Thursday, 28 February 2008

water feature

I've always thought the office could be enhanced by the addition of a water feature. Sorry you'll have to tilt your head to view it, as I can't work out how to rotate the video, but this is what caused us a little bit of excitement during today's thunderstorm, when rain started pouring out of the electrical box and into Mark's office.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Guest stars

And just to get the taste of the last post's rant out of my mouth, here are some pics from Monday's wine time with Jo, Claire, Audrey and Camille. Well, Auds and Cami didn't have any of the delicious Church Block, but Cami did get stuck into the brie. She is half-French, after all.

Was lovely catching up with the gels!

You know you've made it when you're the featured guest star on my blog. :)

more than a bump

I really hate the expression 'baby bump'. It's one of those terms that has snuck into the popular lexicon and just taken hold. It seems to surface most often when talking about celebrity appearances on the red carpet.

The papers and mags don't talk about a couple being pregnant anymore, they say "So-and-so was seen sporting a baby bump", as though the woman had just shoved a pillow up her dress or something. If the male's hand is seen "hovering protectively" around his partner's middle region, or if she feels like wearing something slightly loose and comfortable instead of skin tight, it's all cause for the media to go into conniptions about whether or not she's expecting.

Who'd be a celebrity, honestly? Given the struggles so many people have in conceiving, imagine it all being dissected in ravening detail in every magazine, newspaper and gossip blog. And imagine that precious life being referred to in such trivial terms as being nothing more than a 'bump'. Or imagine, as a mother, being lumped into a group of famous women for whom 'baby bumps are the latest accessory'.

I hate it. It's demeaning. It's stupid. And it's lazy writing.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

girl's got issues

We had a writing day today at Karen and Ben's place. I wasn't off to a great start, having only had four hours' sleep the night before for no good reason (much lying awake, staring at the ceiling, that kind of thing). I then stacked it spectacularly walking down the path at the Beilharzs' - ankle just gave out and there I was, sprawled on the ground at Guan's feet. It also turned out I had quite deeply grazed my knee, shin and ankle. Hooray.

I sat on the couch and wrote in fits and starts, adding bits onto Undragon Stories and reading over some things. I didn't get into the flow at all and write anything of substance, but got to strengthen some of the stuff I had written yesterday at Word by Word.

It was a blazing, bright blue day. We went to Newtown and had Japanese for lunch. In the course of the conversation, Karen wanted to confirm with me some things about the Faithful Writer conference in August, namely that I would be on the committee, co-lead a seminar on writing and editing with her, and read some of my work at the end of the day. I said yes. Then, "Wait! What did I just agree to?" Everyone laughed; it's a bad habit I have of agreeing to things and only later thinking through what it actually means. Karen clarified; I would be helping two other respected authors end the day by reading some of our work to the assembled conferees. I made a face and mouthed "But I'm not a writer!"

I earned myself a swift kick from Guan, at Karen's behest.

I know why, I mean it's ridiculous, isn't it? I go on about writing all the time, it's what I do, it's what I want to do, I'm a writer. And yet my gut reaction is to say "but I'm not a writer". I still feel like a fraud. I still feel like people are just being nice when they ask me to do things. I feel like if only people knew what a hack I am, they'd quickly change their opinions. And being invited to read my work out, on a platform with two men whose writing I greatly admire - surely they must have made a mistake. They can't mean me!

Why do I do that? I'm a writer. I am a writer. I'm a writer.

Okay, glad we got that sorted.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

simple pleasures

Today was Word by Word. I enjoyed this morning's writing exercise, inspired by Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree, so thought I would finish it and post it here.

Recently read by me:
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Plain Janes - Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
The Gum Thief - Douglas Coupland
Slam - Nick Hornby
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver

Why these books? Why not weightier tomes? Well, as it turns out, I have read The Polysyllabic Spree and when I read what Hornby says in his introduction about putting down a book that bores, I wanted to cheer! I’ve long felt some sort of residual guilt about the major works I should have read; having done a BA in English and Theatre the list is long indeed. In fact, there were whole subjects I did at uni without having read anything on the reading list…perhaps I was a better actor than I thought, and have a way of being able to bluff my way through any essay. I wouldn’t recommend it though.

