Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End, My Friend

Sadly, I feel the time has come to draw a close to this little old blog of mine.

My biggest problems these days are time and energy. Gone are the heady days of being able to web surf and blog at work, when what my employers lost in productivity my blog gained in amusing or interesting links found, or thoughts and experiences recorded. Now when I get home of an evening I'm tired, especially since I started working 2 part-time jobs, 6 days a week.

The death, or at least (I'm praying) long-term coma, of the lovely laptop I was using and switching back to a desktop pc has also meant that web surfing and blogging have to be done in the cloistered confines of my bedroom. Not being able to web surf while I'm sitting in front of the tv has meant that many nights I'd really rather just watch the tv. In fact I've even been hanging out less on the sites I used to frequent, like Flickr and Ravelry. Definite signs that I'm spending less time on the computer.

What a fantastic experience these past five plus years have been! Nearly 180,000 visits! Many hundreds (thousands?) of comments! In the heyday of this blog I used to hang out in the comments all the time, so much so that at times it was almost like a chat room. Ah, good times. How lively and what energy this blog had then.

I thought about taking a break, but in truth every time I have taken little breaks in the past I have come back with only a short term burst of energy. This blog loses momentum, and readers, each time also. I'd rather not go out with a whimper and of late I've been hearing the sound of faint whimpering. Reading back what I've written just now I'm struck at how much I've used the word 'energy', and I guess that is the key.

Thank you all for the good times. In over 5 years the bad times have been amazingly few, nothing harsher than the occasional and rare rude comment. I know I will miss not having a forum to write in, because I have discovered how much I love the art of writing. Sharing my photos has been another joy, and your encouraging comments have always really touched me. Maybe these will things will draw me back to this blog sometime in the future, but I don't know if they will and so I don't think it wise to make any promises. In the meantime I'll be leaving everything here, feel free to poke around and maybe one day in the future we can meet back here.

Andrew... the other one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Strangest Of Days

As I mentioned this morning we woke to the End Of Days the surreal orange skies of a huge dust storm this morning. I snapped these pics below within the space of about two hours. The first just after waking, and the last from the 28th floor cafeteria at work about 9am.

Early Morning From My Back Door
The view from my back door about 7am, a vibrant orange sky and
banana palms being whipped around in a gale.

Red Dust
Red dust everywhere on the walk up my street to the train station.
The air was thick and gritty with it.

Is It Day Or Night?
Browny orange twilight and street lights at 8.30am on Newtown train station.

The sun struggling through, 8.30am on Newtown train station.

Brown Out
Somewhere out there is Bennelong Point, the Opera House and the Harbour.
The view from the 28th floor cafeteria at work about 9am.

By late afternoon it had pretty much blown over, the main legacy left behind being drifts of red/orange dust wherever the strong winds hadn't successfully blown the slate clean. A little bit of the red desert come to town.

Under A Bloody Sun

I've been in a habit of waking up earlier than I need to for the past week or so, instead of 7am I've been waking up at 5.50, 6.05... any number of really, really too early times. So when I woke up too early again this morning, I cracked an eye open and saw bright orange light against my window blinds. "Wow, bright sunrise." I thought and rolled over to try and catch some more zzzzzzs.

Except, an hour later the light was still bright orange.

This is how Sydney looks this morning. Early this morning gale force winds drove a huge dust storm of red dust in that has blanketed the city. A 'once in a lifetime event' the morning news shows are calling it. Everything looks surreal, like the city has been blanketed in bright orange fog. I nipped outside briefly to see what was going on, and I could feel the dust in the air in my eyes and the back of my throat.

They are recommending anyone who can should stay indoors but I'm still going to try and get to work, as I don't have any ongoing respiratory issues to be overly concerned about. (Plus, I'm going to grab my camera and see if I can't get some pics of my own.) I am going to set out much earlier than normal as well, I can't imagine that our already fragile public transport system hasn't gone into complete chaos.

Wish me luck.

[Pic via The Sydney Morning Herald.]

