Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giant nerd loves the lists, makes little red bag

Hello world. Meet an9ie. an9ie is a giant nerd who loves lists. Loves them.

And then she found a book about how to make your lists more effective! How to make lists called, "Projects" and "Next Actions" and "Waiting For" and "Someday/Maybe". How to have not too many and not too few, but just enough lists to make her feel like someone who has their life in order--a veritable wunderkind of organisation.

She loves her lists so much that she made a special bag for them. So that they don't get dirty! Or bent! Because she wants to take her lists everywhere with her. It is like being a crazy cat lady, only with little bits of cardboard.

So here it is, with the book that made it all happen. Big hugs to David Allen--the man is a genius.


I made the bag out of old t-shirt sleeves, after being inspired by this great book at the library called, "Generation T, 108 ways to transform a t-shirt", by Megan Nicolay. It was a nice, simple, soothing, hand-sewing project and a great way to feel productive while watching back-to-back episodes of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy. Ooh, and how dreamy is Dr Owen Hunt*? Sorry, sorry, getting distracted.

The list bag is getting pimped as soon as i finds something to pimp it with.

* No, I will never be too old for schoolgirl crushes. In fact, I'm counting on being able to embarrass my children and grandchildren with them.

Conversations, some imagined, some not

An entirely plausible conversation between me and MFC:

an9ie: Sweetie, would you mind wearing this today? (Brings out mask of hot bass guitarist, doesn't matter which one. If you're wondering what I'm on about, read the previous post.)

MFC: Sure! But then you'll have to wear this mask. (Brings out Gillian Anderson mask from under the bed.)

And a real conversation I had with my brother today (well, I did most of the talking):

an9ie: (Walking back to the car after visiting the shops, and sees someone in their forties with learner plates.) Hey, that guy's a bit old to have L-plates.

an9ie's brother:
Maybe he's studying for his manual licence.

an9ie: Hmm, you know, you should get your manual licence too. I know most people drive automatics now, but you might be in a situation one day when knowing how to drive a manual would be really useful. Like ... like ... (racks brains) if you're stuck in some small town that only has really old cars, and you need to run away from flesh-eating zombies ... or serial killers ... or vampires ... you know what I mean?

an9ie's brother: (Rolls eyes when he thinks she isn't looking.)

Coldplay concert, short version

Concert was ten kinds of awesome. Regret not listening to more Coldplay songs and learning lyrics. A little like the morning of my neural computation exam. (I think I understood about 30% of that unit. Which is probably why I only knew the answers to about 30% of the exam and spent the rest of the time staring at the back of Chris's shirt. It had a light green ferny pattern on it. Oops, there I go, getting distracted again.)

Anyway, very jealous of Gwyneth Paltrow*. Also, bass guitarist Guy very hot. Now that I think abuot it, I thought Alex, the bass player from Blur was hot too. And Nicky Wire from Manic Street Preachers**. See trend emerging. Perhaps should learn to play bass guitar. Certainly no attractive male violinists spring to mind. Nah, just kidding. Didn't I just write a post about how much I love the violin? I still love you, my little violin!

Clocks! Woo! Yellow! Woo! Viva la Vida! Woo! Songs old and new! Woo!

Yellow balloons! Pretty confetti butterflies! Loved the outfits, painted instruments and overall theme. Lots of new ideas for arty stuff entered brain. I only hope it retains some memories tomorrow.

Need shower ... bed now. Talk later.

Update (Sunday, March 1st): I wish the stage at Burswood Dome was higher. My right calf and my neck are still sore from standing on my tip-toes and craning my neck to see. And we weren't that far away from the stage, either!

Update (Tuesday, April 7th): Hey, here's another review of the same concert on the Coldplaying website: http://www.coldplaying.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5862 and they mention my Twitter feed from that night!

* Perhaps not. I hear the man is a workaholic. Great for the fans, perhaps not so good for the family. Where do I find out about this stuff? Why, by browsing through that celebrated bastion of sterling journalism--Woman's Day!
** Speaking of Manic Street Preachers, there was a Coldplay song that reminded me a lot of their stuff. I must go back and listen to their Holy Bible album.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Before the Coldplay concert

Hmm, I'm actually not too excited about going to the Coldplay concert tonight. I think I used all my excitement up the day I bought the ticket (end of November). I mean, I even posted about it on Facebook, that's how excited I was. And now that I've had to wait so long, all my Coldplay-allocated-endorphins have grown old and died.

The sleep deprivation also does not help (this is not concert-related, it is more like an9ie-has-a-constant-pile-of-stuff-to-do-and-then-potters-around-till-1am-avoiding-it-related).

