Sunday, November 30, 2008

Revisiting The Recently Revisited

w00t! Pardon me those who live on foreign shore, but my fellow Australians, the 1981 mini-series of Brideshead Revisited starts tonight on ABC2.

It was only earlier this month that I saw the recent movie version, yet it's been 25+ years since I saw this original tv version of the Evelyn Waugh novel. That's a whole person's lifetime ago! Actually, it feels like my entire lifetime ago.

Oh, and it's up against "2 And A Half Men" or "Don't Forget The Lyrics". I call no contest.

[Updated: Ep 1 just finished. Better than I remembered. Curiously, whole slabs of it I don't remember at all. All the extended army bits at the beginning... who knew? Oh, and those who commented that they Upped The Gay in the new movie. Not. I'd forgotten the voice overs, when Charles is heading off to his first Plover's Egg Feast with Sebastian and chums, the lovely long piece about wanting to love, about heading towards finding the low door in the wall that leads to love and Sebastian. Not exactly The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name keeping shtum. Oh, yeah and not to mention the fantastic (and quotable) Ant-t-t-tony B-b-b-b-b-lanche!]

[Even More Updated: Squee! Right after "Brideshead" I'm now watching "ShakeseaRe-Told: A Midsummer Night's Dream" with... one of the cutest of The Ruperts, Rupert Evans. Hot dish in a wet shirt and (surprisingly) hairy chest. Num! Colour me King Of The Fairies all of a sudden.]

Bow-Wow Wow!

[All pics via]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sentimental? Awwwwwwww!

Wait, NO. Ewwwwwwwwww!

My Prince Albert . . . - m4m - 42 (Raleigh)
Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-11-15, 8:17AM EST

You are the hot bottom that came back to my place for some fun after the bars closed last night. You really liked the feel of my Prince Albert piercing. The problem is, after you left this morning, I noticed it is no longer there. I can't find it anywhere, and I'm thinking it might be inside you. Please get back to me. It was a gift from an ex-BF and I would like to get it back for sentimental reasons.

5 Things About Saturday, 29th November 2008: Divas Without Pants Edition

  • Last day at work ever! After my official last day yesterday that is! Until my new job on Monday that is! 13 hours of overtime in three days?... ohyesthankyouverymuch! (Tell the man with the money to come pay me - as Mizz RuPaul Charles would say)
  • Duffy! I loved Mercy... "I don't know what you do, but you do it well!" but then I discovered Rain On Your Parade. Oh. My. God. This song and I have pledged to be BFFs, pinkie swear and all. Thoughts: a) girlfriend can carry off the Liza-esque jacket sans trou, and that's not easy, and b) when she says "I hope you live on baby, so I can watch you cry." she gives me a little scared shiver. Don't push her, right?
  • My new motto - what this song needs is more timpani.
  • I bought more fabric today, because it was cheap and retro-y, and it was cheap... and well, he who dies with the most fabric wins. Apparently. (The same works for yarn. FYI.)
  • I could use a beer right now. I sure wish someone delivered.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finishing & Starting

My last day at my current employer today. Actually that's a bald faced lie, I offered to come in tomorrow (Saturday) to make sure that everything is actioned and neatened up, so my penultimate day today! Another staff member is leaving today too, and two new staff have started, so we're having a Hello! and Goodbye! lunch. There might be beers.

I have mixed emotions about the change, I like the people here but the workload is huge and the position I'm doing is likely going to disappear in the New Year. My new position is permanent and on a better rate of pay, but I worked there as a temp around 6 months ago and it's a very serious 'head down and do your work' environment. Still, it's the better option for me in these uneasy economic times.

Saddest of all I had to say goodbye to Coffee Guy and his wife. I've become really friendly with the sweet Persian couple who run the corner cafe, and Scarecrow - I think I'll miss them most of all. Which reminds me, when I left my last job at The Big Christian Charity I had the same deal, saying goodbye to the mother and daughter team of Judy & Fleur who ran the nearest cafe.

Good coffee is important in my life. I like to get to know my barista. Time to find a new one!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Would Sponsor Him If I Could!

And not in a pervy way. I mean, it's not like I want to own him or anything.

Despite the surprise Gold Medal and being just named sports performer of the year, out cute as a button Olympian Matthew Mitcham has yet to find a sponsor. This injustice must be rectified.

Should we have a whip 'round?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Hola chicas. Yowsers, what a day.

