Friday, December 29, 2006

American Dad - Vasectech

Make sure you pause on the "good time" magazines to read their titles!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Domo-kun says: ARRRRRGH! Merry (belated) Christmas and a Snappy New Year!

Birthday: 28th December, 2006.
Method: MS Paint and Wacom tablet.
Comment: Hoo boy, I really need to learn about a) light and shadow and b) layers. But every new picture is a lesson, hey? I do TRY to use layers, but they frustrate me so, probably because I don't know what I'm doing, and then I go, SIGH, back to MS Paint. Sweet, simple, MS Paint.
However, MFC has found me some cool video tutorials, so I expect to become the queen of vectors and layers ANY DAY NOW.
I decided to draw Domo-kun (the mascot of Japan's NHK TV station) because RaZeR said that whenever he read "Angie SMASH!" in this blog, it made him think of Domo-kun :) And there have been a lot of Angie SMASH incidents, mainly due to the flood of village idiots turning up at MFC's place, at his housemate's invitation.
My Domo-kun looks a bit too friendly though, like he's going, "Hey, hey! Guys! Welcome to the party! Long time no see, man! Ooh, is that a kegger I see?" Don't worry, friends, when I draw the an9ie version of Domo-kun, there's gonna be enough aggro to spare!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Still full from Christmas lunch, and a Garlic Roast Chicken

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I'm on holiday until the 8th of January so the Christmassy feeling is still with me (also I had a good sleep last night - whee!)

Right now, I am waiting for a Garlic Roast Chicken to come out of the oven. It's the simplest recipe. I have made it three times now, and the first time I made it, the people who tasted it (including my housemate, who is a fussyfussyfoodiesnobpants) said it was the best roast chicken they ever had. I'm making crispy potatoes to go with it, fried in the same butter/minced garlic/chicken stock concoction I used to season the chicken, and microwaved peas. I know some people may go "Urgh" at the thought of microwaved peas, but really, I think it keeps them from getting soggy, and it's nice and fast for ADD girl here. Just two minute per cup of peas and you're done.

I'll let you have a quick peek at the chicken in the oven. Just a little one because, you know, she's shy.

Well, hello there, little lady! Aren't you purty?

Now, I must tell you about Christmas lunch, because it was the best, most Christmassy lunch I've had since I was a little girl and Mum and Dad celebrated Christmas with roast meats and hampers and a tree. (Nowadays, my family just goes to the buffet at Burswood, where we eat until we get that full feeling at the top of our throats, as if the food has suddenly noticed the dire peril it's in and is trying to escape.)

MFC and I went to his dad's house for lunch on Christmas day. MFC's father is a very, very good cook, in the traditional English sense, and pretty much every meal we have there is a gourmet experience.

We didn't have breakfast in anticipation, and were treated to a bountiful table of:
  • Roast turkey,
  • Roast pork with crackling,
  • Applesauce, cranberry jelly, and grape toffee jelly to go with the above,
  • Roasted potatoes, perfect in every way, crisp on the outside and melty on the inside,
  • Roasted pumpkin, parsnip, sweet potato and garlic,
  • Grilled cherry tomatoes and boiled peas,
  • Julienne carrots and brussel sprouts,
  • Fresh bread
  • A choice of mini mince or apple pies with brandy custard for dessert,
  • Shortbread and tea to follow.
I shall expect the same thing next Christmas and every Christmas after that, or heads will roll!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Newsflash: Angie enormous wimp, is terrorised by tiny bunny

Note: I wrote this post on the 22nd, so the weekend I'm referring to is the 16th of December.

OK, so on the weekend I was terrorised by a rabbit. Yeah, you heard me. In fact, the title of this post was going to be "I am such a pu$y", and then I thought about all the GooglePervert searches that might lead here, and recanted.

As you may know, MFC and I are pet-sitting my brother's rabbit for a bit while he's overseas with my parents. In fact, I got a text message from my brother just the other day about it. Glen asked me for an update, and I told him that Mao was fine, and being incredibly spoiled by MFC, but also that he was getting a little aggressive and would try to hump your leg or arm if he got too excited (after running around you in little circles). Glen said that he was going to get Mao fixed when he came back anyway, and that would probably fix the aggression. I felt sorry for the little bunny; he was just acting on instinct.

But, yes, Mao, who is becoming incredibly bold, and has the run of MFC's dining room in the evenings, has started peeing in the corner of the room, the carpeted room, and leaving pellets there as well.

MFC was very nice about it, although I was mortified. (Glen, see what your testosterone-filled bunny has done now? Good one, Glen.) Mind you, MFC was the one who STARTED the policy of letting the bunny have absolute, unsupervised freedom in the evenings in said dining area. So I should really be saying: On ya, MFC :) So, MFC put some papers down, and told me not to sweat it, he was going to hire the steam-cleaner from Coles anyway to do the bedrooms, and he'd do the dining room as well. Sometimes I worship this man. You try finding someone who knows their way around all the vacuum cleaner attachments and ALSO regularly steam-cleans the house, by himself.

So I started clearing away the pellets in the corner with a dustpan, and I was swapping the damp newspaper for some fresh stuff, when Mao came up to see what I'm doing. At first he was just getting in my way, stepping on the dustpan and sniffing everything energetically. And then he became more and more agitated, rearing up at the sheets of newspaper as I took them out, and folding his ears back. Then he started to make little charges at my feet, and after a few bluffs on my part to take charge, I ran squealing from the room like a little piggy. A very scared little piggy.

Hey, his claws are freakin' sharp, OK? And I don't like having things charge at me! (Even if they are at ankle-level.) Besides, it's not like I can defend myself because then I'd have to explain to Glen if rabbits go to heaven after they been kicked through a glass window.

I ran into the kitchen where MFC was making dinner, shrieking, "ARRRGH! I don't feel sorry for him anymore! When he goes back to Glen, his goolies are coming off and I won't be sorry! Snip-snip! Right off!" (Angie turns towards the dining room.) "You hear that, you little shit? They're coming OFF! OOOOOFFF!!!!"

"Don't say things like that," says MFC.


"Well, it might not be a very nice thing to say in front of other people who have goolies."

Fair enough.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How do you suck out the poison?

I had the displeasure of dealing with a particularly poisonous person today. Toxic. The kind of person who comes at you with seemingly innocuous, but actually insidious comments in front of other people, trying to put you down and intimidate you. A bully, but a sneaky one.

The kind of person that you would gladly put on your holiday bludgeoning list, or buy a ticket on the Titanic for. The kind of person that makes you shake your fist at the sky and yell, "DAMMIT KARMA, when are you going to BITE them in the ass?!?"

I'm glad to say that, in my encounter with this...person, I didn't back down. The responses I made were calm and confident, even though I hadn't rehearsed any beforehand. And despite the fact that I was so angry at times that my hands started shaking.

So, does karma work? Does anyone know of someone who has received a comeuppance that was well deserved? What goes around, does it come around? In Malay they call it ketulahan, and with the right intonation it can sound quite forboding and well, doomy.

Or, is it bad to hope that karma works that way, because we should love and forgive everybody and blah blah blah. And hey, you know, our hands aren't entirely clean either. We've done our share of harm. If karma were truly fair, it would give us our portion of whup-ass as well, served on a bed of irony with some humiliation on the side.

Sometimes I think so much my brain hurts.

OK, look karma, you don't have to totally ruin Nasty Toxic Person's life, or push them down the stairs, but could you at least give them a really bad rash down there for a couple of weeks? The kind that feels like a thousand centipedes and some sea urchins and some Portugese Man-O-War jellyfish had a lovechild and it's living in their pants?

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A revolting morning discovery

Warning: I advise any queasy readers, especially the male ones, to not read this post.

I stay at a few different places some nights. Nomadic as this sounds, I'm really not that impulsive. It's just a part of my lifestyle at the moment. Most nights a week it's MFC's place, or we'll both be at someone's house and feel too tired to drive home. As all and sundry know, I am a very anal person. I plan outfits for while I'm away, down to shoes and underthings, and I always, always have my trusty toiletries caddy.