The problem for me is one of pressure. I’m not good at reading to a timetable or a deadline, which is partly why libraries don’t work well for me either. The thing about uni was that there was no sense of discovery, of exploration in reading. There should have been, but there wasn’t. All there was was a long list of guilt and pressure.

A similar principle applies to the books ‘everyone’s talking about’, the bestsellers, the top tens, the must-haves. I don’t want to digest a book just so I can have an opinion on it, that can be talked about in lofty tones in gatherings of people who are in touch with the zeitgeist. I don’t want to frantically scan the pages to see whether I agree with whatever review I read about the book in the Saturday paper (both are reasons why I avoided the Sydney Writers' Festival for so long, that Fear of the Literati. I needn't have worried; it was marvellous and I'll go again this year...does that make me One Of Them? Hmm...).

I have some friends whose recommendations I trust. Friends whose taste is similar to mine. Friends who don’t even have to tell me why they like something as they press it into my hands; I know I will like it, I know I will see why my friend likes it, and it will bring a deeper connection to that friend because it adds to the repository of our shared experience. These friends know that even if I don’t read the book immediately, I will get to it one day.

But then there are those well-meaning friends who don’t know my taste, who just know I like to read. They will say, “You must read this. It’s great. You. Will. Love. It.” I will accept the book with a sinking heart - how do you refuse? - but it's almost as though the command to love the book means I will automatically hate it. I’ll usually try to give it a go, but more often than not I will remember why I don’t like that kind of lurid-covered airport thriller book, and it will sit for months on a shelf. After a long enough wait, I will try and return it and the loaner will say “did you like it?”, I’ll have to admit I haven’t read it, and then they won’t hear of me returning it until I have read every word. I have several books like this still sitting on my bookcase.

But the books I discover, they are different altogether. I enjoy the process of unearthing a gem, the languid browsing through bookshops for something that grabs my fancy, and reading it right away. Even as the pile of unread books atop my piano grows, I can’t help sneaking back into the bookshops and getting lost in the possibilities. I would be lying if I said that any of these books were more or less respectable than the ones my friends try to lend me; in fact they are often guilty pleasures, easily read and enjoyed. But there has to be something - good writing, a quirky plot twist, a fascinating conceit - to reel me in. Nick Hornby’s Slam is novel for young adults, but his writing and his characterisation is so good that it doesn’t matter who he’s writing for, I’ll still enjoy it. He may as well be writing for me.

Likewise, Douglas Coupland. I went off him a bit after gorging on his bleak 90s worldview, but recently his latest book The Gum Thief just seemed to call to me from the new releases table at Gleebooks. I read it in a couple of days and loved every word. I then, as is my habit, found a few reviews online and was disappointed by their sniffy tone; to me, the book was simple but beautifully done. It wasn’t pretending to be high art. But it worked. So I decided to ignore those reviews.

Sometimes, books need time to percolate for me. Something I know I will really enjoy, but I’m just not ready to read - these ones can sit atop the piano for years (I move them every so often to dust…but not that often). I can’t remember when I borrowed American Gods from Brett, it was that long ago. But when it was finally time to open the cover and give myself up to the book, I knew the wait was worth it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

just quickly

Review went well. Positive changes afoot. Staying at AFES for the time being, but with some shifts that hopefully will lead in a much more positive direction.

Now. To plan that holiday...

