Thursday, March 29, 2007

Please refresh and read

Sorry guys, Blogger screwed me over and published an old version with wonky pictures, and I've just finished fixing it up.

The version that is up NOW is the good one! Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Filler - Another Catalogue

Here is a little gem that Em brought me today. She thought it would fit in well with my catalogue series. That girl knows me so well . . . *sniff*:

Subtle.

"Yes, hello, I would like to order your personal massager? In the 9.5" please, because, um, I have an extra long back and I really need to reach the muscles right at the end . . . I mean, bottom . . . I mean, back.

"Ah jeez, just send me the extra large vibrator, OK, lady?"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Random think bubbles and conversations

This is an old post from the 10th of March, that I wrote and never posted. The slackness of an9ie rides again!

I thought I'd post it anyway, before it becomes too irrelevant, e.g. Foxtel gets taken over by giant robots and becomes a thing of horror. Oh, wait . . .

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

I was at MFC's place last night writing and editing the D&G post below, while watching music videos on Foxtel. My secret vice. I just love having them on in the background and being able to rest my eyes on the crazy outfits and booty-shaking.

Occasionally something dancey would come on and, unable to sit still, I would skip into MFC's bedroom, where he was concentrating very hard on his XBox, prance around for a bit, exchange some dialogue, and skip out again.

So here are some random thinks I had while watching said videos, and also bits and pieces of brief conversations with MFC. I included a timelog, because I think they're cool, but some of them may be made up because I was pretty distracted at the time.

22:56 I'm Outta Love, Anastacia

I really like Anastacia with her glasses on. She makes them sexy (not that I'm biased at all). Without them on she's just another generic popstar blonde. Please keep the glasses, Anastacia!

23:17 (Can't remember, must've been boring because I went to bother MFC)

MFC (in his fourth hour of X-Box gaming): Where's my dinner, woman?*
an9ie: I could make you some nice pan-fried tofu with oyster sauce and fried shallots!
MFC: Never mind. I've got some meat defrosting in the microwave.
an9ie: Would you like me to do something with it?
an9ie: . . . like pee on it for you?

* He does mean this in a joking way. If he were serious, he'd wake up the next morning with something important missing. And I don't mean his brain. Something important to HIM.

23:34 Dancing on the Ceiling, Lionel Richie

MFC can juuust see the TV screen from his bedroom.
MFC (from bedroom): Who IS this?
an9ie: It's Dancing on the Ceiling! Lionel Richie's most famous song!*
MFC: I thought it was Eddie Murphy.
an9ie: Is it because he's black?
MFC: From back here he looks like Eddie Murphy.
an9ie: There IS a similarity from 50 metres

* Sometimes I forget how old I am. Note: MFC is a leetle younger than me. And by "leetle", I mean, shut it.

23:41 White Wedding, Billy Idol

OooOOOH! Now Billy Idol's White Wedding is on. Sigh. Nostalgia. I do love that song. (Run into MFC's room)
an9ie: If we ever get married, do you think I could walk down the aisle to Billy Idol's White Wedding?
MFC (warily): Yes.
an9ie: Yay! (Skips out.)
MFC: But I think you'll change your mind!

Update 23/03/2007: Dammit! He knows me too well!

23:48

Ugh, I just saw an ad for Girls Gone Wild. Their parents must be so proud.

23:54 Groove Is In The Heart, Deee-Lite

This song makes my hackles rise. I don't know why. Everyone else seems to love it.

23:57 Call On Me, Eric Prydz

Oh, this video is so naughty, but so funny. It makes me laugh every time I see it. Did you know they made a real exercise video based on the moves from the music video?

(Pauses for another look.)

You know, it must take real skill for everyone to pump their pelvises in unison. Type "Call on me " into YouTube to see what I mean.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kangas! For the non-Oz readers!

Chompity-chomp.

The Australians can all go, "Meh!" and return to reading blogs about moose and cupcakes, but I thought the furrin' visitors would like this.

