Saturday, June 30, 2007

liz stringer is totally cool


my latest musical discovery (c/o cassandra, i think) is liz stringer, who is an independent folky muso type from brunswick, with a lush voice and great lyrics. check out her website - there's half a dozen songs to listen to and download. v.g.

Well this man dropped in from overseas
Said he needed a place to stay
You know he thought he could build a new life down here
After his family had been blown away
And when he arrived we said
“Sorry, man, all we’ve got for you is a cage”
Well I guess he got too happy too soon

Well there’s only one man in this entire land who always gets his way
And every time he’s lied and cheated
You know it’s all of us who’ve paid
But I feel that the tide is turning, and that come election day . . .
hope I haven’t been too happy too soon

the procrastination it BURNS

why is this essay such a slog? normally i quite enjoy this bit. dooooooooom.

Friday, June 29, 2007

homesick food

i want:

vietnamese rice paper rolls with mint
mushroom pie from the UM coop
noodles from the best noodles in the world (ie. that hole in the wall place in the alleyway near flinders)
a pastie
flourless chocolate cake from vegie orgasm, warm with ice cream
ciabatta w pesto, tomato and bocconcini from the lygon st food store
frogs from haighs
white beans with rosemary from a minor place (with itchy)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

see what crazy auntie #27 is reading

she says "Can you guess what I‘m doing?" and that we must imagine the lonely planet guide to ireland in the stack as well. good luck with the researching, jt and grotty.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

i do think about things that aren't my hair

look, i do study too! this isn't my main study, this is occasional part time GRE study, for the exams at the end of the year. GRE stands for Graduate something Exam, and it's one of the things the americans use to sort out who gets into phd programs. there's two parts, a general test which is vocab and argumentative essays and mathematics and other stuff, and a subject exam, which is being able to identify, from extracts, every piece of literature from _beowulf_ to virginia woolf, and know when it was written and who the author was mates with. that's right, kiddies - in order to study 20th century children's literature i need to know which pilgrim wrote which story and how to do algebra. isn't that logical?

i'm quite enjoying the studying, actually. it's sort of satisfying. i am developing techniques to overcome my weak rote learning skills. this is what happens when you grow up with a special ed teacher:
i have this up in the kitchen. note glitter glue. note also that every single author on the poster is a white male. illustrations by ziggy (who can identify which texts they're for?).

how to process lingering anxiety from school maths:
this workbook is the only GRE study material i've had to buy, thankfully. i inherited two other workbooks and two nortons from eleanor who inherited them from saf, and so on. i shall pass them on in turn. you can spend thousands on this stupid exam, with books, exam fees, tutoring, etc. it's a whole industry.

wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

popular demand or you're so vain

check this out too - the _where the wild things are_ movie. lookin pretty good. did you see them filming this bit, phil?

image from here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

haircuts are the best procrastination

i've never had a mohawk before! eeee!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

who's a lucky girl?

lots of cheese from VTA in Hallifax:

cassandra's postcard from Young got forwarded! huzzah!

thanks, you two!

today, i think, shall be dedicated to procrastination. i'm supposed to have a draft of my major paper by this week. hmmm.

i'm reworking my women's studies paper about "home" and the way the concept is used in identity politics, using this bridge we call home as a focus text. the essay is mainly on race and ethnicity, as migrant and diaspora politics feature in arguments about home. there's also lots of feminism, a bit of trans-theory and lots of queer-inflected pomo theory. i tell my story and bang on about australian nationalism. if you're good (and the essay becomes good) i'll post some extracts later. i got a respectable mark on the original paper, but the comments from my supervisors since imply it is an essay with potential that needs a lot of work to realise said potential. at the moment i think i'm trying to talk about too much stuff, always my problem in essay writing. i need to pick the most important ideas and do them properly.

now all i gotta do is do that. now. . . aaaaaaaa, now! . . . now!

i wonder if my hairdresser has any appointments free?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

violin nostalgia

aw, isn't it cuuuuuuute?

grotty is the big winner - she guessed i have taken up the violin again. surprise! my housemate (henceforth known as ziggy) wanted to learn so we hired two cheap n nasty violins and i'm giving her lessons.

winifred plays the piano, so we have earmarked two pieces in the baroque sheet music i bought to play together. i have also dragged up pachabel's canon and some bastardised versions of australian bush music from the internet, so as to play something familiar.

it's all very good fun. we'll see how long it lasts.