Here it is:

Your Honour, you will note the yellow circle around the Sensodyne toothbrush, which is a brand new replacement from the time the incident occurred. Yes, yes, the dental hygiene section looks like an ad for Oral-B. If you must know, here is what I do with all that teeth stuff:

1. Rub toothpaste all over teeth.
2. Floss in between all teeth with waxed floss.
3. Floss with Ultra Floss, in areas where there are small cavitations that I'm monitoring.
3a. (Night-time only) Brush with Sensodyne toothbrush (non-electric).
4. Brush with normal Oral-B electric toothbrush head.
5. Brush with interspace Oral-B electric toothbrush head.
6. Use tongue scraper.

On Saturday night I stayed over at a house that wasn't mine. The housemate had a few people over, people I didn't know with their shrieking girlfriends. They were having a pretty good time shouting obscenities at each other and playing loud music that lasted all night. I put my caddy in the guest bathroom, did my night routine, and went to bed with a pillow over my head.

The next morning I groggily went to the bathroom to start my morning routine. I picked up my normal Oral-B toothbrush head, and as I did so my Sensodyne toothbrush caught my eye. I picked it up and squinted at it. It looked like it had been soaked through with a brownish substance, and dried stiff. It definitely wasn't like that when I went to bed.

My brain went, "A-buh?" and slowly ticked over scenarios where brown gunk could have got on my toothbrush. A leak in the bathroom ceiling? A practical joke? Did I drop it somewhere? But it looked fine last night when I brushed my teeth...

I looked closer. It appeared to be organic, but not anything I recognised. What was it?

I started rinsing it under the tap, it was really stiff and whatever it was had stained the bristles quite badly. The cold water woke me a little and I recoiled, thinking, "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?" and stuffed it in the bin. Suddenly it hit me. What the brown stuff was.

All you queasy people STOP reading now. Especially the boys, who won't be able to handle this. In fact, to make sure no one gets too antsy and reads anyway, I shall make the next bit in white font. You'll have to highlight it with your mouse to read it. Consider this a final warning.

*White text starts here*
OK, ladies, you know how, on the first day of your period, you have brown spotting? It's not blood, and it doesn't look or smell like it. It's a thicker substance and I think it's tissue, part of the uterine lining, something like that.

That's what I think it was.

I think one of the bimbos at the party unexpectedly got her period, and washed her undies or clothes in the bathroom sink. (There were some dried brown splash dots on the wall next to the sink.) And I think she used my toothbrush to get out the worst of the crud, and then just PUT IT BACK the way it was, into my caddy.

*White text ends here*


Argh! I was so traumatised. And now so are you if you read that bit. And no blah-blah-that's-so-disgusting-how-could-you-let-me-read-that-Angie comments, thank you very much. You had two warnings and I also whited out the crucial bits. People like that exist. This is not a blog that pretends natural functions don't exist. If you took a deep breath and decided to read it anyway, well, take responsibility.

I was pretty grossed out but I'm mostly over it now. Plus, having a Mum for a nurse does desensitise you to these things.

Anyway, everything in my caddy has been cleaned, with every sterilising tablet and caustic liquid known to man. And examined. With a microscope and a blacklight.

I have a new toothbrush. The next time I stay somewhere, and there are people around that I don't know, it is staying in the same room with me or being locked in my car. Bleargh!


Sad times

The best thing about visiting blogs I like, is that they usually have links to blogs that they like. I get to visit these and discover more blogs that I like, and then I have to force myself to start picking and choosing so that I don't end up reading blogs and watching Grey's Anatomy all day.

The other week I found the blog of a lady who is an excellent amateur photographer. It's just a hobby for her, but she has a real gift. It always looks like she captured the right subject at the right time. It looks easy and spontaneous, like all she did was line up her camera, and that perfect shot just took care of itself. That's how you know her work is good.

I was reading her blog for the first time, and then came across a photograph of her little daughter in the shower. I consider it a sad sign of the times, that when I saw this photograph, my first thought was not: "Aw, that's a cute shot," but, "You've got to be kidding me! Lady, you can't just put photos of your kids in the shower up on the Internet! Argh! What if some sicko sees them and...Argh! I don't want to even think about it!"

I couldn't just rejoice at the simple beauty of the photograph. Instead I worried. Should people put photos like that up on the Internet?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grey's Anatomy backlogging

I've been working through my Grey's Anatomy backlog. I watched 2.12 to 2.18 yesterday, and two episodes made me cry (damn them!)


2.15 Break on Through, where Meredith resuscitates someone's Mummy, and then has to kill her the next day, because she's DNR. It was awful watching someone's mother die, because it makes you think of horrible "What if that happened to us?" situations. I'm pretty sure I would be a blubbering mess.

2.16 It's the End of the World, where they finally get the bomb out of the guy's chest, and everything looks like it's going to be OK. Meredith runs out into the corridor, stares after Hot Bomb Squad Leader/Kyle Chandler as he walks away in slow motion...and then he gets BLOWN UP.

NOOOOOOOOO!!! Not Hot Bomb Squad Leader Kyle! Oh, he was so very fine. And now he's very fine. Mist, in fact. Pink mist. Sigh.


The good news is, I still have plenty more episodes to watch over Christmas! Yay!

Friday, December 15, 2006

An attack on the Food Pornographer

The Food Pornographer is one of my daily stops. I think it's great that she lives in Perth, and I can go and try out all the new food places she blogs about :) She religiously (and with a lot more discipline and dedication that I could ever muster - except in a pie-eating contest) takes photos of her meals and posts them online with witty reviews and humorous anecdotes about life with her cats and her companion Jac.

Now, TFP is a woman who shares her life with another woman (shock! horror!), and I don't think they have separate bunks either, if you know what I mean.

One of her readers recently found this out, and sent her a very poisonous comment about it (more than one poisonous, menacing comment, actually). I find this hilarious for a few reasons, that the reader, "DocChuck", and his wife (Mrs Chuck?) have been reading her blog for a while now, and have only just twigged that TFP is a lesbian, despite numerous references in her posts to Jac being a "she" (and a section in her FAQ addressing their relationship).

At first I wrote a paragraph paraphrasing his quotes, but now, my friends, I am thinking that such nasty things to do not bear repetition here. There is already enough nasty stuff out there on the InterWeb. You can go to TFP's site and read them for yourself, if you're interested.

I think this man is unhappy and needs a hug, forgiveness, and acceptance from the community. He seems to have forgotten that Jesus embraced, forgave, and accepted those that some narrow-minded people considered unclean: lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors (teehee!)

Unless someone has invited personal discourse on their post (e.g. "Please let me know what you think about this,"), my attitude to leaving comments is:
1. "If you don't have anything nice to say to that person, then don't say it," and,
2. "If you really don't have anything nice to say, and you really have to say it, then do it on your own blog."

Designing a new blog

Hmm, almost two weeks since I proudly announced that I was thinking of changing the look of my blog (to the sound of one juliness cheering :). And still, nada. But I have been trying, you know. I tried one hot Saturday until CSS reduced me to tears. I tried last Sunday but couldn't settle on what I wanted (or thought I wanted).

It's hard, thinking of a new banner and style. Also, I'm not sure if my blog fits in anywhere, really. It's not a craft blog or an art blog or a deep thoughts blog or a "I'm chronicling my journey to success" blog. There's a lot of shite in it. Sometimes I put in photos of things that catch my fancy, sometimes I post drawings I've made (and when I do, I feel as proud and exhausted as someone who's just given birth to seventeen dalmations). Sometimes I write down funny things I've heard or seen, even though they may be crass (and I like going back and reading them to have a chuckle).

Sometimes I can't stand the world and other human beings, and wish I lived on an island populated solely by robots and dachshunds (the robots can clean up the dachshund poop).

