Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Celebration of Some Amazing Lives

As the year draws to a close, I think it's time to celebrate a few of the lives that ended in 2008. Not in a maudlin way, but in a spirit of celebration and joy. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch, 2008 seemed to be a year when we said goodbye to many icons and famous names, but a more idiosyncratic art fag(ish) list of my own, stacked heavy with entertainers, artists and those who have somehow contributed to the cultural zeitgeist.

If you believe in reincarnation as I do, it's comforting to think that they are probably out there preparing to be fabulous all over again!

Miss Eartha Kitt, with kittehs (Chanteuse).

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (actress, intergalactic nurse, spouse of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and the voice of the computer in numerous Star Trek incarnations).

Ted Lapidus (fashion designer, former dresser of the Beatles & Bardot, largely credited with democratising fashion by concentrating on affordable ready to wear, including unisex styles, flares and military style jackets).

Van Johnson (matinee idol, closeted gay actor).

Paul Newman (actor, humanitarian, devoted husband, good sort).

Bettie Page (pin-up).

Jorn Utzon (architect, great Dane).

Christie Allen (Singer, she gave us 'goosebumps, heart thumps, she made our motor run' for a brief while in Oz in the 1980s).

Pauline Baynes (illustrator, most famous for her illustrations for the C.S. Lewis "Narnia" novels and various Tolkein works).

Dorian Leigh (model, fashion icon).

Cyd Charisse (dancer, actress, leggy brunette).

David Brierly (actor, voice actor who was the voice of K9 in Dr Who).

Yves Saint Laurent (couturier).

John Phillip Law (actor, sexy angel Pygar from "Barbarella" amongst other roles).

Gary Gygax (Dungeons & Dragons game inventor, Supreme OverNerd, childhood hero).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Transitional Space

The 30th of December. Almost the turn of the year, and the start of the new one. Tall & Handsome is on a plane heading home, and we probably won't see each other again until Easter. Not something ending, but a transitional space of sorts. Even on a mundane level work is so quiet in this transitional space between Christmas and New Year that it feels like another form of marking time, being in a holding pattern waiting for things to start up again.

I like transitions, change. This year I'm looking forward to the change of the year. I might not celebrate it, the jury is still out on that one, as I'm not much of a one for the difficulties, stresses and travails of trying to get anywhere on New Year's Eve. However, even if I stay home I'll be embracing the idea of 2009. Whatever it brings.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

By The Pricking Of My Thumbs

Something Moffitt this way comes.




"Basic Black"

About "Basic Black" Peggy Moffitt's husband William Claxton wrote:
“In 1967 Peggy and I had just returned from ’swinging London’ and Paris to work in New York. We were commissioned by a small commercial production company to come up with something which would serve as my ‘reel’ in order to get hired to direct TV commercials. While sitting on our bed at the Algonquin Hotel, we collaborated in writing a shooting script that would show fashion, makeup, and hair on three beautiful models wearing the fashion designs of avant-garde Rudi Gernreich’s collection for that fall. We shot the film on a weekend, had original music composed for the sound track and ‘Basic Black’ was born. It was very well received, won several awards and has been referred to as the first fashion video.”

A short but fab 2001 interview. Moffitt's husband Claxton was an amazing photographer, and with his shots of her was partly responsible for creating her striking image. Sadly he passed away in October this year, and Richele has written a lovely tribute over at Richie Design.

Peggy Moffitt. We LOVE her.


Bilby Yarns Natural Laceweight

250g of yummy Bilby Yarns natural undyed 2ply laceweight wool yarn from Tall & Handsome + ball winder (also from Tall & Handsome, spoilt!) = lots of delicious little yarn cakes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Small Mystery Explained!

I've always loved the song "Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush, and the accompanying film clip. It's hard to imagine now, but this clip was something quite new in it's portrayal of a little mini story that enhanced the song. MTV and other clip shows had opened up the possibilities, and Kate had the budget and influence to be able to spend what would have been a considerable amount on a clip.

Anyhoo, what I always wondered was... what's the book in Donald Sutherland's pocket that she makes such a point of showing? And yet, it's pretty quick and too hard to make out what the book is. Well, thanks to youtube mystery solved! Here's an early MTV interview where she explains the book that influenced the song and the clip.


