Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Whatcha you doing on your bed?

Giggling this morning over Georg's link to PC World's 13 Most Embarrassing Web Moments, and got caught up over at YouTube watching PC's number 4: the Star Wars Kid. The poor bugger got sprung ages ago making a video of himself being a Star Wars fighter, a scene I have to live with in all of Bumblebee's waking hours, except without the ungainliness (Bumblebee is small and skinny, and surprisingly adept with a lightsabre substitute). Of course, that got me watching some of the remixes of the STK, and I just wanted to share my favorite:


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Husky girls with fresh lipstick make better workers

The following is something my mother sent me from her regional museum. She doesn't know who issued the advice (perhaps the War Office?); she only knows that it was directed to the 'Supervisors of Women in the Workforce (Transport, Western Division), 1943'. I love what this says about men between the lines.

Employ young married women. They usually have more sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters. They're less likely to be flirtatious, and they need the work (or they wouldn't be doing it). They still have the pep and interest to work hard and deal efficiently with the public.

When you have to employ older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. Impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

Experience indicates that "husky" girls, i.e., those a little on the heavy side, are more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

Retain a physician to give each woman a special physical examination covering female conditions. This protects against the possibilities of lawsuit and reveals any female weaknesses, which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.

Stress the importance of time, the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

Give the female employee a schedule of duties so she'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions. Women make excellent workers with their jobs cut out for them, but they lack initiative.

Whenever possible, let employees change from one job to another during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.

Give each girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way men do. never ridicule a woman -- it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.

Be reasonably considerate using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

Get each size variety in uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too much in keeping women happy.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another life milestone passed

I forgot to mention that today is my second wedding anniversary. Today my whole family breathes a sigh of relief, because my last marriage ended about 2 weeks before the second anniversary. As of now I am officially RESPECTABLE.

No party this year; we're not doing anything to mark the date apart from a gooey phone call first thing this morning because Best Beloved is in Newcastle for work. We had planned to go out for Yum Cha yesterday in complete confidence that we would still be in love today, but Bumblebee's dramatic hoiking episode kept us at home. We did exchange presents, things that we both love. Best Beloved bought us a Ron McBurnie etching (Tree Planting for a New Year), and I bitTorrented the latest (and maybe last) Royle Family special (The Queen of Sheba, 2006). He gave me a BIG kiss for that present.

This anniversary also means that Mr Pooter and Mr Padge are now officially two years old, since we bought them as a belated wedding present to cheer ourselves up after a particularly nasty miscarriage that meant we couldn't have a proper wedding night for two months (TFI?) and they were born around the same time we were wed. Makes sense to combine the two dates, and celebrate doubly.

kitty cake

Here they are, with a special mouse cake (look carefully in the centre of the cake and you'll see the mouse). They're such big cats now. People exclaim out loud when they see them, but that because they tend to have tiddly little cats like Mischa.

Mr Pooter (blue collar in my photos) came in the other night with big scars on his face from a fight, so he now looks like the evil genius he is (I can't take a photo yet because B has taken my camera to capture the nightlife of Newcastle).

Mr Padge (red collar) is still a big dumb friendly darling. He walked over to Zoe's house with us the other day and just sat in the back yard as we had a quick BBQ, then walked back with us. He's like a dog, really, except for the fact that as a dumb cat he's still smarter than most dogs.

I don't think any of us regret coming home with twice the cat we set out to get! They were probably our best wedding present. Hooray!

wez in ur basket

This Random Life

Ooh, I like this little meme at A Cunning Plan:


1.Open your music library.
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the 'next' button.
6. Don't lie.

Opening credits: The Thing about Grief - Claire Bowditch
Waking up: It happens every time - Tim Buckley
First day of High School: Crazy Times - Gnarls Barkley vs Team 9
Falling in love: Uncertain Sins - Penny Flanagan
Fight song: Streets of Your Town - The Go-Betweens
Breaking up: A Fool for You - Ray Charles
Prom: Needed Time - Eric Bibb
Life: Le Moulin - Amelie Soundtrack
Mental breakdown: The One you love - Rufus Wainwright
Driving: Purple toupee - They Might Be Giants
Flashback: Champion Cellphone - Team 9 vs Beck vs Fatboy Slim vs Brandy
Getting back together: We will become silhouettes - The Postal Service
Wedding: That Way - The Go-Betweens
Birth of child: Heavy Soul - The Black Keys
Final battle: Leather - Tori Amos
End credits: Wildwood - Paul Weller + Portishead

Heh. That was an odd journey, especially since I've never been to a Prom. I love random, it was the best thing invented EVER. I have some albums I've never heard in the right order, ever.