I started work at 8.30 this morning and finally stepped away from the spreadsheets and wibbling wobbling mountainous piles of papers at 8pm. Knowing that the last bus home was scheduled for 8.17pm was an added incentive. (Although by 8pm, no incentive really needed to be added.)

Curious fact, for one who has traditionally departed the office promptly at 4.30pm (overtime has until now been verboten), the office is almost as fully occupied after 6pm as before. These people are cray-zay. However, after 6pm you can comfortably phone for Pad Thai to be delivered to your desk. Right to your desk! Even Pad Thai without peanuts, for those of us with allergic dispositions, which amusingly arrives at your desk with a hand written note NO P-NOT written on the container. Awwww, bless.

So I was home by about 9pm, and even grabbed a couple of beers from the local bottle-o (off licence, liquor store) on the way home. A couple of quick little blog posts (see below) and one of the two beers, and already it's about bedtime. The Bo-Bo Express has tooted it's horn. Time to climb the stairs to Bedfordshire (even though I don't have any stairs). Bedfordshire is a state of mind.

I See Your True Colours!

Of all unlikeliest of unlikely things, this is a commercial for a dating site... attached to an underwear brand... which is owned by a famous tennis player. [Warning: noisy flash interface.] Several elements of WTF? in that statement, but anyway. Having said that, the message of "Love For All" seems both timely and sweet (and probably good marketing, given the high end underwear market demographic. )

The commercial certainly seems timely and sweet in this post-Proposition 8 world.

Be Sure And Keep Your Area Clean

It's not only civic minded...

...but frankly, it makes it more pleasant for everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Denial

I've been biding my time, hoping it wasn't so. Reading other people's eulogies and not wanting to write one. Procrastinating. Denying. Playing look, shiny!

I've moved to a place of acceptance, sadly. I've visited Dowagers 'R' Us and purchased a Fabulon-esque mantilla of mourning.

R.I.P. Fabulon. Thanks for the good times Thombeau, the laughs and the community. Regroup, recharge, relax and refocus, and take my love and best wishes for your future with you.


Life magazine is progressively putting their photo archives online, in a joint project with Google. So now if you put the text source:life on the end of any photo search, it will search the millions of photos in the Life archives for matches.

Let's give it a whirl. What if I put in a few of my favourite things?...

swim 1930s source:life

The Yale Universtity swimming team, weight training for strength.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1937.

sailor 1940s source:life

US sailor. Photo by Carl Mydans, 1940.

homosexuality 1970s source:life

"Campaign poster for admitted homosexual, Jack Baker, running for President of
University of Minnesota Student Association." Photo by Grey Villet, 1971.

Not bad results! The photos/pictures go right back to the 1750s! I have some serious browsing to do. Please send food and beverages if I don't resurface in a day or so.

Amir & Harel

New obsession! It may surprise you to find out that I like insanely hot Israeli men gazing into each other's eyes and kissing, but I do. Make one of them a butch wedding gown designer and well, he had me at guipure lace overlay. This little treasure is from the Israeli tv show "'Til the Wedding". Harel meets Amir; hijinks, romance, duo bathing and some dramas ensue.

Youtube user matan4il has a playlist of 10 clips so far. The clips have had little pop up English subtitle speech buttons added, which are a bit inconsistent in whether they decide to show themselves or not. If you can't see them, try stopping and replaying the clip, that seems to encourage them to come out of hiding. Oh, and read fast because some of them fly by! [Updated: Clip #9 uses Closed Captions, so make sure you don't have the Closed Captions option turned off if you don't get any subtitles at all. Click the triangle icon in the bottom right of the clip for the on/off options.]

Clip one. Boy meets boy at bus stop. Boy flirts with boy and uses a ruse to get his phone number while holding boy's wedding gown for him. A classic tale.

A big thanks to The Gays Of Daytime blog for the original tip off!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Steady Gaze

Firstly, yummers. Secondly, why can't we dress like this anymore? Thirdly, well I was going to say yummers again, but this time for the hat.

(Ok, I'm sure starched collars in particular lacked a comfort factor... but what price looking smart?)

[Pic via Shorpy.]


Pardon us while we pull ourselves together. I had a fab weekend, got farrrr too little sleep and had far too much fun. Tall & Handsome is jetting across the country as we speak, homeward bound. I am feigning interest in work, but feeling a little stretched thin by tiredness... and trying to decide if I have the strength for complex sentence structures.

