Thursday, May 28, 2009

At Some Point In Every Parent's Life...

...this thought has crossed their mind.

It just takes one too many arewethereyet?s

Occupation: Towel Boy (Volunteer)

I just got home from a fun night at my local leather bar Manacle. (See, this is what unemployment looks like. It looks like big, semi-drunken nights out on a Wednesday.) Tonight was the Grand Final of the all male jelly wrestling, and my dreams were finally realised. I was picked out of the crowd as a Towel Boy! Towel Boy duties include; handing bottled water to the contestant between bouts, towelling off the contestant between bouts, pats and short words or encouragement, more extremely diligent towelling of the contestant, and trying to answer questions of the host in an entertaining manner.  ("What do you do?" "Um, I was retrenched last week." ...*crickets*...) Fortunately my particular contestant was an extremely buff African American contestant visiting from San Francisco, so frankly the diligent towelling was no hardship.  None!

Oh yeah, I also helped shine the latex suit of one of the hosts... but that's a different post entirely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Speaking Of Jackets...

I love this jacket from the Fall 2009 collection by clothing label Rag & Bone. When I say I "love" this jacket... I mean I LOVE THIS JACKET. I want to make it my boo and leave it little love notes.


Actually, the whole collection is pretty faboo. Especially if you're a willowy boy with hollow cheeks who can carry off the funky 'ninja pants'. I have a soft spot for this classy long line jacket too:

Nice. Not terribly apropos for those of us blessed with hobbit proportions, but nice.

[Check out the rest of the collection on]

Monday, May 25, 2009

Project Rungay

Here's the way my mind works. I have a big, important project with a very definite short time frame - namely, job hunting. In truth I'm finding the thought of it a bit overwhelming. So of course I've been spending my time... learning pattern drafting and starting to design a jacket for myself. See how that works? La la la I'm not listening. Oh look, shiny!

(Actually I have sent off one application, and left a couple of messages with my old temp agency... but frankly I could be doing more.)

A few months back I bought a fab book Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear by Winifred Aldrich. Winifred (don't you love it?) teaches you how to use standard measurements, or your own, to design all sorts of basic pattern blocks which can then be adapted to create unique designs. Given that my own shape is a somewhat unique design (short and stocky) I decided to use my measurements and draft some basic garment blocks.

First up the 'classic casual jacket' block, a close fitting jacket block with minimal shaping. So it's slightly boxy without being oversized. The shoulders fit the natural shoulder line, and the chest and hips are fairly close fitting. I also drafted the 'basic one-piece sleeve' block, then cut them both out of some scrap cotton I had and bunged them together. The cotton is a bit lightweight and wrinkly for the job, but it's what I had on hand. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only did the sleeve fit the armhole like a charm, but the entire thing fits me brilliantly.

Since then I've been tinkering with different collar designs (the one above is the 'standard convertible collar'), jacket length, whether to have a button or zip closure, pockets, and even epaulets. I have a lovely lightweight navy wool and I'm thinking of making a slightly military style hip length jacket, with epaulets and possibly 4 patch pockets. Fun! Thank you Winifred.

Tomorrow, job hunting. I promise.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


How do you write about friendship, love, kindness and good coming from bad without resorting to cliches? Trying to box up small gestures and big kindnesses in words. In truth this has been an awful week, but it has also been kind of great too. I've been on the receiving end of so much positive energy and (that word again) kindness this week, the polar opposite of the complete disregard that was aimed my way on Monday.

I've had space and time to think, and although I'm concerned for the immediate future I also feel burbles of nervous excitement. It's been a wake-up call and a kick in the pants, and a reminder that jobs that somehow manage to be both stressful and dull can sap you of something precious. Your energy, and through that your self.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good Clean Fun For Boys

July 3, 1913. "Fun at camp." Boy Scouts in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Washington, D.C. "Boy Scout training demonstration, 1912."

"Boy Scout training demonstration, Washington, 1912."

"Boy Scout training demonstration, 1912."

"Boy Scout Training demonstration, 1912."

"At Camp Tobin - July 19, 1914"

June 16, 1937. "Walk 800 miles to attend Boy Scout Jamboree. Two Venezuelan Boy Scouts, Rafael Angel Petit, left, and Juan Carmona, examining their boots after tramping 25 miles a day for two years in order to attend the Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington. They left Caracas Jan. 11, 1935, arriving in Washington today."

