Tuesday, June 21, 2011

5 Things: The I've Been Dieting Like A Bastard & Lost 9kgs, No Really That's Like Almost 20 lbs, Edition

  • Unpredictability. Just when you think you’re going to ace a good result bam! a small gain, and conversely sometimes a weekend of drinking and carousing with only moderate self control is rewarded with a loss. I’ve learned to be sanguine about day to day fluctuations, it’s the forward momentum that counts. And I suspect it means The Universe smiles upon drinking and carousing.
  • Suspense. (See unpredictability.) Seriously, the only way the wait for the numbers on the scale could get any more suspenseful would be if my life cut away to an ad break just before I found out if I’m going to be above the yellow line.
  • Reward. It’s what I do. Rewards can be given for a) round numbers, b) odd numbers, c) percentages (-10% of my original starting weight was rewarded with retail therapy at Zara), d) for encouragement and e) on a whim.
  • Pride. All kidding aside, I’ve stuck with it even when I was jonesing for a pizza, or any number of other squidgy high fat delights, and both the numbers and vast reduction in belly don’t lie. My all round health is better too, especially important stuff like my blood pressure. For all of the above I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.
  • Smugness. I’m trying not to be, but I have moments of smug.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


ME AT NINE, PERFORMING TO MADONNA IN SUMMER '91! from Robert Jeffrey on Vimeo.

I could (and have) watched this video over and over. Such joy and self expression!

This goes some way towards lifting the sadness I feel about Kirk Murphy and the so called sissy boy experiment. [Anderson Cooper's story on Kirk can be watched here and here.]

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Style Files

I'm going through a mini obsession with sewing and fashion blogs at the moment. Over the past few weeks I dug out the sewing machine and pieced together a quilt top for a simple throw for the couch, bought a Japanese book of coats for men, and started planning fabrics for a new coat for myself. Meanwhile (and in part while I'm waiting for my measurements to stabilise, what with the weight loss and all) reading about sewing is almost as good as doing. To whit:
  • Unsung Sewing Patterns: an archeology of home sewing. Andrea's blog documents her experiment in sewing garments from old patterns and her research into the history of home sewing. What makes her blog fascinating is her focus on the unsung more utilitarian side of things; everyday garments, children's play clothes, workwear, costumes and clothes (like nautical styled "middy" blouses) that had a context that seems obscure to us now.
  • Colette Patterns Blog. The Colette Patterns blog is attached to the commercial Colette Patterns website and is written primarily by the company founder and designer Sarai Mitnick. What I love about this blog are the fantastic how tos, the technical articles (a recent series about fabrics was very good) but especially the excellent profiles of vintage designers. These snapshots of past designers are a great intro and springboard for further research, and I love that some of the designers are influential but perhaps not that well known.
  • OutsaPop is an English language blog by Finish blogger Outi with a particular focus on luscious photography, young designers, sustainable fashion and remade and recycled clothing and accessories. Her "trashion" as she puts it. Outi is so insanely cool and stylish, has a great eye, and has even styled a pop band with her "trashion". We are not worthy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


In the past year I've had a definite tendency to focus on the negative. I hit a very rough patch that I wrote about here at the end of January, and even prior to that things were a bit up and down for a while. Most of this negativity was turned inwards, manifesting itself in lethargy, in frustration, in a lack of confidence and depression. In hindsight the horrible events of early this year at least helped at times to take some of the focus on me, by me, off me. So to speak.

But that was anger turned outwards, which ultimately is still negativity. (And by anger I mean moments of white hot imagining of head crushing rage.) The problem with holding onto anger towards past events and people that you no longer have any contact with, is that you can run yourself round and round in circles thinking of conversations you'd like to have, verbal smackdowns you'd like to rain down on them from a righteous high horse.

So the point in mentioning this climate of negativity is that sometimes it's so easy to focus on weakness, and much harder to recognise your own strengths. But I do have strengths and one of those is determination. Once I get to a point of resolve, I can be really self disciplined. Past determinations have involved weight loss, giving up meat for a few years, giving up alcohol for a few years, sewing interminable and intricate amounts of braid/gold cord/buttons on various costumes over the years.

Reaching the point of resolve is sometimes a difficult issue, but once I'm there I'm there.