Well, I'll be there soon enough, feeling the buzz, aiming death glares at the opening acts so that they'll play faster, strategically aiming my pointy, pointy elbows outwards so that people don't crush me, and then before I know it I'll be looking up at the stage and my first thought will be, "OMG, I'm seeing Coldplay live!"

This will shortly be followed by, "WOW, THAT GUY'S BANGED GWYNETH PALTROW*."

Because I am classy like that.


* And hopefully, will continue to do so. It's always nice when celebrity marriages work out for the long term.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to attract my scorn and derision

Last week my sister walked past the All Foreign Languages bookshop in the city, and saw this in the window.

(For those of you who can't be bothered clicking on the link, the book's title was, "How To Attract Asian Women". Just typing it out now elicits the same reaction that I had when my sister told me the title: BWAHAHAHAHAAA!)

(Psst. In case you're new to this blog, my sister and I are both Asian ... and women, the last time we checked.)

Anyway, she did a double-take and was going to keep walking, but then thought, I REALLY have to see what "wisdom" and "secrets" this book imparts. So she went in, found it on the shelves and did a speed-read, which was punctuated with many guffaws and loud, "You have got to be SH*TTING ME"-type comments.

As expected, it is a rather pathetic mish-mash of tacky stereotypes and ridiculous urban legend assumptions.

Apparently the book has tips in it like (and I am paraphrasing here), "Asian women like men with short hair who are clean-cut."

Obviously the author has never met MFC, who not only has long hair, but (this morning, for example, nursing a hangover from a party we went to last night) is about as clean-cut as a wet hobo.

In addition, it makes sweeping comments about how Asian women are "submissive", and instructs men on how to act and dress to attract them. As if we were all the same model of Xbox. Once you enter the right cheat-code, TA-DAH! any one of us will be yours!

For a text that purports to teach you seduction techniques for women from a continent of more than 50 countries, in an area bounded by three oceans, populated by people with differing cultures and religions, it is a surprisingly slim volume.

To all the people who bought, "How To Attract Asian Women", I have wonderful news.

My debut novel, "Magic Beans: Send Me $200 And I Will Show You That Money Really Does Grow on Trees! (P.S. Money Not Guaranteed To Grow On Trees.)" will be coming out soon. I hope you all buy a copy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An end to solitude

My parents and little brother are coming home this weekend. Thankfully their flight arrives at a decent hour (i.e., there will be daylight, and I will not be driving around like a blinded mole trying to spot them outside the Arrival Hall).

Surprisingly, I've spent the past few weeks rather happily, even though I've been by myself. I thought I would be all alone and palely loitering without the noise and bustle of my family around me.

I did miss Mum's cooking and on a couple of nights, I may have had Coco Pops for dinner (I regret nothing!) But my time was kept full, spending time with MFC, going out to dinner with my sister, blogging, catching up on TV shows, reading, playing the violin, gardening, and performing all those little household chores that are never done, but continually renew themselves, phoenix-like.

Anyway, this is good. It means I'm OK to be on my own, if I have to. It means I like my own company. And I'm pretty damn fussy, so that means I can't be all that bad.

I am looking forward to seeing them though. My mother feeds me much more adequately than I ever could, nutrition and variety-wise.

Also, they will come bearing gifts. Shiny, new, electronic gifts.

Ah, cupboard love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time for another meme

I got this meme by e-mail today, from a lovely girl I shared a house with many moons ago (along with three other people).

1. What is your occupation right now?
IT Support, with art and writing as a sideline.

2. What colour are your socks right now?
I'm not wearing any, wearing socks is a no-no with open-toed shoes, don't you know?

3. What are you listening to right now?
The humming fans of two computers.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Coco Pops for breakfast. Oh dear.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Yep. We just say "manual" in Australia, though.

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
My sister.

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
I sure do, she bakes yummy things!

8. How old are you today?
Early thirties (and that is all I will say on the matter).

9. What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
I don't really watch sport, but if I was channel-hopping and they showed kendo, I would probably watch that, for nostalgia's sake.

10. What is your favourite drink?
It varies according to time of day and season. Right now I could really go for a Bundaberg ginger beer.

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
I still do. Stupid genetics and premature greying.

12. Favourite food?
Hmm, again this varies from day to day. I will never refuse sweet and sour fish, if it's prepared properly (thin batter, and sauce made from scratch, not that neon-red stuff out of a bottle). Surprisingly, I quite like sweet and sour pork made with the neon-red stuff out of a bottle.