BTW: Bumblebee is much better now, judging by the way he just scoffed his soup and jelly. I think he'll be back at school tomorrow!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A brief fling with the New Romantics

You know, Bumblebee has a long history of becoming sick just when I need a little liberty. And so it was with me and the New Romantics party last night. About 5pm he started wailing about his tummy, and by 6pm he was upchucking like nobody's business. He was supposed to be coming with us and sleeping in a back room of the host's house, but chucky kids aren't nice hostess presents, so I had to think of Plan B. The obvious Plan B was to stay at home with him, SOB!

Luckily my parents were in town for some ex-Army reunion brunchy thing and I managed to talk Colonel Duck into babysitting for an hour in the evening so that I could at least make an appearance and conduct the trivia quiz I'd been asked to write. Bless his khaki heart, he's a good granddad, although quite surprised to walk into a house where his daughter had regressed to her teen years, his son-in-law looked like Adam Ant, and his grandson was screaming in the bedroom, writhing and groaning into an icecream container.

Unfortunately in all the excitement and stress, photos were not taken! And of course, there's always the disappointment of arriving at a costume party to discover that only half the guests had bothered to dress up. The hosts looked fantastic, as did a handful of other people, so there were enough of us not to look dumb; I do, however, greatly envy gatherings of people like the For Battlers, to whom costumes are not a minor and juvenile inconvenience, but a way of life. So, I whizzed in, chatted, joked, conducted some trivia, then whizzed home again to tend my ailing son.

I did manage to take some detail shots after I got home. Colonel Duck had left, best Beloved was still Anting away at the party, and Bumblebee was comatose and building up to his next 3 hours of screaming, so I clicked a few snaps before snatching some precious moments of rest in the face of a night-shift of home nursing. So, from the bottom up:

Sorry about the fuzzy. I was very tired. I found some faux-snakeskin stretchy pants in my costume bag and teamed them with black boots and a crisp white shirt and wide belt. Unfortunately I don't have a frilly white shirt so I borrowed one of BB's office shirts, which was nice and billowy enough, but was marred slightly by having a pocket at the front. I don't think anyone cared, really.

Another thing in my costume bag was a black sequined bustier with quite pointy bra cups a-la Madonna. I wore it under the shirt. It was quite tight (it always has been, I got it secondhand) so I had to breath shallowly all evening, but the discomfort was worth it.

In one ear I gussied up an earring made from a couple of old charms from my youth: a silver fan (it opens and closes like a real fan) and a silver thong. Noice Aussie touch, don't you think? I wore the shirt collar up and a black satin ribbon around my throat.

On the other ear I wore a feather earring I whipped up yesterday afternoon, the feathers being the only costume purchase I made for the party. The lovely Ellis Hutch was also at the party, and she exclaimed wistfully when she saw me that she'd had a pink feather earring in her teen years that she wasn't able to wear because she hadn't been allowed to get her ears pierced. Me too, Ellis, me too. Bloody Colonel Duck used to say that only loose women had pierced ears, and then when I worked up the courage to sneak out and get them pierced, he didn't turn a feather. Just started bringing me back earrings from his business trips. I should have done it years before. Sigh.

I'd gelled my hair into geometric shapes, and I had a lot of makeup on, including masses of blush, but by the time I took the photos it had gone pretty blurry from the heat and sweat, and if I showed you a photo of the 'after' look I'd have to then kill you. Instead, I share with you the quiz I painstakingly put together with the help of Wikipedia. It went down well; you could guess the age groups of the partygoers by their answers!

* * * * * * * * *


1. Name Duran Duran’s first hit.

2. What does OMD stand for?

3. Who was the lead singer of Ultravox?

4. What was Spandau Ballet named after?

5. Where was 'home' for Paul Young?

6. Which of these bands are still together?
a. Depeche Mode
b. Duran Duran
c. Tears for Fears

7. Name TWO Adam & the Ants hits.

8. Complete the following band names:
a. Simple ______
b. Men Without _______
c. Talk ________
d. Scritti ______
e. Haircut _________

9. Who was the lead singer of Culture Club?

10. How many people were in the Thompson Twins?

11. An Australian band influenced by the New Romantics was The Flowers. What did they change their name to?

12. In the video of Sweet Dreams (are Made of This) by The Eurythmics, what colour was Annie Lennox's hair?

13. What was the name of the New Romantic band fronted by Ricky Gervais?

14. Recite the first line of 'Don’t You Want Me' by The Human League.

15. Was the band Japan from Japan?

16. What was Dead or Alive's big hit?

17. Which of the following is NOT a band name from the 1980s:
a. Tik and Tok
b. B-movie
c. Black Sox
d. Strange Advance
e. Heaven 17

18. Two members of Visage left to form another famous New Romantic band. What was it?

19. Which of the following is an Australian New Romantic band:
a. Pseudo Echo
b. Kajagoogoo
c. A Flock of Seagulls

20. WHO AM I?

While the New Romantic movement was based mainly in Britain, I was influenced by it and carried the torch for many years in the USA.

