Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Britney Spears nightmare

On Sunday night I had a very disturbing dream. I was a large middle-aged woman in a hospital, and I was visiting Britney Spears, who had just given birth to six babies. Yes, six.

The babies were stored in grey shoeboxes with their names and numbers on the outside. Unfortunately the only name I can remember is Anda, #4.

Then people started chasing us and Britney and I ran off, boxes crammed under our arms, trying to get away from a large man in a white suit and his assistants. We ran through long corridors and over green fields and through deserted office buildings.

Finally, we had had enough. The man in the suit was gaining on us. Britney turned to me and said, "Take two of my children with you."

I looked at the boxes to see who I would take and went "Hey, there are only four boxes here!"

"Oh yeah," she replied, "I gave the two best ones away already."

Anyway, after all that, it didn't matter, because it turned out the man in the white suit was chasing us because he wanted to give Britney a lot of money and we were fleeing for nothing. Bah.

Why do I chronicle these strange nighttime musings? Because, one day, the next Sigmund Freud may read this blog and say, "What a genius! Dig her up! I MUST have her brain in a jar!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Walk Score

A very neat site that shows you the "walkability" of your address. I thought, "Uh-huh, bet it just works for New York or the US," but typed my street address and suburb in anyway. I also omitted the fact that I was in Australia.

And it still found me. Amazing.

Some of the business details it picked up are incorrect and it missed a few places, but I'm still impressed.

The two addresses I put in had a walk score of 8 to 17 out of a hundred, this is to be expected in suburban Perth, where people's legs don't work properly and we are all expected to have cars.

Go to http://www.walkscore.com, type in a street address and suburb, e.g. "12 Walker St Walktown" and watch it go!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Animal Crossing story

This is a little story that is making the rounds on the Internet, about a game called Animal Crossing, and a boy and his mother. I will admit that it made me a little teary, especially since I fell asleep last night thinking about my parents, and how life is too short--we should be using it to spend more time with the people we love*.

http://animalcrossingtragedy.ytmnd.com/


* I'm looking at you, Nathan Fillion.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saving energy - a little restraint goes a long way

I was just outside hanging out the washing (and yes, I know it's almost midnight, but it's nicer to hang out your laundry in the cool night air, than the rotisserie that is daytime Perth) and I noticed that one of the neighbours had turned on their refrigerative air-conditioner.

This reminded of an article I read the other day about the energy problem (this is what we fancy science folks like to call it). Basically, the premise was, instead of looking for ways to make more energy, perhaps we should use less. I know this sounds incredibly simplistic, and there are factors like a growing population, industry, and so forth, to consider.

You know, I'm not the sustainability saint. Far from it. But I switch lights off when I'm not in a room, I don't like clothes dryers, and I know that in Perth we get a few hot nights where you stick to your mattress when you lie down, but tonight is not one of them.

It is delightful outside, and quite pleasant inside. I don't even need the fan on in my room. And I'm working with a laptop that's pumping out hot air through its side vents.

People just reach for that air-conditioner switch too easily these days. Can you wear a cooler shirt? Open a window? Turn on a fan? Have an iced drink? Do you really need to refrigerate the entire house?

The worst of summer is yet to come. Why not delay that gratification a little?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Great Moments in Science #1

You know, rabbits can be an endless source of entertainment.

Well, in our sad, small, easily-amused household they are ...

Glen: Hey Angie! Look what happens when I shine the torch on Mao's head!

Glen: The light goes right through his skull!

Glen: Hahaha!

an9ie:
Hahahaha!

Mum:
Hahahahaha!

Mao: (One day, I will kill you all ...)


Mao:
(But first I'll destroy these important documents!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Easy 10 dollars

Today my brother received the easiest 10 dollars he's ever made.

Let me start by saying that there is a haunted castle in my fish tank.


I saw it on eBay and thought it looked absolutely wonderful. Then it arrived, and it was a little smaller than it looked in the picture (aren't they all?) but no less enchanting.

I thought the fish would treat it like their aquatic Hogwarts, but instead it is the fish equivalent of the Elephant's Graveyard.

The fish population started swimmingly (hee), with three female swordtails in the tank at the beginning of the year.

Then swordtail #1 went missing six months ago, and one day, while I was cleaning the tank, I lifted up the castle and a half-decomposed corpse floated to the surface, in the tradition of all the best horror stories.

There was a grinning head, and from the fins down, a sharp, bare spine. The tail was still attached, but was torn and bedraggled and coming to bits. The eyes, one hanging on by a thread of flesh, stared at me. Accusingly.

I fished swordtail #1 out with a net, gagging a little, and yelled at the other fish for not letting me know about the body stashed in the castle.

Then a couple of weeks ago, swordtail #2 started ailing. It looked like the lower half of its body was paralysed, and then one day it began to hover listlessly at the bottom of the tank and I suspected the end was in sight.

The next day it disappeared, and I knew the castle had claimed another victim.

So I asked Glen if he wanted to do me a favour. "Easiest 10 bucks you'll ever make!"

"What's the catch?"

"You have to lift up the castle, find the body, and dispose of it. No body, no money. No disposal, no money. If I even catch a TINY glimpse of it, no money."

"OK."

Sometimes little brothers can be very useful.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve, here come the stories!

Update (14/11/2007): I received a story from Mary on the 8th of November, and I've only just remembered to put it up. My apologies, Mary. Sounds like a creepy house to have grown up in!

It was a little quiet here but Gen from Collateral Damage jumped in with one, and then the RedBubble forum thread got three new ghost stories today.

As I promised, here are my and Gen's stories, in the order that they've appeared on the web:

1. CHOKED

This one happened to my cousin, C. We were only kids at the time, she was about twelve and I was ten.

Her family used to live in a block of flats, on the ground floor. Rumour had it that the flats were built on land that used to be ancient jungle--so who knows what went on there before? There was also a rumour that before the flats had been built, there had been a house there, where a woman was found hung from the beams. This sounds like standard horror story fare though, so I don’t think that part was true.

Anyway, strange things would happen in that flat. Like the doors slamming themselves shut, even though there wasn’t a breeze. (It would get very hot during the day so the windows and outside doors were closed and air-conditioning turned on.)

One day C was alone in the flat, and decided to read a book in her parents’ room. She sat on their comfy bed and leant back against the wall.

Suddenly she felt a pair of cold hands around her neck. They started choking her.

C tried to grab the hands and make them stop, but her hands passed right through them.

She started saying the, “Our Father” prayer but nothing happened. Then she remembered something from school (she went to a Catholic school) about how you need real faith to make the “Our Father” work.*

But apparently, Mary is a little more forgiving, and will help you even though your faith isn’t strong**, so she started saying some “Hail Mary”s and she could feel the hands loosening their grip.

She yanked herself away, ran from the room, and bolted out the front door.

Then she sat on the front steps until her parents came home.

When I got older, I thought that this just some story to fool the kiddies, since C was a very good storyteller and had a vivid imagination. I asked her some years ago (we were both in our late twenties by then) if it really happened or if she was making up stories.

She said, soberly and with complete conviction, “Angie, I swear on the Bible that it really happened.”

“To this day the thought of it scares me. Look, I have goosebumps just talking about it.”

And she did.

* I am anticipating the scoffing in advance and I’m just saying, I’m telling you the story the way it was told to me. Let’s not start any religious debates here, for goodness’ sakes.

** Seriously, dudes, read * above.

2. HAUNTED HOTEL

Ooh, I just thought of another one. It's more about Canada Most Haunted, really.

In August I went on a trip to North America, and in Ottawa we stayed in a three-star hotel near the city centre.

Our hotel room had a really creepy bathroom, it was tiny, with white tiles, stark, fluorescent lighting, and a toilet facing the mirror. The worst part was a small, dark shower-bathtub combination that had a dusty, sinister-looking vent at eye-level. I was almost too scared to close the shower curtain because it made the enclosure even darker. There was another dark vent under the sink. You know, in just the right position for someone to grab your legs. Gah. I could never stay for very long in that bathroom and used to have lightning-fast showers.

