Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm not entirely surprised to hear that Starbucks are closing 60 plus stores in Australia, leaving only 23 to remain and no stores at all in some states. Australia had a very strong coffee and cafe culture long before Starbucks arrived, a culture that grew on the back of many waves of European migration. Migrants that introduced cappucinos and coffee machines from 1950s onwards, meaning that many of us grew up knowing what espressos, machiatos and lattes were.

I tried Starbucks a couple of times out of curiosity, but found the experience as unsatisfying as a trip to McDonalds. Acceptable, but kind of generic. Its consistency its shortcoming, rather than its strength. Not to say that plenty of people didn't get their coffees there, so it obviously appeals to some.

Then I heard that 600 stores are closing in the US. So the issue is likely one of economics, profitabilty, and possibly a market saturation policy that peaked and ultimately failed. Most of the Aussie stores will be closed in under a week, leaving an estimate of 600 staff unemployed, and many more in the US, which is the really sad part of the story. Closing a few unprofitable stores happens in any business chain, but such a large % seems to indicate a company in real trouble.

A Meeting With A Remarkable Woman

On the way home tonight I took one of the last seats on the bus, a seat alongside a tiny little old lady in a big woolen coat, with a couple of shopping bags on the seat with her. She politely moved her bags to give me more room as I sat, and I said thanks and we rode along in silence for most of the trip home. At one point she was sort of sliding off the seat when the bus stopped fairly sharply, and having jostled me slightly she apologised and we shared a smile about it.

About 4 stops from home we started chatting, as we passed the old brickworks that was many years ago turned into a large park. (My pics from a wander around the same park a few years ago are here.) She started to tell me a story of being a child with 15 bothers and sisters, and having had no money (and a drunk of a father) and how she used to walk the long walk from Ultimo to St Peters to visit her grandmother, who lived near the brickworks. Back when it was a functioning brickworks, with all the soot and smoke that that entailed, and the sad stories of some children who fell into then pits and wells that used to be open in the grounds. Back in those days trams used to ply the route of what is now a busy main road, but she never had money for the trams so always walked the trip.

We didn't chat for very long, and I wish we could have talked for longer. I was stunned when she told me she would be 99 next birthday. To look at her I would have assumed she was maybe in her late 70s, elderly but not nearing her century. What changes she has seen! As we turned into the shopping district of Newtown we talked about how the area had changed, and was changing, and how we both liked the way the King St south/St Peters area of King St seemed to be on the improve.

I was kind of sad to have to get off the bus, and told her how I had enjoyed chatting with her. She was really sweet and gave me a 1000 watt smile, and a pat on the arm that left me smiling and genuinely touched.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Project: Red Lace Scarf

My first attempt at knitting lace! Since I took this pic I have knit about 4 times the length, and I'm really pleased with the result. Eventually it will be a scarf for my sister, but on 3mm needles with super fine yarn that day is someway off! Christmas maybe.

New Project: Lace Scarf

I bought the yarn a little while back at a craft fair, and even though I hadn't knit lace before, and didn't feel the strongest of motivations to try it at this stage, once I saw the yarn I HAD TO HAVE IT. You know of what I speak. It's a very fine 2ply 100% merino wool by Aussie brand Kaalund Yarns. The colourway, Poinsettia.

Kaalund Lace Weight

I took the lace stitch pattern, the romantically named Openwork On Angle 2 (evocative, non?) from a useful little book called "400 Stitch Patterns". I'm just going to knit it until the yarn runs out, and then it will be deemed Long Enough.

Kaalund Lace Weight

Once the scarf is blocked (soaked, stretched slightly and pinned out to dry in shape) the lace pattern will really come alive. The end result is a series of slightly curved zig zags that have a sort of Art Deco look. My sister isn't really a girly, girly lacey kind of gal, so hopefully something a bit geometric will appeal to her.

Part of the fun for me is trying new things, new techniques, and I'm enjoying knitting lace so far. Ok, so in a few thousand rows more time it won't be 'new' but I'm sure the lure of a finished object will keep me focussed for the long hard yards ahead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lanewalking #2: Eton Lane

Given how grey, stormy and wet it is in Sydney right now, it's nice to look back on these photos I took a few weeks ago. Look at those blue skies! The complete absence of clouds! The fact that it isn't pissing rain for days on end!

