lasted for probably less than a week. And a couple of the managers on this floor, the same managers that were in that meeting, are the worst culprits. Every time I go past it's either turned off completely, or cranked as high as 27C. It is driving me crazy.
It also seems to have divided the floor along gender lines. Maybe we feel the cold differently, but when it's nice and comfortable for me at the agreed temperature of 22C, a number of my female workmates complain it's too cold. Then I can't concentrate because half an hour later it's a stifling 27C or something.
Every time I go to the kitchen for a glass of water or a coffee I pass the keypad. And you had better believe that when I do it goes back to 22C.
Every single time.
Bring. It. On.
Monday, November 19, 2007
You might find it funny, or it might make your head explode, but I'd be seriously very surprised if you agree that knitting is part of the plot to feminize [sic] the men of America!
The article is primarily all opinion, and that's fine as she's entitled, but she does kick off with a factual error when she she says that less and less women are knitting today. The demographic has changed from what it was 10 or 20 years ago, but the proliferation of yarn stores, books on knitting, stitch 'n' bitch groups, new yarn companies and types of yarn, websites and blogs about knitting shows that knitting in general has had a HUGE upswing in the past 5-10 years.
The percentage of men who knit is still small, even if it has increased. Case in point, pick up any knitting magazine and see how many patterns there are for men's knitwear. One, two maybe, in a magazine full of patterns for women. If men were driving the knitting boom then manufacturers and publishers would be responding with more patterns aimed at men. Do a Google search for knitting blogs or knitting websites, and you'll find some by men but the VAST majority are published by women.
The interesting thing is not that men are knitting, but it's a sign that knitting in general is more popular. Teenage girls, men, boys, young women, all sorts of demographic groups that might have once seen knitting as an old fashioned dowdy craft, have seen the cool stuff that can be made and the beautiful yarns that are out there.
Except Debbie maybe, she seems to have missed the trend and missed the point.
After the two days of sitting in subterranean training rooms watching PowerPoint presentations, it was nice to have a beautiful summery weekend and spend plenty of time outdoors. I spent much of the weekend hanging out with Pete (including having a lovely dinner that he cooked), went to knitting on Sunday afternoon at The Courthouse Hotel, and spent some 'just chilling' time. Nice.
The weekend seemed to fly by though. Frankly, I'm a little incredulous that it's now Monday morning already.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
- The odds of two grown men wearing Teenage Age Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts to the same course, on the same day, are much higher than you would think.
- You know you're in trouble when the most interesting session on Day 2 is how to set your workstation up ergonomically.
- If you're anything like me, when someone hands you a 1:1 lifelike model of a human spine and pelvis the urge to stick the pelvis on your head and make like a Klingon will be almost overwhelming.
- Boredom cannot be staved off with glasses of water and individually wrapped mints, no matter how hard you try.
So, all flippancy aside it wasn't too bad. Day 1 was an overview of the huge organisation I work for, and it was actually quite interesting in parts. The best thing is the really serious dedication they have to looking after the needs of the marginalised. The people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
Day 2 was the killer, Occupational Health and Safety. There's just no way you can make that entertaining. Even with a model spine.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The photo title included the word "Sansone", and I was intriqued to find out whether that was the publisher or the model. It turns out it refers to Tony Sansone, an early body builder and dancer, and the model on the cover. Sansone was apparently very famous and in demand in the 1930s, at a time when physical culture, classicism and some elements of homo eroticism all combined in the early days of the physique cult.
Sansone self published a number of physique pictorials and artistic nude magazines, such as "Modern Classics" (above) from 1932. All beautifully shot and quite highbrow, although it's hard not to imagine that some of the buyers were less interested in Greek classical form and more interested in other 'Greek' pursuits. These pamphlets, and other works of the time starring Sansone, seem to have often featured full frontal nudes. (And let me tell you, nice.)
