Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Perfect Lily

When I went outside into my courtyard yesterday I noticed that the first lily of the season had opened its little face to the sun. Hey there happy face! Some people think these lilies are a bit, I don't know, funereal? Maybe? I don't think so though, I think they are happy flowers and I love their sculptural form.

One Prefect Lily

Just to show that Winter hasn't entirely quit the scene yet, today was rainy and a bit stormy so this lily is not showing quite the sunny disposition that it was yesterday. I love the way water beads on the big waxy petals though, so it was nice to shoot these slightly more dramatic shots this afternoon.

One Perfect Lily

I guess every happy face has a tear now and then!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday By The Numbers

  • Number of hours of sleep had Friday night - approx 2 less than normal
  • Number of loud parties held by my next door neighbours - 1!
  • Number of early morning coffees drunk - 1
  • Number of "Project Runway" Season 3 episodes watched on youtube - 4
  • Number of laundry loads completed - 1
  • Number of odd socks found after laundry completed - 1, dang
  • Number of underpants likewise found - 2, double dang
  • Number of strolls taken - 2 (there, and back again)
  • Number of dogs spoken to in the special voice reserved for dogs - 4
  • Number of knitting groups attended - 1 very enjoyable one
  • Number of cafe menu items ingested - 3 (2 beverages, 1 sandwich)
  • Number of lace scarf rows knitted - 32
  • Number of laughs had - innumerable!
  • Number of Saturdays enjoyed - 1

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boos! And Yays!: Midlife Crisis Edition

Celebrating Birthday Week next week! Yay! But OMG, 44! That's ridiculous! BOOOOOOOOOOO!

(Yes, Birthday Week because one day, insufficient. Plus, I'll be celebrating at a slower pace given my advancing years.)

I think 44 might be Midlife Crisis time, because seriously this one is getting under my skin. Maybe because it's too close to MID 40s. Gulp. Boo! But on the upside, could that be a valid excuse for bad behaviour, right?! Age inappropriate clothing and toy boys, just for starters. Yay!

Actually, although 44 is seriously giving me pause for thought, I'm probably the happiest and most settled right now that I have been in the past year or two (especially since getting my sleep problems under control) Yay! But OMG, I need to lose like 5kgs stat! Boo!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Biker & A Sailor Walk Into A Bar

I'm not sure what happens next, but I wouldn't mind watching and finding out.



Shouldn't there be a cowboy too? I'm just sayin'.

Squeee!

My parcel of gorgeous yarns arrived today from the etsy seller DharmaRN (aka Frog Hair Fibres.) OMG, I had to dash outside in the fading light and snap some pics!

Myst

Denim

"Frog Hair" Sock Yarn


Most excellent!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please Do It At Home

Lately I've been catching more buses than trains, and frankly some of my fellow passengers are starting to get on my nerves. Not, you know, do you know where I can purchase an affordable firearm getting on my nerves, but I'm going to cut you my #2 pissed off look type getting on my nerves. (Number #1 is only used for emergencies.)

Sydney buses are pretty cramped, with narrow seats and a fairly narrow aisle, and if we all played the game and did our bit, behaved like we were ok with sharing and didn't hate all humankind with a passion, then that would be ok. Not optimum, but ok.

Some kids were clearly away the day that Let's Share About Sharing! was on the curriculum, and then avoided grasping the concept as adults. People on a crowded bus who don't want to share that second seat with anyone are my current target. (And by target I mean, take any opportunity I can to call them on their game. Excuse me, I'm gonna sit there.)

They put their bag on the seat next to themselves. They sit on the inside aisle half of the seat and either a) glare in a way that says "oh, don't even" or b) gaze out the window as if they have miraculously not noticed there is only one empty seat left on the whole bus. "I'm not a bad person, I just haven't noticed".



I found these fabbo poster graphics from the Tokyo Metro. Please do it at home. (They're so polite the 'asshole' is implied.)

What do you think? I'm thinking maybe that they are mostly in Japanese might come across as weird, but the graphics and the English translations are pretty self explanatory, right? Oh, craft project! Pasted back to back and laminated like a flip card! Could make a fun gift/conversation starter with fellow passengers!



And if I restrain myself, the 'asshole' will be implied.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sumptuous

Online fashion and lifestyle magazine fantasticsmag regularly dishes up the gorgeous. Wonderfully styled fashion shots, heavy doses of homoerotic underwear spreads (that'll have you shifting in your shorts) and incredibly lavish photography. I only started reading recently (hello, broadband!) and just spotted a gorgeous little fashion spread done as a video. The Visitor by Bell Soto. Filmed entirely in NYC, but I swear the locations look like Venice or Florence to me. Stunning!

