Wednesday, 31 December 2003

joe made some other cocktails that changed and morphed over time, but they were first called 'red peril', containing:
raspberry juice and liqueur, strawberries and coitreau. incarnations also included mint, pineapple and possible other things.

now they are making long island iced tea and as there is only 24 minutes left until the new year, it is of little consequence.
joe couch with the tousled hair and artful singlet made harvey wallbangers - galliano, vodka, and fresh orange juice

bek is making something pineappley. She's calling it a Pielapple Plush. It contains:
pineapple juice (mr kool)
orange juice (not even fresh)
mint
lemon juice
lime
bacardi
vodka
ice
blended
the total instructions

verdict
bruno: very good
pam: subtle, refreshing
karen: very nice
ben: pretty good, i think i'd better stop drinking the creamy ones though
heath: doesn't know because he doesn't drink cocktails

okay. that's it for now. haven't tried joe's harvey wallbangers yet.
next is a mojito by french bruno. it contains:
rum
mint
perrier
sugar
lime
crushed ice

my first response was that it tastes like a salad, but it's very...clean tasting. heath said you can't make friends with salad. which is true.
okay. so herewith we shall document all cocktails created this evening.

the first, which was mine and not too original, was a whole lot of watermelon, raspberry juice, bacardi, lime juice, ice - blended in a blender and very tasty indeed. i think we'll call it a Crush on Bekka.

the most recent is called Peaches and Cream, created by Ben Rolfe.
fresh peaches
bailey's
vodka
cream
honey (the secret ingredient, which is now posted on the net)

i pronounce it to be mmmm....sacrelicious...but it needs to be colder. bek says it's yummy. i can't really taste the peaches. i can only really taste the bailey's, which might have something to do with the fact that ben basically upended the bottle into the blender. still. not bad.
okay, well in the meantime while i skulk and hide from social interaction i will tell you that it has been a

bek has to say hello now.

hello world
happiest of new years
2004 is definately going to be better then 2003 I feel
thats enough from me

well, short and sweet i suppose. the kitchen is full of chatty people, natalie merchant is playing (which is kind of mellow really). i keep hearing snatches of conversation that blend together in a very surreal way, punctuated by laughter and momentary lapses. ben rolfe made bek a dodgy salsa mix, including finnish and french salsas. i'm not sure how i feel about that. bek just put it on and immediately began dancing around the room. it's very cute.

anyway, my holidays are almost over. it has been a very social couple of weeks but not long enough, i fear. it doesn't quite feel like a holiday unless i go somewhere, and if i had the time i probably would have gone...somewhere. it's been good catching up with people, though, as i feel i have been in a bit of a blackout due to writing and general stress. i suppose as a writer i have to get used to those periods of seclusion and silence; in some ways i crave it, but after a while i start to feel a bit adrift. it's good that i have the sorts of friends who don't mind if i disappear for a while, as they know i'll always come back. eventually.
i'm at bek's and we are building up to the new year by drinking lots of yummy things. it was pretty much a case of bring-whatever-half-bottles-of-stuff-you-have and put them together in the blender. so far we haven't come up with anything unpleasant...i'm sure it will happen at some point, but so far the experimentation has been successful...i shall keep you updated, as i'm sure you are curious and enquiring minds need to know.

(have the taste of butterscotch schnapps and baileys on my tongue. i will spare you the name of this shooter - 10 points if you guess it*)














*points have no actual value

Friday, 26 December 2003

another hot christmas! it was 35 degrees celsius at 6pm yesterday, and probably about 40 in my house. my bedroom, in particular, seems to retain heat very well, with the additional feature of excellent acoustics, enabling me to hear every word uttered by my neighbours across the way. and do these neighbours speak poetry, discuss philosophy, delight in the finer elements of intellectual argument? no. they listen to christina aguliera, play soccer on their playstations and call each other 'asswipe'. normally i wouldn't care in the slightest, but when it is very hot and i have to sleep with the window open, it is less than pleasant to hear every detail of their sordid little lives.

on christmas day, though, it was perfectly quiet and peaceful despite the heat. it is only now, on boxing day, that they have all returned from wherever they celebrated christmas. i know they are here just to inconvenience me, aren't they? ;)

but how wonderful, even if it is only two weeks, to have time off to sleep in, and read silly books, and watch lots of movies and generally sloth out! i am going to see return of the king tomorrow, possibly going to a movie marathon on sunday, have another buffy day planned for tuesday, and a lazy new year's eve. ahh.

now if i can just learn to love my neighbours, all will be well with the world!

i hope you are happy and well, wherever you may be.

Friday, 12 December 2003

you have to look at this. it takes very little to make me laugh, but a lot more to keep me laughing. I love this!

well, almost halfway through december. i had my doubts that i'd get this far. everything seems so stressful, but when i break up all the things that have demands on my time, there isn't actually anything that deserves the stress attributed to it.

if there is such a thing as burnout, i think i am officially burned out.

but it's holidays soon, and there's plenty of good food around, and tonight i get to watch several episodes of buffy with mark and jennie so things are looking up!

Sunday, 16 November 2003

finished!


aaaaaaaaaaaahaahahahahahahahahhahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

now the interminable wait for comments, then corrections, but a blissful week with plenty of time for sleep and lolling about.

yay!

Friday, 7 November 2003

i hardly did anything noteworthy in october. it seems to have been a very full and stressful month! november isn't looking much better...i'm just trying to hang on until 22 December, when i go on holidays. FINALLY!

i saw league of extraordinary gentlemen but that was the only movie i made it to. extraordinary silliness, but good escapism when in thesis mode. didn't rent any movies, was very restrained...haven't even watched the five discs of West Wing Brett loaned me - now THAT'S self control!

but i did see matrix revolutions last night. not entirely sure what i thought about it, but am still confused as to how it is so different from the first film. in the first, the portentious and rhetorical dialogue seemed plausible in a strange way, as brett said, probably because there was an unreal edge to it, with neo still trying to figure out where he belonged in the universe. in the last two, the dialogue is so unbelievably trite in places, or perhaps it's the delivery. if...you...pause...between...each...word...it...sounds...marginally...more...intelligent. the only one who can make it sound like art is hugo weaving. also, i loved the crumbly, retro feel of the first film and have never been convinced by zion and the grubby knitwear. still, there were some beautiful images, and some great ideas mixed in with all the fromage.

(also, what happened to morpheus and trinity? in the first film they were so kick-ass and in the second and third they just seem to fade into the background.)

anyway.

this is all procrastination. i should be knuckling down to thesisville - am on the last stretches now, but it's getting harder to concentrate. roll on december! i'm looking forward to having a space in my brain cleared out of all university stuff, ready to be filled with more crap movies. :)

Monday, 20 October 2003

weird. just got an email from a friend (slightly long-lost, but maybe more slightly misplaced for a time) who had read a story of mine that was 'loosely modelled' on a period of time we spent together.

i went back and read it. ouch.

this is the problem - i tend to loosely model most of my writing on actual experience...call me crazy, but it seems to work. not that any of it is strictly autobiographical, it's usually a pastiche of people, places and events. it gets tricky then, when friends identify themselves in my work and are not necessarily thrilled with the representation.

just rest assured, if it ever happens to you and i'm the one who wrote it, i'm sorry if i caused offence and i really understand that the event didn't really happen that way, and that you never owned a blue dress and that you don't even like coffee. you can take whatever cautionary lesson you'd like out of it, or just reject it altogether, I don't mind.

but what did you think of the story? :)

ah, j, i'm glad you read it. i miss sparring with you.