Monday, September 21, 2009

5 Things Found Rolling Around In The Bag I Carry To Work: Ewww, What's THAT? Edition

  • 3 biros from The Big Christian Charity where I used to work. They sit nicely in the hand, write well, and given that they ordered 1,500 of them with the wrong phone number on them, not stolen. I actually had to stay "Stop! I have enough pens at home!".
  • But the packets (2 sizes, 1 each) of Post-Its are definitely stolen a Gift With Toil from some workplace or other.
  • A packet of blood pressure pills with no actual pills in it. Likewise a purse pack (whatever) of aloe vera tissues with no actual aloe vera tissues in it.
  • A $9.95 radio, bought from a novelty/bits of everything shop in Little Vietnam in Bankstown. Amazingly it works ok, and kept me company on the lonely hours I was archiving files in the bowels of more than one bank branch.
  • Old payslips. Old bills. (Paid, I think. Yeah, I'm sure. I'm fairly sure. I mean nothing has been cut off or disconnected yet.) Old fliers for various things. Apparently there was a food fair in March that sounds like it would have been good.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Oh my gah, I'm pooped.
  • Many, many beers on Friday during a Most Excellent night out.
  • Four and a half hours sleep and then up for work on Saturday at the yarn store.
  • A long, torturous train ride home thanks to my Arch Nemesis (aka CityRail) doing PLANNED track maintenance, a fact they like to stress lest you think they were lurching from self induced crisis to self induced crisis.
  • A train ride that ate up most of my potential nap time before going out Saturday night to a very fun event called Underground Underbear (so named for a) the basement venue and b) the large number of hirsute/stocky men in their underwear) where many, many more beers were consumed.
  • Finally to today, waking up waaaay too early after a very late night, catching up with my friend Judy, going to knitting at the pub as per usual and then meeting friends at another pub and having dinner.

Total alcohol consumed today, one light beer. Even I have my limits.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Apostrophe Catastrophe

I admit to being a bit of a pedant about apostrophes. Not saying that I get it right myself 100% of the time (I would cop to 99.8% though) but I keep seeing this particular gem cropping up more and more.

"Your" versus "you're". In this instance it's from a clip from the second season of "Project Runway Australia". The tricky old apostrophe of contraction. "Don't". "Can't". "It's". And in the old days, before falling largely out of use, "'phone" or "'bus" even.

Every time I see someone type "your stupid!" on a bulletin board I feel like asking "their stupid what?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This One Is Goes Out To My Friend James O'Brien

James is one of the world's great Swede-o-philes. In fact, as I write this he'll be sitting down to his weekly Swedish lesson. Don't get me wrong, I admire the Swedes. I buy their furniture. I appreciate their massage. I think they do a natty line in pop music.

But there is a line I draw that others cross.

Anyhoo. The brief yet classic "Swedish Chemist" sketch from Alas Smith & Jones. This sketch has been a long running part of the zeitgeist amongst one group of my friends for as long as I care to remember. (Along with other gems such as the Licky Licky Bumsex Song.) Comedy gold, just the mention of "Ball? Or aerosol?" is enough to set us off.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Late Night Drunken Revelations

You wouldn't think that standing around in your underwear, in a leather bar, with your 6th (7th? 8th?) beer in your hand would be the place to start reflecting on your behaviour. Or maybe it's the perfect place? Oddly the behaviour I was reflecting on had nothing to do with standing around in underwear, in a leather bar, with an uncounted beer in my hand. Oh no, that would be too obvious.

I did start thinking about how I'm looking after myself though, physically and mentally. Or not, as the case may be. And not all about me, me, me either but about how my behaviour of late may be hurting, or at least frustrating, the people around me. Time to stop trying to get my emotional needs met in all the wrong places. Time to stop acting like such a tool, and a needy one at that.

And on a physical level, certainly time to eat better and lose some weight! In the past I've always gotten these bursts of energy about getting healthier with the first blast of truly warm weather. (With varying degrees of success I have to say.) Maybe time to make another Spring 'resolution'?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Love, On The 28th Floor

When I'm not working as a yarn enabler at one of my two part-time jobs, I'm working behind the scenes doing a huge file archiving project in a major bank. Earlier this week I was yanked out of the battery hen hell-hole cube farm situated two train rides from home, and relocated to the rarefied corridors of power that is the city Head Office.

