Monday, November 28, 2011

A Colourful Walk

The recent wet and cool weather suddenly turned to bright, sunny, late Spring over the weekend. I spent almost all of the day out in the sunshine with Peter yesterday, either walking in the sun or sitting outside with a cheeky lunchtime white wine with Peter and his friend Kai. Glorious.

What About Sunday To Tuesday?

What happens Sunday to Tuesday?

So I grabbed my camera this morning and decided to enjoy the continuing sunshine and walk into work. (And work off a bit of the food and drink excesses of the weekend.) I changed my usual route a little and along the way spotted some street art I hadn't seen before.

Smoko Break

Smoko break.

The curious wizards of the Bureau of Meteorology have read the entrails, cast the stones, and forecast yet more rain and cool weather later in the week. Bah. Until then I think I might make the best of it and see if I can't try a different route each morning, and see what else I can find.

Friday, November 25, 2011

5 Things About Friday, 25th November 2011: Blood Crazed Zombies of Newtown Edition

  • Technically this is about last night, not today, but I stopped to grab a take away burrito last night and I must have made a tiny cut in my lip with the foil wrapping. Ever cut your lip? They bleed like crazy! There's nothing quite like the feeling of realising people in the street are looking aghast at you, only to discover blood dripping all down your chin. Sorry residents of Newtown, rumours that the zompocalypse has begun are overstated!
  • Speaking of zombies, my sleep problems have plumbed the depths of horribleness this past week. Numerous wake-ups throughout the night have left me feeling like a zombie. I was mildly offended the other night when Peter made a comment about my low energy levels, but I have to admit that he's right. Time to go back on the super strong meds I used to take methinks. Boo! I hated those expensive, nausea inducing little tablets. Nausea, empty wallet and possible liver damage Vs low energy zombiedom. It's my Sophie's Choice.
  • Today I read in the news that we've been treated to just 45 minutes of sunshine this entire week. This is LATE SPRING. Summer is but a cooee away! There should be children and puppies gambolling in the sunshine. Hotties lying on the beaches. This should be shorts weather. But no, Sydney has been plunged back into cool days (fair play, it's not eactly COLD) and torrential rain. Whoever is responsible, fix it.
  • Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder? SAD. I haz a SAD!
  • On the upside (and lest you think mention of said burrito would infer otherwise) I actually dropped a bit more weight this week. Once I got to around the -13.5kgs point a month or two ago I sort of took my eye off the ball a bit, and relaxed my attitudes to food. What was really reassuring was that I haven't gained any weight at all since then. So the past few days I've generally been a bit more disciplined, burrito breakout nothwithstanding, and as of this morning I passed the -14kgs mark. Woohoo!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Summer Nights With Vincent

It's been a few years since I deliberately planned and treated myself to a good summer read. A book made for reading in a park, or sitting in my courtyard on a warm early evening, or even for reading in bed on the too hot nights when I can't sleep and the ceiling fan just isn't cutting it. Something interesting, preferably weighty and a bit challenging, and maybe something I've promised myself to read for a while. A book with gravitas, or at least some eccentricity.

I'm not much of a beach goer, so not for me the slim, trashy, beach read. (It's an important distinction.)

I seem to gravitate towards art books and biographies as summer reads. Once, many years ago, when I was on what should have been a short work assignment in monsoonal, tropical Cairns, I ended being stuck there for 7 weeks. I was feeling lonely and frustrated, and after finding what was (at that time anyway, I'm not sure now) the inner city of Cairns's only interesting little bookshop, I consoled myself with a spending spree on summer reads. I read about the life of Gertrude Stein. Then I read her "autobiography" of her "tricky, dicky darling" Alice B. Toklas. I rubbed shoulders with Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, before finishing up with Bloomsbury's own "house of lions", Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant et al.

My memories of that time are an incongrous blend of Parisian/English/New York smart sets saying smart things in smart drawing rooms, torrential tropical rains, and hours spent lounging by the hotel pool reading during the all too infrequent breaks in the rain.

A while back I read an article about a new Vincent Van Gogh biography that was coming out based on new research, and which promised to be "the definitive" work on his life and death. Just the sort of thing for a summer read! I had recently signed up with a co-op bookshop that offers substantial discounts to members (after a small one-off membership fee), and a quick search of their website showed they had this book at $45.00, rather than the regular ticket price of $59.95.

So now I have it. Even the heft of it says summer read. It's thick. It's hardcover, which has been nicely wrapped in clear plastic by the bookstore (so as to protect from any summer evening sweaty hands or glass of rose accidents, no doubt). It has illustrations. All in all it looks just the ticket.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homemade Space(ships)

Sometimes it's hard to figure out how you end up where you are. And I don't mean that in the naval-gazing larger-scheme-of-things sense, but in a metaphor free literal sense. On the interwebs specifically. Link leads to link and suddenly you're in some unexpected side road off the great information super-highway.