Friday, 17 October 2003

ah. getting a sense of equilibrium back. it's good to be at home on a cloudy friday, with a big cup of coffee, quietness, inspiration firing and lunch imminent.

i thought i would work on the last edits of my creative manuscript this morning, as i still haven't got my head around the critical essay and thought it would be better to work on something than to just while away the morning with frippery as i normally do. and, wonder of wonders, i'm actually enjoying the piece now! i have hated it pretty much the whole time i've been writing it, but now, looking at it after a month of leaving it alone, i can see some merit.

which is not to say i'm entirely satisfied with it, but then i don't think i ever will be.

thinking about a fellowship in the uk i want to apply for next year, where i would have the opportunity to write a book dealing with some aspect of life in the 'far east' (which to us actually living in australia is pretty much 'here') - so my work would fit in perfectly. i'm trying not to think about the potential playing field and who else might also apply for this fellowship, but am telling myself that of course my work is as worthy as any for consideration. so all the positive reinforcement from my friends is actually starting to sink in, after all this time. :)

timewise, i'm tottering on quite a thin precipice it feels, and if i try to step back for any perspective i might just fall off. so i have to keep chipping away at my thesis, at work, at various other commitments, and hope that they all stay balanced. probably not too healthy, but in a couple of months the academic pressure will be gone and i won't know what to do with myself! can't wait!!

why is it that everything is always due at the same time? does the universe conspire to bring about this situation? i have the deadline for my thesis, the fellowship application and the big conference for my work in canberra all falling at the same time. couldn't they have been spread out a bit? is that too much to ask?

whoa, wobbling a bit here. might stop thinking about it and go and make lunch. food helps everything. :)

Thursday, 2 October 2003

well it did rain yesterday, a little bit. big clouds looming now, and there's supposed to be a thunderstorm this afternoon, which would be delightful.

so now, the month that was.

books:
gangland by mark davis
really for uni, had it on loan for a month without opening it and now have had to renew it three times because i keep procrastinating. finally got around to reading it, and enjoyed it - all about 'generationalism', cultural elites, and the role the media has in pushing the conflict between perceived generational groups. the book itself is not without problems - davis rants about how certain minority groups and genres are given short shrift and then ignores evidence (no matter how small) to the contrary. case in point, according to my supervisor paul - davis carries on about the negative press given to young writers and grunge lit in an edition of meanjin and totally ignored an article in that same edition written by my (young) supervisor in defence of grunge lit. but those things aside, davis raises some interesting points and it's all very easy to read. :)

movies:
legally blonde 2
oh, such a shame. could have been much much better. i still had fun, but hated that feeling you get in a sequel when you're waiting for it to deviate even a little bit from the original film. the last third of the movie was better, but most of it just seemed like quite a feeble rehash of the first (which I loved).

pirates of the carribean
in contrast, here is a film i loved every single bit of, even if it was based on a theme park ride.

dvd:
daredevil
bek hadn't seen it and although i hated it at the cinema, i thought perhaps i had been too harsh. but no, i stick to my original position. another movie that could have been much much better but was so disjointed and badly put together that it made me cringe all over again.

chocolat
bek hadn't seen this either, but i was more than happy to see it again. must be something about johnny depp...and irish accents...

labyrinth
and david bowie in tights (but this is for humour, not phwoar value). tee hee.

latest retail therapy kick:
i don't know why, but i came over all girly and had a sudden desire to play with makeup. i found benefit and alas, all was lost; i just wanted to be a 50s screen siren.

also there's remo for overpriced but funky stuff. haven't bought anything from here yet, but just like looking at it all. i used to go into the shop when it was in darlinghurst and dream of having enough money to buy everything in the shop. that day has still not arrived...i wonder if i'm doing something wrong...

first group activity at my new house:
(nerd alert) a day of gaming! bek and heath and i played vampire in a world that looked suspiciously like guelph (well it would have, except bek scribbled out any identifiable place names), chasing after precious artefacts, busting drug lords and stealing motorbikes. true to form, heath played the nosferatu with a heart of gold, i played the tremere with no idea, and ben rolfe arrived late in the piece and played a malkav who liked to take cars apart. time passed very quickly.

Tuesday, 30 September 2003

spring has sprung
the grass is riz
i wonder where the birdies is?


gorgeous gorgeous weather at the moment, although the temperature can't decide what it wants to do. i like the vast, blue, sun filled skies with a chill in the air, so it suits me fine.

i also like lots of rain, and it hasn't rained for ages.

i think we've moved in next to my brother, or one of his species, anyway. heard all these male voices out the front on the weekend that got gradually more and more languid and silly, with lots of croaky laughter and giggles. mum came downstairs and had to shut the door because the smell of the happy smoke was a bit too overpowering. she briefly wondered whether cats could get high, but decided our cat would be well used to it by now. then i heard the audio from lord of the rings blasting through the door and i had to smile.

i'm going to bellingen this weekend for the global carnival, where there will probably be lots of happy smoke, as well as great music, uncoordinated dancing and my first camping experience since i was in year 8. i'm borrowing ben rolfe's tent and sleeping bag, about which he said "the tent is small and kind of uncomfortable and the sleeping bag is small and not very warm". so i'm not planning to sleep a great deal this weekend, which is just as well because there will probably be too much going on anyway!

then after the carnival bek and i will drive up to woolgoolga and visit pappa and rose, then drive back. i've borrowed my dad's car, which is quite hilarious really, but i pointed out that driving a black bmw is probably tame compared to most as the carnival is apparently full of sydney yuppies who think they're 'going bush'.

of which i am one, of course, but at least i'm fully aware of the irony. :)

Friday, 19 September 2003

so we have a new place, but i'm not writing from it as the phone is still not connected. it's okay on one level, cos we're still yuppies with mobiles, but annoying cos i can't go online. still i guess i'm online all day at work, so what more do i want, but i have slipped very easily into habit with instant-always-on-information-and-time-wastage.

i have bruises all over my legs. no idea how any of them happened. i assume it must have been with the box lugging, but suspect a small team of pixies with little baseball bats attack me while i'm sleeping.

new place is extremely good and we are happy to be in it. bonuses include:

*new kitchen with gas burners that turn on when they're supposed to, and a light over the stove that works!

* bathroom that is so adequately ventilated that my towel is - gasp! - dry the next morning. it also does not feature slugs, bugs or extant mould that is impossible to get rid of.

* quietness - when the doors are closed, you can't hear the neighbours through the walls.

* perfect television reception! so exciting to be able to watch the ABC without seeing the image repeated four times (five if there's a strong wind).

