Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bye Bye, For Now

Time for a little blogging break for me.

The past 4 weeks or so have been especially tough, battling undiagnosed pneumonia (which seems to be hinting at making an unwelcome return in the past few days) whilst trying to continue working through it the whole time. I can't blog, or even web surf except for a few 'safe' sites, at work and when I get home in the evening I've often found myself lacking energy, inspiration and especially the humour to put together something entertaining. Well, most of the time anyway. The past month hasn't been without its bright spots, but much of the time though I haven't felt like I had a voice with much to say, unless it was to talk about feeling run down, tired and uninspired.

One harsh reality of blogging, content providing so to speak, is that when things get tough going, when providing content that people find engaging or entertaining gets hard, is when you need the support of your audience the most. But it's the time when a few dull posts, or some dour entries about being sick, tend to drive people away. It's hard not to get disappointed when you see your stats and comments dropping.

So time for a break. Time to not spend my evenings on the computer, after having stared at one at work all day. Time to refresh, regroup and especially recover.

I will be back. I'm just a couple of months short of my 5th anniversary of being The Other Andrew. 5 years! It's been too big a chunk of my life to walk away from easily, and except for this low spot (and a few previous dips over the years) it's been 5 years of fun and friendship.

Once I'm feeling refreshed and like I have something to say I'll be back! I'm sure it won't be long.

Bittersweet And Beautiful

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Do Your Sign "You're Adorable!"?

I was cruising a favourite, ahem, adult entertainment site for gay men (Porn site QueerClick, which is unsurprisingly NSFW! Thank goodness.) when I noticed a little news story about hottie youtuber Captain|Over, aka Michael DiMartino. DiMartino is a handsome gay New Yorker, a sign language interpreter by trade, who through a mixture of signing, dance and rhythmic cutting, is creating music clips that both the hearing and deaf communities can enjoy.

Especially if you also appreciate a bit of hot boy shirtless torso with your signing!

Bloggers ORD to LAX have a lovely interview with DiMartino on their blog.

Bows to present:

Apparently Britney recently added his clip of her song "Womanizer"[sic] to her own website. Sweet! Rather than get bent out of shape about copyright as many groups do about youtube, at least she could appreciate the fact that he is bringing her music to another audience. He's got some great moves and I love the way he incorporates the signing into the whole feel of the dance. Very cool.

[Also, check out Jamie and Marc of ORD to LAX while we're on the topic of adorableness!]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slim Aarons, 1916 - 2006

Slim Aarons once described his career as "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places." During the 1950's, 60s and 70s Aarons was an honourary member of the jet set. An outsider looking in, with a camera. One who was given a free pass because the elite knew he would always make them, their homes, their friends and their lives look good. Consequently he documented a vanished time and lifestyle in intricate, lush, gorgeous detail. Prior to finding this niche Aarons had been a decorated World War II combat photographer, an experience which he credits as making his appreciation of the good life that much richer.

Switch out the participants, and switch in me and a surprisingly competitive (yet accommodating) cabana boy called Miguel, and this is my idea of heaven. Did I ever tell you I love backgammon? Truly, I do.

If this photo came with a soundtrack I imagine it would be Kate Hepburn calling "You! Yes you there!", in tones imperious.

NYC picnic. Could this be more perfect? OK, add in Jude Law and an Hermes 100% cashmere blanket to the back seat and then tell me this couldn't be more perfect.

The creepy/beautiful Guinness family. I suspect there is another child with hazel eyes and mousy brown hair of which they do not speak. The one that was shipped off to boarding school tout de suite. (Oh, and that jacket must be mine. WANT.)

Rex Reed, lying in wait for the latest in a long line of poolboys.

There are a number of comprehensive Slim Aarons galleries online, such as this one at Photographers Gallery, an amazing LJ entry (in Russian) by Ana-Lee, and this one at Staley Wise Gallery

Juicy Reads

[Vintage book covers courtesy of BookScans.]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nocturnal Emissions

Last night I went to a friend's house for dinner, and after a lovely meal, good conversation, and scoring a heap of fabric from her as she heavily culled her stash, I climbed into bed wearily and already on the verge of sleep. I was just settling in, rolling over to turn out the light, when something caught my eye. Something on the sheet up near my pillow, in the corner of the mattress. A dried pool of blood about the size of my palm.

