Friday, June 30, 2006

Where's my vomit bucket?

There are so many things wrong about today's Go Fug Yourself post that I have no idea where to begin.

So I'll just leave it there.

Thoughts whilst driving under the influence of PMT

Bus drivers are freaks. They are sometimes worse than taxi drivers. I saw a bus driver tailgating a small car at top speed a-la Duel on a major thoroughfare.

Taxi drivers are freaks. (I'm not speaking casually here -- I used to be one).

The Australian National University has committed major crimes to drivers and cyclists by closing off a road which puts tremendous strain on West Civic and cuts off the art school from civilization. Getting to work now involves advanced thinking and convoluted detours which vary according to the exact minute before 9am that I started driving.

It's effing cold.

Most people sitting at traffic lights seem to think that no one else can see them picking their nose. And eating it.

I saw a woman wearing all black except for a band of t-shirt that was a pastel yellow and a pastel pink coat and she looked like a liquorice allsort (mmm... liquorice allsorts)

I need chocolate.

Only 6 hours until I have to find my way home again.

Going... going... maybe not?

RobinsOn CruSoE  rose page

Last day to buy my book on ebay. Lots of looking, no action. It's not the ideal venue to sell a piece (not much tactile pleasure), but it's been worth a try.

I sent an email about it to the local BookArts weblist, outlining my reasons for making the book and why I'm selling it like I am, but they've held the email in moderation and as yet have not released it to the members of the list. I'm wondering: what is the difference between an email offering a artist's book directly for sale at a venue like ebay, and an email advertising an exhibition of artist's books in the hope that people will go along and see/buy the works? Both emails are hoping for a transaction, but mayhap mine is socially inferior.

Of course, my email may appear on the group list today (I'm hoping) and maybe someone will buy the book by the end of auction tonight, but in the meantime I'm going to happily feel grumpy. And hopeful.

RobinsOn CruSoE  mixed pages

POSTSCRIPT: It sold, for $100. Hooray! That'll help someone, I hope.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Last night we had a blackout. It looked like this:

I'm sure Malevich was thinking of how Downer looks during a blackout when he painted that black square. Every house was out, and those in the next few suburbs too. I realised that after I checked the fuse box and looked around me.

Bumblebee instantly freaked out. I can't work out why he needs every light in the vicinity on when he initially goes to bed, but then can wake in the middle of the night for a wee and go straight back to bed and go back to sleep in the dark without a whimper.

Anyhoo, I fumbled around for the torch, managing to slash my hand up on the frigging metal strip on the edge of the clingwrap box in the process, and then he and I (BB was out) had dinner by candlelight and then I read Enid Blyton stories by the light of my little booklight.

Bumblebee was very impressed that I didn't panic. I'm trying to teach him to relax and think when he's faced with a problem, but it's a hard thing to teach someone, especially when they're only 9 and a complete drama queen.

It didn't last too long -- about 45 minutes, but I was too scared to turn the computer back on in case (a) it happened again, and (b) the surge had killed it. So I had a computer-free evening, and then woke this morning and turned on the computer with crossed fingers.

As you can see, it was ok. Happy endings for all. Except for all the clocks, which had to be reset.

First fluffy thing of the day

I couldn't resist this meme... thanks to Pavlov's Cat

(grandfather/grandmother on your father's side, your favorite sweet/lolly):

Ann Cherry-Ripe

(first initial of first name followed by "izzle", first two or three letters of your last name followed by "dizzle"):

Aizzle Ducdizzle (blog name)

Cizzle Flodizzle (heh, works better using my real name)

(favorite color, favorite animal):

Crimson Pussycat

(first 3 letters of your name- last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name repeated twice):

Carane PooPad (decided to use both cats once)

("The", your favorite color, the automobile you drive):

The Crimson DL

And my superhero weapon of choice is a pair of thigh-high red 7-league boots.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thumbs up to a crazy chick

Happy Birthday, Zoe!


Here's her hand, rating the Soccer sculpture at the Australian Institute of Sport. Let's hope she rates tonight's last night's soccer match more highly. (can you tell I'm not a sporty girl?)

Why don't you go over to Crazybrave and give her all of your lovin'. Actually, why don't you try this link, which doesn't take you to some commercial music site (blah, early morning typing mistake... :( )

Monday, June 26, 2006

Under the weather, but dressed for it

I've completely succumbed to the grip of my cold today; I'm sitting here rugged up in a big polarfleece dressing gown and fluffy slippers sipping hot lemon and honey and hoping the healing rays of teh internet will work their magic. Luckily there's an ACT Teachers' Strike today, so B'bee is cosied up in the loungeroom overdosing on episodes of The Goodies and grazing his way through the pantry as only a growing boychild can do.