5 Things About Tuesday, 26th of August: Teetering On The Edge Of Self Loathing Edition

  • I have that feeling like Spring is just around the corner. Today was mild, and sunny without a cloud in the sky, and just right for deciding to make the 45 minute plus walk home from work.
  • I did the walk yesterday too, although today was warmer and more pleasant.
  • Post Olympics tv! So what does Channel 9 dish up? One and a half hours of craptastic "Two And A Half Men". Are they serious?
  • Although, maybe I shouldn't judge. Right now I'm watching people fall off things on "Wipeout". (But it's the snarky commentary that makes it. Big dirty balls! Snerk.)
  • I think I might have lost all self respect. (It could be worse, I could have watched "Two And A Half Men")

Monday, August 25, 2008

Telex

It must be Music Nostalgia Week here (or maybe Midlife Crisis Week) because I feel like posting clip after clip of songs from my youth! I'll restrain myself and drip feed you the fabulousness, because you know, too much of a good thing and all that.

Pop quiz, who remembers Telex machines? Anyone?


This pic is not quite right, but the closest I could find to the sort of machine I used way back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.


I actually operated one of these precursors to email many years ago. They were typewriter style contraptions that were larger than a sedan, but smaller than a stationwagon. Ideal for a family of four!

The pic above is not quite right, because the machine I operated had a punch tape on the side. You see, the telex machine sent plain text down a telephone line to a matching machine at the other end. Like magic. You could type and send in real time or (my favourite bit) type your message onto a punched ticker tape that could be spliced to edit (no, really - with scissors and sticky tape, and everything) and then run through the reader to send a faster (and neater if you are a crapola typist like me) message down the line.

Anyhoo, wow exposition! So. When telex machines were brand spanking new there was a French electronica group that came out, calling themselves Telex. (Imagine a group calling themselves Email, or IM, these days.) I loved them unreservedly because their simple, repetitive synth tracks sounded like the future. They were mildly successful in OZ, but not so successful that loving them made me feel more mainstream that cutting edge.

Here's their biggest hit, "Twist A Saint Tropez", Telex. 1978.:



What I didn't realise is that they were responsible for a hideously bad 1980 Eurovision entry! Brace yourselves:




Makes you want to scrub your ears, right? Sorry about that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finito!

Finally. Elephant gestation takes 22 months apparently, but this pair of twins came close... at over a year. After setting them aside for, oooh, ages I finally picked them up recently and got to work finishing them off.

Passionfruit Socks

And this morning they were done. I wore them to knitting at the pub this afternoon, and I still have them on. Even though they are quite thin, the 100% merino wool is toasty toes making. After thinking that I might never get bitten by the sock knitting bug, now that I have them on I suspect that's not the case after all. Colour me converted!

Golden Boy

Matthew Mitcham! Our first gold medal men's diving champ since 1924!



Much has been made of the fact that 20 year old Mitcham is one of the few openly gay athletes at the Olympics. It would be so easy for him to have been tagged as that only, but now that his skill and grace have done the talking he's got a new label, Gold Medallist. I read that he was trying to use the family assistance program to get his boyfriend to the games with him, I hope they achieved that because what an amazing finish it was! It would have been incredible for him to have his partner there to see it and share it.



As we say in this country, GO YOU GOOD THING!

[Updated: I hadn't realised that Mitcham won with the highest score for a single dive in Olymic history. A score that included 4 perfect 10s. That's awesome! And yes his partner Lachlan was there. I must say I have been comparitively impressed with the coverage of Mitcham by Channel 7. So far I haven't I seen them play the 'Gay Olympian' card, and most interviews and discussions have mentioned, or included, his partner Lachlan along with his other family members. Which is just as it should be. The footage of Lachlan and Matthew cuddling during the celebrations, along with his mum, was especially sweet. Awwww.]

[Pics via www.daylife.com]

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Castanet Club

I was searching youtube recently for clips of The Castanet Club. The Castanet Club was an anarchic ensemble of Aussie comedians, musicians and singers that had a successful career in cabaret in the 80s and very early 90s. Their shows were famous for the characters they created (some such as Angela Moore's "Shirley Purvis" went on to have a life of their own outside The Castanet Club), their camp taste in music, kitschy style and especially audience participation. (Here's a little bio of them put together by Radio National in 2001.)

One of my favourite stories is that in the early days they helped finance their shows by baking and selling lamingtons to the punters.