Sometimes I feel enlightened and love the universe and everyone in it. And I blog about those moments too. (As an aside, if you tend to leave self-righteous comments (and I hope none of you do, because you are all lovely people) on people's blogs about how they shouldn't be picky and critical, and how it's wrong to judge people, think about how that person might have felt at the time. They might have felt completely different three minutes after, but still needed to get the bad stuff out of their system. Think about how that negative feedback might have stood out against a sea of positive feedback and clouded their day. Remember that we're all flawed, funny humans. And remember I said that the next time I have a rant about someone/thing that annoyed me :)

My dream blog would be Alicia Paulson's Posie Gets Cozy, and I don't think I'd be wrong if I said about five thousand other people in the blogosphere coveted it as well. Alicia is incredibly creative and smart and cheerful and kind. She has the cutest dog in the world, and the best husband, a tender, witty chap named Andy Paulson. She takes beautiful, warm photos that make you feel wistful and yes, cosy, usually of the inside of her enchanting house, or of the sweet, clever things she makes by hand.

However, I'm not sure I can have a blog like that, because I'm not a good or nice person. Well, not all the time. I have tried, and it's not impossible, but I have a lot of fun being a beyatch, too. Sometimes so much fun it should be illegal. Especially when Nicky's in town.

And so I can't have a nice banner in pink with pictures of lovely knick-knacks, no matter how much I want one, because from time to time I'll have a grump and talk about throwing people who don't use deoderant into a giant steamer full of pine needles, and that would be false advertising.

People would say:
"Hey! Your banner looks so nice but your heart is black and full of hate!", or
"I thought this was a nice child-safe blog about pixies but now I see that you're one of Beelzebub's handmaidens!"

And I can't write like this (actually, I haven't met anyone who does write like this, but then again, I am exaggerating):
"Hello darlings! It's me, Angie. It's a lovely day in Perth and I love, love, love everything and everyone. Today I looked around my pretty house and thought, I love what I've done with it..."

I just can't. For one thing, I would feel insincere calling people I barely know, "darlings". MFC is lucky to get a "darling" out of me, and only when chocolate and pastries are involved. For another, my life is full of half-finished projects and little petty dislikes. Even when the weather is perfect I'll find something to grump about. I wish I had better eyes, teeth, skin, perkier boobs, a huge trust fund, a country cottage, a dachshund ranch, a time machine...

Sometimes I wonder if I should only put positive, uplifting things on my blog, so that every day I can be thankful for something, and infuse my life with wonder and magic.

But then something shitty happens and I really need to rant about it. I might as well flush the magic down the toilet then. Or someone infuriates me and I vent about them (I find this nice and cleansingly cathartic*).

What I put on the blog is how I feel, right at that moment. I try not to be boring but sometimes I might be, because it's tiring being interesting all the time.

I think I'll just be Angie.

* Tautology alert!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Valentine's Day Story

Sometimes I get blog ideas and I'll dash off a couple of sentences, save a draft, and then leave them to stew for a while. If I feel a little short on inspiration, like today, I'll pick one and flesh it out.

This draft was written exactly a month ago, on the 13th of November. All I had were two sentences:

Pepe and the chocolate
"Is that his tongue?" asked Sonya in horror.

Here's the fleshy bit...

During Uni, I worked at my sister's florist business in Fremantle. It was on High Street and called "A Black Cat Florist". And every year we would get caught up in the flood that is known as Valentine's Day.

Florists love and hate Valentine's Day. They love it because it's the one day of the year where they earn enough money to pay off all their debts. They hate it because they have to work their butts off and they know they won't get any sleep the night before.

Valentine's Day in Australia can be a nightmare, because here Valentine's Day falls in late summer. It doesn't help that, for weeks beforehand, wholesale flower sellers stockpile roses in icy coolrooms, long past their usual best-before date. Then one day they're taken out of their cryonic suspension, stripped, trimmed, handled, wrapped, and delivered during the worst heat of the day. Woe betide you if you're not home to receive them and they have to be left by the door! You'll be murmuring, "My love is like limp pot-pourri and a puddle of chocolate," à la Robbie Burns.

The night before Valentine's Day was sheer chaos. We stayed up till 4am, dethorning roses, arranging roses, wrapping roses. We also put little soft-centred chocolates in with the arrangements, for that something extra. Turkish Delight, Raspberry, Toffee, Caramel.

Our little dachshund Pepe was still alive then, and he would lie on the floor in furry slug mode, sleepily watching the hustle and bustle. Occasionally we'd trip over him or give him a pat.

We were all working at full speed, my sister, her assistant, Sonya, and me, and Pepe was happily munching away on something he had found on the floor.

Someone tripped and accidentally stepped on his paw. He yelped and a brown and red slimy object plopped out of his mouth. Pepe retreated into a corner and looked scared.

We all stared at the...thing, and then Sonya shrieked, "Oh my god! Is that his tongue?"

No one moved. I was ready to cry over the fate of our poor little dog.

Finally I knelt down and picked it up while everyone backed away. It was warm and sticky and my stomach turned. Then I looked a little closer.

It was a half-eaten Turkish Delight.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Norwegian Puffin Dogs

Whatchoo lookin' at, beyatch?*

MFC sent me this muy interesting link today from It tells the story of the Norwegian Puffin Dog, or lundehund, a hound bred to clamber up rocks and into caves to fetch puffins for their puffin-hungry owners. Mmm, puffin-fresh. What? I couldn't resist!

Dachshunds have nothing on these pooches. What, you were bred to look like a knackwurst and hunt badgers? That's nothing, my friend. I can fold my head back along my spine! And I have SIX freakin' toes!

* Yes, I know I've used this caption before. But it tickles me :)

Keng Hua - Nightblooms

Here are some pictures of a plant I've been familiar with since childhood. It looks a bit like Audrey, doesn't it?

The name of the flower is keng hua in Hokkien, and I finally managed to find a small article about it here on AsiaOne*.

Appearing at the witching hour is the heavily-scented Keng Hua, whose petals, on the other hand, seem to take an excruciatingly long while to unfold. Its botanical name is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum, and it belongs to the Cacti family.

But it's more commonly known here as the Keng Hua, and I remember the entire household staying up for hours for what was considered a highly propitious event when the flowers bloom, as it was associated with good fortune. The petals start to unfold at about 9pm, with the flower in full bloom by midnight. But the bloom or blooms (if you are exceptionally lucky) last just for that one night, before they close and fade away at dawn ... just like the graceful dying swan in Swan Lake.

This plant is meant to bring good luck when it blooms (oh, and by the way, do you know how many synonyms there are for "bloom"? Not many. So unless I start making up words like "buddlify" or "flowerate", you'll be seeing that word a lot.) Small buds start appearing weeks beforehand, and you watch them grow, oh so excrutiatingly slowly, until one evening (usually when there is a full moon out, but I can't confirm this for certain) they spring open and release their fragrance into the night air. The smell isn't sickly-sweet, it's just strong-sweet, personally I find it more invigorating than heady. Their full blossoms look like sacred lotus flowers, which is probably why the Chinese consider them lucky.

The last time this plant flowered was a few months ago, and it gave us around fifty blossoms. My mother rang me, full of excitement. "Our keng hua has bloomed! So many flowers!"

Today I counted 40, with more little buds starting to form. I hope I'm here on the night they come out. Hurry up!

* Source: Nature's Reliable Time-Keepers, Thien, The Business Times, July 9, 1999.

Proposed Australian citizenship test

The Federal Government is thinking of introducing a citizenship test for migrants, who may be asked to define things like "mateship" and other Australian cultural values.

Few answers on citizenship test - from, December 12, 2006 12:44pm

Before this ridiculous test becomes a reality, I'd like them to take a decent sample of the existing population, say at least 10,000 people, who were born and raised in Australia, get them to take the test, and see what results they come up with. If they fail, do we strip them of their citizenship and send them off to the land of their fathers and/or mothers?

I found the quotes from other politicians quite interesting:

Mr Georgiou said he was "concerned that the toughening of the requirements" would "create unreasonable barriers to the acquisition of citizenship and will prevent people who would make a wonderful contribution to Australia from becoming citizens".