So Im cruising, looking for diversions easy on the brain. And finding fun little things like Arty Fufkin's cellar cleansing. And oh, how I wish I lived in America! I don't, really, but there's *so* much going on there with letterpress. I don't know why Girlprinter bothered to come back; probably something to do with love and clean air, I suspect.

I should explain my dressing gown, since I've got time. I found it at a charity shop. It's a camel colour, with bottle-green cuffs and colour, and it's very large. What sold me on it was not the tasteful almost gold-and-green colour scheme, though: it was the customisation. It's very large gown, made to fit someone the size of Best Beloved (who wears a Triple XL t-shirt for his shoulder width) but adapted to fit someone my size (tallish but under 6ft woman). The cuffs have been folded back and stitched, the collar has been firmly stitched flat, the buttons have been ripped off and replaced by old brown plaited leather buttons, and the tie has been fastened at the back with a press-stud. And all done in a very amateurish, large stitch with dark brown cotton. Obviously by someone who wanted their old person to not drop their cuffs in their soup and stop losing their dressing gown tie.

The sheer ugliness of the robe appealed to me instantly. I've never been one to wear Peter Alexander sleepwear or pink kitty robes. When I down tools, it's flannies and trackies all the way, and the dressing gown just made me feel like my door could really be closed to the world. As soon as I put it on I knew that it had been waiting for me. The length is right, the arm length is perfect, and I hate losing robe ties.

I bought it way before I met BB. Unfortunately, it fits him too, and he seems to have appropriated it, leaving me a double-sided kimono wrapper-thingy that is too cold to the initial touch and has scratchy embroidery. I keep telling him that the arms are too short for him, but he just says that it will be perfect once he takes the stitches out. It will too, but he's too lazy to do it. So the first one out of bed gets the robe.

Or, in the case of today, the last one out of bed after the first one has gone to work. So it smells of both of us, it's covered in cat hair (they love it too) and the stitching's starting to trail, but it's perfect for a wurty sick day at home.

[blows nose] I just hope no one knocks at the door :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

And a little soccer tale

My dad was telling me on the phone last night that he was in Sydney on the night of the last Socceroo match. He was staying on the 33rd floor of a hotel on the corner of Liverpool and George Street, in a supposedly soundproof room. He was woken at 6am by the sounds of cheering ringing through the streets of the CBD from various pubs in the area!

Ye gods, people.

...or the day after that

I awoke yesterday not with a hangover, like I'd expected, but with a full-blown cold, complete with stuffed sinuses, sore throat and whanging headache. It was as if the red wine had opened up the front door of my immune system and invited my slight sniffle to come inside and party hard. And it's been partying hard ever since.

Anyhoo, that drinky session was sparked by my exasperation at the fact that everyone I know is either pregnant or just sprogged or expecting me to get pregnant.* I decided that I am going to stop thinking of myself as TRYING. I'm not trying anymore. I'm just going to have unsafe sex with my partner like we've been doing quite happily for the last few years and I'm going to resume thinking of it as a naughty, titillating thing rather than a bloody duty. And I’m going to have the occasional drink because it's fun. Heh.

In other news, I had AP over to my house for lunch today. She hasn't visited for years, because I've managed to avoid it for years, mainly because of the cleaning such a visit entails. It's like the Queen coming to visit. I've been channelling Annie** for 2 days now, between coughs and sneezes.

I can’t buy AP presents; she's got everything she needs, and part of my work with her is whittling down her possessions in preparation for her death (she wants to die organized). We’ve been doing this for nearly ten years now, and I can tell you, in that respect she's ready. Still, I decided along the way that the best present I can give her is a really scrumptious meal. She doesn't cook much, and lives mostly off frozen meals reheated in the microwave. So for birthdays and Christmas, I usually get her to invite a friend over, and I come over and cook her a dinner party.

However, I’ve had lots of changes to my life since she last visited, including getting married and renovating bits of the house, and she just had her birthday, so I thought that this time I'd have her as a guest and she could inspect the changes for herself.

Of course, she loved being here, and admired our kitchen and art and books and was politely gobsmacked suitably impressed by Bumblebee's presentation of every gruesome transforming toy he owns (watching him explain to this genteel 86-y/o woman how Wolverine transforms from ugly human to vicious wolf with razor-sharp knifie things coming out of his paws will be one of the stories I will tell his kids).

She also admired (as I do, constantly) BB's housewifely domestic skills, hanging out the washing, doing the ironing (he did this later in the afternoon, when all the eating was over and I was demonstrating the wonders of teh internet*** to her) and starting a batch of mandarin marmalade. Gordon Bennett!