Their show even spawned two hit singles on the Aussie music charts, a cover of the Italian classic "Tintarella Di Luna" and Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On". Both of which I still have on vinyl. Treasures.

Sadly I didn't find the music clips I wanted, but I did discover two clips from a 1990 Castanet Club docu-drama movie that I didn't even know existed! There is an extremely bare bones imdb entry for it, and I've also seen it listed as being called "Big Night Out". The best news, it's due for release on DVD late this year apparently!


"Viva Las Vegas" by Glenn Butcher and the Castanet Club ensemble.


"River Deep, Mountain High" by Lena Caruso and the Castanet Club ensemble

I never saw the Castanets live, but I did once go to a comedy cabaret show by the spin-off character Shirley Purvis. Sadly no clips of her on youtube, otherwise I'd show you. Think demented Aussie housewife that spoke a million words a minute and you are part way there. During the show she left the stage and went around giving everyone in the audience little nips from a giant flagon of cheap sherry. Now that's entertainment!

But a lamington would have been nice.

Money Don't Get Everything, It's True

But what it don't get, I can't use. I want money!



"Money", The Flying Lizards. 1979.

Another installment of the soundtrack to my youth!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Generous

I think there is a sure fire litmus test that can be used to determine who grew up in Australia and who didn't. Vegemite.

Around the corner from my new work is a cafe we (rather literally) call "The Russians" because, amusingly and with a complete lack of irony, it is run by a trio of Russian women. Lately one of them has been away on leave, and so there is a young English guy helping out with the morning shift. (I'm pretty sure he's the cook's boyfriend, because there is a series of photos posted up on the wall called "Staff Meeting" and aside from some pictures of the Russian women drunkenly dirty dancing with the pair of them, there are at least two pics of the two guys cuddling.)

Anyhoo, this morning I ordered a coffee from the new guy and (for a change) two pieces of wholemeal toast with Vegemite. He failed the litmus test. When it arrived there was a layer of Vegemite that can only be described as overly generous. You see the big test is the amount of Vegemite. The thinnest of thin smears is perfect, a half centimetre thick layer is not. Eat that and you're courting salt overload and a mouth full of dead tastebuds.

Shortly after delivering the plate to my table, another customer walked past and took one look at my plate and said "Gee, like Vegemite?". Indeed. So I grabbed a knife, scraped off 90% of it, and it was still really strong. When he collected the plate and looked at the huge mound of discarded Vegemite (think Richard Dreyfuss, mashed potato and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") he gave me a sheepish look and a smile that said "Oops". Definately not from around these parts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Open Letter

H.A.Bolles
Crew Captain, Oarsman
Annapolis, USA

Dear H.A. Bolles,
Well, here you are on 20th March, 1923. A Tuesday, I believe. Eyes slitted against the bright sun, oar in your hand. Don't you look the picture of fine health and handsomeness! Maybe it's a coldish day, I mean it looks like you have a swimming costume of some sort on and rolled down, with a windcheater thrown on for warmth.

Henry, is that your name? Harold? Hank? (I think Henry suits you.) How old are you here Henry? 20, 21 maybe? I'd like to think you are still alive today, but you'd be well over 100 and so I guess it's unlikely.



I hope you had a long wonderful life Henry. Did you love well, and were well loved in return? Or were you a bit of a handsome cad, leaving a string of broken hearts (and maybe the unrequited love of a certain young doe eyed cox) in your wake? Were you moneyed and privileged, or hardworking and funded by scholarships and sheer hard graft? Drove a sharpish motor with a flapper alongside, all boyish figure, bobbed hair and rolled down stockings?

You have beautiful hands, which I guess the weather and the oars roughened up a bit over time. I like your hair too, and just looking at it makes me think about running my fingers through its lushness. Did you smell good Henry? Like liniment, or Bay Rum and Jamaican Limes maybe? Like soap, and sometimes like good clean sweat?

I hope you were a kind man. Beloved of your mates, and good to those around you. Strong and fair. Loving to your family. Maybe you had a family of your own? Did you leave your mark, in a big way or small? Is there a plaque somewhere with your name on it, or was your legacy written in smaller deeds and the respect and love of others?

One thing's for sure, I'll bet you were a pretty good rower. It's my guess that you cut a fine figure with those oars in your lovely hands.

Affectionately,

Andrew

[Pic via www.shorpy.com]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Craving: With The Lot

All the way home from work on the bus tonight I had a craving. A really, really strong craving. A craving for a good old fashioned Aussie style Hamburger With The Lot. The ones from the local takeaways of my youth.