I went to a place called Karri Valley Resort on the weekend. They have a large sports oval and the kangaroos come and graze on it at dawn and dusk, leaving poo everywhere.

To the country locals, this isn't unusual at all. And in fact, if you live out in the city fringe 'burbs or up in the hills, it's quite a common sight there as well.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just for now . . .

A lot of stuff has happened that I'm still processing. I spent a weekend in hell by myself, and at the end of it I was so tired that I cried, well, bawled, really, in my car on the way home. (I cry when I'm really tired, and I'm grouchy when I'm really hungry. If you combine the two situations you have a WMD that could break Kim Jong-Il.)

Anyway, it wasn't all for nothing, because it's snapped me out of my wah-wah-I'm-going-nowhere-self-pitying mood, and resulted in an epiphany about what I need to do, to follow my path, and what I don't need to do.

As soon as these things clicked into place in my mind, my mood, my work, and my relationships, with others and myself, improved, within a few hours.

It was, once again, an instance where I'd thrown something out to the Universe with a "help me!" attached, something I just couldn't handle or make sense of, and suddenly eerily relevant opportunities and support came my way.

People may scoff, but I've often done this, asked a higher power than myself for help, and my prayers and questions have always been answered. Not always how I pictured they would be, but always, always for the best.

So, to use that hoary but apt cliché, it's like a weight has been lifted. I might post about it later, but there's a lot of stuff to filter, and maybe some of it should be private.

For now, this is an awesome sight that I saw on the way to MFC's last Wednesday night, and I had to share it with you guys.

A whole group of people on special motorbikes that have been modified to hold two passengers at the back. I have no idea what they're called. Tri-bikes maybe? Anyway, it was a pretty awesome sight to see them all thundering down the highway at once.

They were quite pretty, and looked like a bucket of fun to ride.


And then I saw this, and my night became . . . just . . . perfect!

It's a doggie! ON A MOTORBIKE!
WITH GOGGLES!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not my new banner

I'd been thinking of revamping my blog for a long time. Two columns or three? Which fonts? What colours? Arg! Too many decisions!

The only thing I knew, with utmost certainty, was that I had to have a new banner. And not just any banner, but something special, something cute and funny, with a bit of moxie. Whee!

Unfortunately, the design muse struck at the same time as the if-only-it-were-PMS, but-it's-not, I'm-just-a-cranky-old-b!tch muse.

And thus the banner above was born. Please, click on it for a larger view. Otherwise you might miss the laser-y hatred-beam coming from Chopper's baleful eyes.

I still have a soft spot for ol' Chopper up there. Oh, that doggie! The more he glared at me, the more I wanted to scoop him up and take him home . . .

. . . except that would have made his Mummy cry, so I didn't. But I would've made him love me! Honest! In a Kathy Bates from Misery kind of way, maybe, but there's different ways of showin' lovin'!

I created the Chopper banner with Randal's words still ringing in my ears, and I don't think it's something I'll be able to live with for very long.

At the moment I'm doing my best to climb out of negative canyon* into shiny happy land, and Chopper looking disdainfully at me every time I open up my blog is not going to speed up the process.

And although I'm sure you intelligent and attractive readers are made of much stronger stuff than me, it might not be a very nice way to start your day either, staring into the glowering eyes of a resentful dachshund.

Those dogs are small, but their eyes have crazy evil juju.

P.S. There may be a couple more cranky posts coming. Your forbearance is greatly appreciated.


* I was going to say "crack", but it would have detracted from the gravity of that sentence.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Newsflash: People are still morons!

Well, as predicted, we are a nation of sheep. No, really, we may stand upright and occasionally use our thumbs, but don't let that fool you.

My attention was directed to this article today in the Daily Telegraph's online news. The headline goes, "Stella McCartney Target chaos" (story by Jen Melocco and Andrew Chesterton, March 12, 2007 12:00).

A FASHION feeding frenzy turned violent yesterday as women rushed for the Stella McCartney for Target range this morning.