13. What is the last movie you watched?
The Dark Knight. It was OK (ooh, sacrilege!)

14. Favourite day of the year?
Any day that I get to sleep in and have nothing schedule for.

15. How do you vent anger?
I write a long, indignant blog post about the catalyst.

16. What was your favourite toy as a child?
I can name several that stand out in my memory, but don't have one picked out as a favourite: a wooden beagle on a leash whose legs made little circles in the air when you pulled him along, a Papa Smurf puppet, wooden building blocks, Lego (kept in a yellow tartan suitcase), my Magna-Doodle, a train set with a little elevator and a slide for passengers, a Strawberry Shortcake rag doll, a little red car that you could sit in and pedal, my cousins' Fisher-Price cash register (I was delighted to see this many years later at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green), the purple My Little Pony Unicorn, I think her name was Starlight, an old bell tower that we would climb up on and pretend was a pirate ship, and my bicycle.

17. What is your favourite season?
Spring.

18. Cherries or Blueberries?
Delicious, ripe cherries.

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?
Usually. It's nice to be acknowledged, although I suppose someone has to end the conversation sometime.

20. Who is the most likely to respond?
Oh, I don't plan to send this to anyone, although I'll put it on the blog, and if anyone would like to give it a go, I'd love to read theirs!

21. Who is least likely to respond?
It doesn't matter. See number 20.

22. Living arrangements?
Living at home with my family, saving lots of money, and alternating between an existence of hilarity and frustration.

23. When was the last time you cried?

***
GREY'S ANATOMY SPOILER COMING UP***

Last week. I was watching Grey's Anatomy and got all teary when Eric Stoltz's character was executed by lethal injection ("Stairway to Heaven"). I lurve you, Eric!

*** GREY'S ANATOMY SPOILER ENDS***

24. What is on the floor of your closet?
Shoes, a bag of clothes to give away, some old artwork that I should file away properly, and a basket filled with kendo shinai.

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to?
See number 20.

(I could send a copy to Nicky, but she takes months to reply to a message on Facebook. So what chance would this have? I hope your ears are burning, Nicky. Where's my reply?)

26. What did you do last night?
Read updates on Twitter. Played with the demo version of Crayon Physics. Caught up on Penny Arcade comics. Watched episodes of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy that I had recorded. Tore myself away from Bubble Spinner so I could attend to some laundry, then practised the violin till the washing was done.

27. What are you most afraid of?
If I've read or watched any horror, I have a lot of trouble sleeping that night and have to have the light on. Night fears may include, "There's a vampire in the closet!", "Creepy chick from the Ring is standing next to my bed!", "Poltergeist floating on the ceiling, waiting to pounce!", and, "Serial killer in the backyard!"

I have managed to sleep with the light off all this week and am very proud of myself.

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
Plain, with sauce. As horrific as it sounds, I really like the McDonald's hamburger (it's just their cheeseburger with no cheese).

29. Favourite dog breed?
Dachshund, but I don't want to own a pure-bred one because of their back problems; I had enough heartache with my last one. On the days that his back was bothering him, he couldn't move and would just look up at you pitifully from his bed. I would have to take him to the vet for pain-killer injections.

30. Favourite day of the week?
Saturday, of course. Hooray for sleep-ins! (The anticipation on Friday night is also good.)

31. How many states have you lived in?
Two. New South Wales and Western Australia.

32. Diamonds or pearls?
Carnelians. I don't wear much jewellery, although I like admiring it in shop windows and on people.

33. What is your favourite flower?
Large white orchids with a pink blush.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I found the perfect diet

Warning: side-effects may include amputation and death.

So, what you do is you catch a bacterial infection. One that's hard to pin down.

Symptoms (starting on the evening of Saturday, January 31st):

  • A throat tickle (where you keep hem-hemming because it feels like there's something thick and oogy in there that doesn't want to come out).
  • Five of the lymph nodes on one side of your neck swell up to the size of quail eggs, all in a row, like little ducks following their mummy. They flood you with much pain and are very tender (but not in the romantic sense) and hot, restricting you from bending over to tie your shoelaces (burning pain), turning your head to check your blind spot when you're driving (hot hot pain in the city), and lying on fewer than three pillows when you sleep (if you disregard this rule, burning pain will follow). It feels like you have been stung by five bees in synchronised flight.
  • Your boyfriend restricting any physical contact with the excuse, "Your skin feels like molten lava." (Unfortunately it is the middle of summer, otherwise he would be leeching my warmth, trust me.)
Follow this up on Wednesday morning (the soonest I could get an appointment), with a visit to a distracted GP who is trying to shuffle through patients as quickly as possible.

She thinks nothing of the fact that you have had a fever for the past five days, orders a full blood count test, and tells you to take a couple of paracetamol four times a day. (Paracetamol, pffft. They did nothing! NOTHING.)

On Wednesday evening you take a turn for the worse. Every night after that brings fever and night sweats which smell awful (like sweaty fruit juice, because that is all you've had the strength to consume this past week), followed by savage chills that a doubled-up comforter fails to subdue (I did say we were in the middle of summer, right?)