* newness and brightness and general loveliness.

there are a couple of downsides, like the reduction in space and a bathroom fan that sounds like a plane taking off and that won't turn off for 15 minutes after you've turned off the switch, but we're adapting to our new goldfish bowl and an electrician is going to fix the fan.

it feels like a holiday living in this house. i like it. :)

Sunday, 14 September 2003

oh...so...tired...

am in the middle of moving house and took a few moments to delve into my computer. the biggest mistake was to stop moving, as now i have no impetus to get back up.

it will be such a relief tomorrow when the removalists arrive to take all the big furniture over to the new place. i get to stay at the new house all day and unpack, which is kind of cool, as then i get to put stuff where i want it (and mum has volunteered to do all the cleaning in exchange, which is totally fine by me!!). have to do origami with all our possessions, as the place we're moving to is a lot smaller than our current digs. but newer and cleaner and more excellent in every way (georgia - in feel it's kind of like brett's flat in darlinghurst only with an upstairs. oh...and furniture - none of that minimalist thing for us, nosiree!)

now i think i'd better go do some more before bed time. next time i write i'll be living elsewhere!

Monday, 8 September 2003

august was insanely busy for some reason, and i can't remember what i did last month particularly...i'll try...

books:
stardust by neil gaiman
gorgeous!

(i think it's only 'book' singular this month...i'm sure i read more than that but can't tell you what it was)

movies:
many i intended to see but didn't.

cultural input:
the pearl fishers
absolutely beautiful, tingly-sensation music. sitting two rows from the front which was good because you could see everything onstage, but bad because you couldn't read the surtitles (had to guess the intricacies of the plot, which seemed to be much more homoerotic than i remembered) and you could see the streaky finger marks in the lead guy's fake tan. other than that, wonderful!

sydney symphony
went with the lovely jackie menyhart to this concert, which was conducted by tan dun and featured his water concerto and the crouching tiger, hidden dragon concerto. jackie had issues with the solo cellist, who was a very 'dramatic' and tight-leather-clad young woman with long curls she kept tossing all over the place, but she played very beautifully. the water concerto was amazing (the first two rows had to wear raincoats), and involved three percussionists 'playing' huge bowls of water, using cups, gongs, hands, whatever. very impressive (jackie didn't have issues with the solo percussionist; she thought he was quite cute).

saving henry and crowds
saw this last week at the studio at the opera house with brett, em and bek. interesting. crowds was lots of fun - short, quirky and a very good use of soundscapes. saving henry was less successful i felt, and not just because the subject matter was a little unsettling (about a young boy who had been sexually abused after his mother's death...cheery!). first off, it was billed as "an intensely poetic ballet", but there wasn't really anything you could call ballet in it. angus cerini was very arresting and strong onstage, but there were huuuge gaps in the flow of the piece, it didn't seem to go anywhere, i kept wanting to fall asleep (okay, i was very tired), and the stage manager's calls could be heard very clearly in the audience. as bek said "when there's about to be a really suspenseful moment in a piece, i don't want to know that lx cue 32 is standing by!" so not particularly great, but glad i went anyway, for certain moments, and for crowds.

not quite as highbrow theatre moments:
knock on wood
bek and i, led by sympathy and insanity, agreed to help my uncle out with a show he was invovled with. he is heavily into amateur theatre and having been involved with university theatre in the past i suppose it would have been churlish of me not to have offered my assistance when he was desperate for a musical director to step in at the last minute. oh, such altruism will never be displayed again in such a fashion, i can tell you.

i managed to avoid going to rehearsals and didn't even find out the name of the show until the dress rehearsal. then bek and i spent three evenings at the ryde-eastwood leagues club, cueing the house band (in various states of inebriation) while my uncle and various poppets performed this show onstage. i can't say much more about it than that, as the memories are already sinking into oblivion, but suffice it to say that on our way home one night we developed a cocktail that captured the very essence of the show: midori and passion pop over a lite beer shandie.

class.

Tuesday, 2 September 2003

aha! we're moving! after almost four years in this little glebe terrace house we're moving all the way to...camperdown. basically three streets away from where we are now. but it's new! there may end up being other issues, such as space or lack thereof, but in the short term at least i am going to love living in a house without an indoor atrium of bamboo, without the menagerie of bugs and slugs in the bathroom, without the hardy collection of mould in various corners, without kamikaze kitchen cupboard doors that try to leap off at you every time you walk past.

it's also a good opportunity to get rid of stuff. you live in one place for long enough and you start to line the walls with bits and pieces and eventually you're living in your own custom built cave. some of the stuff i have in boxes i have moved from place to place and never used, never dragged out, never done anything with except to stack more boxes on top. so it's gonna go!

some stuff i can't get rid of, like a tape i found the other day of me in year 12 interviewing teachers and students at my high school about their first kisses. not the world's best interviews, but made me giggle. and there is footage of a certain rupert reid with long scruffy hair and a yellow shirt. i'm pretty sure that clip isn't in his showreel, but he could add that to the five second clip of him in the matrix reloaded and i'm sure hollywood would beckon. :)

Thursday, 28 August 2003

i sent two stories to a competition today. it felt like a huge achievement, even though i'm not sure the stories were up to scratch. i might post them on the site eventually, as that section has been static for a while and my legions of fans must be hungry for more. ;)

it feels like i'm getting back into the swing with the writing, which is a great relief. it makes me feel a bit more secure in my abilities and my desire to write, and enables me to cope (just) with encounters such as the following...

i was at the supermarket today and these two people stood behind me, talking very loudly. why is it that people whose opinions are facetious and who are incredibly annoying are always the loudest, and talk in confined spaces like supermarket queues, coming out of the movies/play/live performance, on the bus, etc? this girl said, in an extremely world-weary voice:

"I started a book last night."

Her male companion said, "Reading?"

"No, writing."

"That's cool."

"Yeah, well I've got five thousand words."

"Wow, that's heaps!"

"Yeah. And now everyone's like, 'I don't want to see myself in there!' And I mix it up a bit, you know, but all my friends are worried they'll see themselves in there."

"You can use me."

"I can use you? Excellent. I just don't know what'll happen when it gets picked up, you know, with people recognising themselves. It could be embarrassing."

No, honey, I think you're plenty embarrassing on your own.

Sunday, 10 August 2003

my heart aches with longing to write. i want to be consumed, be absorbed, be absolutely engulfed with story and character and delight and heights and depths and all of it.

what is holding me back?

my small, tired brain won't let me concentrate on reading anything too complex - so i don't get fed that way. i start on excellent books that grab me from the outset, only to put them down and realise, weeks later, that i've completely forgotten those few pages i read and intended to go on with. i write a few pages, every now and again, but nothing near complete scenes let alone complete stories.

there have been times in the past when i couldn't wait to get back to my stories, to tinker and toil. these days i hardly ever go back to any of them, nor start new ones.

i don't know if it's my attention span, or tiredness from work, or boredom in life...probably little bits of all those things. i was going to take this seriously. a couple of years ago i made that decision. but it doesn't feel like i could live or die by the word. it's so much more mundane than that.

why don't they tell you about the beige banality of it all? what is stopping me from leaping into it? why am i such a stereotype?!