It looks like Sansone stopped modelling at the end of the 1930s to concentrate on selling his body building system by mail order, and running his own gym. There are some interesting links on this fan site including some promo material where Sansone talks about sculpting the body without over-developing for the sake of size. The lean sculpted look that was his trademark.
And for that Tony, the world (or at least I) thank you.
There's a comprehensive fan site, and interesting Wikipedia entry, some more pics and some 1920s nudes by Edwin F Townsend.
Today is a new day. Annie was right, the sun will come out tomorrow! I took a half a sleeping pill last night to make up for the shortfall Mr Sandman delivered and I feel a little bit caught up today. Today is also going to be less busy thankfully, which is nice.
However tomorrow and Friday I'm in an
I suppose my knitting would be a bit obvious?
Monday, November 12, 2007
It kicked off with a very enjoyable evening on Friday helping James celebrate his birthday over drinks at a local pub, with a really interesting and fun group of his friends, our mutual friends and some of his workmates.
Then Saturday started off with some serious idling, before sashaying through a lovely breakfast and wander through Newtown with Peter, then a fun afternoon of knitting at Barmuda Cafe (where I finished and handed over the secret project), before finally kicking up its heels at The Opera House with James to see Kiki & Herb in cabaret.
Sunday I met Peter for a lovely lunch, before heading into the massed throng and craziness of The Newtown Festival (verdict: too many people), before having an afternoon beer at The Bank Hotel, then dinner at my favourite Lebanese restaurant Fifi's, and then walking up a few doors to The Enmore Theatre to see Paul Capsis in concert.
Ay dios mio. I'm sorry, just writing all that was so exhausting I had to have a lie down.
Anyhoo. It was a weekend of riches. The biggest gift of all being spending time in the company of Peter, who is wonderful company and just such a pleasure to be with.
Another highlight was Kiki & Herb, although I have to say that the behaviour of some of the audience was terrible. The theatre allowed people to bring bottles of wine into the theatre, regardless of whether they were seated at the few cafe style tables down front or in the regular seats like the rest of us. Consequently one audience member near James and I was drunk, over exuberant and heckling by interval (shortly after which he was asked to leave) and a table of women down the front were being so annoying and talking through the show that Kiki savaged them during one of the encores. It was a small blight on a wonderful show though.
Just being at The Opera House always gives me a thrill, and watching the sun set while a huge cruiseliner slowly made its way out of the harbour, and the surprise of fireworks over the water as we stood outside during intermission, just added to the thrill. There are few better places on a warm summery night than to stand on the terraces of the Opera House, with the bridge arching high ahead, and the lights of Luna Park to one side and the city skyline to the other side. Magical.
Paul Capsis was also stunning on Sunday night. Such a showman! Three encores and a standing ovation showed the audience's appreciation, and several times Paul commented on how much he loves being home in Sydney and how we must have all caught the Newtown 'Festival vibe' because we were such an enthusiastic audience.
Best of all though, the weekend was about people. About time spent socialising, about connecting, laughing, giving, receiving and just enjoying being with others.
Now that I have given this to my blogging and knitting buddy, the oh so preggers Disco Knitter (aka Lara), it's time to post some pictures. I wanted it to be a surprise for Lara, which is why I hadn't posted any pics of this as a work in progress.
If you haven't already, go check out Disco Knitter's blog and then come right back. I'll wait... [think music] ...so, the bright colours and the sparkles make sense now?
This pattern is the "Baby Surplice" variation on the famous "Baby Surprise Jacket" by Elizabeth Zimmermann, which was published posthumously by her daughter Meg Swanson in Vogue Knitting a few issues ago. I won't bore you non-knitters with the technical details, but Zimmermann was the queen of cunning construction and patterns that were really more like formulas. Designed to be interpreted any way you see fit.
The 'surprise' in the "Baby Surprise Jacket" comes from the fact that you knit it flat, and when it's a work in progress it looks... well it doesn't look like much of anything. When you cast off and it's finally off the needles, a couple of quick folds and voila! it becomes a jacket. It's like a small scale miracle or something.