There were scenes of pandemonium at the Bondi Junction Target store as women tried to grab hold of the limited edition range by the top line British designer.

"Someone just ripped a jacket out of my hands," said Lori Herbert of Vaucluse.

Another woman, who refused to give her name, said a clothes rack had been rammed into her side and she feared for her safety in the crowd.
and
The atmosphere turned ugly at the store however, when word spread that a second lot of clothes were to be put out on the racks.

Target staff warned the crowds that they would not release the clothes until they calmed down.

A second round of just two racks of clothes were attacked by screaming women before they could even be moved to the designated Stella McCartney area.

All this article needed was a quote from a staff member, like:
"I've never seen anything like it. Animals! They were just animals . . .", he mumbled as he nursed the bleeding gash in his head, where acrylic nails had clearly punctured the skin.

Alas, there was none, but I can still amuse myself by imagining it.

So the frenzy is over, eh? There goes my lunchtime entertainment!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fashion Schmashion: D&G and Stella McC


Image from Adrants

What do you guys think of this ad? It was recently banned from Italian publications after complaints that it suggested gang rape.

The news story didn't show the picture, but I eventually found it on Adrants. Some of the comments from Adrants readers are quite amusing, such as:
how can five gays and a girl be called a gang rape?
Posted by: jackson on February 20, 2007 02:44 PM
and
My partner speculates that the gay men are holding her down to force her to tell them where she got those shoes.
Posted by: Tracey on February 24, 2007 09:53 AM

I'm not a big fan of this ad, to me everything looks cold, plastic, slightly menacing. I mean, both men and women are becoming heavily objectified in the media, so stuff like this certainly doesn't help. Haven't we given our children enough things to be neurotic about?

To be fair though, if they're going to ban these, I reckon they should put a death fatwa on those insidious Bratz dolls as well. Sweet Mary Jo, I hate those things and their blowjob-ready lips so much!

Anyhoo, back to poor D&G . . .

Except when I say that, it happens to sound exactly the same as when I exclaim, "Aw, poor Donald Trump!" or, "Paris Hilton doesn't deserve to be treated like that!"

Name brands don't really cut it with me. I mean, I love looking at the dresses on Oscar night, I like buying clothes and shoes and looking nice, but I'm not a fan of haute couture. Usually I buy what's on sale or shop at cheap places like Temt, because at the moment it's more important to me to pay off my mortgage quickly and travel overseas once a year. I only buy clothing if I need it, it makes me look nice, and it's decent quality. And contrary to what some people think, it IS possible to dress well without spending $100+ on each item of clothing. 

If you still don't think so, I offer you the sound of an ant farting. Remember to get your face good and close to the screen!

In a nutshell, I think branded items are a pretentious waste of money. And don't get me started on Stella McCartney's new line for Target. Apparently we're "bloody lucky" to have it. That's what she said. From the horse's mouth*, folks.

Oh, Stella, we're not worthy. No, really. Tell Target to take their millions and stuff them where the sun don't shine. We antiquated Antipodeans could never wear your couture the way it deserves to be worn. And how are those trenchcoats going to fit over our vestigial tails?

Gleesh. If Oscar de la Renta can make gowns for Barbie, it's not so degrading to contribute designs to Target, surely. Yes, yes, it's all about making fashion for the people. But really, who else would fashion be for? Spider monkeys? The Bornean White-Bearded Gibbon?

I seem to have apes on the brain. Sorry!

The Stella line arrives in our stores on Monday. Australian fashion journalists are predicting that there will be crazy bunfights in Target stores all over the country, with women queuing up for hours before the shops open, and getting all Girlfight on each other, wrestling for coveted items and so forth. Interested parties are advised** to bring friends along ("strength in numbers"), to "plan their collective attack", and watch the fitting rooms for discarded items.

So it looks like I should avoid Target altogether for the next couple of weeks. Not an onerous task, since I only go there to buy cotton undies in packs of 10 (when the 20% off underwear sale is on, that is) and cheap chocolate.

Alternatively, I could walk into town at lunchtime and stand outside Target with a big bag of popcorn.

