Thursday, June 30, 2005

Books amongst the architecture

byrd did the book meme! He shyly plopped it in the comments section of my wistful joke (below), along with his kids' book response for the gorgeous kids that are shared by the loverly Godomestic. Hooray byrd! Go Domestic!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Q: why are Australian men buried 6 feet under?
A: because deep, deep down they're really nice.

Monday, June 27, 2005

lead weight

starry starry type, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

I've spent a lot of time in the last few days playing with letterpress. It's been a while since I could do some of my own stuff, rather than printing for other people. I love the process, and I love getting my hands on the actual letters, but then after a few hours I start to think how much easier I could do the job with a computer and a printer.

Especially on days like today, when I braved the tarp-covered depths of my type collection in the garage awaiting the magic day when we build a studio. I'm printing labels for my handbound sketchbooks on a little desk-top press bought a number of years ago from a bushy man whom I mentally call Mad Merv from Mittagong. Today I moved a tray of type and pulled a muscle in my neck, bringing back memories of when I bought the type and the press and my dad did his back in helping me load his ute to bring it all home. And the day when I bought more type and a Vandercook proofing press and needed four big men, a truck and a hydraulic lift to get it into the garage (where it's been living in sin with a lovely blue tarp, and will stay there for a while yet).

Letterpress is not for the weak or the bad of back. It is for people who like jigsaw puzzles that fall apart at the slightest movement before being locked together, people who don't care about nice-looking nails and people who can lift a heavy wooden drawer full of metal type from a below-the-knees position. Some days I am one of those people, and other days I am not. Today I'm looking forward to a hot soak, some Tiger Balm, and a few hours on the computer setting type the easy way.

Oh -- and happy birthday, crazybrave...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Remember to breathe

Thursday, June 23, 2005


That was good. The play was fine for an amateur production; the bloke who played Dennis was excellent, the set was terrific. The caramel slice was divine, the wine filled a hole, the whine was essential. The best bit was spending quality time with a quality sheila. How lucky am I?

Waiting for Loot

Cold and wet today in the nation's capital. I just typed Ampersandsuck into my login, which puts a whole new slant on things, really. Cold, dyslexic fingers on the keyboard. Crazybrave and I are about to boldly go forth to an amateur production of Joe Orton's Loot, and are hopefully going to get there in plenty of time to slurp a vino or three.

I was just thinking about why I like riding a bike in Canberra, even when my face is being hit by sleet:

1. I get to look at other riders. The other day I rode behind a woman who was kitted up in all the latest gear. She had a reflective jacket, not a daggy yellow vest like mine, but stylishly cut and trimmed with black; snug yet flattering cycle pants and dinky little rider's boots that fit into your pedals, embellished with yellow stripes to match the jacket. All good and well, except that she was riding the oldest, crappiest women's bike in the world. Maybe she thought she'd get the look in stages (in which case I'd recommend getting the flash bike first). Or maybe her real bike was in t'shop being repaired and she was riding her spare (or her granny's). Either way, it gave me the giggles for a good kilometre.

2. It gives me time to think in the midst of chaos. Even when my frozen cheeks are about to shatter into shards.

3. When I ride really quietly, I can hear the cockies by the side of the bike path (who don't even blink at bikes) crack husks with their beaks. Can't do that in a car.

Don't get me wrong, I love my car too. I drove it today, as it was fecking freezing and I had to go a bit further than normal to visit my Venerable Poet. Oh, the car is now officially a bomb. And not in the good sense of the word. Some little -- or big -- buggers ripped off the 'subaru' logo on the back a month ago and a few days ago either they or some other buggers broke the driver's side lock trying to break in. I don't think they'd want to joyride in it (a bit obvious), and there's nothing of value in it to nick (I asked the car stereo guy to install a cd player that worked but looked too cheap to nick); so I assume it's a vendetta against the paintedness of the car. I'm trying to work out how to run an eletric current through it at night so that if they touch it again they get zapped. Would serve them right. This is Canberra, not Sydney. I resent having to lock my car.