:)

Friday, 8 August 2003

spare a thought for poor heath who was hit by a car last sunday as he crossed parramatta road to go into sydney uni.

and the response? "yeah. broke my back. s'ok. doesn't hurt that much."

i haven't seen him yet, but it's a helluva thing to happen. sucks a lot, despite the cavalier attitude and his self-prediction that everything will be completely normal again in six weeks. well, something useful could come of it - we'll probably be able to tell when a storm is imminent because heath's back will start to twinge. or something.

i'm bringing you some brownies tomorrow, achy-breaky-back person! they'll make anything better!

Monday, 4 August 2003

here we are at the beginning of the month again. time for the monthly roundup which i only do as a curio, a mini time capsule for posterity that does nothing to enhance the social structure or shed light on anything interesting whatsoever. and also cos it's my blog and i'll write useless trivia if i want to (you would write too if it happened to you).

:)

books:
harry potter and the order of the phoenix by jk rowling
yay yay and double yay for teenaged angst.

night watch by terry pratchett
revolutionaries ahoy!

a call to spiritual reformation by da carson
have only read the first couple of chapters, as it is quite heavy going, but an excellent book that inspires change.

the feel of steel by helen garner
i revisited this while looking for a passage to read at a reading night recently - i can't recommend this book enough, it is just so blunt and bare and rich and full and garner is a constant inspiration to me.

movies:
charlie's angels: full throttle
oh boy how i loved this. absolute silliness and escapism. heath and i giggled our way through it.

terminator 3: rise of the machines
also absolute silliness and escapism and extremely cool. claire danes rocks!

so many other movies i wanted to see but haven't. oh for more time and more money!

dvd:
minority report
watched this again - was surprised again by how much i enjoyed it (i'm not a huge cruise or spielberg fan by default). gorgeous art direction and a decent story to boot! watched a lot of the supplemental stuff which was fascinating (yes, i'm one of those nerds).

8 femmes
now this was surreal. fun and totally farcical and i loved the costumes, and i couldn't help giggling when it ended with the actresses all lined up, singing a song about death. it just seemed so right.

also had a west wing fest with old school friends claire and jo - oh, the memories...

latest cooking triumph:
the world's best brownies. helluva lot of chocolate. mmmm...

Tuesday, 29 July 2003

so i finished it. and i loved it. i was berated by my 11 year old friend bethany for being far too slow - well i think a week is pretty decent going considering i had to work for half of it! bek tells me it is even better on the second reading, but my mother has commandeered the book so i won't be able to revisit it for a while.

now, alas, i am once again in the harry potter wasteland. how long till the next one, joanne? i have to say i think it was worth the wait anyway, and although that brick of a book was very difficult to read in bed comfortably, it's very satisfying to know how much book you have to look forward to. :) reading books like this is like eating chocolate pudding, totally indulgent and probably not very nourishing but extremely enjoyable and comforting. i agreed with most of andrew shead's review (a christian perspective, if you need warning).

now i have oryx and crake by ms atwood and wee free men by mr pratchett (this is not counting uni books of course because they never count). i also want to get hold of coraline and american gods by mr gaiman, but that will probably have to wait until the next pay packet.

speaking of mr gaiman, where the hell does he get the time to do everything he does? his must be the most comprehensively updated blog i've come across - well, that actually has interesting content - where he gives great insights into the life of a writer, as well as answering rather a lot of fan mail. and he travels all the time and gives speeches and does signings. and he manages to write amazing stuff across a wide range of media. i have a great admiration for the man. and i also get very, very tired thinking about it.

Monday, 21 July 2003

oh it's exciting to get deliveries! i got up this morning feeling slothlike, miserably anticipating monday after a day in bed yesterday with an unshakeable cold. i went out the front door to get the newspaper and - lo and behold! - there were two boxes on the top step! finally my books from amazon have arrived! cheered me up immensely, it did. particularly since i finished night watch last night (an excellent pratchett in my opinion, very well paced) and had that aimless, vaguely depressed feeling i get when i have finished a good book and am not sure what i will read next. should it be an extreme departure from what i have just finished, or should i go and find everything the author has ever written and devour it until i feel sick? (in pratchett's case there isn't much choice as i did that a few years ago and have been meandering through his published works again this year again in an attempt to avoid, well, everything.)

but it's all a moot point now. so. i will be absorbed in a kilo of jk rowling's words tonight and then, when that runs out, on to margaret atwood's latest, oryx and crake which also sounds excellent. bliss!




PS in case you are wondering why i ordered books from amazon, that huge and scary beast that doesn't even operate in the southern hemisphere, let alone australia (apparently, according to brett, in marketing terms our population is too negligible to warrant having our own amazon...we have a smaller population than some small african countries apparently...i stopped listening and started making fun of him when he dragged out the statistics, although admittedly they were from michael moore and were quite interesting):

1. i had a gift certificate
2. both books were half price
3. it's nice to get packages in the mail
4. when i ordered them i was in the middle of thesis writing and thought if i had them in my hot little hands i would procrastinate by reading them, but if i ordered from the UK, no less, then they would take a while to get here and by that time i would have finished writing and would be ready for some diversion (and not tempted to buy them in the meantime)

all good in theory, but when the books arrive ten days later than you were anticipating, you can get a little impatient. still, i stand by my actions and it has all worked out well and i'm happy. :)

Thursday, 17 July 2003

i've just noticed what a satisfying word 'tidbit' is, on the page. not quite palindromic, but with a lovely balance and quirkiness.

tidbit

(as you can tell, i'm quite unwell)

Thursday, 3 July 2003

I'VE FINISHED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aaahhhahahahahahahhaaaa

boy it feels good to be free. to have sixty-four pages bound with a clip, my name on the front, handed to my supervisor and promptly ejected from my brain space. it's good to be able to not...do...anything...

and i'm so bloody exhausted, it's just as well i don't have to do anything. worked till late last night on the endings to the two stories, slept for a couple of hours, got up and worked some more, went to my job for a while, went to uni to drop the manuscript off, went to my other job, then came home and fell asleep on the couch. then my bro came over and we watched the animatrix, which totally kicks butt, and i'm almost starting to feel human again.

going to a conference on the northern beaches over the weekend, so even though the weather probably won't be great, it will be good to be out of the house and away from my computer for a couple of days... :)

ah...bliss! bliss!

Tuesday, 1 July 2003

monthly procrastinatory objects

monthly procrastinatory objects
new month, new financial year, but i reckon my list of stuff will be a lot like last month's...

movies:
haven't actually been to a cinema all month, i don't think. maybe i have but i just can't remember.

the shipping news on DVD
surprised that i enjoyed this a lot. but you can't really go wrong with kevin spacey and judy dench, and i liked julianne moore a lot in it too.

books:
the shipping news by e. annie. proulx
okay finally started it as a result of watching the movie. avoided it for years because of all the hype. enjoy her style and like the story but have only read the first fifty pages or so...

good omens by terry pratchett and neil gaiman
because i got sidetracked by this instead.

music:
a whole hodge podge of things...just shoved a whole bunch of ani, badly drawn boy, b52s, the sundays, rickie lee jones and barenaked ladies into itunes (ouch!) and i play random selections from time to time as i'm working.

got the chicago soundtrack too. that's fun.

most successful procrastination technique:
cooking. yesterday, while i was supposed to be writing, i made some vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge swirly bits (yummo), a boxful of merengues, char-siu (that red marinated Chinese roast pork), and some stir fried gai-lan, carrots and asparagus to eat with the char-siu. YUM. i did do some writing in between, but it's mostly in annoying editing stage and so lots of getting-up-and-doing-stuff occurs in the meantime.

sleeping is also good. and playing the sims, which has to be one of the most pointless, annoying and completely addictive games i've ever played. possibly even beats tragic...actually, no, on second thought, probably not.

