Sunday, October 31, 2004

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Warning: Full power ahead

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
I composed this image today while thinking about the gallery 451 print exchange project. It didn't really work as a print, but I thought it had merit as a digital image. If anyone would like a high-res version of this (about A4 size) let me know and I will send it to you. If you use it, mentally attribute it to me (no need to physically acknowledge me anywhere).

Remember not to breathe

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
This is the downside of letterpress printing, even if we do have low-odour solvents these days.

This was a beautiful colour, a mix of silver and mapping brown.

The press is a Graphix proofing press.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Sick Fun

I thought blowing up John Howard was the ultimate in rage control and procrastination fun, but now I have foundPresident Bush Drag'n'drop! Click on Bush and lift him up, try to click and catch him as he falls for points. If you smash him against the wall and catch him again, your points are doubled! The bloody crunches are highly therapeutic. I am also trying to beat my personal best to keep a staggering German drunk upright and walking is excellent therapy. Highly recommended. Apparently the record is 82m! My PB is 69m. Remember not to click your mouse once he's walking...

Sometimes it's fun being sick with access to a computer (poor crazybrave, my heart goes out to you!)

Take the o out of mucous, it's still mucus

When I was in high school my best friend and I had a game we used to play while getting drunk on her mother's cooking sherry and smoking illicit fags. Remember that song by the Motels called 'Take the L out of Lover and it's over'? That's the game. Take a letter out of a word and see what you come up with. Stupid song, great wordplay fun. Of course, you have to say the line in a tragic voice to match Martha's peerless musical whining.
Decades later I still catch myself doing it. I stumbled onto a goodie the other day as I was setting type:
-- Take the I out of Married and it's marred.
A serious little number, non?

I'm feeling like shit on a plate today. Head-cold city. In fact, after flirting with the idea of working on my computer by testing myself on a blog entry, I think it's time to crawl back to bed and to a good book. I'm reading Jonathon Strange and Mr Norris at the moment, which takes masses of energy only because you have to hold the bloody thing -- such a thick book! If they'd just reduced the leading a bit (which would have suited the ye olde worldy style the publishers were trying to achieve) it would be a lot lighter. A reviewer called this book Harry Potter meets Charles Dickens. Pretty fair assessment so far, but with the worst of each, not the best. I'm enjoying it so far, but there's a fair way to go and I'm wondering if Susannah Clarke can sustain the (casual) pace. A pretty good book to read during the Canberra Slow Festival.


Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
Caption at top: "May God bless this type-room and all who print in her."
Caption at bottom: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

This has been on the studio wall for longer than I remember. My favorite anecdote about this picture is about an open day a few years ago, when lots of people come through the art school and ask all sorts of fun questions while you work. A woman came in, walked around the room, looked up at Liz, did a double-take, then glared at me and walked around a bit more. At first I thought she was just an affronted republican, but she kept wandering back to the image and seemed to be getting more and more agitated.
Finally she sidled up to me and said 'You realise she's a fake, don't you?'
Thinking she meant that it was a poster not a photo, I said 'oh yes, but she's been here for ages.'
She replied 'Nobody realises that she's just standing in for me. I'm the real fucking Queen Elizabeth!'
Uh oh.
I looked at her and said something like 'Is that right?'
She spent the next ten minutes telling me a terrific story about how she'd organised a double so that she could lead a life of plebian freedom, but now Liz was really fucking her off by taking the whole thing too seriously, and she was beginning to doubt that she'd ever get back to the throne. At this point (just when I was quite getting into the whole thing), a security guard came along and gently removed her from the building.
It turned out that this woman was a regular on previous open days and the school had a restraining order out on her! She apparently had the potential to be violent, but I'm sure Liz kept her (and I) engaged enough to keep things rolling along amicably.
I like the idea of the Queen being an imposter; makes reading Royal reports in crap magazines all the more fun.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A thing of beauty

A thing of beauty
Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
This beautiful object is a type-cleaning brush. It was given to me yesterday by a happy client after doing a very small and easy design job for her. It's such a fantastic present (for me, anyway)!

