Saturday, February 27, 2010

cycling around melbourne

I'm planning to take a little break in melbourne later this year to visit a few friends and soak up the goodness of a city with actual, grassroots culture.

And this little find has just made me 200 times more excited about my plans... an awesome little business called The Humble Vintage that supplies visitors with vintage bikes and accompanying hand-drawn map and city guide for $30 a day! I like it.

read more via the awesome Design Files


via all the mountains

Friday, February 26, 2010

A little update on life and things

So Dad's now also got a torn ligament in his knee, which they did surgery on this morning. This is on top of the torn hamstring and other stuff... but he's doing well and glad to have a few answers.

Meanwhile, I've seen the sun. This is big. I'm being trained up as a sub editor. It's so nice to be in the newsroom with other people, with actual work to do. Amazing. Especially after my mopey boredom rant the other day. The only downside is the tiredness that hits just when you want to hang out with people and see the world. I have one more subbing shift tomorrow, and then I'm back on overnights for the next few weeks.

Subbing is a whole new skill - editing other people's stories and putting the bulletins together. I think I have pretty shonky news sense, so it's going to take a while to learn how to order bulletins. There seem to be as many ways of ordering a bulletin as there are sub-editors in the world, so we'll see if I ever resolve that one.

Also, last night was the orientation meet and greet thing for my masters course. It was so over the top - Sydney Uni style. Wine, fancy nibblies and a bunch of pretentious speeches including the line "You're a republic of letters, a community of scholars!" hmmm I think I just identified the source of Sydney uni's superiority complex...

I start classes on Monday, with an American literature subject, and on Tuesday's my fist poetry workshop. Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

shadows on parade


This photo taken by my brother's girlfriend on the weekend reminds me of Laura Gibson's delicate song, Shadows on Parade (you can listen to it via the link)

I have carried beasts of many Seasons
their bullied bodies burdening my spine
But when your eyes came rushing up to greet them
I cast them off to keep them in my sight
I would watch their shadows on parade

I've been chasing clouds of many colors,
their blurry bodies I have claimed my own
carried by the wind that took our fathers
captive to their cautionary words
I could see their shadows on parade

I will hold my days in moving pictures
and carry their impressions in my eyes
In all that was escaping us, and all that we could hold in place
I saw you shining brighter than before


Thanks for your prayers/thoughts/love. I'm going to visit dad this afternoon.

The doctors believe he's torn his hamstring, which while not great, is better than secondary cancer. So we're pretty relieved.

How he tore his hamstring, we're not too sure! But it's going to be a long recovery, and at this point he still can't really walk. So you can keep praying he'll recover well. x

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the ethics of boredom

There is something almost magical about an abandoned newsroom - it's like a giant reminder the world goes on without us prodding it this way and that. But there is also something haunting about tv screens flickering away, silently behind empty desks; a portrait of the hollow, skittering world of a 24-hour news cycle and its cousin, the modern appetite for constant consumption of information.

What am I bringing this up for? Well the general gets personal.

As I sit here in an empty newsroom with nothing to do, I start to feel guilty. There is no news around, and so I am reduced to filling my time with non-work related activities.

Some nights, things are insanely busy and I haven't time to do anything except write/edit stories, call the emergency services and monitor the news. But other nights, like tonight, I've written one story in 4 hours and I'm completely bored.

During these quiet times I struggle to stay awake and stimulated, and feel extremely lazy. But there's nothing I can do - the news is the news, and I can't make it up. In fact, if I ever do that, you have permission to shoot me.

Usually I end up reading blogs, news sites, reading a book, writing on here, writing poems, listening to a podcast, making coffee and wasting time on facebook. It's inspiring stuff...

So I'm wondering, what are the ethics of being paid to do nothing, and how can I use my time more wisely?

The best nights are when there's just enough to keep you busy, but not overwhelmed. Unfortunately, those nights are rare. Sometimes, it makes me wish I was a manual labourer with a much more obvious path, and a more rewarding one (see: post on washing up). But I doubt I'd survive out there in the real world!

So, people, tell me: what can I do in the downtimes that is worthwhile and good, or, alternatively, how should I think about these times when there is nothing to do?

Monday, February 22, 2010

in hospital

For those of you that pray, you can pray for my Dad - he's in hospital again, with a semi-paralysed hip/leg thing.