:P

Saturday, 28 June 2003

p is for procrastination

i need to get me one of those time control devices. or be able to de-obfuscate things (what's the word i should use there? doesn't matter, i'm making words up now).

i'm almost finished with my mini-opus, and have to hand it in in a couple of days. fine, no problem. but i'm sick of the sight of it - i hate editing! and it still needs an ending. two endings in fact (no, it's not a choose your own adventure, although maybe it should be...) - i have two sections from the POV of two different characters and neither section ends. one stops, mid-scene, and the other just kind of peters out. oh, after the gratuitous sex-scene-that-isn't-a-sex-scene.

i have more than enough words, and have been wrestling with them and trying to make them do what i want for a couple of weeks now. i feel like the key is just there, only there's this weird fog thing (not flesh-eating) and i can't see how far ahead the key is. could be a coupla steps, could be a mile. and i just...want...to...finish...

apart from anything else i'd like to start some new stories and not feel guilty. :)

anyway, that was just my whinge. i suppose i've done everything else i can do to waste time today so i really should go on and open up that file and...aaaaaaaaaaaaargggggh!

Tuesday, 3 June 2003

i'm starting up a thing, trying to get my workshop group into cyberspace and i don't know if it's working...i forget that most people don't tinker around online like me. and compared to some i hardly tinker at all!

well even if it doesn't work, i have carved myself yet another little hollow in the world. still trying to figure out these ezboards, think i've almost got it. almost...

Sunday, 1 June 2003

monthly thing roundup

movies:
memento on DVD
first saw this in singapore on someone's laptop so had to see it again on a real sized screen. still impressed with the storytelling. and carrie-anne moss.

matrix reloaded
saw this earlier in the month on the opening night, complete with the usual try-hards in leather jackets and sunglasses. want to see it again - not sure it's as good as its predecessor but feel confident it will all fit better as one block once the third one comes out.

television:
daniel deronda - last episode on tonight of this george eliot adaptation. don't know why i like it, the lead chick is actually quite annoying. must be the costumes and the flouncing and the troubled young men with sideburns. but it does make me want to go and read george eliot, don't know why i haven't as yet.

books:
carpe jugulum - terry pratchett
continuing on my witches' trajectory, avoiding real books.

on not speaking chinese - ien ang
a real book, mainly for uni, but a very cool book by a very interesting woman

music:
new map of the world - paul coleman trio
about a boy - badly drawn boy

Saturday, 24 May 2003

next door is having an open for inspection. i'm just sitting on my bed, doodling on the computer and watching this endless stream of people climbing up the stairs next door to go and stickybeak through the house. mum is vacuuming, which is giving me a bit of a headache, but when she stops all i can hear are the footsteps and conversations next door. i hate thin walls.

oh! to live in a stand-alone house!

the general demeanour is one of studied yuppie. brown suede jackets and close cropped hair for the men, sleek bobs and tailored leather jackets for the women. suspicious glances at everyone else and a really-couldn't-care-less-but-if-you-gazump-me-i'll-kill-you expressions. there is a constant cavalcade of cars outside and people parking on the wrong side of the road, and peering disdainfully into our front yard as they go up the stairs.

i hate this. i'm basically anti-social, i know, but i just hate groups of people hanging around. it makes me feel threatened, which is stupid on many levels, but in this context it is acute. the thing i hate even more is that eventually one of these yuppies will buy the place and then we'll be neighbours.

oh! to live in the country in a stand-alone house surrounded by space and lack of people. which is not to say i would live a hermit-like existence. certain people would know the secret access codes and the way to find my little house perched on a mountainside, through the winding roads and rainforesty tracks and only the best ones would come and visit and we'd have slumber parties and watch movies and lie on the porch and look at the stars.

Tuesday, 20 May 2003

okay. upsides and downsides.

downside: i'm sick and miserable and the doctor said he can't do anything for me and i just have to ride it out. upside: i got my new ibook yesterday so i can lie in bed and plug into the world.

i think that's a pretty good upside, myself.

it also means i can write anytime, anywhere. no more being chained to the desk! i had a huge, painful burst of creativity last week (when i was also sick) and got 15000 words into some semblance of order, then packed them off to my supervisor. consequently, i feel so chuffed i've done absolutely no work all week. all that shall soon change, my friends! well, i can dream, can't i?

Thursday, 8 May 2003

now poopsie cootienose has already participated in this but it's worth sharing...

Follow the instructions to find your new name. (The following is an excerpt from a children's book, "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants" by Dave Pilkey)

The evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...

Use the third letter of your first name to determine your new first name:
a = poopsie b = lumpy c = buttercup d = gidget e = crusty f = greasy g=fluffy h = cheeseball i = chim-chim j = stinky k = flunky l = boobie m = pinky n = zippy o = goober p = doofus q = slimy r = loopy s = snotty t=tootie u = dorkey v = squeezit w = oprah x = skipper y = dinky z =zsa-zsa

Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

a = apple b = toilet c = giggle d = burger e = girdle f = barf g =lizard h = waffle i = cootie j = monkey k = potty l = liver m = banana n = rhino o= bubble p = hamster q = toad r = gizzard s = pizza t = gerbil u = chicken v = pickle w = chuckle x = tofu y = gorilla z = stinker

Use the fourth letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:

a = head b = mouth c = face d = nose e = tush f = breath g = pants h = shorts i = lips j = honker k = butt l = brain m = tushie n = chunks o =hiney p = biscuits q = toes r = buns s = fanny t = sniffer u = sprinkles v = kisser w = squirt x = humperdinck y = brains z = juice

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts.

And mine is Lumpy Girdletush, which says it all, really.

Thursday, 1 May 2003

current things

movies:
x men 2
so cool. just...so cool.

television:
current and 2nd season buffy
the west wing
two of my favourite parallel universes

books:
white butterflies, colin mcphedran
all about mcphedran's journey, as an 11 year old, from burma to india through the hukwang valley during world war 2 where his mother and two siblings died. follows his journeys through india, the uk and finally to australia. unbelievably sad and amazing book.

wyrd sisters, terry pratchett
rereading to alleviate intense emotional heaviness of above book.

music:
new irish hymns, maire brennan, joanne hogg and margaret becker
given to me for my birthday by jennie. excellent music.

vespertine, bjork
so cool. just...so cool.

theatre:
blood links, william yang
the most absorbing 'slide show' i've ever seen. amazing seeing photographs of other chinese australian families and noting the similarities to my own family. loved yang's dry humour and stark observations.

food:
chocolate mint cake. a triumph and one i mean to make frequently.
chicken hot pot. great chinese comfort food.
beef and red wine stew. can anyone tell i'm wishing the weather would get colder?