The circle on the end is a lid which unscrews to allow kero or turps to be poured into the top half of the brush. When the lid is done up it becomes a solvent distributor; you brush the ink off the type, pressing the little button on top when you want a shot of solvent, rather like ironing with steam. The metal is brass, a bit tarnished at the moment, but I intend to shine it up and just gaze at it for a few years until I can set up my home printing studio.

I haven't felt this pleased since I found a brass typesetting ruler at a garage sale and the fellow offered it to me for a dollar because he had no idea what it was. I gave him $2. I love a bit o' printing paraphanalia, me. I'm always on the look out for wood type, if anyone knows of some...

Text du jour

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
I found out yesterday what the difference is between a virtual journal and a paper one -- a paper one doesn't block your entry and deprive you of the chance to vent. Blog deprivation is a disconcerting feeling. Managing to get on today felt so good I fear for my soul...

This lovely piece of letterpress was done by a student lost to the annals of time. I've put it on the wall because it sums up much of my life experience. The trace of poster above it is a photo of good Queen Liz blessing the typeroom and all who print within it. Actually, I may blog that too, later.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Setting break

Taking a short break from setting type, and since I don't drink coffee nor smoke the evil weed, thought I'd share a couple of the things told to me over the years by salty old type-dogs, things that endear me to playing with dirty letters:

-- only tighten the quoins with the key until your knuckles spread slightly, not until they whiten.
-- adding black to a colour saddens the colour.

These are things of no relevance to a computer. In fact, they probably mean very little to most people. But they resonate for me, and of all the things I forget and remember on a daily basis (and believe me, there's a lot of the former), these two snippets have stuck with me, along with anything played on Countdown between 1980 and 1982.

I'm sure there's more pearls of wisdom stuck in my head somewhere, and they may flounder to the surface sometime, but for now: that'll do, pig, that'll do.

John Hunt is a Coward

Yes, this can be found on a t-shirt. I've been cruising the blogs, picking up on ever so many fun things. This site sells a few valuable fashion items for our lamentable situation. The culprit is a hoot, which, combined with the fact that his hometown is my mother's hometown, endears me to him somewhat. If I had more expendable income I'd buy a few things from here, but can't decide between the Johnny shirt and the 'axis of evil' shirt. Be warned! If you are squeamish about sodomy, shut your eyes as you tiptoe around the site.


Doubled over in a mixture of mirth and abasement at some of the excellent political discussions arising post-election.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Weekend jollity

I've had one of those weekends where there's been no time to blog. This is a good thing, because it means I've been off the computer all weekend, and my neck will thank me for it. Yesterday I finished my poetic square spiral. I looked at it, proofed it, and with the classic decision-making skills of a female Libran, decided I didn't like it, so pulled it apart and make a different configuration. I didn't have my digicam with me, so the technical brilliance of that particular creative endeavour is now lost forever. Never mind, I fully enjoyed the moment and that is what counts.

After this intoxicating day of creation and destruction I chuffed off to the elegant surrounds of the Canberra Polish Club with Best Beloved (Bumblebee was visiting the Albatross for the weekend) to get wonderfully pished (decided to beat the non-baby blues by falling gracefully off the wagon for a couple of weeks) in the company of Martin Pearson. If you don't know this fellow, get acquainted, especially if you happen to like the Lord of the Rings trilogy (both book and film). Martin, a most irreverent folkie, does a wonderful and very loving parody called The Unfinnished Spelling Errors of Bolkien. Every year after each film came out he would perform the latest instalment of the parody at Woodford Folk Festival. He recorded a version of the three episodes after Easter at the Polish club which was made into a CD, and I am in the audience... I'm going to listen to the CD later in the week and see if my trademark laugh is audible or if it has been fuzzed out by the sound technician. I'm not terribly proud of this laugh, and can usually keep it controlled, but Martin tends to snap all the restaints.

