Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walking through the weekend

Last weekend when the sun came out, Lovely Husband and I gravitated to the water.

Yesterday, rain threatened but I marched out the door and wandered through the streets, crunching through the piles of autumn leaves. Autumns isn't normally this riotous, but the wet growing season means the leaves are full of sugars and now they're bursting with colour.



I pass this strange building in the car most days on my way to work. It's boarded up and has a tall concrete fence and construction covers keeping out the squatters and gawkers. These small towers, the spires, the dragon-scale tiles, the dead branches. It all seeps some kind of mystery.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The many tights of winter

New songs on a Saturday morning (111-120)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Parts one and two of this musical escapade can be found here and here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

111. Washinton - 'Sunday Best'.
112. Steven Tyler - '(It) Feels So Good' - Never considered him solo, but this isn't bad. More pop than Aerosmith but that voice is all Aerosmith anyway.
113. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs - 'New York City's Killing Me'.
114. Ben Harper - 'Rock and Roll is Free' - yes, yes it is.
115. Eddie Vedder - 'Longing to Belong' - throwing me back to high school and the tales of my friends long road-trips to Sydney to see Pearl Jam, Chili Peppers and Nirvana.
116. Radio Star - 'You Got Me; (I Got You)' - singing on the steps of Flinders St station but with that Brit sound. 

117. Seeker Lover Keeper - 'Even Though I'm a Woman' - three awesomely wonderful Australian women, songwriters, singers and magic makers, taking turns writing and singing each others songs. Wishing I could find a copy of 'Rest Your Head On My Shoulder' where all three sing.
118. Seeker Lover Keeper - 'On My Own' - with John Waters miming. Strange but lovely.
119. Seeker Lover Keeper - 'Light All My Lights' - with Barry Otto mining. What a lovely, weird man. Damn blogger for not finding the youtube clip.
120. Chromeo - 'Momma's Boy' - Sigh. Sweet and cheekily stupid.

Photo source: Seeker Lover Keeper; Washington

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

52 Poems (week 11)

Lovely Husband is heading to Japan for a conference soon and this place has been in my head. I've been twice in only the briefest of ways, spending a night in a Narita hotel before heading elsewhere. There was no sightseeing or even long glimpses of the patchwork countryside. There was cloud, then the airport, then a bus in the darkness, a faceless hotel room with a low toilet and no English-language channels, then a bus through early morning streets and a take-off through clouds.

I wanted to try some modern Japanese poetry, away from the cliched but thoughful Haiku. This is the work (translated into English) of Shuntaro Tanikawa, one of Japan's preminent poets, who also wrote the themesong for Howl's Moving Castle made his living translating Peanuts comics. 

from Twenty Billion Light Years of Loneliness

...The universe goes on expanding
So all feel uneasy.
At the loneliness of twenty billion light years
Without thinking, I sneezed.
I'm still looking for a copy of 'In the Manner of Charlie Brown'.

Photo source: Shuntaro Tanikawa

Full dark by five thirty

Despite the gorgeous bursts of orange, red and yellow, I think Melbourne has bypassed autumn and headed straight into winter. Just 14 degrees today and then raining and almost pitch black by the time I left my office at five thirty. Lovely Husband was working from home today, so the home fires were burning by the time I got home; sweet, little cosy house.

Photo source: Melbourne autumn leaves

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New songs on a Saturday morning (101-110)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Parts one and two of this musical escapade can be found here and here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

101. Diamond Rings - 'Something Else' - c/o Ziggy Stardust style and a chorus that lingers for days
102. Chromeo - 'Night by Night' - electrofunk duo, making me think of sad little eighties clubs. But in a good way. The talk box rocks.

103. Chromeo - 'Needy Girl'
104. Chromeo - 'Fancy Footwork'
105. Chromeo - 'Bonafied Lovin' - Okay, I'm now loving on Chromeo. Must seek further.
106. Lady Gaga - 'Hair'
107. Beyonce - 'Run the World (Girls)' - Feeling a little meh about this song.
108. Ellie Goulding - 'Lights' - from SNL.
109. Sho Dolls - 'Right and Right Again'
110. Soho Dolls - 'Stripper'

Photo source: Chromeo from

Who doesn't need a bag of forearms?

Some people's husbands bring home paperwork or stolen stationary. Mine comes home with a bag full of arms. More precisely, it's a bag of arm skins or 'gloves' that cover prosthetic limbs, each one specially sized, moulded, coloured and styled to match the amputee. These are some of the skins that were rejected or never picked up, which kinda makes me sad, but they've gone to a good home at the university, where they'll live a very useful life in the name of science.