While I'm beating around the Bush, check out this great live clip of "Running Up That Hill" with Dave Gilmour. For me, there's a couple of things that make it most excellent. a) It shows that La Bush has the vocal chops to give a great live performance and b) the third performer on stage turns in a stunning performance, the other guitarist's mullet. That thing has to be seen to be believed, and probably had its own groupies.

Rubik Cubism

Analogue art for the Pixel Generation Rubik Cubism.

Aside from the initial wow factor I find this really interesting. In effect it isn't really that far from 19th century pointillism, probably the most famous of which is Seurat's riverbank park scene "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte". The pointillists were experimenting with pure colour and the light mixing that goes on in human vision, in order to create vibrant and 'pure' colours. By being limited to the small number of bright colours on a Rubik's Cube the creators are taking advantage of the exact same colour mixing techniques. (Like pointillism these works are best seen from a distance, or in the case of these as thumbnails.)

In concept though I think this is more about computer era pixel art. I remember making game sprites on the Commodore 64 way back in the early days of computers, and using the small grid and limited colours to make little Space Invader style monster sprites (that did nothing but move from one side of the screen to the other, but were still awesome). Jump forward 20 plus years and there is a whole Pixel Art movement. Artists pushing individual pixels in a grid, in software like Microsoft Paint, to create (often quaint) artworks.

The nostalgia and wow factor comes from the materials. So clever to think of using the colours and natural grid of a Rubik's Cube to replicate the same effect! There's quite some budget at work here, having the funds to buy that many Rubik's Cubes, and lots and lots of time and skill spent turning the buggers to create the right colour grid for each one. I would assume that modern technology has come into play in preparing the works, loading a photographic image into software, enlarging the pixel grid and limiting the colour palette in order to plan the works.

Digital meets Analogue.

[Link via things magazine.]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pagan Rites

Or as we like to call them, New Year's Eve plans.

[Photos by Nick Knight for Galliano Menswear.]

Hear My Dulcit Tones! Listen To Those Sibilant Esssssssses!

I totally forgot to post a link to my little interview on David Reidy's podcast "Sticks & String" a couple of weekends ago!

David came along to the knitting in public event at the Opera House on the 14th, and interviewed me for a couple of minutes. If you're not a knitter you'll have to listen to lots of knitting talk before my dulcit tones chime in, or (shhhhhh, don't tell David) if you want to fast forward I'm a little bit before the halfway point. Ish. After me David interviews a fellow male knitter, Courthouse Hotel pub knitting regular and my good friend, Kerry.

If you are a knitter (or are knitcurious, or questioning) then check out the rest of David's podcasts. The episode I'm in is Episode 87: S.K.I.P.

Let The Parade Of Desserts Commence!

OMG. I may never, ever eat again. I possibly said that last year, the year before, and so on, so clearly I cannot be trusted on this... but that's my plan. I'm not waiting until New Year, I'm making a Christmas Resolution.

So. Thoughts on Christmas Day...

I love my friends. A huge dinner table for 20, or so, barely seats us all and that includes the inevitable absences. Friends who've moved overseas, interstate, or just have other plans. The rag tag bunch of us now includes many ankle biters underfoot, which has added a further dimension to Christmas. Oliver and I made the lion puzzle, the zebra puzzle, the elephant puzzle and of course the giraffe puzzle, then back through the cycle a couple of times more. At no point were giraffe legs combined with a lion head, frankly between the two of us we put the intelligent into intelligent design.

Not to mention that once the thorny issue of the difference between the words assume and presume reared its head, we couldn't let the issue die without an answer. In a nutshell, they are functionally the same except some of the secondary meanings differ. Perhaps I'm being assumptuous, but I presume you're as interested as we were.

The food. Oh, the food. The glorious, glorious food. Meaghan pulled out all the stops, with Christmas favourites like a huge leg of ham, and some new dishes such as a string bean and pomegranate salad dish that was to die. To. Die. Are five desserts too many? I think it was five. Pudding... pavlova... chocolate cake (with raspberries and raspberry sorbet)... the ne plus ultra of panacotta with jellied mulled wine glaze.... I know that's only four I've listed, but trust me it felt like five.