Last night he launched into one of his favorite monologues, on the weirdness of the plane trip that he'd just taken to get to the gig. I don't think I can do justice to this one, but it involved him walking up to the check-in staff at Virgin, placing his bag on the conveyor belt and saying helpfully "There's nothing flammable, sharp or explosive in my bag." The woman said immediately "I'm sorry sir, you're not allowed to say the word 'explosive' to me."
Martin replied "Why aren't I allowed to say the word 'explosive' to you?" She pointed to the sign which says that jokes about security threats would not be tolerated. He told her that he didn't say the word 'explosive' as a joke, but to be helpful. She got quite flustered and just repeated that he wasn't allowed to say that word. He asked what would be the consequences of saying 'explosive', and she replied that he would have to be inspected for traces of explosives on his person and the manager would be called. Then she asked him if he would like an aisle seat or a window seat.
"Hang on, just go back a bit," said Martin. "I haven't quite finished with this topic... Why aren't I allowed to helpfully say the word 'explosive?" (He didn't mind being inspected, he was there an hour and a half early, nothing better to do, and this was just way too much fun.) ... and on it went, until finally the manager was called. Martin explained his helpfulness, and she explained her position. Martin estimates that by the end of the interlude, he had managed to say 'explosive' around 21 times, she had said it 11 times, and the manager had said it 3 times. Fun with airlines!

I had a few ciders through the night (I have to drink cider with folk stuff) and because I haven't been drinking much, well, at all, lately, they went straight to my head. And the more pished I got, the funnier Martin got, or seemed to get. Then I thanked him profusely, got on my bike and rode carefully down the dark bike tracks (with Best Beloved, who usually rides very fast, doing his best to ride as slowly as I) of the Inner North. At one point I pointed my wheels towards the (quite wide) pedestrian space in the middle of a traffic island and missed. I hit the slopey kerb of the island instead and got quite a rude shock which unleashed a torrent of giggles most of the rest of the way home. Not very dignified, but who wants to be on a Saturday night?

Today I had to entertain my soon-to-be Parents-in-Law. I wasn't worried, until Best Beloved woke at 6am and got up to clean instead of lolling around in bed as is his usual Sunday wont. They weren't arriving until 6.30pm, so I got the hint that he'd like the usual pigsty transformed. But you can't make a silk purse etc. etc., so I managed to disguise the really objectionable bits and place Mother with her back to the Wall of Crud (a mound of boxes and future-useful-things that doesn't look very suave) while she ate, and I think I got away with it. I cooked a pretty cool chicken lasagne to use the lasagne dish she gave me for my birthday (!) and also tried out a chocolate-beetroot cake that turned out very nicely, especially with a side-dish of honeyed farm cheese. Bumblebee came back from the Albatross still dressed in the clothes he was wearing yesterday and when asked if he'd changed them at all replied that his dad hadn't bothered to bring his bag of clothes in from the car! Unbelievable. I guess he's also giving him lessons on how to scratch his crotch in public and open his beer with one eyeball.

Best Beloved wants to sleep, so I'd better stop (if I don't go to bed early, I don't catch the worm, so to speak!).

Friday, October 22, 2004

Remember to breathe

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

Text du jour

Find out for yourself

Well, don't bother because the link doesn't work anymore. Bastards moved the page to their archives and I can't be bothered delving to find it. Basically it was about a fellow in the 19th century who established a museum in England (as rich men with large collections tend to do) and now the museum staff are having trouble sending emails and maintaining a website for the museum because of its name.
'What is the name?' I hear you cry. The HORNIMAN Museum. Apparently spamblockers and web censors are going crazy every time an email from this place hits any server. Fabulous. I'd love to hear of any other names having problems with this sort of modern dilemma.

HP Source

When Best Beloved moved into my house (now OUR house) he brought his extensive book collection to merge in with my extensive book collection. Our house is tiny, and nearly all the wall space is now taken up with vast built-in shelving. Normally you'd think we would have a few boxes of doubled-up books to take down to the next school fete, but Best Beloved tends to read non-fiction (a lot of books involving: cults, sundry weird religions, Chick tracts, the CIA, India, and freaks. He has a love of all things kooky) and I'm hooked on all things fictional, so the only things we doubled up on were the Harry Potter series and Salman Rushdie's Fury.

