Friday, August 31, 2007

critical mass (still) rawks!

some roadside repairs:
see how butch! (why, yes, those are fairy wings i'm wearing.) thanks for the patch kit, bbb. it's proved its worth many a time.

my cat friends

i have been inspired by gaurox's cat posts to post about my own cat friends. actually, we're not really friends. i don't like cats very much, but everyone else has left town, so i said i'd feed them, in the spirit of community building and friendship and wotnot. actually, the cats and i regard each other with mutual suspicion:
that's puck. he's actually kinda cute. he's a half-Manx kitten, with a weird stubby half tail. his older sister is smudge. she's mean. she hisses at me when i go in to feed them. here she is checking out my boot:
anyway, i don't have to feed them anymore cos i'm going to go camping on an island off vancouver island! i'm bringing my togs and my raincoat and am busily borrowing tents and thermarests and things. huzzah for holidays! and i'm learning to identify trees, cos it's very disorientating to be a forest and not know the name of any of the plants around you. my friend bethan (who have known for ages and never gave a nickname to) is teaching me, and she's very good. so far i know: pine, fir, maple, cedar, chestnut. thus:
bethan also showed me how to stick maple keys on your nose like a rhinoceros horn, which is an integral part of every canadian childhood, apparently.

must go pack. this is still my favourite aunty-kant+cat photo. that's gaurox's cat killy, back when we lived together in yarras. ah, we look so young!

see you in a few days!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


this is part of my commute to feed the cats - it's like riding down a long green tunnel. very pleasant sunny weather lately. there's a pattern of sunny days in the low twenties interspersed with days of pelting rain. i can cope with that kind of summer. ah.

lordy, i feel like such a nicer person now. i slept twelve hours last night and am so relaxed. ah.

i have a masters degree!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

here's to . . .

happy anniversary

things i could do to celebrate having been in canada for a year:
  • go the railway club with a bunch of friends
  • ride out to jericho beach and have a swim
  • catch a ferry somewhere
  • climb a (small) mountain and admire the view
  • go to the aquarium
  • pop some bubbly and eat cake
  • catch me some raccoons!

what i will actually do:
  • prepare for my defence (it's tomorrow)
  • play scrabble on crackbook
  • clean up cat shit

le sigh.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

mental health day

my defence prep has been, well, unproductive and not fun over the last couple of days, so i gave myself a mental health day off today and went to the vancouver art gallery. they have a special exhibit up at the moment of works on loan from the cleveland museum of art. i've been wanting to see it for ages, and i also need to make the most of my student card while i still have it!

the exhibition was pretty good. honestly, impressionism just doesn't do it for me, so even the nice monets and renoirs weren't fascinating. but the rodin! oh, rodin. he really knew what he was doing. my favourites were these two studies for the burghers of calais. one very small:

and one very large:
(photos stolen from the internet) i remember seeing an exhibition of rodin's work in canberra in 2001 and it just blew my mind. remember, itchy?

last night i went to a very cool party of musos and choristers. they had a mike and amps set up and all jammed on blues tunes and gospel songs. there were guitars (acoustic and electric), banjos, a keyboard, a clarinet, a trumpet and a range of shakers. it was amazing. oh, and there were these australians! they had such kath and kim accents. we had long chats about how pretty gum trees are. it was hilarious. i doubt we would have spoken in any other circumstances, but on the other side of the world we bonded instantly. i miss the accent so much, but when i hear it it sounds so strongly in my ear - it's not at all normal anymore.

it's a year, tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

prospect point

chicory's human and i went for a bike ride round stanley park last night to celebrate his being two years in canada. we sat and watched the sunset from prospect point and planned his 35th party - he had his 30th watching this view.
(image stolen from the interwebs.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

picturebooks for toddlers

what the twins and i read (over and over and over again). they have a very long attention span for two year olds - such a good audience! they particularly enjoyed outside over there, even though it is a bit scary, hello, sailor (which is a sweet, sad story) - now they say "sailor" with an australian accent (bwahahaa!) and kaz cooke's stories about wanda-linda and glenda - it's a hairy nose wombat!