On my good 'hotel quality' white sheets mind you.

I sat there slack jawed for a number of seconds, heart racing. WTF? Clearly it was my blood, there were no drips from the maw of a horror movie ghoul lying flat against the ceiling, no signs of me having slayed anything in my sleep the night before. At a guess I'd say a nosebleed, but I've never had one in my life. (Oh, except for an unfortunate childhood incident with an exploratory piece of wire, that is.) And I'm far from consumptive (and bohemian) enough to have delicately coughed Mimi-style in my sleep.

Weird. Sometimes my own life is like a foreign country, even to me. I didn't notice anything the previous morning, although having staggered straight from slumber to the shower I probably didn't have an opportunity to spot anything anyway. What am I capable of next? What will I wake up to on the morrow?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dear Internet

Thank you for your attention.

Dinner With The Diva

After reading each other's blogs for a little while, and originally meeting online through Thom's blog Fabulon, last night I caught up with US blogger "La Diva Laura" (of La Diva Cucina) right here in Newtown. OMG, so much fun! Laura livid in Sydney for quite a few years, so this trip has been a homecoming of sorts. I knew from reading her blog that Laura would be warm and funny, as were her friends, and we clicked straight away.

Got Rice?

Laura & Fiona
Laura & Fiona. Fiona had the best glitter eyeliner on. Covet!

Nom Nom
Libations! A very nommy "Asian Tiger Caprioska" - lime, passionfruit, lychee, sugar syrup, vodka, heaven.

Amanda & Laura
Laura & Amanda. Good times!

Just James!
"Just James" starring James O'Brien.

Cute Newtown Busker
On the way out of the hotel we passed this cute boy busking. So nice to see the young people taking care in their appearance.

Friday, March 20, 2009


The Autumn Equinox.

Sigh. Although you wouldn't know it from the hot, humid weather today, Summer has ended. Today is the equinox, the "equal night", where day and night are at equal length, crossing over from the long days and shorter nights or Summer to the longer evenings and shorter days of Winter.

Autumn Golds

For pagans Mabon is a thanksgiving celebration at the end of the traditional harvest season, a time for meditation, thanksgiving, of finishing old business and enjoying the fruits of your own personal harvest.

Autumn Colour

Sounds pretty good huh? In truth Sydney doesn't have 4 strong seasons, the pictures above were taken by me years ago in Canberra, which certainly does have them. Winters, and even Autumns, in Canberra can be bitter. But even so, seeing the shorter days advancing makes you think about giving thanks for the joys of Summer. Making the best of the warm days that crop up in amongst the cooler days of a Sydney Autumn. Then about settling in for longer, cooler nights. Planning knitting and craft projects to do rugged up on the couch. Autumn and winter foods; soups, stews, risottos.

I think in my ideal world Autumn and Winter would last about 3 months, combined. Long enough for a taste of it, a bit of contrast, some time to appreciate the crispness, the rugging up and the snuggling in, and yet not so long that the frustrations of cold bathrooms, wet feet and coming home in the dark bring.

When I get to be God Emperor/Benevolent Dictatrix of the Universe I shall make it so, but in the meantime, and in the spirit of Mabon, I shall give thanks for the bounties of Summer. Cheers, Summer!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