One night we went to a comedy show in the basement of the hotel, and stayed behind till 3am to talk to the comedians (lovely guys). There was a cleaner hanging around, doing the vacuuming and I said to him, “Sorry we’re here so late. I hope we’re not getting in your way.”

He nervously pushed his glasses up onto his nose and said, “Oh, that’s no problem. In fact, I’m really glad you guys are here, because this hotel is haunted.”

ARGH.

“Oh, really?” I said, a lot more nonchalantly than I felt. “Have you ever seen anything?”

He might have nodded slightly.

“Why is it haunted?”

“Well, there have been suicides on two of the floors.”

“Which floors?” I asked. I thought he would hesitate, but he immediately blurted out, “11 and 18,” and kept vacuuming.

Phew! Neither of those was the floor that we were on.

But I still felt like I was being watched when I went to the bathroom.

3. GEN'S STORY

oo! oo! i have SO MANY ghost stories but here's my scariest one:

when i was 14, i was in my bed laying there. i couldn't sleep because i have really bad insomnia. suddenly my bed shook. it knocked against the wall. i shrunk under my covers, wondering what was going on. it shook again. i shrunk lower. it started shaking and knocking against my wall really hard- i thought i was going to fly off my bed. i shrieked and hid completely under my covers. it suddenly got ICE COLD in my room and my covers were completely ripped off me. i shot up out of my bed and grabbed the door to run out. the door stuck for a second while the bed continued to knock against the wall. finally it opened and i ran out, screaming up the stairs and into my parents' room.

i never slept in that room after that. i took over my sister's room and eventually moved upstairs. i never went in that room after dark and only went in there when someone was with me and during the daytime. after that, it was always REALLY cold. we even had a renter down there and he said creepy things happened in there and it was always really cold.

4. THE ACTIVE HOUSE.
A story from Mary T, of Monroe, NY.

This story arrived from Mary on the 8th of November (many thanks, Mary!) I've left it pretty much verbatim, except for masking Mary's phone number, which she may not want bandied about on the Internet :)

Hi! My name is Mary n I have grown up in a very active house. My father,mother,grandmother,4-brothers,2-sisters n I have all experienced many times sightings thru out our home in Norwood,N.J. There were 5 that we knew of very well. Once in awhile a passer thru was sighted.I can remember when I was a small child, my bottle being pulled out of my crib along with my blanket. As I grew older I would tell my parents what I would see. I remember "8-Tracks" being thrown at my sister when she entered our bedroom! I use to get tucked in bed at night n then my blanket being pulled off me. My bed would levitate some nights. My sister woke uo one night n saw a man caressing my forehead while I sleep. Creepy - Huh? there r so many more stories to tell,but I'd be here all night. Just wanted to share. If u want to here more, give me a call -***-***-****. I now live in Monroe,N.Y. n still experience things but, THANK GOD not as much. Take care!

Any ghost stories to tell?

Update (25/10/2007):

Update ends here.

With Halloween around the corner, someone in the RedBubble forums has started a thread called "Your scariest real ghost encounter".

Head on over and read my entries, if y'all feel like some light relief. Go on, I'll wait.

But then you have to send me all yours!

Have you (or a "friend") had a ghostly encounter?

E-mail me the story by heading to this link, or post it in the comments, or in your own blog, and let me know the link. Then, on the 31st of this month, I'll put up a mighty post of collective ghost stories that we can all enjoy.

I'll also include my stories from that thread, for anyone who missed out on this post and didn't go to the Bub (what we call RedBubble when we're too lazy to type the full name out).

Whee! At the very least you'll have ample fodder to frighten the kiddies with.

Mmm, frightening children, one of my favourite pastimes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yep, still old

MFC will be going to a weekend-long house-party thing in the South West in a few weeks. I was invited too, but quite frankly, I would rather have a triple Brazilian and roll around in salt before sharing a house and bathrooms with thirteen other people. And some of them will be vegans, heaven help me. Loud, militant vegans.

I don't know when I became this fussy--perhaps I've always been this way. If it were me and five or six close girl friends (and that would never happen, because I have only two close girlfriends), fine. But to share a house with acquaintances that I don't have very much in common with sounds like the twelfth level of hell.

Oh, and also, being the only sober person at a party sucks. Big time.

So imagine being the only sober person at a four-day-weekend house party. I'd have to bring razorblades and morphine (for myself. The drunks can get their own damn morphine.)

When I leave my house, I need a nice, comfy bed. I need a clean, private bathroom. I need quiet at night and the ability to avoid people I don't like, because I'm too passive-aggressive to be rude to their faces.

What I don't need is drunk, screaming people dancing provocatively to loud music, loudly berating non-vegans for their brutality etc., while I sit there with my soft drink and bacon sandwich, gritting my teeth and wishing I was dead.

MFC is fine in these situations. He's a boy, so he doesn't particularly care as long as he has beer, his toothbrush and his sleeping bag. He'll be having a grand old time with the other boys (whom he knows very well) and will get so sloshed he'll sleep like a baby.

Which is why he is going alone, and I am having a nice quiet weekend at home with my family and my drawings and my books and a Sunday buffet breakfast with an old friend.

Sigh, I am officially an old party-pooping grandma.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In which I meet Neil Gaiman and do him a favour

I'm wandering around a deserted cafeteria, when who should appear but ...

Neil Gaiman: Oh, an9ie, I'm so glad you're here!

an9ie (OMG it's Neil Gaiman!): Hi Neil! What can I do for you?

Neil Gaiman (hands me a bulky text): I've just finished writing a brand new book that NO ONE has ever seen before. I really need you to read through it and see if you like it.

an9ie (OMG a new Neil Gaiman graphic novel!): Um, o-okay.

So I start reading it and it doesn't have a lot of words but there are all these incredible pictures.

I turn page after page, awestruck. I'm pretty sure it's Neil's finest work*.

Something about ancient islands appearing somewhere, except I can't go into too much detail in case I decide to steal the idea and use it later in a book.

I'm halfway through, I must finish it. I will never forget this incredible day.

Dingdongadongdong!

an9ie: &*^%-ING ALARM!

* Mind you, thinking back, all I can recall now (apart from the island-thingy) is that there was a Viking in it who looked like Izzy Sparks** from Guitar Hero II.

** Izzy looks like the gay love-child of Axl Rose and Jon Bon Jovi. In the game, he's described as something of a ladies' man *chortle-chortle-snigger*

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Geek Disease #247

I think I have carpal tunnel from playing too much Guitar Hero II.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Say hello to today's RedBubble Community Featured Artist!

Everyday the RedBubble Community page selects an artist to feature on its front page - and today, it was me!


This is a wonderful opportunity to get some free publicity for your portfolio. Not only have I been getting lots of new comments on my work, but I've also sold a canvas print (Camouflage) and a t-shirt (The Wrong Unicorn) since yesterday.

Thank you, RedBubble!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shoes! AKA Friday night out with the family

Frugal, but fun. We all like cheap shopping, and we all like cheap food. So it's win-win for everybody.

We met at a central (free) carpark outside of the city, and went in one car to Harbourtown (a huge outlet mall, for the non-Perthians) and found free parking outside. Mission: to stock up on bulk discount vitamins (Blackmores, but pretty cheap nonetheless - Seatone ... Vitamin E ... B Complex ... placenta - just kidding about the last one).

I saw colostrum capsules for sale in that store.

Colostrum, people. That's the thick clear liquid that lactating mothers produce in the first few days after giving birth. The stuff their boobies leak before the milk sets in. (Yes, I'm very romantic about childbirth.)

What animal did they get that from? And how?

The mind boggles. Also, yech.

