Sunday, December 30, 2007


This is the time of year to make lists, isn't it? Lists of presents, lists of food to serve, lists of Christmas cards, lists of thank-you cards, lists of holiday gear to pack, lists of who to invite, lists of things to buy in the sales, lists of New Year resolutions.

My New Year Resolution is to write more lists. And to finish everything that needs doing before starting anything new.

The garden, for instance. At present it's more meadow than yard.
This is how I see it:

This is how the cats see it:

Best Beloved doesn't see any of this. He only sees the little corner at the back full of tomato plants and lettuce that he tends lovingly every day, pulling out the weeds and watering. Never mind the fact that our visitors have to use a machete to get to the front door, the tomatoes are thriving.

I would fix this myself, but I'm a tad busy. And he's not. And that's as close as you'll get to a formal whinge about the man from me.

Yes, we're back. I'm in a small pocket of space between being sick all through Christmas, hurling up my lungs constantly in the damp and cold, and the prospect of a stinking hot spell in Mittagong teaching at the Sturt Summer School from NY's day to the 6th. So my daily routine is (list 1):

-- Bit of a sleep-in
-- Sort out my notes
-- Make a demonstration book
-- See a movie*
-- make another list of tips & tricks
-- Make a demo book
-- dinner, with lashings of wine and chocolate
-- Think about the talk I'm giving at Sturt**
-- bed

*This is only possible because Bumblebee is having an Albatross Christmas this year.
**I can't seem to get past thinking. But I have to write it tomorrow, because then it's time to get driving.

Movies seen since Christmas (list 2):
-- The Golden Compass (ripper. Must see. Nicole Kidman probably the worst thing in it, but she suits the monkey more than the description in the book)
-- Atonement (ripper, even more so. Must see.)
-- The Darjeeling Limited (ok. pretty.)
-- Hunting & Gathering (sweet.)

Books read since leaving home for Christmas period (list 3):
-- Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith (yay)
-- Philip Pullman, Northern Lights (read after seeing The Golden Compass, which was probably the best way to do it, really)
-- Anita Brookner, The Rules of Engagement (frustratingly slow)
-- Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach (reading now, already doing better than Anita on what will probably turn out to be a similar theme).

Books waiting in the wings for the next patch of holiday (list 4):
-- Colleen McCulloch, Antony & Cleopatra (don't snigger, I never thought she'd ever do another Roman book, so I'm profoundly grateful)
-- Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases (I started this a while ago, but it didn't grab me. I think I need to be at leisure to read it)
-- Cormac McCarthy, The Road (read last summer, but needs a re-read regularly)
-- Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris: A life for our time (from the library, don't know if I'll get to it!)

Cats I met whilst travelling (list 5):
-- Actually, only one cat, called Mr Snooze. Beautiful creature who has a horrible habit of sinking calmly into your arms for a cuddle then farting, enveloping you in a cloud of the most horrendous stench of rotting creatures (he's an excellent hunter). Beauty and the Beast, all rolled into one silky brown package.


So I guess not a list.

Things worth a mention (list 5.5):
-- I heart Gillian Welch. We are the same age. These things are important. I am about to spend my teaching week listening to no-one else.
-- This card is amazing. How many bits of stationery do you see that express sentiments like that? made by the same people who make the excellent pirate cards. I love letterpress processes used with a sense of humour.

Time to get back to my making desk. I'm off the air again now until I get back from Sturt. Then I have another little window of time (3 days?) until we head to Tasmania. And then Melbourne! And then school starts (sob!). But I don't want to think about that right now. Too many lists to make. Happy New Year in advance!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A chilly hello

Hello good peoples

I am sitting at the laptop of sister-outlaw Naomi in the Blue Mountains, and it is the first day that I have seen the sun for AGES. It's been freezing, and classic me, I packed all the wrong clothes. Only two long-sleeved tops, and they have 3/4 sleeves. This happens every year, no matter where I go, mainly because I leave packing my bag until I've done everything else (including packing everyone else's bags) and then I fling stuff in in a mad rush, only to open the bag a few hours later to wonder who the hell stole the bag I thought I'd packed.

I'm still sick, with a cough that I'm surprised you can't hear from where you are. I'm also at least 5 kgs heavier, having had two full Christmas dinners in three days, including a huge serve of Naomi's fabulous pudding. But I'm happy, because it's cool (I'd normally be sweltering in Qld heat at Woodford right now) and I'm on holiday with people I love. Hooray!