"The upshot may very well be that the successful settlement of immigrants is undermined rather than enhanced," Mr Georgio said.

Fellow Victorian Liberal MP
Russell Broadbent said he had raised his concerns with Mr Robb, saying: "The questions could be very difficult for many current Australians."

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce has said he is unsure the proposal will succeed in its current form.

"We're trying to stop people who have militant ideas who want to destroy our nation - I've got no problem with that whatsoever," Senator Joyce said.

"What has to be proven is whether an English test is going to do it - most wackos are very well-educated."

I hear you, Senator. If all you have to do is rote-learn some answers, or just be very imaginative and lie, and then sign a piece of paper, I think the "wackos" are going to pass with flying colours. They're intelligent and resourceful, they're fervently, fanatically dedicated, and they believe beyond any trace of a doubt that we are in the wrong. And not all the nutjobs are imports, there are just as many who are homegrown, and I have no idea how we're going to weed those little daisies out. I certainly know that my personal dream of bombarding certain households with offers of free sterilisation, soap, steel wool, deoderant, and an English primer, is not going to become a reality anytime soon *sob*.

In the meantime, the poor average guy who's going through one of the most arduous immigration processes in the world, who just wants to give his family a better life and education and earn a minimum wage that is higher than 50 cents a day, who is awkwardly trying to express himself clearly in a language that is not his native tongue, a language that he has recently learned, who is full of nerves in the interview (and who isn't?), well, we might as well just slap the chains on him now and say, "Would you like a berth with a porthole or without, sir?"

Monday, December 11, 2006

We're gonna bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl, bowl - tonight!

If you haven't seen Grease 2 and heard that song, you don't know what you're missing, along with a very young Michelle Pfeiffer, and an unforgettable song about reproduction ("I don't think I even know what a pistil is!")

MFC and I went glow-bowling with friends last Saturday night. We went to Fairlanes City Bowl, on Adelaide Terrace in the city. I didn't even know it existed! Apparently it's quite a Perth institution. We went there at the invitation of MFC's friend, C, who is a patron. C wanted to organise one last hurrah there before they closed down.

I only just found out about it, and now they're closing down! :(

Basically that part of Perth is just prime real estate, and they're going to knock it down and build luxury apartments. Seriously, I don't know how many more luxury apartments we can have in the city. Soon every structure will be luxury apartments, and there will be nothing to do on the weekends except break into each other's luxury apartments to steal tap fittings and Corian benchtops.

We were to meet C, his lovely girlfriend L (the girl is a knockout), her brother B, and some of C's friends in the lobby. While we were waiting for everyone to rock up we played some rounds of a shooting game very much like Time Crisis. I kept losing points for accidentally shooting my team-mate, but MFC got the highest score (seriously, he is good at everything. He even looks better in makeup than I do. What a ba$tard!)

I got a very good impression of Fairlanes. There's ample free parking underneath, it's clean and air-conditioned, and they were playing Justin Timberlake at dance volume but not-too-loud-for-talking volume when we got there. It was dark, but the pins and lanes were lit up, and they were playing movies on a projector (sans sound). The guy kept announcing "Lane [insert number], a dollar for the strike!" Apparently, if you got a set with a coloured pin in the front, and you made a strike, they would pay you a dollar. Whee! Free money!

It cost $19.90 for two games and shoe hire. I threw some gutter balls the first couple of times, and they had to ask the guy to come and put the rails up - teehee. After that MFC showed me what to do, and I got a bit more confident and bowled 97 in my first game, and 98 in my second. No strikes though. Oh, and on one occasion I dropped the ball on the backswing and it started rolling behind me towards the score table. Hilarity all around.

After the first game I noticed a pain in my thumb. What I didn't know beforehand was that bowling plays havoc on your nails and the ball had torn some of my thumbnail off. It was painful and kept catching on things, and no one had anything sharp at hand. Finally MFC bit off the end of the nail for me. Isn't he the sweetest? ;)

The surprise player of the night was B, C's girlfriend's little brother. In his first game he bowled something like 6 or 7 strikes, and 5 strikes in a row in his second game. And he'd never played before! I think he ended up with a 170 average or something crazy like that.

My balls seemed to keep veering off to the left even though I was sure they were leaving my arm at a straight trajectory. Mind you, I often bump into pillars when I think I'm passing between them at a straight trajectory. I don't think I'd make a very good missile. I'd probably be the kind that the developed nations off-load to the poorer ones in return for cheap tennis balls and rubber shoes.

After bowling we went to The Moon in Northbridge for some late-night feeding. The food there is good but the service is terribly slow. MFC had some really good calamari and I ordered the pumpkin soup, which was delicious but came half an hour after everyone else's meals. L couldn't finish her burger and so MFC finished it off. He slept very badly. The next morning he had food poisoning and had to, erm, do some praying at the porcelain altar. I think it was the burger, because I'd eaten some of his meal and I was fine. Must ask C if L was indisposed on Sunday morning too. C says L was fine. Oh dear, I'm a little worried about MFC's tummy now.

Fairlanes City Bowl good. Go there for a fun night out before it's too late! Luxury apartments bad. Moon food good, service bad, also food maybe bad, because you may be crippled the next day.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oh, Christmas tree...

...Oh, Christmas tree...I think you're just...


* Even though you're plastic. Oh, and earlier today I chewed through the cable for the tree lights. Luckily Mr MFC had switched them off as a precaution before they let me run round the room. HaHA! They caught me in the act but I'd already bitten through them. Gnapgnap!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Random Shopping-ness

Why yes, yes I AM enjoying my new camera. Can't you tell? :)

Here are some photos of interest from a shopping trip MFC and I took to Ikea (and other shops in the Osborne Park area) last Saturday.

The Ikea food shop at the end seems to have some nice grub, and a lot of stuff that looked familiar from my trips to Denmark.

Do you think that the Ikea customers in France find this funny? I did! Teeheehee!

ZOMG! I can't believe the treasure trove I found in Good Sammy's! When I was at Uni, Buffy was my god.

Seven years ago I would've creamed my pants when I saw these, but now I have them all on DVD, so...meh.

And a little green bug that was surfing on our windscreen. Photo taken when MFC saw me getting the camera out, and said, "You'll never get a clear picture of that!" HaHA! Challenge met, and triumphed over with my IXUS 60's super-duper Macro function, nyah! And that is not dirt on your monitor, my windscreen is just really, really filthy.

Bites of Japan 2006: Super Toilets

And I mean that as in "I am Super Man! Up, up and away!" and not, "Oh, super cheese, Gromit!" OK? OK.

I'm terrible. I still haven't done my journal for our trip to Japan in February this year, and as time passes my memory becomes ever more hazy.

It's not just long-term memory, I think my short-term memory is due for some kind of tune-up as well. On Monday my housemate gave me a pair of trousers to take in for dry-cleaning, and I swear I've lost the damn things about three times now. On Tuesday morning I put them next to my handbag and promptly forgot them. On Wednesday I thought I'd put them in my car but I hadn't. Today I have this slight suspicion that they may still be in a box with the rabbit food that I took up to MFC's place last night (I took the rabbit too, because MFC is much better at pet-sitting rabbits than me, I find them too slippery.) The rabbit belongs to my brother, Glen, who is currently overseas. I blogged about the bunny here, and, as you can see, the name Yi Mao has stuck, but I just call him Mao, or Mao-Mao.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to find out that I am an obsessive planner. In fact I recently took a survey that said that my impulsiveness level was "low".

One of the things I did to prepare for the big trip was to anticipate any nasty surprises. Upon reading many travel blogs and articles by erstwhile travellers, I found that one of them was...toilets. Apparently Japanese toilets are extremely high-tech. I was terrified that I'd become Sylvester Stallone trying to use the three seashells in Demolition Man, and end up stranded in the bathroom for several hours while I tried to figure out which one the flush button was.