Waiting for crazybrave. Looking forward to a bit of thee-atar. Looking forward to a slug of whine [sic].

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Captains log, stardate something something

Captain. Work. here. Am. learning. to. cope. with. the. idea. of. impending. leisure. again. With the. help of Pussy. Spock (and his. trusty sidekick)., am managing to. string more words together.

Yes, have managed to gnaw myself out from under that heavy load and while I am now missing a major bodypart, I'm free to live and play and blog again. Still lots to do, but most of it with a wobblier deadline than the last batch. Phew!

Since I'm on the track of playing with names of fictional characters, Bumblebee and I had great fun on our ride home together today. Apparently his class are reading something about a girl called Emily Eyefinger (the mind boggles) and they have been asked to write their own stories about this optidextrous chick. B decided he was going to write about Emily Eyefinger and the Jedi Masters (surprise!). He told me there were going to be a few Jedi masters involved, and a few Sith: Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, General Grevious and Darth Vader. When I challenged him about the fact that there should only being two Sith in existence at any time, he asserted his rights as an author to change the story. So I told him not to be boring about using their right names -- why not write a parody? 'What's that?' he asked. Luckily, I'd shown him Grocery Store Wars the week before, and had a good point of reference. Once he got the idea, we were off. Darth Mole, Count Kookoo, Darth Silliest were just the start. But when we hit upon General Cheesiest and Darth Grater, I knew we'd struck gold. Now he's writing (in theory, no pencil has touched paper yet) a story about a battle between General Cheesiest and Darth Grater where DG's lightsabre shreds the General into little bits. I'm sure Emily will have some sort of role in it, probably playing that classic role of the supportive woman who picks up all the pieces at the end.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

That's what I call a flick

And on a lighter note (or speaking of fluffy blossoms), I think they're scraping the barrel a bit on Strictly Dancing at the moment. All three couple were abysmal last night, although I loved the third couple when I discovered that they'd not only done a good samba, but she'd coped with having her skirt start to fall off during it! I taped it for Bumblebee; I'll be checking that out when we replay it.

The rest of the time I spent laughing at the poor blokes having to cope with their partners' ponytails whipping into their eyes. The second couple especially! That young fella, who looked like he'd be more comfortable crutching sheep (and was desperately sending out hints about that by using an AFL theme in his costuming), kept grimacing and pulling back as she spun, knowing he was in severe danger of slitting an eyeball. Poor bastards.

Honestly, last night was worse than watching an episode of Some Mothers do 'Ave 'Em . I kept putting my hands over my eyes and squealing in disgust and embarrassment. I think they've already gone through everyone who can dance in NZ and Australia!

Remember to breathe

I have a long list beside me of the things I have to finish in the next 2-7 days: editing work, typesetting, cartooning, finances, and binding. But all I can do when I'm at my computer is look out the window, which is probably why I work better at night when I am discouraged from looking by the sight of myself looking back.

Today when I look out I can see the large banksia tree with varying stages of yellow banksia: lush, fluffy new flowers ranging to empty-socketed banksia men waiting for eyes. In amongst the branches I can see my resident wattle-eater bobbing around, red jowls flapping, eating the new pollen, giving a loud jolly call every now and again. And just nearby, whiskers a-twitch, balancing on the smallest branch that will bear his weight, is Mr Pooter. The wattle-eater is staying just out of reach, crowing mischievously, while the cat whips his tail in frustration. This makes me very happy. I had a little silver-eye that used to sit in the camelia bush closer by, but he's gone now. I'm glad one bird is brave -- or stupid -- enough to stick around. He's a very territorial bird; I figure he's not letting any damn cat come between him and his food. If it's the same one, he grew up with my much older cat, and has had a year's respite from paws and claws. I hope he's agile enough to avoid the much younger cats we have now. I really hope so. I like a touch of birdlife in the garden. I hope two bells to each cat is enough.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Bumblebee said to tell you all that his book is very cool.

