Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hur hur

Don't blame me, Zoe started it (today, at least) and I had some spare time.

ur bits

more here.

It's pretty addictive.

Celebrity sightings around Canberra

You wouldn't think Canberra would attract movie and music personalities, would you? Well, you think wrong. I saw FOUR today.


I kid you not, I ride past KO on the bike path every day after I drop Bumblebee off at school, usually at about 8.55am. It's all there: the hair, the jaw, the makeup, the clothes, the attitude. If it's not teh real Kelly I advise this girl to join a look-alike agency because she'd make a tidy sum appearing at parties.


She was walking through a deserted West Civic plaza (Canberra: quiet one day, somnolent the next), tight white jeans, high heels, sunnies and all. I nearly ran over her on my bike. No hunky man, just wannabe vibes.


Squeezed behind the wheel of a government ve-hickel, going fast round the corner using one hand on his power steering, yeeas sir-ee bob. If he'd hit me, his chins would have saved him when the airbags failed due to lack of space.


Who? I hear you say?
He's in that Greater Union ad about buying your tickets online to feel like a star... strutting down the line of ticket holders pretending to look cool and giving them some skin. He's also in the recent cinema release, 48 Shades, and frankly he's the best thing in it, playing a tall bearded Queensland nature-film maker. We love Michael in our household. We think he's up and coming, and probably in some circles, already there. But I can't, for the life of me, find a photo of him.

UPDATE: Zoe found me a 48 Shades image, but such a shame about the Greater Union image. Still, I'm sure all you Aussies have been to a GU movie in the last 12 months:

Anyhoo, an MB look-alike (in his Greater Union incarnation) was standing next to me at the traffic lights in Civic (see? Civic! City of Wonder, the only city centre that needs a sign telling you you're there). Slicked back slightly long hair, aviator sunnies, dorky face, polo shirt, strut. Actually, I'm sure it wasn't MB, because this guy was really short, which made it all worse (MB is actually v. tall). I wanted to snigger, but thought I might overdo it, since I was listening to the radio through headphones at the time and wasn't sure of my personal volume level.

Gosh riding a bike is fun. You never know what or who you'll see in your neighbourhood. Sometimes I even see Zoe, who is our glammest local celebrity. Oh, and Teej is a fun spot, too, driving side by side in our cars.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A trip to Jonestown and smelly shoes

Encouraged by Enny last time I did it, I've decided it's time for some more dot points.

-- Bumblebee rang me today. Did I mention he's in Perth? He's attending a surprise 59th birthday party for my uncle, who refused to have a big 60th party. We couldn't all go because of work commitments, so we sent the Party Boys -- Bumblebee and my father, Colonel Duck. Apparently Bumblebee is having a dreadful time. They rang today from Fremantle wharf, where B was scoffing a huge plate of king prawns and a chocolate milkshake. Sigh. They fly back tomorrow, and I can just imagine the dark circles under that child's eyes. Still, he's having a ball with our very high-spirited west-coast family.

-- I've been reading some predictions for the future over at The Art Life. Some are hilariously tongue-in-cheek, and others ...

12. By the end of the decade, all DVDs currently being produced and sold by artists will be obsolete, unable to be played on any domestic machine and all the current work will be consigned to libraries, museums and other such institutions with specialist playback facilities.

... very close to the bone. I like the idea of drawing becoming the new video. I'd pay to see that.

-- While in WA, Colonel Duck has lent me his Little Red Ute to drive. This is the same ute that rattled down to Melbourne in April to meet the House at Sills Bend and pick up a trayload of type and cabinets. There's something about having access to a ute that makes me get all practical and efficient. I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning out my garage and dumping all the rubbish in the back of the ute to take to the dump. When I'd finished the garage was a lot cleaner (I can see my tarp-wrapped press again!) and the ute tray was full, but not as full as I'd expected. When I took the load to the dump this afternoon, I was charged a hefty tip fee, and realised that if I'd squeezed it all into the stationwagon I would have saved $5, since utes are classed as commercial vehicles. But it's more fun to be hooning along in a ute with my sunnies on, the window rolled down and the radio blaring. Stationwagons, even painted ones, just don't feel right for these occasions.

-- BB and I are going to the movies tonight to enjoy our last childfree night for a month, and we're still dithering between Fast Food Nation or Wordplay. We have free tickets to see Boytown, but I don't think even that can get me there. The more I hear of it the less I want to see it, even for free. Which reminds me...