Luckily the Internet is full of like-minded OCD-ers, and I found an excellent article in Wikipedia labelled "Toilets in Japan". I even printed out a photograph of the control panel and added translations in English. It was sticky-taped into my diary and never consulted again.

Upon our arrival, I found that public toilets in train stations and airports tended to be the standard flush toilets, but also provided the unpleasant option of squat toilets. Urgh, I thought I had left those behind in South East Asia, but no, here they were in all their open glory. Yes, I know that what's in the bowl came out of me in the first place, but I don't need to have it RIGHT IN MY FACE.

I had to use the horrible squat toilets of damnation on at least four occasions in a three week trip, when I was so desperate I thought my kidneys would explode from the strain. I know four times doesn't sound too bad, but I can assure you that it was four times too many, especially when you're wearing three layers of clothing, including thermals. (As an aside, if my sister, who has worse OCD than me, had been there, she would have flat out refused to use any public toilets ever and probably acquire a kidney stone as big as the Hope Diamond by the time she got back to Australia. When we were kids, she could go the whole day without using the school toilets, somehow managing to hold it in until we got home 7 hours later. Ripley's...Believe it or Not!)

Anyway, so what if squatting is more natural and healthier? What-ever. If I have to, I'll buy some organic bananas or do some Pilates to offset my naughty Western toilet habit, OK?

A lot of the public toilets don't have toilet paper, but you'll find an excellent supply of pocket tissues handed out for free on the street by companies marketing their businesses. Unless you're blind and have no arms, there is no reason to ever buy your own pocket tissues in Japan. I don't know how Kleenex survives out there.

The main places where we encountered Super Toilets were hotels, chalets, and some shopping centres and restaurants.

The first Super Toilet I saw was in the hotel in Sapporo, it was lovely, because the seat kept itself warm (you could adjust the temperature from "Just take the chill off, Jeeves," to "Oooh, toasty!"). I wasn't game enough to try the guided bidet jets until we got to our chalet in Niseko (a popular ski resort) two days later. One of the girls and I stood next to one, and gingerly pressed the button with the picture of a sprinkler underneath a bottom. How we squealed when a strong jet of water spurted forth and hit the door! (Man, those things can travel.) But they're actually quite nice and hygienic. You can vary the temperature of the water, the strength of the stream, and the rotation of the water jets. You can even dry off with a warm blast of air but I found this unnerving and never used it (apart from the first scary time).

The toilets at the Niseko chalet were also quite clever at conserving water and eliminating the need for a separate sink. The top of the toilet cistern was a bowl with a tap attached to it, and after you flushed, clean water would automatically stream from the tap, and then drain into the cistern, ready for the next flush. Ingenious!

The grandest Super Toilet I found was actually in a massive Pachinko parlour in Sapporo. MFC and I ducked in to see why Pachinko was so addictive and what all the fuss and noise were about. I still can't figure out the appeal. You sit there with a tray of metal balls, empty them into the slot machine, and watch them fall through to the bottom, hopefully hitting things and getting you more little balls, which you then swap for prizes. Hum.

The Pachinko Parlour Super Toilets each had a massive cubicle, with their own vanity mirror and sink. It was also the only place where I found speakers in the toilet control panel. Apparently, several years ago, millions of litres of water were being wasted every day, because prudish Japanese women would sit on the toilet seat and operate the flush mechanism at the same time, in order to mask embarrassing noises. With this handy button, you can activate sweet bird song, rushing waterfall sounds, or gentle burbling stream noises, and sit there secure in the knowledge that no one else will hear you and your private shame, because you must be one of the few people in the world who doesn't have tiny fragrant cinnamon buns and peach elixir gently floating out of your bottom when you use the loo.

And don't forget to wear the toilet slippers! They have these in hotels and private homes. Make sure you use them, so that you don't offend the natives ;)

One of the worst parts of coming back home was sitting on cold toilet seats, especially first thing in the morning. Brutal. Sigh.

I need to write a post about the tiny bathrooms too, but don't worry, it's in the making! ^_^

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Warning: strange things may be happening to this blog

I would really like to update the design of this blog. The angry South Park character doesn't quite do it for me anymore. But while I'm trying out different templates, things may disappear.

Please be patient with me :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Six-Word Memoir Contest

Smith has a contest running that challenges you to write your memoir in six words.

I like Hillary Carlip's: "Take a left turn, then fly."

I think mine would be: "Four eyed girl, still sees colours."

City Farm, East Perth

There's a place in East Perth called City Farm, next to Claisebrook train station.

It has lots of green, and some chickens. In fact, I think that's a chicken in the picture below, next to the plant with the green protective cover around its base.

And an organic market every Saturday, it seems. I think they sell some of the crops they grow there, but I'm not sure how being next to a train station works for organic food growing.

Very cool graffiti art on the walls though.

I wonder what the grey thing on the left is. Maybe a time capsule? I also like the little frog at the bottom, he looks friendly.

West Australian number plates

When I first came to Perth, number plates were only 6 places long. And they came in the combination Number-Letter-Letter-Number-Number-Number, e.g., 1AA345.

Then we finally had enough cars to have THREE letters after the first number, and bets were on as to whether they would have words like "ARS" and "ASS". "No way," I was told, "they wouldn't let rude words be used."

Well, they have. I've seen them, I just don't have any photographic evidence at the moment. However, if I do see any ARSes and ASSes, and I'm not in a moving car and need to have both hands on the wheel, you can be sure that I'll take a picture.

But here's something that's nearly as good:

I know it's sad, but I actually think this is funny.

Conversations with my mother, Act 2

This afternoon I called Mum up to let her know I was coming over after work. As usual, she asked if I was hungry, and as usual, I said no, not wanting her to go to the trouble of cooking anything special. Therefore, as usual, I'll rock up and she'll have three meat dishes and seven vegetable dishes ready that are all "leftovers" or things she absolutely had to cook to make room in the fridge/use up before they expired.

She also mentioned she was cutting up a watermelon before it went past its use-by period, and then tangented (sometimes it's fun to make up words) off to say:
"Apparently some people ate some ready-cut pawpaw that they bought from a supermarket, and they got semolina."
Me: "Semolina?"
Mum: "You know, semolina?"
Me: "Isn't semolina a cereal?"
Mum: "Nooo... semolina - food poisoning."
Me: "Oh, you mean salmonella."
Mum: "Yah, semolina."

Boudoir photos - I finally booked them!

Just before my birthday (way back in July), I was complaining to MFC, and this blog about how I should take some photos before I get any less firm or hot with age. Do bear in mind that I was 29, on the cusp of 30, and approaching some kind of inner meltdown. Now that I'm actually here, I feel just great, because 30, it's a whole new beginning! I get to start again with the zeroes and ones!

So a friend organised a photography session with [name removed] (who is apparently very good and has won tons of awards) as a group birthday present.

Four months later, I've finally girded my loins and I gave [name removed] a ring. He sounded very calm on the phone, possibly even a little bit weary (I'm sure he's had to deal with many paranoid women over the years), but full of good suggestions about what to bring and wear. The sky's the limit, apparently, so I shall have to consult MFC about what he thinks would be good and go clothes and lingerie shopping, and change my waxing appointments to the day before (I love Diana, she does the best eyebrows). And pray. And keep an eye on the eyebrows and a firm hand on the tweezers, just in case something happens on Friday and Diana cancels. No, no, just keep praying, Angie. Everything will be fine.

Except that I have checked my diary and the week before the photo session is Christmas Party week, with a work Christmas breakfast on Tuesday and a work Christmas lunch the day after. I think I will have to cycle in lots next week, oh except I'm going to be house-sitting for my parents, in a suburb far, far away.

Just keep praying...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A first attempt at composition: Pepe in the kitchen

Birthday: 30th November, 2006
Method: Freehand pen (Artline200 0.4) straight into a sketchbook. Look Ma, no pencilling first!
Comment: Alright, if I'm going to make a go of this art thing, I need to learn about composition. No more of this "objects floating in the air" business. So this is my first attempt, in a long time (I think the last time I did a proper image composition was in primary school), at filling the page. It's a picture of my parents' kitchen, and our old dog, Pepe, sleeping in his special spot, close to the food and the humans.