5 Things About Thursday, 19th March: Books & Bitches Edition

  • The whiff of Autumn is in the air. It's been warm and lovely the past few days, but the days are getting noticeably shorter and the night's cooler. Time to get serious about the Autumn/Winter knitting schedule.
  • There is a gorgeous, huge Great Dane bitch who roams the 'off lead' dog park near my house with her owner. She's so sweet and inquisitive that she's quite the belle of the park, everyone loves to stop for a pat and she usually has at least one little lapdog running around her ankles. What I really love is that she's the unofficial peace keeper of the park. Any snappishness or roughhousing sees her giant concerned nose poked into the fray, and all it takes is one deep, booming woof to scatter the participants. Tonight it was a gaggle of little yapsters that got the caution.
  • Today I chatted briefly to visiting US blogger and kitchen whizz La Diva Laura! I've only recently statered reading Laura's blog, but we 'know' each other from Thombeau and Fabulon. It looks like we'll be catching up this weekend, I can't wait!
  • I'm so grateful to be gainfully employed in this economic climate, but Great Caesar's Ghost my job's exhausting at the moment. I had a change of boss, and he's a little less highly strung, but this is a tough time to be someone responsible for keeping the funds flowing in! Everybody wants to hold onto their cash, and very few want to pay their bills.
  • And yet curiously, I've been on a book buying spending spree. Sequels! The third Lucifer Box novel by Mark Gatiss, the seventh Retrieval Artist novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, "Imperium" by Robert Harris (sequel to "Pompeii"). Not a sequel, but I did also snap up the companion volume to the brilliant tv series I loved How Art Made The World. I want a world made by art.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ludwig Hohlwein

New obsession! I love really strong, graphic poster design and I have always been especially drawn to those with an Art Nouveau or Art Deco flavour. Whether they are vintage Aussie travel posters, modern retro styled posters like the work of David Lance Goines, or vintage Russian posters, I love 'em all. I just discovered the work of German illustrator/designer Ludwig Hohlwein, 1874-1949. Hohlwein did all sorts of work in a variety of styles, including lots of propaganda posters for both world wars.

I'm not so drawn to his works of the little house painter, the evil creature that would bring his twisted ideology to the world. I do love his other works though, especially those like the ones above that use interlocking flat planes of colour and negative space to great effect.

His character driven advertising images were very popular, and personally I like it best when he used the looser style of flat watercolour washes.

I really like his graphic use of light and shade, and composition, and I think this beer ad is especially effective. Kind of brutal, but effective. (Pink, naked muscles and beer. Happy Mardi Gras everyone!)

Pretty birds! See, not all propaganda and big lugs with a beer attitude.

Try searching Google images for "Hans Hohlwein" and marvel at the variety and sheer volume of the man's output.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dr Evadne Hinge & Dame Hilda Bracket

One of the curiousities of the English is the esteemed role that drag, or female impersonators, has had in mainstream entertainment. Danny LaRue was a huge favourite of my parents'. Paul O'Grady in the guise of Lily Savage was a more frequent guest on Michael Parkinson's chat show than almost everyone else. All part of a tradition that owes it's popularity to Music Hall, all male 'gang shows' and the English love of saucy (but never crass) ribaldry and double entendre, I guess.

My all time favourites though were those elegant Victorian ladies Dr Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket, as played by George Logan and Patrick Fyffe. Many people probably haven't heard of them, but they were big stars in their day. They had their own tv show "Dear Ladies" (now on DVD!) that ran for a number of seasons in the 80s, were regulars on popular variety shows such as "Good Old Days", performed a number of times on Royal Command Performances, and even had a star turn in a British production of "Die Fledermaus".

Not to mention their own Gala Evening With Hinge & Bracket show:

A clip from Season 1 of "Dear Ladies":

The older of the 2, Fyffe sadly passed away from cancer in 2002 at the age of 60 and as one friend of theirs' once commented, as they got older Logan and Fyffe began to resemble their characters more and more. Good naturedly snipping at each other and constantly trying to upstage one another. Just as it should be! Now I really need to find those DVDs...


I found out yesterday that I don't have Whooping Cough! Yay! What I do have is an atypical case of atypical pneumonia. Typical! Thankfully a fairly mild one, and the antibiotics that I was put on just in case I had Whooping Cough can do for pneumonia as well, plus I'm already on the mend, so the order of the day is keep doing what I have been doing.

Thinking that if it wasn't WC it might have some other microsomethingorother (I'm not big on detail), one of the questions my doctor asked me was "Do you keep birds?"...

Imagine if you did, and they were Whooping Cranes, that would get kind of meta, right?