Then to Taka's for cheap Japanese. I had a large tori karaage (essentially fried chicken) with soup, rice and salad for $7. Mmm, delicious deep-fried battered flesh. Green tea is free.

More free parking, even though it was late night shopping and the city was crowded. My sister knows a "secret place" tucked away in an alley somewhere.

Can't tell you, sorry. Family secret.

And finally to the charity stores, where I found FOUR pairs of shoes for summer in almost new condition.

And brand names too, from the left, clockwise:

  • Diana Ferrari - leather, smart-casual,
  • Stegmann sandals - made in Germany, leather soles and uppers, casual-casual,
  • Shoo Biz/lipstik shoes, office-casual,
  • and some brand called "r" - brand new, with unmarked soles, party-possibly office.

Mao gives his stamp of approval to my purchases.


All for $51
. Never before has a vice been so affordable.

I also bought two skirts, one of them Esprit, for $7 each.

Dad and Glen bought a couple of books, and my sister got some shoes, a couple of summer frocks, and a leather Sachi handbag. Mum just enjoyed herself giving unsolicited advice.

"Stilettos? I don't care how cheap they are! My friend broke her ankle wearing those and the tendons still haven't knitted together after 6 months!"

Oooooooookay.

Update (10.26pm): Heavens to Betsy - I've been walking around in the all-leather Stegmann sandals (the ones at the top of the picture), and let me tell you - those Germans really know their stuff! It's like walking on fluffy clouds stuffed with kittens, lined with baby swans--cygnets, I mean. My feet actually prefer to wear these rather than going barefoot. I can see what's going to get a lot of wear this summer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meme-ing Mangie

A little something I received from juliness at Fresh and Sassy this week.

"Links to posts inside your blog are more important than links to your home page. The players of the SEO meme select three posts they want to promote, and add their name and chosen posts to a list of links in their "taggers" post, then post the whole list inside their blog. A minimum of 5 people are tagged by each new player. The new players are encouraged to read posts from everyone so that the work of fellow bloggers can be discovered and enjoyed."

Mahala - Uncle Hubert's Custom Cows, Pray For The Child At Big Lots, The Legend Of Saushie's Crotch

TIFF - How I Am Like Ron Weasley, A Social Experiment, Absolutely Boring Entry 101

Renn - Mum, Horror Story, Die, Frau, Die

Cravey - One Foot In Front Of The Other, Madline, A Wee Confession

No Celery Please - Sometimes You Just Gotta Meme It, I WON! I WON!, Closest Thing To Hell On Earth

Tracy - An Interesting Life, Tracy's House Of SUCK, Nature Kicks My Ass and as a special bonus, The Monkey Should Pull Through

A Day In The Life, Dog Poop, Hot Sun And Pure Meanness and Why Children Are Like Tuna Casserole

--------------------------------

Juliness's picks were: Angie (oo - that's me! - Angie), the fabulous (and newly engaged) Courtney, the intriguing Ms. Horrible Warning, creative and curly-headed Jes, and the awesomeness that is Tex.

--------------------------------

Update (20/10/2007, midnight): Oops, Sophie in the comments had the right of it, I'm mean to promote three of my own posts. Sigh. This is what happens when I don't read the instructions properly.

The posts that I can think of right now, just when I want to go to bed, and can think rationally, are:
Any ghost stories to tell?, because I really would like to hear your stories, Conversations with my sister, because it makes me laugh, and I love doxies/Meeting Chopper - how I loved that little guy (even though he hated me on sight)!


Angie's winning racers are (and I'm including posts as well, even though I don't have to):
Fell by Blandwagon,
What's the sound of a feeling? by Genevieve from Collateral Damage,
Random Ranting by Sophie,
and Music is Life by ThickBlackOutline, because I really want to buy the t-shirt in yellow.

A very, very special mention must go to #59: Pauline Hanson, by the political cartoonist Jon Kudelka, whom I know from RedBubble.

Not just for the cartoon, even though that is good too, but for the hilarious comments, especially comment number 7 and number 30. Seriously, I couldn't stop laughing when I read these.

Feel free to continue this meme or not, as you wish :) The easiest way to copy and paste the code is to view the page's source and then copy and paste the html into your blogging software's html editor.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yep, getting old.

I was on a train today. Unfortunately, so were all the school kids in Perth.

Ah, teenage youth, full of arrogance and angst.

And B.O.

How I wish I had had a cone of silence and some deodorant to spray around.

Things that irritated me:

- Skirts that were so short I felt like a mobile gynaecologist service. Seriously, honey, is that skirt short enough for you? I can't quite see your uterus but I can make a good guess about the interior decorating!

- Boys being loud and stupid. Once a kid threw an orange in my direction and nearly hit me. I should have tanned his hide with my extra large golf umbrella.

- Teenagers owning tiny, expensive mobile phones that make mine look like a giant plastic Duplo(TM) toy.

- Emos who think they are different from everyone else, when, actually, they're not. Wearing black all the time just makes you part of another herd of sheep. A herd that gets very warm in summer. Unfortunately, not warm enough to make you extinct.

- A not-too-small-herself girl who stared at a large man at the other end of the carriage and said loudly, "I hope I never get that fat," while shoving a sandwich down her maw.

- Aforementioned girl pointing the finger at other people, when she has a moustache AND eyebrows so thick, that, if I were her, I would wear a very large hat outdoors so that birds don't swoop me looking for delicious, fuzzy caterpillars.

- Same girl sitting with her legs wide open (a sign of things to come?), and then pointing (doesn't she know it's rude to point?) and yelling out the window because she saw her friends in another train carriage (tiny brain?).

Grandma out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thank you so much, Daz Studio

an9ie: Sweetie! Sweetie! You must come and see! I've made a present for you.

MFC: (Wearily) Do I have to?

an9ie:
Yeah! You know how I've met all these cool people on RedBubble, and some of them make really awesome 3D art scenes? Well, this lovely lady called Rose Moxon told me that I could go and download Daz Studio* for free and make my own! It's like posing your Barbie dolls and dressing them up, and changing their faces, and making 3D pictures of them, and you must come and see, because I've used it to make a lovely surprise for you!

MFC:
(With apprehension - and so he should, my friends, so he should) A lovely ... surprise?

an9ie:
Yes, made with love. Just for you. Come see!


an9ie:
AHAHAAHAHAHAA!

As you can see, it is a powerful tool that has no business being in my hands. I fully intend to use it for the forces of evil and mayhem.

* When you install Daz Studio, they ask you to please tell at least two other people about the software and its free goodness-happy-fun-times), so I am.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mundanity

Quite frankly, this is the kind of entry that only I would read, about 40 years into the future.

I'd be reminiscing to the grandkids about how exciting my thirties were, then go through my blog to show them, and realise that not much has changed, except that most of my parts are now bionic and rust-proof.

Item 1: Hallelujah! I can hear again!

I saw the ENT surgeon today, a very nice guy, but a mumbler, so I had no idea what he said most of the time. After a 1 hour wait and $250 (consultation fee plus something called "ear toilet" - I presume this was the cleaning procedure plus hearing test), my right ear is now free from granulated debris.

Also, I apparently have excellent hearing. So, woo to the hoos all round.

Item 2: I haven't been sleeping so well lately.

We have some family friends over from New Zealand who are staying in my bedroom, so I've been bunking at MFC's place. I can therefore blame my strange and vivid dreams on his tossing and turning. That and the mugfuls of dry Nutrigrain that I like to inhale while watching TV before bedtime.

Healthy breakfast cereal, my arse. Well, healthy compared to heroin or a mug of sugar, I suppose.

On Monday night I had an awful, awful dream.

I was wandering along an open-air corridor in this apartment/business complex, and on the second floor these enormous women wearing singlets were walking around doing their shopping.

Except, their singlets were so small that they just wore them along the middle of their torsos , between their cleavage, and their giant boobs were peeping, actually, that's probably too mild a word - their giant boobs were glaring at me from either side of the singlets. And there was a bra shop on the corner, but none of them were buying bras.