Update (1/12/2006): Oh my, the background is a little crooked. But the doggie basket's straight, right? Lesson one learned already. Mind you, Perth houses tend to have
a bit of a subsidence problem :)

The end of NaBloPoMo

Now, why end November on a sour note? Although, mind you, if we were playing that game where you think of what food you would be most like, I don't think I'd be fairy floss or cupcakes, if you get my drift. Nuts, crackers, and fruitcake maybe, but I digress...

NaBloPoMo has been tough going. I know people have it a lot tougher, but it is not for nothing that MFC calls me his "waaaaaah-mpire". Posting every damn day was taking its toll on me. Especially on weekends when I hardly touch my computer. But like anything you do regularly, it's become a habit, and days when I've sat down sighing at the computer, thinking my brain is empty, actually turn out to be pretty prolific.

It's taught me that there's always something there to write about, even when you think there isn't. And one of the few places where you can make bricks out of straw, or even bricks out of nothing, is in writing. Hooray for us!

Red Rock Noodle Bar, Applecross

If you see this restaurant, run, run the other way! (I know that McDonald's lies the other way, but I really think it's a better option. And that's something I don't think very often.)

This review has been brewing for a while, but I thought I'd get it out there so no one else gets ripped off. The memory is still fresh in my mind--what a waste of money on such bland food. Oh, the pain! I can only imagine how much sushi from Taka's Kitchen we could have bought for the same amount of money.

As a South East Asian person, it never ceases to amaze me that you can go to a South East Asian restaurant, completely staffed by South East Asians, and find yourself eating unauthentic, unappetizing food. It makes me wonder if the chefs in the kitchen are just having you on while they make something edible for themselves.

MFC and I went here to grab a quick bite before a party, on the recommendation of a friend, and were not impressed. (This friend is never ever going to be trusted again re: eating out, BTW.)

Our experience began ominously, with the girl at the counter continually speaking over the top of MFC while he was placing his order, and then asking him to repeat himself. Perhaps it had been a slow day, and she was amusing herself by obfuscating customers. I asked for a Pad Thai and MFC ordered Duck Noodles.

When my Pad Thai arrived, it was soggy, and suspiciously resembled Hor Fun, which would have been fine if I had ordered Hor Fun, but I hadn't. 

I picked off the feather-light layer of vegetables and meat on top, and waded into the noodles looking for more protein, but was thwarted immediately. Then I had to meditate on whether I could eat that many plain, soggy noodles, or if I should go across the road and bring back a cheeseburger as a light garnish to improve the flavour.

MFC's meal took ages to arrive, and I had almost finished my meal when it finally came. 

I don't know what they had been doing with it in the kitchen, perhaps it got bored and fell asleep under a pile of newspapers, and they had to tear the kitchen apart looking for it. What - you don't think your dinner had a life before it arrived on your plate?

At first we thought we had been served the wrong dish because there was no duck visible on the plate, but then I bit into a meaty-tasting piece of string. Found it! It looked like the poor duck (or to be more accurate, 0.005% of the poor animal) had been shredded beyond recognition and sparsely distributed throughout the noodles.

We left pretty quickly after that.

"Let us never go there again," said MFC.

"And let us never take food advice from *** ever again," said I.

It's nice to agree on things.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

I made a terrible mistake. I started reading Temeraire last night, and I couldn't put it down. So I didn't fall asleep till 2am. On a school night. (I know I don't know to school anymore, but that's what I like to call the no-next-day-sleep-in nights :) Mmm, love it when your head feels like it's so stuffed with wool that it's coming out your eyeballs.

I first heard about Temeraire from my housemate, who excitedly announced that Peter Jackson was going to make a movie about it, and it would have DRAGONS in it! That was enough impetus to propel me into the library to find a copy of the book.

How silly this sounds, but I felt quite guilty reading a book about dragons that wasn't by Anne McCaffrey. Temeraire is so well-written, and I was enjoying it so much that I felt like I was having an affair with Novik after pledging my eternal love for the Dragonriders of Pern. Anne McCaffrey, please don't smite me!

Set during the Napoleonic wars, the book centers on William Laurence, a captain with the British Navy. Laurence captures a French ship and discovers that the cargo they carry is a rare dragon egg. The egg is very close to hatching, and there are no Aviators to be found nearby.

To say anymore would give away the best bits, and despite my fondness for spoilers* I just can't bring myself to say any more about the plot. It's very rare for me to be like this with, well, anything. I find I don't even want to tell you what colour the dragon is, so that you can discover it for yourself, and Novik's prose won't be spoiled for you.

Novik has done her research well. The setting and dialogue are impeccable for the period (says the Napoleonic scholar here :p), and the dragons are quite human in their loves and hates and emotions. There was one scene which made me so sad I wanted to physically reach out to comfort the character, and another moment, at the end, that made me cry so quickly that tears were streaming down my face before I realised what was happening.

This book was totally worth the four hours of sleep I got last night.

Oh, and if you can't find it on, in another one of those ridiculous "American readers are so simple we need to change the title" publicity moves, Temeraire is sold in the US as His Majesty's Dragon. It sounds so cheap and horrible and James Bondsy! The king doesn't even make an appearance in the novel! Arrrgh!

* The Movie Spoiler is one of my favourite web sites. I have to be very careful and not let MFC see that I'm even browsing through it, or he gets very cross :p

The grinding noise on the Canon IXUS 60 AKA SD600

Note: Much obsessive camera stuff follows. Desist here if you really don't care! However, if you've just purchased a Canon Ixus and you're wondering what that loud noise is, read on...

Update (30/11/2006): I went to Myer in Perth and had a look at their Canon Ixus 60 and 65, and yep, they made the same noises, although the 65 was ever so slightly quieter on the zoom. So I called up the lovely Leigh, and said thank you for being so nice, and that I would keep the camera. That's that!

Early this morning I called up Digital Camera Warehouse and spoke to Leigh, who was lovely, very sympathetic (the "Oh dear" in her voice when I told her the problem was a genuine one), willing to exchange the camera for another (if there was indeed something wrong with it), and full of good advice. She said that before we go through the rigmarole of exchanging the camera, I should go to another camera shop, with my battery (because a lot of the floor models don't have batteries in them) and try out an Ixus 60 there to see if they make the same noise.

When I had a spare minute I looked on Google using the search terms "IXUS 60", "SD600", and "grinding noise", and hey! Guess what I found! At least 5 other people, one of them with the snazzy new IXUS 900 which is like, AUD$800, who all have the same thing happening to them.

The guy who bought the IXUS 900, wrote on "On the first few powerups, it sounded like the lens gears were grinding and jumping teeth or something: The usual "whir" sound was very loud, with strange clicking sounds. I almost returned the camera; but it appears to work fine."

Someone who just bought an IXUS 430, said on the forum: "...the autofocus seems to take a good bit longer, and is accompanied by a loud-ish grinding noise, when the shot being taken is zoomed in, ie. at telephoto."

On, this guy wrote: "One of the problem is it has some noise when I open, close the machine, also during focus. My friend told me it is normal, but this noise do not happen on my other cameras. Generally, good camera. I will give it to my sister as a present." (Haha! Faulty camera for you, sis! Me go get new shiny one!)

And finally, it appeared in a thread on the forum, where three different users piped up that all their IXUS 60's made the grinding noise on startup, zooming and cycling through the shooting modes.

webazoid: "does your camera make a high-pitched harsh/grating sound whenever u turn it on, zoom in/out, half press down the shutter button, or change the shooting mode from macro-->regular-->infinity? mine's making loud noises. wondering if i should return?"

mountainfrog: "Go to Circuit City and test a floor model to see if it makes the same noise. I have a SD600 and it does make a weird grinding noise when the lens opens/shuts. I went to 2 Circuit Citys and both floor models made the same noise. It may be a hassle to do this but I would check it as Canon is known for lens/barrell issues. Search for Canon E18 error. I dont think this error is as prevelant in the SD600 since it is a newer model but I would be cautious if the camera made an unusual grinding noise brand new.