Wednesday, 30 April 2003

i sent off a story today. it felt good. even if i don't hear anything about it, actually getting it into the postbox was a major achievement. i don't know why sending work out is so much like drawing blood from a stone. it seems to hard to get through the fog that obscures my writing and my will to write. in theory it's something i want to do all the time, but i always manage to find ways around actually sitting down and doing it. so i'm obviously not the stephen king kind of writer who can sit down at a set place at a set time every day for a set number of hours and write while listening to heavy metal (i think it explains a lot about his style, really).

having said that, the idea of that kind of routine and the thought that one can turn the stream of words on and off at will is kind of tempting. probably not very practical in terms of my personality, but having the discipline to do it is admirable.

i often think that if i had more time in the day i would write more. i need to steal time from what i currently do in order to write and i hate that. i think it's important to have winding down time after work where you don't have to do anything, but when there are deadlines and writing that needs to be done i feel guilty doing nothing, yet too tired to produce anything worthwhile. i've been on holidays for the last week and a half and i've been really busy - but not writing. this is why getting the story sent out was so important. i also worry that if i did actually have the time i needed that i would squander it.

i like cooking. cooking is a great relaxing activity for me. but only if i have enough time to enjoy it and at the moment cooking feels like procrastination. the only justification is that we have to eat, so at least there is a useful end result. but sometimes i am so eager to leap up from my desk because it's time to cook that i wonder when my priorities got so twisted around, where i enjoy the routine things like cooking where there is an element of creativity (and a delicious product) more than writing which is supposed to be what i really want to do. is it because of university? perhaps. the feeling of guilt that i haven't written enough on my thesis, and that i'm not particularly interested in it anymore. the desire to write something else. the wish that it would just end. the inklings that there is some great work in there but i can't find it under all this malaise. yeah, i think university has a lot to do with it. but then without university it would just be me and my own deadlines. and perhaps it's that fear keeping me from doing anything.

how ridiculous. but then, fear is faintly ridiculous, isn't it?

Sunday, 13 April 2003

have just returned from a thoroughly exhausting but very worthwhile weekend in canberra at the travellers' tales conference. the conference was very interesting and gave me lots to think about. i haven't quite processed everything yet...and i did a lot of drawings in the margins of my notebook while listening...so i thought i'd just put down some notes i wrote until i can get my head together enough to write about what came out of the conference for me (these aren't direct quotes, more paraphrases of the speakers).




identities in travel are mobile; you can don new masks, invent personas and histories. travel is a way of becoming a stranger.

the overseas australian identity is forged in contact and collision with others.

ros pesman

travel writers never go the same way twice - there's always a different route that might be more interesting.
tony wheeler

doodling, as an artist or writer, is important...you can glimpse moments of spontaneous enchantment and come to places without knowing how you got there.

the remembered life is under pressure from the unremembered.

alan gould

in any true journey one must be lost at least some of the time.
kim mahood

you must listen over time to get beyond surface stories.

kitchens are places where epics are hinted at.

every story is composed of degrees of silence and moments of revelation.

arnold zable

historians may embroider, but may not invent.
brij lal

nostalgia is the ache to be making the journey home.
peter steele

Tuesday, 8 April 2003

mini survey :: most recents

most recently heard:
sarah mclachlan, surfacing - an all-time favourite album. brett has written it off as depressing chick music, but she's inspired me to write so she can't be all bad. (and brett can hardly talk, given the nature of his CD collection)

most recently read:
robert drewe, our sunshine
a most amazing book - vivid and well-paced and extremely addictive
terry pratchett, strata
good and silly. pre-discworld.

most recently saw on film:
ned kelly - thought this was excellent, but agree with some critics who think it lacks some of the vitality of the book it's taken from (our sunshine). got all inspired to learn more about this period of history - living overseas during primary school i missed out on all that stuff.
daredevil - blackest of black superhero movies. realised in most hollywood superhero films, the hero never kills people deliberately - in this movie, he does! good escapism.

most recently saw on stage:
major barbara at nida's parade theatre. was disappointed by this, although there were some enjoyable elements. the acting style seemed really forced, and all the actors spoke in those booming, overdone i'm-projecting-to-the-back-of-the-theatre type voices, which really put me off. spent a long time looking at the lighting rig and the sets, which were cool. didn't have to pay for my ticket, though, so i'm not too fussed.
the talented mr ripley at zenith theatre in chatswood, featuring mr richard drysdale as ripley. ye gods, but he can yell loud. he really let go a lot more in the second half, and unlike the film ripley gets away with it in the play, so we were treated to rich's full machiavellian range. they also had an effective lighting design...and an audience member in front of me who replied loudly to rhetorical questions asked by the characters onstage and whose mother fell asleep and snored.

okay, now it's your turn.

Monday, 7 April 2003

the compartmentalising of my life is going swimmingly, thanks very much, and i'm starting to feel like i'm more in control of the portion of time i have been allotted. i have started to write again, which is a good thing. a very good thing in fact. i have started to lose weight again, which is also a good thing - and no, i do not have a problem with body image, and no, i am not crash dieting and no, i do not care. it's nice to fit into one's clothes, i think. i have started to embroider bees and ducks and robins onto the tiniest singlets for my friend catherine's baby, who is due to arrive in about two and a half weeks, and although it sounds very domestic and housewifey (can you be housewifey if you have no husband?) i'm proud of the fact that i have created these mini artworks (you know they're art because they're uncentered, a bit kooky looking and do not resemble the picture in the book at all). i'm going to try embroidering a sheep next, which will be a challenge, as i imagine it is quite difficult to get one to stand still. i also have some navy pinwale corduroy and i'm going to make another pair of pants. i will sew the waistband on the right way round this time so that i don't have to keep wearing long shirts to hide the mistakes like i do with my black pants. i am going to canberra on friday for a conference called travellers' tales which i am really looking forward to, and on the sunday i am going to go to the national gallery and look at bonnard paintings and the david moore retrospective. in two weeks i have two weeks' holiday and i can't wait. i will go to the blue mountains and maybe berrima and the art gallery of nsw and see some movies and write lots. my birthday is also within that two weeks and i will be picnicking in centennial park with the ducks and swans and assorted friends, following which, there may be fondue at my house.

that's me. it's all good.

Wednesday, 26 March 2003

do you ever feel as though you've lost your centre? your emotional home? i'm feeling displaced.

two of my best friends went to live in england on monday. i am only just realising how much i miss them. people keep disappearing off to the northern hemisphere - that's at least four of my closest friends now. is this a hint of some sort?