I ran downstairs, whimpering, and for some reason my family were strolling past. I immediately went over to them and cried, "Guys! Guys! You'll never believe it! There are these huge women on the second-floor with their boobs hanging out! AND there's a bra shop just around the corner!"

I told MFC about this dream and naturally he thinks I'm insane.

Last night, however, I dreamt that I stayed in the same hotel as Nicole Kidman and Claudia Schiffer, so I suppose it all balances out.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Future old lady business

So, it's been decided then.

If I ever end up living on my own and becoming the Crazy Dog Lady of the neighbourhood, I am going to have to have the following dogs, or "hag-hounds", as I prefer to call them:

A dachshund named Gunther. Yes, even if it is a girl.
(Image from Nature's Corner magazine.)

Mr Pickering, a Welsh Cardigan corgi. I may also name him/her Mr. Bingley, depending on how I feel on the day.
(Image from www.breederretriever.com.)

And a Basset hound called Jimmy-Pop.
(Image from www.europuppy.com)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just a little epilogue

I was telling my mother about the experience with the Ms described two posts ago, and really, sometimes when I see what this woman is capable of, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she gave birth to me and passed on the passive-aggressive traits of twenty generations of Chinese women:

an9ie: - so then I told them I was in the middle of a phone-call, and closed the door. Haha!

Mum: No, no, no! You shouldn't answer the door at all!

an9ie: Well, it's not like we have a peephole or anything ... except sometimes you know it's them because they bang on the door instead of using the doorbell*.

Mum: (Suddenly whispering) You go to the living room window like this (creeps to the window).

an9ie: (Whispering) Why are you whispering?

Mum: - and then slo-owly pull the curtain aside (slo-owly pulls curtain aside) ... but you have to do it really carefully, so they don't see the curtains twitch.

an9ie: And then what - you just crouch there watching them like an extra from Psycho?

Mum: Well, then you know it's really them, and you don't let your father answer the door!

an9ie: (Rolls eyes.)

* I wonder why - it's not like they're Amish and can't use electricity.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yes, I know ... and look, mooncakes!

The post below was one I wrote a while ago, and have been sitting on ever since. Sorry!

In other news, Hungry Ghost Month is over - YAY - and the Mooncake Festival is here!

My favourite mooncakes are the ones with white skin made from glutinous rice flour, usually served cold, and stuffed with sweet red bean filling. Some mooncakes have a salted egg yolk in them - my sister likes these, I think because of the contrast between salty and sweet, but I gingerly pick out the yolk and eat around any remnants left behind.

There are many fascinating legends tied to the Mooncake Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Lantern Festival - you can read about them here, on good old Wikipedia. They range from stories about Chang-Erh, the lady in the moon, and her pet rabbit, to (supposedly) true tales about how mooncakes were used in espionage during the Ming dynasty.

I remember playing with lanterns during this festival, as a little girl growing up in South East Asia. My cousins would usually stay over, making it more of a holiday, and we would light fireworks, watched by a couple of uncles who made sure we didn't lose any appendages. My first lantern was a dragon made of purple, red, yellow and green plastic, and when the candle inside him was lit, he was the most beautiful thing my six-year-old eyes had seen.

When I got a little older, I joined in the school lantern parade. The district schools had lantern parades every year, and we would follow gorgeously lit floats made by student committees. At the end of the parade the best float would win a trophy.

Those who weren't helping with the float would follow in its wake, carrying lit paper lanterns while people watched from the sidewalks.

This tradition was banned a few years later because certain people in the government thought school kids walking around at night in lantern parades led to vice and pregnancy and quite possibly civil unrest. I think there was a slight reprieve, and later on we were allowed to have the parade in the daytime, but it just wasn't the same. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm going to hell

Last Sunday those people came around again. Let's call them the Ms.

Years ago, before my parents lived in this house and I was looking after it for them, I usually managed to keep the dreaded Ms at bay with the following method:

1) Opening the wooden front door, but not the security screen door, so I had a protective mesh barrier between us and wouldn't feel compelled to invite them in.

2) Halfway through their opening spiel (and why the heck do they always have to be so polite that you feel like a jackass when you turn them away?) saying, and this is the important part, "Sorry, I'm Catholic*, have a good day!" as I close the door.

I have tried reasoning with them before, saying, "No thank you, I'm Anglican," but apparently this didn't count. Even saying, "I'm a Christian AND my father is a retired priest AND I go to church every Sunday!" would still have them going, "But come to ours, it's much better!" Gah.

And no, I can't slam the door in their faces or call them rude names because I'm not that kind of person. Sorry.

Anyway, after a few months of this treatment they dropped their visits to about twice a year. Then I moved out, and my parents moved back in, and now the Ms are over every Saturday like clockwork.

Mainly because my father invited them in the first time they called. Sheesh. Thanks, Dad.

Last Saturday I happened to be home when they knocked on the door. G (my brother) and I then had a hurried, whispered dispute about who was going to answer the door. In the end it was me - it usually is, because we both know I can get rid of them faster. G just doesn't have that killer instinct.

I don't usually lie, but when the Ms visit I could be Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

M1 and M2: Hello, I'm Elder M1 and this is Brother M2. Is P in?
an9ie: Um, hold on. (Cursory glance into living room.) Nope, looks like he's gone out. Can I take a message?
M1: Are you his daughter?
an9ie: Yes. Can I take a message? I'm sorry, but I'm in the middle of a phone call. I'll tell him you stopped by.
M2: Oh, OK, then.
an9ie: Byeeee! (Shuts door.)
an9ie: G! I've lied to the Ms and now I'm going to hell!

In a week's time we are having some family friends from New Zealand to visit. They're Jehovah's Witnesses, and if the Ms come again, it's GAME ON.

* Why? Because I read somewhere that they usually avoid Catholics because they're very hard to convert. Also, I'm not exactly telling a full-blown fib, since Anglicans are Catholic - we're just not Roman Catholic.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just when I wanted an early night

My mother just wandered in and said, "Did you know that it's Hungry Ghost Month (ci4 ge3 bua3)?"

Then she wandered out again, humming to herself.

I checked the Internet, and it is indeed. Fan-fricking-tastic.

For a whole month, the Gates of Hell are open and ghosts are free to roam the Earth. Perhaps they are visiting loved ones and righting wrongs, but mostly, I reckon, they're stuffing themselves on food offerings, spying on women in the shower, and looking for gullible mortals to take their place in Hell so they can be reincarnated.

Which is why I will be sleeping with the light on tonight.

Today

I'm not going to drown in a sea of sentimentality here, but someone in the RedBubble forum asked what people were doing today. And we all know what today is, and was.

It is a grey, rainy day here in Perth, and as I exited the library, my arms full of books, I brushed against a dense growth of rosemary.

Its fragrance burst into the air so forcefully that I could smell nothing else for several seconds.

A sign, perhaps. Rosemary for remembrance.

The weather was very similar when we visited Ground Zero, on the 11th of August.

Just think, this view would have been impossible before the 11th of September, 2001.


If I'm not mistaken (and please, correct me if I am), the steeple in the middle of the picture belongs to St. Paul's Chapel, where George Washington used to attend Sunday service.

Rescue and recovery workers rested here during the aftermath.

The chapel miraculously survived 9/11, and did not even have a broken window after the attack.

The train station next door gives you a better view of the construction site, albeit through mesh goggles.

It was strange to see such busyness going on, and to hear so much noise, in a place that I had only seen on the news as a desolate, smoking ruin.


Freedom Tower is the name of the new structure that they're building. I confess that I'm not a fan of the name. It seems too brash and simplistic, too in-your-face.

I was about to walk on when MFC directed my attention to the coins that people had tried to throw onto the building site.


We saw coins everywhere on this trip. In fountains, in pools and ponds, and even in bird habitats.