It's a bullet point post

I'm in a bit of a bitsy place at the moment. Fragmented thoughts.
  • I'm currently listening to a mixtape and I have no idea what's on it, so that doesn't really help with the disorientation! It's good, kinda fun to listen to the music semi-objectively.
  • I have a brand-spanking-new iMac at work. It is shiny, glossy and huge. I keep having slight headspins because I'm not used to the bright shininess of it all. It has further entrenched my gadgetheadry. I'm a lost cause.
  • I'm having my staff review today. In half an hour, to be precise. Please pray for me if you read this in time. I don't know what the upshot of it will be.
  • Almost finished the design for the writing resource site that Guan, Karen and I are involved in building. Soon we'll actually be able to post stuff!
  • George has organised a bunch of people from Wild St Church to volunteer to teach swimming to a group of disabled people. Well it's not really teaching swimming, it's just being there to help them as they swim up and down the pool with varying degrees of ability. I did my first night last night. They seem like a lovely bunch, and I even got the kid who was determined to 'shoot' me in the foot with his imaginary gun to do a few laps. It felt like an achievement. Chatted briefly to one of the other (non-church) volunteers and she said how impressed she was that our church group was helping and that we were even organised to the point of rostering people on (yay George!). I hope we can be a really positive Christian witness to people like her, and the carers, and the swimmers themselves.
  • End of an era - after around three years, our 'temporary' flatmate Dave has found a place of his own, in Dulwich Hill. I think he's moving out this weekend. We'll miss him (but we'll have a spare room back in case anyone drops by to visit!)
  • I got a weird text message from my brother's girlfriend Linda the other day, passing on Happy Chinese New Year wishes from my dad's 32-year-old fiancee (hereafter referred to as 'DF'), who for some reason has struck up some sort of text messaging friendship with Linda. First, DF referred to me as 'Becca', which as far as I'm concerned is not her right to do (you have to earn dodgy nickname rights, yeah? I've only met her once or twice and don't think that entitles her to call me a nickname I hate). Then she finished with: "This time next year, we'll b celebrating as a family!" It made me feel slightly queasy. I realise I haven't actually processed what I think about this whole situation, I keep putting it in a box to think about later. I wonder when that 'later' will be. I guess the only thing is I'm glad she's not texting me directly.
  • Think I might have to start seeing a counsellor again.
Mood-wise, I'm still very tired and very sad. Keep trying to pray through it, trying to find some balance, trying to throw all my cares on God. Some of them seem to be tangled around my legs and keep tripping me up...

I need a holiday from my life.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

China Doll

It's the end of an era at St Martin's Anglican Church, with the Tonks family moving to the Parish of Sutton Forest, in the Southern Highlands. This Sunday is their last service at church, followed by a farewell lunch at Chao Praya in the Spot.

But as we dearly love our wonderful friends, mum and I thought it only fitting to take them out for our own farewell dinner. In the seven and a half years that we've known them, we have had the pleasure of sharing many delicious meals with the Tonks at their place, our place and various fine dining establishments (such as Galileo, Tabou and Restaurant Balzac).

Last night we went to China Doll. It's a little gem of a restaurant tucked in about a third of the way down the Woolloomooloo Wharf. Lots of Beautiful People of course, and moneyed folk, and a few normal people like us just out for a night of good food and good company. It has an unusual but captivating view of the city, and is especially delightful on nights like last night, when it was cool but not cold, with a clear and starry sky.

My brother works at China Doll, and although I love sharing a meal with him, I also love being served by him. Not, as you might imagine, because of some older-sibling-hierarchy or anything, but because he is genuinely good at his job, knows his stuff, and is inordinately charming when he's working the floor. I think he is at his best when he is describing food, or matching wine, or just 'taking care' of you during a meal. I wasn't very well, but was determined to enjoy the food and being looked after.

I think that's the best part of it; not even having to open a menu but knowing you will get a perfectly balanced selection of dishes with the perfect drinks...and a nice cuddle from your loving brother (that's only for me - nobody else gets that). I didn't take any photos of the food (sorry K), mainly because I was too busy enjoying it (and also Nic probably would have clipped me around the ear if I had so embarrassed him). But here is what we had:
  • Drink: the awfully-named (but delicious) 'Lindsay Lohan' cocktail - raspberry, fresh coconut, sake, and other things that I forgot to note when I read the cocktail list
  • Kurobuta pork and peanut san choy bau
  • Tempura of zucchini flowers stuffed with prawn, enoki and asparagus, with soy mirin
  • Free-range Thirlmere duck pancakes with shallot, cucumber and hoi sin (my mum especially requested we have these, if nothing else...I highly recommend them too!)
  • Drink: I was driving so didn't have any wine, but had a delicious watermelon and guava mocktail (I hate that word)
  • Steamed Suzuki jewfish with soy, shiitake and XO broth
  • Crispy master stock chicken with yellow bean sauce
  • Steamed broccolini with oyster sauce and ginger
  • Drink: a palate-cleansing Asian-style limoncello made with fresh lemon, sugar syrup and infused with star anise
  • Dessert plate for four people: sago pudding with vanilla coconut cream and passionfruit coulis; banana ice cream, mango sorbet and strawberry sorbet; warm black sticky rice with mango (I really can't describe how good this was; you'll just have to trust me)
  • Drink: a short black
All in all, an exemplary meal. Danielle sighed at one point and said, "I love flavours", which made Jeremy grin and say, "I love being married to her." This morning mum said, "I wish you could take nights like last night, put them in a bottle, and take them out to look at again later." Well, it's not much of a bottle, but this blog will have to do.