Tuesday, 25 March 2003

she wakes to the sound of another day, blue and white and swarming with dust and apathy. bombs dropping on the other side of the world and the ticking of the everyday in her little pocket of the universe. she picks up the newspaper off the doormat and glances at the khaki photographs, the headlines in heavy bold black proclaiming the latest, which is the same as yesterday's, which was the same as the day's before: "we know nothing! but we want you to be afraid!" it seems safer to read the lifestyle supplements, so she sits down with her breakfast and reads about bottling tomatoes, although even that seems like too much effort. she goes to work where the everyday continues to tick, above a bus interchange and beside a chinese acupuncturist. she watches people crossing the park, old women from the housing developments limping slowly along the paths with their canvas shopping trolleys, young kids skiving off school in their plasticky tracksuits, someone late for work in a suit, eating something unnourishing and disposable in place of breakfast. the park grows at a slower rate than these people traversing its surface; it cares not for war or buses or tomatoes. it opens up under the sun, stretching languidly and assuming today will be much the same as yesterday, just like the headlines. she doesn't want to be in the park, but is grateful for the flashes of green in her peripheral vision as she eats her lunch at her desk. she leaves as soon as she is able and drives home along choked industrial roads, squeezed in between trucks and semi trailers and hoping they notice her when it's time to change lanes. the radio spews out trivial froth, the announcers doing their best to sound upbeat and nonchalant while wishing war victims well and introducing the next song. skipping from station to station she starts to feel like her multiple personalities are coming out to play, so she switches off the radio and drives in the relative silence of car engines and white noise. she cooks a tasty meal when she gets home and watches the news despite her better judgement. it washes over her in wave upon wave of hyperbole and dumbed-down rhetoric until she just focuses on what the newsreader is wearing and thinks how attractive blue is on some people. in between promises of up-to-the-minute news and flashes of unpalatable and unconvincing seriousness, regular programming resumes and she finds herself slumped in her chair, hours later, with hardly any memory of what she has watched, but suspecting it was not worth the investment of time. she switches off the television and loses another hour or two to the internet until it is a respectable time to admit defeat and go to bed. she lies awake in the dark, imagining footsteps in the hallway, until sleep curls its fingers around her face and pushes her into a dreamless slumber.

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

and within a day real life has again encroached...

went to look at a new place to live today. i've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now and looking at the place from the outside and longing for it to be lovely inside. they were asking a bit more rent than we're paying now (which isn't exactly cheap, although i'm starting to wonder whether we're actually doing quite well...) but we figured if the place was perfect then neither of us would mind paying a little more. the way i see it (ideally) if you're renting and you can afford it, you have the choice, right? you ought to be able to say where you want to live and what kind of place you want, right? ideally, if you don't like a place you should be able to pack up and move somewhere better with a minimum of fuss.

yeah, i know. in what reality does that happen?

anyway, back to my parallel universe just for a sec. we went to look at the lovely house/unit thing. it was advertised as being a 2 bedroom plus study, gorgeousness personified, blah blah. even i am not completely gullible when it comes to real estate speak, so i was expecting it to be a little less than perfect. the place was indeed beautiful. the agent had already told me that there was no dining room so i wasn't perturbed by that. it was full of light, well-maintained, and felt like somewhere we could call home quite easily.

but as we were walking around i said "isn't there another room?" and the agent replied "yes, that's it", pointing to the large living room. "and the study?" i asked, my heart sinking. she opened a door to reveal what was basically a broom cupboard with two cots in it, which is where the children of the house had been sleeping (the most disturbing thing was it had a deadlock on the outside of the door...was that to lock the children in or keep the bogeyman out?).

so, basically, for $40 more rent per week than we're paying now for our terrace you get one huge bedroom, one small bedroom, a broom closet, a bathroom and a kitchen. if you have people over to visit, i guess they'll just have to sit on the bed. if you have people round for dinner you should serve finger food everyone can eat standing up. i suppose you could watch TV in the hall...it was actually quite spacious.

the thing that pissed me off is why can't people be honest? why couldn't the owners say, okay, we've got a lovely one bedroom apartment here that someone will pay good money for, instead of blatantly lying about it? why are they so greedy that they have to squeeze every possible cent out of a place instead of being fair? why are they keeping their children in a broom cupboard? why did the agent ask us to take off our shoes because the carpets had just been shampooed when the place had floorboards and a rug? why am i so disappointed at missing the opportunity to be ripped off by a couple of yuppies?

i do love our little glebe house, and now i appreciate it even more. i'm going to go home and take photos of all the things that are wrong with it (like the mould, like the paint peeling off the walls, like bamboo growing up through the skirting boards) and then if the agent does something about it we won't have to move. because for what we can afford to pay, it's unlikely we'll be able to get anything as decent in this ridiculous, property-obsessed city.

Tuesday, 18 March 2003

all i can offer are hypothetical questions and futile wailings and sighs.

this whole thing is a bizarre, unlocated contradiction - the concept of war horrifies me. the thought of military leaders throwing their weight around and squashing normal people trying to live their lives and stay out of trouble. the thought of the money being spent and the anger on all sides and the killing involved and the struggle and the hatred. and yet, despite feeling sick and upset about it, it seems so far away from the every day, from sitting here at this desk, wondering whether i'm going to move house soon, thinking about my thesis, listening to bjork, looking out at the pure blue sky. it seems as though war can be played out on television and in the newspapers and online and it will be like any other event, mildly interesting, occasionally thought provoking, sometimes emotionally affecting, but nothing that really impacts on my day to day existence.

and should it? should people run all the way to baghdad just to make a point? or go and stand in front of a bulldozer on the gaza strip? aside from us, who sees it? do those aforementioned hefty military leaders notice the person standing underneath the bomb as it falls? "oh, wait, call it back - that's a white person!" somehow i don't think so.

but this cynicism and the feeling that i'm watching wag the dog again surely isn't a helpful response either. and i don't know about vandalizing the opera house being a good way to go either (although i suppose that did get noticed...kind of hard to ignore). everyone has an opinion and most of them i can't be bothered reading. i'm sticking to satire and humourous ranting.

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

ta da! Australasian Stories

you know, i'm published in this anthology and i still don't know what it's all about. suffice it to say, i have a huge following in nepal and my last single went platinum in belgium.

i'm all for keeping it real, though, you know. like, i only take the limo if the press are going to be there, and i'll settle for dom perignon if there's nothing else on offer.

Monday, 3 March 2003

a moment - alone, sitting on a small wooden platform at centennial park, my feet hanging out over the water, drinking strong black coffee and being warmed by the sun.

perfect.

but you wait a moment too long and it gives way to something approaching melancholy. still, it's hard to be sad around ducks. i saw two rabbits on my way back to the car; that also cheered me up.

Tuesday, 25 February 2003

oh i forgot - i was going to rave about helen garner.

i have just re-read the feel of steel - an excellent 'non-fiction' book, full of the most mind-blowingly spare and beautiful prose. i highly recommend it, as well as her earlier non-fiction book true stories.

i was just talking to bek today about meeting helen garner in a seminar last year at uni and the whole episode being like one of her short stories. for a whole hour i seemed to see the world through her literary eyes; i knew how she would describe her clothes, the colour of the shawl draped across her chair, the manner of the cup on the table in front of her. and even though she didn't hear it, i knew just how she would write about paul hurtling down the corridor towards me, and with a reverently starstruck expression exclaiming, 'she's so small!'

although springing from a great sadness and melancholy and with the distance of many more years than my twenty seven, this bit from a piece called woman in a green mantle struck me. some writers might find it bleak; i find it immensely encouraging:

Sometimes the soul is tested. Nothing I do seems good or beautiful. Everything I think of writing seems trivial, pointless. I compare myself unfavourably with every writer in the world.