Eton Lane

Eton Lane is just a few blocks from my house, a little unremarkable lane that I set for myself as a phtotographic challenge. Much of the lane itself was sort of ho-hum, so I decided to focus on the details. Surprisingly, there were more interesting details that I initially thought.


This is the back fence of my local corner shop, and I like the creative recycling use of the old signage. MILK BA.


Some wangfitti. If there's one thing my neighbourhood loves, it's penis. Loves it!


My local council has judged your rubbish bin and frankly, found it wanting. If you put non-recyclables in your recycling bin, or in the green waste bin, then you have to do the Reject Label Walk Of Shame.


Home made security, not much of a deterrant but I guess it's something.

20 2

20 2, Eton Lane by the numbers.

5 Things About Monday, 28th July: No Feeling In The Extremities And A Watery Grave Edition

  • I've been trying to think warm, tropical, desert island-y thoughts all day because it's so cold today. A short while ago it was supposedly 12C, but I just ventured out to buy some lunch and the wind was making it feel even colder. Brrrr! Like, really.
  • On the upside, a good excuse to wear my Japanese fingerless mitts that I knit earlier this year! (Sans cigar though.)
  • I should have knit them in black, you see we're in mourning here in my new office. Yup, on Friday there were 6 fish in the big fish tank in reception and today there are only 5. Cannibalism hasn't been completely ruled out. (Ewww.)
  • Can you believe that they haven't named them? As the receptionist just said, it's hard to get too emotionally attached to fish. RIP nameless one.
  • Here's a thought, what do Catholic fish eat on Fridays?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Good One

This weekend was a corker, one of those you could label in 48pt bold A Good One. (What the hell, maybe even with a drop shadow.) Not filled with dramatic adventures, but a nice, solid collection for good times.

Last night my friend Stephen was in Sydney from Townsville, and after he arrived on a late evening flight we went out for a drink, then a coffee, some cake and a catch-up. Since leaving Sydney about 4 years ago we catch up about 3 times a year or so, so having him visit is always a treat. He's making some changes in his situation, for the better in my opinion, and while I'd like him to come back to Sydney I'm happy that things are looking up for him.

This morning the sun was shining brightly, and even though it was cool it was so nice to see its sunny face after nearly a solid week of rain. I headed into the Art Gallery again to meet up with Mikey (the lovely ex) and Evan to see the "Taisho Chic" exhibition that we passed on last Wednesday. The exhibition was lovely, not huge but a wonderful collection of paintings, screens, kimonos and decorative objects. Evan and I briefly canvassed the concept of breaking into one of the showcases so I could acquire the aluminium Art Deco condiment set that frankly should be mine.

After wandering the exhibition for a while (and an obligatory visit to the fabulous gallery gift shop - By the way did you know you can buy Pantone colour pencils in, as the name would imply, Pantone colours? I'm not sure why, but So Awesome. Want. Nay, need.) we decided to head off to Yum Cha at Sky Phoenix. Which was frankly nummy. Oh, and on the way to the restaurant Evan almost bought a chartreuse coloured velvet jacket. Truly.

After lunch I dashed home to grab my knitting and head off to The Courthouse Hotel for our regular Sunday afternoon pub knitting session. The past few weekends we've had some new people come along, which has been really nice. Today we had something like 11 or 12 of us, and last week even more! So much fun to sit with a big group of like minded people, share ideas and inspirations, and just chat and have fun. All the while whilst wrangling two pointed sticks.

At this point I have to add a dark note (just like the massive storm that rolled in late afternoon). Technology continues to vex me. I took some fab photos this weekend, but suddenly my camera had decided it doesn't want to export its precious contents. Technology hates me. Right now I kind of hate it back a bit too.

So there you have it. Now I'm plonked on the sofa with the laptop and lap rug, the heater is on and it's pouring down outside again. Not a bad ending to a weekend I decided to label as A Good One.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Retail Therapy

I set out this afternoon for a little shopping expedition, with one goal in mind - a new pair of leather shoes for work. (The rain of the past week has a) taken it's toll on my 2 pairs of black leather shoes and b) pointed out some of their shortcomings in the moisture deterrant area.)