I am famous for my fashion style, which goes hand in hand with my innovative music.

My work in the 1980s crossed the borders between music and film, and I made two films which were more like extended video clips than movies.

My backing bands have had a variety of name changes, as in fact have I.

Some say my best music was made in the early to mid-1980s, and that by the mid 1990s I had lost my way, especially when I changed my name to a symbol that nobody could pronounce.

UPDATE: The answers are now in the comments for this post!

* * * * * * * * *

As I write, I have had less than five hours sleep thanks to Bumblebee, who evacuated every repository of fluid throughout the night with much drama and flair. He then settled down to sleep at about 4 am, and woke up at 10am perky and cheery. Unlike me. I'll be in bed before the sun tonight...

Friday, November 24, 2006

new millenium new romantics

I'm going to an 80s New Romantic party on Saturday night. When I told Zoe about this, her first lightning response was 'have you got your feather earring?'.

I was in the thick of the New Romantic trend, in my early teens, glued to Countdown to see the latest fashion trends from the UK and trying them all out at school discos. Without going to my vinyl collection (that's this afternoon's pleasure -- I'm delaying it), I can remember:

-- gelling the hair back at the sides, and up at the top.

-- eyeliner. lots of eyeliner.

-- white powder on the face.

-- ruffled white shirts.

-- costume jewellery in the shape of gilt picture frames filled with stained-glass-window-like plastic*

-- feather earrings.

-- kilts.

-- ribbons, preferably black, tied around the throat.

-- shoestring ties around the neck of the aforementioned white shirt, with the collar up and proud.

-- Boots.

OK, so thats the list dredged from the dark vapid recesses of my mind. Anyone got anything else?

* I still had a brooch like this up until recently until a friend noticed Bumblebee wearing it and successfully offered him money for it. This is the same friend having the party this weekend. (I have high hopes of an alcohol-fueled recovery of it, heh.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ow ow ow

If I ever die laughing, it'll probably be thanks to Sterne. You all make me laugh, but Sterne makes laughing hurt.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Another child-free weekend, which meant a few days of sleep and movies. Actually, to be honest, not that much sleep because I've started a nasty habit of waking up at about 3am with a head whizzing, full of plans, and then BB wakes at 6 automatically and then so do I. It's very annoying. Anyhoo, BB has just gone to Newcastle for 2 weeks to step in for someone in his department, so I'm going to do some serious sleeping in... well, at least until 7.30am. Hooray!

Movies! We saw:

-- God on My Side, a documentary about US fundamental Christians by Andrew Denton. This was good, in a mild-mannered and gently ironic Dentonesque way, but I'd save your money and watch it when it comes to ABC tv in the next year or so. There's really no need for it to be seen on the big screen, especially at the prices cinemas charge these days. But if you do fork out the money, for gawd's sake sit through the credits, because the best line (involving the three brothers) is saved for the absolute end, and it's the kind of tone I would have enjoyed right through the piece.

-- BB saw Road to Guantanamo, and enjoyed it. I decided not to see it and instead cruised the National Gallery of Australia looking at books and posters made by Revolutionary Russians. Excellent show, BTW, totally overshadowed by the Egyptian exhibition (I'm saving that one for later in the summer when I need the air-conditioning).

-- Today we saw The Prestige. Let me first say: PWOAR! WOO-HOO! DROOOLLLLL! Great. Now that I've got that out of my system, may I recommend this excellent movie to you. This IS worth seeing on the big screen, especially if you only have a small screen at home. (I added that last bit because I was talking to a dear friend on the phone this afternoon and told her that she should catch this on the big screen, then we stopped and laughed because she's got a frigging home theatre set-up, so everything she watches is on the big screen. Sigh.)

I repeat: PWOAR! DROOOL! Hugh Jackman! David Bowie! Christian Bale! Scarlett Johanssen! A good story, full of ambition and revenge! Plot twists! Excellent sets and costumes! Watching the credits to a Thom Yorke song! Magicians! HAWT ACTORS!

What more do you need me to say? According to Wikipedia, this movie is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Christopher Priest, something I shall be hunting down in my local secondhand book store, because apparently the differences are worth reading.

Oh, just go treat yourself. You won't regret it, and if you do, blame me.

Best Beloved left for Newcastle at 4.30, and Bumblebee arrived at 5. The suburb had a blackout at 5.30, so I decided to take Bumblebee to see Mal Webb, as I'd previously advertised. We sat with Crit and her Beloved, right up the front, which resulted in my being pulled up to waltz with Mal during his final song, much to Bumblebee's delight. He sang all our favorites, and a few new songs, one of which I swear was written for me: Day-old Porridge Brain.

The power is back on now, obviously. It's a bit worrying when the power cuts off and you have to find something to do that doesn't involve computers. it's usually not a problem for me, but today I had a minor technology withdrawal; thank goodness for Mal, otherwise I would have been forced to do some housework.