Oddly I ran into the lovely Adam yesterday (a man that I had a major crush on 10+ years ago and slept with a couple of times, and was friends with, but sadly never 'dated' as such) and he is recovering from pneumonia. Weird. With Sydney's Whooping Cough epidemic (3,000+ cases so far this year) there seems to be so many respiratory problems around. Is this the 4th Horseman? Is this how things will end? With a cough, not a whimper.

(Of course I kid, we all know it'll be The Rapture and/or alien thetans. At least the Meek will finally get something of their own, which is nice for them.)

So, weird conjectures aside, I am definitely on the mend!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Have To Admit, The Rather Large Blue Penis Is Somewhat Distracting

On a whim tonight I decided to go see Watchmen. It was 5.45 and I'd just gotten off the bus after work, I was feeling somewhat aimless and not wanting to go straight home, the cinema was right there, there was a 6.15 session... I figured it was fate or something. So I bought my ticket and a beer (so civilised that my local cinema serves beer and wine!)

I really enjoyed it, but not unreservedly so. Mostly because the violence got a little much for me at times, just a tad too graphic. However, there was lots that I did love. I wasn't familiar with the premise, other than something about 'retired' superheroes.

I loved the mock archival footage and all the retro superheroes. So well done. The backstory behind the rise and fall of the 'watchmen' was clever, and put the story into a different sort of context from the usual 'superhero' story.

So many of my favourite boys are in this film. Patrick Wilson! He's no longer the lean, slightly built repressed hottie Mormon of "Angles in America", but someone more broad and solidly built (and yes, with a great ass). Nobody seems to quite do complexity and fragility/strength like the handsome Mr Wilson. Matthew Goode! Fresh from being a winsome English homo (and companion to Lord Sebastian Flyte) to being... well... blonde this time. Jeffrey Dean Morgan! So dark in this, but once he cracks that smile, and laughs that dirty chuckle. Mercy.

Billy Crudup's 'Dr Manhattan' is amazing, and it's hard to tell where the CGI/make up starts and ends. (I'm guessing the facial close ups are mostly Crudup, and the long distance massive physique/wang shots are CGI.) THE performance of the film for me though, Jackie Earl Hayley as Rorshach. OMG, until I imdb'd him I didn't place him as a well known former child actor, and one of the young teen actors from "Breaking Away". He has a fantastic presence in his Rorshach persona, but during the few scenes where he unmasks... his presence on screen crackles with intensity. Fantastic.

It has made me want to buy the original graphic novel, and I would recommend the film unless like me you have a lowish threshold for graphic screen violence.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I picked up the old sticks and string last night, after an absence of a couple of weeks. The hacking cough situation, and the lack of focus and concentration that went along with it, meant that I haven't knitted for a while. The Vinnland sock the first has consequently temporarily stalled just after I turned the heel and started on the leg.

Returned WWI soldiers knitting as therapy. The guy in the back is using a hand cranked sock knitting machine, a sophisticated version of the cotton reel with nails many kids used to make long thin knitted tubes. Only this machine even had fittings to allow a proper angled heel.

But I was spurred on to do a bit of simple knitting by the arrival of new yarn! I ordered some inexpensive, hard wearing, fine gauge wool from Bendigo Woolen Mills to tackle the crazy fun project I've had in mind for a while. Oh yes, the 1920s bathing costume will become reality. So last night I swatched, or knitted up a simple square to check that my yarn and needle size was equal to the gauge given in the pattern. (I need to go up a needle size, as it turns out.)

At a guess I think this guy is actually doing some sort finger braiding, not knitting. But still, the therapeutic quality of yarn!

And while I was swatching I was enjoying the therapeutic quality of knitting. Once you get past the cuss-worthy stage of feeling like you're about to drop ever third stitch, or you're tackling some mega-hard masochistic pattern, there's a unique thing that happens. A sort of zen space. Where you can have half your brain watching the yarn, the interplay of the needles, the feel of the stitches under your fingers, and the other half thinking/daydreaming or listening to music/the telly/conversation. The rhythm, the art of creating, the way 'muscle memory' comes into play so that your stitches get neater and easier the more you do it, well it's kind of magical really.

More WWI soldiers knitting as a group. Not dissimilar to what we do every Sunday, except we have beer. (And we don't have chenille bathrobes.)