I cooked a delicious lemon chicken risotto: leeks and organic chicken breast pieces cooked in butter and olive oil, stir in the rice, add hot spoonfuls of chicken stock simmering with fresh garlic & rosemary, add quartered button muchrooms after the first batch of stock, then stir through parmesan, butter, and the juice and zest of one lemon at the end. It was superb, served with crusty bread rolls and a light salad. Followed by fresh coffee and a slice of Stephanie Alexander’s lemon slice (made yesterday by BB and Bumblebee). A lot of lemon, I know, but we have two buckets of them sitting in the kitchen! And they can’t be bad with a cold like mine.

I was a bit nervous about having AP over while I feel so diseased, but I know that if I cancelled it wouldn’t happen again for ages. So I was very careful about my germs! No kisses, lots of handwashing.

And the cats behaved themselves beautifully. They’d calmed down from their morning crazyness. Here’s a taste of their kitty love kerfuffles (bearing in mind that this is a very contained example. Usually they do this in full flight all over the house, knocking down chairs and anything else in their way!). Padge is in the red corner, Pooter is in the blue, and the bit of leek is just in the kitchen corner, waiting to be picked up:

* Mindy, this is not a dig at you. That Maybe Baby thingie scares me, but it was a lovely gesture, and I still peek at it when I feel brave enough :)

** I mentioned this a few posts ago: it’s a family term for a cleaning frenzy, named after my obsessively clean grandmother (I once hopped out of my bed at 6am for a pee when staying with her, and came back to a made bed).

*** AP was a bit disturbed that when we googled her name, the second thing we found was an essay on her writing up for sale. This then sparked a discussion on university education very similar to the conversations we've been having over at Sarsaparilla. She had never experienced the internet before. It was a bit of a shock. It's all science fiction to her, and I think she found it a bit scary.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Chin chin!

Well, my lovelies, I have officially fallen off the wagon. I won't feel the bump till morning.

I've had half a bottle of red wine and I feel like a smoker who has had the first puff after a long abstinence... a heightened reaction, lots of dizziness. I'm tempted to let my typos survive in this post, but I'm not quite drunk enough to do that, so I've spent longer fixing than I have typing.

I lasted 5 months. It wasn't hard, and I'll probably drink less than I did before I stopped, but it's nice to be able to have a drink. Or three. Did that make sense?

I initially stopped because we thought it might be good for my our fertility, but I've come to terms with the fact that I'll need divine or at least medical intervention to get pregnant at my age (and with my dodgy reproductive organs), and I'm not interested in that path. I'd rather foster, or just send money to people who need it.

So... we'll just enjoy Bumblebee, and continue not using contraception, and stop fussing. You never know, it might turn out to be the right combination, but if not, I don't think I'll be terribly upset.

Too much information? I'll let you know tomorrow.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Q: What can keep cats amused for hours?

A. Their very own kitty tv, showing nothing but fluffy young guinea pigs.*


It's the gift that keeps on giving...

stake out

and giving.

patient kitty

Be afwaid, little guineas. Be vewy afwaid.


*We warned my niece that minding her guinea pigs for a week might leave them with a few mental scars (or at least cabin fever). I don't think she believed us.

Oh. My. God.

I've been nominated as a contender for a special prize in Backtack 3. I want to truly rooly tell you that this is a bolt from the blue. It really is a lumpy little bunny! And hey -- I'm losing so far, but just to be nominated! Heh. I'm chuffed.

I am reading

As soon as Laura mentioned Pat Barker a few weeks ago, I just had to re-read her Ghost Road trilogy. Frustratingly, I managed to find the first and the last of the three at my local second-hand bookshop, but not the central volume. So I read the first, and then started reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, and today I found The Eye in the Door as I was passing through Fyshwick (Such a good range of second-hand bookshops in Fyshwick. It's comforting to know that tradespeople like reading). I'm finding Virginia and Pat an excellent brew, as I'm halfway through MD and in the headspace of a young man who is damaged by WWI. I really like it when life throws these little convergences my way.

My other purchase, which shall be saved for when I'm finished being sensitive and caring about WWI victims, is two volumes by John Birmingham: Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1 and Designated Targets: World War 2.2. These are his foray into the Airport Novel genre, and they should be a hoot. I'm going to the Blue Mountains for a week in July and they'll be perfect to read while I'm lolling on my mother-in-law's couch sipping tea and saying NO to silly bush walks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We know who we are...

We know who we are

This is the latest image to come from one of my favorite contemporary artists: Bernie Slater. I think Bernie's work was one of the first things I posted when I started this blog. He's also hanging out in the BookStud as a resident artist. I'm wishing I had a bigger version of this to do it justice and so that you can catch the details, but he also sent me some close-ups, and I'll give you a tour...