On the plus side, you've lost 2kg in four days!

On Friday you call the doctor's office, as instructed (you called on Thursday as well, but the doctor wasn't in, and no one else there gave a sheet), to tell them that the fever is worse and now you are getting bad chills, accompanied by fatigue and muscle pain.

The doctor passes on a message via the chirpy nurse, telling you that your blood test has come back normal, and to come in next week if you still have swelling or fever, which would make that about ten days of mysterious lymph node swelling and fever. YEAH, RIGHT.

At this point you are too tired to argue and resolve to spend the weekend in bed, hoping that you will be able to drive yourself to the emergency department if you start to hallucinate, or become too weak to go to the toilet by yourself. (Yep, that's what I was thinking. Obviously the fever was boiling essential brain parts.)

Luckily your bossy sister calls in at lunchtime, and is alarmed that her sibling a) has been ill for so long, and b) looks like an extra from a Rob Zombie movie.

Sister: You look AWFUL.

an9ie: What do you mean?

Sister: Your skin is really pasty and you have these high spots of colour in your cheeks.

an9ie: (Well, let's not hold back or anything, Missy.) Of course my skin is pasty! I have an indoor desk job! (As opposed to an outdoor desk job? Remember, high fever = brain not work good.)

Sister: I'm very worried about you. I asked my doctor friend about your symptoms and it sounds like you have a bacterial infection. I don't want you to end up like that Brazilian model who had to have her hands and feet amputated and then died anyway.

an9ie: ...

Sister: I'm going to make an appointment for you with another doctor and I'll take the afternoon off work to take you.

an9ie: (I do like my hands and feet.) OK.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the new doctor put me on antibiotics, and after the first couple of doses I started feeling better right away. If I had listened to the first GP I visited, and if I didn't have such a pushy, caring sister, I would have spent the weekend confined to my bed, shivering and rambling (more than usual).

In fact, I might not have gotten out of bed at all, and a few weeks later, MFC, finally noticing my absence, would break in to find my dessicated corpse huddled under a comforter.

I love my bossy sister.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I am the Grim Aquatic Reaper

Norm died earlier this week. I noticed he was becoming sluggish and letting those cheeky snails crawl on him, then he started going off his food and it went swiftly downhill from there, I guess.

He died on his feet, so I actually didn't realise until the next day; I just thought he was standing in his favourite corner, waiting for dinner as usual.

Poor little guy. He didn't smell good and I buried him quickly in the backyard, with an "I'm sorry," and a "goodbye".

Now, I know I will sound awful and heartless, but for a few seconds I was considering just double-bagging him and, well, ... it was bin night and all. It's hard for me to be sentimental about a pet that you can't cuddle. He had a good life, I hope, with a varied diet and plants and a castle and snails for company. His antics amused me and I would chat to him sometimes. Rest in peace, little Norm.

To prove I am not a monster with ice in my veins, let me tell you that I was a wreck when my dog died, five years ago. I mourned him for two weeks, until my red, teary eyes felt like burnt coals in my head, and then I watched Finding Nemo, and was traumatised all over again.

***FINDING NEMO SPOILERS FOLLOW***

It was that scene at the beginning of the movie, where Marlin comes home to find there's only one egg left, and Nemo's Mum and all the other eggs have been eaten. Marlin holds Nemo's egg tenderly and says something like,"I promise I'll always take care of you and protect you."

At this point I start bawling to my ex-boyfriend, who is watching the movie with me, and in between gasps and sobs I wail, "You can promise that, but you CAN'T ALWAYS DELIVER. Waah-aah-aah! Hoo-hoo-hoo!"

***SPOILERS END***

It's a funny story in hindsight but man, what a day that was, to top off an awful fortnight.

Damn you and your tearjerkers, Disney!

Anyway, I confessed my plans (the plans that were only briefly considered and weren't followed through) for Norm to MFC and he got rather indignant. "I suppose when I die, you're going to stuff me in a plastic bag and put me in the bin too!" he huffed.

an9ie: "Don't be silly, you wouldn't fit in the bin."

Anyway, my track record with aquatic fauna is not good. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Doggies! On stamps!

Check out this stamp set of Australian working dogs:


Look at that beagle's cute face! I was once tempted to apply for a job with Australian Quarantine, just so I could run around with a sassy sniffer beagle all day.

Damn it, Australia Post! How dare you put cute dogs on my postage stamps? Do you know how hard it makes it for me to use them? Stick to the wildflowers and birds next time!

Of course, hoarding is just silly. To compromise, I decided to take a photo of the doggie stamps, and then use them. Of course, I only decided this after I'd used half the pack.