Friday, June 22, 2007

prizes gallore!

urg. emotionally exhausting week. in serious need of alone time and study time. which could work out nicely, come to think of it . . .

you'll never guess what i've taken up again! (correct guesser receives their choice of olympic memorabilia or squirrel fingerpuppet)

also, from the archives:
that's VTA (in focus!), senor chicory and me. taken by chicory's human.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

cool images

here is cassandra and her new buddies, looking very spunky in their beanies. photo cred.

an andrew weldon comic i found in an old notebook. together we can take him down, comrades!

and trout lake park, nearish my house. note fabulon mountains. i am experimenting with walking without a dog. it's okay.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

my hood

which is a good time to introduce my hood. yo.
i live in the area known as "the drive", which is on and around commercial drive. before i left melbourne missmojay told me i had to come hang out here. she described it as a cross between brunswick st and sydney rd and said i would love it. on ya, missymojay!

the drive has a high concentration of coffee shops and alternative types, as well as increasing numbers of yuppies toting lululemon yoga mats. the wikipedia entry is quite entertaining, check it out. it says we have lots of ethnic people, public transport and street festivals. also that "The Drive is a popular place for Vancouverites who want to experience a safe version of North American counter-culture."

i love the drive cos it has good food and coffee, lots of queers and other cool people, lots of fun stuff happening, lots of parks and lots of my friends living down here. my hood also has


mountains visible all over

independent supermarkets (this is santa barbaras)

co-op bookshops, groceries and housing

decorated houses (i think the bottom bit looks very blake-ian)

random chalking
garage sales

but look what they did to my closest park! luckily there's half a dozen other parks in walking distance, and according to the plans we found at the local palestinian restaurant, they're doing good things to this park. though they have moved the bocce courts, which is going to anger the old italian men.

there's traffic calmed streets

with interesting graffiti (that says "democracy is for bitches")

i have a t-shirt made by this screenprinter

this is one of my favourite bits of graff (the other is these huge posters of light switches under bridges - so cool)

and local loonies

there's also lots of homeless people, and drugs (though the marijuana shop got shut down) and there was a shooting in a cafe a month ago (gang related), so it's not perfect, but perfect places are creepy. i love my hood.


Monday, June 18, 2007

commercial drive festival

blogger has this new thing where my words appear at a glacial rate, about half a sentence behind what i'm actually typing. it makes things very difficult. she says, looking fixedly at the dog while she types. he has his paws crossed. how cute!

i went to the commercial drive festival yesterday, with n's household. it was very cool. the drive festival is a car free festival, where they block off the street at each ends and everyone runs free in the middle. there was lots of music and dressups, and local vendors with stalls.

there were roaming fairies with donation buckets, big skipping ropes doing double-dutch, bubble-blowing stations, people driving cardboard buses and lots of political stalls, including our friend v, hung-over at the boycott chapters table. everybody and their dog turned up (i brought chicory for a bit, but he wasn't into the crowds. i'm dogsitting again, just for the weekend), and it was a bit crowded, but most of the crowd were community-minded hippies, so it was all good.

the festival was partly a protest against the highway one expansion, which is the government spending $7 billion on an eight lane freeway which would funnel traffic into *my* nice hippie neighbourhood and take away funding from sustainable public transport. though i've found transit here to be comparable to melbourne. it goes later and feels safer (i don't get hassled very often, which is a nice change), but doesn't go as many places.

where was i? oh, yes. marmots against freeway expansion:
that's the inflatable marmot in the middle there. i'd never heard of such a beast before. small brown furry things, endangered. just like home! for more information on marmots, see here. for more information on the highway, see here.

in keeping with the car free theme, there was the best bike exhibition. it was a "pedalling zoo" with all sorts of weird and wonderful creations you could take for a spin up and down a blocked off section of the street. there were choppers with long front axles, bicycles you had to pedal backwards, very very tall bicycles, etc. ride at your own risk. i had a shot on a tall one, but couldn't get it going.