I think the fingernails are the creepiest bit... once you get over the whole bag full of arm skins thing, that is.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nausea both sucks and blows

That little rasberry-sized bundle in my belly is making its presence felt. Nothing serious, just mild and constant nausea, a gentle roiling in my belly, creeping up the back of my throat and lingering all day. It's especially bad if it's been an hour or so since I've eaten so it's tempting to continually nibble on dry, plain, crunchy things to keep it at bay. I'm growing more and more wary of food, though. Is this the meal that brings everything tumbling out? Can I make it through the next class if I eat this soup and bread roll now?

52 Poems (week 10)

I saw Shane Koyczan perform at the Sydney Writers' Festival, years ago, when his book/CD Visiting Hours was freshly released. He was my first slam-poet. He was the first poet I'd ever enjoyed out loud and in person: there was none of the nervous reading, none of the modest looks away at applause. He was a performer and he rocked it. Then I saw him again at the opening of the Canadian winter olympics and got goose-bumps as the crowd swelled with cheer. 'We Are More' gave me goose-bumps even when I heard the earlier pre-recorded performance, a love poem to a country, but it could be many countries, could be mine.

This is the 'new' poem, something I'd not read before today. Something that I found in a short post on his website. I'd love to hear this in his voice, with his accent, his inflections. It has it's own life on the page, but something more with his voice.

For the Woman …
For the woman that told me to fuck off after I told her she was beautiful:
It doesn’t matter that you are a horrible person. You are the reason that boys dream of becoming astronauts, so they can man the first mission to Pluto and carve an ice sculpture that resembles you. Then alien passers-by will know that our planet has its moments. Yes, the aliens will probably masturbate while thinking of you, then launch an invasion to capture you for their king. When you tell him to fuck off, the earth will be destroyed.
I only want to write poems.
'Visiting Hours' was the first and deserves to be heard in person. But the CD audio is almost as good. Here's the best I can manage with the postable media.

Alan Rickman insults

I've loved the many faces of Alan Rickman: the genitally void Megatron from Dogma, the greasily peevish Snape in the Harry Potter flicks, the put-upon alien actor in Galaxy Quest, the straying Harry in Love Actually, the meltingly stern Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, the manic Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I love the dark and brooding, the romantic side, but I'm also enamoured with the cranky Rickman, the deadpan Rickman, the evil Rickman. Perhaps it's just that quirk of the lip.

Moviefone has mashed up a sweet little collection of Rickman's greatest insults. It's got them all.

Photo source: 'Alan Rickman joins Colin Firth in Gambit' article on

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bless the librarians

Sweet post over at the Letters of Note blog. In 1971, the children's librarian for the new library in Troy, Michigan, wrote to a number of notables asking them to write a letter to the children of Troy, congratulating them on their new library and discussing the possibilities contained therein. Letters of Note has published four letters, inspiring, kooky and gorgeously proper, by writers Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr Seuss and E.B. White.

All of the original letters are published at the Troy Library's website, a long list of 97 notables, most of whom I don't recognise. I do recognise the love of books and reading though, which is palpable in all of them.

Photo source: letter c/o Letters of Note blog; originally from

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The indignities

Oh, the things you find out once you're pregnant.

Goodbye, delicious feta, crumbled lovingly over my salads, sprinkled onto my pumpkin soup, smashed over a crusty piece of bread. Unless I have you in a fully cooked meal and heated beyond recognition, I won't be seeing you until sometime in 2012. Oh, how I'll miss you.

Photo source:

New songs on a Saturday morning (81-100)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Parts one and two of this musical escapade can be found here and here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

81. Lykke Li - 'Get Some' - the strangeness of this woman's eyes gets in the way of listening but if you shut your eyes, these songs are awesome. 
82. Lykke Li - 'I Follow Rivers'
83. Jessie J - 'Do It Like a Dude (Explicit)'
84. Hooray for Earth - 'True Loves' - Weirder and weirder film clips aren't necessarily better, but the sound's grand.
85. Clare Maguire - 'The Shield and the Sword' - she sounds like six other women from three different decades.
86. Clare Maguire - 'Strangest Thing'
87. Hugo - 'Bread & Butter' - Awesomely swampy.
88. Hugo - '99 Problems' - and I betcha ain't one.
89. James Blake - 'The Wilhelm Scream' - keep expecting the wispy lady voice but this is a pleasant surprise. Reminds me of the Stealing Beauty soundtrack.
90. James Blake - 'Limit to your Love'
91. Jamie Woon - 'Spirits' - gorgeously layered sound.
92. The Vaccines - 'Post Break Up Sex' - Undeniably British.
93. The Vaccines - 'Wrecking Bar (Ra, Ra, Ra)'  
94. Manchester Orchestra - 'Simple Math'
95. Rival Sons - 'Pressure and Time' - someone who took singing lessons at the Robert Plant school of music.
96. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybeans - 'Livin' in the Jungle'
97. Destiny's Child feat. Wyclef Jean - 'No, No, No' - back when there were four of them.
98. Fleetwood Mac - 'Songbird' - Never heard this version before Glee. Lovely.
99. Fleetwood Mac - 'Albatross'
100. Little Red - 'Rock It' - Sweet little Australian outfit.