i do like reading to children, even though my entire picturebook collection is now covered in toddler spit - i'd say "can you see mama/the kitten/rosie/max?" and they'd take their little fingers out of their mouths and smear them on the appropriate part of the page. such clever girls!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

everyone loves a folding canoe

folbot, grot, sky, archie and max

(thanks, grot - looks like fun! you two are all sporty n stuff)

chocolate blackberry cake

you know how i said picked a whoooooole lot of blackberries the other day? i made them into a cake - chocolate and blackberry cake. i was going to try and imitate those shiny cooking blogs one sees around (check out ellox's other blog) but i don't think it quite worked out. anyway, here is the delicious dark chocolate and hand-gathered berries:

not all of the berries, either! it was a very complicated recipe which involved spraying the kitchen with egg whites and melting things in a double boiler. oh dear, i'm not very good at this recipe blog business. look! me! in silly pants!
and unusually silly hair, now i look at that photo. . .

i planned to end the entry with a photo of fabulous cake, garnished with left over chocolate and blackberries, as the recipe suggested, but i had a slight translation issue with fahrenheit/celsius and, um, the cake wasn't very photogenic by the time i got it out of the pan. . .

it was still delicious, though! especially if you conceptualised it as pudding rather than cake. it got rave reviews from those i shared it with. winifred plonked herself down next to my microfilm machine in the library and started telling me about her week from HELL (it began with the car getting wiped out by a garbage truck and just got worse) - i simply handed over a tupperware container full of cake and a spoon.

in non-cake-related news, um. . . i'm still kinda cranky. stupid defence. stupider bureaucracy. *stabs eyeball with fork* though i finally managed to get final copies of my paper in and all the paperwork sorted to have my defence next week, and i think visa stuff will work out. much in the way of blood, sweat and tears. (actually! i got a nasty paper cut which bleed all over my cover sheet.)

i met with my supervisor today to do practise questions for my defence. he said "my first question is why you spelt my name wrong."


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CBCA Awards

the children's book council of australia has announced their annual awards. books worth checking out. i can personally vouch for The Arrival (may have gushed about that one before) and Woolvs in the Sittee, which is creepy and beautiful and fascinating. grot took her children's lit writing class to a talk by anne spudvilas about doing the illustrations for it, and i tagged along. the talk was great, and the process she went through was really interseting. she began by watching a lot of film noir. there was also an exhibition up of her rough and finished drawings for the texts.

Older readers: Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan
Honour books: The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky and Monster Blood Tattoo by DM Cornish

Younger readers: Being Bee by sometime child_lit member Catherine Bateson
Honour books: The Tuckshop Kid by Pat Flynn and Bird and Sugar Boy by Sophie Lagune

Picture Books: The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Honour Books: The Rainbirds, ill. by Sally Rippin, text by David Metzenthen and Woolvs in the Sittee, ill. by Anne Spudvilas, text by Margaret Wild

Early Childhood: Amy and Louis, ill. by Freya Blackwood, text by Libby Gleeson
Honour books: Doodledum Dancing, ill. by Pamela Allen, text by Meredith Costain and Chatterbox, ill. by Deborah Niland, text by Margaret Wild

Information Books: The Penguin Book: Birds in Suits by Mark Norman
Honour books: Red Haze: Australians and New Zealanders in Vietnam by Leon Davidson and Queenie: One Elephants Story ill. by Peter Gouldthorpe, text by Corinne Fenton

(this information came to me from judith ridge - see misrule in my list of blogs)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

hard rock miners vid

ha! hahaha! remember my first ever hard rock miner's sing-a-long, when i was soooooo excited? and there was a film crew? check it out!

i have two brief cameos, and a bunch of my friends are also onscreen. aw, luuuuuuuv.

bbb skiing

some photos from the paternal figure's latest ski trip: action man doing fabulous ‘tele’ in the snowy mountains

on top of Mt Jagungal

i suggest making the photos big by clicking on them.