-- Best Beloved came home from his whirlwind tour of Far North Queensland clutching his brand new copy of Jonestown, bought at Brisbane airport, which was the furthest north he could find it. He hasn't stopped reading since. I haven't seen him so engrossed in one book since the last Harry Potter release. And every night while he's reading it, I get the same idea. So here it is. I haven't checked to see if anyone else has done it; I wouldn't be surprised, since it's such a great convergence:

my jonestown

-- and last, a video (sorry, modem-kids). Padge getting high on whatever good shit my shoe smells like. The sound effects are Best Beloved; he often talks for the cats in very strange voices. One day I'll catch him in an unguarded moment and you can have a kitty version of Punch and Judy.

OH! AND YAY FOR CLAIRE BOWDITCH getting the best female performer ARIA!!! I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking her latest album was teh bomb. I just can't stop playing it, it's been months and months now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jolly japes within walking distance

I thought this would be my first weekend without the presence of Dame Mary Gilmore moping through the house, but just as I was about to step out of the house towards a party (within walking distance! no designated driver needed!), I got a phone call asking me to make some last-minute changes. GAH!

I still went to the party-within-walking-distance, and I'm glad I did, because I met one of my favorite Canberra bloggers, comicstriphero and her good ladywife. Hooray! Totally unplanned; I remembered shortly into the festivities that the birthday boy had once mentioned knowing her, and I asked him if she would be there. He got a coy look on his face, by which I surmised that she was already there. I came over all shy (I'm always a bit worried when I meet bloggers, because I feel that I'll be a disappointment in real life -- heh, yes, I'm so sparkling in blogosphere), and apparently so did she, because eventually he got tired of waiting for us to find each other and led me to her. CSH and her friends were certainly a lot of fun. The night was very merry, the booze was plentiful and the pizza was good, even if the freezing cold weather meant that there was only about 10 of us left by 10pm, sitting outside around one of those cafe heaters that look like lampposts. Then I had to turn into a pumpkin because BB needed to get to bed before that elusive hour disappeared into daylight savings, and Mary Gilmore was pacing the corridor of my house.

Nothing beats waking up with a hangover and missing an hour of the day then having to work on lots of eeeny-weeny footnote corrections. Mmm-mm. I think I'll need a hair of the dog this afternoon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

T-46 and counting...

Curious me went and did a death-test.

death countdown

I'm happy to consider dying in 2052 (at the ripe old age of 85), but I'm a bit confused by the rest of the date -- which month is 0? Maybe this is like a loophole to cheat Death when she comes to me with her big shears...

Na, luv, I'm supposed to die in ZERO month, well, tough, I'm not going until you tell me when that is.

Am I tempting fate? Only Time (with her long thread) can tell...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rain dance


[jiggles bottom, jumps around]

Woke up this morning at 4.30am to the sound of a thunder roll. It's better than a small child telling you about shiny buckets, eh Zoe? Went back to sleep almost immediately, awoke at right time to more rain, and a bit of sun. Now we're having another shower.

RAIN! everything smells fresh and wet! The plants are happy! RAIN!

[Flashdance run on the spot, head down, head up]

Dunno how long it's going to last, but the sound of it through the leaves on the trees outside the Bookstud window will stay with me for days.

[lies on the floor, tired but happy, and slightly damp]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Things must be getting desperate out there for the literate and dateless. I've noticed a few magazines normally devoted to more cultural matters now offering a personals column!

So far I've seen Australian Book Review (they don't seem to have specific page URLs, just a broad website URL) and Art Monthly Australia. Does anyone else know of others? And better yet, has anyone got any tales to tell?

I have to admire anyone who looks for love on the web. I have a friend who has had enormous success from online dating services, having found her last two [medium] long-term relationships that way. I tried it once and met a horrible single dad who let his toddler lick the rim of the opening of a coke can while we were talking. I can't even remember why the child was there in the first place (I didn't bring mine) but I was so distracted by the impending cut tongue that I hardly listened to a word he said. When I did tune in it was so banal I never bothered to get in touch again.

A mutual friend tried to matchmake BB and I at least two years before we actually started looking sideways at each other. She kept telling us we were perfect for each other, and I kept telling her to bugger off. Now, of course, she demands elaborate apologies when we meet. And I give them to her. But if we'd tried to go out at that earlier stage, it would have been a disaster. We needed time to be just friends first. The friend who succeeds at internet dating says the secret is a long email correspondence before you even think about meeting.