Where tea rooms are not some vending machine, a microwave and the ubiquitous Zip Boil instant hot water 'system'. Oh no, funky colours, modernist furniture, mood lighting and floor to ceiling picture windows are the name of the game in the 'Break Out Rooms'. (Seriously, the way that they look like some queen's efforts on Top Design they should be called Come Out Rooms.)

Yesterday was my first day, and I took the advice of one of the guys I'm working with and tootled up to the small cafeteria on the 28th floor to get lunch. I remember thinking how gorgeous the view was, but it was actually this morning when I went to get my coffee that it really hit me. OMG.

Firstly it's a vertigo sufferer's nightmare because the huge picture windows go almost all the way to the ground, but to those of us who aren't bothered by heights (weird, for someone so short?) it offers an amazing view. An entire corner of plate glass windows with a view that sweeps from the Harbour and across Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross. Nearly 180 degrees.

This morning I felt like I fell in love all over again with this city I chose to call home 20 years ago! (In fact next month is my anniversary.) While my passably good coffee was being made, I stood transfixed looking out over the Botanic Gardens and across the top of the arches of the Opera House to the glittering harbour. Today was one of those perfect Spring days Sydney does so well, and as I was watching the morning sun hit the water and a harbour ferry stitch a silver lame line across the water I thought I could burst. Maybe it was just all the glitter.

It was a completely different view of the city than I'm accustomed to. Looking down from Where The Money Is, across rooftops with surprising lap pools and little gardens, watching people amble through the Botanic Gardens or ride a ferry across the water. I wanted to play hookey so bad. Nothing reminds you more of how stunning this city is than getting up, way above the grimy trains and the casual rudeness. The scourges of pretty much all big cities.

Back at ground level I was making my way home tonight, at dusk, through my favourite 'off lead' doggie park and I was still feeling the love. There was a definite Spring vibe in the air, people out with their dogs enjoying the lengthening twilight, kids in tow, small groups of people sitting on the grass chatting and having a drink. Feisty little terriers and bemused large dogs seemed to be everywhere.

You know what, even the train ride home wasn't so bad.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Class, All The Way

Awww, bless. Matthew Mitcham on the Pam Ann show!

"Lachlan likes this one." Oh sweet Jebus, we all like the look of that one, honey.

Monday, September 07, 2009

OMG! You Did WHAT?

I'm not sure if this is scary or fabulous, it kind of walks that edge you know. Courtesy of my friend David, I give you Why The F*** Do You Have A Kid?. I'd like to say that no kids were harmed in the making of this... but I'm not so sure.

It does however seem like the natural follow on from Tacky Weddings though, right?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Birthday Weekend: In Review

Who knew that 45 was the fun one? Seriously. I had an absolute blast this birthday!

Friday night I met Mikey (TLE) & Evan, David, Brad and Christopher for cocktails and dinner at the Japanese fusion restaurant Uchi Lounge. Two of my favourite things are lychees and alcohol, so I had to start the night with a nomsworthy Lychee-tini. Lychee sake, gin, a splash of lychee syrup and one of the luscious pearlescent fruits to garnish. Yum.

We settled on a banquet, and the food (and wine!) just seemed to keep coming in an endless stream of delights. The eggplant with a sweet/savoury miso and parmesan dressing sounds like it shouldn't be, but it was heaven! Miso! And Parmesan! Crazy talk.

Numerous courses and four bottles of wine later, we poured/rolled ourselves out the door into the night. Being that well fed, with little distended round bellies all, the only logical thing seemed to be to make our way to the Flinders Hotel for the Harbour City Bears night. Some of my no stamina soft cock friends fellow diners decided to call it a night, but the rest of use headed off to the Teddy Bears Drink-nic.

You're in for a big surprise, at least that's the hope we always hold for it.

It was one of those busy but sociable nights that stick in your memory. New people met, old friends bumped into, good times had. Completely sleep deprived but happy, I had breakfast the next morning with David and a new friend Deen. Coffee, a plate of hang-over cure greasiness, sunglasses, sunshine and good company. Perhaps a little too much coffee, as any possibility of an afternoon nanna nap fled in the face of an over-caffeinated buzz. It was ok though as I had a quiet night in on Saturday, and a fairly lazy Sunday also. Nice.