bbb reports: "Had a great trip – excellent snow and weather became better as went along." it looks like fabulous fun - wish i was there!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

through this town

i've been cranky and crabby and Not Fun to be around, so little posting. but now i am on holidays and much calmer. well, "on holidays", really.

mia dyson! i saw mia dyson! it was a fabulon gig, so good. i'd forgotten how good her music is when it's up so loud you can feel vibrate up your sternum. it was at this tiny little club, but it was packed out. the crowd was composed almost entirely of lesbians and ex-pats, so i was right at home, and i got a seat right up the very very front, so i could see her fingers moving on the strings.

she played lots of stuff from "parking lots" and a handful of songs from the new cd. very cool. but she didn't have any copies of the new cd. boooo! and she did a few from "cold water" including "though this town", which is on the slide guitar in her lap (i don't know the proper word for it). her stage presence is much more relaxed since last time i saw her (eighteen months ago, at the spanish club) and she told lots of good little stories. the town in "though this town" is daylesford, which is very exciting. i didn't yell out "i've been there!" wasn't that restrained? oh, i was going to try and embed a vid of that song, but i can't find one. but if you go here you can listen to it.

it all made me frightfully homesick and i cried a lot on the bus home. the end.

i got chatting to the guy whose table i was sharing (he was a nice POM) and he introduced me to kate reid, who's a local artist (she's the one playing in the photo of the dyke march). that was cool except it made me do the sad fan thing . she said "hi, i'm kate" and i said "i know! i like your song about the co-op gurlz!" if you go to her myspace page you can hear said song. it's very entertaining.

apart from that i've been going to lots of goodbye parties, cos ALL MY FRIENDS ARE LEAVING TOWN. sigh. and i've been hanging out with all the ppl who aren't leaving town, and i took chicory for a long walk yesterday and picked lots and lots of blackberries. yum. today i'm going to hang out with miriam and the two year old twins she nannies. they're small and pink and symmetrical. it's very entertaining. i read them picturebooks and try and decipher their speech which is, unfortunately for boring old monolingual aunty kant, a mixture of french and english, with toddler elocution. have i written about how many people speak french here? half a dozen of my friends are bilingual, and i've met quite a few bilingual babies. plus all the packaging for food and whatever is in french and english. (see the maple syrup in my last entry) yesterday i was buried deep in some blackberry bushes, with chicory waiting on the footpath, and heard this gush of enthusiastic french behind me, so i stuck my head out and said hi and the walker immediately said "oh, your dog! look at those ears!" so now i can recognise "what a great dog!" in french.

i think my favourite goodbye party, apart from the one on the beach, was wednesday night's, which was held on the top of m+j's building, smack bang in the middle of downtown. i leave you with a (blurry) view of the city and the mountains from the 19th floor:
(the grass on top of the building was all flat. very weird.)

Friday, August 17, 2007


done! i'm going to see mia dyson!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

blueberry pancakes are a thing of goodness

for the ellox:
deliciously scrumptious blueberry pancakes, from blueberries handpicked from a secret spot. not my doing (i was wandering round the kitchen reading the section about veiling in Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader in hopes of being able to apply it to Bleak House), but i helped eat them. hope this will do in lieu of pie!

and a cryptic message for VTA:

i have written 3000 words of my victorian essay, which i think is very impressive. they're not much good, though if i keep up this pace i should be able to do a thorough drafting before friday. i'm tired, but putting the essay together is intellectually satisfying. i'm gradually working out where the pieces fit, and i think i even have something new to say about the novel. it's rough writing essays on the canon - everything has already been said.

this morning involved, as well as pancakes and syrup, a friend of ziggy's stopping by to pick up some stuff (i got to hold her very cute baby), and winifred dropping by for a game of scrabble. i also have glow in the dark sponge bob squarepants bandaids for the hole in my toe. the moral of the story is: don't try to brake the bicycle with your feet if you're only wearing thongs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


one down, one to go. doooooooooooooom!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

it could be you!

it's very quiet in the comments - don't be shy!