So there's something to say for taking your time to do things.

I don't know why I just wrote all this. I must be missing him at last.

I meant to tell you about Bumblebee's hair. He's trying to grow his hair long, and until today he looked like a shaggy dog, having let his short-back-and-sides grow out for a few months. He's going to Perth this weekend with Colonel Duck, his grandfather, who wanted me to get B's haircut before the trip. So today I took him to my hairdresser and asked her to neaten him up. She talked to him for a while and ascertained that he wanted to look 'cool' like his friends. So she washed his hair, snipped and snapped, dried it and applied product. COOL! he said, and walked back to me proudly. My loves, it looked exactly the same, just artfully shaggy. I don't know how Colonel Duck will cope, but Bumblebee thinks it's the bomb. And he got a free pot of product to take home, which I guess means less access to the mirror in the mornings for us.

Sunday, October 22, 2006



Hooray! I've finished the layout of the first proof of The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore, Volume 2!

the cats congratulate me upon finishing

When I finish a big job like this I like to buy myself a treat for being a good girl. Usually it's a book or a cd, but I got a timely email this morning from artnoose telling me she's worked out a direct overseas subscription rate for her letterpress zine, Ker-bloom!... so I bought a subscription for the upcoming issues, and also absolutely splurged on her complete back-issue compilation set. Hell, there's only 4 sets left, and I only have one issue that I bought from a shop in Melbourne. I think I'll have to wrap the set and give it to myself for Christmas from the family or something to justify the splurge.

Anyhoo, you'd think that as soon as I turned that last page and saved that last file, I'd be outside frolicking in the sunshine and charmingly cool air, wouldn't you? Hmm, yes indeedy. But NO! I just thought I'd enter a few books into Librarything for a while while a disk was burning and now I'm stuck AGAIN. It's been hours! I'm having fun, though. Going through my books means I'm reworking the next-to-bed pile of things to read and rediscover. And I probably have about three days until the next obsessive job comes my way. So I'm about to have a frenzy of reading/Librarythinging/website building, since there's no-one to whinge about me going to bed late.*

I just have to make sure I don't forget to pick Bumblebee up from his father at 5pm. That would be a bit disastrous.

* Yesterday I went to see The Devil Wears Prada with Zoe, and we sat up the back like Statler and Waldorf and cackled through the ads and trailers.** Then I went home and realised that I didn't have to go to bed, because I was on my own! So I broke out some wine, some leftover Turkish pizza, and watched The Family Stone on video. Then I read until the wee hours and woke up lovely and late, covered in cats. I'm not missing BB yet, but give me a few days.

** You know how good her blog is? She's even better in real life. I just wanted you to know that. Last night she went to the toilets (a lot) and came out with a present for me:

buddha didn't die for you

BB will love it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A very odd headspace

Wow, a whole weekend to myself! Well, until I have to pick up Bumblebee tomorrow from a weekend of playing Operation Desert Storm with his father (sigh! his poor young brain gets a bit wrenched by such weekends).

Already I've cut loose and been to the Markets and the Mall.

For some reason my brain has formed a chorus like something out of a bad opera and sings along with anything I'm doing, like:

I get the papers from the lawn, the voices in my head sing she's getting the papers from the lawn, but she can't find themmmmm.... where could that pa-a-per be? Oh! There it is!


making breakfast, they sing stuff like a little bit of this, a little bit of that, ooh, it's such a lovely day, she might have some smoked chicken on her bagel... [do you think she ought to?] yes I think she ought to... and mayyybbbeeee some freshhhh tooommmaaaattooooo....

Hmm. Maybe time to put some music on.

A development in the Mary Gilmore saga is that last night my aptly named cat Pooter left a little present on some of the manuscript pages. He seems to have pulled a muscle above his tail and grooming is a bit painful, so I think he couldn't clean himself up after doing number twos, and then sat on my desk as usual (missing me because I was playing hookey at the movies). GAH! Cat poo on two pages. Luckily I could print them out again, but I can't really replicate my client's doctor-like handwriting, so I'll have to think of some nice explanation as to why I've rewritten his corrections for the page in my writing. Something nicer than 'my cat shat on it', anyway.

Meanwhile, over at For Battle, Coz has discovered the most fantastic site which sells marvellous toys like vengeful unicorns that can spike business men and mimes. Finally I've found a place to buy christmas presents for some of my inlaw family!