****BTW, I tested mine again and it does make that grinding noise whenever the lens tries to focus. It is quick but it does make a grinding noise."

vladtepes (I question how much value-for-money a vampire is going to get out of this digicam - an9ie): "Mine makes the same noise, certainly not pleasant but at least it is not unique but if anyone has official confirmation that it is or is not an issue let us know."

userno1 says: "Yea, you guys might be overthinking this because of the situation of your receipt of the camera - it's a very tiny camera with a larger zoom system than most its size, it will make a little extra noise. You shouldn't worry about it."

SO - I will not worry about it much for now. If I'm going past a camera shop in Perth in the next few days, I might pop into one and ask to road-test their Canon IXUS 60. "Oh, you don't have any batteries so you can't show me how it works? Hey! Look what I just found in my pocket!"

However, if it's a standard Canon thing, there's probably nothing more I can do about it. I think I should test what's more important for now, and see how the pictures look in their full size.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stamps to collect

Ooh, check it, Australia Post has released a special "50 years of Australian television" collection, which has Kath and Kim on it!

Well, I'm excited, even if you guys aren't. And not just because I'm effluent enough to afford them!

My camera is here!

But it is flawed *despair, moan, moan until my housemate tells me to shut up*.

When it turns on and also when you adjust the zoom, it makes a rusty sound, I think there is something wrong with the inner lens. So I shall have to call Digital Camera Warehouse in the morning.

However, in the good news department, it seems that Santa Claus has been reading my blog and knows where my house is, because when MFC and I rocked up, there was a shiny new electricity pole in the front garden. Woohoohoo!

Monday, November 27, 2006

How to freak out your partner

Method 1: Go up to him and ask, in careful, measured tones, "Have you seen...the muffin man?"

Method 2: Start scratching fiercely at something on your foot, peering at it with concern (I had the mosquito bite from hell), and when he asks, "Are you OK?", look up at him worriedly and whisper, "She won't come out!"

Overheard at a party...

...that may or may not have been thrown at my house last weekend.

There was a group of us sitting in the living room, and I was talking to Fee about art and pointed out an Edward Hopper print that I had above the TV. It's called "Room in New York". My cousin and I were returning from an excursion to Old Spitalfields Markets, and she asked me to pick out a print from an assortment that she had bought at an art stall.

This happened five years ago, and at the time I was drawn to it (and of course now I know why), and I hung it in my bedroom. Now I find it sad to look at, and it's been relegated to the lounge. Fee asked me what I thought it meant.

Me: I think it's a couple that just drifted apart.
Fee: Yes, it's like they're together, but in separate worlds. Have you noticed that she's wearing a red dress?
Me: And?
Fee: Well, artists don't use colours without a lot of thought. I think the red symbolises infidelity, but he doesn't know about it.
Me: You mean Hopper didn't just feel like painting a red dress?
RaZer: I don't see that at all, I think it's a comment on how cramped living spaces can be in New York, and how people have to compromise.
Me: True, it's like she wants to play the piano but can't, because she doesn't want to disturb him, and she's just wistfully touching the keys.
MFC: I think...that last night was the first time he shat on her chest.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Housewarming BBQ

The only things you need to know about our Housewarming BBQ yesterday.

It was a fine day.

But we managed to find some shade. (BTW, those aren't my legs, and they're not MFC's either :)

And a puffy dog! Heeheehee! Here, Puff! Here, Puff!

We had lots of food, but sometimes when it's hot...

...all you want is a tall cool drink.

We had sausages (cooked on the free gas barbecues on the foreshore) in buns, a garden salad, apparently the Best Potato Salad Ever, with little bacon bits and capers, it was nice, but I thought the title was a little grandiose, and a grated carrot with coriander salad, but I didn't take photos of them because I took too many shots of the puffy dog and I was all camera-ed out. But I didn't get any good ones because he never kept still!

However, I DID manage to take a stealthy upskirt photo of MFC for you. No need to thank me, guys.

Dessert! My favourite meal!

Kim's Coconut Slice. It's even more delicious than it looks.

And some chocolate shortbread!

Update: I just realised that the title "Housewarming BBQ" is a bit of a misnomer, since we do not, of course, live on the foreshore (however much we would like to, and anyway, they lock the public toilets at night). We just started our party on the foreshore, and then when it got dark everyone came back to our place for more drinking, talking, Trivial Pursuit (we really should have played the quick version from the start), and Pictionary, at which kathry is a champion!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's hot hot hot!

We have the air-conditioner on in the living room, and it's filtering nicely through into the kitchen and dining areas.

I tried experimenting with gouache a little earlier but my brushes were crap and smeary. Well, they were cheap brushes I bought in a hurry, so, my fault really. I think I'm in more of a clay kind of mood but can't face the cleanup at the moment.

Our housewarming party is today, a low-key gathering starting with a BBQ on the foreshore and meeting up at the house later. We have to be on the foreshore at 4 and I don't wanna go! It's too hot! Waaah!

If I were a kid, and my parents were around, I'd be being a pain in the ar$e right now going, "Muuuum, I'm bored!" "Well, go out and play!" "It's too hot!" "Stay in and read then." "I don't feel like it!" At this point they would just start ignoring me.

Ah, Mr Ennui. So good to see you again. Now go away!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Work from home! Earn $$$!

Holy frijoles! Today C from the other side of the office told me that he sold his World of Warcraft account for USD$1000! US dollars! That's around AUD$1292, people!

He only got the account last May, and obviously put in a lot of game time to build up his characters, some of whom have very good items, apparently. But now he doesn't have so much time to play, and he needed to buy some parts for his computer, so he sold it.

I'm sure there's a lucrative work-from-home job opportunity in there for the right person...

Nice guy, C. He takes his girlfriend out salsa dancing every weekend.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mummy MFC

MFC's Mum is over from the UK. She's very cute and leaves little notes all over the place. Like the one I found this morning.

What's that you say?

Don't mind if I do!

Chomp, chomp.

Look who's back!

I caught sight of him on the fence yesterday. He's still pretty tame and let me come to within a metre.

Hello again, little guy!

My, how you've grown!

Tree licenses

Ooh, that last post reminded me of something that I need to get on my soapbox for, like, right now.

Planting trees.

In general, planting trees is a good thing. They provide shade, and sometimes pretty flowers, and fruit, and places for kids to play and dogs to pee, and oxygen and love.

But some morons should not be allowed to plant trees. There are people out there who will go , "Lalala, I think I will have a lovely line of oak trees on either side of the driveway, and I'll plant them really close together so they look good!" or "Dum de dum, I'd like to plant this mango tree right next to the kitchen window so I don't have to haul my fat ar$e outside to pick them."

And since you can't ask people to show you their idiot license before you can sell them a tree, you just have to make it hard for everyone. This is how most laws and restrictions start, e.g., some half-baked imbecile decides to put a firework up his nose to see what will happen, and suddenly no one can buy or play with fireworks. So I reckon people should apply for licenses to plant trees around their houses.

They should submit a diagram of their lot, and show where the water and gas pipes and electricity and phone cables go, where their fences and walls are, and what kind of tree they want to plant and where. This will save everyone a lot of money and heartache. The Water Corporation actually has a nifty handout that tells you how tall some trees grow (although you could just look this up on the Internet), and how far you should plant them from structures. I couldn't find it on their website, but you can get it from any Water Corporation office. Very handy.

We have a "Dial before you dig" hotline. I really think we should have a "Dial before you plant" one too.

Because trees grow, people.

OMG! O rly?

Yah, really, and they have roots that could break open pipes and crawl under walls and paths.

No way!

And they have large branches that could grow into power lines. Sometimes they obscure oncoming traffic, if they're low.

Wow! I never thought of that!

Yes, I know. Now go and get that idiot license!