Let the hair-pulling begin!


* Link goes to a news story called "Top-end Target goes Stella", by Fiona Hudson at the Daily Telegraph, posted February 01, 2007 12:00.

** By the way, I was a little bored (and, of course, snarky) this morning and noticed that there were a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in this article. Which comes from a national news source. I know I make mistakes too but I'm not linked to by news.com.au, for goodness' sake. Are our children not illiterate enough already?*** So I sent them a comment citing the mistakes. My comment didn't get posted, but the article was mysteriously fixed up five minutes later. Hee.

*** I only say that because if I asked, "Oh, won't someone think of the an9ies?", all you would hear is white noise followed by the sound of an ant farting.****

**** And so what if I'm repeating myself? It's scientific AND cool! And my Mum says I'm cool. (If you can't listen to the WMA, go to Hamish and Andy's home page and scroll to the bottom.)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Chinese Festivals: Chap Goh Meh Follow-Through

I wrote this last Sunday, on the 4th of March, but I've only just got off my behind and sorted out the pictures. Eep.

If you would be so kind as to pretend that it's last Sunday, and you've just looked on the Internet, and, wa-hey! Angie posted on time for a change!

Then we can all go "Hooray for everybody!" and have some strawberry ice-cream.

*****Original post starts here*****

Today is the last day of Chinese New Year, also known as Chap Goh Meh in some parts of South East Asia.

Em and I were going to spend the morning by the river anyway, as we were working at the Women's Triathlon (AKA Festival of Perth's Cutest Dogs). So Em, ever prepared (she'll make a great Mum, I tells ya), brought 9 pristine oranges, meticulously hand-picked from the fruit trays at the supermarket, to sacrifice to the river gods.

Now we shall pause to look at pretty pictures of the sun rising over the river . . .



With flash . . .


And without.

Now, I mentioned this festival to a friend, in passing, and how it would help us find good husbands, and he said something like, "Huh, as if you two need luck!"

However, ladies, it's not just about finding the man, but also about 1) getting him to propose, and 2) making sure you get a GOOD one, and not one who pretends to be asleep when the baby starts crying.

So here's Em, and as you can see, she's got a pretty good over-arm throw.

Methinks she has done this before . . .

O mighty and powerful river gods, bring me the Cleo Bachelor of the Year!
Oh alright, FINE, it doesn't have to be THIS year's.


There were some oranges left over, so I got to have a go as well. I've blurred out a couple of things: a) my face, because I'm not quite ready to put it on the blog, and b) my boobs, because those damn muscle shirts make a C look like a DD. Sheesh.

Yep, it's my "gonna be working outdoors this weekend" uniform. Check out the bumbag!

Heehee! Look what I got, ma!

I try the underarm throw.
And yes, like a girl . . . yada-yada . . .


Hey! Those little suckers can really fly!
(Many thanks to Em for taking this fantastic action shot :)


Oh crap.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Run for it before the rangers see us!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tirade: The Iron Tree etc. by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Sigh. Such pretty books, such pretty people.
an9ie SMASH!


This is not so much a book review, as an enormous grouse about the waste of time that was Cecilia Dart-Thornton's The Iron Tree, and the even bigger waste of time that was The Well of Tears.

If you are a fan of CDT, please read no further, because you may cry and send me disagreeable comments. Which in turn will make ME cry, right before I delete said comments, chortling through my salty, delicious tears.

First of all, let me say that I used to like Cecilia Dart-Thornton.

I was mesmerised by The Bitterbynde Trilogy, which kept me wide awake and reading ravenously over many sleepless nights.

Cecilia Dart-Thornton derives a lot of inspiration from mythology (always a plus with me), and her stories are very imaginative. She has a very vivid, colourful way of writing that draws you in, however, as soon as you start becoming interested in the story, you are immediately alienated by the protagonists, who always seem to be front-runners in the genetic lottery. But more on that later.

Anyhoo, I just can't get into her second trilogy, The Crowthistle Chronicles.