Did you get good loot? I did! Including this, lucky duck me.

Naomi and I are taking our niece to the movies to see The Golden Compass today, so this is just a quick warm hello and goodbye. I'll be home on Friday, all of you who are dying for me to have a turn at scrabulous. Be patient.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bah Glum bug

I am sick. And getting more ill every moment, which doesn't bode well for the next 24 hours, in which time I must

-- wrap presents
-- pack
-- clean the house enough so that the catsitter doesn't gag when she walks around
-- post various things in the traditional red box sense
-- drive down to the Bega Valley for the start of the Official Christmas Season.

The bin beside my computer is overflowing with snotty tissues, my head is thumping, and my eyes are watering so much I can hardly see the keybort. Behind me prowl two suspicious cats (they know that when we clean we're either going away or receiving guests, or both), a coughing boy (just behind me in viral descent), and a barely-recovered Best Beloved brandishing something toxic to clean the bathroom. It's a case of everyone pitching in, with the cats leaping on each other to provide comic relief. So I'm guessing that this will probably be my last pre-holiday post.

But I won't go without sharing a sneak preview of my first Ampersand Duck book:

cover view
The cover.

inside front view
The endpapers. I've used the offcuts of the page paper to make the endpapers, and because they're too narrow, I've also used offcuts of the cover paper that has been run through the rollers of the press after printing the cover, giving them a lovely pale metallic green sheen. It looks great.

title view
The title page view.

Usually I'd photoshop these to make them float on the computer screen, etc etc but I'm too poorly. You'll have to wait for a glimpse of the rest of the pages until I'm better too. I've bound 6 copies so far, and they've gone to those who were involved in the project, and now I just have to hope that the school has no other disasters over the holidays so that I can bind the rest when I get back.

Today I gave a copy to Jan Brown, the artist whose drawings are on and through the book. Jan is 84 and pulls no punches. She opened the package and stared at the book, stony-faced. She gazed at the cover, front and back. She opened the back, and worked through the pages from back to front, and then from front to back again. Then she looked at me and said 'It's totally different to what I expected'.

'Different GOOD, or different BAD?', I said, with heart in mouth. All the way through the process of this book, I'd make design decisions based on what Jan would like. She was my inner voice on this trip.

'Good different. It's wonderful,' she said, and gave me an approving smile, and at that moment my holiday started. Except for the being sick and the list above, I'd be floating on a sea of champagne right now. HUZZAR [coughs, sniffles, weakly waves hands in air].

I may get a chance to post from various locations over the next week, but no promises. So have a great Christmas, all of you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Remember to breathe


When the whole household is sick, when deadlines* are to be deaded before bubbly can be opened, and when Xmas is looming like yet another deadline, this is where I go in my head.

May it calm you down as well.

* Not you, Waratah!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pav's meme for the weary

1) Which part(s) of your body is/are hurting as you read this? List all that apply.
lower back
upper back

2) Which of the following is/are no longer working properly? List all that apply.

a) feet
b) ankles
c) knees
d) hips

e) back
f) neck
g) brain

h) digestive system
i) blood pressure

j) memory
k) idealism

l) compassion
m) optimism

n) other (please specify) (NB -- if the answer is 'bits', and it may well be, that's on a strictly a need-to-know basis)
inner bits (well documented)

3) Has your hairline receded? (For both sexes.)
More like 'migrated'; it's moved down to my chin.

4) Is your hair the same colour it was ten years ago?
No. it was a bright red (enhanced, of course), then a dark black.

5) Is your hair the same colour it was ten days ago?
Um, yes, but with a couple more greys.

6) Do you know what colour your hair would be if you grew the colour out?
I chopped all the colour out a couple of years ago, to the horror of my friends.

7) Are you still content to have your photo taken?
More so than when I was a teenager!

8) Do you think that Brazilians and/or back, sack & crack waxes are ridiculous?

9) Or have you had one (or more than one)?
No, I'm averse to non-accidental pain

10) Did it hurt more than childbirth / falling off a ladder / root canal work / being attacked by a shark? (If not applicable, write ‘Not Applicable’.)
Not applicable.

11) Have you had root canal work?
No, but I'm sure it's around the corner

12) Have you had surgery on any of your intimate parts?
Yes. They don't seem very intimate when there's a team of people looking up them.