I'm sure it's good for my blood pressure. Even if it doesn't have a physiological effect, it certainly feels calming. I'm not a very tense person, but I can't imagine being tightly wound when you're knitting. Maybe you can, but with only the half of the brain that isn't watching the process. So potentially that's half as stressed? Maybe? It's also quite possible that jittery, tense people aren't drawn to knitting at all, but then maybe they should.

Knitting, weaving, basketry were all crafts that were traditionally used as medical therapy. (I treasure a woven scarf I have that my mother wove in a sanitorium, recuperating from tuberculosis back in the 1950s.) My feeling is that it's more than just the repetitive activity, the gentle use of muscles, the soothing effect of the activity. I think it's also the act of creating. The encouragement and pleasure that comes from looking at something that you've made, even if it's just a little gauge swatch.

Darkness & Light

"Hey, tattooed love boy. If I stay within the lines, can I colour you in?"

"Oh! Suits you, sir." (But then, I always was a sucker for a boutonniere.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If It's Wednesday...

..It must be time to talk about medical mayhem!

Ugh, I know. I KNOW. Another post about my malodorous malady, my ignominious illness. My compunction for consumption. This despicable disease. Well aside from a lovely catch up last night with my friend Stephen, who is visiting from Brisbane, there ain't a lot else going on this week. I could FILL your screen with posts about the 2009 "So You Think You Could Dance", so just be glad it's sputum instead. So to speak.

I went back to my doctor this afternoon, and surprise! I might have whooping cough after all. I got jabbed with a needle and had a throat swab taken, as 2 weeks of a deep, persistent cough is officially not good. That and a bulletin was faxed to doctors today saying that Sydney has has over 3,000 diagnosed cases of whooping cough so far this year and is officially in epidemic.

One minor comedic moment was the throat swab. After a few minutes of warning that she had to touch the back of my throat with the swab, an advance apology and warning for the gagging to ensue, and even a 'now get ready' count down, I was like "have you done it yet?" Even though in truth I did feel the gentle caress of her giant cotton-bud swap as it brushed my uvula on the way out.

Chalk that one up to years of experience.

It still might not be the dread Cough of Whooping, because I have to go and have a chest x-ray as well. The lower left lobe of my lung sounds 'crackly' apparently, so it may be a common old chest infection.

It seems apropos to talk about the cost of medical care. I watched with horror a story about the cost of medical care in the US on "Foreign Correspondent" last night. I'm sure they chose extreme cases, but the story of a woman who wasn't allowed to have her chemo bag hooked up until her husband arrived with a cheque, or the woman with Parkinsons who was told to bring a cheque for $45,000 with her to her medical appointment (and consequently she has been without treatment for nearly a year) were shocking. People queuing all night in the freezing cold to receive free medical treatment in a school gymnasium. With the US economy tanking, how many more people who are without insurance, or under insured, will go without care?

As I saw my GP tonight, even though she ran nearly an hour late (I was the last appointment of the day) I was so thankful for the cheap care. I had a swab and blood test done at no cost and of my regular $58 consult fee I get $33.55 back from Medicare within about 48 hours. On Saturday I have to have a chest x-ray, which shouldn't cost me anything either, and then another visit to the GP. So all up, what, $48.90 out of pocket? (If I've done my sums right.)

Yes it is true that as well as these up front costs I have also contributed to my medical care (and everyone else's) through taxes, the Medicare Levy and the $27.56 a fortnight I pay for basic private cover as well. But that's not huge sums of dollars, and it's mostly money that I either don't see or don't miss. If it means that I, and others, don't have to queue for treatment in a draughty gymnasium when I'm feeling poorly... well it seems especially cheap.