There is something special about The Great Aussie Hamburger With The Lot. Elements that take it above and beyond fast food and into the realm of a complete meal (sometimes even with what could be described as an element of dessert thrown in). The great Aussie Hamburger With The Lot makes a Big Mac look like a Moderate Size Mac. The Whopper look like The Teensy.

Sure it has elements of the standard Hamburger:

Meat pattie.


Bun:


Lettuce:


Sliced tomato.


But from this point onwards is where it gets really interesting, and perhaps startling, for those who are not genetically (or philosophically) Australian, but seems perfectly normal and scrummy for those of us that are.

Fried egg.


Bacon.


Cheese.


I like to think of the above as the International Elements. I mean, bacon, cheese, it could be anywhere right? Even if you think the fried egg is a bit strange. But now we get into what I like to think of as the unique Aussie Cultural Elements:

Tinned beetroot. (Stains your buns pink. Trust me.)



And the piece of resistance, the crowning glory, the taste of the tropics and the element of dessert previously alluded to... the Pineapple Ring:


Mmmmmmmm hmmmmmm, mate.

(In case you were wondering, I had vegetarian nachos for dinner.)

[Updated: OMG, yes! As was pointed out in the comments, I forgot the fried onions! Essential.]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Popped Cherry

I finally took an important step in every modern knitter's journey. I just purchased some gorgeous yarn online, because I can. Not because I have a specific project that requires it, or even have a clear idea of what I might make from it, but because IT IS GORGEOUS AND IT MUST BE MINE. He, or she, who dies with the most yarn, wins.

Hand dyed superwash merino sock yarn, dyed by a wonderful Etsy seller (and www.ravelry.com buddy) called DharmaRN.

This one, Denim:



And this one, Myst:



Yummy, right? Even as we speak my money has been digitised just like Mike Teavee and is winging its way around the world to DharmaRN. Soon the yarn shall be mine, and that will be a very happy day indeed!

[All pics by DharmaRN.]

Electrodes Have Limited Entertainment Value

(Unless they are the kind that zap you in the nuts while you're hogtied and ballgagged that is.)

Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, the sleep study.

One of the first things to say is that it was more comfortable than last time. Even though I had a mature aged and experienced technician hook me up last time, and the two young men in who's hands I placed myself and my leg hairs (more on that later) appeared to be children, the boys did a better job. All the stuff that chafed and annoyed last time didn't so much this time around, and they even used a different type of finger pulse monitor that made my finger throb less uncomfortably than before.

The first technician that hooked me up to all the electodes etc was a uni student of Malaysian background. Whose second degree was something neuro-electro-brainwave-blah-blah-zoned-out-on-the-details-blah-blah, and who had very bad skin, a tiny bit of halitosis, but the sweetest gung-ho disposition of the Aussie start/end/punctuate every sentence with the word 'mate' kind. Late in the evening the second technician came in to hook me up to the machines, a slim boy called Mohammed who likewise had bad skin (but no halitosis yay!), gorgeous wavy hair, and an incredibly polite, respectful and professional demeanor.

I watched some basic cable tv, and the tiny wee poppets competing in the Olympic women's/tiny children's gymnastics, knit about 12 rows on the second sock of a pair of socks I started a year ago (almost done!) and had a fairly pleasant evening. I even managed to get some sleep without sedatives this time, albeit pretty broken sleep.

Then Mohammed helped me to get out of all the gear this morning. 8 head electrodes. A finger pulse monitor. A chest and abdomen pair of respiration bands. 2 chest electrodes. A plastic '2 nozzles up the nostrils' oxygen tube thingy. 2 leg electrodes. Quite some performance, and one that involved the dissolving of glue in one's hair and beard (nasty) and an impromptu leg wax that made Mohammed wince as much as I did (but I swore more) courtesy of some over enthusiastic tape and glue on the electrodes on my legs (nastier).

Oddly, I only just watched "The 40 Year Old Virgin" for the first time the other day. RIPPPPPPP! Motherf*cker!

By 7am this morning it was all over and I was checked out, to head home and have a quiet day recuperating. I considered napping to try and catch up on lost sleep, but ended up drinking coffees and watching youtube clips of old seasons of Project Runway instead! My kind of battery recharging.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Man Of Few Words

Ack, I had a couple of blog posts planned for today but time has got the better of me. Work has been all work, work, work which frankly is annoying. Talk about unfair expectations!