13) Were you evasive about it with your friends and relatives?
No. Love me, love my intimate parts.

14) How long have you known your oldest friend?
Gosh. High school. Before that I was shifting a lot.

15) How often do you have to grope around for a particular word before you remember it?


16) When you travel, do you take a special separate toiletries bag exclusively for your medications and other first aid supplies?
heh, not yet. Do you know, there's a fabulous display in the British Museum dealing with the amount of pills taken in a human lifetime? It's a woven piece of fabric representing a life span, with pills slotted into the weave at appropriate places. After the age of 50 the pills start increasing, and by the end of the span it's jam-packed.

17) Does the thought of starting a new relationship

(a) fill you with horror
(b) make you giggle
(c) make you want to run away into the desert
(d) other (please specify)

(b). If this one fails, I'll be very happily living alone.

18) What have you found to be the most reliable mantras, slogans and shibboleths to get you through life’s bad moments?
This too shall pass.
Shit happens.

19) What makes you cry?
Songs. Movies. Books. Pain. Arguments. Frustration. Joy. Love. Oh hell, everything.

20) What makes you laugh?
Pretty much everything. Usually straight after I've cried.

21) Who were your musical gods and heroes when you were in your late teens/early 20s?
Joan Armatrading. Tracy Chapman. The Lighthouse Keepers. The Violent Femmes. Ricki Lee Jones. The Doug Anthony AllStars. And many, many more. I like/d music of all shapes and sizes a lot, but I'm not one to worship.

22) Is/are he/she/they still alive?
In one form or another.

23 Which of these is no longer what it once was? List all that apply.

a) your ability to metabolise alcohol or other drugs of choice.
Uh huh. I stick to white wine these days.
b) your desire to metabolise alcohol or other drugs of choice.
Um, yep, I'm off the weed.
c) your desire to dance.
Nope, still happy to hussle.
d) your ability to dance.
Nope, still able to shimmy.

24) Have you now been to enough funerals to have definite and detailed ideas about how they should be organised and run? If yes, please elaborate.
No, thankfully. I haven't been to a funeral for years, although I've been to a few earlier on.

25) Have people started trying to help you across the street?
Heh. That made me giggle. No.

26) Could you get up on karaoke night and sing 'Non, je regrette rien' without bursting into howls of hysterical laughter?

27) If not, please explain.
Because I would bugger up the lyrics so badly that I'd be laughing along with everyone else.

28) What about 'My Way'?
Oh, yeah. I could sing that straight-faced. But I wouldn't, because I'd look like a pill. It's a bloke's song.

29) When did you last have a drink?
An hour ago.

30) What was it?
chilled Verdello

31) Can I have some?
Anytime. It's waiting for you.

Ring Cycle

Today was the final day of the ANU School of Art graduating exhibition, and so I finally dashed in and took some photos of one of my favorite bodies of work in this year's batch on my way to the Bookstud (almost finished the first batch of books!). They aren't fabulous photos, and I apologise for any flaws in what follows. The fault is all mine; the work is fantastic.

These are by Lucinda Shawcross, of the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop. The series is simply called 'Wedding Ring Series', and I'm showing them in the order in which they were presented.

Adam and Eve
Silver 925

Elizabeth and Darcy
Fine Silver

Roudolf and Margot

Hilary and Bill
Acrylic, Silver 925

Echo and Narcissus
Silver Steel

Anna Nicole and J. Howard
Silver 925, Cubic Zirconia

Beauty and the Beast
Silver 925, Cubic Zirconia, Fine Silver, Diamond
This is one example of my bad photo not doing it justice. Of course, the diamond is embedded in the top of the Beast's square ring.

Mary and Percy
ABS Plastic, Found Object
Again, apologies for this one. The plastic square has gorgeous lacy and ivory-like qualities.

Marie and Pierre
Titanium, Wood

Frida and Diego
Gold Plated Brass, Steel Nails

Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde
Brass, Fibres

Elizabeth Taylor
Gold Plated Brass, Brass, Found Objects
I love this one. The rings are held together by (l-r) a little string noose, a chain, metal studs, a piece of elastic, hair, a string plait, and a spring. The last link is missing.

