December 2007


Five recently acquired CDs (the first on my own initiative, the others for Christmas): 

  1. Tom Waits – Closing Time: How did I not have this? How did I get by without “Ol’ 55” for most of my life?
  2. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of this Country: I heard Camera Obscura at this year’s Laneway Festival. The album has a lovely ’60s sound, according to my mother. I’m ready to be heartbroken.
  3. Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope: I was worried this was an album I would regret asking for after listening to it once or twice, but it’s not. With the exception of the bridge in ‘Fidelity’, I love it.
  4. Augie March – Moo, You Bloody Choir: I’m still getting to know these songs. I didn’t think I particularly cared for Augie March until I heard them live, opening for Crowded House. Good as that concert was, Augie March were better live. Really good, and I’m looking forward to being able to pick my favourite parts of the album. Not the most famous song, of course, because it never is.
  5.  Green Day – International Superhits: I have not listened to this, but it will provide an interesting counterpoint to the others.

Five songs which are potentially more interesting when I get the lyrics wrong (song followed by what it doesn’t say):

  1. David Dundas/Keith Urban’s “Blue Jeans”: I put my aubergines on.
  2. The Rockmelons’ “L-O-V-E Love”: Hell0 BP Love.
  3. Whoever sings the latest version of its’ “Every Little Step”: No matter if you’re french-fried or diet, we were meant to fall in love.
  4. Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive”: Stay the night, stay the night.
  5. Tim McGraw’s “She’s My Kind of Rain”: Spaghetti falling down on me.

Five Radio Stations I have on preselect in my car, in order of how frequently I listen to them:

  1. Triple J: Roots and All will ruin me for any other activities.
  2. Triple M: Cold 30 ditto. Also the essential 200[insert applicable digit] is a lot of fun.
  3. 98.9FM: This actually does play the best country.
  4. Toowoomba Country FM: For when I’m out of range of everything else.
  5. ABC Classic FM: I know it plays wonderful music (and a good overture is up there with country road songs for music to drive to), but whenever I’m caught between ads and rap on the other stations, it only seems to be playing opera or Yeats set to bad folk music.
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Horizons

For Illustration Friday, I was working on a little carved stamp of a sunset and “The End”, but that proved surprisingly elusive, and my last large stamp bases retain ink unsatisfactorily, so that is a project for another day and better light.

Two activities which regularly reduce me to tears and which in consequence I try to avoid are shoe shopping and listening to country music. If I feel I need a thoroughly cathartic experience, I will do both in one evening. I had completed the first last Friday night and, prior to committing the second, made this list (I have since recovered somewhat but maintain my stance on the cupcake issue):

DON’T LIKE

  1. Shoe stores
  2. Crowds
  3. People who stand in front of elevators
  4. Shops which are happy enough for you to buy but won’t actively try to sell you anything.
  5. Shops which actively try to sell you things.
  6. Decisions.
  7. Lack of choice.
  8. Retail blackmail.
  9. Kebab shops which run out of felafels.
  10. Shops which advertise “it’s cupcake season” but don’t actually have any cupcakes for sale.
  11. Extra sugar.
  12. Communal dining tables in food courts.
  13. The price difference between fresh fruit and veges and refined starch.
  14. Rent showing through in food prices.
  15. My feet.
  16. Everyone else’s feet.
  17. Expensive Christmas cards.
  18. Cheap Christmas cards.
  19. GST on stamps.
  20. Waiting for public transport.
  21. Crying in public.
  22. Inertia.
  23. Being a lawyer.
  24. Corporations law.
  25. Order times.
  26. Executive chairs.

LIKE

  1. Rule of law.
  2. Democracy.
  3. The little plastic pots with resealable flip-tops that East-West Food serves its sauces in.

Backwards

The Illustration Friday theme this week is “Backwards”. I started with a “Janus” themed sketch in my moleskine and wound up with a Warhol-inspired Photoshop creation. I am learning my way around Photoshop – still at a basic level but getting better. I’d like to do a short course next year.

Looking forward, looking back

I mentioned in my last post that Making Money Made Simple is an embarrassing book to be seen reading on public transport. I wish to qualify that statement. I see no point in being embarrassed by books I am reading. If I am reading them, I have no problem being known to be doing so, with very few exceptions.

The embarrassment happens when the books I am seen reading are those by whose covers one cannot tell them. By this I do not necessarily mean books with resoundingly bad covers, because we are living in an era of beautiful cover designs (though that is not a blanket statement – google bad romance covers at your own peril), but books whose covers or titles conjure up in the mind of the beholder quite a different book than the one I am actually reading. Though I might be happy to be seen reading a get-rich-quick book if I were deliberately reading one, I object to being presumed to be engrossed in one when in fact I am reading Noel Whittaker, and obviously fascinated by his explication of the inner workings of superannuation funds.