We're not really sure what's up, they're doing tests today (monday). Don't think it's broken or malignant, so that's good, but still not great. I have to remember he's not a young folk anymore.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

March Meanjin

This month's Meanjin looks really interesting. Meanjin is the literary journal that comes out of Melbourne Uni, and I think I might subscribe as a birthday treat/as part of doing my masters.

Here's what you can find in the March edition:

The March edition of Meanjin looks at charisma: of religion, of science, of teachers....

John Potts considers how deeply religious impulses are still mirrored in our secular beliefs and Jeff Sparrow questions where New Atheism will lead us. Phil Brown remembers being taught by one of the greats, the poet Bruce Dawe, Jane Grant explores the cult of the brilliant academic and writer, Sam Goldberg, and in the first of our Rewind series we publish Goldberg’s 1957 Meanjin essay ‘The Poet as Hero: A.D. Hope’s ‘The Wandering Islands’’. Paul Mitchell examines the presence of God in Australian literature - from Tim Winton’s Breath to Tsiolkas’s Dead Europe, Helen Barnes-Bulley asks if atheists can truly enjoy religious art and Carol Major looks at the ways in which the church has informed our adoption practices.

culinary regrets

I've had a few...

The latest? After a delicious thai meal with my family on friday for my birthday, we all ordered deep fried icecream. I can't remember the last time I ate the stuff - this should've been the first warning sign.

It arrived, and it was breadcrumbed icecream. I don't like breadcrumbs at the best of times, let alone when they're still par-frozen, and luke warm surrounding dodgy ice cream that's been in the freezer for a year or two.

Although I have to admit, it was a little fun to eat such a ridiculous dish on my birthday.

Friday, February 19, 2010

the inner west around me

some recent iphone shots taken in my neighbourhood; the sky's been all kinds of pretty this week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

rental malaise

We found out (sort of by accident) this morning our rent has increased, not by heaps, but without notice.

It got me thinking again about the things I really don't like about where we currently live. Number one on the list being cockroaches, followed shortly by peach coloured walls/brown carpet, and lack of light.

Oh what I would do for some white walls and floorboards (actually that's what downstairs is like... we were unlucky).

But I also reflected on what I'm thankful for here - the handy location, cheap rent, built-ins; it's everything we need.

Seriously though, peach walls....

ps. anyone have any guaranteed cockroach killers? We tried bombing, and bait, to no avail. help!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Circular Quay

Another one out into the ether. This one was inspired by Here, by Larkin. It's a sad imitation, but I was trying to experiment with evoking the sense of a place.

Circular Quay

Through foam and saltwater, her stern points
north as water would have it, not according
to some worn path, but against wind and waves –
the water too dark to be luminous;
instead according to some map of the harbour,
where headlands resemble scuffed up sleeves
hung out to dry, grasses swirling clockwise

and the widening quay's sleepy semi-circle
taking it all in: loose plastics floating,
gulls tiring, gathering towards
a motionless street performer posing
with children under a palm tree.
Here people stop to look and watch,
to wonder if she might sink or roll
in the slightest wind and whether they
would live or drown
under the weight of the wharf.

Beside ticket booths and fluoro hats,
magazine stands and boxing kangaroos
there's talk of the stockmarket, lights flashing
and buses coughing to get going
Residents of the street rolling over to catch
the day beginning like the pouring of a good wine;
the light decanted between bespoke suits
bought in Beijing, and silk ties flapping.
The gates of the train station open to
a briefcase, a twenty dollar bill
and your made up face.

Monday, February 15, 2010


A recent poem, basically unedited. I grew up with a mulberry tree in my backyard.

a mulberry tree, trunk sawed to the root
brought to life by sun and rain:
this is what comes to mind
this and our feet, still small but robust -
stained crimson. And the lesson that
the green berry, the unripe and
tasteless embryo of life, was the only solvent;
to be plucked prematurely and
rubbed until your feet turned pink
and your hands ached, the crimson
magically disappearing into the
prickly green ball of life cut short.

image: so wabi sabi

Saturday, February 13, 2010

anchors away

this is kind of the way things are here at the moment

Friday, February 12, 2010

how to describe a city

I love Phillip Larkin's description of a city in his poem Here, which I posted the other day. The way the landscape morphs, he manages to say everything about the place through pure description.