Monday, March 09, 2009

5 Things About Monday, 9th March: 'Roid Rage Edition

  • Work was sheer hell people. I'm starting to doubt my doctor's diagnosis because I've finished my antibiotics and I am no better. No better! I spent the entire work day trying to talk *cough* to *cough* people *cough* on *cough* the *cough* phone. *cough!*
  • I am addicted to watching youtube clips of the gay love story between Max & Iago, from the Catalan soap opera "El Cor de la Ciutat". English subtitled clips are here, courtesy of evama1977. Iago, pretty-boy bad-boys never looked so good. Interesting fact, Max has been on the show since he was a little kid. Awww.
  • I'm watching the tv show "Good News Week" and I have a new crush. Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls. She's a riot, and sort of has a whole tough chick/drag queen thing going on. Plus she plays a mean ukelele. Awesome.
  • I've had a medicinal glass of red wine. Throat soothing you see. Do you think that's related to loving Amanda Palmer so much?
  • (Prepare for an overshare people!) Do you think, say, that if you coughed hard enough. Say, hard enough that you nearly faint. Numerous times a day. With all the straining, clenching and near aneurism enducing that goes with it. Do you think that the rest of you would be straining, clenching and coming close enough to an aneurism of sorts that you might, um, well give yourself a hemorrhoid? Because frankly, aside from the coughing I haven't been straining in any other regard, and well, whilst washing this morning I discovered a somewhat sensitive, nay painful, nubbin.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I Ask You In All Seriousness

It is entirely possible that I'm feverish/had one glass of red wine too many/insane, but is this little fish toy not so cute that you just want to knit it immediately?

And better yet, free pattern. Although, call me a yarn snob (no really, go on I love it), but I might not make it out of 100% acrylic yarn branded after someone who turned the letters on Wheel Of Fortune (US version, not Adriana). I'm thinking hang up a bunch for a cute baby mobile maybe, with all coloured fishies. Or put some catnip in with the fiberfill and watch your cats get their freak on.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Cheaper Headspin Than Any Drugs

Oy. It's been a strange week chickens, and apologies for this blog being a bit dead in the water this week. I've been sick with the worst wracking, deep, choking, dry cough for most of the week. Felt better, had a lovely dinner at Uchi Lounge and a thoroughly debauched late night at an underwear party called Rezurrection with my friend Christopher and about 500 of our closest hot boy friends, then not surprisingly felt worse again. Duh.

So now I find myself at home on a Saturday night, the Saturday night of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras no less, watching an old Marx Bothers film, desultorily Facebooking, and craving a super long G & T (Bombay Saphire, tonic, lots of ice and lashing of fresh lime).

I'm not thoroughly convinced with my doctor's diagnosis, but I do agree with her that my chest is clear and it isn't bronchitis. I don't feel sick sick, I mean I have no fever or cold symptoms, but this frigging cough is doing me in. Waking myself up all through the night, giving me a pounding headache and tense, sore neck and shoulders.

Grumpy Saturday night!

Gosh I feel like that G&T. Or maybe a small flask of the warm sake Christopher and I had at Uchi Lounge. Once we saw a sake called Bishonen ("Beautiful Boy") on the menu you know we had to have it, right? I bet all the queens love a Bishonen! Actually, it was delicious and amazingly calming for my cough, probably the mix of warmth and alcohol. Beautiful boys are medicinal.

Anyhoo, off to bed soon for another battle with Mr Sandman vs My Esophagus. On the upside, I have a good book to read before sleep. 3 parcels of books I ordered online arrived this week. 3! First on the nightstand is "Nella Last's War", the daily diaries written for the UK archival Mass Observation project by Nella Last. Housewife, 49, as her first observation in September 1939 begins. Oh my they are good, her voice and personality leap off the pages and her observations of the extraordinary ordinary days of the Second World War are tender, thoughtful, bittersweet and at times surprising. Frequently very funny also. I was a big fan of the BBC dramatisation with Victoria Wood ("Housewife, 49"), so I had high expectations of the source material.

Not disappointed.

Off to bed my ducks. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

To The Max

Max Sharam: "Be Firm (With Me Baby)"

Max Headroom & Art of Noise: "Paranormia"

Max Richter: "Song"

Max Q: "Sometimes"

Why Don't You?...

Go native.

With eyeliner.

Home Sick

Ugh, I gots myself a chest infection. BOO! On the upside, not whooping cough as first thought. YAY! Right now I'm burning smudge, make obeisance, casting runes, and considering sacrificing something (a bowl of icecream maybe) to any and every deity/sprite/succubus that I'll be right (enough) in time to go to the Rezurrection underwear party tomorrow night. What? You have your 'goals', I have mine. Mine just happen to include hot boys/leather bears in underwear.