Three hours later I'm home, will the following:
  • a pair of slippers
  • some super cute black & white check canvas slip-on shoes, just like The Young People wear (half price at Target!)
  • a funky long pencil case all made out of zips from Smiggle, just perfect for knitting needles
  • a multi pocket zip up comendium thingy from the same place
  • a white v neck tee
  • some kitchen storage containers
  • 2 balls of knitting yarn (Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8 ply, for the curious)
  • 3 pairs of black socks made from bamboo fibre (so soft!)
  • a leather bound notebook and leather pencil case from Kikki K, a present for my sister for her birthday next weekend
  • a card, and wrapping paper

Err, notice anything missing? *sigh* Well, my intentions were good...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Warning: Pot Gives You A Dry Throat

So I've heard. Anyway, just ask Laurence Welk.

PS: I think you'd have to be stoned to wear that dress.


Srsly you guyz, my new home broadband connection and beauteous new (on loan) Mac laptop have formed a close bond and they like got together and forced me to stay up until 1am last night. You have no idea. I may never leave the house again.

Neatness Counts

In my opinion, it's important to keep your filing and organisation up to date.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

[Pic via Apartment Therapy.]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Akira, Fashionistas and Art On A Plate

Last night Mikey (the lovely ex), his boyfriend Evan, and I went to a free lecture as part of the Wednesday night "Art After Hours" series at the Art Gallery of NSW. To coincide with the "Taisho Chic: Japan in the 20s & 30s" exhibition, the gallery had organised a half hour free talk with Japanese/Australian fashion designer Akira Isogawa, in interview with local radio journalist Deb Cameron.

Akira & Deb

Man, it was packed. Wall to wall fashionistas. So much black in one gallery! (Is that a redundant comment?) I was there early and managed to score three seats for us, but by a half hour before the talk it was strictly standing room only. Shoulder pad to shoulder pad.

Isogawa Fashions


The interview was good, but not great. As interesting as he is, Akira does drift off the topic quite easily and Deb Cameron didn't really succeed in keeping him on track. That's a small criticism though, because really it was a very interesting talk and I have always found Akira interesting and charming.

Akira Meets The Fans

It was so crowded that we decided to tour the "Taisho Chic" exhibition this weekend instead, and so headed out into the freezing cold to grab some dinner. Staying thematically consistent we decided on Rise, one of Sydney's best Japanese fusion restaurants. They do a very affordable degustation menu mid week, and the food was exquisite. Plate after beautifully presented plate of gorgeous nibbly bits, like little tasty sculptures.

It was great to spend time with the boys, share a lovely meal and some good wine, and just catch up with them. Evan complimented me on how healthy I am looking these days, which was really sweet and just the encouragement I needed. I mean, I know that fixing my sleep situation has made a huge difference to how I feel, but it's nice to have it reinforced and to know that the change I feel is visible.

It wasn't a real late night, by 9.30 we had had dinner and were ready to brave the cold and rain again. The combo of the talk and the dinner, and the good company, was a lovely midweek treat.

Wet Winter Morning

It's a cold and wet, wet, wet Winter morning in Sydney this morning. My new desk is up against a window, looking out over the light industrial estate where the company is located, and the rain is thumping against the glass like a waterfall.

It's kind of nice really. (It's not so nice that my socks are wet from the walk into the office this morning, but that's a small discomfort.) I like the sound of the rain, it has a sort of meditative quality to it. Like waves on a beach.

I went out last night with Mikey (the lovely ex) and his boyfriend Evan to an evening talk given by the fashon designer Akira Isogawa, and when we left the art gallery it was freezing cold and raining quite heavily. Given a choice between huddling on the porch of the gallery with scores of other people, or braving it, we braved it and had a cold and wet walk to find a cab.

(I'll be setting up my new internet connection tonight, so I'll write about our little outing to the gallery and post a couple of pics then.)