We know who we are (detail:1)

This is the first half. The text held by the man on the left says: "WORKPLACE RELATIONS: bend over and take it". The next fellow is holding up a newspaper that reads: "THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: terrorists want to root your sister", and the fellow behind is holding up a photo of Dr Phil. I adore the Howard Rising Sun background.

We know who we are (detail:2)

In this right side, the Chinese calligraphy says:"We know who we are." The woman on the left is clutching a copy of TV Week to her heart, and the people on the right are taking part in the Cronulla riots, bashing a very ethnic-looking man against a car.

We know who we are -- proportional shot

...and here's the artist himself, standing next to the print to show the scale. he's a tall man. It's a huge silkscreen version of a smaller linocut print he made recently. It's going into a shopfront window in Melbourne within the next month. When I find out further details I'll let you know. Isn't it powerful?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

raising money for a good cause

RobinsOn cruSoE pages

Remember the book I made to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis? Sadly, the initial flurry of buying on the opening night of the exhibition didn't last, and very little else was sold.

So I've decided to put my book on e-bay and try to raise the money anyway. If you're interested in looking, or buying, here's the link. If you know of anyone who might be interested, pass the word.

It's for a very good cause. All money made from the auction will go to Australian Cystic Fibrosis research.

aging gracefully

Tweak, tweak, tweak!

Hark! It's the call of the Variegated Blog-Nerd!

I've got had a few spare hours today and I just can't stop tinkering with this blog template. I think I've got it where I want it now, apart from being unable to remove the bloody frames around my flickr images. [sigh] So sorry about all the publishing, if any of you are reading from Bloglines & co. I should be finished now.

AP had a birthday on the weekend. She turned the grand age of 86, and to celebrate had a very elegant tea party, complete with silver teapot, beautiful little floral teacups and cakes served on very old and delicate plates. She invited 7 people, all women, and I (at the coltish age of 38 and a half) was the youngest.

It was a lovely afternoon, with the sky outside her large windows blue as blue could be and the chill sunshine slanting in until it dissolved into dark. The company was polite, warm, intelligent and for me, completely inspiring. If I can grow up to be like any of those women, I'll be fortunate.

I popped in on another old friend the other day: Jan Brown, who is illustrating one of the books I'm producing. She's 84, and hopes to live as long as her mother, who died at 102. Visiting Jan is terrific for a number of reasons:

1. She's great to talk to, very blunt and interesting. Doesn't believe in small talk.

2. She has a community of birds around her house, mostly magpies and currawongs, that she has been feeding for generations, so she knows each one by sight and they know her. You walk up to the house with many feathery eyes upon you...

3. ...and then you walk into the loungeroom and encounter many other beady eyes upon you:

beady eyes

Jan is a sculptor, and this is just a small example of the work that fills the entire room. I've blogged her before -- she's the creator of the kangaroo statues in Commonwealth Park. I love sitting and talking to her amid all these creatures, especially the hungry baby magpie statues. Here she is herself, talking on my phone to a mutual friend:


I've never see Jan in a dress in all the years I've known her and I guess I never will. We talked about poetry and drawing and she told me the best way to climb a palm tree (but to be careful on the way down, otherwise you scrape off the tender skin on your inside thighs).

I have a lot of time for women over 40. Even more for those over 60. There's a confidence about them that isn't present at an earlier age. They age far better than men, in my books.

I've probably mentioned this before, but every week when I drive away from AP's house I feel young and active, and it keeps me in perspective about where I am in my life cycle. This week, after hanging out with all these excellent role models, I felt like the best years are still ahead of me, as long as I can keep fit and alert.

Now if that isn't inspiration for a regular fitness routine, I don't know what is.*

*Mind you, I quite often tell myself it's not worth getting fit because I'll just get caught by the family demensia and end up living for many long years in good health but totally blank. That's when the chocolate cake/pudding/oven chips get eaten. I don't want to be a liability.

Remember to breathe (not shiver)


I don't know about you, but I just needed to look at something warm today.
This is from my dad's burn-off on the long weekend.

Dressing for the weather

We found a coat for my parents' dog, but he didn't fit it, so Mr Padge claimed it. I think it brings out his movie star qualities, don't you?

Padge in a jacket

...except when you look at him from the side. Then it's just wrong.