this one has a second joint in the middle. very tricksy:

we heard a community choir n's sister is involved in, had a bit of a sing-a-long to gospel music and a good dance with the most fabulous percussion band. v satisfactory day.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

tuchfrau and the hardfarmer go cool places

norway sounds beautiful - i'm very jealous!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

me new place

the reader poll indicated a desire for photos of my new house, so here ya go. part one is narrated by VTA, part two is narrated by me (and slightly longer, so if you're short on bandwidth i would just watch part one. also more entertaining).

i just got back from a long bikeride with winifred's partner, who i shall now name brad. (haha - oh the power!) we went all the way out to the ubc endowment lands and back. beautiful beautiful stuff. beach, mountains, city-scape, forests, you name it. we saw a cyclist hit by a car on the way back, though, which was disconcerting. his brakes failed at an intersection - he went up the bonnet of the car, but walked off okay. brad and i were both a bit wobbly. apart from that incident it was a great ride. i fixed a puncture on my bike the other day, and feel very self-sufficient. my shorts are covered in black smears.

studying a lot. we had interesting class on jamaica kincaid's a small place last night and got depressed about the IMF and third world debt. it's time to start boycotting chiquita bananas again. they're evil. then winifred, brad and i went out drinking with the new MAs, which was very grownup of us, cos they have no politics and make me cranky, and winifred is cranky anyway cos she's quitting smoking.

oh, gosh, this is sounding like a big whinge. things are good! i'm reading good things. i have yoghurt with blueberries in it and a dinner party/shabbat to go to tomorrow. also good pants.

ps. and black apricots! how exciting! in winter the only fruit available was boxes of tiny sweet mandarines - ppl would roll up to parties with a bottle of wine and a box of miniature mandarines and we'd fall on them like wolves. yum.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

phillip island teatowel

ta bbb (and FB)! a welcome addition to the household.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

reading is sexy

woot! totally on a blogging roll here!

i thought the easiest way to discuss my academics atm would be, as usual, with a photo. so here's most of what i'm reading/about to read/have read:

at the end of our directed reading session last week the prof asked "so, do you feel that you're learning enough?"

i'll start from the bottom of the stack. this is what i've been reading for fun.

the arrival, shaun tan. VTA brought this one, bless her, cos it's not available in north america for another six months or something. tan is mostly a picturebook illustrator, and has a number of really beautiful books. this new one is a word less graphic novel about migration. it just won the NSW premier's book of the year prize, and there was a bit a bit of a hoo-ha. check out his website for some images. highly recommended.

then the complete hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, which i got from a garage sale. i'm up to the third book, which is where you start wonder if the increasingly bad writing is worth the increasingly rare moments of comic genius.

then a book my housemate lent me, which i haven't started yet. if you've seen better than chocolate, you remember the woman who owns the bookshop? this is by that actor.

i've been going through another virginia woolf stage. i so enjoy the letters between her and vita, but the diary left me a bit cold and also confused. she doesn't like darkies and has a long rant about how mental imbeciles should be killed at birth. but that was just after her own nervous breakdown, so maybe there's a degree of distancing there. . . a very interesting portrait of the first world war, though, and good literary gossip. it's also interesting to read her reactions to the beginning of her literary career.

canada: a portrait in letters is fabulous. it's an edited collection of letters from the last two hundred years of canadian history, and such a good read. a very readable introduction to the history, which i'm still trying to get my brain around. so i have another book edited by the same woman, which i'm looking forward to. it's about pioneering canadian women.

then a book about the israel/palestine conflict, cos i don't understand what's happening there and am now friends with a number of israeli jews and other ppl politically invested in the situation. drinking the sea at gaza was recommended to me by one of them.

the next two were for my victorian class last week - you all must read fun home! i set the wildean chapter to compliment our oscar wilde focus. it brought up lots of good questions for our discussion. see alison bechdel's blog for more information. i'm enjoying this class a lot. we set ourselves masses of reading, then meet once a fortnight in a coffee shop, three students and one lecturer, and talk and talk and talk. very challenging and good fun.