We have become HP afficionados. We have read all the books privately, and out loud to Bumblebee; we've got four of the books on CD, and they are listened to on long car trips as well as when Bumblebee eats his breakfast (Stephen Fry does an excellent job, although I'm getting to the point where I may have to lock the cds in a cupboard for a few years); plus we have the Gameboy HP games, the videos of both movies, and various articles of HP costumery, including a wand that makes lots of magical noises but has only one spell (which is to drive me up the wall).

Best Beloved also has a fancy Google search to winkle out interesting facts about JKR and the upcoming book/s. This reports back every morning like a malformed lab assistant crowing about the latest gravedigging triumph. The latest choice tidbit postulates that JKR may kill off Cho Chang in the next book. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if she did. I have a lot of respect for her ability to kill off people and introduce new characters far later than other authors would. And I wouldn't mind seeing the back of CC anyway. I'm rooting for Ginny. But I wouldn't place a bet about it. Don't people have better things to do with their money? I'm sure someone in Sudan would like 100 pounds to see if they live or die.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Best Beloved

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
Gorgeous, ain't he?

Someone else's head space

Sometimes I feel completely out of touch, and grateful for it!

Text du jour

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
A bit of spray adhesive would have made this a lot more plausible. I dunno, art students have good ideas but they need to pay attention to the fine details. Still, it lasted a couple of days before being ripped down.

Printmakers unite

Very exciting, all this blogging. All sorts of connections wiring up. I'm now promising to be involved in what sounds like a damn exciting venture involving the noble art of printmaking. Lawrence Finn has launched a gallery in Sydney called Gallery 451 Printermakers Artist Initiative. Makes me drool just thinking about it. Well, there's lots of galleries who show prints, but the difference is that this one is political! Vibrant! Encouraging discussion! Fabbo. As I said to Lawrence, all I have to do now is get off my BFFA (maybe I should start a glossary in my sidebar; hmm, good idea) and make some work. Work for myself, that is. I'm always making work for others.

Oh -- and thank you Zoe, for the encouraging words. I'm glad to hear that dirty letters can be entertaining!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Still (f**ked-up) Life

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
I've had a really shitty day. Actually, it would have been a really enjoyable day except that I made a big mistake early on, and it fucked up everything. There's no other way to describe it. I made a mistake that potentially ruined a four-year artist book project, and didn't only because a solution around the problem eventually appeared, but it still means a lot of deviationary work over the next few weeks. I'm not going to go into it here because I think yesterday's letterpress entry was a boring enough excursion into my world of dirty letters.

Instead I want to share one of my weekly pleasures, which is visiting an elderly friend for a few hours to help her with anything she can think up: shopping, writing, changing lightbulbs, you get the picture. Anyway, she has a lovely way of arranging her house and the things in it, and each time I visit she's set up another little still-life somewhere. I've started taking my camera over and creating my own still-life shots of these little 'moments'. This is one of my favorites so far, not the least because there's a spunky little bookpress in the background.

I often find myself envying the amount of space she has to work with, but then I pull myself up and remember that she is alone in a big house; her husband died, and her 3 children have grown up and moved away. I'm sure when she was my age she also lived in complete chaos with books and clothes everywhere, toys to trip over and pets underfoot.
So I just enjoy my trips to her house. It's like an oasis of serenity amidst all the crap I wade through daily. And believe me, today I needed to look at this.

Text du jour

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
As usual, very hard to make out the text, so I'll help. Lovely menu. I particularly like the 'Screambled Eggs'.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Moving the furniture

Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
This is a very early stage of my poetic spiral. Everything that is not lettering is furniture. The type area is about 10cm across. I'm taking photos as I go, partly so that I can see how well I'm going, and partly because there's every chance that I'll finish it and drop it on the floor on the way to the press! Cross fingers against that...