[All b&w pics courtesy of Shorpy.]

Starting Over

Thanks for the wonderful supportive comments on the last couple of posts everyone, it's very much appreciated! I'm only just starting the process of re-organising my life this morning, so I've yet to really experience the highs and lows of job hunting in the current economic climate. However, having said that I'm feeling pretty positive at this moment in time. The trick is in maintaining that outlook against the slings and arrows of job hunting, right?

It's a bit wet and miserable in Sydney today, but as much of today will involve working the phone that's not such a bad thing. I made a batch of buttermilk muffins with apple and walnuts last night, and tucking in to one of those and a cup of coffee has been a nice start to the morning. Sometimes I make these with mixed berries (the frozen ones from the supermarket work really well), but this time I experimented with dried apple, chopped walnuts and the tiniest hint of cinnamon. Nom nom. I usually freeze a batch of 12 and then have them for morning tea.

So, thanks again. Your support has meant a lot to me. Can we make a deal? I'll try and stay positive if you guys could agree to give me the occasional elbow pat and a "there there" if I fall off the wagon too badly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time Out

After yesterday's emotional rollercoaster of a day, I decided to give myself a time-out day today. Last night I was making plans about serious, important things to do today; phoning my old temp agency, signing up with online employment agencies, starting a big house clean in preparation for the possibility of needing to get a flatmate, blah de blah. However when I woke up this morning I decided to take this day for me. I'm not procrastinating (for a change!) but I thought it made sense to take a mental health day after yesterday. Recharge the depleted emotional reserves.

So I had a lazy start to the day (with a lovely cup of coffee from my preciousssss) before heading out at lunchtime to grab an inexpensive bite to eat in Newtown. After that I decided to make the best of 'tight-arse Tuesday'* and headed to the cinemas at the nearby Broadway Shopping Centre to see the new Star Trek movie.

Hello, loved it! I was a bit dubious because ever since being entranced by the original 60's series in re-runs as a teenager I have been a lifelong Trek fan. Most, but not all (I'm looking at you Deep Space Nine) further incarnations of Trek have have continued my love for the series, so 'reinventing' Trek in the nature of a prequel did have me concerned. Generally I think they did the characterisations and backstory well, the casting was good (despite a wtf? moment when I recongised Winona Ryder), and the action adventure elements of the story were great. I might even see it again.

My one bit of sensible activity was to visit my private health cover provider and claim the rebate for my last round of expensive medication. Ten minutes of effort, $45 bucks. Thank you very much. I nearly plonked $25 of that on a new book but naked fear common sense prevailed after I did the book?/food? cost benefit analysis. Blah, I hate being sensible... especially when it comes to my one big weakness of books.

So after my time-out day tomorrow's plan is to tackle the basics of life, the Earth-bound concerns. Doesn't sound quite as much fun as visiting quantum singularities and the space/time continuum with Spock and Jim, but must be done!

* Tight-arse Tuesday, the great Aussie tradition of cheaper movie tickets on Tuesdays. Fortunately it doesn't mean only those blessed with tight bubble butts get the discount, instead it refers to the Aussie parlance of a tightwad being a 'tight arse'. As in "He's so tight, he's tighter than a fish's arsehole."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Battered And Bruised

My fears came to fruition today, in a swifter and more brutal way than I anticipated, and just 2 weeks away from the end of my 6 month probation period I was fired. Told I could leave immediately and would only be getting the bare required pay out of a week's wages under the probation terms. This is the first time I have ever been let go from a workplace, in the past I have always been the one to resign.

I'm feeling much more hurt by the whole experience than I would have thought, and I think it's the callousness and coldness of the act that has really gotten to me. Aside from the practicalities of not having money saved, of having rent and bills to pay, and only a small amount of money coming my way, it's that feeling of being discarded that I haven't encountered before. I rang my friend Judy immediately after, trying not to burst into tears in the middle of the street, and like a wise and good friend she administered dinner, gin & tonics and laughter. It sure helped.

Tomorrow is a new day, and on the upside I don't have to get up early for it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sofa Surfing

Apologies if you've tuned in expecting a Eurovision finals recap (both of you), sorry but I'm not up to it. When I got home last night from visiting Mikey (the lovely ex) and Evan for Eurovision shenanigans I had a coughing fit of such ferocity that I did myself some damage. I've strained something, or popped something, or God knows cracked a rib or some ridiculous carry on, but coughing is considerably hurty. Actually I think it's just a muscle strain, as I've done this before when I had a bout of bronchitis years ago.