to encourage the studio audience and make me feel less stuck-alone-in-the-study-bubble i propose another competition. tell me your best study related procrastination story. tell me about the all-nighter you pulled in year ten, the conference presentation you finished while listening to the presenter before you, the HECS exam you took after a couple of tokes. i want to hear about the lesson plans written by torchlight in a tent and the grounds on which you wrangled extensions on your phd thesis. go back in your past as far as you want (aunties, this means you!) and do be anonymous if news of your professional slackness may jeopardise your tenure. go!

the story judged the most amusing, heart wrenching or impressively desperate wins a block of ritner sport chocolate, a packet of instant noodles and a copy of my written up scrawled on tear stained draft. (anon entrants can reveal their identities via. email)

help me through this difficult time!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

adult onset genius

having spent *lot* of time here:
and a bit of time here:

i've finally settled here:
i'm at 3777 words now, and have one major idea (terminal illness disrupts mulvey's theory of the gaze as it confronts the viewer with their own inevitable death - kincaid's self-conscious narrative position, onto sentimentality and abjectness, reference kosofsky sedgwick and tanner) and a conclusion to go, then all i have to do is print it out, edit the hell out of it and make it ready to hand in by tuesday. no wus.

images by alison bechdel. she's totally cool. have i mentioned that? go read fun home! this is from her ongoing comic dykes to watch out for. see the dtwof link on the right hand side for more information. she has the study environment down so well. i think i have some of those same books littering my floor. . .

went to a beach party last night for three of my friends who are leaving for the east coast in a couple of weeks. stupid academic lifestyle where everyone leaves all the time. *pouts* it was a good party though, very laid back. i was a bit late cos i had a five year old b'day party to go to beforehand (v. g. icecream cake), and we all just lay around in the sand, cooking barbecue things, going wading and watching bits of satellite flaming through the sky. i discovered i can fit six beers, two corn cobs, two portabello mushrooms and four vegie burgers in one pannier. score!

beautiful views again. this was in more or less the same place as the folk festival, so again with the city, the sea and the mountains. and a bonus stunning sunset:

Friday, August 10, 2007

civic strike

reported sightings of two skunks in my street. i'd dearly love to see one (not too close!), or a raccoon. increased wildlife is probably due to the civic workers' strike which has been going for about three weeks now. the garbage is starting to build up. (actually, cos of the compost bin and the recycling, my household is pretty good at waste reduction, but the chickpea cans, wine bottles and juice containers are starting to pile up.)

the strike involves all of the community centres, pools, libraries, etc, as well as garbage collectors and street cleaners. some 5000 workers are involved. as far as i can tell, the guts of the issue is that the contract they're negotiating right now will end immediately after the 2010 olympics, at which point the city will suddenly find itself up to the eyes in debt and refuse to renew contracts. there's also more complicated stuff about wages.

here's a globe and mail article on the issue, and here's the union's home page.

none of this explains why there's another black bear warning up at uni. tisk.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the little grad student that could

i am nearly half way through my caribbean essay. i think i can, i think i can . . .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

language is organic. free yrself from the laws of the father.

i just made a joke in my essay based on the placement of an apostrophe. i wonder if anyone will ever get it. just think, next semester i can start teaching that lesson again and again:

it's = it is (it's hard being such a pedant)
its = possessive (look at its nose!)

have i mentioned my theory that eventually these usages will reverse, due to sheer force of public use?

they were delicious

look what i found when i was walking the dog! it's berry season - everywhere you go there's bushes covered in 'em. i picked these ones into a little lemon-scented bag i happened to be carrying. . . then walked along eating them from the bag just to freak out passers-by.

a mate of mine came round the other night bearing a blueberry pie made from berries she'd picked that morning. yum and a half.