Twisted sister

I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to set a poem into a square spiral. This little act of insane creativity is quite easy to do on a computer, as I proved to myself whilst doing a mockup in Indesign in about 15 minutes. Everything is quite easy on a computer. But I don't seem to like easy. I mean, I do like easy, but for some reason I keep finding ways to do things the hard way. I'm setting this poem in lead type, 8pt lead type, to be specific, which is very small. It's taken a fair while so far, at least 6 hours.
I set the type in a straight line first, then proceeded to work with tweezers and a bookbinding awl to layer the lines around a central block of furniture. Furniture is not a nice leather poof and a bit of a bookcase in letterpress. It is slabs of metal (either in bars or blocks) which provide stability to your set type. I actually finished my poetic spiral, and got it to the point of being able to lift it off the desktop (not a computer screen, a piece of furniture -- but not the metal block kind. Am I making sense yet?), held together by quoins (a kind of clamp, a great Scrabble word) in the chase (a metal frame). I proofed the type, which involved hand-rolling some ink on the type and printing it on some scrap paper, and looked at it. It was a bit disappointing, in that I'd overestimated the spacing, and there were the usual errors (not surprising, seeing that I'm setting it upside-down and back-to-front).
So I've had to redo the whole thing, and move all the letters closer and adjust all the leading. Leading, on the computer, is the amount of white space between the lines. You can have 10pt type on 12 pt space, and if you want to change it, you just type in a new number. But in letterpress, leading is actual thin strips of lead which sit between the rows of letters, and if you want to change it you have to use a lead cutting machine, a pair of tweezers and a lot of curses.
In fact, everything to do with letterpress takes a lot of cursing, but I get a kick out of doing something that I have to wrestle with to get right. I met someone else yesterday, a nice woman from Townsville, who has the same urge to play with filthy letters, and we got along swimmingly. So rare to find type nuts in Australia.

Monday, October 18, 2004

F***-a-Duck 1

I just have to share some of the pap Best Beloved sends me when he's pretending to be Very Busy and Important in his Public Service job. I can't believe this crud gets passed on as news. It makes me grumpy when I read stuff like this in newspapers, mostly because it's the sort of stuff I like to read in crap magazines and I think newspapers should be saved for more serious things. A time and a place for everything, don't you think?

I have no objections to crap magazines. I get a lot of chortles out of them, and they allow me to discuss reality shows and sitcoms with friends without actually having to watch the shows in question. I don't watch a lot of tv. I do however ingest a lot of crap, mixed into my basic diet of classic and contemporary fiction. I just like to read. I also like to play computer solitaire games (see below), so I can sympathise with JKR. They do substitute for a smoking break quite adequately (I managed to ditch the evil habit totally only last year, after many years of kidding myself that I'd stopped). I find minesweeper too nervy though. The fact that she uses it to relax helps to explain how she can comfortably kill off endearing characters without too many qualms. I've got my money on her popping Harry off at the end of the series so that his life can't be trailed out in endless sequels, best-ofs and reunions. She's already hinted at this.

While I'm on this topic, I must mention that I'm really enjoying being part of the generation that has to wait with bated breath for the next instalment of the Harry Potter saga. It will be too easy in ten years just to pick up the whole series and read it in one long orgy of sensation. Having to wait makes the eventual reading so much more exciting. I know a lot of the hype is really annoying, and all that queuing up in bookshops is dumb when we all know that they printed enough books to supply everyone and their pets, but the feel of a new HP in your hand is a thrill that I'll hold on to long after the event. It's a feeling that brings back the thrill of Christmas morning when you're 5. There's not enough of those innocent thrills for adults, so I'm treasuring it.

I guess what I'm saying is that while I'm hoping that JKR doesn't play too much minesweeper between sentences, I'm nevertheless waiting happily for whatever emerges from the explosions.

Friday, October 15, 2004


This is so much more fun than playing umpteen different versions of Solitaire when I can't be arsed doing any work.
Let's try this pop quiz:
You work from home. You take a few moments to clear your brain between computer chores. What do you do?
a. Do your physio exercises
b. Play some cards on-screen
c. Hang out the washing
d. Do a quick batch of washing-up
e. Write your Blog

In the past, my answer would have been [b.], which would place me in the category of Lazy Computer Bint. These days, however, it's generally [e.], which salves my conscience and makes me feel like I'm doing something useful. Actually, I only know of only one regular reader, so I'm really only doing this for myself, which puts me more in the category of PCB (Procrastinating Computer Bint). What I need to be is Wonder Woman, which means that I would do [c.] and [d.] while incorporating [a.] but then needing a good lie down before I could do any more computer work. Yeah, like that's any fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.
Nothing like a bit of wood type to make my mouth water.