I did fairly well in the giftage this year. Everything I gave seemed to go down a treat, including a rave review of the scarf. My sister was gobsmacked that I had made something so beautiful (her words), which is high praise indeed. I received a few fab gifts, primarily knitting related; a wonderful ball winder (dirty?), some great books, some scrummy yarn. I see a Boxing Day spent winding some balls. How about you?

So, a nice Christmas. Fairly chilled out during the day, with a lovely social evening. Capped off afterwards with a major food coma and supine staring at The International Dancesport Championships (known as ballroom dancing by civilians) on tv from the comfort of my own couch. Just when you thought it couldn't get any gayer. (Someone tell the Pope, put a fatwa on Dancesport and save the world.) Now it's late and I'm watching a German comedy on tv, which is an über camp take off of Star Trek, with what appears to be an all gay crew. Plus the extremely nummy Til Schweiger.

At least, I think I am. It may be the result of that 4th dessert...

Anyhoo, I hope you all had a lovely day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Message

Merry Christmas everybody! If you don't celebrate Christmas, or celebrate something else, well I wish you a very merry that too.

Oh, except for Pope Blah Blah The Whatever (I can't even bring myself to look up his correct name and number) I don't wish him anything. And that's because the generousity of the spirit of Christmas moves within me, because otherwise I'd be imagining squeezing his head. Hard. The old man in a dress and pumps gave his Christmas speech the other day and labelled me, and all my queer brothers and sisters, a scourge. Equal in threat to humanity with global warming.

Just how many flamers does it take to warm this globe?

So, I'm having a lovely Christmas morning but I'm also offended and annoyed. On the one hand he's a silly old fart in a dress, but on the other hand he's a silly old fart in a dress that millions of people around the world listen to and look to for guidance. Be on your guard heteros, we're out to get you! You and your procreating ways! Ugh. (Seriously, we want you to breed, someone's got to make more poofs and lezzers.)

So my Christmas message is the anti-Pope message this year. One of the reasons the gay community has embraced the rainbow flag as an emblem is because it takes all the colours of light to make a rainbow. That includes all you Straighty McStraightertons, and all the shades through to my own deepest pink. So think about embracing the concept of otherness this Christmas. Hug a hetero. Embrace a bisexual. Shake hands with a butch. Think about equanimity, and not separating ourselves off from others by the labels we attach to them. Sure, if you get to know them and they turn out to be assholes, well, so be it. At least we all gave them the benefit of the doubt, right?

Just don't let the message of intolerance and judgement spoil your Christmas. If you're a Christian, well maybe spare a prayer for the old man in a dress. A prayer for guidance and tolerance would be a nice place to start.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One More Sleep

Christmas Eve everyone!

I'm having a quiet one in tonight. All through the house not a thing is stirring, not even a mouse. (Not since I set those traps anyway. Kidding!) Tall & Handsome drove north today to see friends and family and will be away until Sunday, when he's back briefly before heading back home clear across the country. My Christmas plans involve a sleep in and a lazy morning, a Christmas phone call with my family interstate, catching up with friends in the afternoon, dinner... and oodles of good cheer.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas Eve, wherever you are and however you are spending it. Now get to bed or else Santa will never come!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Chrissie Pissie, 2008

One of the benefits of blogging for a while is being able to go back and revisit memories from previous years. I wrote about our annual Chrissie Pissie get-together in 2007, 2006, 2005 and it's fun to go back and remember those years.

As always, the 2008 edition was a fab afternoon of catching up with friends, eating, drinking and exchanging $15 crap/fabulous gifts. This year the signs of change were noticeable, a few new partners and friends, some absentees as some friends have moved away and so were weren't there, children that seem to have almost grown exponentially. But the enjoyment of the afternoon and evening was unchanged.


Upsized 1
Daen gets upsized in the inflatable Santa suit.

The Lads
The lads; Nick, Mikey and Evan.

Upsized 2
Megz was the lucky recipient of the inflatable Santa suit. One of the hits of the day.

Jasper, and the ole ball and chain.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I pushed it right to the wire, but my sister's Christmas gift lace scarf is finished. I had a tiny bit of yarn left over, and could have added another 5-10cm to the length, but it got to late last night and I thought "really, in the scheme of things - what difference does 5cm make?".

