Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Miracle

This is the honest truth, yesterday I served a customer by the name of Mrs Clauss. Mrs Claus! (Almost, just overlook the slight spelling variation.) So I had to ask, and yes the novelty wore thin many years ago. Right about the time that she made her phone number silent.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The To Do List, Done.

Sometimes it irks me that I work every Saturday, when fun events are planned that I have to either miss or show up hours late for. What I don't ever mind though is that my "Sunday" is Monday. Having a week day to get stuff done, even if it's just to go and see a movie in a deserted cinema (bliss). When that Monday is on the same insanely busy week as Christmas it's extra appreciated. So this morning I woke up early and got the ball rolling on a day that came with a whole To Do List of its own.

First off I had to catch a bus to the hardware store. The hardware supermarket. Actually if anyone still uses the term hypermart then that's what this place is. My sister and brother in law are renovating their house, so the desired gift of choice this year was a gift card. A Bunnings hardware hypermart gift card. So I got on a bus and travelled the 10 stops to my nearest outlet, one of the hyperest of the hypermarts.

Here's a thing about hardware stores, of this variety... they discriminate against non drivers. Or more accurately we are probably just completely off their radar. First off there is no real clear pedestrian access to the place, you just have to take your life in your own hands and walk up the same ramp access that all the cars use. Then once you've made your modest purchases (because duh, one can't carry the bulky stuff home on the bus) any request for a carry bag is denied. It's a recycled box (handy for the boot of the car!) or nothing. So having bought an armload full of outdoor solar lighting (tall, thin, bollard style lights and a steal at $4 each!) I then did an inefficient juggling routine on the bus ride home.

All this before 9.30am. Then I headed out again and got on yet another bus and headed into the city to buy the last gift I had to get for my family. Fast forward through me wandering the aisles of a DVD almost-hypermart picking out about a dozen non-purchased gifts for myself, and one actual one for my sister. (Plus hanging out for a short while in the Gay & Lesbian section just to see who else shops those shelves.) A kind of brunch on the run, and then another bus ride home for a frenzy of gift wrapping prior to heading to the Post Office and squeezing in a haircut.

I'm so glad I made the change from getting $75 haircuts in a chi-chi salon to getting $15 haircuts in an old fashioned barber shop. 9 times out of 10 I'm happier with the cut, I'm certainly happier to leave $60 still in my pocketses, and I like the vibe of the place. The blue liquid the combs sit in. The 40+ year old formica*. The angled mirrors that line the narrow railway carriage of a place, designed specifically (it would seem) so that I can revel in the fact that my 46 year old pate bears no signs of impending bald spotness.

The guys that work there are friendly enough, efficient, and not the least bit interested in asking about where I plan on going on my holidays. Best of all there's a kind of pleasant yang quality about the experience. A kind of honour system that may well be the last bastion of gentlemanly behaviour is in operation, everyone knows where they are in the queue and as gentlemen one and all we all take our turns. Plus, in true Newtown fashion, it's a melting pot of all sorts of guys; young dads, old Greek grandpas, hipsters in what looks like vintage workwear (and ironic mustaches sometimes), and the gays. Like me.

Oh, score of the day! On the short walk home from the barber I found the Christmas cook book by one of my culinary gurus Elizabeth David further reduced to $9.95! Thank you Universe. It was $16.95 just a few days back. Given that it was originally about $30, and my need for more Elizabeth David in my life, I had to give myself a wee treat.

We're not quite done yet, but we're on the home stretch. I put my feet up for an hour and then it was another brush with bus going community of Sydney. Back into the city again for my work Christmas get together. Nibbles, drinkies and a fun present swapping Kris Kringle game ensued, before I caught my last bus of the day.

Maybe this non-driving thing has its drawbacks after all?

* Not a wild guess, the place proudly advertises it opened in '66.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Maths Is Hard


It has finally, thankfully, mercifully happened.

Like a stray fleck of glitter on my cheek I've finally developed the smallest little glimmer of Christmas Spirit, I bought my first couple of Christmas gifts. Not Earth shattering news, but a minor victory of sorts.

Tonight I'll make my list and check it twice. The naughty ones might even get something extra in their stocking.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Friends

[Photos via Vintage Photo.]

A Tribute to McQueen

A stunning tribute to the late designer Alexander McQueen by photographer Nick Knight, with music by Björk. Knight uses a series of black models wearing important McQueen gowns to celebrate McQueen's creativity, while Björk wails as only she can.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Upon The Deep Blue Briny Sea

OK, the 2 boys in lederhosen are kind of ring-ins, but who can pass up a pic that cute? Plus, lederhosen.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Good Times. Familiar Faces.

I've been a bit crook this week, after picking up a bug from my flatmate and I've spent the past 4 days or so feeling out of sorts, a bit achey, a bit of a sore throat, a bit hot and cold and with a headache for the past few days. So when I was considering whether of not to go out tonight I was originally thinking I'd pass, but as the day wore on the weather cleared and I felt a little bit brighter as well. I'm so glad I changed my mind because I had a fantastic night of catching up with old friends.

Back in 2005 I signed up for Flickr, at a time when Flickr was still relatively small but growing rapidly. Through Flickr I discovered a group of Sydney photobloggers who were arranging meet-ups and photographic outings. Anyhoo, long story short I joined them for an outing and met a fantastic group of people who not only shared a common interest, but that were also a diverse and fun crowd of people to be with. Over a year or so friendships solidified, relationships formed (including one between Morgan and I for a while), breakups, babies and mini dramas ensued.

So I was chuffed to get an invite via The Facebook to a nostalgic "mid week meet-up" (as they were known) for the core group of us that became quite close back in 2006. The venue for the meet up was the historic Harbour View Hotel, nestled gently under the soaring on ramp of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Harbour View has always had a soft spot in my heart, since I saw the Aussie musical "Starstruck" as a teenager back in the early 80s. The Harbour View was used as the primary setting for the film. All the exterior scenes were the actual hotel, while the interiors were actually sets. The front bar in this clip above looks a little bit bigger in scale the real one, but the basic shape is the same. The decor is nothing like the one in the film, all gentrified and genteeled, and probably never was as iconically Aussie as this cinematic fantasy.

Unlike the old days I didn't even take my camera out of its bag, but everything else felt just like old times. Beers were downed, food scarfed, opinions shared and lots and lots of laughs had. Such a good night, and I left really hoping we could do it all again soon.

On the train home, feeling the warm glow of old friendships and 4 beers, I spotted a very Marilyn-esque blonde bombshell in a little black dress get onto my train. It was my friend Corinne who was heading home after the opening night of the show she was Costume Supervisor for. Corrine and I met years ago back when I was making a lot of costumes and she was doing the same, but for fun rather than profit back then. We chatted all the train ride home and it was a further reminder that we all have people in our lives that we may not see all that often, but the enjoyment of them and the impact they have on our lives doesn't really fade.

Old friendships that are renewed effortlessly feel really special, like a treasure you even forgot you were looking for until you found it.