I'm a bit of an architecture nerd, and being home from work today with a raw sore throat I spent some of the afternoon looking at interesting architecture that is a bit left of the mainstream. I started by reading about the fantastic re:START project in Christchurch, New Zealand. A pop up shopping precinct made from shipping containers which is reinvigorating the earthquake devastated centre of the city, but now sadly faces a lawsuit.

Shipping container architecture in a round about way (so round about that I doubt I could retrace those steps) lead to the "small home" movement. People who choose to live in tiny, often self made, homes. Including one enterprising 16 year old who is building his own tiny mobile house. And when these people talk about tiny houses, they mean tiny, to whit:

More interweb meandering from the poster of the clip above lead me to an interesting website called *faircompanies. Which is essentially an aggregator of clips, blogs and news stories with a theme of sustainable living.

Now I like my creature comforts, but on one level I would love to have the mobility to take off and explore the world. This video introduced me to Kyle and Jeannie, two nomadic artists who built their own simple little trailer and have been exploring the US since. Their trailer is quite basic, and as they put it is more like camping in a tent than being in a caravan. (They also have a charming blog and sell their handmade wares via their etsy store.)

Kyle and Jeannie are doing their travels in a much more rustic way than I think I could cope with. In spirit though they remind me a little bit of Lucie and Lachlan of The Vagabond Adventures. Sadly their blog is now no longer really being updated (as they are back in England running their business The Vagabond Van), but I loved reading about their adventures in Africa with their dog Bow Wow.

An afternoon of wandering the interwebs, that lead to nomadic adventures of a different sort.

Friday, November 04, 2011

5 Things About Friday, 4th November 2011: The Power of Tools Edition

  • I was awake and ready to leave home quite early this morning, so I walked around to a nearby cafe and bought a muffin and a cup of coffee, and lingered over them at a picnic table in an adjacent park. An excellent way to start the day, although I could have happily sat there for much more of the morning and skipped the whole 'going to work' thing entirely.
  • I used to do the big Samurai (hai, yah!!) Sudoku puzzles from the weekend papers quite regularly, so with pencil in hand I sat down on the bus to knock one over rated Easy. Easy, like hell. Maybe I've somehow lost my sudoku chops through attrition, but the thing is sitting in my bag still quietly judging me. I choose to believe they mislabelled it, actually.
  • For some reason I felt inspired to buy a paper journal today. Not the lined Dear Diary style journal (with dinky easy-to-jimmy-open lock), but one full of neat little crisp, white, A5, ready to be written/drawn/pasted upon pages. A visual diary made by both Messrs Windsor and Newton. There's been a bit of a lack of creativity in my life of late, and I'm thinking I might give keeping an art journal a go.
  • Not that I need any encouragement to loiter in a stationery store, slack jawed, ready to spend a fortune on all of the Precious Things. Thankfully what the university campus store lacks in range it makes up for in reasonable prices.
  • After work plans today include swinging by KMart to buy a cordless drill. My first power tool! (Quelle butch.) Time to fully dismantle and chuck out the old beaten up outdoor table in my courtyard, in preparation for the warmer Spring/Summer weather. (Which may or may not happen, the way things are going I'm not fully convinced. It's been a cool, wet Spring so far.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


The curious lump in my chest that has been consuming so much of my attention the past couple of weeks turns out to be a not very common, but completely benign, fatty lump. Not even a cyst. Simon, the very sweet ultrasound technician, was prompt in telling me that it certainly wasn't cancer. Then he showed me on the monitor exactly what it looked like. To be honest I could scarcely tell one grey bit from another grey bit, but once Simon said "It's not cancer" he could have been playing a rerun of "I Love Lucy" on the monitor for all I knew.

So yay. On the way home I bought a pig out dinner of some good porcini mushroom pasta, pesto, good parmesan, and a yummy bar of good dark chocolate. Tonight we live a little.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Little Treats

Due to a mix up by the medical centre my (anxiously awaited) ultrasound appointment this afternoon is now actually happening tomorrow afternoon. Only a small mix up on their part, but another day of waiting to put my mind at rest. I was initially frustrated, but then by the time I left work it was almost weirdly a bit like being let off the hook for the afternoon.

So I decided to try and not worry about it and instead enjoy the Spring sunshine by taking a stroll along King St on the way home. The stroll became a bit of bookshop window shopping, then an early bite to eat of a yummy falafel at Sabbaba, and some further strolling nibbling an achingly sweet, delicious, rose scented chunk of Turkish Delight.

Not that I won't be glad to get this damn lump checked out, but if I have to wait and indulge myself in a bit of avoidance then sunshine and little treats are the way to do it.