The perfect antidote to a cold wet night though was a wonderful 7 course degustation meal at Rise, with the warmth of friendship and good conversation. Just about perfect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Five Things About Tuesday The 22nd of July: Tall & Handsome Edition

  • Fewer things in the world are nicer than a tall, handsome man telling you he thinks you're attractive too. Now all we have to do is conquer a tyranny of distance and actually get to spend some time together.
  • No I'm not telling you who he is, but he's started reading this blog. He knows who he is.
  • How in hell (despite being told over and over by some of my friends) did I fail to appreciate the music of Swedish pixie Robyn until now? Check out some of her clips here (especially favourite #1, favourite #2, favourite #3) and then take delight in someone who has a song called Konichiwa Bitches!
  • It just adds to my rep as a late adopter, really.
  • The new temp job is going to work out fine for the time being. The work itself is varied, the office has a friendly vibe and the mostly quite young staff all seem to get along well and have some fun, while still working quite hard.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Music And Man Ass

I stayed up waaaay too late last night, and frankly I blame the sweet boys of the Aussie electronic duo The Presets (myspace page, with audio). For decades now there has been an overnight music video show called Rage on Aussie tv. It's sort of like our version of MTV I guess, but it goes out on a free-to-air channel starting late at night and finishing in the early morning on weekends. They hand over the reigns to local and overseas acts to VJ and guest program the show. Sometimes this works amazingly (Debbie Harry was a real treat, just for starters), and last night was one of those nights.

Anyhoo, so the boys were very chatty and camping it up something fierce, and had programmed a real eclectic mix of early underground electronica, 80s pop, and a few surprises. Like Billy Joel. (Apparently, as kids both of the boys were fans.) What I thought was very amusing though, was Jules's intro into the Billy Joel clip they played. Jules prefaced it by saying that as a band The Presets were known for the homoerotica of their video clips.

Case in point, cute boys wrestling in milk. "This Boy's In Love" by The Presets:

Then Jules went to some length to describe the homoerotic nature of the clip to "Allentown" by Billy Joel. You know, homoerotica was not something I ever would have thought of associating with a Billy Joel clip, but Jules is spot on. Bare torsos, boys showering together and even a spiffy dance routine. (Check it out here: Allentown by Billy Joel.) It's pretty camp.

Or as Jules described the clip: "Come for the music, but stay for the man ass".

Improved Connectivity

I joined the ranks of the 21st century this morning and upgraded my internet connection to broadband. OMG late adopter, right? Well I had such a poor cranky old pc at home, that it didn't really seem worth spending the extra on an internet connection that my pc wasn't even going to be able to keep pace with.

Thanks to the incredible kindness and generousity of a friend, I have a long term loan of a laptop until I can afford to buy my own. This baby cracks along and leaves my old pc still tying its shoe laces and not even on the starting blocks, so it was time to make the switch. A while ago my isp even sent me a free modem to encourage me to desert the likes of dial-up. So with modem and laptop in hand I rang up this morning and made the switch.

The only downside, I have to wait 10-15 days for the change to be processed and my account to be switched. Bugger. Oh well, I mean I'm years behind the pace so I guess I can wait another week or so...

The Ring Master

I've always had a bit of a crush on out gay actor (and jug-eared cutie pie) Russell Tovey.

He seems to be one of those jobbing young actors that crops up in a variety of things, from the movie The History Boys to a small but important role in the Dr Who "Titanic" Christmas special (along with Kylie, of course). Hello Sailor!

So I was pleased to find this clip from the BBC comedy show Annually Retentive, about a low rent tv panel show in which UK comedian Rob Brydon plays himself. In this clip Russell Tovey's character is trying to explain some of the gay lingo to a somewhat confused Brydon.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I finish up at the temp assignment I have been doing today, primarily because I've been getting through the work faster than they expected and so they haven't wanted me here full time. I had a chat with the boss here about the future of my hours, and at that time he doubted that he could give me the full time hours I was expecting. In light of this I arranged another assignment to start next week, a full time one at a better hourly rate.

So, of course, the guys I am working with currently have given me more hours this week, full time hours in fact. Then they saw the results that in a couple of weeks I have brought down their outstanding debtors to around 20% of what they were. And then I showed them my Virgo tenacity by solving some of their thornier forensic accounting type work.

So having committed to starting a new assignment next week, these guys have now opened disussions about me joining them as a permanent employee. The money on offer is pretty good, the people are nice, and the location is easy to get to. But, it's not really what I want to do (mind you neither is the next temp assignment I have planned).

However, it all means I have options. I'm still hoping to hear from a permanent job I applied for elsewhere, but in the meantime I'm heading off to the new temp assignment on Monday while the guys here put a deal together to make me a proper offer.