Another whose cities seem to sparkle in my mind is F. Scott Fitzgerald. Take this, for example, from The Great Gatsby.
Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

Yes I'm reading at work.. it's so quiet here tonight..

Thursday, February 11, 2010

what a catch

I try to avoid going to Basement Books under Central Station too frequently as it tends to burn a hole in my pocket, but with a few classics on my reading list for uni this year, I thought I'd swing by - and as usual, I came away with more than I planned... but it was worth it.

The Great Gatsby - $6.95
The Scarlet Letter - $4.95
A Literature Collection, by Lion Books - $1
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson - $9.95

That's four very decent books for under $25. See what I mean?

Ahh basement books... so good. But keep it yourselves, ok?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

stuff white people like...

Another classic entry on Ray-ban Wayfarer's sunglasses, which I might add, I would probably buy if I wore contacts. So, friends, the joke's on me.

change up

I've been itching to change my header image for a while, and I finally cracked just now. I chose the cherry image because it was the most popular photo at last year's craft fair, selling out in all sizes. And well, I too love the colour and texture. So, the cherries it is.

It makes me just a little bit 'homesick' for the country. Just a little bit.

Just because

Here --- Philip Larkin, from The Whitsun Weddings

Swerving east, from rich industrial shadows
And traffic all night north; swerving through fields
Too thin and thistled to be called meadows,
And now and then a harsh-named halt, that shields
Workmen at dawn; swerving to solitude
Of skies and scarecrows, haystacks, hares and pheasants,
And the widening river's slow presence,
The piled gold clouds, the shining gull-marked mud,

Gathers to the surprise of a large town:
Here domes and statues, spires and cranes cluster
Beside grain-scattered streets, barge-crowded water,
And residents from raw estates, brought down
The dead straight miles by stealing flat-faced trolleys,
Push through plate-glass swing doors to their desires -
Cheap suits, red kitchen-ware, sharp shoes, iced lollies,
Electric mixers, toasters, washers, driers –

A cut-price crowd, urban yet simple, dwelling
Where only salesmen and relations come
Within a terminate and fishy-smelling
Pastoral of ships up streets, the slave museum,
Tattoo-shops, consulates, grim head-scarfed wives;
And out beyond its mortgaged half-built edges
Fast-shadowed wheat-fields, running high as hedges,
Isolate villages, where removed lives

Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gardening and Washing up and why you should do more of both

Reflecting on my little cleaning frenzy on saturday, I was reminded of something Alain de Botton said in his lecture at the opera house last year on the pleasures and sorrows of work.

He said that a good manager will give his employees work that in some way resembles gardening or washing up. He said, as humans, we find great satisfaction in making order out of chaos.

At the time it certainly resonated, and still now I think he's right- detangling is the key to job satisfaction.

But the thing is, de botton couldn't tell me why. I wasn't too worried though, because it was a familiar idea- a thoroughly biblical one.

Just think- god is a total bandit for order. Just read genesis 1. His world is so unbelievably ordered.

Then, he creates humanity in his image- and gives it the task of nothing less than gardening- making order out of chaos.

The christian worldview says work is good and it is part of our humanity and ordering things is deeply satisfying, because we are made in the creator's likeness.

For evidence of de botton's claim, one need look no further than the stationery shop kikki-k. I am yet to meet a woman who does not love the place - a shop full of tools for ordering your life !

Or, just think of the writer, whose satisfaction comes from making sounds into words, a tangle of words into sentences and sentences into symphonies.

More mundanely, think of the satisfaction of finishing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the bedroom.

What de botton also missed however is that we're no longer in Eden. The satisfaction of work is diminishes by our stunted view of everything, particularly our purpose on earth. Amazingly, the purpose of work is not to make money and wallow in selfishness- that's when washing up becomes a chore, because everything in this world is measured in terms of how it seves me, not how I serve the earth and others.

I wish I was this convicted by this more often when I stand by the sink. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, February 8, 2010

annandale to blackwattle bay walk




most unromantic movie suggestions

image: emilygrace
Each year, a few of my friends go out on Valentine's Day to see the most unromantic movie possible. It may well qualify as a statement or a boycott of sorts, but let's be frank - really we're just having a laugh. One of us is married with a kid now too. So it's not even a 'yeah single woman power' thing.