Plus, today was my deadline to get it into a courier bag and sent off to my family in Victoria, so it was a pretty tight deadline. I've been working on a sleep debt all week so once it got to be late enough that my eyes were crossing from tiredness, I figured it was time to be done with the knitting bit and start blocking it.

Fiona's Scarf

So I cast it off, washed it and pinned it out to block into shape. It's not really until you get to this last step of stretching it to dry into shape that knitted lace really comes alive, everything neatens and opens up, and you look at it and think "wow, I made that!".

Fiona's Scarf Blocking

I hope she likes it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Baby

Slip a something under the tree, for me.

Apologies for a paucity of posting, a dearth of disclosure, of late. We are currently so busy with Chrismukkah and Tall & Handsome-ness that we are doing 6 impossible things before breakfast. Some days seven! Cold fusion is on the list, but I may not get to it. This morning was a bijou Hangover Morning as we were at a leather bar until around 2.30am. And yet, I was still lined up at the Post Office at 9.30am. See, impossible!

I have a cake to bake, and then we're off to two social events this afternoon. A cake to re-bake I should say. Here's a hint kids, be sure and buy Self Raising Flour when the recipe calls for it, and don't just grab any old flour packet off the shelf in a fugue state of Supermarket Overload. Meanwhile I have a yummy frisbee if anyone wants one.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

5 Things About Thursday 18th December, 2008: Festive Edition

  • I made my first Kiva micro-loan last night. I thought it would be nice to exercise the spirit of giving a little at this time of year, and once I saw that the Peruvian dry goods owner Consuelo wanted a short term loan to buy fruitcake, wine and champagne... well, could you resist?
  • Tall & Handsome and I braved the crowds of late night shopping tonight. Surprisingly neither of us had a meltdown, snapped at each other or pushed a small child over. We actually had a nice dinner at Wagamama at around the halfway point, which helped.
  • I spent about $100 bucks on myself, which I hadn't planned. You know how it is, you get into that spending groove. The lights, the decorations, the carols. Next thing you know you're buying $75 of discounted knitting yarn.
  • You know what, Merry Christmas to me!
  • I'm just about done, giftwise. I still have a crazy list of things to do by Sunday night though. Buy just one or two more gifts. Make a cake. Go to a knitting get-together, and a couple of parties. Tall & Handsome and I are even planning a night out together at a late night leather bar. Festive!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa: The Original Funtime Bear


(I'm sorry, now I've started with the Christmas crapola... I just can't stop.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Exactly How Many More Than A Pair Is A "Cluster"?

Meet me under the Christmas tree...

...and I'll kiss you under the balls.


Well, one thing I wasn't expecting when I arrived at work today was to have one of the secretaries come around with a festive envelope addressed to little ole me. "Sign here" she requested, so I signed and was duly handed a red envelope bearing the name of one of our larger retail conglomerates. It turns out that a couple of years ago the staff unanimously elected via a vote to forgo the torture and morning after recriminations joys of a company Christmas Party, for a Christmas gift from the company instead.

So thinking "Score, what's this $30 bucks or sumfink?" I unwrapped a $150- gift card. Nice. Usable in a whole string of stores, including a couple of department stores, KMart, Target and even a liquor store. Helll-lllo Christmas!

Not bad after 2 weeks in the job.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like...

Sorry, distracted. How does that song go again?

Monday Night

Shnnnuggles on the sofa. Making dinner for two. A glass of wine. Watching the telly together. A bit of honey, sweetie, I know you want to chat but I'm trying to write a blog post and as lovely as you ruffling my hair is, um, could you give me like 5 minutes thanks pet? And now he's doing the dishes.


Knitting In Public: Christmas Edition

I'm not sure who floated the idea originally, but a few weeks back I heard that the Australian Knitters group on Ravelry were thinking of getting together for a Christmas gathering. To sort of do an informal version of a knitting in public day, because frankly the only problem with the international Knitting In Public Day is that it's during Winter here. Knitting in Winter is no hardship, but couple that with being outdoors in the midst of one of the worst Sydney rainstorms in 30 years... not so great!

So. What could be better than hanging out with a bunch of my knitting peeps at the Opera House? Taking a few hours out of an otherwise very busy weekend to just enjoy the company of my knitting buddies, and add some more length to the Christmas scarf I have to get finished for my sister. I got there a bit early, so wandered around in the sunshine and snapped some detail pics of that lovely complex of buildings known as The Opera House.

