Monday, May 31, 2010

Doing a happy dance

Well for the first time in forever, one of my predictions came true! I did actually win Ally's bag giveaway. How cool is that?

So props to Ally for a) having a fun blog b) making cool bags c) having a giveaway d) making me win (even if by chance).

I've won this beauty (lovely model not included, although we are friends which is good news).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

the laps of pedagogues

in the laps
of pedagogues
lie the traps of speech
the goads
of yesteryear pulling
you back
to the dog-eared
maps of the car's
back seat
like morse code . _

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yet I Will Rejoice

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in Yahweh
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Yahweh is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
-Habakkuk 3: 17 - 19

The photo is from the Library of Congress Archives on flickr that I was reminded of tonight. Such an amazing collection.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Writers' Festival in brief

image: D. So

I went to a few Writers' Festival events last week between sleep, work and wine (all right so I added wine because it sounded good, but I did have a glass with friends on Friday... so kind of true).

It was great seeing poets, whose work I have read and admired, read their work aloud; particularly Robert Gray and Martin Harrison.

But the most engaging event was Les Murray in conversation with Michael Duffy, which I wrote up for Eternity (a newish national Christian newspaper). So rather than give you a run down of it here, you can read about it there.

Ali also wrote about the poetry reading we went to and a bit of celebrity spotting.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The hippest band in town

24 hours after their formation, The Sunshine Funtime Family Band & Ukulele Revival Orchestra  (made up of some friends and friends of friends) conquer a BeyoncĂ© classic.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

scattered black and whites

lunch was a winner - scrambled eggs on toast with fetta and parsley
so was the writer's festival

Genres: does anyone like them all?

Is it just me, or does everyone have inbuilt genre prejudices?

What are yours? And have you had a long-standing prejudice that has been broken down, either abruptly or after much coaxing?

I never used to watch/read period dramas, until I moved into a house of five girls during uni and I was forced to watch six hours of Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice in one day, and that was that.

I also used to think I wasn't a big fan of the whodunnit, but then I started watching Miss Marple. Although I haven't really branched out from that, unless you call The Wire a whodunnit, which it probably is.

With books there are quite a few on the genre blacklist: romance, horror and fantasy are all no-nos. I just can't handle the melodrama.

And film? I hardly ever watch action/thrillers or romantic comedies. I'm such a cliche, you'll always find me up the drama/art house aisle.

TV: Really not a sitcom person, and not big on the nature docos. Also hate special feature TV with a passion. You know, special feature TV of the "Michael Jackson has died let's replay all the footage we've ever taken of him interspersed with lame commentary" variety.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To Dear Patrick

Yesterday a friend and I were in a second hand book shop and I was rifling through the poetry section, when I found a collection of Yeats. I opened up the inside, and saw this:

In case you can't read it: 
May 1975

To Dear Patrick - in partial fulfillment of the "first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world".

I like that it was written exactly 35 years ago - in May. But most of all, I love that it quotes the same part of the Great Gatsby that I quoted on this blog, just a few months ago. It's Fitzgerald's beautiful description of the Queensboro Bridge...

This kind of serendipity seems to be haunting me at the moment, in a good way.

I'm intrigued as to why this person decided to tie those two things together - Yeats and Gatsby?

I really should've bought the book, but decided $10 was a bit steep.

And I'm now considering becoming an inscription collector. For all the things to be considered crazy for collecting, I reckon it's a good one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Billy and I

I should also, as part of my housematey duty, tell you all that Jo has started a blog called Billy and I. She's going to try and read all of Shakespeare's plays and Sonnets in a year, and blog about it....

Here's the blurb:
I live in a world where everyone, myself included, uses the word 'random' far too many times a day for it to remain meaningful. Our dictionaries are swollen with new words, and yet orwell was right, our breadth of usage is shrinking. For some reason, despite a full and busy life, this angst about language, about meaning, provokes me to read all of shakespeare's known plays and sonnets, in a year, and tell you all about it... Or not. I might get bored or busy, but i'll try. Here's to billy and I.
But knowing Jo, she'll need actual readers to stay motivated. So go read the first post and vote whether she should start with a tragedy or a comedy...

sufjan + babies = win

So ok, at first a movie about babies sounds a bit weird. But a movie about four babies from completely different cultures that follows them from birth to 1 year old - that's a cool concept. Add in a soundtrack by Sufjan Stevens, and if this trailer doesn't make you clucky, you're not human.