Get thee to China Doll. Take some people you love. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, 15 February 2008

the ultimate test

Guan sent me this link. I just thought it needed to be shared (and if you don't get it...please go away and think about it for a while).

Thursday, 14 February 2008

just another day

I know I only linked to it a couple of days ago, but seeing as it's the Day of Cynicism (as well as Jen's birthday and, don't forget, Decimal Currency Day (not that either of them have anything to do with cynicism)), I thought I'd re-post my article below.

It’s the first week of February. Worse than Christmas decorations in September and Easter eggs in January, the Valentine-ing of the world has taken over like a pink and red virus. I get daily emails entreating me to ‘get something special’ for my ‘special someone’. Web browser ads turn to the ‘V’ subject more and more - even Greenpeace is in on the act! A display stand in Coles, that bastion of romance, sells giant stuffed bears and an assortment of DVD double-packs, presumably chosen for their romantic themes. Mainly chick flicks, although I do spot a double bill of Mr & Mrs Smith and Entrapment. Perhaps that’s a token one for the guys.

And does anyone else think ‘V-Day’ sounds like something to do with an STD?

Valentine’s Day is almost inescapable. You’re gripped either with cynicism or sentimentality, and even if you want to ignore it, it’s in your face. Those in relationships are under pressure to show their love; those not in relationships but pining for someone are expected to risk all and declare their passion. And if you’re one of those sad individuals who doesn’t even have anyone to pine’s only one day a year, right?

I read an article in The Sun Herald yesterday which trumpeted Valentine’s Day as being a great day for singles, with online dating agency RSVP trying to break the world record for speed dating. Demographer Bernard Salt said, “we could find ourselves in a situation in 30 years’ time that Valentine’s Day has bigger billing than Mother’s Day. Valentine’s Day could be right up there with Christmas Day”.

Heaven help us.

What does this say about relationships in our world? In that rose-coloured light, love becomes a commodity, marketable and saleable, something as easily obtained, consumed and discarded as a fast-food meal. Love becomes something that can be used to show off; to un/intentionally rub in other people’s faces; to prove your membership in an exclusive, couples-only club.

Is that love?

Think about the love God speaks about in the Bible. God’s love is sacrificial. God’s love is boundless. God’s love is sustaining. God’s love is nourishing. God is love! God’s love doesn’t come in a box with a ribbon on it. And, most importantly, God’s love will be there in the hard times and the happy times, whether you’re in a relationship or not. The only relationship you really need to worry about is your relationship with him.

God didn’t choose to show his love for us on one, limited, narrow day per year with a box of chocolates or a stuffed toy. God chose to show his love by sending his beloved Son to die for us, so that we might have eternal life (John 3:16). That’s a gift that will never fade, that will never rust or decay.

Everything else pales in comparison, doesn’t it?

Think about how God wants us to love. He wants us to love our neighbours as ourselves. He wants us to care for those who are weak, lonely, and suffering. He wants us to share each others’ joys and sorrows (Romans 12:15). He wants us to love as he does.

originally posted in webSalt

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Oh that's right. I wanted to blog about lyrics, though I think I've written about a similar thing before, but anyway. The amount of new music I've been listening to lately has increased, thanks mainly to Guan and Karen who keep recommending wonderful things to me. Sometimes I can get into things right away and other times it will take a while.

But something I noticed with those albums that take a while to get me in, is when someone points out a particular lyric to me, it can make the song jump out. The song then becomes a hook on which to hang the rest of the album. Maybe it's because I'll be listening more intentionally. Maybe it's because the lyric connects me to the person who told me about it. Or maybe it's just because it's a damn good way of stringing words together and I want to hear whether it was a fluke or whether the writer really does have a gift. It raises my already high esteem for fine songwriters, and shows up the shabbiness of the lazier pop songwriters even more.