They have my number.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

YOU May Be Slumming Honey, But I LIVE HERE

Hundreds and thousands of young nubile Catholics have sprinkled themselves all over this fair city of ours. Sydney is crawling with pilgrims, pilgrim. The world's Catholic youth (or a percentage thereof) are here to celebrate World [Catholic] Youth Day, to experience the fellowship and put their abstinence vows to the test.

Thankfully I don't have to head into the city at the moment, because public transport is apparently pushed to capacity, and the city centre streets have been cleared of the heathen, the inherantly fabulous and the cars in preparation for the processional passing of Il Papa. Meanwhile, huge drifts of said nubile pilgrims are washing up in my neighbourhood of Newtown looking for the hipster Inner West experience. Actually they're kind of sweet, but I'm not sure my 'hood has heard the words awesome and dude so many times before.

Listen Up You Two!

If you can't play nicely...

...nobody get's to have the ball, and we go home right now.

[Pic via Shorpy.]

Misunderstood (Or: Make Mine A Double, Thanks)

You know how sometimes you glance at something written, and sort of read it quickly without paying it too much attention, and you can sometimes get it a little bit wrong? And then it sort of sticks in your brain until one day you look at it afresh and realise that you've had it wrong all this time? (And to be perfectly honest it's not a bad little mini-lesson in the way we tend to label things.)

It turns out that the cafe near the office, the one I have been visiting about 3 times a week for the past three weeks, isn't the name I thought it was. Cafe Voka is not in fact the jauntily named Cafe Vodka.

I still think I like my original version better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Good They Named It Twice

Check out this large and stunning set of vintage black & white pics of New York. Amazing! If anyone is reading this from New York, recognise any familiar locations?

[Link via]

5 Somewhat Large Snippets About Tuesday The 15th Of July: When Will Winter Ever End? Edition

  • Onward and upward on the work front! I'm still holding a faint glimmer of hope for the job at the ABC that I applied for (although James, I know you said they were slow, but it's been weeks and I haven't been contacted for an interview - frankly it's not looking good). In the meantime I'm saying bye bye to the current temp post that I've been working at the past few weeks, where I've been getting less hours than promised on account of being too seriously fabulous and efficient, for a new post starting Monday. 9-5, Monday to Friday, and a considerably better hourly rate. Just pray they have internet, so that I'm not too efficient.
  • Oh, and speaking of which a sweet and kind benefactoress has offered me the loan of a surplus to requirements Mac laptop until I can afford my own! Yay! After I collect it this weekend no more crappy home internet connection (or the grungy internet place).
  • And speaking of James, as I was a moment ago, he's presently kicking up his heels in merry olde Sweden and having a completely fab time. Jealous, much? (And yes, that's me I'm talking about.) Check out his blog posts about his trip and join me in the little bits of bitter hateful envy.
  • Not least because he's having long Summer days that stretch forever into long Summer nights. Le sigh. I feel ungrateful for saying this, because today was actually kind of mild and nice, but this Winter and I are not getting along. Despite the opportunities to wear knitwear.
  • Watching James study his Swedish language lessons, and listening to the lilt of native speakers speaking German (in between all the mansnogs - schatz, ich liebe dich) has made me consider going back to refresh my language skills. German or Japanese, it would be nice to get back to speaking either reasonably well, like I used to. Education is a lifelong process.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Silly Love Songs

Monday night, eh. It's nearly midnight already and if I had more self discipline I would have gone to sleep an hour or so ago. As it was I had a bit of a bad night's sleep last night (although, still a far cry from the terrible sleep of times not so long past - hallelujah!), so I'm kind of tired. Tired and not sad, but a bit introspective.

I worked back a bit tonight, and as I didn't feel like going home straight away I headed to the grungy internet place that has been a bit player on this blog of late. Not really feeling like sitting in there, or sitting in front of the tv at home, but not feeling like walking the streets in the cold either. It was a nice crisp winter night tonight, not freezing cold but with a real bite in the air.