The kids are from Mongolia, Japan, Namibia and San Fransisco. Apparently the film has no narration, and relies on the juxtaposition of different scenes from the babies' lives to make its point about human nature.

It's showing at the Sydney Film Festival in June. I think it's only on once or twice, so I don't know if I'll make it. But it looks pretty awesome.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


My cousin's family run a horse trail ride company in the Snowy's. This is a photo from one of their rides. isn't it magic? I can't believe it's a photograph.

There's something ethereal about all that blue and green with those ominous clouds and yellow light.

Friday, May 14, 2010

heart of gold

two of my favourite things combined: ranunculus and polka dots. Brilliant!

prints by Kari Herer via Design Sponge

the book of proverbs: woody allen style

So I had to give a seminar at uni this week about Crimes and Misdemeanours, which meant I was living and breathing Woody Allen for a good few days there.

And as a result, I pretty much turned the Book of Proverbs in to a Woody Allen film in my head. **

It goes like this - "Wisdom" is Woody's latest girlfriend (playing on the way proverbs personifies wisdom as a woman)...

The movie starts with the phrase "Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.." (quoting from Chapter 4 of Proverbs)

Followed by this voice reciting a chunk of Chapter 4 (see below), over images of Woody and his girl walking down a Manhattan street:

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor."

Ok so when I said I'd turned the entire book of Proverbs into a woody allen film, I meant the first few chapters into the opening credits. hmmm

But the story would be about how Woody's character gains actual wisdom through his hapless pursuit of the girl, named Wisdom. Get it? YEAH. See it totally works, because it plays on his Jewish heritage, explores characteristically deep themes, while still making room for a whole lot of irony and laughs at his expense. And just imagine, all the scenes could be based on proverbs. And each scene could end with the lesson he's supposed to have learnt. And as he fails at getting "Wisdom" (the girl), he gets actual wisdom. It's gold.

**lack of sleep may have contributed to this idea

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The amazing bag giveaway

I keep forgetting to tell you all about Ally's bag giveaway.

Ally makes pretty amazing bags out of vintage ties she sources from the most obscure of places, which means your bag can end up employing parts of a Pierre Cardin neckerchief alongside a Loony Toons comedy tie from the 80s. What more could you want?

So you should enter! Although, I'm so going to win, so maybe you shouldn't bother.

Two thoughts

I was on the bus today, when I began to rejoice in being still. You know those times when you realise you can't change your circumstances - you can't make the bus go faster, the person behind you talk softer, the air be warmer. And so you just sit, and rest, and stop thinking, and manage to be still, not really because you meant to, but because what else is there to do. And then you realise it's probably the first time today that you've really let go.

That is a good feeling.

Yesterday, I was sitting on a bench in the middle of a mangrove listening to a talk on my ipod about patience, taking in the salty air and watching tiny crabs burrow into soft mud, my back warmed by dappled sunlight. It was glorious. Until a pack of tourists came past hoisting cameras to their faces, smoking cigarettes, swigging from cans and chattering away about something I couldn't understand.

I felt kind of violated. Well I felt like the moment had been violated. And then I realised that I didn't own the mangrove, or the moment. And then I realised that if anyone were to look at my life from a distance, I would look like a sweaty tourist, ambling through life carelessly, mindlessly destroying what's good and generous about the world and the people in it. And then I was thankful for the tourists.

Monday, May 10, 2010

the dust from the tabernacle floor

I don't usually write rhyming poems, but we studied the Villanelle last week and I quite like it. Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is the best example of the form. Here's one I wrote last week - I think it falls into abstraction too often, and the rhymes aren't great, but it's a first attempt.