And they have such a thing as Pirate Devil Duckies, which cover a lot of ground:

OK, I've got to stop procrastinating and actually use this peaceful time productively. Ready... set, go! ready set go... she said ready, set go!

Man, I've got to shut those voices up. They're worse than hits&memories earworms.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Little ray of sunshine

Best Beloved is leaving on a jet plane at dawn's crack tomorrow for a week of business at the top end of Australia. (Lucky me has to drive him to the airport, thanks to Canberra's abysmal taxi service.) So tonight we went to the movies and saw Little Miss Sunshine.

I HIGHLY recommend this movie, especially if you are someone who finds child (and adult) beauty pageants distasteful, and also especially if you have been chewing the fat over the recent child sexualisation and corporate paedophilia issues. And even more so if you just like a good dark comedy.

There were moments in the film when I thought 'yeah, yeah', and it felt like a conventional road movie, but there were other moments when I was squirming and doubling up with mirth, and when I weighed it up at the end, the mirth well outweighed the cynicism. We walked out completely high, feeling righteous and jolly.

A review we read on the weekend said that the only decent acting was done by Toni Collett, but we thought different. Abigail Breslin was wonderful as Olive, with the right amount of plainness, inner beauty and innocence, and I have to admit to being quite fond of Grandpa. And Greg Kinnear is marvellous, as usual. In fact, dammit, I liked the whole family. But I'm not terribly discerning if I like something broadly.

See it! Do! And tell me how much you agree that the talent show ending* was spot on. Or maybe you don't. Your choice.

*SPOILER: where did they find such freaky kids? probably at a real quest.

Too much information, yes REALLY really.

Walking through Dickson shopping centre today, I took a moment to browse in a little shop that sells odd Asian fashions. You know the sort -- lots of large clothes in shiny synthetic materials, lots of sequined things in very small sizes, cheap unsized Indian cotton pieces with elaborate stitching and some clothes that I can't even begin to describe because I'm not even sure which part of the body they are meant to fit. Sometimes you can find a little something that fits alarmingly well and lasts for ages, but you have to do a LOT of careful looking.

The woman who runs the shop started making random stabs at showing me things I might like, and eventually stopped when I told her to rest her feet because I'm very fussy. This caring attitude on my part must have struck a chord with her, because she rushed behind the counter, sat down and started massaging her head with a very odd contraption that looked like an electronic currycomb. I asked her what it was, and it turned out to be a type of acupuncture-y massagey thingy. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but the shoplady's accent was very strong, and it was quite hard to understand exactly what she was talking about, but I want you to know that I listened quite sincerely and tried my best to understand.

This air of sincerity is actually one of my disabilities, because I have never learned the gentle art of stopping a conversation politely when I've had enough (unless I'm in a tearing rush) and this has led me into some staggeringly boring situations. This particular situation was not so much boring as positively alarming... as I nodded sympathetically over the headache she has been warding off since last night, she suddenly veered onto the subject of her period pain, and before I knew it, she was telling me that for 13 years until recently, when she discovered some marvellous new women's vitamin supplement, she'd had horrendous 'blobby' periods where she would think she was finished on the toilet but then she'd stand up and it would 'blat' out all over again!!!

Ah! Oh, Um, Yairs, I was politely saying, wondering how to nicely finish up and run to Woolies, when she started cupping her breasts and massaging them, telling me how sore they got every month and how they would change shape regularly. For one awful moment I thought she was going to ask me to prod one of them. Oh gosh, yairs, dreadful, I was saying, and in my head I was thinking GAH! HOW TO ESCAPE?

Some women came into the shop, and I thought this would be my chance, but she ignored them and leant forward, dropping her voice to a consipiratorial whisper. Now she was talking about her 'hot liver' that she was treating with Chinese herbs. She started massaging her stomach.

Luckily, my mobile phone beeped and I leapt at the excuse to check the phone outside the shop. I've never been so pleased to get a Telstra announcement in my life.

Either that poor shoplady is extremely lonely and starved of attention, or she has a very odd sales pitch! I'm starting to worry about even walking past the shop again now, and wonder if other people scuttling past there with their heads down are doing so for the same reason. I don't see many people in the shop usually, and now I think I know why!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You go, girl

I introduced Best Beloved to the joys of cat blogging via Mel's post on cat talking, and he's been laughing about it ever since. (sorry, can't seem to pinpoint Mel's individual posts, have to just zip you to the entire blog.)