So I surfed the net a bit and listened to some pop music on youtube with headphones on, almost drowning out the sound of the strange guy a few computers over who told 5 different people the exact same story word for word about some beauty pageant contestant falling over. I started watching the clips of Verboten Liebe from the start, in sequential order (see my previous blog post). Courtesy of an obssessive who has cut together all the scenes pertaining to Christian & Oliver's love story from the soap, with helpful English subtitles. (It takes around 20 clips before they start to get to the having of the kissing, but once they do it seems like you can't stop them. I can't say I blame them.)

Don't listen to love songs (even if they are pop) and watch handsome boys pining for each other if you're feeling a little introspective. It's the left hand path that leads to thoughts of impending spinsterdom, and how is it that even boring and horrible people seem to have a person that looks at them and says "I choose you". (Maybe I'm not boring and horrible enough?)

But walking home I walked through the park, where they've recently piled mounds of wood chips ready to be spread out as mulch, and the cold winter night smelled of eucalypt, in the citrusy menthol way fresh cut eucalypt does. I might not have had anyone to hold hands with, but it wasn't so bad. I guess it meant I could keep both hands warm by jamming them in my pockets at least.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

God Bless Deutschland!

On account of the belligerent home pc I've mentioned previously, I've been enjoying the delights of the local grungy internet place. The upside is a pretty fast internet connection which has allowed me to spend more time on sites that are torturously slow to load at home, like youtube. Mostly I've been listening to fab old 80s pop songs, but today I discovered the joys of Germany's soap opera, Verboten Leibe (Forbidden Love).

From what I can gather from the clips posted on youtube (and there are many) Christian and Oliver are two flatmates, who advertise for a third flatmate, Judith. Judith has relationship issues of her own, but everything pales into comparison to the (titular forbidden) love story unfolding between the two boys. One gay and one, well, closeted as it turn out.

Anyhoo, let's cut to clips of hot boys making out like they really mean it! Seriously, these boys look like they are having a hell of a good time, and it's all quite romantic. The clips are somewhat NSFW obviously, unless your workplace doesn't mind The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name playing out in glorious technicolour.

I think this mushy one is my favourite. Christian and Oliver get romantic, and bit hot and heavy, to the soaring strings of "Heaven". Love is all that I need, and I found it there in your arms, apparently.

Sweet. Now excuse me I have another 59 clips or so to watch...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Accident Prone

I'm not much of a klutz. I don't tend to drop things, fall over, or do my self any major or minor degrees of accidental self harm. Normally. In the past couple of days I have:
  • Scraped the skin off a knuckle, thanks to a stucco wall
  • Burned my hand taking soemthing out of the oven (baked gnocci if you are interested, and my God it was good)
  • Almost set fire to the kitchen, because FYI even though they don't mention it in the instruction manual make sure you turn on the gas burner that doesn't have a teatowel draped over it (it was fine, but there was a nanosecond where I saw all my shelter options going up in smoke, and boy there was swearing)

So what is this? I've turned over some sort of new leaf, but not for the better?

I know posting has been sporadic here of late (Sugar Daddy, if you're out there, make mine a MacBook please), but really if you don't hear from me for a few days get someone to come around and check on me please. The way things are going I might be trapped under a toppled bookcase and a mountain of really quite good books, or somehow have wedged my head into the bannister.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

He's The Strong Silent Type

I had the day off today (as the client I'm temping at only needs me three days this week, the bastards) and so I spent the morning out having a coffee, browsing bookshops, buying some knitting yarn and strolling the streets of Newtown. As you do. (Or at least, I do.) Thankfully the sun was out today and it was a little warmer than yesterday, a day which was officially The Coldest Day Of The Year.

Can I just say, thanks for nothing Global Warming!

Anyhoo. I passed a recently now ex vintage clothing store on King St south, the quieter and slightly grungier (but these days most interesting) part of my 'hood. This same store was vacant only about 4 months ago and had had a display of a variety of second hand and vintage shop fitting for sale. In amongst the detritus were two male vintage display torsos, really one hard plastic display torso and one fabric covered tailor's dummy type mannequin. Both probably 50s vintage or so, judging by the look of them.

So a second hand jeans store opened and the dummies disappeared before I got around to ringing the phone number in the window. Intending to buy the tailor's dummy style torso. I didn't realise it, but these months later the jeans are gone and the store is empty again. Entirely empty, except for two male display dummies! Yup, they were back, or maybe they never left. The exact same ones.