He ate the dust from the tabernacle floor
Taking the lonely and making them whole
Swallowing the voices of the hollering poor

He spoke tenderly to the woman, the whore
By the well he settled her soul
He ate the dust from the tabernacle floor

Made fishers of men on the sandy shore
Living water flushed from darkened coal
Swallowing the voices of the hollering poor

Stripped from us the clothes we wore
Breaking bread before the rooster crowed
He ate the dust from the tabernacle floor

Reproached by teachers of the Rabbinic law
their hands still lingering in the money bowl
when he swallowed the voices of the hollering poor

Humanity’s nakedness exposed once more
When on the tree hung life in death: a single toll
He ate the dust from the tabernacle floor
Swallowing the voices of the hollering poor

Friday, May 7, 2010

like a golden atlas open wide

The Autumn List

image: 5-22-1

A year ago on this here blog, I was talking quite a bit about Autumn. I even wrote 10 things to do this Autumn.

I need to take my own advice! Here's the list.

....# Go for a long walk, with something interesting to listen to, be it the radio, a podcast, an album you love... or just listen to the world. Breathe the crisp air in and treasure it!
....# Make a giant pot of steaming hot pumpkin soup with crusty bread and a dollop of plain yoghurt, and give some to your neighbour.
....# Go to your local library, and pick up a book by an author you've never heard of and read it.
....# Go to the beach, all rugged up, with a picnic (or fish and chips) and share it with someone. Make sure you bring a warm jumper!
....# Write a poem, with a reference to Autumn.
....# Help out at a soup kitchen, or knit a blanket for Wrap with Love
....# Go some place with a woodfire, and just sit there, reading, talking, laughing.
....# Visit the writers festival. Go to an event that you haven't circled, that you wouldn't normally go to. Be surprised :)
....# Catch the train somewhere, anywhere really that's out of Sydney. And enjoy watching the countryside pass you by.
....# Think of all the things you can be thankful for, and be thankful.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

someone needs to buy this jacket

My friend Al and her husband are moving overseas and selling their stuff.

You have to buy this jacket... I can't pull it off. But someone out there can, surely? Only $20. And what a story to go with it.
"I bought this jacket in a vintage clothing store in Athens, Georgia, and at the exact moment we saw Peter Buck from REM! This may happen to you if you wear it! (Though not guaranteed)." -Al

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the long still hot weary dead september afternoon

Just a little William Faulkner to make you feel trapped and claustrophobic on this calm may afternoon. Try reading it out loud.

From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that - a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them. There was a wisteria vine blooming for the second time that summer on a wooden trellis before one window, into which sparrows came now and then in random gusts, making a dry vivid dusty sound before going away: and opposite Quentin, Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty-three years now, whether for sister, father or nothusband none knew, sitting so bolt upright in the straight hard chair that was so tall for her that her legs hung straight and rigid as if she had iron shinbones and ankles, clear of the floor with that air of impotent and static rage like children's feet, and talking in that grim haggard amazed voice until at last listening would renege and hearing-sense self-confound and the long-dead object of her impotent yet indomitable recapitulation evoked, quiet inattentive and harmless, out of the biding and dreamy and victorious dust.
Her voice would not cease, it would just vanish.

- the first paragraphs of Absalom, Absalom! 

Monday, May 3, 2010

early morning fog

When I walked out of work yesterday morning I found the city shrouded in fog. I was feeling more awake than usual, so decided to walk home. It was the best feeling, strolling down an empty Parramatta Road at dawn, all the buildings and street lights glowing in the fog.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seven minutes you won't regret

I recently had the privilege of seeing The Swell Season in concert. Not long after, Ali indicated on her blog that I would probably write a review. I didn't - partly due to laziness, but also to be honest, I felt any words I could muster wouldn't do the night justice, and so refrained.

But I just found this on youtube and sharing it with you is about as close as I can get to writing a review.

Glen tells a remarkable story about a woman he met in Chicago, and then plays Say it To Me Now, unplugged. He did the same thing at the Opera House, and we could hear him in the back row. It's a moment I hope to remember for a long time. So, take a few minutes and be blown away (oh and language warning...).