Today he sent me this one, which raised my weary* spirits.

*Good weary: teaching a group of first year printmakers how to play with letterpress and then whipping over to the TAFE on my bike for an afternoon of learning Teh Right Way of making clamshell boxes in Bookbinding class. I like this sort of weary.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

historical revisionism the Howard way

This is just the sort of history teaching in primary schools that Howard would like to see... the facts, presented with a jolly slant.

poor cookie

In case you can't read the caption, it says Captain Cook having the time of his life getting speared to death in Hawaii.

Here's a detail of the grisly deed:

really getting speared

[note the metaphorical redness of the trunk and leaves of the tree in lieu of blood.]

This was done by one of Bumblebee's peers (year 3), and it is, of course, hung proudly in the school corridor.

Another caption is funny, too, but the picture is the same photocopied ship as above, on a blue painted background, so I'll cut to the chase:

brutal facts

I don't think that particular fact has been taken on board over the last 100 years, but it helps that we're trying to teach this to the kids at this early, vital stage of their education.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"I'm not."


I found the definitive dumb phrase in a Woman's Day magazine on the weekend. It's about Steve Irwin, but that's not why it's dumb. I have no bones to pick with Steve these days. (I do wish they'd let that little girl have a childhood, though.) My bone to pick is with Ray Martin and the editorial team at WD. Ray was 'interviewing' Terri, and this is his final sentence:

Steve reminded us we are pretty unique -- and he was more unique than the rest of us.

Oh pul-ease. I am so sick of this misuse of 'unique'. IT MEANS THE ONE AND ONLY. how can something be 'pretty unique'? Is it on your list, Pav? It should be.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Yup, the 'lad' turned up today. He was at least 55 going on 60, with grey hair, glasses and a mild and friendly disposition. He told me that the fellow on the phone, Jim, is 93 and still printing. I guess there's a lot to be said for the printing life.

He took the folding machine too. Now there's an empty space. [rubs hands together]

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In which Duckie runs home to mother

Original plan for the weekend, made a few weeks ago: We all go to my parents' farm while my aunties come and use my house for a weekend in Canberra.

Revised plan for weekend, as of last weekend: I stay home and work on Mary Gilmore layout, locked in my study while Aunties have nice time in Canberra. Boys go down to the farm with the cats.

Revised plan for the weekend (Friday morning): Client tells me that he's going away for a week so original deadline has shifted by at least 5 days. DUCKIE PACKS HER BAGS.

I ran away down to Bega and slept. And slept. And read umpteen copies of Women's Day. And slept. And drank copious amounts of red wine. And slept.

Cat damage to farm: 2 lizards (saved and released), one baby red-belly black snake (saved and escaped under and maybe into our car, but not seen again), 1 harassed rooster, and 1 dead bird (head deposited proudly on doorstep). Colonel Duck (my father) cranky with the cats. Cats cranky to be dragged home again.

So now I'm back. From outer space. Looking like a mullet has just slapped me in the face. I should have stay and worked real hard, I should have never had that break, cause now it's hard to get my head into a working kind of space. [music swells]

Ahem. Yairs.

It was great. And I'm refreshed, I suppose! I don't feel it. It's always dodgy to take your foot off the accelerator halfway through a journey. Still, it was a taste of times to come, and now I can finish the job without falling over.

Huzzar! Couldn't be arsed cooking: hot chook and chips for tea.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Don't forget to take a packed lunch, lad.

At the BookStud I've got an old electrical folding machine that only folds a single A4 page in half. It's a thing of beauty, with a real leather strap to make the bits revolve and a genuine bakelite 'light' switch to turn it on, but pretty useless these days and takes up more space than we can afford. So I rang the Queanbeyan Printing Museum today to see if they'd be interested in taking it. I talked to an ancient printer called Jim.

Jim is interested, and said that he's 'got a lad who works up Canberra way who will pop in and have a look for me'.

Queanbeyan is all of 10 km outside of Canberra, and is only saved from being a Canberra suburb by the fact that the NSW border lies between it and Fyshwick.

And I'm willing to bet that that 'lad' is at least 50.

(It made me think of Rosemary Dobson's poem 'Country Press'. It's too long to type up, sorry. Look it up sometime (in a real book, you won't find it on the web) and see what I mean.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My 'druthers.