Anyhoo, I'm off for an overnight jaunt into hospital for my follow-up sleep study tonight, so sometime around 2, 3, 4am think of me as I lie there thinking "They expect me to sleep while I'm hooked up to all this crap?", and maybe giving a little wave to the infrared camera just to say 'Hi' to the poor suckers that have to spend the night watching us sleep. Or, not.

So see you tomorrow!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Value Of Friendship

I had a lovely night last night catching up with a good friend (and curiously also my landlord) who has been in town for work this past week. He now lives in Korea, having moved there for work. In the past 4 years he has married an amazing local woman, had a child and now has another on the way. At the end of this year we will have been friends for 31 years.

In some ways we've become family to each other over all those years. He was the first person I came out to, and I think I was the first person that he told that he was very unhappy in his previous marriage, and was considering leaving. Our lives are very different, but a shared sense of humour and a genuine sense of... I don't know... being kindred spirits I guess has kept us friends all these years.

Whenever we catch up with each other it's like no time has passed. We're not the same kids that met in first year high school by any stretch of the imagination, but in many ways the friendship is exactly the same. It's wonderful.

The Girl From Ipanema Walks By



But surprisingly, almost everyone's attention was elsewhere.

[Pic from Vintage Photographs.]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's Unusual About This Picture?



Exactly! White pumps and black tights! As if!!

[Pic via Vintage Photographs.]

Extended Trading Hours

I've been walking past this store almost every day on my way to and from work, and always wondered why it never seemed to be open.

Then I had a closer look at the trading hours sign on the door.

Extended Trading Hours

Oh. If you're in the market for a cut price handbag or heavily discounted costume jewels, best mark it in your diary. If you snooze, you lose.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5 Things About Wednesday, August 13th: Random Blog Post Generator Edition

  • You know, after being single for quite a while you can forget just how nice quality cuddles can be. And kisses. And weeknight sleepovers. And being spooned. Yummers.
  • Mmmm, homemade hot chocolate. The slight minus of having to use soy milk is well and truly compensated by using 70% cocoa Lindt dark chocolate. That looks after the chocolate aspect really well indeed. Well, yes it does.
  • I need to knit a pair of these. I need to knit them because I really, really want to own a pair. In a nice tweedy olive green maybe.
  • After ranting about cinema popcorn earlier, I realised I can't remember the last film I saw in a cinema. It's been ages, or I'm starting The Big Forgetting. I think it's been ages.
  • I'd love to learn how to wind a turban. You know, properly. Like the ones grand old Sikh men with big beards and extravagant waxed mustaches wear. Or even something more casual, or maybe more brocade Bollywood wedding style. (BTW, I just Googled 'turban' to find some linky dinks and discovered... www.ratemyturban.com. Awesome.)

I Feel Strangely Validated

I hate, hate, hate the smell of cinema popcorn. Really, it's the big downside of going to the cinema for me. There is something about that fake butter smell that just smells rank to me, enough to make my stomach turn over. One of my favourite bookstores in Newtown is located just outside the entrance to a cinema, and if they are preparing the popcorn I've been known to leave the store because the smell is wafting in. Well, seems like I'm not the only one.

The other thing about popcorn is that it basically tastes like polystyrene, right? I mean, take away any flavourings and it's like the stuff they use to fill boxes of breakables. With the ocassional teeth crunching hard centre...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chinoiserie

I know I only changed my banner recently, but what the with Olympics and all I felt it was time for a little Flavour of the Mystic East. The background is a detail of some Chinese lanterns I took a little while back, at Evan's birthday drinks to be precise.

The only real truth is that everything changes. Presto chango!

Monday, August 11, 2008

File Under: Not Recommended



FYI, I'm not talking about motherhood. Geez ladies, at least hold on tight!

[Pic via Vintage Ads.]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Watch The Olympics For The Sport

At risk of appearing shallow, I have to admit that I went to bed waaaay too late last night on account of the Olympics. Specifically, men's gymnmastics. I know, I know, objectification is bad, m'kay? But, c'mon! Muscle pocket-rockets! Strength, and flexibility! It's a heady mix.

A stand out in the pocket-rocket cutie pie stakes, Deutscher sportler Fabian Hamb├╝chen. He's only 20 (bless!) and a compact 5'4". (Just about the hottest height there is, if you ask me, but that's where the resemblance between us ends.)



Unsurprisingly, clips of Fabian in action are all over youtube.



There are many fellow sports lovers out there, it seems.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Let's Here It For The Boy!

Ok, he certainly isn't a boy anymore, but who doesn't still look at Neil Patrick Harris and have at least one little Doogie Howser thought?



