Friday, September 25, 2009

marple magic

The last few weeks, Jo and I have been watching episodes of the most recent Miss Marple (Agatha Christie) adaptations, and I've been loving how detailed and studied the sets and costumes are. There are also some great cameos by famous brits - it obviously had quite a big budget.

Combine this with my love of Design Sponge's "Living In..." segment, where they consider the style of a film and pick out some items that define it, and I thought I'd have a (less cool) go at doing the same thing with Miss Marple using Polyvore.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The dust storm

I know I know... we're all a bit over it. But here are some photos i took this morning at about 6:30am.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Truth and fiction

Every generation is impacted by a dominant philosophy or way of seeing the world. When that philosophy is taken to its extreme, the next generation searches for another philsophy to counter the old one. As for my generation (Y), I think we are yet to see or even acknowledge the dark side of the post-modernist philosophy we've been brought up on.

Now I don't want to trivialise the need for a counter-philosophy to modernism, which made all sorts of dodgy claims and resulted in pretty awful events. However, I think the general population is still giving tacit approval to post-modern thought. Perhaps at a scholarly level, there is change a-foot, but they're definitely still subscribing to its basic tenets in schools, and universities. The inevitable pendulum is yet to swing.

I think what we haven't acknowledged fully in the public sphere is that the post-modern approach to the world is especially hollow as it erodes the very foundation of existence: that truth can be known. It creates an unliveable world in which there is no truth, and no meaning.

But we all know there is more than meaninglessness, otherwise we would not bother to get out of bed. But we're trained to play down meaning, to refuse to give credence to any particular idea because well hey, it's just one perspective and all opinion are valid. It's interesting to note my generation is the generation of grassroots campaigns and user-defined media. Doesn't sound like apathy or pluralism in action to me.

Anyway, I recently read this article by Simon Leys (who, by the way, supervised Kevin Rudd's honours thesis back in the day) which I think illuminates well the paradox post-modernism tries to explain away. He argues there aren't multiple truths, but multiple judgements about the truth. He also talks at length about the way imagination is needed to understand the truth of a situation, and that mere facts don't always reveal truth. I definitely recommend giving it a read.

Here's a sample:
"The fact is, these two arts - history writing and fiction writing -
originating both in poetry, involve similar activities and mobilise the same faculties: memory and imagination; and this is why it could rightly be said that the novelist is the historian of the present and the historian the novelist of the past. Both must invent the truth."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sock monsters

my sock selection

ready for sewing

anthea triumphant post-sewing

there were a few mishaps...

broken needles, for instance
veronica going with the thrifty wartime theme, sewed a missing button on
the garment she was wearing

rupert in the making

one monster, needing face

jo 'moulding' her monster's bum - an important step

one fell

three rose

and danced

rupert (centre) then came alive to eat us all..
my other monster, crafted the next day
watch out gillard..

The dig list

The Middle East
The Blow

Seamus Heaney - selected works
Wallace Stevens
Going Down Swinging journal
Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
The Monthly magazine

Miss Marple adaptations
Marie Antoinette
The Young Victoria

sock monsters
a mess


Old loves die hard

I don't see much live music these days, but I couldn't resist seeing Paul Dempsey (from Something for Kate) on the weekend.

Old friends can attest to my absolute obsession with the man between the ages of 14 and 20. As an existentially challenged teen I was totally lured in by his abstract lyrics, enigmatic personality and furrowed brow.

But after they put out Echolalia, things seemed to go downhill. I just found their new stuff too poppy, and would yearn for the days of their more raw, angsty music. I kept clinging on, hoping for a revival. At shows they played from their back catalogue, and that kept me smiling, but deep down, I was losing hope.

So when I heard Dempsey was doing a solo project last year, I got a little excited, but not too excited, as I'd been let down in the past.

I've yet to buy his solo record (Everything is True), but I've heard it a few times and caught the singles on the radio. It feels refreshing, I think because it's Dempsey writing for Dempsey = no compromises. It's still not what I dream of, but it's good to see him stretching his wings solo.