the chunk of library books are for my major paper. i'm rehauling my women's studies paper from last semester. some of these books were interesting and useful, some not so much. it's been a while since i've been really immersed in this sort of abstract, wordy theory, and it took a while to get back into it.

then there's some of the books for my carribean lit course. i just read the two kincaid texts, which were fascinating but depressing. i'll start the other two soon. this class is not so good. we're reading great texts and watching good films, but the prof doesn't take control of the discussion adequately so we tend to ramble off topic and not really get into the guts of the issue. which is a pity, cos they're interesting issues.

that's the lot, i think. i'm also embroiled in ghastly 17th century poetry, but the norton anthology would overbalance the stack.

my academics at the moment does include some writing, but little. now is breathing in.

Monday, June 11, 2007

new age country music themed

i've been reading lots of other people's blogs recently and feel pressured to write something, y'know, cohesive and witty. or maybe cohesive and meaningful. let's look at another photo of the sky til the pressure goes away. . .
there's mountains up the back there, but hidden by cloud.

some sort of catchup is in order. VTA has left me for the green pastures of eastern canada, but vancouver did its work on her, so we'll meet again soon. we spent her last week drinking a lot, if i remember rightly. she met most of my friend-types - lucky her!

VTA left me with a wonderful legacy - half the pair of trousers i have been lusting after for months. so cool! i went and bought the other half immediately, wore them constantly for three days and got many compliments. you can't see in this pic, but there's a funky pocket/fastening on the side there with matching material in. (i was planning to crop the photo, but i think it's entertaining to have the context. my room is much cleaner now, and not festooned with dirty hankies.) lubs on new dacs!
VTA also got me all reved up about the upcoming election - howard's goin' down! i must organise my postal vote so i can be part of this historic moment. i was threatening an election party (for those ppl here nice enough to pretend they care, like winifred) but VTA pointed out that it'd be decided at 3am local time. . . pray for rain, indeed!

the day before VTA left eleanor arrived and plunged us all into chaos for a week. (i had a request to go back to the nicknames, silly as they are.) we had potlucks and dinners and drinkies and coffees and parties. then, with one last burst of "save a horse, ride a cowboy," she left again, for good this time. i cried, winifred cried, even p, our punkrocker friend, cried, which was unexpected. i have decided the human condition is dumb.

we have been inundated with parents, siblings and cousins, mostly cos of the recent graduation ceremonies. other people's families are fascinating. now they've all left (with one persistent exception) and my friends have scattered themselves around north america for the next week or so: portland, alaska, seattle, nanimo, edmonton, the sunshine coast. . .

that's about it in social news, catching-up news. i'll tell you about my academic stuff next time. lots of good books happening.

i will leave you with the wise words of carrie underwood, whose tune "before he cheats" i heard three times a day while eleanor was here (youtube the vid - v. entertaining). it's so meaningful it hurts.
right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleach blonde tramp and she's probably getting frisky
right now he's probably buying her some fruity little drink cause she can't shoot whiskey
right now he's probably up behind her with a pool stick, showing her how to shoot a combo

and he don't know

that i dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive
carved my name into his leather seats
i took a louisville slugger to both headlights
slashed a hole in all four tyres

maybe next time he'll think before he cheats

Sunday, June 10, 2007

dalai lama photo essay

today's guest editor is grotty, who has contributed a photo essay on the dalai lama's visit. she says it will add a new spiritual dimension to the blog. beautiful photos, thanks grot!

crowd waiting in the building site of the Stupa of Universal Compassion outside Bendigo:

he arrives:

traditional owner welcome:
bendigo chinese dragons:
dalai lama and his straight man - a very smooth act:

ferocious chinese buddha:

gerberas and prayer flags:


i have recently become fascinated by the big soggy vancouver sky. this is at "the real canadian superstore", a truly terrifying place. i recommend clicking on the photo to appreciate the scale.

plans for today include finding my bedroom floor, maybe even vacuuming it once unearthed, buying groceries and washing every tshirt i own.

tomorrow i begin to catch up on the study i haven't done in the last, um, four weeks . . .