I think, since BB is not here to scowl at me, I will now watch another movie while the little B slumbers, make myself REALLY tired, and then hopefully sleep soundly myself. BB went to hs favorite Indian supply shop yesterday, and came back with a copy of the latest Bollywood to come through Canberra (which I missed), Don, starring Shahrukh Khan. I say again, peoples, PWOAR, WOO-HOO, DROOOL.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

And the winner is... cheesecake

Hooray! I've just passed the 1000th book point over at LibraryThing. My policy of five to ten books a day is paying off. Mind you, it's about a third of our collection, unfortunately. A long way to go, especially when I start wading through BB's odd mosh of books about conspiracy theories and cult religions. I've told him he can start his own LibraryThing database for his extensive collection of Chick Tracts.

I'd like to think that the 1000th book was something classy, but it ended up being clarsy: Yargo, by Jacqueline Susann, author of such pulp classics as Valley of the Dolls, The Love Machine, and Once is Not Enough. Never heard of Yargo? I was surprised to see that 17 Librarythingers have. It's her first ever novel, and it's set in space. Yes, Jacqueline Susann cut her teeth on sci fi before moving to the even weirder climes of Hollywood and Broadway. It's pretty torrid stuff, but I just had to add it to my smallish collection of women's science fiction for the fun factor.

And you gotta love the cover:

You can't really see it here, but the young woman is dressed in a virginal white diaphanous gown, and even though she's facing the source of light (and therefore ought to be a silhouette), the artiste has touched up her butt cheeks with white under the gown to give them a saucy glow. Another classic sci fi sexualised cover to get the geeks excited.

A couple of other stupid sci fi covers on my shelves (apologies for the small size) are:

This one is a good example of a pulp cover: the tagline reads 'High adventure for adults'. She has a killer bra on: the cups look like those cinnamon scrolls you get in bakeries.

Joanna Russ's experimental feminist novel about gender gets the special sauce here, dog-collar and all. I bet she was delighted with it. Not.

I think I'm going to get a scanner in the new year. Some of the bookcovers I own deserve more than a shaky digicam photo or something small cobbled from LibraryThing. Stayed tuned for more cover art action when I get the chance. In the meantime, if you have some decent pics, share the joy.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Having run with this meme, I should probably commit myself to the rest of it (I don't believe it: virtual peer pressure!). Pav sensibly cut these bits out, but I've always been a sucker for filling out questionnaires. The only ones I say no to are Scientologists, and even they manage to fool me for a few seconds occasionally.

1. What shirt are you wearing?

A long-sleeved black kenjiurban t-shirt that I found at Vinnies about a year ago. On top of that I'm wearing a black polar-fleece vest, because the sun is warm but the wind is still bizarrely chilly for November.

2. Name the brand of your shoes you're currently wearing?

Birkinstocks. Everything else is too narrow since I went to the Deutsch Side.

3. Bright or Dark Room?
Indirect daylight through the window, no lights on. A bit on the dull side, but great for computer work.

4. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?

I second Laura's motion.

5. Where is your nearest 7-11?

Um, not sure. There was one in Civic, but I haven't looked at it for a while. It may not be there anymore; shops in Civic move like trees in The Lord of the Rings.

6. Who told you he/she loved you last?

Either Best Beloved or Padge, but the latter may actually have been 'feed me' in Purr.

7. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?

Recreational or medicinal? Ah, let's not go there.

8. How many rolls of film do you need developed?

I've had a roll of black & white slide film in the fridge for about ten years now. I think I'd better chuck it; I haven't got an SLR camera anymore.

9. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?

KICK THE MACHINE VERY HARD and SWEAR. As I walk away people snatch their kids from my path.

10. Are you touchy feely?

Fairly. I tend to pat people on the back in a jolly and encouraging (and probably annoying) way, but I don't do random hugs. BB does cheek kisses when saying goodbye, so I've learned to do it too, although if the person looks freaked out by them, I don't repeat the experience. I can be freaked out by others doing them to me! With my loved ones I'm extremely demonstrative.

11. Name three things that you have on you at all times?

My glasses. My phone. My wedding ring.

12. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

Right at this moment I'm proud to say secondhand copies of Sylvia Plath's Arial and Jasper Fford's The Eyre Affair. There's a secondhand book shop next to Bumblebee's school, which is my constant budget downfall.

13. Does anything hurt on your body right now?

My nose still hurts from its random fly-by fruiting.

14. How much cash do you have on you?

About $50 (I had more before the bookshop attacked my purse), but I'll have to get some more out for the farmer's market tomorrow. No cash machines near the fresh produce.

15. What's a word that rhymes with “DOOR?”


The more I look at this quiz, the more I think Bernice is right. This probably originated on some kind of internet dating service, don't you think?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mal content

Did any of you see Mal Webb on Spicks & Specks a few weeks ago? I haven't yet, but I've recorded it and I mean to catch up when I have a quiet moment.