So today I rang the number on the For Sale sign, passed over $40 and I'm now the proud owner of a vintage tailor's mannequin. He's armless, headless, slightly careworn but I love him unreservedly. He's a perfect size medium, stoic, solid and true and with a particularly masculine cut to his gib. It was only on Tuesday that I had priced new ones in a retail display store (about $235 and upwards), but they are pale, wan creatures lacking in substance and history to this little beauty.

He's currently modelling the scarf I knitted a little while back, and I'll post a picture when I get the home computer situation sorted. Soon he's about to have a mock-up of a piece of men's knitwear I'm designing and hope to sell to a magazine. I think it's the start of something meaningful.

You Don't Know How To Ease My Pain, You Don't Know!

I had completely forgotten how much I used to love this song (and the video) until they played a snippet of it last night as the subject of a question on Spicks & Specks.

In case you were wondering the question was a three parter: a) the song title?, b) the musical duo who recorded the song? and c) who directed the video?

If you're playing along at home, the answers were a) "Cry", b) Godley & Creme, and c) Godley & Creme!

If you got those right give yourself a pat on the back, a tick "Well Done!, a gold star and an elephant stamp.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

They Call Him Maverick

I've been watching the BBC series Medical Mavericks, about the history of self experimentors in medical science. It's sometimes gross (ingesting pellets of faeces mixed with urine, snot and flour anyone?) but always fascinating, but here's the thing... I've developed a somewhat surprising crush on the presenter, Dr Michael J. Mosley MD.

Maybe it's the urbane manner. Or the British accent, with the slight speech impediment. Or quite possibly it's the rubber gloves.

5 Things About Tuesday, 8th July

  • I just a yummy early lunch, but now I'm doing onion burps. It wouldn't be so bad if there were a few other ingredients thrown in, but just onion?
  • I started my new full-time temp assignment late last week, although their version of 'full-time' means that because I'm getting through the work faster than anticipated they only want me three days this week.
  • I'm annoyed, because I only get paid for the hours I work, and my temp agency consultant is really annoyed. Not so much because they earn less, but because she feels embarrassed and upset for me. She's put me back on their register to try and find me something more stable. Sweet.
  • I wish my old work could see me now. Working too hard. Getting too much done. Imagine!
  • I just had a Fry's Turkish Delight. Given the onion situation, potential bad move.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Social Niceties

My home pc is getting crankier and more passive aggressively belligerent by the day, so I'm sitting in an internet cafe in my neighbourhood. It's filled with the usual mix of Newtownians; a couple of gay boys, some hipster chicks, an old guy checking his emails, and a middle aged woman looking for accommodation online while her dog whines outside on the street. It's really cheap, up to 3 hours of web surfing for $4.40, and consequently pretty busy.

I've come in here a couple of times now over the past week, and each time I've been struck by the behaviour of some people. I mean this is no hushed shrine, no scholarly library or place of learning, but people are trying to do their own thing and concentrate on whatever they are looking at on the web. Yet, loud mobile phone calls, chatting with a friend at a computer across the room, or singing to oneself all seem to be perfectly natural behaviours.

Gah, I sound like an old curmudgeon. Especially because it seems to mostly be the youngsters that have the worst disregard for anyone else. I'm turning into that guy, the one that shoots you a withering look for constantly drumming your fingers on the table, or feels like chiming in to say that maybe Stephanie would enjoy your conversation about Nick more if you took that phone outside.

Is it ageing that's making me notice this stuff more? (And don't even get me started on going to the cinema these days.) Have people become less aware or interested in whether they are bothering others? Or so used to being isolated in their own iPod surround sound cocoons, or watching DVDs at home, that they can sit in a public space and behave like they are in their own home? Or do they fundamentally just not give a toss?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Workin' Girl

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday, at 6pm on Wednesday night my temp agency rang me with a job offer starting the next morning. So I trundled off to the wilds of a light industrial area to work as part of an accounts team for a large car retailer. Nice people, nice office, bit of an industrial wasteland of a setting, but the killer is NO INTERNET. Le sigh.

So posting will be patchy 'round these parts until the weekend. I was out last night saying Bon Voyage to James O'Brien who departs on his big European odyssey today, and I'm out again tonight, so I will catch you on the weekend! Have fun.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Who You Calling A Pig?