I have to do overtime at work today and then I have to clean my house in readiness for the flying visit of my friend/landlord tomorrow night. Blech. Maybe I can meet him at the front door with my coat in hand, and bustle him out before he can set one foot in the door? Suspicion making do you think? And more importantly, do we have the energy to care?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hit & Run!

Witnesses are being sought.

Hit & Run

Police are reportedly seeking 4 brightly dressed men in a big red car.

Hit & Run

[Found in the street this afternoon just around the corner from my house, while heading up with Tall & Handsome to meet up with a knitting group at a local cafe.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

5 Things About Friday, 21st November: Gluttonous Edition

  • I spent so much of yesterday working, it was like the biggest shock to the system. Today's plan is to be somewhat more temperate about this whole thing.
  • Tall & Handsome and I went out for a truly fab Thai meal last, and frankly I still feel full. OMG, discovery of the week is the very reasonably priced and incredibly quaffable Wirra Wirra "Scrubby Rise" Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Voignier. The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but the flavour makes up for it. All the tropical fruit and citrus flavours of a Sauv Blanc with a bit softer finish from the Semillon and Voignier. Nom nom.
  • Free Coffee Morning this morning! My local cafe gives you every 7th coffee purchase free, and I never tend to keep track of it myself, so it's like a present every time it happens! For me? You shouldn't have!
  • I was going to add a point about the huge tin of spice biscuits that one of our suppliers gave us at work, but then I realised this was going to be waaaaay too much about food and beverages. Like giving the wrong impression that I'm a glutton. So I won't.
  • So, um. Another point not about food. Well, isn't sex just like the best thing ever?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Prodigious Talent Of The Late Michael Callen

20 years ago (20!) I accompanied my then boyfriend Simon, who was a research scientist working in AIDS (specifically education and its effect on gay men), to an international AIDS conference in Hobart, Tasmania. It was an amazing trip. I met some lovely people, learned heaps from the conference sessions, booed Wilson Tuckey (along with everyone else), participated in a civil disobedience act by informing the police I had committed (the then illegal) act of sodomy on Tasmanian soil, and even had dinner with a then very closeted (but now not) leading judge. 1988 was an amazing year, I was 24 and very much in love with Simon, it was the same year I backpacked around Europe and a year before I came to live in Sydney from Adelaide.

One of the highlights of the conference though was meeting the American singer Michael Callen. Even then Michael was considered a long term survivor of AIDS. Sadly, he passed away 5 years later in 1993 at the age of 38, but he left a legacy of fab work behind him, including cameos in the films "Philadelphia" and "Zero Patience".

Tasmanian activist (and part-time tour guide) Rodney Croome gave us a homo-tastic tour of the colonial penal institution at Port Arthur, and while we were on the bus there Michael very sweetly gave me a cassette of his latest album with a beautiful inscription in it. Basically saying that he wished he had had young role models like Simon and I when he was growing up. Here's his cover of "Where The Boys Are" from the very same album:

(Slightly NSFW, if you're watching this at work that is, in that the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name calls out the f-bomb in the beginning.)

Sweet Babbie Jebus, that Michael could hit the right notes!

[Updated: I dragged out a couple of old photo albums last night to show Tall & Handsome some pics of me at the Berlin Wall in 1988, an lo there in the back of the album were some snaps from the conference and a couple of Michael. Awwww. Made me all nostaglic, it did.]

Cafe Society

LiveJournal-ist and vintage photo fan "Orchid Thief" has posted a fantastic journal entry with a collection of vintage cafe photos. Café des Deux Magots. Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Doesn't it make your toes curl?

Now I'm so jonesing for an espresso and a Gauloise... and I don't even smoke.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yes, I Would Like To Help You Buy A Goat

I've been fascinated by the concept of microfinance for some time now. Comparatively small loans that are made to the working poor and low income entrepreneurs, for small business projects that have the potential to vastly improve their lives. Money for merchandise, seeds, even goats. Low income and subsistence workers rarely meet the criteria for lending from banking institutions, so a number other institutions have risen up to link these entrepreneurs and potential lenders together.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Deb over at freakgirl wrote a blog entry about an organisation called Kiva. I've just spent the past few hours wading through the website and I'm blown away. Kiva personalises the activity of microfinance by profiling each entrepreneur, and by having the volunteer field workers (who are posted with local micro-lending institutions that administer the Kiva funds) write regular blog style updates on the activities of the entrepreneurs in their area. Repayments by the entepreneurs are tracked, usually over a period of 6 - 12 months, and repaid to the lenders. Lending amounts are made in increments of US$25, and you choose who the loan goes to.

