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!


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?

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


Hello, this is Angie.

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

Do I want a what?

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.

How do you know it's a pet mouse?

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.

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.


Hello, this is Angie.

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.


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]
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!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I wish smoking only killed

My father went to a second appointment with an oral surgeon today.

He has a large abscess in his lower jaw. It has been there for a few weeks, changing in size from day to day. It is easy to see the changes in his shrunken face, since he's mostly skin and bone, the result of a cancer whose treatment took away his saliva and his sense of taste.

Under the abscess is an unidentified mass. He will be going to Fremantle Hospital this week to see some specialists. It is treatable, but the abscess must be drained, and any infected tissue and bone treated or removed.

There is another small abscess in his upper jaw.

I'm sick of people I've met who say, "Oh, I'll be fine. My grandfather smoked for years and he died at 100 with no side-effects or illness."


It is DANGEROUS bullshit, that gives people more weak excuses to keep using something that controls their bodies and minds.

My father started smoking in his teens. Cigarettes, like all the boys in the 1940's and 50's who saw movie stars and other grownups impressively and languidly puffing away.

In his thirties he started smoking cigars and a pipe.

When I was about 8 years old, I saw something on TV about smokers, and how their lungs were black and how bad smoking was for them. I threw my father's cigars in the bin, and he shouted at me and made me fish them out.

He kept smoking while I was in high school and university.

I remember the day he found the lump in his neck. I was back in Asia for the holidays, and Dad was getting ready to go out. He was combing his hair in the bathroom mirror, and then he called to Mum, "Love, come and look at this."

Mum and I went into the bathroom and Dad angled his neck to the side. A small round lump peeped out from the side of his neck like a large marble.

That week he went to the clinic at the hospital, and Mum and I watched as the doctor maneuvered a large needle into the lump, frequently moving it back and forth, trying to take a sample. It looked painful, but Dad didn't seem fazed.

He flew to and from Singapore to get the lump removed, and to see a specialist for treatment.

The doctors he saw in our home town (not Singapore), and oh God, how I wish he had come to Australia for his treatment instead, recommended chemotherapy AND radiotherapy, "just to make sure". Looking back, we now think this was overkill, considering that the radiotherapy, especially, has had such a large impact on his life.

You see, radiotherapy has a high chance of causing your glands to stop working. In short, everything dries up.

My father lost a third of his weight in two years. He got thinner. He walked slower.

Surprisingly he never lost any of his hair to the therapy. I suppose that's some small comfort.

His salivary glands atrophied and his mouth became constantly dry, making it hard to swallow, to taste, to talk for long periods of time: all the things we take for granted. He has to carry a small bottle of water with him wherever he goes; the kitchen and living room in my parents' house are full of bottles of water.

For a short time he lost his voice, until he had an operation which transplanted some fat into his throat to allow him to talk. But his booming voice, the one that preached the sermon every Sunday, that carried across half the compound when we were up to mischief,was gone forever.

Some years later his teeth began falling out. Without saliva to buffer them and recalcify them, they rotted. It is also likely that the therapy killed the roots anyway. Week after week, he went to the dentist and they were pulled out with very little effort. Now he has fewer than five teeth left, and dentures on the upper and lower jaw.

Dentures are never the same as your normal teeth. They rub on your gums and make them sore. Chewing any but the softest of food hurts them. In addition, without teeth, your gums shrink and your face ages by decades.

My father looks so much older than he really is.

I wish smoking only killed, quickly and painlessly, but it's not that merciful.

It humiliates, pains, degrades. It can make you and those around you suffer for a long, long time. It causes you to think terrible things, and wonder, perhaps blasphemously, if life is truly better than death.

If you know someone who smokes, and you care about them, for God's sake, for their sake, please help them to stop. The trouble is, they have to choose to do it. You can't make them stop, as I learnt when I was 8 years old.

To all those people who have conquered smoking, I am so proud and happy for you. I wish you the bright future you deserve. With all my heart I wish it.

Just please, don't tell me your success stories, because they're not something I can listen to right now. We've already thought through all the what-if's, and blamed ourselves and our younger selves, and really, such thinking is neither productive nor compassionate.

I don't want any sympathy, especially from people I know in Perth. Please do not ask me if I want to talk about it, or that you share my pain, or even look at me with pity.

My family already has a river of tears, both shed and unshed. We've lived with this for years. Sometimes we talk about it. And everyday, we deal with it. I also don't want any blame, or any jokes. It is a painful topic for me, and I deal with it the way I deal with other shadows, by turning my face away from the darkness and writing, drawing, working. Living.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I am really 150 years old

Blame it on my mixed-up childhood, but sometimes I say funny, out-of-date things. And sometimes I say them in a funny way.

When I first arrived in Australia, at the age of 13, people couldn't decide if I had an English accent (from my godparents) or an American accent (Sesame Street and lots of American television).

They made fun of the way I said certain words, like "video" and "plastic". (Of course, everyone knows that teenagers are cruel, complex creatures at best, so screw 'em. Also, most of them are now awful adults with awful lives. Karma, methinks.)

These days I have a rather bland West Australian accent (but not a bogan one, good grief), as ascertained by my cousin's husband's cousins who excitedly squealed, "Have you been on Neighbours? Do you know anyone from Neighbours? Say something in Australian!"

"Um, I AM speaking in Australian."

"No, no! The way they talk on Neighbours!"

"She'll be right, mate?"

"Hmm. Meh."

$*#&@ teenagers.

Anyway, last Friday morning I arrived at work in a joyous mood. I'd just found out that Camouflage had sold, and I was walking on air.

I walked past J's office and saw her chatting with B. They both looked very nice: B was in a yellow summer dress cleverly mixed with a black cardigan so it looked fashionably wintry, and J was wearing a very nice fitted jumper (I couldn't see the rest of her, which was behind her desk).

"Good morning, ladies!" I sang out. "Don't you look lovely today, as if you'd both stepped out of fashion plates!"

They both laughed and said "good morning" back.

Just after I said it I thought, Hmm, that was kind of a strange thing to say. Then, as I walked away, I heard B say, "I don't know what that means, but it sounded good!"

When I got home that evening, I opened up Little Town on the Prairie (I've been working my way through the "Little House" series of books, possibly for the hundredth time). I love Wilder's simple prose and Garth Williams's homely illustrations.

A few chapters in, I got to the part where Ma and Laura have just finished making Mary's winter dress for college.

"Mary was beautiful in that beautiful dress. Her hair was silkier and more golden than the golden silk threads in the plaid. Her blue eyes were bluer than the blue in it. Her cheeks were pink, and her figure was so stylish.

'Oh Mary,' Laura said. 'You look exactly as if you'd stepped out of a fashion plate. There won't be, there just can't be, one single girl in college who can hold a candle to you.' "

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Mouse Party" T-shirts now available

Another post from my RedBubble journal.

This print is now available as a t-shirt. Woo!

Great for kids, or anyone who likes to see mice getting down, really.

Click here or on the picture above to see this t-shirt. Available in white, silver, grey, pink, and blue!

T-shirt: AUD $27.00
Shipping: around AUD$4.75 to anywhere in the world

All prices are in Australian dollars.