I think the thing that kicked me off on this was talking with G about Joni Mitchell, and the song Little Green in particular.
  • Just a little green
    Like the colour when the spring is born
    There'll be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow
    Just a little green
    Like the nights when the northern lights perform
    There'll be icicles and birthday clothes and sometimes there'll be sorrow
The whole song is gorgeous. It speaks of childhood and relationships and sadness and parenthood and it's simple and lovely. It reminds me of Kristen, my singing teacher from back in my early 20s, who taught me a lot and whose voice sounded "sweet as Tupelo honey".

What are some of your favourite lyrics? And why?

shiny newness...again

Okay so I spat the dummy with my blog template this afternoon because it was doing silly things. So I looked around for some cool blogger templates and stumbled across this one you see before you (if you're on an RSS reader, have a quick squizz, it really is quite attractive). And now that I have found this particular gorgeous beast, I may never get around to designing my own because I like this one so much.

You can find the links to recent items, photos, music and, er, links in the pull down menu at the top of the page. Archive is now at the bottom of the page.

I'm sorry.

Kevin Rudd says sorry - National -

Such an important, long overdue day. I am still impressed by Kevin Rudd, and think he has handled this situation with so much more compassion, grace and humility than his predecessor was even capable of.

So read the article, and watch the slideshow - it's very moving.

There's not much more to say really. Except that Wilson Tuckey is an idiot:
Mr Rudd's speech was not greeted with unanimous approval, however, with Mr Tuckey telling Sky News shortly before 9am he doubted the speech - which has bipartisan support - would change anything.

"So the Prime Minister reads a speech, apparently some people stand up and sit down and then a miracle happens over night, there'll be no petrol sniffing ... and girls can sleep safely in the family bed at night," he said.

Talk about missing the point. Why would you even say that? Nobody thinks that this is a magic wand that's going to suddenly fix everything, but there is such a thing as a healing process. Guh. I think it's just as well I'm not a journalist. I don't think I would be able to keep my opinion out of the story.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

panda love

I haven't really publicised it here, but there is a zine that Mark and I put together called webSalt. It complements the printed version of Salt (which we also edit), but also gives us the scope to do things like the current issue, which is all about that dreaded scourge, Valentine's Day.

The issue's called What's love got to do with it? and features pieces by me and my lovely friends (ah the joys of self publishing...). Do check it out!

Monday, 11 February 2008

tres amusant

I find it funny that according to I have medium, low or very low musical compatibility with my close friends, and yet I have high compatibility with Neil Gaiman (though maybe that says more about the fact that he has a massive capacity for listening to all kinds of music than that we're actually highly compatible).

Sunday, 10 February 2008

random acts of kindness. etc.

Last night's burned saucepan was sitting in the sink. I went to make myself a cup of coffee and thought "I'll just wash this up while I wait for the kettle to boil." It needed quite a bit of elbow grease to get clean.

The thing that didn't need elbow grease or, in fact, anything to do with my elbow was one of my brand new Bodum coffee glasses. Sadly, while I was scrubbing, my elbow whacked into it, it toppled over and hit the edge of the plunger and now I have a clean pot but a broken glass.

Oh well. We have a cupboard full of mugs. It's only stuff.

But why does that kind of thing have to happen when you're already feeling stupid about life in general? Buh. Think I'll break open that chocolate.

...falls mainly on the plain. and in my garden.

I was excited to read this report in the SMH that says the plentiful rain we've had lately has been actually helping. "As at 9am yesterday, Sydney had received a whopping 172.4 millimetres since the start of February, compared with 4.4 millimetres for the same period last year...Sydney's dams are at 64 per cent of capacity, up 3 per cent in just a week." How amazing!

My garden is certainly happy about it, with the scrubby lawn actually starting to look quite healthy. The soil is rich and damp and smells wonderful when I turn it over with a spade. It's funny though, watching weather reports on TV, because when it's dry they complain that there's no rain and when it's raining they complain that it isn't sunny. Perhaps I am fortunate in that although I love a sunny day, I also love a rainy one.

It also makes me think about God's timing and how we just need to trust that he will sort things out. Although it's been a time of great hardship with the drought, he does eventually bring the rain. The reasons for it all might seem opaque, especially to those who have suffered the most, but he is in control and it is all part of his plan to bring people back to him.

If only I could apply those lessons better to my own life...