Rather than donations, the money is lent and eventually repaid so that the lenders can elect to retrieve their outlay or lend it to another entepreneur. The default rate on the loans seems really low at around 1.3%, but as Kiva warns it is often due to the nature of local unstable economies or even nature (such as crop failures) and so often out of their control. I had a quick look at some of the lender profiles, and some of these people are amazing! Like one retired couple who's portfolio of loans made runs to 5 pages! I love the idea that the money has a life, one that cycles through the lives of these people, helping them achieve new levels of independence, and then can be recycled to help others.

Currently US$25 is a little over AUS$38. Thirty eight bucks! Not such a big amount at all. A trip to the movies and a couple of drinks afterwards. A paperback novel or two. The price of a little indulgence. When I get paid tomorrow I'm going to sink that $38 into a loan instead. Maybe it'll buy a goat or two.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Undercover Lovers

I say old chap, I can see your ball.

Move along Jones, give us all a shot!

Welcome! Cory and Chad here will help you get settled in and out of those things.

I tell you old boy, it was most strange. I did this and "You're nuts!" was all she could say.

[All pics via Vintage Skivvies.]

Done And Dusted

Resignation has been handed in, and pleasant 'no fault' discussion has been had. My agency has been informed, a replacement requested, and a likewise pleasant conversation had. (My temp agency consultant's 'off the record' view, getting a permananent job in the current financial situation is a wise move.) Confirmation of my start date at the new job in 2 weeks has been emailed to my new employer.

I'd say I'm good to go!

5 Things About The Weekend Past: House Guest Edition

  • House guest weekend! Tall & Handsome was here for a flying visit, before taking off to do some work committments and coming back on Wednesday for another round of hot & sweaty sexing visit. Yay. It was so nice to hang out together, and as free of weirdness and awkwardness as I hoped it would be.
  • However, 2 light sleepers who both snore equals a recipe for sleep deprivation all round! Judicious napping (and occasional use of the sofa bed) was a help.
  • Friday's new job celebrations carried over into the weekend, with a special dinner treat at one of my favourite Thai restaurants.
  • Knitting! After skipping a week because of the Newtown Festival it was so nice to be back at the pub, hanging with my peeps and knitting on Sunday afternoon.
  • Speaking of knitting, Tall & Handsome and I made a trip into the Kinokuniya bookstore in the city on Saturday, and I found one of the few men's knitting books where I would wear just about everything in it. This one's definitely going on the wish list.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Och Aye!

I found this thistle growing as a weed in the street the other day. It quickened the Scottish blood that runs through my veins.

Thistle: Cirsium Vulgare

Cirsium Vulgare, aka the Roadside Thistle. Invasive weed or not I was still happy to see it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What A Difference 3 Days Makes

Well. Hey all!

Last Tuesday I was stressed and feeling quite strung out, mostly about work and finances, but a little bit about...well, life in general. Daydreaming about closing the door on some things in my life, dropping the key in the gutter and just walking away. You know? Put on your walking shoes and just go? Even if only as a metaphor, rather than literally. I didn't. I didn't quit my job or do any of the other impetuous things I felt like doing, but I did give myself a break.

Not just from blogging, but from my computer in general, from trying to get everything done, and from working too hard. I think there are few things more stressful than feeling like you don't have options, or options that are all bad. Taking some time to review and take stock was a good idea.

I had a frank discussion with my current employer, telling them that the workload was unmanageable on my hours (no overtime allowed), that I was considering leaving, and that the secondary issue was the three weeks they will be closed over Christmas and the New Year. Three weeks I wouldn't get paid for. To their credit they met me most of the way, agreed to overtime (although not to a reduced workload, sadly) and to allow me to work part-time over the Christmas break.

Straight away that was a relief. A nice fat overtime pay just before Christmas would be a real help, even if the thought of working more hours wasn't that appealing. Then that same afternoon I got a phone call I had been waiting for, a request to meet with the financial controller of a business I worked for about 6 months back.

So, this afternoon I had that meeting and I scored myself a new permanent job. Yay. One with sick pay, holiday pay and a manageable workload. It's working back at this business that I temped at about 6 months ago, and encouragingly they came looking for me because they were so happy with the job I had done.