If you've never seen Mal before, and you have the bandwidth, watch this Youtube video. It's longish, but entertaining. I always enjoy this part of his act, when he gets an audience member to make noises into his sampler and then he improvises to them. This clip isn't his funkiest, but it's still pretty good. He is highly intelligent (lots of brains in a head shaped like Africa), so his lyrics are always entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking, and uber-talented (the sounds he can make are often incredible), and the thing that really doesn't come out in this clip is that he's also a great dancer, and I love watching him groove around the stage. He also performs with other outfits, one of which is Totally Gourdgeous, a group who makes and plays instruments crafted from gourds. I know that sounds weird, but it works. He often performs at the National Science Festival, and I've caught him at both the National Folk Festival and the Woodford Folk Festival.

If you like what you see, and you're local, he's playing this Sunday night at the Merry Muse Folk Club at the Polish Australian White Eagle Club (cnr David St and MacCaughey St, Turner). He's on at 6:30pm (he's very kid-friendly, and they've moved him forward from top billing so that kiddies can enjoy him), followed by One Night Jam x2/3 (8pm), followed by Ray's Train til later. Door cost is $15/$12 and children freeeeeeeee!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I'm going to take Bumblebee if I can.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A warm fuzzy meme for a freakishly cold November day

The snow and hail is falling outside and the kitties keep leaping on my lap with frozen paw pads; I've just done my last full official day at the Bookstud for this year (although I still get to go in and use the space), so it's time to settle back with a hot drink and do a nice meme, thanks to Pav, who filled hers out so nicely she's a hard act to follow, not that I'm trying to compete, just trying to get some words out of my sludgy brain in the hope of kick-starting it.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Wow, I'm pimple-free today.* (You know that magazine ad with the woman feeling old but still getting spotty? That's me.)

2. Favorite planet?
When I watched The Planets I got absolutely enthralled with Jupiter... so beautiful, and so many moon nymphs!

3. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
My favorite old lady, AP. She gets worried about all sorts of things and leaves very entertaining messages that go nowhere for ages. I try not to miss her calls because listening to the messages costs so much!

4. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
I don't have one on this phone. It's got really boring ring tones, and I've been trying to get an old-fashioned telephone ring for it for ages but I can't find a downloadable one that doesn't involve signing my soul over to some internet pr0n merchant. My last phone had a great croaking noise that called me without intruding.

5. Do you “label” yourself?
Heh, yes, different ones all the time, from 'grant-getting talent queen' to 'useless streak of piss', depending on my mood.

6. What does your watch look like?
It's a phone. I think this is becoming more popular. I tried watches, all types, including a natty silver fob watch, but in the words of a herbal ex-housemate, 'they ruin my meridian lines'. Dunno what that means either, but it made me laugh at the time (offending her mightily). It sounds better than the truth: I tend to be allergic to metals on my skin and I couldn't be arsed remembering to put one on every day.

7. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping in a very uncomfortable position, trying to find space between and around two huge sprawled cats (who sleep on my side of the bed because BB kicks them in his sleep).

8. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
'Do you know what time fete is?'... appropriate for this time of year. That was my cousin, whose kids go to the same school as Bumblebee.

9. What's a word that you say a lot?

10. Last furry thing you touched?
Mr Pooter is sitting on my lap as I type. He's a keybort junkie.

11. Favorite age you have been so far?
Hmmm... probably 35 or 36. I wouldn't go further back than 30 if you paid me.

12. Your worst enemy?
My lack of money sense.

13. What is your current desktop picture?
A photo of the bottom of an old typecase with dirty paper lining after the woodtype has been taken out; no idea how old the typecase is, but it was left on the doorstep of my mother's regional museum wrapped in plastic and covered in bits of hay, so it had been stored in a barn for years. Here's a sample:

I love a bit of dirty paper

14. What was the last thing you said to someone?
I'd go out and pick the herbs before it starts pissing down again. (BB is cooking meatballs with Bumblebee).

15. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
Fly. I'm with Pav on this one.

16. Do you like someone?
It's amazing how many people I like, especially if I've had a few.

17. The last song you listened to?
Ahem. This afternoon Bumblebee and I were bouncing around the house to 'Tales of the City' by the Rockmelons (1988). He picks out records for us to play, and of course picks by cover art because he doesn't know the musicians. I'd forgotten how much I like that album.

18. What time of day were you born?
Just before midnight, narrowly missing out on being the day after. Bumblebee was born just after midnight, narrowly missing out on the day before.

19. What's your favorite number?
One or thirteen. Can never make my mind up (Libran).

20. Where did you live in 1987?
In a state of pain between Canberra and Sydney. That's the year my brother died, and I don't remember a lot after August.