Madame de Pompadour and Louis XV
Gold Plated Brass

Aren't they great? I love the way she progresses through the materials in a linear sense, and that the couples aren't arranged chronologically or confined to a genre. If you like what Lucinda does, she can be contacted via the ANU School of Art Gallery.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Calling any takers

Anyone feel like a Melbourne blogmeet in February? We're passing through after a -- hopefully -- lovely 3-week holiday in Tasmania and I thought it would be jolly to catch up with some of you.

Since Best Beloved and Bumblebee will be with me, it might be nice to have a lunchtime picnic on the 2nd of February. Laura and Dorian suggested the Royal Botanical Gardens and we all wonder if anyone has a good suggestion about a meeting point there?

Apparently there is a great children's playground, so somewhere near there would be good. And maybe a B-plan could be made in case of inclement weather. Any suggestions?

How excitement! All welcome! Especially you. And you. I love the idea of a [insert collective noun here] of bloggers lolling on a blanketed lawn nibbling things and yacking.

UPDATE: Heide has been suggested. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

white ribbing

The Colonel and Lady Duck visited a couple of times over the last few weeks, bringing the usual care packages of a bag of lemons, a bag of plums and a bag of trash magazines. I've been picking up a mag every now and again and having a giggle. But this morning, over breakfast, I had a big fat guffaw.

A few weeks ago Crap Idea had a special on White Ribbon Day, which campaigns against domestic violence. They had a photo shoot of 'celebrities' (I always find that word laughable) posing in white and quoting life-affirming things. All good and well.

The photo that made me laugh -- nay, snort my tea -- was the first one, of the White Ribbon Foundation Chairman, Andrew O'K (from shows I've never seen: Weekend Sunrise, Deal or No Deal).

Let me set the scene:

Banner Headline: STARS STAND UP
Subhead: With thousands of women suffering domestic violence every year in Australia, these stars have joined [Crap] Idea to say 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!'

And they have a picture of Andrew standing up:


But that's not all, no ne no...

Andrew also says -- and rightly so, I have no problem with any of the words --

The White Ribbon Foundation wholeheartedly supports the excellent work being done by all those working with victims of violence, but we also believe that such violence will continue unless we begin to change the attitudes of men and society. Attitudes about the power, sexist attitudes and the belief of the silent majority that domestic violence is not their problem.

pursed lips

I'm sorry, but the toe of that pristine shoe dipping in the water, and that facial expression -- let's have that again, shall we?

serious face

-- speaks volumes about reaching out to men to change their attitudes about harming women, don't you think? The rest of the shoot isn't much better, either.

This is really such an important issue. Now excuse me while I beat the crap out of this ball, or at least try to look jolly while I wield this club next to a woman.

Boo sucks to whoever commissioned that ridiculous photoshoot, undermining a really serious campaign. Intentional, or brain-dead? You pick.

Now excuse me while I go and rinse the tea from my nose and get on with the day...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dot point photos

Oh, blossoms, I'm a frustrated duck. The road to the end (of the book) was crystal clear and smooth a few days ago, then I had a big whack of doubt* and now it's back to dirt road. The cover needed to be taken back to square one and rethought.

The last few days have been dominated by my body trying to keep busy while my brain ticks over in the background, thinking and rethinking through design ideas. I've rustled up a makeshift shade curtain on our front verandah, gone to a couple of Xmas party-type things, hung out at the ANU Art School Grad Show and tried to coax Bumblebee through the last major homework assignment of the year.

The latter is extremely time-consuming, as he has to be given pep-talks almost between every word he writes. Does anyone else have that problem?

I think I've cracked the cover. I had a breakthrough late yesterday, and I'll try it out again today to see if yesterday's thoughts were true or just exhausted desperation.

In the meantime, here are some dot points to catch up with all the little things I've been wanting to blog about but haven't found time for:


hippie boy
His year danced to a music medley of the decades since WWII. His class did the 60s. his teacher is too young to know that the 60s consisted of more fashion styles than merely hippie culture. Bumblebee was quite impressed that I owned a peace medallion (from my 80s anti-nuke protesting!).

pooter + hippie
Mr Pooter is quite a droll character who likes to make snide comments about such things. I can't tell you what he was saying here because some babyboomers might get offended. I'm sure you can guess, or make up your own caption.


gooseberry tart

Best Beloved has been channelling any boredom and frustration at my working hours into the creation of some pretty spectacular food. I gobbled before photographing the stupendous sorrel and potato omelette I received for breakfast yesterday, and this was presented last night for dessert. It's a gooseberry tart, with a very bready cake base, not too sweet, so the whole thing was beautifully tart and chewy. Yum!