They also let me open negotiations about the pay. I based my suggestion on a figure we had discussed 6 months ago, one which they thought was a stretch, but the ease with which they said yes makes me think I could have asked for more. Farging icehole buggering goddamn. Oh well. It's a figure I can live on a bit more comfortably and get ahead from where I am now.

And if anything is a stress reducer, that certainly is.

In other news, I missed not blogging over the past few days even as much as I enjoyed the break. So there is a bit of re-invigoration in the air! Plus, I have a house guest at present who's providing quality cuddles and I'm really enjoying spending time with. Tuesday feels like it was a long time ago!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Break Time

I'm having a tough week chickens, and I need to put my energies into finding another job and digging myself out of this situation I find myself in. Consequently, time for a blogging break.

Not for long, I'll probably be back next week. Check back then and in the meantime have fun!

5 Things About Tuesday, 11th November: Mean Reds Edition

  • I think the stress of the uncertainty about work and income over the next couple of months has started to get to me. Wound up and snappish is my mode du jour.
  • I need to take some deep breaths, and stop listening to the doom and gloom about the economy and the job market on the nightly news. Srsly.
  • On the upside, house guest this Thursday! Woo hoo! At least staying in bed is free, right? (Well, under most circumstances.)
  • Thinking of which, I can't imagine what it would be like to pay for sex. I mean, it's a turn on for some people but I just don't think I would want to be with someone that didn't want me back, you know? (Even if it's just because they're looking at me through a pair of beer goggles.)
  • I guess there are issues of power and control in there for some people. Not my scene.

Monday, November 10, 2008

30 Years

Yesterday was the day of the Newtown Festival, the 30th annual Newtown Festival to be precise. It was a bright and quite warm day, but thankfully less savagely hot and humid than in recent years past. Still definitely 30+ sunscreen weather though.


Temporary shade on sale.

It was as crowded as always this year, although it did feel slightly less of a crush than last year. Last year was incredibly hot and humid, and I wilted quite fast. This year I stuck it out for a few hours, but the crowds and heat stopped me from really buying anything this year. Except a bucket sized cup of homemade lemonade and the ubiquitous Turkish gözleme that is. (I swear, gather more than 6 members of the public together in Sydney, and someone will put up a gözleme stand.)


Crowd crush. Curious fact, the guy on the right in the black tee is the ex of a friend, I didn't spot him until I checked the shot afterwards.

Retailer numbers didn't seem to be down on previous years, and there seemed to be plenty of retail therapy being exercised. What recession? If there is one it hasn't dented the cheap sunglasses, ironic tee shirt and cotton fishermen's pants markets.


Jackie Jackie Jackie!

I met up with my friends Ian and Steve, and their Jack Russell terrier Jack. We wandered, ate, cooed at lots of gorgeous dogs and I perved (hot weather + pretty men, what's a boy to do?). I avoided sunburn and dehydration, which had been one of my aims.


Fantastic bellydance troop that were perfoming to a sort of electronica meets Indian music fusion.

In the afternoon I had an invite to join James for his birthday drinks, so I headed home for a much needed disco nap. It's amazing what 20 minutes of shut eye can do for the elderly! An hour later I had cleansed, groomed and polished and was on my way to drinks with James. Drinks turned into more drinks, turned into a bit of a pub crawl, turned into dinner with James, Sam, Patrick and myself. Lovely! (Some pics to come.)

Wind Sock

There wasn't much breeze to get these windsocks doing their stuff.

James has written a blog post about his birthday drinkies, a surprisingly large percentage of which is about men's toilets. Make of that what you will.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I saw the movie remake of Brideshead Revisited last night with my friend Judy, and loved it. Not unreservedly I must say, but then I have such fond (and distant) memories of the tv series that this poor film is always going to suffer by comparison. Second Boyfriend syndrome, in a way.

I did enjoy it though, and I especially though they captured the style of the era so beautifully.

OMG. I have whittered on about vintage clothes and the 1930s before, so it's a given that this movie was already halfway to being my BFF. The fact that they captured it so well though makes me want to tongue kiss it too. (OK, agreed. That's weird, but you get my drift.) I like.

The clothes. The vintage bathing costumes! OMG, the knitwear! I missed the entire dialogue from one scene because I was so entranced by Greta Scacchi's hat. Such is the power of good millinery. Every time Charles appeared on screen in another Fair Isle vest I was thinking Wait a second! Slow down! Give me a look at that pattern! Le sigh. Definitely a DVD purchase coming up.