Although these pics from an upcoming issue of OUT magazine are thought provoking in an entirely different direction. Hello, yummers.



I haven't bought an issue of OUT for quite a while, but I may have to make sure I pick this one up. sigh So to speak.

In the meantime, the interview is here.

Song Of The Moment

I need to buy Robyn's cd, because obsessively watching her clips on youtube is not helping me avoid plowing through all my bandwidth. Eh, she's worth it. This isn't a new song, but it's one of my favourites. Have a good listen to the lyrics and then consider what the term Gilr Power really means!

Who's That Girl, by Robyn:

Slots, Bus Rides and Leather Boys: Or The Search For Entertainment in Sydney

I sent a text message to my friend Graeme yesterday morning, suggesting a few after work drinks at a gay pub on the edges of the city and not far from my neighbourgood of Newtown. A little place called Mr Mary's.

A bit of back story, some exposition for the story. Newtown has a really large gay community, and up until about a year ago was home to two thriving gay venues. The Newtown Hotel, and The Imperial Hotel. Both had been around for decades, and The Imperial was best known as the setting for the opening interior shots, and the exterior 'getting on the bus' shots in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert". The drag shows at both venues were legendary, especially at The Imperial where there was a large show bar out then back with stage etc. The good thing about The Newtown was that it was 'the local' for the broad variety of folks that live in Newtown.

Anyhoo, Sydney is going through somewhat of a slump in the commercial gay scene. The Imperial is closed for renovations that are long overdue, and The Newtown closed over some sort of issue between the licensee/tenant and the landlord. It now stands empty and forlorn in the heart of Newtown. Oxford St, the main gay drag of Sydney is now a grotty hole of a place (in my humble opinion), with a fraction of the venues it once had and a higher rate of aggressive drunks on the street. Not somewhere I choose to go anymore if I have a choice.

So I joined Graeme at a pub near his work, where he was having farewell drinks for a few people from his work. I'm not really supposed to drink anymore, but I haven't been out for drinks with friends in ages so I kind of threw caution to the wind slightly. I say slightly because I stuck to light beers.

Which is a good policy, unless you drink your own body weight in them.

Drinks with his workmates was really nice, and as things started to break up Graeme and I decided to hop on a bus in the freezing cold to head off to Mr Mary's, to hang with the 'mos. Cue two gay men climbing the stairs and walking into a completely deserted bar. Completely. No bar staff, no bottles behind the bar. Another one bites the dust it would seem.

There is a small 'gaming room' with a tiny bar and poker type slot machines downstairs, so Graeme and I headed down to find out what was going on. Somehow the main venue managed to lose their liquor licence. Oh-kay. After one quickly downed beer in the company of 3 gamblers and 1 bar staff (who was reading a magazine when we walked in), we headed back out into the cold.

We decided to try the new suburban incarnation of the leather bar Manacle in Petersham, a suburb not too far from my place. Word had it that there was a friendly front bar and a more 'serious' leather bar out the back. The crowd was pretty friendly and a slightly older demographic. I actually quite enjoyed it, especially the front bar (yes, we ventured out the back for a look). The Olympics opening ceremony was on the big screens and much of the crowd was tuned into watching it. Graeme was bit less moved by the place than I was, but I would definately give it another try.

Next time though, if I decide to venture out to the back bar I think I might try and dress... well... more appropriately. The black jeans and hoodie were ok, but I'm not sure the purple shirt and black & purple argyle sleeveless pullover are what you'd call leather bar attire.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thursday, Thou Art A Harsh Mistress

Meh. Thursday. I mean, downhill slide to the weekend and all that but ultimately... it's not yet Friday. I think blog posts are harder to write on Thursdays.

Interesting ones anyway. On the upside, haircut tonight!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Uncontrollable Anger

Roughly a year ago (John, a year! Can you believe it?) I read with interest over at John's blog Feuilleton about the release of the films of Kenneth Anger on DVD. John was actually writing about the release of volume 2, but I hadn't realised that there had even been a release of a volume 1.



I only knew of Anger's works, and had never seen any of his films all the way through. Actually, I think I might have seen a few little excerpts once but that was about it. I did know of them by reputation though, full of 'ics'; idiosyncratic, erotic, and with heavy doses of the mystic and the magic.



So I was excited to find that the Art Gallery of NSW store had the Volume 2 DVD for sale, and I popped in tonight and bought it. I've only watched a bit of the first film on the DVD so far, "Scorpio Rising" the 28min long 1964 paean to the homoeroticism of the American Biker legend.