I've been losing weight. I set my mind to do it about 5 weeks ago, and I've stuck to my guns. I just dug out some of my old Weight Watchers tools and set to it. No meetings or anything, just me and the bathroom scales. So far I've lost 7kgs, a very large portion of the belly and several belt notches, and I'm really feeling positive and much healthier. As a friend of mine once said, and it's since become my mantra... it's not rocket surgery.

The WW plan essentially boils down to a) portion control, b) reduced fat and c) reduced calories - they just give specific quantities of food a point score based on the calorie and fat content. You can blow all those daily points on something from KFC or MacDonalds and be hungry for the rest of the day (not advised), or you can eat a decent amount of lean protein, small amounts of carbohydrates and reduced fat dairy, and unlimited vegetables (highly recommended).

I've been a little bit hungry at times, but not much at all, and even that is part of the process. Not that I enjoy feeling hungry, but in the grander scheme of things it's both worth meditating on the benefits of not stuffing oneself to avoid ever feeling hungry, and on the fact that much of the world lives like this without choice or relief.

I was chatting with my co-workers today about abstinence and addiction (one of the young guys is trying to give up smoking) and one of them praised my determination. I hadn't really thought about it, but it's both a symptom and a cause of a more positive mind set I've had over the past month or so. Feeling healthier, looking better, getting that feedback from the scales, and recognising that when it comes to the crunch I can achieve even long, hard processes (full of temptations) if I put my mind to it. Resolve. Determination.

Ultimately it feels like a kindness I'm paying myself, giving myself the benefits of this both physical and emotional. And on the rare night when I've craved roast chicken and hot chips, or squidgy fatty pizza, I've worked really hard to remind myself of that!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Vivid Festival is Vivid

We've had weeks of cool, rainy weather in Sydney so when yesterday turned out to be a fairly mild and sunny day it was quite the pleasant surprise. Not exactly Spring-like, but more like a mild Autumn day that Sydney normally does so well. (I figure we're owed one, given that we bypassed much of Autumn and went straight to Winter this year.)

One of the benefits of my new job is a 7 hour working day, so I finished work at 4 o'clock and the sun was still out and shining merrily. Blue sky. I decided to make the most of it and walk home from work, and burn a few calories in the process. It has rained almost every night for the past however many weeks, and given the total absence of clouds it looked like we could count on a clear night.

So while I was walking I decided it might be a nice night to grab the camera and go and check out the Vivid Festival later in the evening. I rang a friend who was sadly busy, but figured I'd go home and make some dinner and see if I felt like it afterwards. Almost a very big mistake. Friday tiredness + the lure of sofa = inertia. However, I gave myself a kick up the jacksie about 7.30pm and headed out into a pretty cool, but clear, night.

Wow. I'm so glad I did. These pics don't really do it justice, but it was amazing. The centrepieces of the Festival are the stunning 3D projection mapped animations by The Electric Canvas on Customs House, and the sails of the Opera House by SUPERBIEN.

The walk all around the foreshore of Circular Quay was also littered with light sculptures, performers and interactive artworks using light, colour and sound as their common themes.

Some of these pieces were static (like these jellyfish) but many of the pieces used movement and interactivity. Hard to capture in photos unfortunately, but in the flesh they gave everything a carnival like atmosphere.

People, especially families, were everywhere and all along the foreshore people were lined up with their cameras taking pics of the changing animations on the Opera House.

There was a bit of the usual push and shove that seems to be a feature of Sydney crowds, but it was generally a pretty fun crowd. And boy it was a crowd. It seemed like everyone decided to take advantage of the clear night also.

I shot soooo many pics. These are just a small sampling, and I've already put some more up over in this Flickr set. I'll probably add some more as I sort through them.

After a few hours I was starting to tire of the crowds, so I started to head back to the train station. I'd almost bypassed seeing the amazing Customs House light show, but I'm so glad I didn't because the projection mapped animations were stunning.

Here's a film clip of the Customs House light show, which really is the only way to do it any justice.

Such a fun night, and even home in time to see the room reveals on "60 Minute Makeover". Now that's what I call a good night.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I'm Mad About The Boy

I know it's stupid...

...to be mad about the boy.

I'm so ashamed of it...

...but must admit...

...the sleepless nights I've had...

...about the boy.

[Don't forget, click the pic to enbiggen it.]