[cut] [paste] [tweak] [work out longest line] [tweak] [add space] [remove space]
[cut] [paste] [tweak] [work out longest line] [tweak] [add space] [remove space]
[cut] [paste] [tweak] [work out longest line] [tweak] [add space] [remove space]
[cut] [paste] [tweak] [work out longest line] [tweak] [add space] [remove space]
[wake up with keyboard covered in drool and keyboard marks on face]
[walk to bathroom, splash face]
[cut] [paste] [tweak] [work out longest line] [tweak] [add space] [remove space]

I don't know about you but it is NOT FAIR to be stuck inside in front of a computer on a Spring day like today. Warm sun, slight breeze, tang of chill, birds, cats... SOB.

I just want to be running over cool green grass* barefoot in a light floral cotton dress. I'd like to be lying on said grass concentrating on a good book rather than reading it in dribbles during the last ten minutes of consciousness every day. (At the moment I'm working through Kylie Tennant's Tell Morning This. Ripping read.) If I have to be inside I'd rather be working the letterpress, printing something fun.

open window

At least the cats are staying with me in solidarity... aren't you guys? Hey, where are you going?

Alright. I'm awake again now. Back to it.

*I have NO idea where this grass is. Certainly nowhere I've been lately. But it's a nicer daydream than crunching over dry stalks in boots.

green stuff on a cat

this is so funny. I'll be thinking about it all day.

Monday, October 09, 2006

little nuggets

I have not written mad things,
For mad things do not enchant me;
But I have written the small and simple,
Lest the mad things haunt me.

Mary Gilmore, from 'Los Heridos', 1936

That's the most sense the old girl has made for days.

I was talking to someone today today who had heard someone else (!) reminisce recently about being a child meeting Dame MG. Her main memory was that MG was very old and she smelled funny.

Ah, don't you love those kinds of stories?

DOH! moment

GAH!!!! Sorry, all your comments got backlogged in blogger cos I'm a dickhead.

I enabled comment moderation to edit a sensitive comment a few days ago and then forgot to check the comments (and didn't tell blogger to send them to me)!

I thought it was a bit quiet out there...


Thanks, y'all.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

&Duck grows up, just a little bit more

This is so dumb. It's half past midnight. I went to an opening today yesterday for that textile artist I mentioned ages ago (I'm not going to find the link, I'm half asleep as it is), and it was splendid. Wine was drunk and speeches made. The catalogue I designed for her was launched, and it was a great success. We did a paperback version, but also a special hardback limited edition covered with bookcloth that she printed herself. It looks terrific, lots of people were buying it.

Anyhoo, I've changed my business name to Ampersand Duck recently. I've decided to do everything I do under one 'umbrella' name rather than a few little names, and I'm a bit fond of the &Duck moniker. So this catalogue was my first commercial Duckie production, and on the publication imprint page I'd rashly put my web URL, the one I've been hoarding for two years without doing anything about except a placeholder.

On my (tipsy) bikeride back from the opening/launch I suddenly thought that since the books were selling like hotcakes, I'd better do something about that placeholder on the web in case people went home and looked me up. So I decided to spend an hour or so putting a bit more info on it. That was at 5pm. And what is it now? GAH! Gawd, can't the interweb SUCK UP TIME?!!! Poor old Mary Gilmore was forgotten about in the frenzy. Never mind, I'm child-free this week, I'll be able to lavish lots of attention on her layout tomorrow today, after I wake up all bleary.

AHEM! So today, Sunday the 8th, is Ampersand Duck the Blog's second birthday. To celebrate, let me introduce you to my new enterprise, Ampersand Duck the Website. Warning! Only some of the buttons work, but those that do will hopefully work well. I'll leave it to you to find out which they are.

Friday, October 06, 2006

If I only had a brain...

Having done half of the Mary Gilmore job with less than half the time left before it's due means !panic stations! It's not from lack of time spent on it -- setting scholarly editions is a fiddly, tweaky, whole-brain and time-consuming type of activity. Thank goodness I only do it once a year or so these days.

Having only part a brain these days, I gave myself a good fright this morning: rushed around getting Bumblebee ready for circus school, put a saucepan of water on to boil, FINALLY thought about taking with me a few of the posting items that have been sitting beside me on my desk, and ran out the door. An hour later, walking towards the post office, I suddenly remembered the saucepan of water sitting on the gas. And equally suddenly I was fanging home from Woden to Downer hoping desperately that [a] my kitchen wasn't on fire and [b] there were no speed cameras on the way. (I've had both speeding AND parking fines in the last ten days, so much for the magic of birthdays. meh.) Luckily negative for both. Phew!