Padge in a jacket

Monday, June 19, 2006

Snow Juggling

In honour of World Juggling Day, which was last saturday, here's a little moment I caught on the long weekend when we stopped to check out the snow on Brown Mountain, just out of Nimitabel. Best Beloved and Bumblebee were having a snowball fight, I was sitting snug in the car with the cats, and I thought I'd capture a bit of the fun before it all ended in (Bumblebee's) tears... luckily, BB chose that moment to have a juggle:

(It's in black & white because I'd been taking B&W photos of the trees on my parents' farm and forgot to change it back. Also apologies for the wet window glass. I didn't want to ask BB to repeat the juggle! He's a bit shy.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We like to watch

Finally, a weekend sans child with time to see a movie or two. And we just happened to win the jackpot... we are AFI members, and recently I won a free double pass to see Colour Me Kubrick. Then BB got another free double pass from them to see Wah Wah. Hooray!

Friday night we went to Wah Wah, which is Richard E. Grant's directorial debut, and based upon his childhood in Swaziland, Africa. I am kicking myself because apparently Grant was in Canberra a week ago, introducing the film to (no doubt) a doting audience, and I missed it. Poo bum. Ah, never mind. I also missed the chance to clap eyes on Lily Brett at her partner's recent exhibition opening, which oddly enough I regret more. I am very grateful to the AFI, because without that free pass we probably would have overlooked this movie for something a bit more high-profile. If you're vascillating, take the plunge. It's not cutting edge, or ground-breaking, but it is beautifully written and produced. I can't believe it's Grant's first movie.

Stuffed with celebrities, it doesn't feel self-conscious about the cast, unlike Colour Me Kubrick. The scenery in Wah Wah is so close to Australia's that I felt quite disorientated in the opening credits. The story is crafted strongly, with many layers of story intertwining smoothly and credibly, although BB had problems with believing that Ralph's mother would return (this isn't really a spoiler). We discussed this for a fair while after the movie, because I can see how social and economic circumstances for women in the sixties would make it possible for her to make such a decision. I don't know if BB was convinced, but I put that down to the fact that he's never been through family conflict or messy relationships.

Colour Me Kubrick was also very good, but I found it a bit frustrating in the sense that it's an expensive piece of industry fun, stuffed with in-jokes and technical brilliance. The story was quite inconsequential, didn't start anywhere, didn't go anywhere, but was marvellous fun to be in the midst of. It was just a party anecdote writ large, and it frustrates me that so many resources were devoted to it. Why can't that sort of casting and writing brilliance be devoted to a better story?

It's definitely a movie for Kubrick fans, of which I'm half a one -- haven't seen all the movies, seen some once, and a few many times -- so I picked up enough references to understand that if you're a big Kubrick fan you'd have a great time, but if you knew nothing about Kubrick at all you'd enjoy the movie, but you'd feel like someone who was just at the fringe of a conversaton on a topic you knew nothing about. My favorite moment was recognizing Ken Russell (not really hard to do, his nametag was beside him) playing a mental patient. And I really enjoyed the witty use of Kubrick-related music.

Since we hadn't spent any money going to the cinema (we calculated we'd saved at least over $50), we felt less guilt than usual visiting a few DVD shops and seeing what was on sale. We scored a double DVD of the recent Indian release Water, paired with its sister film Fire (apparently the third in the trilogy, Earth, is very hard to get at the moment, but our friendly Indian supply store is looking for us).

I also found a copy of Soapdish for $5 -- Score! I don't know if anyone else likes this movie, but it's one of those easy-on-the-brain films I love to watch when I'm sick or highly stressed. Funny as hell, it's a complete piss-take of the soap-opera industry, starring Sally Field, Kevin Kline, a very young Robert Downey Jnr (before he wasted himself, in more ways than one) and a young Teri Hatcher with a bit of meat on her bones and Big Hair. I watched it again last night while doing a batch of baking, and found myself chanting along with the dialogue, which means, basically, that I'm a sad case and all hope is lost for me.

The other bargains were The Princess Bride (another chant-along one) and Supersize Me (which I still haven't seen). Plus our mate dropped around Series 4 of West Wing this morning... is it any wonder I'm not watching much live tv? Mind you, I'm addicted to Absolute Power at the moment, but I only stumbled upon that because it's straight after Spicks and Specks, which I do. not. miss.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Things to do, things to see

Bunny, originally uploaded by Ampersand Duck.

I've plopped my little Backtack3 bunny into my flickr graveyard* and worked out how to annotate the pictures. If you're interested, pop over and see. Probably the last time I ever try to sew something for an exchange, but it was fun while it lasted.

Also I've had a load of fun over at Sarsaparilla, playing with John Laws and an anagram generator. Suck it and see.

*I really don't use Flickr to its full capacity. I just dump stuff in and reuse it elsewhere. Sorry to anyone who pops into my flickr site expecting wildly arty things. Couldn't be arsed, really. One day I'll stop and play, maybe.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We have resumed normality...

...whatever normality is, in the words of the modern sage.