It was there when we walked in, it had his name written on a yellow post-it on the cover, and the lady gave us a discount (I think she'd been standing nearby when I made the clean-up deal with him). He is over the moon and I'm sure it will be under his pillow tonight. Bumblebee has now gone to spend the weekend with his dad at Marulen, Village of Dreams (as in Mate, You're dreamin'...) but all the way out to the collection point, a 40-minute drive, I had a blow-by-blow description of exactly how many red buttons are on the double lightsabre, how it was customised from two lightsabres so that it has two operating systems but only needs one at a time, so it has backup if one fails, and that the red and black stuff on Darth Maul's face is NOT face paint, but a tattoo to demonstrate that he has reached some uber-level of Sith training (yeah, right, so why hasn't Darth Sidious got one?!). Gosh, what an education this boy is getting. I'm sure it will all come in handy one day.

I have to share this: today at assembly, he got presented with an encouragement certificate. In my day we got them for improved spelling or excellent reading; this one states that he is awarded it for being a considerate listener and coping better with irritations. That's my boy.

Bumblebee's buzzin' meme

Zoe from crazybrave asked me to do this meme. Dunno what a meme is but it sounds like something from Star Wars, and that means it's cool.

Total number of books I've owned:
I've been trying to count but it gets a bit confusing when Mum and my Best Beloved stepdad keep telling me that one day all their books will be mine, and there’s three overflowing walls of their books. I'm only 8, I don’t know if I want all those books. Anyway, I think I have about 150 that are totally mine. I’m getting a new one today, and I can’t wait. I hope it hasn’t gone from the shop by the time mum gets there. She told me I could have it if I cleaned up my room, cause I've been avoiding the job for weeks now. I cleaned my room up extra fast after we got home, but by the time I'd finished, the book store was closed for the day. I could hardly sleep for thinking about it. I really hope it hasn't gone. What time does it open again, mum?

The last book I bought:
The last book I bought was Deltora Quest 7: The Valley of the Lost. I really really REALLY love this series. Mum reads me a chapter or two before bed every night, except the nights where I trade my story time for a show like The New Inventors or Strictly Dancing. Every night when mum is reading, Mr Padge comes in and sits on the bed between us and purrs really loudly so I can hardly hear the story. I think Padge likes Del too. we've found all the stones for the belt except for the Diamond. This episode is really creepy. Did I mention that I'm buying a new book today? It's not new, really, it's from the second-hand bookshop next door to my school. I've been looking at it in the window for ages, and mum says I can buy it today. I can’t wait. Is the store open yet, mum? what if somebody’s already bought it? I woke up extra-early today to make sure, but mum says the shop doesn't open until 10, which I think is really mean. I'll be at school. What if someone buys it when I'm at school? Can you ring them mum? Did I say what the book is? It's the Star Wars Episode 1 Visual Dictionary. Not the first Star Wars, which is actually Episode 4, A New Hope, but the Phantom Menace. I spent ages yesterday looking at the page on Darth Maul. He's so cool. He’s got a double red lightsabre. I'd love a double red lightsabre. I've only got a green one (which has a broken catch), a blue one (which falls apart if you hit things too hard) and a purple one like Master Windu's. Jack has a double red lightsabre. I wish I had one. Is the bookshop open yet, mum?