(I would have watched it all, but HELLO "So You Think You Can Dance is on! Hot gay bikers or hot gay dancers, it's a tough choice. Although I don't think SYTYCD includes a biker orgy, but I might be wrong.)

The DVD is beautifully packaged, with a comprehensive booklet to go with the disc. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the DVD, thanks for the original hot tip John!

5 Things About Wednesday, 6th August: The Day Of Hump Edition

  • I probably slept longer last night than I have most nights in the past week, so why do I feel so tired? Universe, stop screwing with me.
  • Lost ATM replacement card received, wages serendipitously paid a day early, all is right with the world.
  • I might head into the Art Gallery of NSW shop after work tonight and buy that Kenneth Anger soft core porn art film compilation DVD I saw a couple of weeks back.
  • Yes John C, based on your recommendations in the past.
  • I have two weeks to go of my new monthly internet account and I have already used my peak time bandwidth allocation. Oops. Curse you youtube!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Words To Live By

I was watching a local chat show here last night, a wonderful show called, with tongue firmly in cheek, Enough Rope. As in, give an interviewee enough rope, and they'll hang themselves. Enough Rope is a great show, hosted by Andrew Denton who has been on Australian tv for a couple of decades now, and is known for his intelligence, erudition, ability to get people to really open up and humour. In fact he began his tv career with several incarnations of political and social satire, shows like "Blah Blah Blah" and "The Money Or The Gun".

Anyhoo, two of the guests last night were a mother and daughter pair of musicians Melinda and Mary Schneider. During the show Melinda referred to having written a song based on something a guest of Denton's had said in an interview a couple of years ago. Something that moved her so much and stuck in her mind, until she felt compelled to include it in a song. The interview from 2006 was about Living Libraries, something I had never heard of. Put simply, living libraries are designed to allow people to challenge their prejudices by 'borrowing' a person to engage in dialogue with.

Denton interviewed a borrower and borrowee, the 'borrowee' being a mature aged transvestite Sara (aka Claes Lund). I never saw the episode, but I've been reading the transcript of the interview and it's very interesting. Quite apropos to what I wrote about yesterday too, in the quote that comes from Sara and moved Melinda so much. At the end of the interview Sara gave her motto on life which I also think is wonderful. Deceptively simple but so true when you think of it, and speaks so much about our striving to want what others have, or unhappiness with ourselves, or being judged by other's standards.

"Be yourself. Everybody else is taken."

I love it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Casual Homophobia

Ah, on a day where I posted an entry full of colourful pics of diversity and celebration, maybe it's only fitting to be thinking about the other end of the spectrum. Good old, bad old, homophobia.

My new work place is very casual, and I recently discovered a little bit casually homophobic. It's hard to write about it because I feel kind of torn about how I feel about it. None of the people at work are nasty, or seem especially judgemental or ignorant. In fact I like them all.

I still like them but now I don't feel so much like I'm one of them.

I don't think they really set out to say anything that was intentionally offensive to anyone, at least in their eyes. However, with a couple of offhand comments that are probably innocuous to them, they have labelled me as other without even knowing it. Two of the younger girls in the office have a habit when chatting amongst themselves to do what a lot of Gen Y kids here are in the habit of doing, using the word "gay" to describe anything that is lame. "Ugh, that's so gay." Then the other day one of my male colleagues answered a phone call from one his friends with the greeting "What-up faggot?"

So, we are still in that place it would seem. I think I was especially shocked because it's my workplace, and well I haven't encountered thoughtlessness like this for a long time. It probably hasn't occured to them that they have a real life, nay larger than life, confirmed pickle smoocher in their midst. (Don't these people have eyes? Ears? I mean, I'm no flamer but I do believe in the freedom of self expression.)

And really I do think it's more thoughtlessness rather than something darker. Having said that though, I don't want to minimise the impact of this sort of thing or seem like I'm fence-sitting. It did make me feel genuinely uncomfortable, and it is negative. I'm only a temp, but if push comes to shove and I encounter more of it, or somebody says something more offensive, I'm going to have to say something. Ultimately I would rather walk away with my dignity intact, and maybe (hopefully) it would teach them something about their attitudes.

Because Frankly, Life Needs A Little More COLOUR!











[Pics via www.daylife.com]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Joy!

Sheer unabashed joy was what I felt when I read this blog post. What a sweet, creative, fabulous thing.