One of the things I love about the building, is that if you get up close and personal with it it shows all sorts of faces. Shiny. Rough and angular. Geometric. Sinuously curvy. You can see the understructure, even to the point of the moulds used to pour the concrete. The ribs that were inspired by palm fronds. The structure that the building sits on which is like a mesa, or an aztec temple, one giant staircase that creates an incredible sense of anticipation, of arrival once you gain the top.

Sinuous Curves

On The Tiles Graceful


Two Icons Exposed

Aside from the stiff wind off of the harbour, the Sidewalk Cafe under the Opera House was just about perfect to sit and knit the afternoon away. I hung out, knitted and chatted until about 5pm, when I headed off to Parramatta to celebrate my friend Ian's 50th birthday. Tall & Handsome arrived back in Sydney from his field trip at about the same time, so we met up in Parramatta to have dinner and celebrate with Ian.

Knitting In Public: Christmas Edition

Knitting In Public: Christmas Edition Knitting In Public: Christmas Edition

Knitting In Public: Christmas Edition

We didn't get back to Newtown until well after 11 last night, and considering I had been out at Mikey (the lovely ex's) fabulous 40th birthday until nearly 5am early Sunday morning (5am!), I was pooped. Zombie-style pooped. Walking Dead, coming through! So we fell into bed and suddenly it was Monday morning. Way too quickly, but after an action packed and fun weekend.

[Click any of the pics to en-biggen them on Flickr and read more details.]

Friday, December 12, 2008


I was a bit broken today, I have to say. Two farewell functions last night, on a school night nonetheless, a couple (or three) beers at one, a third share in two bottles of wine and then a couple of beers at the other. Oy. It was a fun night though, and although it sounds a lot like just a drinkfest it was actually more about friendships, and good food and conversation.

Keith is heading off to Melbourne, to a new relationship and to study theology. Damien is off to China, to some trekking, travel blogging and lots of exploring the food of China. I caught up with Keith and a bunch of our friends at the pub, before heading off to meet James and Damien. It seemed only fitting to go to a Chinese restaurant, and James informed me we were heading to "Sea Bay" in the city. "Sea Bay" turned out to be the place I have always known as That Dumpling Place, and although the formica tables and general decor have had an upgrade, I'm happy to report none of the dumplings have had a downgrade.

Tall & Handsome is away on a botany field trip until Sunday (just in case you wondered why he didn't feature in last night's drinkathon festivities). Lots of my friends read this blog and consequently have heard of him, and want to meet him. So far his schedule has meant he's been away when we've had get-togethers planned, so he's still a bit of a mystery. A secret. One I've been writing about on The Internets. (Can that still be a secret?) I've been thinking a lot about him though, and I'm looking forward to him getting back on Sunday night. I hope the weather on his field trip has been better than here in the city. It has poured down unrelentingly all day today, and is expected to continue all night. Even if tomorrow is going to soar up to 34C! (95F-ish) Weather is weird.

Tomorrow night is a combined Big Four Oh birthday party for the artistes known here as Mikey (the lovely ex) and World Peace And A Speedboat. 40! Bless. I remember it well. Sort of, because that party was a bit of a boozefest, frankly. (Does it count that between then and now there a couple of years where I didn't drink at all?) Tomorrow will be busy, and a late night probably. Sunday I'll probably head off to a big Christmas get-together at the Opera House for the local knitting community.

So it's a quiet, rainy, Tall & Handsome-less Friday night tonight. I've just made myself a veggie omelette for dinner. I might drag out the knitting. Maybe watch a bit of telly and listen to the rain thundering down outside. Not a bad night in, really.

Beautiful People

I said beau-tiful people
You know they're going out tonight to get their Bombay rocks off
Beau-tiful people
They've got a Kerouac conditon, got a cocaine cough
Beau-tiful people
Studio fifty-four is the only place to dance
Beau-tiful people
You know the garden's full of furniture, the house is full of plants

"Beautiful People", Australian Crawl 1979

Rudolph Valentino

Unknown beauty

Sari Maritza

Johnny Weissmuller

Guy Madison