I've been knitting a bunch of things at the same time, so I actually started this just after Lara announced her pregnancy and it was my first shot at following a pattern. It's been a nice little project and fun to knit.
It has sweet features like a row of small buttonholes all around the bottom edge of the jacket (which you can't really see in this pic) so you can shrink or expand the jacket to fit a growing bub, and even flip the way it's buttoned (right over left or left over right).
The sort of piped edge along the jacket is another fun thing, i-cord trim. It's like a braid that is knitted right onto the garment, and I'm so in love with the cunning construction of it that I want to apply i-cord to everything! Even things that aren't knitted! Sit still long enough and I'll try and neaten your edges with i-cord!
Also, I was about as excited as a grown man can be about buttons when I found the glitter star buttons. Seriously.
So I was finishing this off at knitting with The Sydney Sity Klickers on Saturday afternoon, when Lara arrived and I decided to give it to her on the spot. Fini. (Oh, and she loved it thankfully.)
[Updated: Pattern info! This pattern was in the Spring/Summer 2007 issue of Vogue Knitting, but you can buy the pattern (teamed with a baby blanket pattern) direct for US$1 from Elizabeth Zimmermann/Meg Swansen's publishing company "Schoolhouse Press" here. Scroll down and it's #43 "Baby Surplice Jacket & Blanket"]
Friday, November 09, 2007
My instincts rarely fail me. (Ok, maybe that period where I thought I could singlehandedly bring the white denim jacket back into fashion, but that was an exception.)
Anyhoo. I'm done and dusted now. Everything balances. Alles ist in ordnung. Order prevails. Best of all, it's Friday! It's just that much sweeter when you get everything done, and then you can sit back and enjoy the fact that the weekend beckons.
I'm cutting out of here early today to go and see my doctor and get a little something to help me sleep. Since we had a blast of super charged Summer-style weather a week or two back my sleep patterns have been really disturbed. Warm nights allways equal restlessness for me, and factor in my ongoing back pain/sciatica issue and I've been sleeping badly for weeks now. I need to nip it in the bud before I approach zombiedom.
Tonight I'm off to birthday drinks for James. This weekend is going to be jam packed crazy, with Kiki & Herb at The Opera House on Saturday night, The Newtown Festival and then Paul Capsis at The Enmore Theatre on Sunday... but the thing occupying my mind most of all is that I get to catch up with the wonderful man I met last Friday. Woohoo!
I haven't really talked about him much, mostly because it's not fair to talk about him here without asking him first. Suffice to say I like him a lot, and all indicators point towards him feeling the same way. It's a voyage of discovery folks! Set your compasses of unchartered waters.
Happy birthday my friend, it's been great getting to know you better over the past year. You're a class act.
* It's the favourite game James and I play whenever we're drinking in a pub or sitting in a restaurant. The rules are simple, pick someone out of the crowd and invent their personal history. Ideally it should be creative, yet not so outlandish that it isn't believable. Trust me, we can play this game for hours.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Oh, and I know this is a dreadful over simplification and use of stereotypes, but most of the women I work with come from ethnic backgrounds where loud, heated conversations are more the norm than the exception. Italian. Lebanese.
So, scene set?
This afternoon (while struggling to complete the last bits of financial month-end) I have been an unwilling listener to the following topics of conversation:
- Periods. Bad ones. Very, very bad ones.
- Laser treatment for unsightly chin and underarm hair.
- Boob exercises. (wtf?)
- Recipes for Tiramisu. Specifically, an argument about why one woman won't share her 'secret recipe' for the perfect Tiramisu.
It has been a very long day. I need your pity.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The problem with starting a few things at once is that you can feel like you knit and knit and frigging knit forever, and the finish line gets no closer. Now I'm a bit of a process knitter it's true, I actually enjoy the journey as much as the destination, but even still it's encouraging to see that the end is nigh. The sprint to the finish.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Except, it doesn't actually stop the whole nation. Oh no. True, it stops most of the nation. Seriously, not a lot of work gets done this afternoon as workplaces all over the country set up tvs, turn on radios, and lay out the chips and party pies. Sweeps are held. Drinks had.