[Pic by Dancing Mermaid]

It's That Time Again

If you have read this blog for a while, or kept tabs on my Flickr photostream, you'll know by now that I essentially take the same photos and write a similar blog entry at roughly this time of year every year. This time of year being Magnolia Time! I can't help it.

Pink Magnolia

There is something about seeing these guys towards the end of Winter each year that gives me a lift, puts a kick in my step. Especially when they are combined with a blue sky day. Spring is just around the corner! Sure, they are a Winter flower but they seem to be heralding Spring in exaggerated fashion.

White Magnolia

Shall we make it a date for next year?!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Kindness Of Strangers

I've mentioned the website www.ravelry.com a number of times on this blog. Basically it's a social networking and database site for knitters, sort of like crossing the sharing and searching aspects of Flickr with a social networking site like Facebook. Aside from being able to share information about projects, patterns and yarns, there are groups on Ravelry for almost every interest.

Swap Haul

One of the bigger and more active groups is the Australian Knitters group, and like lots of the other groups on Ravelry one of the fun activities Australian Knitters holds is Swaps. Basically you get matched with a stranger, you stalk them a bit through Ravelry or their blog, they give you some hints about what they would like, and then you knit them something as a gift. So long as you don't exceed the spending limit ($30 in this instance) you are free to make them up a little care package of goodies they would like to go with their knitted item.

Beanie Details

This is my haul of goodies from Meika in Tasmania. I love the beanie in a tweedy grey yarn with green trim, and Meika put in some co-ordinating tweedy yarn (destined to be mittens or gloves I think), some nummy dark (yay!) chocolate and a packet of gourmet coffee. My parcel went off to a woman in Victoria, and I've already heard from her that she liked the purple cabled fingerless gloves, scented candle, handmade soap and organic drinking chocolate I sent. Paying it forward so to speak.

I spent this afternoon knitting with the group I knit with at a cafe once a fortnight, and it was such a lovely afternoon. Tomorrow I'll knit with my pub knitting buddies. And now I have a connection with a couple of other knitters that I have never met, and probably won't ever meet in person. I started knitting for relaxation and a creative outlet, but it was the discovery of a whole community of like minded friends that has been the big pleasant surprise.

Perfect In Almost Every Way

OMG, there aren't many consolations for being at home on a Saturday night, but watching "Breakfast At Tiffany's" commercial-free on ABC2 is one of them. This is week 5 or something of a Saturday night Audrey Hepburn retrospective and tonight we're standing straight at Tiffany's. (Last week we were Thinking Pink, and falling in love in Paris with Fred Astaire, in "Funny Face". And yes, sadly I was home last Saturday night too that means.)



Audrey has just realised that the incredibly beautiful young George Peppard (proof below) is in fact, essentially, a male prostitute. Those eyes, so blue! And it's about this point in the film that you realise it's a way more subversive affair than the beautiful dresses and silly Mickey Rooney Japanese characterisation would imply.



Note to self, time to buy the Truman Capote book after all.

First Editions

Continuing my obsessions with graphics and design, I love this archive of magazine first issue covers at Premiere Issues. I buy a lot of magazines, although I have cut back on my addiction.

"Hi, my name is The Other Andrew and I am a recovering magazinephile. A permanent lover of the periodical."



I was especially pleased to see that the magazine egg made the list. It was a bit of a rarity here in Sydney in the early 90s and somewhat hard to find, but distinctive with its unusual square shape. I used to love this magazine! It had a real attitude and point of view to it, and I was so sad when it disappeared after a couple of years. I do regret throwing away the issues I had many years ago, so it was nice to see a little reminder of an old love.

The other thing I find interesting is the cluttered look of some of the later magazines. There are still some magazines that are aimed less at the mass market that present an uncluttered look these days, but newstands are a sea of screaming teaser lines and covers awash in competing text. Blech.

Friday, August 01, 2008

David Lance Goines

I wasn't familiar with the work of graphic artist David Lance Goines until I followed a chain of links earlier this evening that lead me in a roundabout way to his website. Having stumbled on his work, I'm a new fan.



Goines has had a long and prolific career, with some associations like the restaurant Chez Panisse enduring for many years. Click on the posters link on his website and there are hundreds of works spanning 40 years from 1968 onwards.



He mines a very retro style with a signature tertiary colour palette, but his work still manages to look really fresh to me. Clean. Heavily influenced by the styles of Art Nouveau, the Arts & Crafts movement, Art Deco and even German Constructivism it would seem.



These are just 4 of hundreds of his designs, and I'm still working my way through them. Fabulous! Quite the treasure trove.



[All pics the work of David Lance Goines.]