Monday, July 31, 2006

Tch, I've had access to a camera for two weeks already and only just remembered I have a Flickr account. Anyway, I've put up a handful of pics here - more to come when I'm better organised. <g> (And have a look at my 'buddy icon'. Dormouse! Squee! Not a photo I took myself, obviously, cos there's no dormice in Australia, but nicked from the 'net somewhere.)

I have numerous, non-urgent side quests and picking up a copy of Ned Kelly (very cheaply) was one small step closer to fulfilling one of them.
Now, I'm not an aficionado of the Ned Kelly myth though I've been marginally aware through the years about the arguments over his character. To some he's simply a murdering crinimal, to others a valiant freedom fighter pushed into outlawry through the prejudice of the police. Right, whatever, I have no real opinion but it was pretty bloody obvious within a few minutes just where the film's sympathies lay, which was firmly within the 'ordinary man forced into crime' camp. It was dissatisfyingly obvious, in fact, almost Marty-Stuish. Add a spurious romance to the clumsy attempt to gain our sympathy and it wasn't a significant film at all. That's not to say that the cast were crap, cos they weren't. Most of the characters were very well played and believable, and Heath Ledger in particular did well with what he had. What did annoy me, though, was the melodramatic aspect of some of the police (and the beards, dear gods, the beards!). As instruments of Kelly's perdition one in particular was overplayed and just irritating. Yes, yes, the authorities had it in for the Kelly family, we know that, there was no need to highlight it so strongly it became farcial. Sheesh.
What I did really like about this movie however was how well it portrayed the landscape. Outback Victoria is not especially hospitable but it is striking.
... and Orli-squee's Irish accent was soft and gentle and just darling! <squinch>

I had a dream the other night that my father asked me if I'd seen his bowtie. I had to think hard but I vaguely remembered seeing it in an ornamental brass box of my mother's. Problem was, Mum had packed most of her stuff away and I spent nearly the whole dream rummaging around in cupboards and cardboard boxes looking for the stupid thing. Tch.

And speaking of looking for things. I heard a snippet of classical music last week and it drove me mad! I knew it from somewhere but couldn't quite place it. I knew - or rather, my body knew - it'd been used regularly in the ballet barre work exercises I endured years ago, and I was almost certain I'd danced to it as well.
I finally remembered what the piece was just before I went to bed that night - the opening stanza from Carmen. As it happened I hadn't danced to it but the impression I had of particular steps and swirly skirts was because I'd seen it danced numerous times. It's always good to solve a puzzle, I went to bed feeling very smug.

It was announced at assembly this morning that the cubs' school is getting (has bought with Government funds) one of the cabins built for the Athletes' Village in the recent Commonwealth Games. Neat! We're acquiring a piece of history, a building that's been imbued with the desperate hopes and determination - yea, perhaps even the very sweat - of world class athletes. That can't be anything but inspirational, ne? <g>

<sigh> The broadband limit ran out very quickly this month so I've had an enforced absence from eBay of two weeks.
Which honestly probably isn't a bad thing.

More delights of my new phone: having the music piped directly into my ears has in some cases enabled me to hear the lyrics more clearly. Outkast's Hey Ya, despite the cheerful tune and peppering of 'love', 'together', 'forever' words is not a nice song. And I've discovered that my favourite ever Kylie song is spookily appropriate for the project I've just started.

Spotted cloisterphobic in a fan fic. <snerk> The fear of monasteries?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Heh, had proof positive today that the new school library was designed by an architect and not someone who actually works in a library. The front desk is very nice, wide and long, lots of space, but all the cords and cables from the 'puter and peripherals hang down and across the drawers underneath the desk. Opening a drawer without tugging on a cord and pulling something vital off the desk is a challenge. The drawers are integral to the desk, so they can't be moved, likewise the 'puter is anchored to one spot and can't be moved. Tch, eh, we'll sort something out, no doubt.
The library's coming on, though! All of the boxes of books have been emptied and the majority of the items are on the shelves with only a waist-high pile of odds and sods left over, mostly stuff that's escaped being processed, or been catalogued incorrectly. Of course, that's not counting the other waist-high pile of new stuff that's come in since the holidays. Going to be busy. :)

The second Bollywood class was even more fun than the first. I still feel like I'm a heffalump with delusions of grace but it doesn't matter. It's a challenge, and tiring, and I'm enjoying myself immensely. I'm remembering the steps and the sequences without too much trouble, and while the transitions continue to be awkward and my fingers look like claws cos of the unfamiliar positions, this is satisfying on a very primal level. <g> I'm not kidding about my hands, I've never bemoaned quite so much my lack of long, graceful fingers. Some of the movements are very subtle and they got lost in the stumpiness. <giggling> Which in itself is quite funny...