I miss having pennies as part of the currency*. Their almost-nothing value makes them perfect projectiles for spontaneous moments.


See how the object on the left looks like part of a cross? I never noticed it till I posted this picture.

On the same day, we got to see the Statue of Liberty, and I'm so very glad she's still around.

I had seen her before, in a hundred movie lifetimes, but she still took my breath away.



* We got rid of 1 and 2 cent coins in Australia years ago. Now no one feels like throwing things into fountains anymore.

Oh my stars and garters!


Today I received this comment about Camouflage (featured on the home page yesterday!) while looking at my activity monitor in RedBubble.


A lovely lady and fellow artist, peridot, informed me that she saw a print of my wascally wabbit at a local business. Those Queenslanders have good taste, eh? ^_^

Update (12/9/2007): Peridot was kind enough to write back and tell me that it was in a Hearing Aid centre in Capalaba (outer Brisbane area).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Excuses and Explanations

Am I alive? Am I back in the country? Do I still like writing this blog? Yes, yes, and yes.

Naturally I have many travel episodes of mirth and wonder to recount, but a few things are holding me back:

1) When I post about a particular place, I'd like to include a few happy snaps so you guys can see where I've been,
2) The afore-mentioned "happy snaps" take up 4GB of memory and I am too chicken to start dealing with them all. Bleah. And,
3) I still have some handwritten travel notes to transcribe, and I'd like to get everything together, so that I don't write, say, a huge post about Vegas, and then have to keep going back and adding in stuff that I've forgotten.

Still, let me outline my plans for the coming week:
- Sort out mountain of travel photos. Sigh.
- Finish off my New York and Toronto stories so I can move on to Baysville and Ottawa.
- Sign up for the Cleland Thom Newspaper Journalism course and get started on my dream of becoming a freelance journalist/writer.
- Start thinking about designs to put up on RedBubble - it's been far too long since my last illustration.
- Regain hearing in my right ear*.

The rest of the year looks to be a promising and busy one!


* I can't remember if I mentioned this before I left for my holiday. It is a story with a slightly gross ending so you may wish to stop reading here. Anyway, here is:

ANGIE'S DISGUSTING EAR STORY

In the first week of August I went deaf in my right ear for a couple of days. This condition was brought on by a combination of obsessive hygiene and boredom-induced curiosity.

I'd had sinusitis after a nasty cold and the ear wax factory was running into overtime production. Also, there was nothing new to read. So I screwed up a tissue into a sharpish point, pushed it into my ear, and ... AAAAARGH! Why can't I hear anything anymore?

After an hour of Googling, during which I was convinced I had some kind of ear tumour or a ruptured ear drum, I deduced (through the fun exercise of putting my fingers in my ears and humming - the humming is usually louder in the blocked ear) that I had simply pushed the wax in too far, and my only choice was to wait it out.

I could have gone to see the doctor but it was the middle of flu season, so I knew I'd have to wait for a fortnight to get an appointment, and I was leaving for New York in three days.

Fast forward one month: my hearing is still operating at 90%, there is a slight ringing in my right ear, and when I wake up in the morning I am temporarily deaf for a few seconds.

Today I saw my lovely doctor at the University Medical Centre, after waiting for 40 minutes, due to a couple of emergency patients/evil queue-jumpers. Hey, mister, get back in line! What? I don't care that you can see the bone! My ear is 10% deaf and I need this prescription filled!

One of the emergencies was Luigi from the Computer Science department who staggered in, saying, "I'm a staff member, and I've cut my head." The last time I saw him was at a joint party with Simon - another friend - to celebrate getting their PhD's.

At the party one of my old lecturers took all his clothes off - a sight that scarred me forever. And just in case you're wondering, the festivities were held at an Indian restaurant, and not someone's private home.

The long and short of it is that I now have this great stuff in a bottle called Waxsol, which I have to pour into my ear and seal with some cotton wool when I go to bed tonight.

Then, in the morning, I get to remove the cotton wool and will presumably stare at its contents for about three minutes, thinking, HOLY CRAP, and, I wonder if I should have honey on toast for breakfast?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Toronto!

We arrived in Toronto yesterday afternoon. The weather is pleasantly sunny and a little drier after humid New York. One thing we noticed immediately (well, apart from the incredible incompetence at the Hertz office at the airport) was how friendly everyone was.

Seriously, I was too scared to ask for help at the Foot Locker in Times Square, or indeed most shops in NY, because if I dared to approach a salesperson they would give me the glare of death from underneath their eyebrows. However, everyone in Toronto is really, really nice.

(Sidenote: Apart from the sales staff in New York, most New Yorkers are pretty friendly when you run into them on the subway or in cafes.)

Arriving in Toronto reminded me of that scene in Due South, where Benton takes his Chicagoan police partner, Ray, to Canada, and when they arrive Ray looks around suspiciously and says, "Hm, this place is clean. Too clean."

We went to the top of the Toronto CN Tower today. James found out that entry to tower is $25 and you have to wait in a long queue, whereas if you go to the revolving restaurant (it's called 360), and have a main, entry is free and you don't have to wait in line. So we all went to the top and had chilled potato and leek soup with truffle shavings, grilled Atlantic salmon with spinach and potatoes in a pepita and lime jus, and peach crumble for $47 (Canadian). It was a fine dining atmosphere but luckily no dress code. The view was magnificent and you could see all the way to the other side of Lake Ontario.

At the moment we're trying to see Evil Dead the Musical, which is running at the Diesel Playhouse in Blue Jays Way until September 4th. Chances are slim because we've missed tonight's show, tomorrow we're going to Niagara Falls, and on Thursday we'll be on our way to Ottawa, but we'll see how we go.

Oh yes, by the way, MFC and I are very annoyed because our timing in Toronto is not the best. MFC just missed some metal gigs that were just on, and we're here too early for Fan Expo 2007, that's going to have guests like George Romero, Malcolm McDowell, Hayden Panetierre, Jonathan Frakes, Adam West, John Romita Snr and so forth. Waaaaaaah!

Oh well, our fault for not doing our research ...

Oh, and Juliness, on our last night in New York we went to the Sushi Samba (the one on Park Avenue South) for dinner and the food is great! Cute waiters too :) The service was a little slow, but there were only two chefs on duty that night. Mmm, Watermelon Mojo mocktail.

We also went to Chinatown for dim sum, and ended up at Grand Harmony Restaurant on the corner of Canal and Mott Streets. This place boasted the best dim sum in Chinatown, and it was full of Chinese people (which is my barometer when checking out Chinese restaurants), but guys, I'm sorry, dim sum at Joy Garden or Northbridge Chinese in Perth beats it hands down.

Later that night we got a kick out of watching 16 Blocks and squealing, "We were just there!" as Bruce Willis runs across New York and they're looking for him on Canal Street. Ahhh, tourists eh?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New York

Hey guys,

I've read your comments but unfortunately don't have time to reply to them - I'm on a timed Internet connection and I can see it ticking down as I type. Thank you so much for all your kind wishes, I'm having a great time, love this city, love the humidity, love the way total strangers feel completely at ease commenting on what you're doing at the time or just talking to you (well, the non-creepy ones that is). Most New Yorkers seem quite friendly and polite, and the ones that aren't, well, I'm enough of a tourist to chalk it up to novelty. Why, just the other day a guy I bumped into rasped, "Watch where you're goin'!" in a genuine Queens accent :p And a pregnant woman that I offered to help just glared at me. Que sera sera.