The last book I read:
If you mean me, by myself, then probably Back in time with Megabot, which is a cool story about a robot that can time-travel. I got it from the school library. I wish I was reading about Darth Maul. Mum says I can, straight after school today. I hope no-one else has bought the book.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
The Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda
I know this is eight books, but it's really cool. I like the covers, because some have glittery bits and some are 3D, depending on where we bought them. Mum tells me there's two more series after this one, and I'm really happy about that. Del is almost as good as Star Wars. But not quite. Leif is a bit like Luke, Barda is a bit like Han and Jasmine is better than Leia. But Darth Maul rocks.

anything about Captain Underpants
Mum hasn't read any of these books but we read them at school all the time, and I love them. Lots of funny jokes about wedgies which is what happens when your undies go right up your butt which happens to me sometimes when I ride my bike to school. We ride to school at least 3 days a week which I love especially now that I've got a cool big bike called the DV8R. My last bike was cool, black and orange and called The Firefox but I got too big for it and we gave it to Sage last weekend when I taught him to pedal. I ride really fast with my ski gloves and my Harry Potter scarf that Mum knitted and pretend I'm on a Star Wars ship.

The Bad Book by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
This book is really cool. It has funny stories that are really rude about people getting hurt and stuff. My favorite story is 'The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Poo'. This is how it goes:

There was
an old lady
who swallowed a poo.
I don't know why she
swallowed that poo,
she'll spew.

There was
an old lady
who swallowed a dunny,
That flushed
and gushed
and made her smell funny.
I don't know why she
swallowed that poo,
she'll spew.

There was
an old lady
who swallowed a plumber;
Could you get
any dumber than
to swallow
a plumber?
She swallowed the plumber to fix the dunny,
That flushed
and gushed
and made her smell funny.
I don't know why she
swallowed that poo,
she'll spew.

There was
an old lady
who burped with great force---
she spewed
of course.

That poem cracks me up every time I read it. I read it out loud in the car and Mum and BB loved it too. The picture is gross, but it makes the poem funnier, I reckon.

Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds
This is like the book that I'm getting today (is it open yet mum?) but it has pictures for the three first movies, that is, the three that were made first, but now they're 4, 5 and 6. I like to remind people of that when they talk about A New Hope like it's the first episode. it isn’t. Phantom Menace is. This book is cool. Mum got it for Christmas on ebay and I read it all the way to Queensland and back. But it doesn't have Darth Maul in it. The one I'm getting today does. He's cool. One of mum’s art school friends drew me a picture of Darth Maul one day when I was sick and sitting at the art school waiting for mum to finish work. He did it with a red pencil and a black pencil and he didn't even look at any pictures, just did it straight onto the paper, and it looks so real. He drew the double red lightsabre and everything. I've stuck it one my bedroom wall next to all my other Star Wars posters, and it looks really cool. When I grow up I’m going to be just like him. He has ALL the figurines. And I'm going to write to George Lucas and ask him if I can be in the next Star Wars movie.

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Mum says I should be picking one book, not another series, but I reckon series books are cool. I reckon a book's only worth reading if there's something more coming along after it, and mum reckons that's what the publishers think too. I really really love Harry Potter. Mum's read me all the books and I've seen all the movies even though the werewolf was scary and I have nightmares after seeing it. We’ve also got all the audiobooks on CD and I listen to them every night to go to bed except when Mum gets really grumpy and threatens to throw them in the bin. BB's getting really excited because the next book's coming out really soon and he's going to get a copy straight away. Mum muttered that it's a blessing they don't release the CDs on the same day. Harry Potter rocks. He gets to have a wand. I've got a wand too, and it made cool magic sounds for ages until the batteries ran out and then mum couldn't make it work again. Wands are almost as good as double red lightsabres. So are flying cars and dragons. Is the shop open yet, mum?