I uploaded a Youtube video today, while I was working. Check out what Bumblebee and his friend did on the ferris wheel at Floriade on Sunday. Heh. The guys running the wheel played along, holding their noses every time we passed. At some point I sound a bit stressed, that's because B started jumping around which makes me nervous when I'm trapped in a cage above the ground.

When I checked the video upload, I noticed one of the Youtube feature videos is an animated mockumentary posing the question: what if George Lucas had made Lord of the Rings? If you have broadband, watch it. It is *hilarious*, especially the spoof of Hayden Christenson. Fyodor, if you haven't seen it, do. I'd love to hear your opinion.

Enough. Back to work. Keep yourselves nice.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

it's not easy, being green

This post makes me green with envy.

We don't have many printing and letterpress 'happenings' in Australia, and the San Francisco Centre for the Book has long been on my travel must-see list, along with Hagia Sophia in Turkey and St Brides in London.

Back to work. I hear the Deadline Dogs baying.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A platter of bits and pieces

Poo bum, really no time to do a properly thought-out post (if I've EVER done such a thing). I think it's time for the [DA DA DA DAAAAA] dot points:

-- Best Beloved's sister and her family have moved to the US for a year and have asked us to be their mail recipients. Suddenly our mailbox is awash with magazines featuring pin-ups of the Pope and articles about Intelligent Design and newsletters with lists of 'Events to Pray About' (actual headline). The upside is that each piece of their mail has a bright yellow sticker announcing that it's relocated mail, so at least the mailman doesn't think he's found us on the road to Damascus.

-- Bumblebee is attending circus school for this week of the school holidays. I wrote a little bit in the last post's comments about the trouble we've been having lately with his school, and we thought a bit of positive and confidence-building activity might be a goer. Yay! He's bouncing out of bed, happy to see the day, learning to ride a unicycle and to juggle, and tomorrow he's apparently going to be part of a human pyramid. He's had no gameboy or tv for two weeks, and it's been really easy (and pleasant). Next week it'll be undone when he spends a week with the Albatross; they do a lot of hands-on making and fun stuff, but they also spend a lot of time in front of predominantly commercial tv. It's amazing how many ads B can quote verbatim after a week like that. Sigh.

-- TJ has just posted an hilarious overview of her latest book find. Read it and weep.

-- Ms Maker is asking for contributions to Slow Making. If you're interested in the idea of helping people to understand why what you make/design/do is valuable and/or worthy of respect, drop her an email on slowmaking [at]

-- I've got a mystery tool at the Book Studio which I'd love some help in identifying. My dad says I should send it in to The Collectors for their mystery item segment, but I think the whole point of that is that they know what it is before they ask everybody. in this case, I haven't a frigging clue!

POSTSCRIPT: I love teh interweb. Foo knew, and emailed me with a link as proof: it's a grinding wheel dress, for keeping grinding wheels toned and buffed and thus your knives and tools sharp. Who would have thought? I think we may still have a grinding wheel around here somewhere, too! Thanks, Foo! I owe you a beer.

-- Craft Australia have a new bloggy thing called which is a resource for young craft makers (although I'm sure your eyes won't be burned out if you happen to gaze at it with older eyes. I managed to survive the experience). There are four blogs with different purposes, like a knowledge portal. It's a nice concept. Check it out.

-- My birfday was great. I got brekkie in bed (pancakes with stewed rhubarb/apple mix & yogurt), had a nice picnic at Floriade, got some nice pressies, including a dvd of the first series of Absolute Power (gawd knows when I'll be able to watch it!) and cosmetics (old things need moisturisers!) and chocolates (mmm, Terry's dark choc Orange...). And much wine was imbibed, and back-episodes of Extras watched. It was the eenie-mini-break I needed.

-- I hate the fact that Canberra is full of brand new cars with defective indicators.

-- I went to a fitball class last night run by a very young woman who seemed to think keeping up with the beat of her utterly boring and very fast dance mix was more important than actually making sure your muscles were doing the right thing. I think I'll stick to the more sedate Saturday class, where the pace is slower, the exercises feel more productive and the instructor plays Arty Fufkin so that your mind can move along too.

-- I love this time of year for riding my bike. Today was glorious. Hooray!