So, one of the good ones, and big thanks to the boys for such a great night.

Lost In Redfern

I know posting this pic right after the previous entry's 'pot belly' find makes me seem weight obsessed, but truthfully could this have been a more serendipitous mash up of posters?

Ha! If anyone locates my old 28" waistline in the Redfern area, please contact me asap. Sweet babby Jebus, for that I'd even consider a reward...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

45 Revolutions Per Minute

I'm posting this early, well late on Thursday night actually, but early in terms of the fact that it isn't my actual birthday until tomorrow so one could say that this is early. Premature. Preemptive. I'm heading out pretty much straight after work tomorrow night for lashings of sake and a little bit of Japanese food, so I'm striking while the iron is hot and blogging while I have the chance.

So anyhoo, happy birthday to me! Yay! 45 today (tomorrow)! Because sometimes, if you are walking around with your eyes open, the Universe rewards you I happened across this sign the other day and thought it apropos for this occasion.

Oh, lordy. I am certainly both of these things.

Birthday eve finds me a little introspective this year. It's been a trying year on one hand, but actually kind of fab in other regards. Ups and downs of unemployment and financial stress, new friendships and relationship, feeling fat and frumpy, and then feeling empowered and attractive. Please remain seated until the ride has come to a complete standstill, and keep all extremities inside the car. Yikes, it has indeed been a rollercoaster ride... and I'm barely tall enough to even ride one.

Birthday eve finds things on the upswing though. I'm getting 5 days of work a week at present, and even though the wages aren't much chop I am really enjoying the 2 of those days spent at the yarn store. I've been socialising like a dervish lately, and have made some new friendships that I've grown to treasure. It looks like two of my close friends will be returning from parts foreign (Melbourne and Brisbane), which I am so happy about. I've even come to a form of body acceptance that is relatively new for me, and I have my 'bear' community friends to thank for that.

That one's kind of a biggie. It doesn't mean that I don't plan on losing the kilos I gained in the past couple of years, for health reasons for starters, but it does mean that I can feel fairly comfortable with the shape I am in now.

However, I do really wish I had computer access during the workdays these days, because one thing that has suffered this year is this poor blog and my reading of other friends' blogs. Most nights when I get home, particularly days when I'm at the yarn store, I'm just too darn tired and uninspired to write or do much surfing. (Naturally, porn is the exception.)

So, thanks for sticking around and reading. Thanks for those who've been here for years now, and those who are new. I understand I was thoroughly remiss in not posting my address for parcels to be sent, so please don't feel guilty about the no gift issue. Let's just avoid the embarrassment and discomfort that showering me with gifts would cause, and move on. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the knowledge that I have a long memory for some things.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

5 Things About Tuesday, 1st Of September: Cube Farms & Meerkats Edition

  • I spent my second day gastarbeit-ing in what feels like the world's biggest cube farm. Imagine a giant, cavernous aircraft hanger sized space, plonk in a serious of free standing 'facility hubs' (2 toilets, 1 kitchenette, 2 meeting rooms, 1 vending machine), hang some peppy inspirational signage like "Innovation Happens Here!" (gag) and fill with thousands of workstations. Noisy and impersonal were 2 thoughts that sprung to mind, and every now and then I would see clusters of people standing around in the 'corridors' or perched in between workstations, and realised they were having team meetings. Ugh, whoever thought this was the workplace of the future?
  • Although the partitions were only low so there was no need to meerkat anybody, it was also maze-like. Kind of like being in Canberra, you can see where you need to get to... you just can't find the way to it.
  • Tragedy struck, I got on the train (for a fairly long pair of train rides) without a book to read. This error in judgement never happens! Thankfully I dug around in the bottom of my bag and lo, there was a half finished, somewhat vintage sudoko. Distraction crisis averted.
  • First day of Spring! Which also coincides with Birthday Week, a week I am curiously low key about this year. Meh.
  • Of course, I say that now. Just wait until I'm all me, me, me, me, me bitches on Friday.