Great mysteries of the universe

Why is Tom Cruise taller than Katie Holmes in this wedding photo?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Arj Barker at the Playhouse

Ooh, the Mountain Dew 2005... a good choice, madam...

We went and saw Arj Barker, one of MFC's favourite comedians, at The Playhouse last Saturday. I actually remembered some of his jokes after the show, and have to write them down NOW before my brain decides that it's more important to overwrite that information with stuff like how we need more toilet paper, or that eating banana skins can cause hallucinations*.

The quotes are from memory, so if I've missed a few words here and there, well, you get the gist.

During the show he brings out a lot of his regular material, but it's all the good stuff, like when he says: "So the lady on the news is going, 'Airport security has gone up 300%...but our railways and roads remain vulnerable.' WHY DON'T YOU JUST DRAW THEM A MAP?"

Or when he goes into detail about his alternative aid program, Doctors Without Degrees.

Even though I got tickets early, we ended up in Row H, and the whole show run sold out pretty quickly. Nevertheless, the Playhouse has a good layout, and we were still fairly close to the stage.

Joel Ozborn opened for Arj, and I like Joel's stuff, I do, he's a pretty funny guy, and does great improv, but unfortunately we had already seen him in "Akmal! Akmal!" a couple of months ago and his routine was quite fresh in our minds. Poor Joel, it's not your fault we're freaks addicted to live comedy!

Then Arj came out. Woo, applause, yay! He starts the usual "It's great to be in Perth," thing, and some yobbo at the back yelled out, "'Bout time!" in a truculent kind of way. Grrr, damn hecklers!

Arj is a pretty cool, collected guy, though, so he just said "Well, I heard the people were so friendly!"

And I swear, you know how there are always people who arrive late to these things, and they're usually the ones who have seats in the front row? I kid you not, there were SIX group of late comers, with the last group arriving 45 minutes into the show, and four of the six groups (min. 2 people) were sitting in the front and second rows. Sheesh.

I don't know if you can tell, because I'm quite subtle about it (teehee), but I have a very low tolerance level for my fellow human beings. I think I'd be a much happier person in a colony of lemurs.

The two girls next to me, perhaps mistaking a night of comedy for an evening at the drive-in, brought out, in succession, a large packet of Maltesers, two bottles of Coke, and finally, a packet of potato chips. The rustling noises of their trotters rummaging around in the bags was so loud that I wanted to go all Hulk on them and crush their chips into tiny pieces, before mashing them into their hair while going, "RAAAARRR! ANGIE SMASH!"

So it was a little hard to concentrate on the stage, what with the bloodrage mist in my eyes and all.

Still, good show, Arj! (And tally-ho and all that.) He went for about an hour, never running out of steam or being lost for words, and finished by saying that he noticed Australians swore a lot.

Like when he asked a local for directions:
"Do you know where [place name] is?"
"Sh*t yeah, you just f*ckin' turn right and then chuck a left, another f*ckin' left, and you'll see the c*nt."
"Thank you, officer!"

He puts on a pretty decent Aussie accent too. We had fun. The end.

P.S. Ooh, ooh, something else that will demonstrate how I really do need to be in some kind of metal restraint around my fellow human beings; the people in front of us started getting hysterics and laughing too damn early. Premature ejoculation! I mean, really, you smile, you wait, you know the good part is coming. He's just building up, man, don't cream yourself until the punchline. But this guy in front of us was pinching his brow between his thumb and fingers like he had an ice-cream chuckle headache, and his girlfriend kept slapping (yes, SLAPPING) her forehead with barely contained mirth when no one else was laughing. I don't know, maybe there was some kind of day release program special on that night.

P.P.S. Yes, I'm going to be the mean old lady in the neighbourhood who sits on her verandah and throws plates at children.

P.P.P.S. My apologies for being in Bitchy McBitch mode. Without going into too much detail, I had one of those days where you just want to go home, kick something really hard, and then lie in bed in a chocolate liqueur induced torpor.

*Matt says his friend tried it and it didn't work. Ah well, back to the mushrooms then.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Spam titles

Like everyone else's Inbox, mine fills up daily with spam about stocks to buy, cheap Viagra, Russian brides, and how to increase the volume of my sperm. Sigh. You'd think that these mass marketing engines would at least do some research and know that I'm a boringly straight female (this applies to all the above, except the stock market*, which I love :)

Nowadays, rather than having the subjects "Re: Hi" and "A message from Bob", they're trying to entice us to read their mailings with random words cobbled together from dictionaries. Gosh, those wily spam bots!

Usually, going through my e-mail is an RSI-inducing exercise of Right-Click - Junk E-mail - Add Sender to Blocked Senders List - Repeat Until You Don't See Any More Messages About Horses And Their Horny Teenage Mistresses, but today, today, I got some messages with poetic, almost lyrical Subject headings.

Like "unfurl".

And "delapidated envisage".

I can just see a lonely little bot in the queue, and while his brothers next to him are furiously putting together nonsense words and getting their quotas up, he's tentatively picking and choosing the words that will express the creative feelings in his CPU. A little kind of "Ahhh" smile appears on his face when he finds his little one or two word poem, and then he sets it free into the ether, so people like me will pause, and ponder those words for a few seconds before deleting the message that follows.
And then they'll become sentient and kill us all! Waaah! Why did I watch the Animatrix?

* Although when I contemplate my bland diet and dusty floors, the Russian brides start looking mighty appealing...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday hash and Red Bull Air Race photos

We saw some interesting things on the way to the Red Bull Air Race. Traffic was a beeyatch, and people were parking in lots of places they shouldn't have. I predict a million dollar windfall in parking fines for the City of South Perth this week.

Some of the things I saw on that long, long, long ride:

  • A man in his forties driving his (I assume) daughter's or partner's car with a large sticker on the rear window saying "I'm No Princess", which made me wonder if people were allowed to have stickers with rude words on their cars or if they would get in trouble for "indecent public wordage".

  • Stopping behind two identical Holden Commodores at the lights, and MFC starting to tell me something about their tail lights, before he was interrupted by the sight of flames erupting from the windows of one of the cars. More flames burst out from the windows, making me pray that the morons in front with the cans of aerosol and lighters would prove Darwin right and set themselves on fire, with me as a cheering squad. They appeared to be polite acquaintances with the Commodore next to them, as they then started throwing cigarette butts and plastic bottles at each other.

  • The Christadelphian Church is showcasing what should be an enlightening lecture series called "The flood, Sodom, and the world of today".

And then we finally got to South Perth, where we ended up watching 4 episodes of Heroes instead at MFC's office. Mmm, hot Sendhil Ramamurthy. Yay, Greg Grunberg resurrected after Alias! Woohoo, Hayden Panetierre doing a fine job after appearing in Ice Princess*.

We did take a walk down to the foreshore to watch a bit of it. Here are some pics to prove we were really there:

It was funny seeing this steamboat replica (I don't think it really runs on steam though) tipping over to one side.

The plane is that tiny speck in the top right-hand corner. They have to get up pretty high first. Everyone's just going, "Meh," at this stage.

Then down it comes and they are transfixed again.

* Yes, I watched it. Shaddup.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

MFC birthday surprise revealed!

Ta-dah! I made a little gnome like the ones outside Invader Zim's house (Invader Zim is one of MFC's favourite shows) and put skis on him so he looked like he was going to ski down the cake :D

As for the cake, well, I took a picture of it in a dark-ish room (so that MFC wouldn't see it before the appointed time) with the flash (my archenemy) and it didn't turn out so good. Therefore I made an executive decision to grayscale the photo, so it looks nice and vintage instead of stark and 80's.

I was in a hurry so instead of icing it and THEN sprinkling the coconut on top, I just sprinkled the coconut on top, so when MFC blew out the candles a cloud of dessicated coconut flew over me. As I was wearing a black top, the results were quite spectacular. Ask kathry and RaZer, they were there! :)

MFC's Mum also got a scrumptious chocolate mud cake from the Cheesecake Shop with "Happy 25th Birthday, ****" on it, so there was plenty of chocolate to spare! Wheeeee!