The show on Saturday was great fun - the new stuff is great live, and his touring band is tight. It also helped Dempsey was in a good mood, and really appreciative of the audience. I have to say, despite all my doubts, he's still got it... the furrowed brow, the cryptic lyrics and the wry smile. Deep down, I'm still a tragic devotee.
photo via song doctor

Monday, September 14, 2009

More of an update

It's been a week since Mum's operation. Thanks to everyone who's asked how she's going/prayed for us/generally been lovely the last week. It's been full on, but things are looking good.

She struggled with low blood pressure for most of last week, which meant fainting/dizzy spells when the physios tried to get her up to walk. Thankfully, that has passed now and she's walking more and more each day.

It seems like the leg pain/numbness that she's experienced for over year has gone completely (yay!), which was the whole aim of the operation. However, she's suffering lots of wound pain, which is normal given she's been operated on.

She's been moved into a rehab hospital where the physios will see her regularly and get her doing lots of exercises to develop her muscle strength and mobility.

All in all, things are looking good and she's in good spirits.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Mum had her back operation today - a spinal fusion, to be precise. Just the thought of it makes me feel a little queer, but I'm assured having a plate in your back is just dandy once you heal up a bit.

I visited her this evening, and although she was a bit out of it, she was so excited her feet were warm for the first time in ages. The impact of her back problems has been mainly on her right leg and foot, so this is a good sign. We'll find out in coming days how much better it really is.

The visit reminded me how unsettling hospitals can be. Mum works at one, so she's fine, but I still have a reaction to them. As soon as we walked in the smell of disinfectant hit me, followed by sombre faces in the lift and an eery silence punctuated by the squeak of rubber shoes along corridors and the odd beep.

They plan to get Mum up on her feet by Wednesday, which is pretty amazing. Then starts the real recovery.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Ch ch ch ch changes..

So I probably shouldn't be posting this because I might change my mind. But who cares!

Next year I'm planning to do a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) at Sydney Uni. Of course there are a few stars that need to line up in order to create the constellation that is making my plan a reality. The most important being they accept my application!

The application will involve sending in 10 - 15 of my best poems, which is a little nerve-wracking. The thought of someone pre-judging my work is most daunting. I definitely have more than 15 poems on my computer, but 15 good ones? Hah.

But I guess you might be wondering why. Why go back to uni? Am I just a campus junkie (having spent the last two years working at uni)?

Well, kind of. I love learning, and studying. And the creative writing masters does have a theoretical component, which I'm most excited about. I'm really looking forward to taking "masters of modernism" (eliot and yeats) and "major movements in contemporary poetry" (basically 20th/21st century poetry and poetics). The course also offers contact with practising writers, and genre-specific workshops.

I'm hoping to study part time, and do the degree over two years. I'd love to write a minor thesis in my final two semesters to see if I might be suitable to go on to do further research, and also to just enjoy the experience.
So that's the plan. Oh and the other plan is to get a job to support this frivolous lifestyle!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some things

+ Hilarious notes from a bored worker, part of an art installation entitled: "What I do at Work When I'm Supposed to be Working" (see above).

+ A pretty new online magazine written by and about people in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Too cool. I wonder if this kind of super-local approach to publishing is going to become more common? It's called SoHI you can find it here.
+ a simple method to making your own terrarium.
+ cool things to do with old envelopes and other patterned paper here

Random thoughts

1. I've had Man in the Mirror by MJ in my head all day. Well actually, just the refrain "I'm talking to the man in the mirror".. over and over and over again.

2. Looking forward to community group tonight - we're making vietnamese spring rolls together. YUM. I'm on rice paper duty. Have also bought some Hello Panda. Always a winner.

3. Planning a sock monster making day. Can't wait.

4. Mum's having back surgery on monday. A little nervous. Hoping it relieves the massive pain she's been in for over a year now.

5. I'm in a bit of a "I really dislike shopkeepers" mood. Maybe i should do a separate post about that...

6. I'm going to Sydney Uni Graduate Options expo tomorrow night. Hoping to come away with a more concrete plan for next year.

7. I'm really hating the dust that seems to cloud our apartment all the time. Anyone have any dusting tips? I've just been using and old rag, but there must be a better way.