Friday, 8 February 2008


There's a shop on Anzac Parade near where I work that sells useless cute...things. I sometimes go there when I'm feeling cruddy to get my fill of cute cartoon characters and silly things to make me smile.

There's never anyone else in there when I go in, except for the young, trendy Asian dude who runs the place. He's always very polite but never makes conversation (which is fine, because neither do I). I wonder if this place gets busier at night or something? How does he make enough money to stay in business? And why is this young, trendy Asian dude running a shop like this? Maybe it's a good way to meet chicks.

Today, for $1, I bought a Hello Kitty thing with bells on it, the kind of thing that giggling Chinese girls attach to their mobile phones. The Hello Kitty is dressed as a penguin and has a penguin sitting on her head. This goes with my other Helly Kitty, which is dressed as a mouse. Why? No reason. I also bought an almond pearl tea. I must be feeling Asian today.

*is there a Chinese word for tchotchke? Cos I don't feel like I can really legitimately use this Yiddish word. I might be half Asian, but I'm not at all Yiddish.

I used to like being awake at 2am.

Yep. It's almost 2am and I'm wide awake.

This is the problem when I start to think through things that I am not yet in a position to change. I lie awake, making pro/con lists in my head, trying to define what it is I want, trying to pin something down. Invariably, I have to get up and write some of these things down, just to get them out of my head so I can stop thinking about them.

So I lie back down and turn off the light.

Okay, so all I managed to do was make a bunch of space for newer, more random thoughts to come flitting in there. Except these ones aren't nice. They are panicky thoughts. They tighten my throat, make my heart beat faster, make me cry. They make me want to cut and run, just to escape.

I get up and I read my Bible. I am reminded of God's sovereignty, how he is using me in each and every situation, how I do not need to worry - for "who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matt 6:27) My heart slows. The tears dry. I feel that peace and comfort I know only God can give.

So I lie back down and turn off the light.

But then...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

storm front

I'm in a bit of a state of flux at the moment. Trying to make some big decisions and not sure where I'm at in the whole process. I've made a couple of stumbling steps, but I've yet to work out in which direction my feet are taking me.

The insane, blustery, rainy weather seems to galvanise me. I don't get sick of the grey and the damp like some do, but it makes me want to change things, makes me want to move ahead. Almost as though I need to push ahead so that when the sun comes out again I have made some progress and haven't been left behind in the fog.

I went to see William Yang's show China with mum, Karen and Ben last night at The Stables in Kings Cross. The great thing about Monday nights is if you get there early enough you can get a ticket for only $10. We battled the squalling rain, got our cheap tickets, and I drank a glass of red wine while we waited for mum and Ben to find us in the downpour.

The house was sold out, so we were all jammed into the tiny theatre. Yang and Nicholas Ng his musician came out, and stood on the empty stage. Yang's often prosaic and sometimes beautifully poetic photographs were projected onto two large screens behind him, while he spoke in his slow, stumbling voice about visiting China, about the people and the places and the food. Ng played occasional pieces on the erdu (two-stringed Chinese violin) and the pipa (Chinese lute).

It wasn't as good as the last show of Yang's I saw at the Belvoir (which had moved me to tears), but it still resonated with me. Ideas of belonging; of expectations and disappointments; of what claim your supposed 'blood' home has on you; of feeling like an outsider who will never belong, and yet also feeling a strange kinship with a place and a people. Yang was open and honest about himself, about his failings, about his romanticised idea of China, and also of the joys he experienced on his visit there.

Mum loved it. I'm not sure what Karen and Ben thought of it. We battled back to the car through rain that seemed to have intensified, and drove home through near-zero visibility.

I think the show made me encouraged to keep writing what I'm writing, to keep expressing myself in the way that I do. It inspired me to think more about my photography and what I can do with it. It made me long to seek those new horizons, and to grit my teeth in further frustration at the situations that are holding me back.

Change is imminent. Whether it is change in me or my circumstances is yet to be determined.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Hope St Markets

Karen and I had a lovely night yesterday, which she has blogged about at the bottom of this post.

Hope St Markets
"are independent design and art markets for emerging new talent." They're held in a converted warehouse-type building in Campbell St, Surry Hills - not sure of the frequency, but they are sort of one-offs, as the artists and stallholders change each time. It wasn't quite as big as we were expecting, but there was a nice vibe about it, stalls all set up in a couple of big rooms, with funky chandeliers and music. Everyone was friendly and relaxed and a guy wandered around with delicious free canapes from the kitchen.