Musical flashback time! Here's a little favourite of mine from the late 80s, Aussie band Big Pig with "Breakaway".

Big on percussion, and big on aprons, but I'm still not sure where the 'pig' bit comes in...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mental Shift, Decision Made

For ages now I've been answering mumblemumbleyesnomaybe when people have asked me if I'm getting another share person in to rent the spare room, and today I made a firm decision. Nailed my colours to the mast. Drew a line in the sand.

I'm not gunna. I started moving less frequently worn clothes into the built in wardrobe in there, started putting away storage boxes of stuff, and started pacing out the space for a desk and cupboards. Whilst not actually earning any money presently, it may seem like an odd time not to reduce my expenses, but really I'm investing in mental health.

I like living alone. Although I've had some great flatmates over the years, I've had some less great ones too, and at times I don't think I have been a particularly good person to live with either. Now that my sleep situation and overall outlook is like 100% improved, I want to keep that forward momentum going and keep this place as my little sanctuary.

I would like the space to set up a proper office/studio too, and that spare bedroom is a good size for it, and it has plenty of storage space and the light isn't bad. I haven't blogged about it here much, but I'm trying my hand at selling some knitwear designs to magazines and online publishers. If/when they are accepted I'll blog about it in more detail, because the publishers have very strict rules about the designs being non-published in any form. (In a flurry of creative activity I've designed a hot water bottle cozy, a woman's wrap belt, a men's cotton tank top and a child's cardigan. With more ideas still percolating.)

So space to set out my things, to draw and to put up inspiration boards would be good. As would having my own space, sanctuary style.


Friends, I don't know if you have ever considered it, but I recommend unemployment. Get up out of that cubicle, step away from that boardroom table, and come out into the light! (So long as you have money in the bank to tide you over that is.)

Oh man, I had such a great day yesterday! We were treated to an unseasonal blast of Spring, and I headed into the city to make the best of it just as everyone else was settling into their cells in the cubefarms. Ok, smug? A little.

I had made arrangements to meet up with Mikey (the lovely ex) for lunch, so I headed into the city early and deciding to get off the bus on the fringe of the city, walked and walked. For me walking through the city inevitably = Retail Therapy so I popped into my favourite big book discounter and scored a fab book of 400 knitting stitch patterns for less than half price. One of the first pleasures of the day! (If you're not a knitter, just gloss on over the excitement.)

I still had a couple of hours to kill, so I strolled through the city, bought a discounted DVD and popped into Kinokuniya where I bought a couple of inexpensive Japanese knitting books. Ages ago I signed up for a Kinokuniya membership card, so everything I buy there is 10% off. See the recurrent theme? Not just any old Retail Therapy, but thrifty Retail Therapy! As befits a person of unemployed status. ::smirk::

Lunch with Mikey (tle) was lovely, inside the dark clubby environs of Pendolino. The fitout of the restaurant is really nice, but there was something a bit odd about having lunch on a bright sunny day in nightclub dark gloom. Especially given the fact that one entire long wall of the restaurant is (heavily shuttered) windows. The service was a bit patchy, it took us quite a while to get menus for example, but once we scored French Emo Haircut Boy as our waiter things improved. I couldn't fault the food though, it was absolutely delicious and designed to feature the fruity olive oils that are a Pendolino specialty. Nummy. Best of all it was great to catch up with Mikey, and we had a lovley chat over our lunch.

Afterwards I strolled over through Darling Harbour and into Ultimo, to stop by the science and design museum The Powerhouse Museum. I had brought along a small sketch book and some pencils, to check out the textiles and sketch some ideas. I have a love/hate realtionship with The Powerhouse. It has a fabulous collection which is displayed in a somewhat idiosyncratic fashion.

Sometimes it works to great effect, like the ...Never Done and What's In Store? exhibitions, but sometimes it falls a bit flat. Mostly because everything is so dark. Particularly with textiles, it's a fine line between lighting them sufficiently and conserving the fabric from fading. The Inspired! Design Across Time exhibition had some stunning clothing and other textiles in it, not that you could really see them in much detail. Gripe.

Anyhoo, a fun day. Catching up with Mikey (the lovely ex) was definately a highlight, as was having the freedom to just roam at will.