The writing in this is just so, well, florid. Florid and disconnected. "Overwrought" was another term that I read in a recent review, and I thought it was extremely apt.

Cecilia. Please, I beg you. Here is a word you need to memorise:

Economy
.

You know that writing tip, where they say, go back over your manuscript, and simplify it as much as possible? I think the rule is to cut it down by a third.

It's a really, really good tip.

Learn from masters like C. S. Lewis, Andre Norton, Ursula Le Guin and Susan Cooper. Their writing appears simple, but it lasts. Classic, clean, and intelligent, it goes the distance.

Their writing is not something you read as a sentimental hormonal teenager and discard as an adult, thinking, hoo-ee, what was I on back then? The best writing lasts you through all the ages of your life, and that's saying something.

And while I doff my cap to you, Cecilia, for writing two lots of best-selling trilogies, the purple prose is starting to become a little burdensome, like an ermine mantle soaked in brine made from the tears of numberless little war orphans.

Oh, whoopsie.

THAT, my friends, is what the books are like.

The trouble is, all the beauteous metaphors tend to get in the way of the story. You're reading about how someone's hair is like the silken coat of a wildcat shimmering in the twilit sky before the time of cities, when the first caveman looked into a limpid pool and saw the reflection of the moon, which was so clear that you could see how it was pitted with craters like the black hairs on a spotted seal's back, and . . .

. . . oh yes, hair, she was talking about the hair.

See how annoying this style of writing can be?

Speaking of hair, the way she kept describing Jarred's (the hero of The Iron Tree) "cardamom-coloured" hair really started to make me antsy. For some reason I kept craving chicken vindaloo. In between wanting to set Jarred's Old Spice hair on fire.

Now, here is the Wikipedia entry for cardamom. If you would be so kind as to direct your attention to the pictures on the right.

What is CDT trying to say?

Is his hair a rich brown colour? Is it green? Is it the colour of cracked wheat? If she's not going to be more specific, it's like me posting a personal ad that goes, "Hey there boys (only those named Nathan Fillion need apply)! I'm a slightly pudgy, ill-tempered, short-sighted female, GSOH, and my hair looks like a sunset filled with wild geese returning to their ancestral homes to nest."

Another word that made me want to reach out for the nearest stuffed toy and bite its head off, was a creature called the "marsh-upial", basically a rip-off of a small cat that lived in the (duh) Marshes.

A marsh-upial? AAARRRRGH! It appalled me that an intelligent woman who did so much research into mythology couldn't even do a simple Google for the origin of the word, "marsupial".

"Marsupial" comes from the Latin marsupium, meaning "pouch." So calling some animal a marsh-upial, and stripping the Latin of its meaning, is calling it a marsh . . . ouch? What the heck is a marsh-ouch? Sigh. Take some Latin lessons from J. K. Rowling, already.

Now, onto that genetic lottery thing. Naturally, I'm just bitter because in comparison my looks seem to be from the $2 scratchie bin.

Why, oh why, are the hero and heroine always THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN AND WOMAN IN THE WORLD?

By the time you read the seventeenth description of how their eyes are like stars/jewels/gentian pools, and how their flawless skin is like creamed peaches, and their waists resemble serpents or willow saplings, you can't help but reach for a plastic bag to contain your dry retching until you can stagger to the loo.

What's wrong with being ordinary on the outside and extraordinary on the inside?

What's wrong with being an interesting, complex person who hasn't had their looks to carry them along for their whole life?

At the very least, how about developing the character a bit more before reminding us on every page about how supernaturally good-looking they are?

You can always recognise the lead characters in a Cecilia Dart-Thornton novel. They're the ones whose pulchritude stops chariots, attracts small animals, and drives people to murder.

And of course the best-looking man in the world has to marry the best-looking woman. Gosh forbid they settle for less, or have an ugly child.

Bleah.

Anyway, it's not just me. Look up The Iron Tree or The Well of Tears on Amazon and you'll see quite a few reviews from readers who are just as disgruntled as me.