That is, unless you work for the Methodists. Yup. Gambling, drinking, riding in a buggy without a chaperone and dancing are all verboten.
(Ok, I made up the bit about the buggy.)
Monday, November 05, 2007
Saturday was Linda's birthday party, and even though it was a grey and rainy day which meant changing Linda's original plan for a picnic, we were able to relocate everything to our beloved Green Park Hotel, and so "Alice" got her "Madhatter's Tea Party" after all.
It was a wonderful afternoon, with lots of laughter, yummy nibbly bits and champers. Lots of champers. We started at 1.30, and I think it was about 8pm when we
staggered and rolled walked out of there. Everyone had a great time, and the hotel very kindly let us do our own thing and basically take over a huge chunk of their space for the afternoon.
The rarely known sequel "Drunken Croquet With Alice" by Lewis Carroll (L) and the croquet obstacle course (R)
[Click any of the pics to go to Flickr and see them full size, and the full set is here.]
Kissing and kissing, and then kissing some more, a beautiful man on a deserted rainy street. Holding hands while strolling through an art gallery. Showing each other special things, this beautiful statue that glorious painting. Laughter and shared intimacies over mexican food and cervezas.
It all so very new, and feels fragile and beautiful, like something that needs to be nurtured and protected. Even while it already feels so comfortable. Simple. Complicated. Wonderful.
Friday, November 02, 2007
So let's not embarass ourselves (and risk turning each other on) with me actually abasing myself at your feet, but take it as read m'kay?
I'd like to say that today would be a bit easier, but I have heaps to do what with it being month-end and all. Tonight I'm off to dinner at one of my favourite Thai restaurants. And even though today is one of those sub-tropical warm but raining like a mofo days that Sydney seems to specialise in, and this restauarant really shines best when the weather is nice and they can retract the roof making it completely al fresco, even the rain can't dampen my enthusiasm for it. (Ha. Not too busy to work in a desultory metaphor of sorts though, right?)
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I was so glad to have a quiet night in last night, this week has been so crazy busy it was nice to just kick back on the couch, watch tv and knit.
Re: the knitting. Interesting factoid, Alan Turing the code breaker, maths/computer whiz and 'mo, was a knitter. David Leavitt mentions this in his biographer to show that he was a bit of a social misfit. Suck it Leavitt! Actually, at the time it would have raised more eyebrows than it does these days, but whatever. I'm about 3/4 finished on a blah blah secret project blah blah I'm making as a gift and it is turning out so well I kind of want to squeak every time I look at it.
Anyhoo, I digress. Busy. I started my new position at work on Monday, and I've been flat out getting a handle on it, reorganising the files (or I should say, organising), training a new admin staff member, starting a new billing cycle and blah de blah. Yesterday we had to travel about a half hour each way to another office for a farewell morning tea for one of our guys who is leaving, and then coming back we stopped to get lunch (ok, and a bit of shopping) so I didn't really get started on any significant work until like 1.30pm. Normally I wouldn't mind that, but it was weighing on my mind how much I have to do.
So, another quiet night in tonight is on the cards, just me, So You Think You Can Dance and the knitting. Oh, you may scoff but it sounds fabulous to me. Tomorrow night I'm off to dinner with a big group at one of my favourite Thai restaurants, then a 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' birthday party on Saturday (I'm buying a purple top hat for the occasion).
The following weekend I'm going to see "The Year of Magical Drinking" with Kiki & Herb at The Studio in The Opera House (Mmm jealous, bitches?). I can't wait. Gender bending cabaret will be the theme of that weekend, because then I'm off to see the divalicious Paul Capsis on the Sunday. I've see Paul Capsis before, and he is a stunning performer. I've only ever heard good things about Kiki & Herb's demented style of gin soaked cabaret, and I really liked Justin Bond's (Kiki) performance in "Shortbus".