21. Are you jealous of anyone?
Yes, absolutely and dramatically jealous of some friends who live in a lovely house in Braidwood with their printing press and letterpress type, making books between meals and sleeps.

22. Is anyone jealous of you?
Maybe. I have got a pretty nice life, and I fully appreciate how lucky I am. But I'd be sorry for them if they were.

23. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
In bed, thinking that the radio news was part of my dream. In those singleton days I had a tv in front of the bed, so once I realised what was going on I lay in bed and watched it all unfold, so to speak.

24. Do you consider yourself kind?
Yes. I believe firmly in reaping what you sow.

25. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
I always wanted a tattoo on one butt-cheek. Since my arse is very white and round, I thought it could be one of those nice handpainted blue fishes you see on the inside of Chinese crockery. I may still do it one day.

26. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
This is tough. Russian leaps to mind, and German. But I flirt with Korean too. I love the look of their writing.

27. Would you move for the person you loved?
Absolutely. I urge him daily to get posted somewher exotic. So far he's been offered Newcastle, which doesn't quite do it for me.

28. What's your life motto?
I'm a big fan of 'This too shall pass', but Pav's used that. 'Don't panic' is pretty useful.

29. What's your favorite town/city?
Canberra. Closely followed by Hobart.

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Um, I don't know if a couple of hastily-written notes to go in parcels count, but I did three at once a few weeks ago, to Laura, Kate and GirlPrinter. The last big letter was years ago, I think.

31. Can you change the oil on a car?
Of course! I can also use power tools. Pwoar.

32. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
That he was in love with the girl who first introduced us. I'd moved a long way away across Australia by then, so I guess he was allowed.

33. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
If you mean how far do any of us know, a long way, because my mother is an obsessed geneaologist, and she's tracked it all on both sides. I know that two of my great-grandfathers book-end the Bega Valley with things named after them, but I'm pretty hazy on details. I leave it all to her.

34. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
It's not the LAST time, but the fanciest last time was at the National Gallery of Australia for the opening of The Edwardians; I borrowed a full-length deep-red satin tulle-petticoated skirt and a black silk bustier from Zoe and wore my hair up with a black silk flower. BB wore black tie (mmmm). We swanned around the sculpture garden with all the other dressed-up people, had a skinful to drink then escaped to our local Laotian restaurant and ate pork larb with our bare hands. Gosh that was romantic.

35. Have you been burned by love?
Ooh, yeah, baby. I gave him my heart and he mashed it up good and proper. The whole sordid story involved drug abuse (his), infidelity (his) and suicide (his) over about 8 off-and-on years. It was so horrible that I felt an overwhelming sense of relief at his funeral, and I'm sure I wasn't alone in that. There's nothing like a bit of closure to help you move on.

*This only lasted one day. Dang.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm running with Ms Batville's baton today.

Five ways in which you procrastinate:

1. Blogging (durrrrr)
But I take this further -- I procrastinate within my procrastination. I have a list of serious posts to write and every now and again I add a few words to the various word files bubbling away in my computer... but all I seem to come out with at the moment is trite little posts like this. I'm not in a good headspace at the moment.

2. Reading
This is probably my oldest and dearest form of procrastination, and unfortunately one my mother tolerated because it kept me quiet and meant that I was doing something that helped my schoolwork. And again, there are layers of procrastination within reading too: my bedside pile has a few books that are worthy but not as engaging as others that barely sit on the top of the pile and are seized immediately, or as those on the shelf that one is reminded of whilst reading a particular and have to be re-read straight after. I quite like it when that happens; I have a little book that lists my reading, and some months I read without pattern and other months I can see the connections threading through from book to book until I am seduced by something completely different or I've run out of puff.

3. LibraryThing
A new and all-consuming procrastination that will only stop when I run out of books (or room to store books). I've logged in 954 books and there are and lots to go. I try to limit myself to ten books a day, but it can get a bit out of control. I've also started cataloguing the AP's books, gawd help me.

4. Making things
Little books, drawings, origami out of cinema tickets, cakes, cat toys, anything but the things people want me to make. If I'm asked to draw five cartoons, I'll draw at least four more that have nothing to do with anything before I can even think about starting the commissioned ones. It's not about the drawing, it's about the headspace.

5. Housework
This is a very rare thing, and is only utilised when all else has failed or looks too self-indulgent. Housework is a socially acceptable procrastination, because no-one can criticise you for doing it.

I've come to realise that procrastination is a vital part of my working life. There's a distinct cycle: [a] I think up the ideas; [b] I do nothing about them for ages (and this is where the procrastination comes in); [c] I get a huge rush of adrenalin and do a lot of stuff at once, drawing upon the ideas that have been brewing while I'm distracting myself; [d] I collapse in a heap. I'm not sure where I am in the cycle at the moment -- either deep in [a] or [d]. I'm just waiting for ideas or adrenalin. It doesn't make for good blog reading, so I apologise!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A wurty morning

I'm sure Best Beloved thinks I'm absolutely mad.