I enjoyed the performances. Sebastian is more doomed and less jolly than in the tv series, Charles is still a bit of a tit (albeit one that stirs my nethers, yum) but cast a little less as a potential social climber I thought, and Julia still needs smacking, hard etc. Greta Scacchi and Michael Gambon add some much needed warmth. That Matthew Goode (far right) is a stunner, and I later realised he was the handsome guy I had been so taken with in the other period piece My Family & Other Animals about Gerald Durrell and his family.

But I think I need to see it again to get past the distractions of millinery and really watch the story.

While I was exercising my Google-fu looking for pics I found a fab blog called The House In Marrakesh, about a couple who lived in a 500 year old house in Marrakesh. After seeing the movie they realised that the hospital scenes in Morocco were shot at the crumbling Bahia Palace, which they had taken many pics of. It provides a nice bit of backstory to the locations, and even though they are no longer in Marrakesh the archives make for a great read.

So. This morning was Haircut Day and I decided to jump in and do something I've been thinking about for a while. Given further impetus by the film, I'm changing my Generic Short With A Kicky Fringe style and going for something a bit more retro. Short back and sides, with longer floppy layers on top and the option of a side parting. I let it go 7 weeks between cuts, so the top is already quite long but it will probably take one more cut before the layers are really long enough to fill in the shape properly. I already love it though, and once it grows in properly I might post some pics.

No matter how hard I try, even with a fair isle vest and swishy linen scarf, I won't be a Charles Ryder... but I can dream.

[Updated: OK, I decided to share a pic of it after all. The new haircut, a work in progress.

Once the layers on top get a little longer I'll be able to side part it if I want, and hopefully get some floppy haired retro action happening. At least that's the plan!]

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Thoughts

I made the mistake of taking a good close look at my computer keyboard at work. Gross. There's all sorts of nasty under those keys. Anyone lose anything? I think I might have it.

I'm a bundle of stress today. Too much work, too little time to do it in, and deadlines missed. I keep telling myself to just effing chill the effing eff out, man! But then I hate getting yelled at, so that's just making me more stressed. It's a skill.

Haircut day tomorrow!

I'm going to a movie tonight, for the first time in ages. A real, gen-u-ine talking picture. In a movie palace! I'm seeing "Brideshead Revisisted" with my friend Judy, so it's winsome boys, longing looks and Ms Emma Thompson getting all up in their bidness.

You know you're a comfort eater when you're having a rough day, it's not even 11am, and already you're planning lunch.

"Newtown Festival" this Sunday. It's a fun day, although the crowd numbers have been steadily building to the point where it's a bit cray-zay. I'll probably pop in early-ish avec camera, and then hightail it outta there as the crowds and public drunkenness amp up. Then off to Mr O'Brien's birthday drinkies. Speaking of public drunkenness...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

DIY Blankie

[Pics via the mighty Thom, Benevolent Dictatrix of Fabulon. Grazie bella!]

Change Is Come

As an outside observer I'm happy about the outcome in the US elections. I think a change in perspective, life experience and energy is well overdue. Perhaps this can overturn some of the cynicism the rest of the world feels towards the US these days.

Me, I'm working up a whole new batch of cynicism. In amongst all the joy it's worth noting that for a number of people, Mr Peeneee and his partner of 27 years for example, who 24 hours ago were married are now not. Proposition 8 (actually, that's Proposition H8 to be more accurate) overturned the right to marry for gays in the states where it passed, and those marriages are no longer recognised. Yes it's excellent that the US was progressive enough to grant that right in the first place, but it seems the battles are far from won.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

5 Things I Love: An Incomplete And Changeable List For Wednesday, 5th November

  • My Friends. I've become a lazy friend over the past year or so, but recently I've reconnected with a couple of my friends and it remainds me just how much I love them. (Note to self, get off your ass and keep in touch with people.)
  • Blogging. You know, comes and goes, but I'm feeling the love again.
  • Making things. Knitting is still going strong, but I'm itching to either repair my old sewing machine or buy a new one, because I'm feeling the need to put the treadle to the metal again.
  • My camera. It's official, we've tired of each other every now and then, grown distant and cool, but the passion is reignited.
  • A good cry. Currently I'm tuning in every week for a scheduled sob watching "Find My Family", the adoption reunion show. OMG. ::sniff::

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Dress-Ups Box: Part The Third

4 blog posts in one day? Chatter. Box.