Anyhoo, that and a whole lot of stress about work (truthfully I wouldn't be surprised if I'm 2 weeks away from being shit canned) has dug me into a pretty dark and bitter place this weekend. (Speaking of which, I wish I had some chocolate.) So I've cancelled all my plans today, and I'm hanging out on the couch comfort eating and watching the Eurovision finals. In the spirit of Eurovision I give today deux points.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Live Blogging The Eurovision Song Contest Second Semi-Finals

Mikey (the lovely ex) invited a few of us over tonight for lashings of champagne, pizza and the round 2 of Eurovision semi-finals. I tried to get a drinking game going, one scull for every key change... but frankly nobody can drink that much. At this juncture can I also say that this year is shaping up to be a diappointment. Maybe it's the climate of global financial crisis, but this year has precious few really crazy acts. For starters, where are all the drag queens and the costume tear-aways? Even the pyrotechnics seemed somehow diminished this year.

Croatia: First act of the evening and already I'm struggling for something amusing to write. I'm guessing by the "she's in white, he's in black" motif that it's some sort of battle of good versus evil. Or maybe they're singing "Ebony and Ivory"?

Ireland: Chick rock, Irish style! Sort of Joan O'Jett with the Bangles... and Bridgitte Neilsen on bass. Don't ask me, I have less than no idea.

Latvia: Somebody turn down the strobes because I think the lead singer is fitting. I haven't seen anyone that wide eyed and wired looking since the Mardi Gras laneway recovery at The Beresford Hotel, 1992.

Serbia: There is something about Serbian humour (and pop music) that doesn't translate well. Ommpah Loompa pixie shoes, a Phil Spectre 'fro and a petulant Alice (far from Wonderland) with enormous breasts. Sorry, just plain weird and not in a good way.

Poland: Modern interpretive dance! Caftan wearing back up singers! Rhythmic gymnastics!

Norway: In summary, a pretty boy with a violin, Aerobics Norway Style, a dancer loses a shoe. A popular one with the chicken hawks.

Cyprus: Pretty song, pretty young girl. Nice. Nothing to see here, move on.

Slovakia: If I were to say to you a) white baby grand piano b) candles c) a woman in a long white frock d) a dark bearded stranger in a dinner suit... would that say power ballad duet to you? Shame she missed a bunch of notes in there.

Denmark: Hello handsome! And what's not to love about a strapping lad with a nice set of shoulders and a kravat?

Slovenia: Shadow puppets!

Hungary: Somewhere a podium is missing a go-go boy. Gayest. Routine. And. Tightest. Pants. Ever!

Azerbaijan: I think I blanked this one, or went to the bathroom, or maybe had a catatonic episode. Snoresville with a vague Shakira sound.

Greece: This song was written by a pair of Australians making it the unofficial Aussie entry! I have no idea what the song was about, but OMG the special effects! The conveyor belt! The hydraulic ramp! The skin tight pants! Meanwhile, here's a thought provoking picture of the singer Sakis:


Lithuania: A hard act to follow after Greece. A nice looking young man in a hat. Borderline dullsville after the big Greek in the skin tight pants.

Moldova: Vaguely slutty traditonal costumes. Nice purple boots. I think my attention is starting to waver. Can you tell?

Albania: Nikki Webster [Aussie cultural reference] with a pair of evil midgets and a Blue Man in teal sequins. Is it just me, the champagne, or are things getting weirder?

Ukraine: You may not know that the Ukraine was colonised by Romans in mirrorball glitter costumes, but based on the semi naked gladiators alone The Winners Of Eurovision 2009!

Estonia: Is it me or are the songs getting duller? Nice song, and she had nice hair? I've got nothing.

Netherlands: The veterans of Eurovision. As the compares said "The cast of 'Cocoon'..." in rhinestone suits. Ha!