If you're local and you like art, go and see the ANU Art School graduating student show. We have a hopeless new arts reviewer for the Canberra Times, and she failed to even mention the show's existence in Saturday's paper. Obviously she doesn't know anything exists unless a memo in triplicate lands in her in-tray.

There are some fun things and some absolutely beautiful things. Here are a small selection, by no means the best, just stuff that caught our eyes on one walk around.

Finnegan's Wake
This, believe it or not, is the entire typescript of Finnegan's Wake. In one slab, about the size of a tea-towel, screen-printed onto a panel of wood. A feat achieved by Nicci Haynes, and I'm trying to persuade her to make a t-shirt and t-towel edition of it. You'd buy one, wouldn't you?

This is a pendulum pendant by Katie Green, from Gold and silversmithing. It's called 'Walking to your own beat', and this is her description:
The design of this pendant is based on the concept that as the wearer is moving around, a pendulum is caused to swing. On the opposite end of the pendulum is a set of spikes that during the swinging motion pluck the teeth of music box combs. This action creates random notes.

Lovely, isn't it? I love the shadows it casts, as well.

This is Bumblebee's favorite: 'Spiderman and Wonder Woman after Titian', oil on canvas, by Daniel Vukovjak.

It even has Superman, but no Batman.

Memory Quilt
This is a big wall piece, like a quilt, and called 'Memory Quilt', by Kate Maurice. There are bulldozers stitched in silk into the right hand corner. All the panels are flyleaves from old books, discoloured and all holding incredibly personal and emotional inscriptions. I spend time every day looking at this piece and find something different and usually amazing each time.

Like this:

pencil ex libris
It's a hand-drawn Ex-libris in pencil! Done straight into the book!

And this:

Amphlett flyleaf
Any relation to Chrissie Amphlett, I wonder?

forest of books
Here's another of Kate's pieces. It's called 'The Forest for the trees', and it's made up from a lot of the left over books from the Lifeline Book Fair. You can see some non-book spaces in it; they are little dioramas of bird and wildlife scenes.

Another of Bumblebee's favorites, a huge skelington made of cardboard with all the bits labelled. That's Bumblebee in the Simpsons shirt...

wall piece
This was Best Beloved's favorite piece. I think he wants to revisit it with his own bit of foamcore label.

I will try to blog a few more; there are some nice artists' books, and a series of rings with a twist. But you know me with my blogging promises...

*According to Nigel from Artwranglers, this is what makes art Art rather than Kitsch. Heh.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Meme. You have been warned.

I am procrastinating because I'm not enjoying the (evening layout) job I'm supposed to be doing, and I printed the last page of my book today (still have to print the bookcloth) and I'm eating black jellybeans and drinking cask white (which weirdly go together very well) and The Librarians has drawn to a close [sob] so I'm joining the party:

1. Are you dating the last person you kissed?
No, I kissed Bumblebee goodnight tonight. I'm not up for Oedipal drama.

2. Pretend you've had 10 beers. what you would be doing right now?
Vomiting. I hate beer.

3. What do you want?
Howard voted out John Laws to retire Bush impeached.

4. Who was the last person you shared a bed with?
Best Beloved, although I don't think a 30-70 split (his way) is sharing.

5. Do you talk to yourself?
Yes. Constantly. I'm slowly surrounding myself with cats so that people won't notice, although I can't take them to work unfortunately.

6. Do you drink milk straight from the carton?
No. Erk. How American sitcom.

7. Who knows the latest secret about you?

8. How long is your hair?
Short. Damn short. Although not shaved. If we'd gone to the Woodford Folk Festival this January I'd have shaved it (so hot!). Luckily for my hair I'm going to Tasmania.

9. Do you like Batman?
Better than Spiderman but not as much as Wonder Woman.

10. Who was the last person who told you they loved you?
My Auntie Lou, on the phone tonight. I love her, too.

13. Do you like anyone now?
No, I dislike quite a few people, mostly strangers who piss me off in myriad ways.

14. When was the last time you lied?
I tell white lies. So sue me.

16. Is your birthday on a holiday?
It occasionally falls within the October long weekend, huzzar!

17. What instant messaging service do you use?
Laura's answer to this is the best. one. ever.

18.Last thing you cooked today?
If by 'cook' you mean 'assemble food for ingesting', then a handful of black jellybeans and a glass of cask white. I've been eating leftovers and takeaway the rest of the day.