Goin' dahn

Oooh, I'm going to hell for the lies I tell my physiotherapist.
She pokes my back and neck and asks me how they're feeling. Fine, I groan, even though it kills. You see, I'm supposed to be doing exercises daily, to build up my alternate muscle strength, to allow the pressure to come off the bits that creak and groan and ache every day. I want to do the exercises, of course, because it's my only chance to improve a very painful situation. I come away from each session resolved to spent the time every day, to remember and act upon the pain that nags me the way old Mrs Brilliant used to poke me with her finger in 5th grade. I go home, do my exercises for a couple of days, and then somehow they get lost amidst the flotsam and jetsam that is life around my Private Jetty. They sink below the morass, lost among dinners to make, brochures to design, cartoons to draw, clothes to be picked up, loungerooms to be vacuumed, child to be talked to, lover to be loved. The pain also rises and falls, and I'll do bits and pieces of the stretches, just enough to get by (with a bit of help from Nurofen). And then I notice as I turn my diary page that I have a physio appointment late that week. Then the exercises rise and bob persistently at the plimsol line in my brain, and I do them, just so I can recline on that couch with my head stuffed into a hole lined with tissue and lie that I've been a good girl. Well, I try to be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The quest to sprog

I have been trying to get pregnant for 10 months now. My Loved One and I laugh when we think of how careful we were with contraceptives pre-sprog attempt. I have been warned that it isn't so easy when you're over 35 (or well over, in my case).

Mind you, I'm not your average ageing-egg sour graper. I have the honour of having such weird insides that when my son was born a-la emergency caesarian, there was an audience on the medical side of the green sheet, all straining to have a squizz. Yes, I have managed to sprog once, but that had less to do with the conception than with the absolute tenacity of my son's will to be born. It really had nothing to do with me.

Maybe I should be a bit old-fashioned and pay attention to narrative. I spent years trying to get pregnant with an earlier partner, to no avail. Then, after we split up for various reasons, I became accidentally pregnant to the rebound bonk. This is when I knew god was a man (I use 'was' deliberately). You know, of all the bonks, in all the world... why that one? Anyway, I had a rough time with that pregnancy, discovering all sorts of wonderful things about myself along the way. Like, I had fibroids. And a bicornuate uterus. Que? Instead of being pear-shaped, it is heart-shaped. Mutant city. Apparently the combination of factors means that the foetus has to compete for a reduced amount of space with a couple of growing balls of knotted flesh which feed on hormones and blood. Charming. How my boy managed it is beyond me. People used to pat my baby bump and say 'Oh how cute, I can feel his head', to which the answer was, 'No, that's one of the fibroids. He's using it as a soccer ball right now'.

So when I decided to try the process again with someone I actually love (don't get me wrong, I adore my child; it's his Albatross of a father I can't stand), I was told to check my mucus (eww), take my temperature each morning (before my cup of tea too, most uncivilised), and stop drinking (that's the hardest bit of all). Oh, and have lashings of sex. Very early on I learnt not to tell Best Beloved when I was ovulating, as it tended to freak him out. Now I just mention the fact later, over breakfast or something. Too much information isn't very sexy.

Alas, nothing is happening so far. The latest thoughts from Above are that I will have to have the lumps surgically removed before anything will happen. That made me pick up a glass of wine, I tell you. Watch this space (between my ears -- I mean, do I really want to go through all that again? I've only just got my life back from the last one!)

Monday, October 11, 2004

what goes around...

The One I Love has sunken deep into the realms of despair, thanks to recent events. Funnily enough, this makes me progressively more determined to keep my mind on things less annoying. I tend to get cheerier as people I love sink lower, which is a lucky habit that has quite often kept me away from suicide (mind you, it often drives them crazy).

Today I focused on enjoying things that politics can't touch, like the sunshine on my face as I rode my bike along the glorious bike paths of inner-North Canberra, even though I was for much of it stuck behind someone who really shouldn't have been wearing lycra (especially black lycra with white undies underneath). Birds, flowers, light breeze, sunshine and trees. It really is the most beautiful city.