Last night, after the ferry past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, we went to a new comedy club on the corner of 9th Avenue and West 14th, I think it's called Comix. The line-up was awesome, with friendly heckling, since we were in the front row. If any of you guys are looking for a night out, I highly recommend it. You can get half-price drinks during happy hour (M-F, 5.30 to 7.30) and if you choose to have dinner there the food is pretty good, although the service is a little slow. And the comic line-up we had was pretty first class, they were all funny, and some well-known names like Ted Alexandro, who MFC and I knew quite well from Comedy Channel. (BTW, I have an enormous crush on him especially after he singled me out when making some Asian jokes - but funny friendly ones - and shared OCD :)

All this holiday eating is definitely starting to harden my arteries though, but it all tastes so good! Example: I had a crispy chicken sandwich last night and I thought just the chicken would be fried, but the bread was too. Whoa.

Dang, 44 seconds left. Byeeee!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Away on holiday - not long now!

Hey everybody,

In a few hours I’ll be on a plane to Sydney, and then, on a plane to New York! Woo!

I’m looking forward to it, but not to the packing (yes, a little bit of last-minute packing to do, accompanied by last-minute what have I forgotten now-itis), the flight or legendary New York customs (where my cousin was forced to drink 500ml of water in one go to prove it wasn't poisoned, and submit to about an hour of questioning because she had an Asian passport).

So many tiny bottles and clear plastic bags to comply with anti-terrorism what-not. The long hours on the plane, where surly flight attendants bring you a small cup of water every three hours … If only there was some way to contract temporary tsetse fly sickness and
fall asleep at will.

But it will all be worth it when I get there :)

I hope to do a little catching up from Internet cafes and people’s houses, but if not, I’ll see you all in early September!

Xo Angie

Monday, August 06, 2007

I need to stop myself!

Five nights straight of sleeping with a night-light and waking up bleary-eyed; enough is enough - no more Fatal Frame II for Angie.

Also, my mother offered to come sleep in my room. Really Ma, I'm a grown-up, I CAN SLEEP IN THE DARK BY MYSELF.

Except I can't, but I'm working up to it!

New card: Panda Love Extreme

I like pandas too, but perhaps not as much as Gary ...


Now available as a card from RedBubble!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wake-up screaming

AAAAAAAAAAAAHH! That alarm clock Mum gave me is so horribly LOUD.

I think I shall give it back to her and suggest that she set up a defibrillator with a timer and strap the pads to my chest instead. It would be much kinder.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another surprise

My mother has just left my room. She came to give me an alarm clock from Asia (only $4.00!) that plays a strange door-chime version of "Colours of the Wind" from Pocahontas.

How delightfully random!

Hello and see ya

Warning: much geekery and talk of video games! And also, a little SURPRISE, oh, OK, a BIG SURPRISE at the end.

Hey guys,

I apologise for my absence. Truthfully, when the urge for drawing comes upon me, my writing tends to suffer a bit. And vice versa.

But if you've seen my RedBubble portfolio, it is clear that I haven't drawn anything new since The Wrong Unicorn, which I love so much that it is UNBEARABLE that I can't have it on a dark t-shirt. But RedBubble are working on getting a white ink printer so that I can make designs for dark t-shirts, so .. soon, my pretty, very soon.

Anyway, clearly I have not been burning the creative candle at either end, so, what have I been doing?

WELL ... I have rediscovered the delights of my PlayStation 2, and have been playing Fatal Frame II and Katamari Damacy in my free time.

Let me describe said delights to you.

I briefly touched on the Fatal Frame series in this post. And, well, I never learn, because I started playing it soon after.

In the game, you have a special camera that is your only weapon against the demon ghosts that keep trying to throttle you. Taking pictures of them drains their essence, and of course, there are lots of tricks and skills you learn so that you can knock them out faster. One of these is the "Fatal Frame" shot, where you wait for them to almost attack, or get up really close, before you take the shot, and this maximises the points you can earn.

Last night, my little brother, Glen was sitting next to me, egging me on to be bolder, because I kept taking weak shots from far away. My chicken-hearted tactic was to wear them out little by little, from a distance, whereas he prefers to dispose of them in one magnificent burst of glory.

Or something.

Glen: Just wait! Let them get closer! Then you can get more points!
an9ie: But then they're closer and they scare me!
an9ie: More.

My character walks into a cellar which has a well in it, and of course, a lady starts crawling out of it à la Sadako in The Ring. Gah.

Glen: OK, don't do anything yet ...
an9ie: Waaaah! I don't want it to come any closer!
Glen: No no, just wait ..
an9ie: Now? (Nervously looks at crawly thing approaching with hair all over its face.)
Glen: Just a little more.
an9ie: Now? (She's so close I can see dandruff.)
Glen: Just a little ...
(Ghost leaps up and her EYELESS FACE fills the whole SCREEN.)
an9ie and Glen: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
(an9ie smacks Glen with the controller.)
an9ie: *&@*&;$*&$@*&$*&! GLEN! THAT IS THE LAST TIME I TAKE ADVICE FROM YOU! @#$@&*! GET OUT!

When I've scared myself enough that I plan to sleep with all the lights on and a giant crucifix clutched to my chest, then I start playing some Katamari Damacy.

Apart from a king with a disturbingly large bulge in his pants, Katamari Damacy is a charming game where the goal is to roll up things until they reach a certain size, or you collect a certain number of objects, e.g., fish, crabs, women (whose squeals and flailing limbs are extremely satisfying).

You see, the king went on a bender and made all the stars in the sky disappear. So now you need to go to earth and roll up things, which will be launched into space to make new stars and constellations.

...

...

Of course. It makes PERFECT sense.

I've spent the last three evenings trying to roll up enough to make Ursa Major, and when I finally got me a polar bear last night I felt an immense sense of quiet achievement.

I know everyone out there is thinking, Wow, those long winter evenings must just FLY past.

And they do, my chickadees, they do.

Now, in other news, I will try to update a few more times before I go on holiday next week. Yes! Whee! HO-LEEEE- DAY!

I'll be gone for about three and a half weeks, back in Australia at the beginning of September. So expect posts to be, at worst, non-existent, or at best, extremely erratic. Sorry, sorry, sorry. But think of all the cool stories and photos I'll come back with!

Where am I going?

North America baby, North America.

A lightning fast tour of New York, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vegas, and Los Angeles, as well as a trip to Niagara Falls and a few other "little" stops. I'll be travelling with MFC and two other friends, Razer and James, who often leave comments on this blog.

Not surprisingly, all my must-sees and dos are food-related: IHOP (I hear angels singing!), Taco Bell, dim sum in every Chinatown, Japanese, Mexican, Red Vines ... MFC is quite disgusted with me, I can tell you.

Now, do any of you lovely people have any recommendations?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life imitates art

I swear, lately I seem to be living in my own little version of Penny Arcade.

Tonight I showed my mother my latest t-shirt, The Wrong Unicorn, a close-up of which you can see below. (My little brother, G, was in the background, playing Front Mission 4 on the PS2, and minding his own business.)


When my mother first saw it, she said: "It looks like that man has a, whatyoumacallit, p3nis*, sticking out."

an9ie: From his chest, mother?

Mum: Yes, hahahaha!

an9ie: FROM HIS CHEST?

Mum: Well, if it was really in his chest, wouldn't his heart be flying out?

an9ie: That's IT, no more "constructive" criticism from you, Mum.

Mum: Seriously, why don't you try moving it a little lower?

an9ie: (Opens image in Flash and selects the "Impaled man" layer) What, here?

Mum: A little lower.

an9ie: (Moves layer) Here?

Mum: Yes, NOW it looks like a p3nis. Hahahahahaha!

an9ie (to little brother): G, is Mummy drunk?


Note:
comments are moderated, and any rude ones will be deleted as soon as my laser night-vision sees them.

* I've changed this word from how it normally appears so Google doesn't send all the weirdos here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New t-shirt: TheWrong Unicorn

My latest t-shirt, now available at RedBubble in white, pink (seen below), blue and lemon, in mens and ladies tees.



Apologies if I've destroyed anyone's childhood memories, I just couldn't help myself :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Evenings with my family

So, it's about 11.30pm.

I'm in my bedroom working on my latest t-shirt design, which you will either love or hate. Also, it may destroy some of your most cherished childhood memories.