I am tagging:
Um, don't know anyone else that is little in blogland apart form the ones Zoe mentioned. The kids at Going Domestic? Maybe Baz would like a go? I'd like to know what cats read. I'll check with Padge and Pooter tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Zoe is the Bomb

Firecracker night at crazybrave's culdersac has become an annual ritual not to be missed. Lots of crackers, lashings of alcohol, charred pieces of pig and a dash of instrumental Bacharach on vinyl. This year the neighbours joined in, extending the pleasure even further. The kids loved it. The adults loved it. The animals didn't, but they got lots of love afterwards. I love the fact that I live within an easy drunken stagger from Zoe. Canberra is The Bomb. Can you tell I've had too much wine?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Cat Kerfuffle

This is Mr Padge. He's looking very smart, no? He's grown a white whisker on either side of his face, which looks like a very dapper moustache.
Mr Padge, enjoying the ambience of the bathroom
He's in the bathroom, watching Bumblebee hava a bath. Mr Padge loves baths. He sits on the side, occasionally dipping his paw in and licking it.

Then he fell in. Luckily, Bumblebee is very skinny, and managed to move aside in time to not be scratched to pieces as Mr Padge clawed his way out. Vast loss of dignity.

Mr Padge, having just experienced deep water for the first time

Mr Padge then spent the rest of the day alternating between 'I meant to do it' and 'Let's not ever speak of this again'.

Mr Pooter, on the other hand, would like to audition for the series Star Trek: the Feline Generation as Pussy Spock.

Thats not funny.
That's not funny.

Waiting for dinner, playing with books.

On the strength of my little sketchbooks, I was commissioned by a certain artist (I'll cal her 'D') to bind her latest artist's book. Up to now I haven't bound anything too big, I think A5 (half A4) is about the biggest dimension I've worked to. This is a big book, 46 x 40 cm. She left it totally up to me how to tackle the problems, and it was fun but also scary to think about how to make the book stable and practical, yet not let the binding overwhelm the book.

D works with relief prints, which she reprints and reprints in metallic ink layers until she has wonderful shimmery pages/prints, and then she uses a small drill to make perforations. The cover is thick acetate which she's perforated in a grid pattern, then there's a section of thin acetate pages at the front and back, and inbetween there are five sections of thick printed hahnemuhle paper.

I decided to do a lot of thin, elegant stitched bands evenly spaced up the spine, which echo the gridded perforations on the cover. I used thin, unwaxed, undyed linen thread, which matched the original paper colour, which shows here and there in the prints.

coptic binding, final view
This is what I ended up with...

...and this is how it started!
Threading the first section
Fifteen threads, thirty needles, a lot of scope for tangling and tearing...
I finally got into the swing of threading, twisting, untangling, keeping the tension even. It's a bit like weaving on a loom, something I adore but have no time for.

There's a wonderful point in the process where it all shifts from chaos to control, and the pattern starts to emerge:
Halfway through the coptic binding

The hardest bits were the acetate sections, because if I pulled the thread too tight the acetate would rip. But it all came good.
Coptic binding in progress

And this is a final view:
coptic binding, open view

I'm happy to report that D was delighted. I've done the first book, and I'm mostly through the second, which has come together really quickly now that I've worked out all the problems and processes. Luckily she only does tiny editions, and there are only 3 books in total. But it's whet my appetite, and really built up my confidence! I'm looking forward to doing others along this vein, preferably my own books.

Oh, dinnertime. Ciao.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Musings from Olympus

Today I am a techno-goddess. Tomorrow I'll be a daisy.

No, seriously -- I solved a couple of problems today that a few years ago would have made me gnash my teeth in rage and dissolve in helpless tears.

The biggest one was pulling my computer apart to dismantle the CD player to remove an offending and obstructing CD. And then putting it all back together, with no remaining nuts or washers. And it worked! I know this is nothing for all you tech-heads out there who probably do this for a living, but as a right-brain thinking artist/bookworm, I feel on top of the world.

The other was pretty simple and obvious but one of those problems that we just hadn't got around to fixing, involving the DVD player and a quick read of the manual. Any other day it was be nothing, but today I ROCK!

And Bumblebee has stopped screeching every time he moves. And Best Beloved is probably moving sideways into a nicer job in his department for a while (which will improve our collective sleep no end). And I got to watch The Triplets of Belleville today while binding a particularly difficult but beautiful book on commission.