Two years ago, we went to see There Will Be Blood. I won't forget that too quickly.

We're hoping to do it again this year, although it's tricky as I'll be asleep most of Valentine's day having worked the night before, and will have church in the evening. Oh the logistics of it all.

Any suggestions for most un-romantic movie to see? We were thinking The Road, originally written by Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend therapy

Not shopping, not even coffee... I'm talking about a good old bedroom tidy.

Why is it that lurking on every messy bedroom floor are hundreds of Bobby pins and 10 cent pieces you never knew you had?

I started with the washing pile and my state of mind quickly escalated to expunging every deviant object/speck of dust.

I find it odd I can go for months not seeing the mess, and then in a sudden moment of clarity all I can see is the mess, and it must go...

My conclusion thus far is I need another bookshelf. The floor just isn't cutting it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

in the near fading light

Some more amazing photos from clumsy bird's flickr stream.

Sewing advice

Mum's been re-teaching me to sew over the last year, starting with two stripy bags, then more recently I've made sock monsters and finally, I've hemmed some pants (three in fact!).

The pants were done on my new (old) machine - one Mum found on Ebay. It's so exciting to think of all the things I could make.

Opshopping with friends this week, I found some great navy and white spotty material for less than $2, and I instantly thought of making a skirt. I just need a very basic pattern.

Do you guys know any good sewing sites? The only ones I know of are BurdaStyle and maybe PurlBee. I'd like a modern, but simple A-line pattern to start with.

Any ideas?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

thanks ally

I've been given a blog award - not sure what they are, but they seem nice. Thanks Ally! Ally goes to my church, she makes owl-related craft items which means she's awesome and she has a lovely brood of girls.

To accept this award I have to tell you 7 interesting things about me, apparently.

I don't know if I have that many interesting things. And I rant on here too much as it is. So i'll skip that bit. Actually maybe I'll just write one 'interesting' thing:

I lose things. All the time. I also break things. All the time. Somehow, I've never lost or broken my glasses, and I sometimes wonder if I'll ever justify getting a new pair, and I also wonder why these, of all objects, seem to be safe with me.

Now I have to link to seven blogs for this award. I find this kind of thing a bit awkward, so I won't link around but basically you know I like your blog if I come and visit regularly. Am I a scrooge for not passing this on?


So the Macquarie Dictionary's announced its word of the year for 2009: shovel-ready. The word refers to a building or infrastructure project capable of being initiated immediately, as soon as funding is assured.

I have to take issue with this for a number of reasons:

1. How is shovel-ready a "word"? It's a messed up cliche masquerading as an adjective.

2. Surely instead of adding to the dross that's filling our lives, the dictionary should be attempting to reharness the simple, beautiful language of the recent past. You know, words that don't have hyphens and aren't subject to manipulation in Question Time?

3. Who apart from annoying media types would use this "word" anyway?

oh... hang on.


I should, as an addendum to my last post, say that all respectable coffee drinkers should get their beans from the exceptional Three Beans Roasters.

I picked up my lastest batch of New Guinea Peaberry (yes, peaberry - highly aromatic, exotic flavours and silky smooth textures abound; chocolate notes) this afternoon direct from the supplier (doesn't that sound important). And it's luverly.

Ok ok I admit it

The only time I'm thankful for Nescafe's existence is at 0200, in the newsroom. Every other hour of the day and night, I shun the stuff. But I guess there comes a time in every coffee drinker's life when they have to admit defeat. And here I am, doing just that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

a few lovely things peppering my days

washing up to andrew bird
a late brunch with family
finishing a book and starting a new one
seeing God's faithfulness in the book of Jeremiah
watching a 15-day old baby taking in the world
knitting at the height of summer; anticipating winter
going for late evening walks and peering into people's houses (people leave their doors open and lights on and I can't help but see inside)
feeling the wind swim past me while hanging out washing

image via fffound


Just a random little poem I wrote towards the end of last year. Reading back on it, I think it's half-finished - it feels like a vignette. I do like vignettes, but it feels incomplete in a bad way. I think I'll work on it in coming days.

listening to andre gide on
happiness and other
things that hang on life's
it seems fitting to
walk across the bay
and watch
five balloons float
like dandelion seeds
into the sun
followed by a lone seagull