I'm pretty sure I've cracked my template problems, although until you all start a fresh batch of commenting I have no real way of knowing. You should be able to press 'quacks' and get a pop-up box straightaway, not get an interim page beforehand.

And, o joy! I managed to restore all my pre-Haloscan comments in technicolour glory, so anything from roughly August last year back are there. Next time I get a spare hour or two I'm going to experiment with restoring my newly-exported Haloscan comments by cutting and pasting, and when I think it's all pretty good I'll contact the NLA and see if any of this code-monkeying has been worth it.

If not, well, you're all doomed to obscurity... doomed, I tell ye! HAA HAAA HA HA HAAA...

Ahem. As you were.

Now... I know Zoe likes the colours I'm using, but tell me honestly... do you think the colour of the titles and links is a bit fleshy? Is it easy on the eyes, or hard to read? I think I like it, but I might tinker with the shades a bit.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


My backtack bunny finally arrived in Japan! Now I can get off the Outstanding List, which alarmed me when I saw my name on it, because I sent the parcel way before the due date. Dratted international postal service.

When I get a chance I'll post some detailed photos to show you how you can disguise bad sewing skills... way too late now, and I need my beauty sleep (at least to regenerate some more of those missing braincells).

I apologise for the inconvenience...

Sorry for the endless bouts of republishing if what I'm doing is affecting you... I'm trying to get back to using Blogger commenting, because I was alarmed to find that using Haloscan means that none of you get to be archived on PANDORA with me, and I think that's just not on, since commenting is such a vital part of blogging.

ANYHOO, I decided to rejig the template at the same time, since I was already faffing about endlessly with code. I hope this template is trouble-free for you.

The problem is, I still seem to be controlled by Haloscan, even though I've removed the Haloscan code. I'm thinking now it's something to do with my Haloscan account being active, but I can't find how to disable comments at their end without closing my account (I don't want to do that just yet).

So while I'm sorting all this out, there may be a few hiccups. The biggest hiccup is what to do with all the comments up to now... cut & paste? Argh. Anyway, if I can get this happening and then see if the NLA can archive Blogger comments, we can all start fresh and be witty for as long as they maintain the archive. I don't want to be alone in Pandora's box... I want you all in there with me!

So. on I go, trying to tweak until it all works. Any suggestions would be most welcome, if you're able to leave comments! Otherwise email me: letpress[blip]webone[blat]com[blat]au. [Take that, spammers.]


Sick of that perfunctory 404 - Page not found error message when you can't find a page?
Try this version. Ever so much nicer...

[Thanks to Miaow the Cat]

That time of year

Argh... do you ever get those times when you've been under a lot of pressure, and then when the pressure falls away, so does everything else? I seem to have left my brain cells scattered along the Snowy Mountains Highway. Handed in my arts grant application, packed all the wrong things for a cold long weekend away, forgot to bring stuff home, then still making dumb mistakes aplenty now I'm back.

The classic was unloading the weekend's photos from my camera last night. I plugged in the camera, turned it on and connected it to the computer, downloaded half into a folder, then switched my brain off and walked away for a while... went down to the supermarket, cooked dinner, watched an episode of West Wing (working our way through the 3rd series at the moment, lent by a friend who has them ALL), then came back to the computer and realised that my camera had been sitting patiently until it ran out of battery. So I can't unload the rest of the images until I recharge the battery, the recharger is for some reason at my artskool office, and I'm working from home today.

Sigh. It's because I stopped juggling my various tasks and caught up on some sleep. It reset my brain, and now I have to try and pick up all the juggling balls again, and most of them seemed to have rolled out of reach.

Well, I can share the first half of my photos with you, at least. I'll save the weekend for later in the week. Suffice to say it was a lovely weekend, down at my parents' prickle farm. We took the cats as usual, and they had a grand run around with the chooks and dogs. Today they're catching up on their sleep, in various corners of my home office.

It's the end of semester at art school. I love walking around being surprised by arty things appearing in odd places, and consequently assessment times are my favorite times of the academic year. I don't think the students would agree with me. I certainly wouldn't have agreed with me when I was a student. Heh.

Some of the following images aren't current works, but they are part of my walking day, so I thought while I had the camera out, I'd share them. Walk with me...

Drawings on the furniture come and go pretty regularly. They usually get painted off for the end-of-year graduating exhibition. One student a few years ago turned one of the back fire doors into a blackboard, then drew an exquisite line drawing of a bear on it that no-one has had the heart to erase yet.

Another example of art that lingers. If you can see it, the top half of the photo is a huge semi-trailer made from coloured vinyl stuck onto the roof of the stairwell like contact paper. It's pretty impressive, but even so, taking it down would damage anyone's neck, so it will stay there until someone can be bothered putting in the effort. The orange thing is an on-site drawing that seems to be lingering, but I think it will be erased at the end of the year, as it's not terribly endearing.