Sometimes, life is good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sneaking a peek

Overheard whilst unloading groceries at Woollies last night, from a couple waiting in line; she was looking around, he was looking at the NW cover with preggie Paris:

Him: You should buy that magazine.
Her: I don't want to read that magazine!
Him: I don't care if you don't want to read it. I want you to pretend to be buying it for you so that I can read it later.
Her: Buy your own magazine.
Him: I don't want to be seen buying it!

I peeked around and she was resolutely unpacking groceries while he had the magazine in hand, sneaking his own peek. I wish I'd hung around to see if he'd casually thrown it onto the shopping or not...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Statuary Offence

Totally co-incidentally, I'm responding to Laura's meme. I'd meant to do something eventually, but the opportunity arose so suddenly that I feel compelled to share.

This is a guest review of a very bad piece on the way to Sydney.
Here's the official line:

The Meridian Arch, which stands at the southern gateway of Marulan, marks the path of the 150° Meridian as it passes through Marulan, the only town in the world on its path. Incorporated in the arch is the vault which describes the path of the earth around the sun, while two elements at each end of the structure represent a sundial and a clock. The sculpture was designed and constructed by local artist SM.

And this, the unofficial... by guest writer, Harry (actually in the 'comments' field for a post down below, but too much fun to lie in the shadows):

Hey Ducks,
I found that thing outside Truckstop 31 (on the M5 at Marulan, for those who don't know).

Appropriately I got there as the sun was setting. Glorious tones of apricot and salmon softened the deeping greys and purples as if the sun was giving me that one last smile. It was a day to look back on fondly and I wished the golden orb a pleasant journey to continue such a nice, carefree day and bring it to new people around the world.

I am man enough to admit that I felt selfish to want the sunset to linger over me, and thus deny some poor souls their long awaited sunrise to gentley prod them awake.

Holy shit! It looks like the leftovers of Tatooine!

A sail - looks like a spinnaker. or from the other side; an ear, of a kangaroo. At the other end is a tyre slightly off kilter. That makes sense because it is by the side of the M5 which is where you often see truck tyres and kangaroo ears! The hooped globe in the middle of the roof looks like it will rotate, so I'm guessing that's the earth. I didn't jump up to check it, though. The big side structures that are bowed outwards and curve strongly overhead don't remind me of anything.

Nothing says "We ran out of money" like unpainted sprayed-on concrete.

I stood in the middle of it (on the map) hoping to inadvertently turn the machine on and get transported to another galaxy, but nothing happens. Perhaps it only works on the equinox. (The equinox is a strange creature that is half horse and half bovine. I don't know why someone would build a sculpture on one. 'We' get two a year, but I've never seen one in real life. They probably taste quite good and are easy to farm. I dunno why we only get two a year or who gives them to us, but I think it might be Ra. Hail Ra! Perhaps they, like the mule, are sterile?)

I will come back at the equinox and try to turn the device on and join the two confused tourists and seven lost kangaroos on teh planet Xadros. i hope I get one of the blaster staffs that they have on Stargate.
Evidently this structure was built on a primoidial earth-magic site. It must be sited on a powerful and profound aboriginal site. Maybe the tyre is tilted at a telltale 37degrees or maybe the map on the floor will show how this site is aligned with other such sites around the world - ley lines and what-not.

At 150degrees longitude there is butt-all - and that includes Marulan.

'Welcome to Marulan! ... No, really you're welcome to it.'
'But I don't want it!'

Maybe the path leads somewhere - it curves off importantly to the right. Aha! A sign.