He padded off to cook breakfast this morning, leaving me with the glad-wrapped Canberra Times that had been brought in wet from the garden (RAIN! perfect day, time to eat brekkie in bed with the paper to the sound of raindrops). He came back with a cuppa to find me sobbing over the paper. His alarm turned to bemused confusion when I told him that Belinda Emmett had died yesterday.

He has no idea who or what Belinda was, and to be perfectly honest, I don't really have much of an idea either. I watch very little commercial tv, and I've never sat through any of her shows. I've never watched more than ten minutes at any time of Rove's show either. BUT for years now I've been getting mercy parcels of Woman's Day from my nana every few months, which I read from beginning to end, chortling at the Real-Life dramas, sneering at the breast implants and marvelling at the fact that anyone would take those psychics seriously (a green face! WTF!).

So I've been quietly following Belinda's life for years, initially as Australia's soapie darling, then her first seemingly triumphant struggle with cancer, and then her more recent descent into the pit. And I've been so impressed with her attitude, her good humour and her dignity. She constantly struck me as a very strong, positive and admirable person. I didn't think about her a lot, just a small mental 'good on you, girl' whenever I saw her picture and read another good thing about her. I don't think I've ever read anything snide or catty about her anywhere, and that in itself is a remarkable thing for the Australian media.

The headline in the paper this morning was low-key and respectful. So I shed some tears for her. She was 32; the whole story appeals to my tragic romantic fairytale leanings. I know this sounds corny, but I'm impressed with Belinda Emmett. I admire the way she and Rove fully embraced the fact that she was going to die, and made time in their lives for each other and the things they wanted. I sincerely wish Rove the best in the future. Unfortunately I'm sure I'll be reading all about his struggles with grief in the next few years, thanks to Woman's Day and various other sources.

Now you all probably think I'm mad too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a reward for having a quiet yack

It was very remiss of me not to post the arrival of this splendid item, gained by spilling my guts over at craftapalooza...

tissue holder (top)
A tissue holder, as modelled by Mary Gilmore's head

tissue holder (side)

Thanks, Ms Crafty! I love it, so beautiful and stripey.

...and now I've done it again, with a few other rainbow yawners, at Sarsaparilla. Go over, join in, let it rip. You'll feel a lot better for it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

spellcheckers aren't brilliant, but they aviod mangy mistakes

It's a wonderful week for typos, folks.

-- I love Laura's job advertisement post. Mangy proofreader.

-- the San Francisco Gate published the following today: Britney Spears filed for divorce Tuesday from Kevin Federline, officials said.

Divorce Tuesday! Let's add it to the weekly calendar of things to do with your blogs, like Mogblog Friday and Nude Portrait Thursday. She's such a creative lass. I'm glad she's seen the light about that horrid man.

-- I went to get a new parking permitty thingo at the university today and saw that they still haven't replaced this lovely sign (I've lost track of how long it's been up)

Even a simple spellchecker would have picked up that one.

-- and finally, all the arts grants were listed today in the Canberra Times and I was wrongfully cited as having been granted $20,000! I got a lot of admiring backpats from people this morning until one mentioned the amount and I realised what had happened. I actually got $7,210, which is sufficient for my needs, and I rang the Arts Editor of the CT to tell her so. Apparently they totally scrubbed out the name of the poor filmmaker fellow who did get $20,000 (his name is next in the alphabet from mine) and my amount got wiped as well. I repeat, mangy proofreaders!

I'm sponsoring a mo

I tried to persuade Dean to grow a Hitler mo for Movember, but I guess he's wedded to the motorcycle cop look. Probably goes down better in the office ;)


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Inspiring stuff

best time to invade eva

Call me un-Australian, but I've never been one to get excited about the Melbourne Cup, except perhaps once (years ago) when I was temporarily a public servant and it gave me an excuse to get out of my excruciatingly dull office and get pissed on work time. Maybe that's why it's so popular. Since I've been a freelancer I've managed to avoid all the hoo-haa around race-time.

I happened to drive past the Canberra racetrack today on the way back from picking up my tax and watched some pretty young things in spiky heels tottering across the road to get to the bar before Teh Big Race started, battling the rising winds. Up the road on either escape route the police were setting up the obligatory breathaliser stations. And as a special treat this year, the Vehicle Inspectors were roaming through the carparks. Mmm, spend your wad at the races and come out to a condemned notice on the car. Fun.

Zoe sent me this today, bless her. I'm very pumped up as a result. In fact I'm so inspired I've changed my mind about having an afternoon nap.

(Apologies to those who have seen this cartoon already on my website. I couldn't resist dusting it off again today.)

Early Morning Duck (with cats)

early morning duck

From Mr Picassohead.

Snaps to For Battle for the link!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

it's all fun and games until... OR a fete worse than...

