Friday, January 30, 2009

Gangs Of New York Fashion Week

McQueen, Fall 2009

Thierry Mugler, Fall 2009

Anne Demeulemeester, Fall 2009

Gangs of New York, 2002

Life imitates art, imitates life?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I'm labouring under a tummy bug at the moment, after waking up in the early hours of this morning with sweats, stomach cramps and... well... that's enough detail. Anyhoo, posts will sparse in the short term. Be back soon!

Together Alone

Monday, January 26, 2009

Teatime With Sarah

Today was a funny old day. I had planned to catch up with an old workmate this afternoon, so when Mikey rang at 1pm to see if I was free for a picnic in Centennial Park I tried to figure out if I could shoehorn it into the schedule... and it just didn't fit. So having turned it down I hung out at home for a while and then started getting ready for my afternoon coffee catch up with my old workmate. Except, she cancelled at short notice. It would have been quite late by the time I changed gears and got to the park, so instead of too many things to do I ended up with too few.

So, it may be the case that when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. It's definitely the case though that when the going gets dull, the dull err... bored go shopping. I decided to do some bookshop window shopping at least. Newtown already has some great bookshops but there's always room for one more, and one more has just been added. (Actually, a few years ago my favourite secondhand bookstore closed, and recently another of the new books bookstores closed for renovations, so essentially the balance has been maintained.)

Miniature Perfection

The perfect miniature lemon meringue tart.

So I was wandering around the secondhand level of the new Berkelouw bookstore in Newtown, wedged in an aisle between Christianity to sinister and Sex/Gender to dexter (common, right?), when I heard my name called. My good friend Sarah had a similar idea as it turns out, and so we both found ourselves in the same place at the same time.

Industrial Style

Industrial style in the secondhand books level.

Berkelouws have a fantastic formula for their large bookstores, one level of new books, one of secondhand and antiquarian books, and a cafe. This new store has been created inside an old two story warehouse space in a side street in Newtown, and I'm in love with the conversion. High ceilings, original windows, sandblasted brick, raw timber shelving, old patinated wood, tin and industrial style lighting.


I want these lights. WANT.

Oh, and the most fabulous antique searchlight type industrial lights that I coveted so bad I could taste it. There was a pair, and for a few seconds I made fantasy calculations as to whether Sarah and I could make the dash downstairs and out the front door carrying one each.


The clerestory and exposed tin ceiling.

So instead of a dull afternoon, I had a lovely coffee date after all! A perfect little meringue and organic mint tea for me, and a latte and little passionfruit cheesecake tart for Sarah. The cafe was light and airy, and although fairly full was quieter and less bustly than many Newtown cafes. Judging by the laptops out on a few tables I would assume there's free wifi too. It was a lovely afternoon talking about creativity and the future, and the perfect antidote to a dull afternoon.

Compassion In Action

Back in November I wrote about my decision to make a micro-loan through the orgaisation Kiva, to enable an entrepreneur in a less financially advantaged situation to get a boost in their business. About a month later I had some spare dollars and decided to put them to good use.

I decided to go with a fairly short term loan for my first Kiva loan, so that I could see the process in action, and once some of the money was repaid I could add to it and make a second loan to someone else. By topping up the repaid credits I could start to get a portfolio of loans happening and make sure that the money I was lending was out there circulating and helping people. Since then Consuelo has paid back 25% of her loan, and soon I'll be making my next one.

Kiva provides lots of feedback on the lendees' progress through 'fellows' in the field. They are a team of volunteers who work with the small lending institutions in the different countries, sometimes in quite difficult circumstances. They do admin and lending work, but most importantly they must also write blog posts and journal entries feeding back information to the lenders and Kiva. They help write profiles of the entrepreneurs, and report on the progress of the loan and what it has meant to the recipient.

One fellow called Kieran Ball left his job at Credit Suisse in October to take up a fellow post in Cambodia. He decided to make this awesome 11 minute video to follow the Kiva loan that his workmates made as a farewell gift on his behalf:

Fantastic, right? A great way to explain the process and humanise it. Keiran wrote a supplementary blog post about the video also.

In other good news, Kiva has had so much press and traffic of late that recently all of the outstanding loans have been raised. Wow. Apparently they are working like crazy to approve new entrepreneurs, and there are a few new ones on the site as I write this, but there should be some more loans to be fulfilled soon. So far Kiva has loaned more than US$57 million dollars to people in poor countries, with a very small default rate. Amazing!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For All The East End Boys

James, my go-to-guy for all things Swedish, pop, and Swedish pop, turned me on to the West End Girls. A Swedish all girl Pet Shop Boys cover duo. Yes, I really did say that. Isabelle and Emmelie, aka West End Girls, even released a CD entitled "Goes Petshopping". Sublime!

So, bows to present:


Domino Dancing

West End Girls

(Whoa, that's getting kind of meta don't you think?)

First thoughts. Well, they have the deadpan thing down pat. In spades. The music production lacks a certain lushness which the Boys always had. A Commodore64 instead of a Fairlight, perhaps. Not a lot of expense spent on clips, but then the PSB's didn't always either. For all that, the songs are faithful in tone and as catchy as the originals. No messing with the formula here.

In short, a bit of a novelty act... but an entertaining one.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Doubt" In Haiku

Clean nailed Catholic priest,
One Phillip Seymour Hoffman,
Gives Meryl her doubts

Amy wants to think
The best of everyone, but
She too has her doubts

(Go see it, it is absolutely awesome. Streep, Adams and Hoffman are all completely brilliant. One of the best films I have seen in ages!)

Pretty In Pink

Time for a new header, something bright and summery. I took this pic of the Azalea 'Pink Lace' a while back, and I hope it brightens your day like it does mine!

All The Facts You Need To Know

I'm sorry, they do what?

Well, I guess it is a form of affection after all. In certain circles.

[Via freakgirl.]

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pretty, Pretty, Handsome Dr Smith!

Athena, the girl from the Fashion Dimension

The Week That Was

Initial thoughts about this week? Hot. Busy. Fun. Sydney has been treated to a blast of heat and high humidity this week, and it's evening and the news just informed me that the humidity is still 69%. Sheen. Of. Sweat. I haz it. All week I've been holed up in our airconditioned offices, not loving stepping outdoors into what is essentially the giant bitumen carpark of my workplace. (I make an exception for the morning coffee van.)

Busy, because as someone who is employed to ensure that people keep paying their bills, in an industry seeing many closures, my employers are justifiably a little... tense. I'm settling into the groove of it all, but getting results and being so closely monitored has had its stressfull moments.

Fun, because I went out twice with my good friend Stephen from Brisbane. Once with a group of his friends who I really enjoy spending time with, and once just the pair of us when he crashed on my sofa bed here one night. Dinner, drinks and a late night trawl through the bookshops of Newtown - just like old times!

So, now it's Friday night. I just put the AC on, and I'm still sweating. I'm having a quiet night in, except the fact that 3 out of 6 free tv channels are showing sport is a downer. Hello internet!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fessing Up

I spotted the Interview Me Meme on a couple of blogs recently, and when our very own Peener spilled his guts... well, if Peener is pushing a bandwagon then I'm climbing aboard.

There are rules! I believe in waiting my turn, colouring within the lines, and never, ever switching the tags, so I'll be a good scout and play by the rules. (Although, I can't see myself thinking up more than 30 original and insightful questions, so I'll cap this at the first 5 respondees if many want to play.) Oh, and you have to have your own blog to play.

You have to link back to the original post and also to your Interviewer’s post and include the following:

Want to be part of it? Follow these instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, here's La Peenester's questions and my answers:

Your blog is excellent at detailing the life of The Other Andrew and your profile is unusually detailed, but we still demand more. Can you give us a short bio that tells us who you are, where you came from, what you’re knitting?

I was born in the UK in 1964, the youngest of three (and only boy) to Jean and Derek. One year later we upped socks and moved to Australia as 10 Pound Poms, following my mother's parents, sister and brother who had all moved here previously and settled in Adelaide. I was only 1 so remember none of it, but the three day flight in a plane that broke down every time it stopped, and our first year in Oz spent living in a quonset hut in a re-settlement camp became the stuff of family legend.

I had a happy childhood, despite a somewhat distant relationship with my father (a rather taciturn man) and the knowledge that I was Not Quite Like The Other Boys. I drew a lot, made things, read books by the dozen, loved movies and had a rich interior fantasy life. (And thus an Art Fag is born.) I sang in a choir up until my voice broke, or shattered really, and played the French Horn rather badly for a couple of years. I did very well at school, was popular with other kids and teachers, got good grades (especially in art, English and languages) and although I struggled to apply myself, I enjoyed my school years. Oh, and I was, shall we say... sexually precocious at school.

About the time I was 13 or 14 I had sussed The Gay Situation and when I was 15 I told all my school friends. I started attending a youth group for young gay guys after being introduced to it by Paul, a guy I was having a a demi-disastrous affair with after I answered his personals ad in the paper when I was 17. Anyhoo, this is supposed to be brief! I stayed with the youth group for quite a while and ended up helping to run it. At 18 I became a telephone counsellor for a gay help line (their youngest ever). A year later I started a relationship with a Welshman, who would emigrate to Oz and be my boyfriend until taking off with little warning 2 years later shortly after my Mum died from cancer.

Fast forwarding. I backpacked around parts of Europe in my mid twenties, and spent time in England with my Dad who had moved back and married his brother's widow about 4 or 5 years after Mum died. Back in Adelaide I was bored and frustrated, so I followed the migration of some of my friends to Sydney and fell head over heels in love with my new home. After a Mardi Gras romance that became a long distance relationship I made the BAD decision to move back to Adelaide in 1997. We broke up 6 months later and it took me nearly 18 months to get back here.

So, since then my most significant relationship was with Mikey (the lovely ex) with whom I'm still very close. I would describe myself as extremely social, yet with a real need for quiet alone time too. My worst failing is procrastination, it creeps into almost all aspects of life, including relationships. I can be crabby, but generally I'm pretty easy going. I don't handle tiredness, rejection, or feeling judged very well. I'm always told I'm pretty funny, and I love to laugh and make others laugh.


Oh, and I'm currently knitting these.

Who is this Tall & Handsome? What’s his story?

Tall & Handsome is the moniker I gave to Peter, a guy I originally met as a friend of a friend through knitting circles. Not surprisingly, he's very tall (about 6'2" I think, which beats my 5'4" hands down) and handsome in my beholder's eyes. He's a knitter, a very smart guy, the owner of a small dog who he loves dearly, a scientist (botanist), and best of all very sweet and kind, and the giver of lovely big bear hugs.

The tyranny is distance, he lives as far from me as you can in this country without falling off the edge. I am very, very reticent about long distance relationships (done it 3 times) so the distance is an issue of big importance. We are not likely to be living anywhere near each other for at least another 4 years, and frankly I don't want to live anywhere else. (All of this Pete knows, so I'm not telling tales out of school here.) So we're keeping it light and playing it by ear, and I'll be seeing him again at Easter.

You just finished a job search (yay!) so I’m sure you had to contend with that awful question interviewers love “What’s your greatest weakness?” where you have to make up some bullshit that sounds convincing but doesn’t actually scare off possible employers. Since you’re not looking for a job from us, spill it honey, the truth: What really is your greatest weakness?

Shoot. I can list my weaknesses and still be going half an hour later. Chocolate. Handsome men. Sad stories and happy endings. Puppies. In all seriousness, my greatest weakness? I've already mentioned it, procrastination. Taking the path of least resistance. Putting things off. Not doing the things I don't want to, until they either blow up into a shitstorm or miraculously disappear! You might say this is a failing more than a weakness maybe, but I wish I could be more strong and less weak about this.

I’m fascinated by your New Year’s pantie party and so impressed with your attending. How, exactly, did someone instigate the underwear swap?

Ha! This was a) probably the wildest semi-public event I have ever been to and b) talking about it is probably going to shock some people who already consider me a big discloser. So, here goes. I went to the New Year's Day 'recovery' (misnomer!) party with my friend Christopher. It was advertised as a fetish play party, and was being held at a leather bar that I have already been to a couple of times. The bar is normally pretty tame, so I wasn't sure how wild it would get. I wore a black undershirt, a black jocktrap and some boxer brief style trunks over the top (for modesty).

It was very quiet when we got there, only about a half dozen other guys there. Christopher and I got chatting to a couple of other guys, and as more people arrived the sexual heat got well, hotter. I discarded the boxer briefs. Some friends of the guys we were chatting to showed up, and one had shorts on because he wasn't wearing any underwear. Handsome young Lochie (who was wearing tiny trunks) offered a swap, and thus it began. Within a short while we were swapping amongst ourselves and Lochie ended up in my jockstrap (to the joy of all concerned) and I in his trunks. From that point on it all got very bachanallian...

How’s your sleeping these days?

Aren't you sweet for asking?! Very good, but a little weird. My early to bed habits have changed and now I'm often still up after midnight. The drugs I'm on have helped enormously, I sleep through the night now, but yet I'm going to bed a lot later and so sleeping better but sleeping less. Maybe it's the quality of sleep I'm getting, but I'm much less fatigued than I used to be even though I'm sleeping a bit less. I am very unsettled by a side effect of the drugs though, very, very dry eyes. Almost difficult to blink when I first wake up. Every now and then I skip the drugs and get a natural all night sleep, which is wonderful, but I'm reticent to go off them because I don't want to go back to how I was and then have to start the drug process over. (They are so strong you have to start taking them in stages of increasing strength.)


Wow! Good questions. I hope you learned something new about me from my answers. If you want to play leave me a comment to say so, and sent me your email address to andrewmr(at)ihug(dot)com(dot)au!

Monday, January 19, 2009

House Guests

Squee! I'm excited. My good friend Stephen is in town from Brisbane and will be crashing at my place mid-week, and then the night after my old housemate and good friend Lynda (who I caught up with recently via The Facebook) and her daughter will be crashing here. A bit of extra cleaning has been done, although I stopped short of Martha Stewart style guest room shenanigans (small French toiletries, a sightseeing itinerary and a thoughtfull collection of night reading literature). I don't think you can call a sofa bed a 'guest room' anyway, just for starters.

Oh, unless Lynda has changed her stripes, I need to stock up on Gin... and tonic.

It has been so many years since Lynda and I have seen each other, yet chatting to her on the phone she sounded just the same. Stephen and I see each other a few times a year, which is never enough. I can't wait to see both of them. It's friendships that are important in this life, right? Connections. People we love, and that love us. It's easy to forget that sometimes, and there is a certain lovely symmetry to spending the week with two good friends. One who is so very good at making sure he stays connected with his friends, and one who was a lost friend for a number of years... but is now found again.

We're Holding Out For A Hero!

Saturday part two.

After lunch at the beach, James and I made the trek to Mary-Helen and Sandra's newly improved and expanded home for a housewarming party. A trek that included getting a bit lost, and quite a bit more sunburned. James has already made mention on his blog of the various tribes that interconnected at the party. The Venn Diagram of knitters/bloggers/friends/work colleagues that made up the guests.

Mary-Helen & Sandra's Housewarming

Mary-Helen & Sandra's housewarming.

It was amusing to me to be introduced to people and to hear a few minor variations on the statement "So, you're not one of the knitters ho-ho." posed. Well, yes I am... but not only. (I'm also in the Venn Diagram where knitter, blogger and friend intersect.) Male knitters are still off most people's radar, but I'm really quite fine with that. I like seeing how people react. Of course Mark was there also, who was representing the even rarer breed. Straight Male Knitter.

Lyndell's Vintage

Lyndell's gorgeous vintage coat. COVET.

The party was lots of fun. I met some new people, spent as much time as possible keeping my ever pinkening skin out of the sun, ate waaaay too much barbecue and dessert, drank wine, chatted to friends and developed a series case of Real Estate Envy at the extensions and renovations Mary-Helen and Sandra have done to their home.

Reecie On Vocals

Reecie on vocals.

Afternoon drew on into evening and at about 9pm Kris suggested we head back to their house for to play Guitar Hero on their Wii. Now, I'm not much of a one for computer games. Sometime after Pong and Space Invaders my interest waned, with a brief blip when I discovered the smiting fun of Diablo on Mikey (the lovely ex's) old computer. But, well, Wii is a whole different kettle of crazy bleep bloopy fish. I'm a convert.

Izzy On Bass

Izzy on bass.

So we rocked it out to Guitar Hero. OMG so much fun! I saved everyone the exquisite torture (and not in a good way) of hearing me sing, and stuck to paying bass guitar. Plus, given that the game tracks your ballpark pitch I really don't need that kind of judging. I know I'm flatter than a lizard drinking thank you, Judgy McJudgerton.

Rocking Out

Rocking out, srsly.

What I didn't know though was I'm kind of a natural on bass. Well, as a first timer on a small plastic bass with buttons instead of strings that is. By the second of Snook's homebrews things started to run off the rails a little, but I was Suzy Quatro at her peak while it lasted. (My run that is, hers has lasted considerably longer.) Once you get the hang of the button placement and how much delay/anticipation you need to hit the notes, the rest is rhythm. And can I just say, one thing I've got in spades is rhythm. You know it's true!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It's late, late at night as I write this and I'm sunburnt and pooped, but I've had a thoroughly fantastic day. So big a day that I'm blogging it in installments. THAT BIG. (No scratching in the dust for something to write about this weekend, oh no.)

Larger Than Life

Giant inflated ironman, part of a kids' playground.

Young master O'Brien and I had a lunch date at Bondi Beach with his friend Colin. Getting to Bondi from Newtown by public transport isn't the easiest thing in the world, it's either two train trips and a bus ride, or two buses. In the end I opted for the bus trips, and as it would turn out they were the first of 5 bus trips we'd take during the day.

Iconic Dangerous Current

Bondi icons, although its unusual to see the beach so quiet.

Frankly in my opinion five bus trips is about 4 too many, but they were entertaining in their own way, especially the first trip. As the bus headed from Newtown through Surry Hills an increasingly odd assortment of people got on the bus. By the time two quite rough looking guys got on and sat in the seat in front of me, the bus was full of the elderly, the Russian, and (unfortunately) the unwashed. When I saw one of the rough looking guys in front of me turn and talk to his mate I noticed that he was wearing eyeliner... and his friend was wearing both eyeliner and foundation. Ah, not so tough after all.

In The Belly Of The Beast

In the jaws of the beast!

After a bit of missed bus shenanigans with Colin, James and I agreed to meet him at the restaurant The Bondi Trattoria. Did you know that there two Bondi Trattorias? No, neither did we. One at the south end of the beach... and one at the north. Or at least so Colin thought. (I never did find out the exact name of the restaurant we ended up at...)

Not Everybody Sunbakes

Not everybody sunbakes.

Anyhoo, so James and I strolled the length of the beachfront and met Colin at the north end. (There was certainly no hardship in walking the length of Bondi, even on a day that began quite cool and overcast there were beauties by the score.) We had a fantastic meal with Colin, although as gorgeous as my scallops dish was I was a little disappointed by the size of the serving. 5 small scallops... at a shade under $6 each scallop by my reckoning. They were delicious... but without the side dish of veg we ordered, bread and olives on the table, and helping James with his substantial pasta dish, I would have still been hungry.

Martini Free Zone Colour & Movement

Bondi is a martini free zone! (L) and full of lots of colourful street art (R)

By the time we rolled out of the restaurant the day had morphed from cloudy and cool to quite warm and windy. We had some time to kill before James and I had to head off to a house warming for Mary-Helen and Sandra, so the three of us strolled along the beach for a while.

Who Watches The Watcher?

Who watches the watcher?

And that's where the sunburn bit comes in! I am possibly the palest person in Christendom on a good day, and even when it's overcast I can work up a nice sunburn in very little time. By the time I finally got home around midnight I was a pretty shade of lobster pink. Nothing says Summer like an accidental sunburn.

[Click any of the pics to see them bigger on Flickr.]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saving Face

Up until quite recently I was a rather large critic of The Facebook, that thing in which The Young People always seemed to be poking each other via The Internets. I still disagree with many of their corporate practices, but a couple of weeks ago I signed up in the hope of tracking down some people I used to know from school.

Well. Much of it is still annoying to this grumpy old man, but in the past two weeks I have found:
  • The boy who lived across the road when I was growing up, who is still living in my old home town, and married his husband in Canada in 2006.
  • The woman who was my closest friend for years, and in the late 80s before I moved to Sydney was my house mate. In a week or so she and her daughter will be swinging through Sydney and she's going to crash the night at my place.
  • A guy I met through work many years ago, and along with his best friend the three of us were inseparable for the longest time. He moved to LA in the mid 90s and we all drifted apart. He's now married to a lovely man and still working in LA for the same company.

Cool huh? I can certainly see the attraction. I still haven't found the school friends I was initially looking for but still, what an embarrassment of riches!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chopitty Chop Chop!

About a week ago I bought a copy of this. (Which despite the title is not about Lindsay, or Britney.) There is an element to my psyche that wants to be much more connected to the food I eat. To buy locally made produce, preferably organic. To make and store things to eat later. To enjoy and celebrate through cooking, experimenting and trying new tastes.

Of course this side of me is constantly at war with the side that wants to lie on the couch and eat takeaway forever. But I digress.

So my local supermarket has big bags of good tomatoes, at a reasonable price, and while they're not organic OR probably locally grown, they were inexpensive and good quality. Fast forward to tonight and I've spent much of it cutting up 500gs of onions, 2kgs of tomatoes, a couple of cooking apples, and along with vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, mustard powder and curry powder I now have myself a big pot of chutney boiling on the stove. Chopped fine. That's a lot of chopping.

Now the house is filled with a delicious sweet vinegary smell. I just tasted a spoonful, even though it has a while to cook still, and OMG the sweet/sour balance tastes just about right. So soon I'll sterilise the motley collection of jam and pasta sauce jars I knew I was collecting for a reason, and just before I'm ready to collapse into bed (note to self, I should have started all the chopping earlier) I should have myself a monster batch! I'm already planning the crusty bread and sharp cheese... but I won't be making those. I know my limits.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Escape Artist ~ Stunning, stunning drawings. Beautiful knitting. Lovely writing. Thoughtful thoughts.

Lynn & Horst ~ Fashion, style, beautiful young people, photography, Sweden & Germany.

Benoit Prevot ~ Gay beefcake meets Art Deco illustration, all en Francais. Tom of Finland meets Leyendecker's Arrow Collar Man. Gorgeous and fun.

American Athlete ~ Pat Les Stache (aka TJ Gorton). Producer, DJ and disco enthusiast. How does one so young know so much about the underground music movement that became known as disco?

A Lord Of The Flies Experience

I have encountered feral children and lived to tell the tale.

My nightly bus route begins at the beach, and as I've mentioned before is frequently full of boisterous kids heading home. Tonight when I got on the bus it was particularly packed, and the entire back end was full of a large group of very noisy kids about 13 or 14 years of age. I had a seat near the front so I put my head into my book as per my usual travelling routine, and tuned everyone else out.

Until we got about halfway between my work and home, and the bus driver spotted a couple of the kids up the back smoking. They were sticking their hands with the ciggies out the window, trying to avoid being seen and smelled, but not smart enough to realise they were in full view of the driver's side mirrors. The driver stopped the bus and called out to the two kids that were smoking that they could get off the bus, or the bus would sit there until they did.

Then all became chaos. Shouting. Threatening. Everything except owning up to their bad behaviour and some contrition. After about 10 minutes of sitting there, which felt like an eternity, it was adult against child. The front of the bus versus the back. Reasonableness against anger and agression. The kids tried every weapon in their arsenal, and when they finally exited the bus that included some physical violence towards the bus and the driver.

Individually these kids were obnoxious little toe rags, but en masse they were a force to be reckoned with. It was sobering to see the anger on both sides of the divide, it doesn't take much it would seem for the stresses and frustrations of a hot work day to push some people close to their edge. To his credit the driver kept his head, and as soon as the kids were off the bus he rang someone (the depot or the police, I'm not sure) and gave a full version of the events.

I had to smile to myself though when one of the kids pulled out what was obviously his Big Insult and called the driver a poofter. Ah yes, the great Aussie insult! Sigh.

[Pics from the 1963 movie version of "Lord Of The Flies".]

Monday, January 12, 2009

5 Things I Find Oddly (Although Thankfully Only Mildly) Annoying

  • People who put their deodorant on after they put their shirt on, doing the old reach under. Maybe this is more of a tv thing, because people don't want to be shot with their shirt off, but my tip is there is an easier way.
  • Cereal dust. Muesli dust. You know, when you get to the end of the packet and instead of wholesome grains you get... dust.
  • Oh, ditto chip dust and cracker dust.
  • Buying toilet paper. It's bulky to carry. It's boring to buy. It's guilt making if you buy the super soft, snowy white, triple quilted, comes with a fluffy puppy on the pack stuff. Plus if it's the only thing you are buying everyone looks at you and thinks I know what they're rushing home for.
  • Sportsman speak: to whit, in an interview on the tv just 5 minutes ago... "undescribable" and "They were upset, but a proud upset".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Missed Connections

It's early Sunday evening and, well, I'm not ready for the weekend to be over. In fact, I want a do-over of this weekend. Another shot at it if I could, thanks very much. Just tell me who I need to talk to about that.

It's been a frustrating weekend in many ways, and one that on Friday night I thought would be a busy weekend but on Sunday night seems like it was largely wasted. Plans that fell through, that were on, then off, then on again. Or so I thought, but turned out to not be on. Because there was so much confusion, this morning saw me take a trip into the city to attend a yum cha brunch that I wasn't sure was on or off. It was off.

This afternoon was an antidote to that though, a nice session of knitting at the pub with friends, with a new project to work on (see below). I was kind of focused on getting this sock right, so probably spent more of the time listening than chatting. Sometimes it's nice to sit back, knit, have a drink, a bit of a chat, and just enjoy being with people. Not that bad a day after all I guess, in hindsight.

Vinnland, Oh Vinnland

New project!

Vinnland Socks

I cast on this sock last night and made a decent start on it knitting at the pub this afternoon. The pattern is Vinnland from The AntiCraft. The Araucania "Ranco Solid" kettle dyed yarn from Chile in a subtle blend of olive greens seemed just right for the design that suggests intertwining leaves. Fun pattern to knit so far, and it feels nice to have another new project on the needles.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Set Adrift. It's True.

Two of my favourite songs, linked by more that just a riff. (For instance, there's also the fact Tony Hadley appears in both of them.)

"Set Adrift On Memory Bliss Of You" by PM Dawn. (With annotations.)

Summer, early 1992. Hanging out with Kate and her friend Adam, and discovering that Adam and I had sizable crushes on each other. Adam told me about PM Dawn, and played the album for me in the car as the three of us drove up into the mountains to spend a weekend at The Fairmont Resort. (The same weekend where the three of us sat overlooking the mountains, drinking cognac and reading Anais Nin "Under A Glass Bell" to each other. But I digress.) From the opening bars of this I was hooked, and I played this album almost non-stop for months and months.

"True" by Spandau Ballet.

Ah, the source material. Another song I loved, but from years earlier. No major boy crush associations this time... except for a huge one on Tony Hadley that is. But that was satisfying enough at the time.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Seriously, Who Does This Happen To?

I woke up this morning and I had a pimple. A pulsing, angry, pimple. Not unique, although not that common for me, but this was in a very weird place.

On my little finger.

Who gets a pinkie pimple? I mean, sure there is skin there so I guess it's possible. I thought it might have been an ingrown hair at first, but in truth I don't think I'm growing any more hair on my fingers. AT LEAST I HOPE I'M NOT. So of course I squeezed it, and I have to tell you, it hurt like a mutherfunking icehole. My fingers are not exactly long and elegant but they're not fat little chipolatas either, and I guess there isn't much fleshiness there for the squeezing.

So now ill advised post-squeeze later I have a just as angry looking red lump, like I'm budding a 6th finger. Or a whole person. Parthenogenesis!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Genetically Modified Foods - A Cautionary Tale

Estelle and Big Betsy won the 4H blue ribbon for Young Livestock Handlers: Mutants Aged 12 and Under.

Mind you, Betsy did eat all the competition.

[Pic via Vintage Ads.]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Raw Heat

Sometimes there's no antidote for a hot and sultry evening, one of the few options is to heat things up a little more.

Ah, summer.

Small Treats

I had a hot, tough, tiring day today. Struggling through a busy month-end with a couple of staff down, and struggling through the heatwave and un-airconditioned buses of a Sydney summer! Yay.

So anyhoo. Once I was home in Newtown with my pay burning a hole in my bank account I felt like, well salving the hurts with a little retail therapy. A little something nice for dinner. Nothing extravagant, just little treats to remind myself I'm worth it after a somewhat craptastic day.

So I bought a couple of magazines, surface and the Christmas Martha. Frankly that sums me up, all hard edged and high shine on the one hand, and a person who thinks about making things from doilies on the other. Then a small dinner bento box of miso, sushi, sashimi and chicken teriyaki for dinner. Followed by a lychee gelato for pudding on the stroll home.

Less than $30 bucks well spent.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

5 Thoughts About 2009, Week 1: Keeping Up Appearances Edition

  • I saw four almost identical boys walking along the street this afternoon. The same height, the same slim build, all probably about 17 or so. All wearing slim knee length shorts, tank tops, baseball caps and ironic sunglasses (big, white plastic framed monstrosities). I couldn't believe it, it was like light infantry from Attack Of The BoyBots.
  • Were we ever so concerned about looking the same as the kids of today seem to be? My memories as a wannabe Blitz Kid are of trying to look really different. (Except for some unfortunate experiments in trying to look like Boy George). But I guess in a way that was a form of wearing a tribal uniform. OMG, we were the hipsters of the 80s...
  • Speaking of appearances, I've noticed an attitude change of my own. Feeling a bit more comfortable about my own appearance. Putting up that silly 'jockstrap on my head' pic was both a symptom and a catalyst in a way. The feedback I've received on it has certainly been encouraging!
  • Good lighting and post editing is your friend. :)
  • I've been thinking a lot about Tall & Handsome today. We're sort of keeping things light as we won't be seeing each other until Easter in all likelihood, but I've been missing him since he left. Long distance is the suck.

The Question Must Be Asked...

...where does one keep one's lighter?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Summer Songs

Ah, who remembers the Summer Song? That song that always seemed to come out of the UK around the time of the English summer? Especially in the 80's, and 90s. They always appeared just around the time that Sharon & Darren would be heading off to Ibiza, Majorca... or some other warm package holiday destination. Usually pure unadulterated pop, with light upbeat and easy to sing along lyrics. Frequently filmed in exotic tropical locations. Think "Club Tropicana" by Wham. "Rio" by Duran Duran. 75% of the Steps back catalogue.

The dark side of the Summer Song was the Novelty Summer Song. The "Aga Do" and "Ketchup Song" songs that plagued us. Several "Macarena" variations. Move along and don't meet their eyes, they are the unstable and dangerous cousins of the Summer Song. Their upbeatness is an ear worm in disguise. Their you can do this at home dance routines were inevitably done at weddings and family parties by people who never should.

Sometimes little gems appeared though. In fact, quite a lot of them really. Here's just a couple I enjoyed back in the day.

"Se a vida é" by The Pet Shop Boys

"Long Hot Summer" by The Style Council

What happened to the Summer Song? Maybe it still exists, in a modified form. Perhaps as the Italian dance hit that reares its head every so often. Like, oh you know, the one with the marching girls from last year?... That one. The DJs are the stars in Ibiza now, putting out their own compilations of worldbeats and remixes.

It's summer here and frankly I'm ready for a shiny 3 minute sing-a-long. With its own dance routine.

Return To Work


I'm enjoying this new job, but please can we have some more holidays?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Old School House Realness

1988. Just back from travelling in the UK and Europe. Dancing to house at Metro in Adelaide with bff Rick With A Silent P (aka Rickety). Just before he fled to Sydney and I followed less than a year later.

Inner City: "Big Fun"

I can't hear this and not think of smoke machines, stainless steel dancefloors and Doc Martens. About the shame of spending at least 3 or 4 months thinking she was singing "We're having meatballs". About scotch & sodas, before I ever grew a taste for beer.

Has it really been 20 years?

Breaking The Rules

"It's Dick"

I stumbled on this scene on youtube this morning (and no, before you ask, I wasn't searching for 'dick') from one of my favourite films The Rules Of Attraction. This scene cracks me up!

Russell Sams as spoilt gay rich kid Richard decides to disrupt a lunch with his boozy mother (Swoozie Kurtz) and the equally boozy mother of his friend Paul (Ian Somerhalder) played by Faye Dunaway. Sams takes off and all the other actors can do is hang on for dear life and go along for the ride.

Oh, and if you are watching this at work... well, the language is very NSFW.

Hilariously so.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Too afraid to look.

In a moment of what the hell I agreed to go to an underwear "Recovery Party" at a leather fetish club with my friend Christopher today. And by recovery they mean continue the party from last night, and get more trashed. Not a greeting card with a teddy bear holding balloons and we wish you a speedy recovery written inside.

Although there will definitely be bears.

[Updated: Oh. My God. What a fun afternoon! I don't know where my natural shyness went, but it certainly wasn't apparent. Not as many people there as I think they expected, but what a friendly, friendly group of guys. Highlight of the afternoon, someone decided we should play a swap underwear game. Sexy young Lochie took such a shine to my jockstrap he was hesitant to hand it back. Frankly, he looked so good in it, I was kind of sad to have to ask for it back...]

Where do I begin? Well, 2008 you were a year of challenges and change. Not at all bad I have to say, because you were also a hell of a lot of fun much of the time. Best of all I resolved my sleep issues during the year and that saw a huge improvement in my general feeling of happiness and wellbeing.

It was a pretty good year for creative pursuits, making new friends and getting more involved in the knitting community (for example), doing some designing, and getting back into taking more photos. Work was somewhat up and down, but by year end I feel like I have that situation resolved. I've also ended the year with the joys of being able to spend some time with someone I like, and who likes me back, including in the Special Hugs For Grown Ups kind of way. I may not be getting hot sweaty man-love for New Year's Eve, but the memory is still fresh.

The nightly doomsayers are forecasting a problematic year ahead. But then, there was a storm forecast for yesterday and that didn't happen either. So 2009, my challenge for you is more ups, less downs. C'mon, that shouldn't be too hard to organise.

It's the same thing I wish for everyone who reads this, may your ups be well and truly up and any downs, well if they have to happen just little bijou ones that only make the ups seem even upper. Thanks for being here, for reading and for leaving a comment every now and then. (Lurkers, don't be shy in 2009! I'm dubbing it The Year Of The Comment.)

Happy New Year!