i wrote 500 words of introduction last night, setting out my terms and argument. yes, that's right, argument. my aim for this semester - have a clear argument in everything i write - has been achieved, i think. now all i gotta do is whip up the other 3'500 words or so, then get going on the victorian paper. we had our last meting yesterday. i gave a slightly dodgy presentation on "goblin market' and various masochistic poems by swinburne, and we had good talks about the relationship between pleasure and morality, and a long and depressing conversation about the position of married women in the era. they had no rights *at all*. but it was a good class, lively discussion, as always. then we took the prof out for drinks as thankyou for directing our reading in such a friendly and productive fashion. i drank bubbly and we compared our undergrad experiences and talked about the subject three of us are working on next semester. i found out what else i'm teaching - introduction to fiction again. so that's a first year subject, and the second year one on victorian literature. i'm quite looking forward to it.

best get back to the essays. due to a slight lack of naprogesic being readily available in this city (perscription medication my bum!) i haven't achieved much this morning.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

ed's note: apparently there were 400'000 people at pride march. farck!

Monday, August 06, 2007

pride weekend!

pride weekend in vancouver - very exciting! shiny queer people everywhere, and people dressed up pretty. i went to the dyke march down the drive on saturday, which was fun. it was all pretty low key and DIY. lots of dogs and pushers, maybe a thousand people altogether. it was a totally cool crowd, though it made me miss my vortex *bad*. this is what chicory made of the festival afterwards:
though, honestly, he shouldn't be sulking: he had a constant stream of women fawning over him and great music to listen to. a bunch of us went to the after party at a local hall that night, which was, uh, interesting. the music was a bit odd. but, yes, fun to dress up and go out, y'know.

on sunday was the big pride march down town, which was a much more elaborate and corporate affair. lots of loud music and buff men in tight undies. the parade was*huge* - it took two and a half hours to pass, and the streets on either side were packed with spectators. it was beautifully sunny, and we all fried. (except me cos am anal about sunscreening. note to mother). there were very many cool things:

dykes on bikes


and queens

hockey players

the roller derby

look! they really do have little yellow school buses! they're not usually this sparkly or politically active, though.

proud PFLAGers

filipino queers

bridezilla bush married to war and homophobia, with stephen H the blushing bridesmaid (stephen harper is the canadian PM)

we wandered round the festival tents for a bit afterwards, admiring the many pretty things for sale and the wide range of political and activist communities represented. it was very nice to be in such a huge queer and queer-friendly crowd, as i've had an unusual number of men shouting at me on the street or from cars lately. it's kinda like being at critical mass - sometimes you need to be a big crowd of allies in order to go back to the outside world.

chicory and i have spent a quiet and pleasant day at home today, except for an excursion to trout lake (i'm dogsitting for the weekend). i've read lots of theory (dickens and the death of the mother and why it's anachronistic to use freudian theory on victorian novels) and started an essay plan for my caribbean paper. next i shall read "goblin market" in order to whip up a presentation for tomorrow.

happy pride, everyone!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

union hack

i really enjoy this picture of k-jo being a super feminist organiser.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

sculpture is so cool

you have to check this out.
ron mueke, a totally cool weird-arse sculptor. these are images of his latest exhibition being set up in texas.

his work kind of reminds me of patricia piccinini's, like this one:
i saw the above work in bendigo - a mate and i made a special trip up there. i do so love piccinini's car nuggets:

the joys of microfilm

one threads a film through a machine, thus, and the picture comes up much enlarged on a sort of computer screen above. then one manipulates the film and the image using the various knobs and levers. it's very useful technology, as one can store, say, two years worth of a weekly newspaper on one roll of film, and it's pretty hardy stuff, so it can be sent from library to library. the image quality varies, but it's usually legible, and the pictures come up okay.

here's new technology on offer in the manitoban farmer's advocate, 1910:

cutting edge fashion from the same period:

it's rough on the eyes, cos of scanning moving text, but when i take a rest and look out the library window, this is the view:

i am still busy and getting a bit twitchy about it. we had our last caribbean class last night, which was okay, and my friend defended his phd thesis today, which was cool. the process took three hours, but all my favourite profs were there, asking such good questions, and he answered them very well. it was very nerdy and academic and i loved it. i even have the urge to read theory now.

i have a sneaking suspicion virginia and aunty beryl may be keeping secrets from me. . .