Here are some more books that are, or would be, embarrassing to read on public transport:

Dark Lord of Derkholm, Dianna Wynne Jones – this is solely on the basis of the cover, which (in the edition I have) is decidedly not tongue-in-cheek. It is in fact the cover for the book Dark Lord is not, and I find myself wanting to hold a sign explaining that the glowing-eyed villain and flying horses should be read ironically.

Georgette Heyer novels – two reasons for these. One is that they are such delightful puffery that I get a little embarrassed myself about the extent to which I enjoy the best ones. Anyone who recognises the author would probably understand, and this is a good, guilty-pleasure embarrassment which is, however, better accompanied by tea and chocolate than by council bus passengers. The other problem is the new covers which scream “Romance!” And while I hope if I were reading modern romance on the bus I would do so boldly, this is inaccurate. Heyers are very romantic, but almost more so in the old sense of adventure and daring than in the modern one. Misunderstanding! Pistols at dawn! Secret identities! Masked betrayers! Blackmail! Almacks! Highwaymen! Kittens!

Meg Cabot novels – Glitter! Pink! But they probably wouldn’t sell if they featured lists and horse-shampoo on the covers, which are the real appeal.

Anything by Jodi Picoult, Dan Brown or anything that sells well in airports except maybe Tom Clancy. This is an image thing.

The Feminist Gospel. I have to explain this to everyone, from the Christians (it’s an examination, not a statement) to the feminists (why is it pink?).

Anatomy for Artists. The pictures must be from the ’20s, it starts orange and gets worse from there. There’s a worse one out now, though – a reference guide for fantasy artists. I want to buy it just to bring out when I need to fall about laughing. But not on the bus.

The Satanic Verses. People try not to look at you.

Five yellow post-it notes I took off my wall at work:

Home
& GOREY?
&BOMcal!

Presumably, I wanted to call home, buy Gorey’s Doubtful Guest and pick up the Bureau of Meteorology calendar for 2008. The last two went unaccomplished. Great calendar, though.

Making Money Made Simple
Noel Whitaker –>

Finally got the 20th anniversary edition. Read it. Good introduction to principles of personal finance, investment etc, and I’d recommend it to someone starting out to save (or who should start out to save) or interested in good stewardship of money. But one of those titles which misleads people on public transport (“The Guaranteed Secrets of Wealth!” and “Ten Steps to a Million Dollars!” screaming on the back don’t help).

Ezra Pound
Support staff day

Unrelated notes: I wanted poetry by the former and the date (gerberas, buying, for the purposes of) of the latter.

Sojourner
&
Perrine

Interesting names – one from readings in feminist theory, the other from a handcrafted saint’s shrine (any conclusions about me based soley on that sentence are drawn at your own risk). I think Sojourner Truth and Harper Lee are two very beautiful names that would be cruel to inflict on hypothetical children. Except maybe as middle names.

Book Burnings & Birthday Parties

An idea, but I can’t remember what for. Possibly I liked the alliteration. I don’t now.

Jess and I saw this tonight, everyone else having fallen by the wayside. At the end of the movie, I fell down the stairs while walking and reading the credits, wrenching my shoulder, banging my knee and jarring my foot (this in addition to the pinched nerve in my other leg). Jess survived unscathed. We collected the third member of our household and came home to find the fourth unpacking, listening to depressing music at high volume and just finished drying the dog with a hair-dryer.

So real life in Brisbane is somewhat quirkier than the movie, which was patchy but (not unlike the vicar’s egg) very good in those patches. The soundtrack was brilliant, and there were the laughs of recognition (the RE – still corpse-purple – and the Botanic Gardens) and of genuine amusement (the Sesame Street theory of urban development). As is so often the case in romantic comedy-dramas the secondary characters (Tyson and Katherine) were more unique and appealing than the more neurotic, tortured main characters (Anthea and Michael), but it is a good sign that I remembered the names of most characters, and there were scenes where I thought – hey, I was really getting pulled in there. And although at the start I thought, “not gritty – it’s so overdone”, that grittiness was pretty low-key, and there were moments of colour and beauty that were a relief for a small film. The film also caught, subtly, the fact (especially at the wedding) that in Brisbane everyone knows or is connected to everyone else.*

However, if your friends ever ask you to be extras in their friend’s cousin’s movie, do. The most striking feature of the film’s Brisbane was the emptiness of it – as if all the friends and half the city had gone to London.

Off to have chai now.

—–

*E.g. my housemates are each others’ sisters’ friends and boyfriend’s sisters, and I am not as was thought the random person who answered an internet add, rather I am the family friend of the sisters’ father’s business partner, and one of my coworkers who was to have joined us at the movie has a boyfriend who shops at the same store we do and is my godfather’s son, and one of my client’s cousins, to whom my boss tried to marry me off, is already married to my third cousin, whose parents live in Taringa.

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