Dad is watching some Chinese movie in the lounge room with the volume turned right up, and my little brother is sitting on a beanbag behind me, playing Fatal Frame 2 on my Playstation2.

Fatal Frame 2 is only one of the MOST FREAKING SCARY GAMES IN THE WORLD. It's like being in your own personal Grudge/Ring movie, only this time you're interacting with the damn corpses/vengeful ghosts/demons.

Glen puts in the disc, the game starts up, and he starts playing, while giving me a running commentary.

Glen: You know, you should play this sometime.

an9ie: I would, except I'd keep WETTING MYSELF.

Glen: (Plays some more) Mmm, yeah, I thought this game would be a lot more scary.

an9ie: (Concentrating on picture) Uh-huh.

Glen: Maybe the atmosphere isn't so creepy because we can hear Dad's movie blaring outsi- HOLY F*ING [Hokkien swearword] F*!!!

...

an9ie: Got scared, did you?

Glen: F*ING F* F* [Hokkien swearword] F* [Hokkien swearword] F*ING F*!!!

I am never playing this game. Never.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Send out the clowns

I don't understand why clowns are still as popular as they are.

I can't stand them. Even as an elevated art form in Cirque du Soleil, where they did some arty version of walking against the wind (well, against some kind of paper blizzard), I just wished the whole lot of them would freeze in the snow storm and not be found until spring, preferably by hungry bears attracted to the glow of their red noses.

They're like the mean kids in primary school. You know, the ones who would pull a chair away just when someone was about to sit down, or put a thumb-tack (or as I once witnessed, hold up a SHARPENED PENCIL) on other people's chairs, or lead the laughter when someone dropped their lunch tray in the canteen.

I never laughed. I don't think pain and/or humiliation are funny*, which is what a lot of clowning seems to be about.

Seriously, have you EVER spoken to anyone who has said, "Oh, the most happy childhood memory I have is of the time I went to the circus to see the clowns! Mmm, I use that memory as my happy place!"

If you are a clown, or know someone who is a clown, my deepest apologies for your unfortunate circumstances.


* Unless applied to Bjork (I can't even be bothered looking up the HTML code for the accent on the 'o') or Keira Knightley.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Some stories about pronunciation

Hmm, Blogger has lost its title bar.

Okie-dokie then.

The title of this post, if there was a title bar to put it in, would be, "Some stories about pronunciation".

Update (23:24): Oh look, the title bar's back. Whoopee.

For starters, it's spelled "pronunciation", and not "pronounciation". It's also pronounced that way*. Crazy, huh?

What got me thinking about pronunciation was my perusal of Penelope Dullaghan's website today. Penelope is one of my favourite illustrators, being a kick-ass artist as well as an entertaining writer. She is also the person who started up Illustration Friday, which I have not participated in for a while because, well, I am just an enormous sloth-pimp who has been busy creating things for RedBubble recently.

You know, RedBubble? Of the super-cheap postage and awesome goods? That's right, baby.

Anyway, I was looking at her website, and I thought of my cousin, J, who always pronounced "Penelope" the same way you would, "antelope". Poor thing.

Naturally, whenever she did it, we made fun of her until she ran away and hid in the bathroom. Because that is what you do to cousins when you are a savage little girl.

Another cousin had a particularly dry sense of humour. One day a guy came up to her after church, all excited about some new purchase.

"I've just bought some cologne!" he cried.

Except he pronounced it ko-log-nee.

"That's great!" said C, "Let's celebrate by getting some cham-pag-nee!"

The poor guy slunk away, leaving a scented trail of kolognee behind him.

When I first arrived in Australia, straight into my first year of boarding school, a certain malicious girl would sarcastically imitate the way I said "plastic" and "video". She would screw up her piggy little eyes and squeal it out loudly so the rest of the dorm would hear and laugh.

Wherever you are now, malicious girl, I hope you're sweating profusely and smell like tacos. And that there are bears nearby.

* It's OK, I still get mixed up sometimes, and then MFC laughs at me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Conversations with my sister

Ring-ring.

an9ie:
Hello, this is Angie.

Sister:
Gee*, it's me. Do you want a mouse?

an9ie:
Do I want a what?

Sister:
A mouse. M** found it today outside the house. A pet mouse. I've been round and asked all the neighbours, but it doesn't belong to any of them.

an9ie:
How do you know it's a pet mouse?

Sister:
It was just sitting there and he picked it up. It's white with brown patches and a silver streak. M's named it Barry.

an9ie:
Um, no. No thank you, I don't want a pet mouse.

Sister: Because if you don't, M will have to smash its head in, or I'll take it to the pet shop.

an9ie: (Oh, great, now I'm going to be a murderer.) What? Why can't you just let it roam free with the other mice, outside?

Sister: I'm not having mice wandering around outside my house!

==============================

Then there was the time she called to ask me what to have for lunch.

Ring-ring.

an9ie:
Hello, this is Angie.

Sister:
Gee, it's me. Do I like pork or fish?

an9ie: Gawd, I don't know ... Don't you know?

Sister: I'm at that Japanese restaurant, the one you like, and I want to know if I should order the pork or the fish.

an9ie: Sigh. Do you feel like pork or do you feel like fish?

I don't have the strength to type out the rest of the conversation except that it went round and round along the same lines until I got annoyed and said I had to go because my shoes were on fire. Or something like that.

Epilogue to mouse story:
It's OK, she took Barry to the pet shop today.

* "Gee" is what my sister calls me. I'll bet you thought she just started every conversation with "gee", eh?
* M is my sister's hubby.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lessons to learn while you're young(-ish)

Lesson No. 265:

When you become a hairy old lady (and you will, unless you inject yourself with hormones every day, or murder virgins and drink their blood), for the love of all that's holy - WAX YOUR UPPER LIP.

It's not that hard. Heck, if it's too much for you, invest in an Epilady that does facial hair.

The chaplain at my old high school, Father G, was a complete sleaze. His wife, Mrs G, was lovely, sweet, kind, and much too good for him. She was also the first lady I ever saw with a moustache. It was grey, bristly, and definitely NOT a trick of the light. Sigh.

A few years ago I was taking a train to Edmonton Green (in London) and a large, middle-aged African lady came and sat opposite me. She had the cleavage of a cruise ship, which was directly in my line of sight. I was too engrossed in my book to look at her closely, but as I was turning a page, I looked up and almost did a Marx Brothers-style double-take.

In addition to a moustache and beard, she had little curly black hairs ALL OVER HER CHEST.

Madames, if you do have the cojones* to walk around with a cleavage AND a moustache, at least do it in style - make sure you have a luxurious, wonderously manicured, magnificent silky topiary on show, and not a sparse growth that resembles the chest hairs of an adolescent boy.


* Yes, I am aware that this may not be the right context, but I really like saying, "cojones".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Having a sick day at home

Dad's retired, Mum had the day off, and Glen was on holiday, so I didn't get as much rest at home as you think. Still, it was quite nice spending Tuesday at home with the family. Mostly I lay in bed with my door open, falling in and out of sleep, while my mother wandered in and out with cups of tea/barley water/soup.

By evening, I could sit up, and (of course) finished watching the rest of Entourage Season 3. So I'm pretty much all caught up. This show just gets better and better. I'm loving the interaction between Ari and Mrs Ari.

I'm a realistic person - even when I have a crush on a fictional character in a TV series, I'm completely happy for them if they're paired with the right woman. Awesome, awesome casting. The Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) episode is hilarious, and there are some great scenes with Ari's daughter, Sarah.

Sarah: You want me to lie?!
Ari: That is the beauty of Yom Kippur. As long as you apologize by sundown, doesn't matter what you do.

Sarah: I hate this, I'm starving.
Ari: Now you know what Mommy goes through every day to make a hot body for Daddy.