Still, I battle away at an essay about reading the Bible. I keep saying to myself, 'OK - simple declarative sentences. Nothing fancy.' It's like exercising a stiff muscle. I've written a page. A page is better than not a page.
there is something to be said about personal space.

and silence.

and sleep.

and there is nothing more unsettling and disruptive than when you can't find any of those things.

i was so stressed and upset and tired on saturday from only having had half an hour's sleep the night before due to brother and brother's girlfriend (yuck and aaarrrrgggg). still awake at 5.30am, i drove to flemington and went to the flower markets, which was probably a good thing as i got three bunches of roses and two bunches of dahlias for $9 and they're still looking gorgeous (long lasting therapy, in other words). but when brother and brother's girlfriend continued to take up space and make noise and shower together and blah blah, i felt the only place for me was far away from them. the blue mountains was about as far as i could go that day. :)

and it was just perfect. exactly what i needed. a very strong coffee and a very sweet chocolate brownie at leura, at the end of the day when all the tourists were long gone. an amble around echo point with my mother. we walked to the viewing platform that usually shows a vast drop over the megalong valley, past the three sisters and rolling greenness as far as the eye can see. an amazing transformation - a beautifully soft blanket of grey. you couldn't see anything but thick shreds of mist moving quickly across the mountains. it felt like standing on the edge of the world, with that strange muffled silence that mist brings, and the cool dampness of it on my face. we walked around the edge of the cliffs and went into the gardens at lilianfels. it is a beautiful, rambling place, full of flowers and greenery and lushness. from certain parts of it you can't see any buildings other than the original house, all wooden gables and wraparound verandah and leadwork glass panels in the doors. you can't hear anything other than the occasional passing car and the comforting sounds of a garden. we sat on a wooden bench for a long while, listening to the birds settling down for the evening, breathing in the cooling air, breathing in the calm quietness.

then a woman walked past, clamouring on her mobile phone, "yar, yar, we're leaving lilianfels now, will you meet us there? yar. yar. okay, yar." and we held our breath until she got into her car and drove away.

but by then it was getting late and we had to go home.

i wish i could have put that garden in my pocket so i could take it out and wrap myself in it whenever i needed to escape.

Saturday, 22 February 2003

those with keen eyesight will have noticed some changes. so now this little corner is called the laundry. yes, i realise the whole thing is looking a little hotch potch (whatever that means) but my head is starting to come off and i know i'll be dreaming in code.

the matrix has me.

speaking of which, this is what i was talking about, heath. extremely well done. for the lesser mortals who don't have access to broadband at home or steal it at work (ahem)...

um...

maybe it'll come out on dvd one day. :)

Wednesday, 12 February 2003

something's wrong with little bec.

i need to go to that place in the emerald city. you know, where they all go to get spruced up to see the wizard, and the scarecrow gets all the old cruddy stuffing taken out and brand new stuffing put in, and the tin man gets all buff(ed), and the lion gets his mane curled and dorothy gets lipstick?

mainly just for the new stuffing thing. my neck and shoulders are not co-operating with the rest of my body and so i am getting terrible headaches. not fun. not fun when the headaches are so bad you can't even go to sleep (and you can't afford to get a massage until next week to remedy the situation).

but enough with the whingeing. how are you?

Friday, 31 January 2003

i'm having an unfortunate moment in coming to grips with reality.

i spent the weekend at norah head (again) at the lovely menyhart residence, swimming, walking on the beach, etc, etc (see a couple of posts ago for an idea of the euphoria experienced, only no dobos this time) and watching, once with cast commentary and once without, as well as all seven hours of the 'appendices', the extended fellowship of the ring.

and i want to
a) work on a film
b) work on that film
c) work with peter jackson
d) go to new zealand
e) have a bunch of friends who work with me
f) wake up and for all the above to have actually occurred

that's the first part of the reality issue. the second, and i don't know which is more disturbing, is that i just want to stay immersed in middle earth and not do anything else. it's very sad. i'm trying to resist reading the trilogy again, but i don't think that terry pratchett is necessarily a good counter measure (although i'm reading strata which i have not read before, so that's got to count for something).

as a remedy to this unformed homesickness for a place i've never been and that actually doesn't exist, i went to see catch me if you can tonight, which is about as far away from middle earth as you can get. very good. reminded me why i once thought leonardo di caprio was a good actor.

it doesn't help, though, that i bought the two towers soundtrack this morning and am listening to it now. i've just undone a couple of hours' work.

do you think it's plausible for me to watch the extended version again?

Tuesday, 21 January 2003

i would just like to announce before we go any further that i'm typing on an ibook and i'm going to have to give it back in a couple of weeks. and i don't want to.

now.

we were having an argument the other day about some of my writing (we being a bunch o writers including me who regularly convene at a pub to eat thai food and wax lyrical about each other's work). a character of mine was thought to be much older than he really is by half the group, and they refused to let go of the concept that he might be a really screwed up twenty-something. it's not beyond the realms of possibility, is it?!

how much does the reader's concept of character infect a story? does it matter if it is out of sync with the writer's original intentions? i guess this is at its most obvious when looking at book to film transfers and how miscasting beloved characters (or even not so beloved) can really screw up a film. but does it matter so much when reading? do you get really annoyed if you can't visualise the character immediately?

i am not in favour of saying "Daniel is twenty six, has short brown hair, green eyes, walks with a slight limp, has seventy one freckles on his right arm and enjoys horseriding on the beach" just to get everyone on the same wavelength...and even if you did that, one person's interpretation of "short brown hair" is completely different from another's.

this is all beside the point really, but what i'm still confused about is how can people believe that twenty six year olds are trouble free? my character works in IT, is single and lives alone, so has a fairly large disposable income. he also spends most nights at the casino and smokes like the proverbial chimney. he is extremely self-deprecating, does a nice line in sarcasm and likes jeffery smart paintings. how is this implausible?

i was pleased to note, when shuffling through my pages at home, that one of the other writers had scrawled "i think he's twenty six" across the top of the first page. excellent...i mean, what good is inventing your own version of reality if you can't be your own despot?

Wednesday, 1 January 2003

something happened! i went somewhere!

i witnessed the odometer of years tick over at the menyharts' beach house at norah head, on the nsw central coast. two days away and i feel better than if i'd had three weeks at home. sleeping, reading, eating, walking along the beach, checking out a lighthouse, eating, drinking, staring out at the waves, sleeping, watching romeo + juliet again, eating (we had lots of lovely dobos torte - possibly one of the greatest cakes ever invented), drinking...happy new year!...sleeping, eating, drinking (the new year looks a lot like the old).

probably one of the most low key new year celebrations i've ever had, and very enjoyable. no pressure like there is when you're in sydney to find fireworks at any cost. even if you vow not to seek them, the desperation sets in at about half past eleven and you start coming up with ridiculous plots and schemes to get a glimpse of coloured explosions (as it was, there were some cute little fireworks someone up the hill had brought and let off over the water, and some kids up the street let off some crackers. the dog went mental.).

so happy new year to you all! i hope this year brings adventures and happiness.