Marulan Historic sites.
I am here, it tells me.
The other side reads:
Marulan Meridian Arch
A Centenary of Federation Arch
This arch marks the path of the 150 meridian as it passes through Marulan the only town in the world on it's path. [I am sure some Papua New Guinea towns will have something to say about that. Or a few places in Queensland. Oh, I am wrong about Marulan being Butt-all. It is a sister city of Butt-all.] This is the exact middle of the Eastern Standard Time Zone, [I knew Marulan was famous for something!] where the sun rises at exactly 6am and sets at 6pm precisely every equinox. [I guess that means that at all other times that you look at this sculpture you should refer to your wrist watch. Perhaps the cunningly concealed invisible mechanism just sets the sculpture to day-light saving. that would be impressive.]

The sculpture describes the path of th earth around the sun. [A fairly vague description. "Yeah, go round and around a bit and try not to hit Mars."] while the two elements at each end of the structure represent a sundail [or ear] and a clock [or wobbly tyre].

Unveiled 26 October 2003 [so it's a bit late for the Centenary of Federation. I can see the shitstorm about this in Canberra when the relevant Minister addresses parliament "Erm, it seems we forgot to include Marulan in the centenary of Federation celebrations." An opposition spokesman leaps to his feet crying "Marulan! How can anyone forget Marulan!?" A Nationals member agrees saying "True! True! You can set your watch by that place four times a year!" "Mind you," countered the relevant Minister "You'd have to have a good reason to be in the middle of Butt-all at 6am or 6pm to do so, and who wants to do that?" The Minister was senshured for gross ineptitude and for not respecting our proud National treasures. A greens member, with tears standing in her eyes, demands that the Minister make a pilgrammage to Marulan and lay all the ears of slain kangaroos at the foot of the giant ear in recompense. "I thought it was a spinakker?" queried the government whip. "In Marulan?" spluttered a disbeiving Labor MP. "Shit, I dunno. Where is it anyway?"
"Oh, for fucks sake!" explodes the first Labour MP who spoke. Chairs fly, Opposition MPs and Nationals burst into a full-throated rendition of the Marulan Seperatists National Anthem and the Riot squad is called in.] [yep, as part of our Nations Federation celebrations, Marulan eventually got around to it.]

[And the map must have been lying around in someone's garage before they realised they could flog it for a few hundred bucks to Marulan Council. It still has the USSR on it. So the sculpture was 2 years later and the map, a decade.]

Leaving the sun and Canberra behind me I continued home. The stop was a good time to sober up. So, thanks.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A valiant attempt...

I'm a bit sad tonight. After weeks of anticipation (and a very nice afternoon drinking with Zoe and Harry), tonight was the night for taking Bumblebee to his first Rock Concert, of sorts... The Queen tribute show, It's a Kind of Magic, billed to be as good as the real thing. Bumblebee really likes Queen, especially the grunty songs like 'We are the Champions' and 'Another One Bites the Dust', and he loves headbanging a-la Wayne's World to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. In fact, the first time he ever shed a tear that wasn't pain- or tantrum-related was to 'Bohemian Rhapsody', listening to it in the car. I asked him what was wrong and he said, It's so sad, he's going to die...

How could I not take him?

But... tonight he arrived home from his dad's place feeling a bit ill. He rallied to the cause, and we went to the concert, but we only lasted about half of it before he started feeling REALLY ill, and I took him home. Poor kid. When I inspected him in the comfort of his own bed, he had a slight fever, a stiff neck, stomach cramps and a headache. note the slight fever. If it had been higher I would have been really scared, because they're classic meningitis symptoms. I will be keeping a close eye on him all night, but in retrospect I'm touched by how much he tried to enjoy the Queen show. I'm guessing the lights and the music would actually have been quite nightmarish for him, and maybe Queen won't be as much fun anymore. Oh well. Could be a good thing.

The show was actually quite good. The lead guy did Freddie really well, but the bass player.. get this Harry... wore BOAT SHOES. Frigging ruined the first few songs for me, but they were crappy 80s numbers anyway. When they warmed into the 70s songs I was feeling happier and forgave his bad shoe taste. Poor Bumblebee. The tickets cost a bomb, but we saw enough to make the most of them, and now Barnaby knows what I'm doing when I strut the loungeroom with my vacuum-cleaner singing 'I want to break free...' (which I only do occasionally; most of the time I'm howling 'The Immigrant Song' and 'Black Dog'. Led has the energy I need to do horrible housewifely tasks.)