19. Did you have a nap today?
No, they make me cranky.

20. Whose house did you go to last?

21. What do you wear more, jeans or sweats?
Jeans. And I wear them until they can stand by themselves.

22. Why is the sky blue?
It's lulling us into a false sense of security while we prepare for the graduating students' exhibition and then it will piss down hard upon the hordes as they hand out the prizes in the courtyard -- just like every year.

23. Do you like green beans?
Yes, especially the flat ones, which last a lot longer in the fridge than the round ones. That's very important for the domestically challenged.

24. Do you swear a lot?
Fuck oath.

25. Where did you get the shirt you're wearing?

27. Do you use an alarm clock?
Best Beloved is as regular as clockwork, if Padge doesn't get there first. Who needs mechanical objects?

28. Where was your default MySpace picture taken?
My what?

29. Do you ever snort when you laugh?
No, but my mother does, to general family hilarity.

30. Whats the first thing you notice on the opposite sex?
That they're making instant judgements on the way I look.

31. Is cheating ever okay?
Ahem. NO. But if you'd asked me 20 years ago...

32. Do you want someone you can't have?
I want a masseur for daily use.

34. Do you wear underwear?
Yes, of course. I noticed this morning that most of them are a bit raggy.

35. Do you wear a bra?
Only if I think I can't get away without one. I prefer not to.

36. What Size?
What does it matter? They're all uncomfortable.

37. Are you a social or an antisocial person?
Social when I'm around people, antisocial when I'm not. This is not as silly as it sounds. I shun human company until I'm actually in it, then I quite enjoy it.

39. Do you have a tan?
I have a truckie's tan, only on my arms, and my right arm is darker than my left.

45. Are you afraid of the dark?
No. When you're in the dark it's not actually that dark.

[Questions 40-44 missing, who knows why.]

47. Do you miss someone today?
Yes. I was supposed to guide someone around the art school but they didn't turn up.

49. Do you still have pictures of you & your exs?
Yes. My son thinks they're hilarious.

50. Who's always there for you no matter what?
Me. I don't let myself down very often.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rant du jour (colour therapy)

Here's a request to the new government:

Please bring back a sense of colour and life to Australia. Not in a 'oh wow, it's a brave new world' sense, but in a real, tangible and profitable sense.

I don't know how many of you have noticed (probably lots of you, since it's a Canberra kind of blog) that in the 11 years of grey old Howard, the public service went grey as well. Every government department was forced to abandon its individual logos and colour schemes, and to take up a plain government logo. Solid and dependable.

I'm not advocating a huge waste of public money. Let it happen slowly, carefully. But I'm sick of black and white signs, blue and white signs, silver cars, white cars, grey cars, black cars. And that bloody boring logo, everywhere in Canberra.

Let the departments have a makeover; give some graphic designers some work (not me, thanks), and let the country's government look fresh and colourful. Make up some fun names for things. It's all symbolic. Bring back a sense of fun. Then maybe that will encourage people to start revamping their own lives, and making things sustainable and effective.

New broom, and all that. Let's make it so that anything standard and boring is just 'so Howard' in a very negative sense.

As you were.

a message from the man waving a light at the end of the tunnel:




(for more details, click on the image and be whisked to flickr-world)

Monday, December 03, 2007

and in the latest from the Kremlin,

President-now-Prime Minister-elect Pooter denies allegations of vote-rigging.

President Pooter

I von them with my charm and good looks... I think I have reasonable people skills, don't you think? Vot can I say? They love me!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Normality is resumed, whatever that is

The view out of my window is spectacularly wet, which is very cheering. I didn't think we'd be getting cool weather on the first day of summer, so HOORAY!

I didn't blog my drawmo on thursday or friday because they were Shitty Days.

I usually ride my bike to & from the bookbinding class I attend on Thursdays, but I drove the car because it was my turn to provide supper (a couple of cheeses, biscuits, some rockmelon slices and a huge slab of chocolate beetroot cake).