And then! I work at the art school, and had an opportunity to drive their crappy white van around town on some errands. I turned on the ignition, crunched the gears into reverse, rolled down the window, and turned on the radio. Some shite radio station came on, playing all the worst of the 70s and 80s, but it was exactly the right time and place. Ah, the mindless bliss of revving an empty van around endless roundabouts in the sunshine, crooning to something you'd never listen to in your right mind. Talk about therapeutic.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Images from the War on Consciousness 1

I'm cheering myself up by posting some images exhibited earlier this year. The little heads at the bottom of the poster are detachable and can be mixed & matched on the bodies.

Images from the War on Consciousness 2

These images are by Bernie Slater, Australia's Official War Artist in the War on Consciousness.
It's a shame the text is illegible. Keep your eyes out for Bernie, he's doing a great job out there.

Emerging from the cheesecake

I'm hungover and depressed, like hopefully lots of other people (but not enough to make a fucking difference). My hangover is a sugar low after the huge amount of cheesecake I wolfed down in front of something really fluffy on video late last night in a desperate attempt to block out the smug face of that CUNT. What else can I say? That air of democratic duty I mentioned yesterday turned out to be the haze of desperation of a population of scared piggies in the middle. If I wasn't so in love with a man who likes Canberra, I'd move to NZ. Give me time to work on him.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Waiting Game

Just done my civil duty and voted -- not just once, but twice. None of this stretching-things-out-over-two-weeks-if-you-live-in-Canberra bullshit, no sirree. Popped into my local primary school and voted nationally, then wizzed on the bike over to the ACT Legislative Assembly and voted territorially. Far fewer people on the second stop, of course, which made it a pleasure. Next weekend I can just sleep in (in Tumut, mind you). I hate election day. It always smacks of righteousness, especially as you walk out of the polling booth. Everyone has done their democratic duty, whether for good or evil, and off they go, feeling good about themselves. I tend to sit outside the door for a while, wondering if I have any grasp on the mood of the country or not. The last election spooked me. I was so hopeful for a change. This time it's deemed to be a closer call, but how many scared people are there? How many closet Liberal voters? It consols me slightly that while the people of Canberra have to host all the dickheads that make up our government, they tend to vote fairly progressively. There was a huge rash of 'Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him' bumper stickers on the streets of Canberra after the last Federal Election, and I'm sure they'll reappear in force if the bastard gets in again. Oh, it's too depressing to think about. I've been off the grog for a few months (tryng to sprog, but more on that another time), but if the Liberal Party get ousted tonight I'll be celebrating in style, I promise.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Conan's Bubble

Conan's Bubble
Originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

Inside a bubble

Just went to see Conan the Bubbleman at the Street Theatre. One of the best things about having kids is being able to go to fun things and watch their minds and faces open with pure joy. Actually, it is easier to do this with one kid than a large family, for obvious reasons. Live theatre is not cheap, nor, as we all know, are movies -- but let's not get me on a rant.

Conan was fabulous, as usual. He made what I think is the biggest bubble I've ever seen him make on his light table. It rose and rose and rose and then he made it undulate and pulsate, which was the sexiest sight. I have seen his show over and over and never get sick of the sight of an enormous bubble rippling up through the dark air like a rainbow jellyfish, looking like I could catch it in my arms and squeeze it like a stress ball. Then it bursts and the reality of its fragility catches my breath. Another moment I love is when he has a double line of fishing line strung down from the ceiling, dripping bubble mix, which he eases apart to make a flat reflective skin of bubble. As he turns slowly, in the moment before he moves the string to sway out the bubble, the skin looks like a portal, something Conan can leap through to travel... well, anywhere.

If you want a virtual Conan fix, check out his website, above. However, nothing beats the real thing. Above is also a photo that I took at an earlier show. Nothing like the images on his website!

Duck the First

Welcome to yet another space on the web. Just looking around the other blogs is mind-numbing. I mean, who has the time? Still, I seem to spend more time on my computer than in front of my diary these days, so I've decided to embrace the idea of a virtual journal. At least I'm not alone there!