It's school fete season in Canberra; every weekend there's at least three somewhere close by. Over the past few weeks I've found some great books and the occasional piece of clothing, bought a toy or two and eaten my body weight in sausages and bread.

Today we dropped into the Orana Spring Fair, which is the local Steiner school. Lots of felted craft, meaningful activities for the kids and a pretty good book stall. At one point we were standing next to the Lucky Dip talking to some friends we hadn't seen for a while, when


and I felt a burst of pain in my face. My glasses fell off to the ground and I was totally disorientated for a few moments.

Some little f*cker had popped around the corner and hurled a very hard green apricot at my face! It scraped my temple, hit the side of my glasses and split, leaving a slight sticky residue on the glass, and forced my glasses onto the side of my nose, cutting and bruising it with the nose-rests.

It hurt. It hurt A LOT, and I'm usually quite stoic about pain, but I decided to ham it up a fair bit to really scare whoever it was that hit me, so I held my face and swore and moaned and gave some load groans for a while, then stumbled off to the first aid room. Once through the door I sat calmly down and let the First Aid officer offer me a polo clean me up while we nattered on about which little shit might have done this devious act. She fully approved of my public dramatics, but I think it worried the Events Manager, who hovered concernedly, obviously hoping I wasn't going to sue.

When the First Aid Officer filled out her paperwork so that I could sue down the track if I needed further medical attention, she described the incident as a RANDOM FLY-BY FRUITING. Oh, how we roared.

It still hurts. I have a swollen and grazed nose-bridge, and my glasses are worse for wear after bending them back into shape. The suspect is a year-four Orana student, and I was the second person they hit (the first was hit in the arm) but we didn't hang about to see any consequences. I really hope there are some, because I was damn lucky not to lose an eye or break my nose.

To cheer myself up, on the way home we visited the RSPCA and gave all the cats a prison visit. We found one that could have been Pooter & Padge's mother, 7 years old and the spitting image of them. Gosh it was hard to leave her there!

cashed up and ready to work!

ready to work

I've been walking around in a bit of a daze this weekend. On Friday night we got home from late-night-shopping and I opened my mail to find that the small arts grant I'd applied for has been granted to me. Hooray!

It's not a lot of money, but it's enough to get my dream project off and running. Knowing that the ACT Arts Funding pool is quite small (but also bearing in mind that we're a relatively small pond!) I only asked for money for the materials to print the actual book pages (paper, polymer plate, wood blocks), not for payment for my time to print them, and not for the materials and time to bind them. That decision seemed to pay off, and now that I've got that far and I'm in the 'system', I should be able to raise the binding money when I need it (fingers crossed).

Blimey. I'm very excited, but also a bit nervous. It's one thing to dangle a dream in front of yourself, and another to make it real. I mean, I have no doubts I CAN make it real, but there's always that fear that the reality won't be as good as the dream. I guess that's why I admire people who get out there and just DO things. It's a leap of faith, and I'm about to take it.

I'm very grateful for the grant, because it will make me, and the people around me, take this idea seriously. I have been trying to get this off the ground for a few years now, but life keeps interfering, with commitments to other people's projects, and lack of money, etc etc. This is partly my fault for not giving my own work priority over other things!

But there's nothing as galvanising as a deadline and I respond very well to them, so I have until December 2007 to produce the pages! Now I can organise my next 13 months around my own work, and my head has started whirling excitedly. It feels very luxurious!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

rain makes everything fresh and nice

Bookbinding class this afternoon, and while we stitched and glued it poured with rain outside, which made it almost a perfect day for me. Almost... but not quite, thanks to the inane conversations happening beside me between Nostalgia Woman and National Geographic Man.

NW is in her early 60s, I'd say, and is restoring childrens books that (I think) used to belong to either herself or her mother. She is one of those people who talk out loud constantly while they work, and while she's happy if you don't respond, she'd much rather you did, which can waste a lot of precious bookbinding time. I'm getting very good at keeping my eyes downcast.

NGM is a newby, and I think only a temporary member of the class. He's around the same vintage as NW, and is hard-binding his entire collection of National Geographics (collected since he was a boy, never missed an edition). He's making the cases (book covers) at home, and is coming to our class a few times to block the covers (ie, put the lettering on the spine). He wears shorts with elastic waist pulled up over his stomach, his polo shirt tucked into them, and has wonderfully bucked and protruding teeth.

These two get on like a house on fire. In fact, I think they've known each other for a while, and probably in a past life. Today they were positively flirting, and as much as I tried not to listen, it got a bit grating; lots of guffawing and simpering. I was thinking on the way home that it would be really freaky if they were actually married in real life and were just pretending not to be for class. But my imagination does tend to run away with me.

Speaking of inane words, BB sent me this today:


It's a website where you can make your own speech for Dubya and then hear him say it! Almost as much fun as this.