I got as far as a kilometre from home when the poxy car broke down. Luckily the road had just split into two lanes, so people could get around me, but the waves of hate and inconvenience flowing towards me were tangible, even with my hazard lights flashing. I rang Best Beloved and he and Bumblebee got a lift from Owen so that they could help me move the car off the road. By some sort of modern miracle (I think it's because I told the phone operator that I was blocking traffic), the NERMA (sic) man came within ten minutes and had delivered the bad news that we needed a tow-truck. I was torn between staying with the car and helping myself to the goodies and sending the boys home, or leaving them with the car and going to my class to feed the hungry masses. Since the class wasn't contactable by phone, we decided on the latter.

Poor boys! The tow-truck took one and a half hours to arrive, by which time I'd got to class by taxi and fed everyone. I was stressed and cranky and didn't have a good time at the class. I got a lift home with a class member, and when it was time to jump out of her very old car (one of those 'second' family cars that usually get driven by wives), I pulled at the door handle and broke it! She'd forgotten that the child-lock was on. I felt awful! I got inside the house and of course Bumblebee had only just gone to bed because they'd had to go with the tow-truck and lock the car up at the mechanic's yard. Bumblebee thought it was a GREAT night, full of taxis and trucks, but we were less impressed.

Next day I went to see the AP as usual for a Friday, and had to do it via Canberra's great public transport system (read that with lashings of irony). She was in a really awful mood, and the morning was horrible.

To cheer ourselves up (Bumblebee is with his dad this weekend), we went to Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which, I'm sorry to say, disappointed me dreadfully. Oh, Cate was fabulous, and the costumes were fabulous, but the whole thing was like one long fashion parade with a few plot-lines thrown in for good value. It was such an amazing, lush, conspiratorial era, and the writers really dumbed it down and left out all the really good stuff. It was a bit like hearing in the news that Kevin Rudd has decided to pick his cabinet without kow-towing to the factions and not knowing how the hell he did that without being garotted. I hope they do better with the third Elizabeth movie, but seeing how this was the really riveting part of her life, I doubt it.

The car is all better, BTW. For now. Sigh.

It's December 1 (surprise!). World AIDS day, the first day I'm able to tolerate any Christmas twaddle, and my brother's birthday, which is never a sad occasion, more of an 'OMG he would have been [fill in the age]' moment on the phone with my parents (38, this year!) and then get on with the day.

Recently I looked up an old photo album because I suspect that one of my dear friends used to go to school with the bro, and found this hilarious photo. It cheers me up immensely.

Happy birthday, Tiger.

Drawmo 30: the end, and a dog called Fish

Gah. Miserable failure. Oh well, Drawmo got me blogging more at least! I dunno if I'll be able to keep that up in the next few months. I'll do my best (what more can I say?)

Anyhoo, I started the month with a polemic about drawing of my own, and I'll finish with someone else's: my drawing teacher from art school. He was an old-school sculptor from Europe who treated most contemporary practice with a sour but good-natured 'BAH'. Read the following (from a hand-out he gave us) with a heavy accent, any heavy accent:

An ability to draw is a useful tool for any artist who is involved with visual expression. It is sad to note that the perceptual skills one develops through the act of looking and drawing are often dismissed as anachronistic for the 'contemporary' approach in art practices.

I strongly believe that the possession of these skills will enrich a student's sensitivity to all art experiences and enhance the flow of ideas and creativity. Drawing from nature in all forms is to my mind the best way to develop this sensitivity. By becoming aware of the subtleties and details one ventures into a newer and richer world. It is a hard language to master. It requires hard work, full concentration and perseverance.

The search for clarity of statement is of paramount importance. Avoid smudging and 'Arty effect'. Individuality is encouraged but it should be of secondary concern. be thorough, analytical, critical. Maintain the structure at all times.

I think there's something in that for all of us, don't you, children?

My last drawings from the vault (my excuse for this is in the post coming next) are to prove to people that I'm not cat-centric. These are two sketches of a dog I once went camping with. I can't even remember who the dog belonged to, which is shameful. The dog's name is Fish.

They are very light pencil drawings. I hope you can see them!

fish dog 1

fish dog 2

And thus the month ends.

Drawmo 29: drawing to a close (sorry!)

OK, I've been an utter drawmo failure. It's been more of an exercise in reviewing how little I draw these days and how much I used to love it. I think I've come to the conclusion that I really miss life drawing, and I'm resolved to do something about it next year. Either join a class or start a group.

Here's another thigh for you (done in the first half of 2000). Still no face or feet, but it's less obvious that they're missing this time! Lots of lushness. Charcoal can be ace sometimes.

reclining nuddy