Another old snippet. I vaguely remember that this was a text piece using lines from daytime soap operas. There are lines of text scattered throughout the art school. You can see them while you wash your hands in the toilet, or walking down a corridor, like this one. I like them a lot. They feel like friends -- or maybe it's just the year I spent stoned in front of Days of Our Lives as a uni student.

Then there's the moment you walk around a familiar corner and get smacked in the face with something large and temporary. I came through that door at the back right and got a faceful of this large dark carved foam figure.

I walked across towards the women's toilets and saw a row of bottles above the door. 'Student party' was my first reaction, then I looked closer.

Penguins! Looking very Aardman, admittedly, but I'm taking a punt that there's a political message in those oil corporation logos on their fronts. See what I mean? A simple trip to the loo and I'm having a new experience.

moths (complete)
This is a drawn work made especially for the Moth and Butterfly Symposium I posted the other day (scroll down). I love this piece. The yellow circles are outside lights, full of old dead moths. The closer you get, the more the shapes break into small moth-like marks. So let's move closer.

moths (detail)
The artist is a PhD student who is a very talented printmaker. She's working on spiritual connections with the landscape. This work looks stunning at night.

On my way home I go past the Sculpture workshop yard, and it's always worth glancing in at this time of year. Most of the time people work on their components out at the forge in the yard, and put things together inside in their spaces. The brightness of this piece made me stop and have a closer look...

...and I fell in love. It's a Transformer! Sitting on a stool! This is one of those times I wished Bumblebee was with me. Apparently this is made out of the student's old car. It looks like it's trying to work out how to do up a shoelace without falling over. *Double sigh*

See what I mean? I'm paid crap to be at the art school, but it's so worth it! Don't you agree? OK, time to concentrate. Picking up brain cells with tweezers isn't easy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wunderkammer: 2. The Typewriter

Wunderkammer: a series celebrating the almost lost...

Did you know that typewriters have their own unique 'fingerprint'? Apparently, during the Cold War in the Eastern Bloc, typewriters were a controlled technology, with secret police in charge of maintaining files of the typewriters and their owners.

I suspect everyone with writing aspirations has a typewriter, whether manual or electric, no matter what your age. Somewhere in a cupboard, under the bed, in the shed, there's an old typewriter. Maybe it was yours before you surrendered to the ease of a computer. Maybe it was passed down to you from a family member. Perhaps you saw it in a junk shop and couldn't resist, but then you discovered you couldn't get ribbons for it anymore. Or if you're lucky, you have one in full working order, with as stockpile of ribbons and other odd accessories (font 'golfballs'!).

I used to work for an elderly professor who was unable to use a typewriter, let alone a computer. It was in the early 1990s, when secretaries were being phased out and academics were expected to do their own typing (but not their own administration). More...Prof found any noise above the scratch of his biro distracting. He'd bought a typewriter once, used it for a day then abandoned it through sheer frustration at the noise of the keys. It's still in his garage, a brand new Remington, mint condition. I used to do his typing for him, on my brand-new Mac Classic. These days he still writes longhand, and pays someone else to type for him.

But it's that noise of the keys that seduces would-be writers into acquiring the typewriter. There's something about the effort of tapping the keys, the simultaneous 'clack' noise and the instant gratification of seeing the words appear -- printed -- on the sheet of paper in front of you. It's that magical combination that promises avant-guard success in writing.

But the promise is an empty one. Ours is a gear-orientated, materialistic culture, but unfortunately the bottom line is all the gear in the world won't buy you the talent you need. The typewriter is abandoned when you realise that using one does not make you a better writer. All those mental images of the lone writer hunched over their keyboard, cigarette in mouth, tapping away on their life's masterpiece, is just a hopeful fantasy. Truman Capote would have loved a laptop. Jack Kerouac would have adored internet cafes, and On the Road probably would have been a blog.

Still, it doesn’t stop the typewriter from being an object of beauty, worth having for the fun of playing with it. I admit to having two typewriters at the moment. One was given to my son by a friend in an attempt to get him interested in doing his homework. It didn't work, but it got me playing with typing again as part of my art practice – 'play' being the operative word. I can't type fast on it because the 'v' key falls off with annoying regularity and I spike my finger on the exposed stem. So I play with it. I type on foil, on toilet paper, on prints. Typewriter art isn't new, certainly isn't cutting edge, but it's damn good fun.