*****MAY CONTAIN SOME FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SPOILERS*****

Obviously, since Entourage episodes are a whole 20 minutes long, I finished them pretty quickly. Now I'm back onto Friday Night Lights. I watched the first two episodes a few months ago to get a taste of the show, and I cried and laughed my heart out.

It is so well-written, and I heart HotKyle (Chandler) more than ever. Connie Britton is magnificent as his wife. I also like the way she calls him, "Sugar".

See? I'm not bitter when they choose good ladies for my leading men.

Scott Porter is incredible as Jason Street. They certainly don't play down the brutal aspects of tetraplegia. You want him to get up from that chair so much, but because it's FNL and it doesn't bubble-wrap things, Hollywood-style, you just see him dealing with it. They show him lying there and being dressed and learning to use a wheelchair. They talk about catheters and how he can't ejaculate or he'll get a urinary tract infection and it's so, so sad.

Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) is one of the hottest bad/good boys on TV. Luckily the actor who plays him is actually 25 so I don't have to feel like I'm perving on MINORS.

Mmm, lots more Friday Night Lights episodes to go! I love TV.

*****SPOILERS END*****

Mmm ... sinus infection

On Monday night I came down with a sinus, throat and chest infection. The throat infection is a doozy, it's the kind that makes you feel like hot needles are going down your throat every time you swallow. Yay.

I woke up at 3am and lay there like a lump of tired lead, breathing through my remaining unblocked nostril, feeling the aches in my neck and shoulders, and debating how long I could go without swallowing, because it was so damn painful.

Obviously I had a bit of a dilemma coming up - should I take the day off or not? I don't like taking sick days, and I pretty much have to be weak as a kitten and unable to remain vertical for more than 5 seconds to even contemplate it.

But my brain made the decision for me.

I fell back into slumber and dreamt that I left for the office, but while I was driving through the next suburb, I decided to turn around. This was because:

a) I was still in my pyjamas.
b) It was pitch dark and I was driving without my headlights on.
c) I had just gone the wrong way around a roundabout.

I think this was my brain's way of saying, "Girlfriend, if you're going into work today, you are on your own."

Alrighty then.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

RedBubble Portfolio Update


I have added three new images to my RedBubble portfolio. From left to right, they are: "Love Lies Waiting", "Irresistible" and "Moongazing".

All are for sale as cards, and at AUD$3.50 each, they're quite the bargain. Get your piece of an9ie now!

RedBubble only charges around $2.50 delivery (shown at checkout) for several cards - to anywhere in the world. They are so awesome (this is my fallback word when I am speechless and/or sleep-deprived, as I am now), words fail to express how they have changed my life and lifted my game.

I have a new superhero cartoon in the works - he is going to appear on t-shirts and possibly some sassy cards, so watch this space. He's packing heat and embodies all I hold dear: cleanliness, hygiene, and the an9ie way.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My new secret vice

Caution: this post contains the f-bomb. But it's all Ari, not me!

The other morning I left the house at 8:56am - and you know what I was doing? I was watching the last 15 minutes of an Entourage episode I had taped. I could not tear myself away.

Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), after Grey's* Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) has to be one of my favourite TV characters ever. He's a tyrannical, potty-mouthed bully who still manages to come off as a devoted husband and family man.

And he's sexy as hell. I swear, that episode where he goes and busts up Josh Weinstein's party and he's wearing a short-sleeved button-up white cotton shirt that clings to his biceps? I nearly took off my bra and threw it at the screen.

The best scenes are the ones where he's interacting with his family, or, with my second-favourite man on the show, his gay Asian assistant, Lloyd. (Aside: here's a link to a great interview with Rex Lee, the actor who plays Lloyd.)

Long list of Ari Gold quotes follows. I simply cannot help myself.

Ari Gold: You like Gaysian Lloyd? He's cute, right? And he covers two quotas.

Lloyd: Ari, swear to me you will never say anything offensive to me about my race or my sexual orientation.
Ari Gold: I can't swear to that, but I promise I will always apologize after.

Ari Gold: I'll beat that old fuck and throw him in the pool.
Ari Gold: [to his young kids]
Ari Gold: Only Daddy speaks that way!

Ari Gold: [getting off the couch]
[shouts]
Ari Gold: Lloyd!
Ari Gold: [pulling envelope out of drawer] In this envelope, there are the names of eight agents. If anyone catches you, eat it. Nod if you understand me.
Lloyd: I understand.
Ari Gold: You can't just fucking nod? Lloyd, I want you to ... to swear your undying loyalty to me.
Lloyd: Ari ...
Ari Gold: Listen to me, Lloyd, do you want to make it in this business or fold shirts at a Chinese laundromat? Pledge.
Lloyd: I pledge my undying loyalty to you, Ari.
Ari Gold: Good. Now, I want you to go to each of these agents - discreetly - and say the words "tse-tse fly". Say nothing else. Now go.
Lloyd: Ari, are you leaving the agency ...
Ari Gold: Silence is fucking golden, Lloyd. Go.

Ari Gold: [calling Lloyd from his car] Listen, Lloyd, I want you to put all my files, folders, binders, everything into a box! If you find a used condom, an executioner's mask, and a fucking spike paddle, don't think, just pack that bitch! Chop suey!

Ari Gold: [to E, Vince's manager] You wanna hug it out? Let's hug it out, bitch.

Ari Gold: Thank you, you know I'd love to show up but it's actually anal sex night at the Gold house, so ... But thank you for the invite, I'm gonna go home and punish my wife.

And to end on a beautiful Ari-Lloyd moment:

Lloyd: I worked 18 hours a day to save up the money to put myself through Stanford Business School. While I was there, I cleaned the cafeteria during the hours I wasn't studying, and still graduated top of my class, only to take a job delivering mail to unappreciative overpaid little cocksuckers. Then to finally get the big promotion that would allow me to answer your phones and be both racially and sexually harassed for the next nine months. But I know the end-game ... and you Ari Gold, you are it. So stop your fucking whining, and go into your gorgeous three million dollar house, with your beautiful goddess wife and figure out how you're going to make both of our lives happen ... tomorrow!
Ari Gold: That was a good speech Lloyd. If I was 25 and liked cock, we could be something.


* Re: Grey's, I am so sick of the whole George/Izzie thing that if both characters were written out of the plot in some incredibly ridiculous way, like, oh, having their bodies being taken over by aliens that needed to desperately reproduce and then died horribly at the hands of NASA ... oh wait, I think that's been done already ... I'd just blink once, get a cup of tea, and then keep watching.

Because that is how believable the whole George/Izzie relationship thing is. Gleesh. What about Denny, Izzie? WHAT ABOUT DENNY? His SOUL is doomed to wander round the hospital corridors just hoping to catch a few seconds with you. The poor schmuck should've just flushed his 8.7 million dollars down the toilet.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

RedBubble Portfolio


Woohoo! I sold another card of Camouflage yesterday to the lovely Jo O'Brien, another RedBubble user.

If you haven't already, do have a look at my portfolio, by clicking on the image above, or on the link in this sentence. My goal is to add a new item to the portfolio every week, and so far I'm right on track.

Have a look around, there are many talented artists out there. If you feel a bit lost, have a look at my favourites to get an idea of the wonderful art on offer.

Shipping is still incredibly cheap from RedBubble. I believe they keep their costs down by having offices in Australia, the UK, and the US, so at the moment postage is the same price (in Australian dollars) to anywhere in the world. A post from one of the administrators says:

It depends on the destination and the item being shipped. But here’s a couple of rules of thumb. The shipping & handling of a large framed or mounted print will cost in the order of $15; a t-shirt will cost in the order of $4.75.


From what other users have said, shipping cards will generally cost in the order of AUD$2.50. Also, the more items you have in your order, the more economic the shipping costs will be.

P.S. If I look tired in the morning - I have not been crying into my pillow all night, for goodness' sake. I've been working on a new t-shirt design, and it took me until past midnight!