So I'm watching Ellen, unpicking a pair of old chinos for my first wardrobe refashion project, and will maybe do some sewing this afternoon.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Stitch, Bitch.

Look what I made! I like to fool myself into believing that all I need to get organised is the right stuff. Plastic tubs. Things with dividers. Compartments. Pockets!

So I made myself a little knitting needle roll. Actually, I made two because I wanted to try making one to see if I could come up with a design that might be sell-worthy in the (soon to be) Etsy shop, and then I decided to make another as a birthday gift for a friend. They took a couple of evenings to make, in part because I was figuring out the design as I go.

I decided to use a fab thickish natural linen for the outside, and a funky retro styled fabric in greens and blacks that I bought as a remnant recently. It has 11 narrow pockets to hold a variety of needles, and I made the length of the pockets graduated from short to long to go from little sock needles to big like-knitting-with-a-pair-of-dildos chunky ones.

Do we like? I couldn't be happier with them if they bought me coffee and toast in bed, and then vacuumed. Oh yeah, and for the curved corners a cocktail glass turned out to be just the right diameter. THEY ARE SO USEFUL.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I realised a little while ago that I hadn't bought much in the way of new clothes in ages. A t-shirt here, a work shirt there. So when I noticed that the next round of sign-ups was coming around over at Wardrobe Refashion I thought "No 'new' purchases? I can do that!" Of course it isn't that easy, and when I think about it I probably have bought a number of clothing items in the past 4 months.

Wardrobe Refashion encourages people to pledge to only re-use, recycle and refashion for a given period. Your own wardrobe discards, and second-hand purchases are the raw materials. I picked the 4 months pledge, several months can go by when I don't really buy anything anyway so where would the challenge be? Underwear, shoes and specific work relates clothes (not really the case for me) are exempt from the pledge, and everyone gets a Get Out Of Jail Free card to pull out when there is something just too good to pass up.

4 month pledge

So this is my challenge to myself, to become more mindful of what and how I use for the next 4 months. To think about what resources it takes to keep me shod and clothed. I have the motivation and I have the new machine, so I now also have the mechanics in place to undertake the challenge!

The Pledge

I, Andrew pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 4 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle pre-loved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Signed, Andrew (The Other one).

Are You There Blog?

It's me, Andrew.

Sorry for the unplanned short hiatus over the past few days! Four posts in the past week? Wow, there was a time when that was a single day's output. I have no less to say, that's for sure. So shall we play catch up?

Work. Work has been busy, unsettling and odd. Mid week we had the sad spectacle of my boss being demoted, and frankly it was not well handled. His boss called us all together, made the announcement that he and another financial controller were in essence switching jobs (with it being a big reduction is responsibility ans status for my boss), that we were now all working for the other guy effective immediately.

My boss then had to clear out his office immediately and relocate to a workstation in the cube farm. To add insult to injury, his coveted undercover car space was taken as well and he's now parking out in the main car staff car park. (In the car industry, that's a biggie.) Then my new boss changed my job description, and instead of dividing my time between 3 dealerships, I'm only doing 2. Which is yay, but the job change took me away from working for my old boss in his new role. Pawn, anyone?

So, weird. Not terrible for me on a personal level, although my new boss is an unknown quantity at this stage. A cut in my workload is good, and my old boss could get rattled and freaked out at times which was hard to deal with. Time will tell.

Anyhoo. On a more upbeat note there has been sewing, a big night of beer drinking with James, a new pair of Thai fisherman's pants (My first and OMG I may live in these forever. So comfortable. What next, a yoga mat?) a birthday cheese-fest picnic for brunch this morning, knitting and a late afternoon movie session of Milk this afternoon. (Along with Doubt, the best film I have seen in a long time.)

Now it's Sunday night, the cheese-fest of this morning is unfortunately taking its toll, but I'm watching So You Think You Can Dance and wondering tomorrow's work day will bring. We live in interesting times.