The other typewriter is in a drawer at my parents' house, and it's a strange and short-lived hybrid of typewriter and printer; you type into it, it stores your lines up for a while in its memory, then it prints out, supposedly trying to justify your lines and space your type in a more elegant way than a normal fixed-space typewriter. It was confusing to work with, because the delayed reaction eroded your concentration. It was quickly -- and thankfully -- overtaken by the computer and printer, and now I can't get any parts for it, so I guess it'll be landfill before too long. That's why the old, manual, portable typewriter will live a little longer: it satisfies the senses, and when the ribbon runs out, I can just use carbon paper to make it work in the traditional sense. But carbon paper is another post for another day.

BTW: For those nostalgic about their typewriters, it is possible to install a piece of software that simulates a typewriter 'clack' noise for your computer keyboard. But it's just not the same, is it?
Sites to Explore: The Virtual Typewriter Museum (which is where 2 of the images above come from),The Classic Typewriter Page, Chuck & Rich's Antique Typewriter Museum, Typewriter Wiki. Any other suggestions welcome!

[crossposted at Sarsaparilla]

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Moth balls

Just before I go to bed after a evening of rigorous number-crunching and a day of trying to show a Japanese exchange student with little English how to bind a book...

Here's some shots from The Moth and Butterfly Symposium:


A huge texta drawing! Gorgeously eye-hurtingly colourful when you stand in front of it.

Fastiduously cut-out paper insects, arranged over a lot of wall.

Very beautiful paper objects. I thought they were constructed from prints of feather close-ups, but they are prints of magnified bits of moths then constructed into shapes.

A very hard work to photograph, but very nice to be next to. Fairy-winged thing at door of birdcage is sending weird stamen down towards miniature dog and fake grassy knoll at bottom of ladder. Dreamlike.

VERY weird alien object which was like a meaty cocoon with a fang at the end hanging from a tree limb. It glistened and seemed to throb (without moving) and it freaked Dean out, but not so much that he wouldn't pose his hand with it.


One angle of the gallery

Steev being a mad moth scientist, and he didn't even need to act :)

Mad moth scientist being paranoid about insects and handing out moth balls in little scrotular bags.

Worshipping at the shrine of the Bogong moth.

The strange cast of a strange moth Happening. I think the dude on the left is a Bogan moth.

'Night all.

It's all happening, with wings on...

If you're in Canberra and want something nice to do on the allegedly most evil moment* of the new century, come and partake of a Happening!

Tonight at 6pm in the ANU School of Art Foyer Gallery, Liversidge Street, Australian National University:

The Moth and Butterfly Symposium!

Art, performance and really cool people like artists and scientists interacting upon the theme of Moths and Butterflies. It will be a thing of beauty. Be there or be fluffy.

I don't think they're planning any Satanic acts, but you never know :)

*6/6/6... at 6pm, geddit?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Nest activity

I haven't really had the headspace for blogosphere in the past few days, and I can't see it getting any better for a few more. It's getting very close to funding grant application deadline, and I'm doing my best to present an attractive case. FUND ME! I shall screech as I drop in the application, and if I really get stressed I may flash my tits. Only joking. It probably won't be good weather for tit-baring, knowing Canberra.

Anyhoo, in the absence of my full attention, I thought I'd share the other activities in my household in the hope that it may amuse you for the 30 seconds you've come to visit:


lime marmalade making

Every weekend he's been making a preserve or some sort of jammy thing. This weekend it's lime marmalade and I think, judging by the ultra-fresh tang in the air, another batch of his celebrated lemon marmalade.



Bumblebee is actually at his dad's this weekend, but he left an assortment of lego creations to get underfoot. What you can see here is (clockwise from top left) a Dalek; something with really cool guns that can do amazing things but can't kill Daleks; an electronic mouse thingy with a butt bristling with lightsabres; and a little Dalek helper.


I know this is all you care about, really, so double helpings for everybody.

Mr Pooter has discovered lizards. I managed to rescue this one after taking a photo or two, but I'm not sure if lizards can survive after losing legs *and* tails...

Mr Padge decided to help me take all the stickers and tags off my pile of purchases after I visited the Bonds seconds sale the other day and stocked up on t-shirts and underwear... He got a bit antsy with the tags and even more with my camera cord...

Note the healthy amount of claw that cat can show!

Today, after a week of such excitement, the cats decided to cuddle up on my office chair...

Pooter wasn't quite sure that he was happy; maybe Padge had just murmured something rude...

...whatever it was, he was quite pleased with himself for saying it.

That's it. I'm getting late-night mutters from the bedroom :)

Postscript: fell in love with the Victoria Roberts cartoon in the Good Weekend yesterday, and regretted that I didn't get a chance to scan it, but goodly Galaxy has done it for me. Check it out, and feel your mouth water at the fennel bits.