Cultural presentation, and we're at the end. Blah. I'm kind of disappointed in the line-up this year. There is a distinct lack of truly crazy. I'm hoping tomorrow night will still hold a few surprises...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Live Blogging The Eurovision Song Contest First Semi-Finals

I tuned in late, so only got to see the last 6 of the 18 contestants. Some would say this is a good thing, but pshaw! I say. I has a sad, I only caught a third of the semi-final action! Thank goodness for brief recaps otherwise I might have completely missed a) a nelly disco dancer, b) a Czech nerd superhero, c) Belgian Elvis, d) 5 seconds of boring in a white suit from Belarus e) a Swedish operatic diva, f) Armenian riverdance, g) Andorran Girls-Aloud, h) some boybandishness i) Turkish disco bellydance (trans cultural!) j) Israeli worthy drummingness (the sisters are doing it for themselves) k) Bulgarian Lord of The Rings/Dance and l) Iceland, without Bjork...

So far the Russian hosts are doing an awesome job. They're almost incomprehensible!

So, my thoughts on the final 6 of the first Semi-Finals:

FYR Macedonia:
cock rock is alive and well and living in the country we now like to think of as The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Bon Jovi

Romania: buckets of fake tan, 4 dancing girls in floaty frocks (wtf, Romanian water nyads?), treacherous dancing in high heels on a slidy glass stage, and a sound like every other Romanian entry I can think of. Borderline awesome.

Finland: Finland still thinks baseball caps turned backwards and fire dancers are rock (and roll).

Portugal: actually kind of nice! Plus, a squeezebox on stage. (No, I'm not referring to the singer.)

Malta: whoa. Power ballad on half wattage. Trying hard not to work in a cheap shot about the Rock of Gib-Malta but suffice to say (and I quote my friend Brendan) "what a lovely big dress, and my... isn't it full!"

Bosnia Herzegovina:
first impression, regional touring company of Les Miserables in all white costumes. Second impression (see first impression).

Now we're onto the voting, and can I just say that the hosts are off the hook. And a little drunk I think. Wait, is he holding her up? And why does he keep kissing her? Eww, it's like an office Christmas party in here all of a sudden.

Russian cultural presentation for make good the Eurovision Song Contest! Cossacks! Russian army choirs! That thing where they spin the woman in a traditional costume so her dress twirls up! Hip hop dancers! More cossacks (seriously, they must have exhausted all the red synthetic satin in Russia). A pair of fake lesbians miming desultorily to their 'big hit'!

This year there is much talk of The Magic Button, and frankly the way the Russian host keeps leering about it I'm guessing it's not something he gets to push all that often. Instead it just starts up some graphic that looks like one of those fake email notification they use on tv show computers when they can't use anything by Microsoft. Anticlimax! So the 10 winners are announced. No Elvis! No superhero!

Just pray there are some drag queens in the second semi-finals!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marking Time

I haven't posted much that's personal of late, because in truth I've been kind of flat. 2 months plus and I'm still struggling with a chest infection. It got much better and I had 4 blissful almost cough-free days before catching a head cold last Friday... and now it seems I'm back where I started. Frankly it's exhausting, frustrating and somewhat depressing.

I've been cancelling most social engagements in favour of staying home, my house has been unloved (and largely uncleaned, ugh) for ages, I've been tired from waking up all through the night coughing and... well, blah. I feel like all I need to do is get rid of this chest infection and I'll have some normalcy again. So while it's cold and Wintery outside I'm staying in, and consequently I do think it has improved a little in the past day or so. I'm kind of sick of the whole hermit scenario though, and I have a small outing with my friend Judy planned for tomorrow night (and indie designer's market!) but aside from that it's a clean social slate.

On the upside, haircut this weekend! That's always a booster for the psyche, not just the hair.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When It Comes To A Line-Up... this... thing I can always be certain of... matter who is up the 'tall end'...

...I'm always first in line!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trompe L'oeil

trompe l'oeil (trômp loi)
n. pl. trompe l'oeils (loi)
1. A style of painting that gives an illusion of photographic reality.
2. A painting or effect created in this style.
[French trompe l'il : trompe, third person sing. present tense of tromper, to deceive + le, the + il, eye.]

Stunning Spring/Summer dresses by Hermes, 1952. Photos by Gordon Parks for Life Magazine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

R.I.P. Ms Wills

Sadness. One of the great disco divas has left the stage. According to her official website Viola Wills passed away May 6th after a long illness, aged 69.

Her biggest hit without a doubt was her disco version of the 1970s Gordon Lightfoot ballad (and years before the song was made popular again by the film "54") "If You Could Read My Mind":

"If You Could Read My Mind" from a Netherlands tv show, 1981.