Photo source: Lykke Li press shot from

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

52 Poems (week 9)

Love the idea of Joseph Furphy, the writer, becoming furphy, the tall story.I also like that he printed possibly the first use of the term 'ropeable' in his book Such is Life.

A Psalm of Patience

O KID! with face of healthy tan,
With lunch-bag, books and slate;
You needn't long to be a man,
Self-confident and great;
For ever since the world began
Each boy must spring to Nature's plan,
Must worry through as best he can —
Make up your mind to Wait.

O young galoot! you find it rough —
This iron hand of Fate!
Your confidence is mostly bluff,
And doubts preponderate —
Are you the genuine all-wool stuff?
Are you a daisy or a muff? —
Patience! you'll find out soon enough,
If you can only Wait.

O baffled bloke! with no resource!
Whose knowledge comes too late;
Whose prospects change from bad to worse,
Till Hope gives place to Hate!
Sick of existence, and perforce
Impatient for the long divorce —
You'll get your call in proper course,
Take my advice, and Wait.

O geezer! drawing near the test
That none may obviate;
Don't waste your time in fruitless quest
Re man's post-mortem state.
That doubt will soon be set at rest —
You'll be extinguish'd, grill'd, or blest,
Or spook the world from east to west.
Meanwhile, you have to Wait.

Photo source: Joseph Furphy wikipedia entry

The indignities

Oh, the things you find out once you're pregnant. Sometimes I think reading ahead isn't such a smart idea.

Varicose veins, bulging in the vulva: "Legs may have the market share of varicose veins but they definitely don't have a monopoly. Varicose veins can also appear in the genital area... Called Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, or PCS, the symptoms (aside from bulging in the vulva) include chronic pelvic pain and/or abdominal pain, an achy, swollen, 'full' feeling to the pelvis area and the genitals, and sometimes pain with intercourse" (Murkoff, What To Expect When You're Expecting).
 Photo source: public domain image

Saturday, May 7, 2011



My laptop is set up in the dining room, which is missing a door and has a badly constructed chimney. This little faux fire heats to about a metre but it's still cozy sitting next to the flames.

New songs on a Saturday morning (71-80)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Parts one and two of this musical escapade can be found here and here. Parts three and four are over here and over here. Part five is here. Part six is here

71. NOFX - 'Creeping out Sarah'. Love these types of songs where bands become inter-referential (not sure that's even a phrase but it fits). I'm fairly sure these videos are all fan-made for a competition. Can't find an original version yet.
72. The Wombats - 'Techno Fan' - I really liked their Christmas song from a year or so ago, and this has that same sound/humour. 
73. The Wombats - 'Let's Dance to Joy Division'.
74. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl - 'Bang Bang Bang'. Curiouser and Curiouser.
75. Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriwether - 'Stop Me'.
76. Mark Ronson feat. Candie Payne - 'Sunny'. Gorgeous live orchestral.

77. Candie Payne - 'One More Chance'. 
78. Candie Payne - 'I wish I could have love you more'.
79. The Coral - 'Put the Sun Back'. Gorgeous sixties vibe.
80. Lady Gaga - 'Judas' - It's getting to the stage where all I see or hear is Madonna in these songs. Like Madonna and Lady Gaga so am not all that perturbed by this. But this is different, a jumbled sonic patchwork, and may take many more listens to get into.

Photo source: Candie Payne from article 'New Band of the Day: No. 37 Candie Payne'.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

52 poems (week 8)

I went through a Margaret Atwood phase years ago, where I read some of her oldest novels until I was sick of being crammed behind the eyeballs of a 30/40-something woman in some inner turmoil. I hit saturation point after five books and only recently returned to her, to Oryx & Crake and to a book of short stories chosen by my book group. Now I've just discovered her poetry, strange pieces so unlike her prose, I can't reconcile them.

from Spelling

...I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words...

A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
there is no either/or.

from Night Poem

...In this country of water
with its beige moon damp as a mushroom,

its drowned stumps and long birds
that swim, where the moss grows
on all sides of the trees
and your shadow is not your shadow
but your reflection,

your true parents disappear
when the curtain covers your door...
Photo source:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Post holiday photo dump (part 4)

Post holiday photo dump (part 3)

On Easter Monday/ANZAC day, we took the long slow train to Sydney, changing at Strathfield for Sydney Olympic Park and the Royal Easter Show. I'd never been as a child and free tickets and the promise of Country Women's Association scones and a backstage tour of the archives are hard to pass up.








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