So I showed you things from the Dress-Ups Box in Part The Second and Part The First. Time for Part the Third.

First up a silk suit I made in a purple-y brown mushroom coloured silk. This baby has meters and meters of hand applied gold cord and gold metallic braid. I based the design on a russet coloured suit worn by Robert Dudley in 1565.

Mushroom Coloured Silk Suit

When I found out that I was going to be elevated to a peerage in the Society For Creative Anachronism, as a member of the Order of the Laurel (just nod politely if this sounds like gobbledy gook), I decided it needed a special outfit. In shorthand, in the SCA it's the equivalent of getting a Knighthood, but for service and excellent in the arts & sciences instead of the art of the biff and bash. Mine was for costuming, and it basically recognises excellence, research and sharing of your skills (I taught quite a few costuming classes), but also 'peerage qualities'. (ie: not too much of a prat.)

Shoulder Detail: Mushroom Coloured Silk Suit.

Because I was working to a deadline, I sensibly decided to hand sew the individual little scale shaped tabs at the shoulders, neck and waist, and sew on the meters and meters of couched cord and braid by hand. A period I think of as the Marathon of Madness.

Back Detail: Mushroom Coloured Silk Suit

This looked fab on the day, and when I stepped up for the King & Queen to perform the ceremony there were gasps and cheers. Alrighty then, that's called Making An Entrance.

Robert Dudley, 1565.

Handsome Robert Dudley, the original inspiration. He's a bit of alright, don't you think? No wonder Liz thought he was sex on a stick.


Next up is a 16th c Spanish travelling cloak I made from thick fulled wool (ie: like felt, but actually woven). This is an authentic reproduction of a travelling cloak pattern in a facsimile reprint edition of Juan de Alcega's tailor's pattern book from 1589.

16th C Spanish Travelling Cloak

I cut it to the exact pattern, and after checking his measurement guides I didn't even have to scale it down. 16th c Spanish were hobbits I think. The decoration is based on the same sorts of cloaks shown in engravings from the period. Lots of braid, and lots of tassels. Tassels! A definate selling point, don't you think?

16th C Spanish Travelling Cloak

The design is really clever. When the collar is undone and the hood flipped back, the collar sits nicely like a regular wide collar.

16th C Spanish Travelling Cloak

When you do up the collar though, and flip up the hood, it completely protects the face from the elements and leaves just a slit for the eyes. Some versions of these cloaks were made in thick felt, like the underlay that goes under carpet, and so the conical hood stood upright and helped the rain and snow slide off the thick felt. Plus it made you look kind of funny. Love that!

So there you go. Believe it or not there are some more bits to come, but we're on the home stretch now.

With Harry's Own Particular Taste In Fashion

It paid to be able to move fast.

Harry Cook. Clitheroe, Lancashire, England. 1910.

[Pic via Shorpy.]

Whinge Loud Enough On This Blog And The Universe Will Provide

At least, that's my new theory.

I've been severely stressing about the work and finances situation, about having the possibility of 3 weeks over Christmas with no income. Thinking about rent paying, gift buying, food buying even. So, I just got a phone call with a job offer. A permanent one.

The large car distributor I did some temp work for some months back told me they were sad to see me go at the time, and asked me to leave my details with them in case a permanent job offer came up. They've now merged and expanded, and have a me shaped opening. I told them the dollars I want, and that I'd need to give a couple of weeks notice where I am now, and they have gone off to do their sums. The immediate verdict was that it was entirely possible.

I've become disenchanted with where I'm working at the moment, they never came back to me with an offer when I told them about another possible job offer I received last week and they don't seem to care about my Christmas employment situation. While the environment at the other place is not as young and fun as this one, the workload is more manageable and the permanency is what I need. I won't have accrued any leave in time for a Christmas closure at this other place, but I would at least get paid for the public holidays.

So now we wait. Cross everything please!

Chart Toppers

I've become a little obsessed with oobject just of late. The curators of the site put up strange lists of things, and people vote on the 'best' (or sometimes worst). That simple. What makes it though is the bizarre collections of things that they post. I'm not so into the whole voting for the best thing, but if you're a collector of the strange and curious like me (and I'm not just talking about my friends or exes), then check it out. Here are a couple of examples.

Oobject's list of the world's top 15 modernist gas stations:

Or maybe the top 10 buildings made from old planes:

Or the 12 worst iPhone cases, like this blinged-out diamond encrusted carbon fibre monstrosity: