Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lazy Days

I didn't have any temp work today, so I spent the day pottering around. Doing some knitting. A burger lunch at a nearby cafe. Some coffees and a bit of Oprah on the teev (Until I realised I could not stomach a full episode about preacher Ted Haggard and the fact that he is 'no longer troubled' by homosexual thoughts. Bah. Whatever.). A day of stuff.

I had a job interview late last week at a yarn store in the city. They really liked me and I liked them, but the salary is the killer. You always know you're in trouble when the prospective employer is embarrassed to tell you how much (or rather, how little) the position pays. So they asked me to think about it and today I rang them to see if there was still a casual position on offer. I wouldn't be able to live on what they are paying their full-time employees, but as a second job that I supplement by continuing to do temping, well that could work. So the ball is back in their court.

Tonight I'm off to a wine tasting at a local gay bar. Fun! $10 gets you a tasting glass which you can refill as many times over as you want from the different wines being presented. There's finger food and special offers on the wines being sampled, and each month a different winery presents their wines. Maybe it's a good thing that it looks like I'm not working tomorrow either...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I woke up feeling marginally better today, like my cold was on the retreat. I had a lazy start to the morning, lying in bed with a good homemade coffee and crying my way (manfully) through the last couple of chapters of Jenny Kee's autobiography A Big Life. (Wow, what a life! It's a cracking read.)

By early afternoon I was climbing the wall with cabin fever, so I packed a pocketful of tissues, grabbed my camera and umbrella, and decided to go for a nice long walk. I ended up walking for over 2 hours, mostly around the suburb of Petersham, with one short detour for a quiet afternoon schooner of beer at The Clarence when the rain started pelting down. After 3 days of lolling in bed or on the sofa it was nice to get out and get some fresh air, and finding little treats like a footpath paved in golden ginko leaves and suburban fence topped with gnome sentinels buoyed the spirit as well. A nice afternoon and just what the doctor ordered.

Golden Ginkos
Golden ginko leaves underfoot.

A leaden winter sky with ginko leaves in silhouette, just shortly before the rain started pelting down.


A gorgeous pink and white camelia, a lovely punch of colour on a greay day.

Peeping Through
Pink azaleas peeping through a weathered fence.

Winter Sky, With Gnomes
I was entranced by this fence with it's gnome sentinels.

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sickbed Confessional

I have a flu-y cold. I got chills, they're multiplying. Jesus, Mary and Joseph (and all the holy saints of heaven) I am over this Winter! Seriously, one malade after another. One of the women I have been working with came to work for several days with a streaming flu, so I guess it's not that unexpected. Oh and the work I was doing dried up, as we finished the project faster than they expected. Now I have to wait until another site comes online (soon hopefully), or I can pick up some other temp work elsewhere. Meanwhile I'm taking to the sofa for a few days to get over this cold.

The only acceptable cure for flu, and daytime tv, is to watch endless clips on youtube of Lily May Veronica Savage. Truly. I've heard of laughing through the tears, but you can laugh through the snot as well. (Too much?)

My computer is allergic to my blog! Recently, every time I try to view my blog in Firefox or Safari it crashes the browser. I can log into blogger and write posts, but I can't actually view my blog or make a comment. Weird huh? I updated Firefox but it made no difference. Everyone's a critic! Sheesh. "Bugger off, I'm not displaying that shite!" I suspect it's something to do with Flash because anything with a Flash movie on it (and trust me, those are some of my favourite websites... are you with me?) seems to crash it. Youtube excepted, so maybe that blows the theory out of the water. Most blogger blogs seem to be crashing it at the moment as well.

Technology is rebelling against me and I will not stand for it. The last (unreachable) downlight in my bedroom blew last night, so it's strictly the flattering light of the bedside table from this point on. No it's not the bulbs, I risked life and limb to change them only a short while back. I think it's the transformers, or something. It'll have to wait until I have the $$s to get a man in because in my opinion, somethings are best left to the experts. Wiring and all things electricity related being the top of the list.

I had a big shop yesterday and bought a pantry full of healthy food. Last night I made a lentil casserole (yummy!) from this book, and tonight's plan is a tempeh dish with ginger and lime. However, being sick and all that, what I really would rather do is just have a bag of crisps and then maybe order a pizza...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lane Walking: Weekes Lane, Newtown

Looking at the bright clear light in these pictures it seems almost impossible that I only took these last month. I heard someone on the tv say that we've had 8 days of rain in the past 10 days. Really? Only 8? Blech, Winter I am over you already. Thankfully the Winter Solstice was a few days back and now it means we are on the gentle climb towards Spring.

Rainbow Felix Felix

Anyhoo, Weekes Lane. I love Weekes Lane! One of my friend's has a back garden courtyard and back gate that opens onto Weekes Lane, and the first time I visited I realised that Weekes Lane was something special. A bit of an art gallery of street art that is frequently changed and renewed. I have even seen guided tours of the lane during Sydney festival events. Some of the works I shot have gone already, been defaced or painted over.

The Watcher Think Pink

But that is entirely the nature of the art. And one of the reasons I find it so exciting!

Helmet Head Humpty

For me photographing these is a way of ensuring that when they are painted over or defaced, they can live on in my archives. With my memories of a bright sunny afternoon wandering with my camera.

[Click to see them full sized on Flickr.]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Raucous Caucus

For the first time in my life I feel like I have, at least, a basic understanding of parts of the US political system. My insider in the media (and bestower of complimentary tickets) Mr James O'Brien invited me to the premiere of a new Aussie documentary film "First Stop Iowa". The film examines the Democratic Party primaries, with a special focus on the Iowa caucus. The intricacies are a little too complicated to examine in a short blog post (especially when I should already be in bed a half an hour ago), but the film examines the changes to the system that were generated by the tumultuous 1968 Democratic Party conference, and how that has created a system where the small state of Iowa has such an important role in in party politics.

Surprisingly engaging stuff, and I think some of that comes from the fact that the film focusses on the 'grass roots' campaign efforts of the various candidates' supporters. It manages to humanise and demystify a system that seems kind of odd to those of us looking in from outside the system, and without caucuses, electoral colleges and multi-multi-million dollar campaigns. Much of the footage was supplied by individuals attending the various rallies and campaign parties, and has an intimate feel. One thing that struck me about the difference in our political cultures is the zeal, enthusiasm and energy involved in the campaigns. Bread in part by the need to engage voters in a non-compulsory voting environment. Fascinating stuff, and although we know the outcome of the 2009 election you can't help but get caught up in the momentum of the Obama campaign as the election draws closer. I recommend it if you get a chance to see it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Carte Postale

The Cook.

The Priest.

The Wife.

And Her Husband's Lover.

Photos by Eugenio Recuenco. Click to enbiggen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Transit

I've been doing a bit more public transport travelling of late. This new temp job of mine is two train rides each way, from my neighbourhood of Newtown, across the city, over the harbour bridge, and up the North Shore to Chatswood. If you live in Sydney you've heard all the complaining about our train system in recent years. Lord knows I've done enough whining about My Arch Nemesis over the life of this blog. A lack of a cohesive plan for our cobbled together train system and many years of expenditure cuts have come home to roost, the trains are dirtier, less frequent, more crowded and less punctual than they were ten years ago. At least my current trip includes the bridge crossing, which I never tire off.

What I've been noticing these past few days is the downtrodden, and sometimes downright mean, atmosphere on the trains. It's the depths of Winter here, which could be part of it I guess. The trains are full of wet umbrellas, big coats, coughs, sneezes and the steamy funk of too many people in too confined a space. Tempers are frayed, spare seats are jealously hoarded, eyes rolled and sighs expressed.

I know that crowded trains are not the place to go looking for shiny, happy people but I don't know it it's the Global Financial Swine/Bird/3 Toed Sloth Flu Crisis or what, but c'mon people. City Rail is unable, or unwilling, to fix the situation in a hurry but maybe I'll have a shot at improving my little corner of the train. Maybe I'll try smiling at someone tomorrow, or at least... not snarling at them for hogging more than half the seat... or nudging me every time they turn the page of their paper... or dripping on me... or...

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Frequent Reader

With a brand new library membership under my belt I've become a reading machine. Libraries should have a loyalty system don't you think? The books are free, so there'd be no point in borrowing 10, get the 11th one free... but a complimentary coffee wouldn't go astray. Librarians, think about it. That's all I'm saying. A soy chai latte once in a while might improve the borrower demographic.

It takes a shift in mental gears for me to borrow books from a library. When I read a book and enjoy it... I don't want to give it back. (One of the reasons why I also try not to borrow books from friends.) However, the flipside of all this is that I've discovered that a library card is like a license to read stuff that I wouldn't normally fork over dosh for. There are few things more painful in this world than watching me shop for a new book to read when I'm skint. Weighing up the cheapness of this paperback versus that one, reading the first few pages, trying to ensure I get the best bang for my buck from the cheaper paperbacks when what I really want to do is buy the new China Mieville novel just out in hardback... a mere snip at $54.00 sigh

In the past few weeks I have read (in no particular order); a monograph on architect Buckminster Fuller (some of his work was a bit odd), "Murder Most Fab" by Julian Clary (fun!), a book on 'natural' architecture (interesting), a knitting book (useful), "The Vintner's Luck" by Elizabeth Knox (very engaging, and both a sequel and a movie have just been released), a Tudor era crime novel "Dark Fire" by C J Sansom (not the best in the series, but not bad), a re-read of my own copy of Julian Clary's autobiography "A Young Man's Passage" (both a hoot and poignant), a book of 50s fashions, a monograph on Coco Chanel... and some others I have blanked already.

Surely that's got to be worth a free espresso?

Catching Up

Sorry for the lack of blog posts since late last week, a combination of a very busy weekend and some technical blogging difficulties has meant that when I was at home (which wasn't much) I had trouble getting online. Annoyment! If getting online was frustrating, it was certainly offset by the rest of the weekend.

But first, the new temp job I started on Friday is ok. It's archiving files for a major bank, which entails opening the file, looking for some pertinent pieces of information, sticking the file with a barcode sticker and recording the info on a tally sheet. Rinse. Repeat (times several thousand). Not riveting work, but searching through the files for the info stops it from being an entirely dumb repetitive exercise. Small entertainments can be found in things like spotting a financial advisor named Crooks. (Very small entertainments, however.) I've always been one to find entertainment in the oddest places.

Saturday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day! My third one, which means that given that I had just started knitting when I went to the first one I have been knitting for a little over 2 years now.

The numbers were up this year, around 80 people! Fellow diners at the cafe we took over must have wondered what the hell was going on. The cafe is located in a prime tourist area, so I can just imagine some overseas visitors thinking man, these crazy Aussies must LOVE knitting!

And we also love beverages.

Saturday night I caught up with a friend for a few drinks and dinner, and tried the restaurant attached to one of the local pubs. I hadn't eaten there before, and although my meal was a little overcooked it was a real refreshing change to have an old style pub meal. Steve was meeting up with friends who were in town from interstate, and by the time midnight rolled around quite frankly I wasn't up for kicking on further. (Age shall most definitely weary them.) So we parted ways and Steve no doubt partied on to the small hours.

Sunday was kind of miserable; grey, cold and rainy. Undaunted though a small but enthusiastic group of us met at the Courthouse Hotel for knitting at the pub (as usual). Knitting and alcohol consumption may not seem a likely (or advisable) mix, but it seems like they were the 2 constants for my weekend. Afterwards I met up with my friend Christopher and we headed off to... an underwear party at my local leather bar.

Cue more alcohol consumption.

So, a big weekend. Tonight I'm understandably a tad weary and jaded, snuggled on the couch under a throw rug in my cold, cold house. It's freezing! Curse you winter. Tonight will be an early night with a book to read, probably with a hot water bottle, before another day of file flipping tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crafty: Or, Nanna Dodging For Beginners

I decided to use today, my last day of slacking for a while hopefully, to get my craft shopping on. First off I hoofed it over to The Fabric Remnant Warehouse shop on Botany Rd to check out their sale (turns out it was patchwork fabrics only) and grab some of the notions I needed to finish making the jacket I patterned recently. I was stoked to find proper tailor's hair canvas interfacing for $1.75 a metre, even though it's the cotton/rayon version rather than the old fashioned (and more expensive) wool/cotton/goat hair combination, it's still good value and exactly what I was looking for. (And no goaty smell.) Once I had that and the threads I needed I headed into the city to visit the Craft & Quilt Fair at Darling Harbour.

The Craft & Quilt Fair is a weird beast. I go mostly for the knitting yarns, and really there isn't all that many vendors selling yarns compared to the tchotchke/scrapbooking/patchwork/bead vendors. But the ones that are there usually have some pretty cool stuff that's hard to find elsewhere, unless you order online. Frankly, I'm a yarn fingerer... I like to walk around, kick the tyres and check under the hood, so to speak. There must be stroking and frotting before I dump my cash. Once you factor in the cost of getting into the Fair itself it's a fairly expensive way to buy yarn, but I go because it's an opportunity to get up close and personal with yarn I might not see elsewhere.

The biggest downside to the Fair (aside from endless stalls selling stuff I'm not into) is that it's kind of like shopping with a couple of elderly aunts x 300 or so. The aisles are wide but they could never be wide enough. For a start you can tell the stalls that have discount card making supplies because the crowd of elbowing nannas is 3 or 4 deep. Add in to that the slow walking pace, stopping without warning and standing in the middle of the aisle to rummage in one's bag that accompanies shopping with the elderly and it's a recipe for stop start frustration.

However, all that aside there was some pretty cool stuff and I was really pleased to see a stall with a wide range of Habu yarns. Habu is a US based company that sells amazing speciality yarns from Japan, many of which are made of things like linen 'paper', or fine stainless steel wrapped in silk or wool. I was a bit spoilt for choice, but in the end I settled on a cone of the Silk & Stainless Steel in a lovely dove grey and a cone of the Tsumugi Silkin a nubly mix of lightish greys, for a bit under $40.

The stainless steel yarn is based on a manufacturing process that was developed for industry, where a super fine filament of stainless steel wire was wrapped in a cotton covering. Amazing! This stuff is a fine as sewing thread, but when held double with another fine yarn and knit on fairly large needles you can achieve some interesting results. It handles like a fabric with quite a bit of stiffness even though it looks fine and lacy, and if 'scrunched' will hold that shape. I thought I'd have a shot at knitting these 2 yarns together to make a scarf for myself.

So, pleasant and productive day... despite the need for nanna dodging!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Just In From The Good News Department

As of 10 minutes ago I have a temp job starting this Friday! Now it's only a temp job, may only run for three weeks or so, and the pay isn't brilliant, but what the hell! It's work! It'll get me out of my bathrobe before noon, and as entertaining as Ellen is it's not like they're new episodes or anything. At least this will cover my rent and the basics while I keep looking for something more permanent, and stop me from being tempted to watch Mornings With Kerri-Anne. (Death first.) It's shredding the evidence archiving for a major bank and once one branch location is done we move on to another one. It could potentially be a bit dull. Or it could potentially be really dull.

What will be exciting though, tell the man with the money to come pay me!

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Weekend That Was

It was a long weekend here this weekend. Of course not actually being employed at present makes it less of a yay, long weekend! experience, but it sure was nice that everyone else got to play hookey too. What was also nice was the sunshine, the sweet beautiful sunshine, after all of the relentless rain. Today was more like Spring than Winter.

What better to do on a long weekend of sunshine and no rain than to ride an emotional rollercoaster? Stability is for weaklings! It may be sunny without, but the storm rages within. (Or something.)

From a glum self pitying Friday night, to a fabulous Saturday night spent in the company of hundreds of homosexualist men (with beer and music), to a hungover and anti-social Sunday, to rounding off the weekend on a high note with a lovely Monday spent having lunch and hanging out with a friend. It occurred to me that this situation I find myself in, being one of the human faces of the unemployment rate increase, has brought on something that feels a little like grieving.

Not that I am actually grieving for my old job. Frankly, aside from a couple of friends I made there the rest of the organisation can go suck my big fat... well... sorry, where was this going again? Oh right. Maybe I've gone through 'grief' and I'm now in 'anger'. Awesome, that's progress right?

Anyway, I also achieved a bunch of things I set out to do this weekend, little goals like tidying up bits of the backyard. Little goals that made me feel much more positive. And tomorrow's no so little goal is apply for a bunch of jobs!

For a start, I really to get another job so I can stop sitting around and thinking so much.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Christian Heterosexual Marriage: Explained!

I know that my knowledge of Bible-based Christian heterosexual marriage is somewhat lacking, so it's brilliant that Mrs Betty Bowers (America's Best Christian) has created a primer for us homo heathens:

(No offence intended to any Christian readers, but let's face it those that quote small parts of the Bible to justify why gays can't marry are making themselves prime targets.)

Friday, June 05, 2009


When I was a teenager I was a big fan of the original 70s Sid & Marty Krofft tv show The Land Of The Lost. The Land Of The Lost had a lot going for it, not least of all 'Will' in the form of teen heart throb actor Wesley Eure, and his mandatory 3 undone button shirt:

So I was really pleasantly surprised to see an interview with Wesley on the gay media site After Elton. Yup, Wesley's gay! It's an interesting article and speaks volumes about how times have changed in Hollywood in many ways. The gossip in me relished snippets like the fact that he was Richard Chamberlain's boyfriend at one time, and even while he was so young and playing Wesley on The Land Of The Lost he had a serious boyfriend. The gold chain he wore on the show was a gift from his boyfriend.

Sadly it seems that the Kroffts and the makers of the new movie have treated the cast of the original tv show rather shabbily, cutting their cameos from the movie, not inviting them to walk the red carpet, or in the case of Kathy Coleman (Holly) not inviting them at all. I'm not that motivated to see the movie because it has become a Will Ferrell comedy vehicle, something very different from the action adventure intentions of the original.

Check out Wesley's website and his blog. He had a longer career than I realised, and especially in the interview and on his blog he comes across as a nice guy. And the crush object of a whole generation of gay men too, it would seem!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Law Of Chocolate Attraction

You know, maybe there is something in this The Secret bullcrap. I mean last night I posted a satirical comment on The Facebook about not having any chocolate in the house, then I obviously created the environment blah de blah to attract chocolate to myself, opened myself up to the possibility of chocolate, created the space in my life for chocolate to happen, because today I received a gorgeous box of fine Belgian chocolates from The Universe! Actually, from The Universe via its agents, my lovely kind friends Meg and Snerg!

Tonight I'm posting a satirical comment and opening myself up to the possibility of a million dollars. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Give Me Your Hand My Love, And I Will Give You Mine

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.
~Benjamin Disraeli

A Lender Or A Borrower Be

I just did something I haven't done for years. I joined my local library! Actually, I had to pay a small fee to join the library of my next council over because (paradoxically) my 'local' library is nowhere near me. Confused? I am one street outside the boundary of the council that has the closest library to me, the Newtown Public Library. Annoying! Paying the small fee means that I can access any of the major city libraries though, so it's worth it.

Plus the Newtown library has a specialist GLBTIQ collection (Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender, Intersex & Queer), and frankly I love seeing the helpful little rainbow flag stickers on the book spines. Stickers that say "Grrrrrl! Read ME!".

Monday, June 01, 2009


Sorry for the unscheduled dead air on this blog the past few days. In truth I've been dragging around The Black Dog since about the middle of last week.

Cute, no? Eh, not so much.

It's hard to get over feelings of failure and pessimism, but I had a more positive weekend and I do feel much better now. Yesterday's afternoon of knitting at the pub and then dinner with Lee and John was a good antidote. I'm still struggling a bit with motivation and enthusiasm, but it's a definite improvement on the inertia of last week. The quantum singularity of the sofa.