Ah, what a tale my thoughts would tell. Indeed. I also loved this track, the deceptively sweet sounding slow burner "Gonna Get Along Without You Now":

"Gonna Get Along Without You Now", 1979.

Who hasn't wanted to say that to someone, somewhere along the line? One of the greatest break-up songs of all time.

Vale Ms Wills, and a big thank you from the dancefloor.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

In The Arms Of The Forces

I say old bean, give us a cuddle. There's a good chap.


Before I start this blog post I just have to share this, I'm watching one of the morning music video shows and they are doing 'one hit wonders'. You know what, Vanilla Ice rhymed "lyrical poet" with "and I know it", which is a) kind of ironic in its lack of lyrical poetic-ness and b) awesome!

Anyhoo, hey everybody! Sorry for the unexpected blog hiatus. Rumours of my demise are vastly overexaggerated. In truth I had a phenomenally busy start to the week (month end processing at work), which meant I staggered home brain dead and barely able to string words together on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday, Thursday and last night I was out until fairly late. A latter half of the week that involved lots of work (still), but balanced with beers, all-male jelly wrestling (hello, awesome), catching up with friends and sushi. Oh, and I scored a big bag of yummy Alpaca yarn last night from my friend Frances who sees an absence of crochet in her future, and is therefore de-stashing!

Video show update, this is playing now:

One hit wonder shows are almost exclusively the domain of the white boy rapper! Oh, and aside from the word "informer" this is thoroughly impenetrable to me. I guess I'll never know if having your "boom-boom down" is a good thing, or not. Factoid: Snow's one and only album was called "12 Inches Of Snow". Ick.

But last night wasn't a late one as I seem to have scored myself a streaming head cold in the process. Ugh. There was a period of about 4 days where the last vestiges of the consumptive hacking was gone, gone!, but now it's a world of Butter Menthols, tissues with aloe vera* and a fresh round of... consumptive hacking. Yay me. Just a cold though, no swine flu, so put away your face masks scaredy cats.

So a quiet weekend is on the cards. I have a dinner invitation tonight (which I might not make at this stage), and I might go to knitting at the pub tomorrow afternoon if this cold is a bit better, but aside from copious amounts of internet porn that's about it. Now be a sweetie and fetch mummy a Butter Menthol, there's a pet.

* At first I had a bit of an Squick Factor about greasy feeling tissues, but the no nose redness results overcame my misgivings. That's a big plus for aloe vera right there.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I had a late night last night so I started the day with a lazy sort of morning, a sleep-in, a bit of interwebs cruising, a coffee... all rather sedentary activities. Late morning I popped my head outside and got a pleasant surprise. Today was beautiful! Sunny, mild, less "Autumn" and more "Spring".

So I kicked my butt into, well not exactly high gear but out of 'park' anyway, and climbed out of the gravitational well of the sofa. I decided to take a wander with my camera at lunchtime, making my way slowly to The Courthouse Hotel for pub knitting at 2pm.

Look. At. This. I'm sorry, Autumn? Look at these showstoppers! These attention seeking show-offs! Clearly they are meant to be blooming at this time of year, which is actually Autumn, but whatever.

Right around the corner from these was a shady wall covered with grape vines, grape vines that were covered in leaves turning russet reds and and dark browns. Which I tried to make some nice pics out of, and they were quite beautiful, but my heart just wasn't in it. Not compared with the hot pink fireworks. No contest.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thank You Internets!

There is a fab new commercial here on Oz tv for clothing/underwear brand Bonds. Or as we like to think of them The Company That Can't Afford To Keep Making Their Underwear In Australia And Fires 1850 Workers But Can Afford To Reward Their Directors With Pay Increase Of Up To 170%. Asswipes, for short. Which reminds me, I have an ethical dilemma... do I a) stop buying my favourite underwear of all time, their Hipster Trunks, in protest or b) continue to buy them in order to hopefully support the remaining workers staying employed? Discuss.

So, the commercial has a great look, slow-mo footage of a vintage styled Sarah Murdock working a hulu hoop, but what has really been driving me crazy is the fantastic music track. It sounded somewhat familiar, but I couldn't place it. 1 minute of consulting The Oracle and I had it. Bows to present:

"Aphrodisiac" by Bow Bow Bow (live version). Love it!