After a really crappy night's sleep, B woke up screaming and groaning and burning up, to the extent that I took him to A&E at Canberra Hospital. Lucky us! He has a virulent virus, which, after ringing his school, many others have as well. So I'm now playing nurse for a few days, which so far involves making jelly to rehydrate, soothing hot brow, holding vomit-bucket, and trying not to get cranky at yet another rendition of Stephen Fry reading the entire Harry Potter series while I sit in the next room working on all the various jobs that have to be done by yesterday. Sigh.

Confucious say...

Drinking beers on beautiful chilly Canberra afternoon with funny fellow bloggers means many trips to the toilet.

(Well, in my case, pseudo-beers.)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The weekend cinematic experience (possible spoiler alert, but you should know what to expect from Star Wars, anyway)

Best Beloved and I went to see Peaches this afternoon, another free movie session thanks to being an AFI member. Of course, we got another of those interminable previews of Madagascar which pushes all my buttons about celebrity voices in animation. I can't wait till that movie comes to cinemas so that it will stop being previewed at every fricking session! I think its been about a year since I first saw that preview. Is it really so bad that they have to promote it so heavily? I don't think I saw a single preview for Hitchhikers and it still did alright. All those Madagascar previews have made me determined never to set eyes on the bloody thing.

Anyhoo, I enjoyed Peaches, although I didn't really need so much Emma Lung. Hugo Weaving was very good, as was Jacqueline Mackenzie. I've been reading articles and reviews about it, which said very little about the actual movie and lots about what a nice man Hugo is, so down-to-earth despite having been in so many blockbusters. I give thumbs-up though to the dude who plays Hugo's half-brother, one of those classic dry Aussie supporting roles.

As we walked out I asked BB if he liked it, and he replied that it was alright for a chick-flick. There's no pleasing that man. He complained about the testosterone levels in Star Wars when we went last night. BB likes movies with sultry ladies in saris. If Padme had worn a sari, and in fact, got it wet by being caught in the rain or splashing in a handy fountain, BB would have been in heaven and would have sat happily through the rest, even the lava scenes. Speaking of Padme, I thought Lucas stretched his story a bit by having her die in childbirth. From what Leia says in Return of the Jedi, I expected her to hang around just a little bit longer -- when Luke asks her if she remembers her mother, Leia says something like: 'Not really, she died when I was very young. She was very beautiful.' Yes, less than an hour is very young! There's plenty of other little holes I could pick, but being a Star Wars fan I thought they did an alright job. As usual the sets were stunning, although the lava scenes were a bit rough at points. I thought the last three scenes were in the wrong order; I would have preferred Leia then Luke THEN Darth, just to give a nice frisson to the end and make you rush to your video collection to see the next installation. As it was, I felt nicely rounded off, and happy to wait for a while.

Unfortunately Bumblebee will be waiting for a while as well.... he'll not be seeing this installation on the big screen just yet, as I don't want him to have nightmares about burnt bodies and Jedi slaughters. He can wait for DVD and our small screen. He'll be sad (he's off with the Albatross* this weekend) but once I tell him the story in detail, he'll be ok. His imagination will probably do a better job then Lucas ever could (and he's got a bigger light-sabre collection than General Grevious)...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Kitten War

Our_kittywars, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

Everytime I have a spare 5 minutes in front of the computer, I find myself zipping over to visit kitty heaven at Laura's. I've been participating like crazy in every cat thing I can do. Except friggin' Kitten War, because whenever I press the 'add your kitten' button a strange page comes up and tells me to bugger off in IT script. Everything else works except that and 'email us'. So I can't even let them know how downcast I am.

Never mind, I made my own page. Can you choose?