Well, maybe not just as disgruntled as me. Some days I can be the Grand High Poobah of Disgruntleland.

Oh yeah, I guess I should talk about the novel too. Unfortunately the narrative kept distracting me from the actual plot. Here's a summary of the book in point form:

********SPOILERS FOLLOW (but do you really care?)********
  • The Iron Tree of the title is a plot contrivance that reveals the true ancestry of the hero, Jarred.
  • Despite their incredible beauty, Jarred and Lilith are cursed by blood, and they come to a sad end. But it's OK, you won't care enough to feel bad.
********END OF SPOILERS (seriously dude, you didn't miss much)********

I also started The Well of Tears, the story of their daughter, Jewel, but only got halfway through. She's pretty much exactly as beautiful as her parents, but unfortunately, she's also just as boring, despite being a little feistier than Mum and Dad.

If you would really like to plow through The Crowthistle Chronicles, I would recommend the services of your friendly neighbourhood library. Please don't spend money. Go buy some nice stuffed animals instead, they're super-cuddly and won't mind that you're (comparatively) hideously deformed or don't have food-coloured hair. I was just joking about biting their heads off earlier.

It may also be handy to have some vindaloo on standby, because halfway through The Iron Tree, you'll find yourself gripped by an irrepressible craving for curry. Trust me on this.

Now, to end on a good note, may I recommend some books that you will want to read over and over again, if you haven't already? Note: these books may be of a little more interest to females, and hey, last time I checked . . .

The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis
Black Trillium, co-written by Marion Zimmer-Bradley, Julian May, and Andre Norton
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

Friday, March 02, 2007

Christmas Catalogue, Part 4

Despite bagging the Christmas catalogue, which, come on, guys, has provided us with minutes of entertainment and asked for so little in return, except for, well, our IMMORTAL SOULS, there are two items that I am kind-of-maybe-really-actually thinking of ordering. Because they rock*.

If this works the way it's supposed to, it's a frickin' GENIUS idea. Toilet-pee-smell. Gag.

The metal + water thing really does get rid of odours. Next time you've finished chopping up onions or garlic, and you're washing your hands, run your wet fingers over the metal tap (assuming you have a metal tap), and you'll find the smell has gone.

And what about this doo-hickey here? This one I'm viewing with a little more scepticism, because it reminds me of
those mineral deoderants hippies use, and I've unwillingly sniffed a lot of hippies while in Fremantle.

That mineral deoderant shit don't work, you guys! Don't make me get the Febreeze out!

Oh, if only this came in Marine Fresh flavour!
Um, scent, I mean. Yeah, scent.


"...prevents stains for up to 5 years or 50,000 flushes." How do they get those figures?

I picture little Oompa-loompas running around this magical factory testing all their stuff. While the others are playing with the LSD-inspired rose light (see three posts back), and giggling at the Santa Poo tree (four posts back), our guy is sitting disconsolately on the toilet, drinking a gallon of water, and getting ready to flush for the 3,568th time.


* They rock because I like the clean.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Proof

Sometimes I can be a selfish pain in the a$$, as witnessed by this conversation.

MFC: (Taking off glasses and rubbing eyes) Oh, my eyes really hurt. I can't wait to get laser surgery.

an9ie:
Nooooooooo! If you get your eyes fixed, then I'll be the only one in the relationship with bad vision*, and you'll leave me for someone with perfect eyesight**. BOOHOOHOO!!!

(Pause. MFC rolls eyes. an9ie contemplates alternative existence.)

an9ie:
Mind you, I suppose I'd be free to stalk Nathan Fillion if that happened . . .

MFC:
So, basically, if you had an accident and lost a leg, you would want me to cut off my own leg to keep you company.

an9ie:
Yes.

* I'm in a higher risk group with the surgery, and I'd rather have imperfect but healthy eyesight than risk going blind, thank you very much.
** Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but you haven't been to an9ieworld, have you? Rational People: 0.3, Crazies: 2,000,079.