We each bought a couple of things, gifts for people and things for ourselves, and had a drink in the bar area upstairs. It is exactly the kind of chill out space I'm going to have in my big warehouse/creative hang out/drop in place I'm going to have one day when I'm rich. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. These terrible cameraphone photos don't do it justice:

It was great actually; it felt like you were just hanging out in someone's lounge room. Big, overstuffed couches, mismatched armchairs, black chandelier hanging low over the room and a white piano.

We had dinner at Betty's Soup Kitchen, which is exactly as cheap and cheerful as I remember it, and then went back to the Beilharz abode after attempting (and failing) to go for hot chocolate in Glebe. The Bs live in part of a huge old house in Stanmore with other Moore College people. Their flat is around the back and up a steep flight of stairs. We had to come in from the Trafalgar St side because there were roadworks happening around the front, and it was quite interesting actually. Atmospheric. We parked beside the railway line and walked to a pair of crooked, rusty gates, overhung by rambling trees. Karen unlocked the gates and we made our way up the cracked and overgrown path to the melancholy house that looked deserted and gothic in the moonlight.

All cosy and lovely once we were inside. Karen made us spicy chai and sang me a funny song from Assassins, then we settled down to watch hilarious snippets featuring Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom from Extras season 2 and then Howl's Moving Castle. It was so delightful! I laughed and smiled with delight throughout; at the fat dog who couldn't climb up the stairs, at Marco's dwarf disguise, at Howl's melodrama ("what's the point of living if you can't be beautiful?"), at Turniphead hopping around after Sophie, at old Sophie's wry asides. It was just a lovely film. And a lovely night, with a lovely friend.

To finish, here are the things I bought at the market. A hat! A hat that fits me! (when I said to the woman "I probably can't fit any of these, I have a very big head," she smiled and said, "I have some very big hats.") Three little badges with a red shoe-d girl on them, who reminds me of Milly Molly Mandy and kind of me as a kid too (I probably won't wear them on the hat, but it was the easiest way to photograph them). A bib that I bought for Sarah Whittingham with red and black koi on it (but I've given it to her already so haven't got a pic of it). And the red perspex 'hope' sign that I'm going to take to work (the proceeds from this go to help homeless people, which is what the whole Hope St thing is about).

calloo callay!!!

I finally have been able to remove the stupid burned disc of NTE photos that has been stuck in my MacBook Pro since the beginning of December! I had tried to Google up some solution before and found nothing, but it turns out you just have to type in the right exasperated phrase and the solution will present itself.

I feel a sense of freedom.

why are people so unkind?

I went and had a massage today. It was so lovely and relaxing, and worth every cent (even though it went on the credit card). I was in my usual state of post-massage vagueness, but trying to concentrate very hard as I walked into the carpark. I stuck to the pedestrian crossing and everything.

As I walked through the carpark, a massive four-wheel drive, being piloted by a massive man, turned into the area I was walking in. I didn't know where he was going, as behind me were some short concrete bollards. It soon became obvious that instead of driving through the carpark to the exit, he was instead going to take a short cut over the pedestrian crossing, over the concrete bollards and, if I didn't move, over me. So I quickly got out of the way and gave him a scornful look and may have mouthed the words, "what are you doing?" As he drove past me he yelled nastily, "Shaaaaddddup!"

All benefits of the massage: gone. Seethed about the stupid fat man all the way home and hated our sinful world, where people go out of their ways to do the wrong thing and then yell at you about it. Can still hear his awful voice.

But aside from that, and the fact that I forgot to turn my weekday alarm off so woke up at 7am on a Saturday, it's been a pleasant enough sort of day. We went to visit the Whittinghams in their new house, and to meet their sweet new daughter, Sarah. We had delicious pad kee mao for lunch at Thai Times 9. We came home to a total blackout and discovered that our electricity cables are rotting and need to be replaced within 21 days (that wasn't really a pleasant thing, but, you know, it happened). And then the massage. And then the fat man.

But I don't have anywhere to be tonight so can just chill out and relax. And our power got turned back on (with a temporary fix) so I can blog and watch a DVD. And maybe even do some design stuff.

Or I might sleep.