Oh yes, my phone. I have a new phone, have I mentioned? <smirk> I've been playing with the camera, seeing just what it can do. It's pretty basic, and what works one time might not work again in almost identical circumstances, but I'm sure we're reaching some sort of amicable working relationship.
The itty screen in almost useless for viewing, though, and I generally have to wait to see what a pic looks like on the 'puter monitor before I know if it's worth keeping.
It's all good, though, yes. :) I definitely need a memory chip so I can lug about more music. Never realised how marvellous headphones are for shutting out the world.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hee, Freddie Mercury sang about being in love with his car - I think I'm in love with my phone! I spose it's not quite new technology but even so I'm surprised at how quickly I've taken to it. <thinking> Perhaps it's the colour? Grey is serious and intimidating while pink is a happy-fun consequence free toy. :)
So anyway I've been having fun with my new toy - taking photos, downloading music - and the alarm has a snooze button! How cool is that? With my old phone, which I've been using as an alarm clock for months and months, I had to reset the alarm if I wanted a snooze but now it's just one button. Hee.
It was a bit rocky to start with but, you know, putting the SIM card in the right way round works wonders. <g> There's still a couple of things I need to suss out, but I think I'm pretty comfortable with my phone already. And music, yay! I've been listening to things I've not heard since the last 'puter melt-down. :)

The school library has finally got its shelves so I spent a couple of hours today hefting boxes of books around. It was very satisfying. <g> Managed to unpack probly 10 boxes, and there's at least twice that much left cluttering up the storeroom. Should keep me busy for a little while...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ahh, the sound of a free-flowing drain is a thing of joy, especially when your shower's just been interrupted by the feel of water pooling around your feet. Ew. I know it's not clean and sweet-smelling stuff that clogs drains and I don't want to be standing in the residue. So, water off, pull on clothes then go and find the unclogging potion.
I poured out a generous dollop then watched attentively for several minutes until bloop-gurgle the standing water suddenly drained away. Hah! I enjoyed my shower after that.
Couldn't help wondering though; in this house do blocked drains only happen to me? Or do others just not give a damn?

Odd dream last night. I was visiting a prostitute at her home, and what a gorgeous home! A Californian Bungalow in beautiful condition and chockers full of decorative items. I noticed my friend had a thing for chrysanthemums; her dress was patterned with them and the theme kept recurring in furnishings and artwork. The back door opened out onto a patio and I bet to myself there was a pool in the back garden. I woke up briefly then drifted back to sleep and - unusually - went once again into the dream. This time I went out through the back door and sure enough I found the pool. It was smallish and in need of a good clean but there it was. I asked my friend how many bedrooms her house had and she said 4 (I'm fairly certain that and the pool had something to do with our conversation yesterday, Joules), and then suddenly the house was full of people partying. Not a problem, except I had to go to the loo and it was a bit awkward trying to wee when there's distracting sexual activity on either side of you... <g>

(And while checking the spelling of 'chrysanthemum' I found 'clapperclaw': [archaic verb transitive] to scratch or hit; abuse or criticize spitefully. Neat!)

So, the second episode of the new-new Dr Who and we had another Darth Vader Redemption. Tch. Why, after a few firm words from the Doctor, did she essentially suicide when previously she'd been utterly ruthless about living? I remain unconvinced.
And why were the experiments clothed? Okay, fair enough, BBC guidelines might have had something to say on the subject but still...
I do like this new doctor, though. A lot.

If you fed a coffee soaked cockroach to a spider, would the spider get a caffeine buzz?

I've got a new mobile phone - though it was done reluctantly. The network used to have this marvellous system where the handsets acted as landlines in the home range and as mobiles outside of it. However, that network is closing soon and the customers have been encouraged to switch over to the standard mobile network. <sigh>
On the plus side, my new phone is hot pink metallic!
On the minus side, it's new technology I have to poke with a stick until I'm comfortable.
But on the plus side again, the phone's incorporated camera is really neat - 2 megapixels.
... can't think of another 'minus' though that might change when I get my first bill for it. :)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Last night's trifle had pink cream... It was sposed to be red but there's only so much you can do with pink food colouring.

Penny made me a hat! It's pink and purple and furry - kitty ears will be a perfect addition. <g>
And we (Penny and I, not the hat and I) had our first Bollywood Dancing class on Wednesday. It was hard work admittedly but so much fun! Hee, unfortunately I still have all the muscle memory of 10+ years of classical ballet, which didn't quite mesh with what I was learning this time. I kept wanting to point my toes. I don't think it's going to take too long to get into the right headspace though, despite feeling as graceless as a lumpish, tight-sinewed Westerner could possibly be. <g> Eh, it was my first time trying a completely new artform, I can expect to be clumsy.

<snerk> Smart Bitches recently had a 'mad libs Romance Title and Tagline' thingy. (Scroll down to Tue. 11th July).
Here's what my carefuly selected words produced:
He rogered his gaspacho when he saw her bouncing her chin. Now, can he stride her rigid pinkie? Find out in...
Love's soft couch.

<rolling around laughing> That's so silly...

I make a point of avoiding things like commercial (or stupid) television but I can't always avoid it when I'm at mum's. When the cubs and I were there last holidays I found my eyeballs assaulted by snippets of the most recent Big Brother. (I hasten to add that Mum doesn't watch the show at all but there were promos and commericals ad nauseum.) Was it just me, or were all the 'contestants' orange? I know it wasn't the telly's colour balance cos everyone else looked normal, but that lot? Will there ever be a fake tan that looks real?

The next best thing to travelling and collecting your own tacky souvenirs is finding them in op shops. I've got a faux bronze mini colosseum! Wonderful! Actually, it's been a good time for op shops. I've also acquired a decorative pickle jar (for all your decorative pickle needs); more forks (muahahahaha); a pretty little painted fan and a 'mounted fish' key holder. Happy now...

I was sort of watching a history doco yesterday and discovered that a couple of George I's mistresses had the nicknames "The May-pole" and "The Elephant". What a great name for a pub! The May-pole and Elephant. I'd drink there. :)

Right, American Gods. Wow, just wow.
I'm quite proud of myself, I managed to pick up a lot of the clues but there were still "d'oh, of course!" moments at the end there. <g> It was an enthralling read, very enjoyable if decidely squicky in places. But then, that's what I've come to expect from Gaiman

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Uh oh. It's chocolate drive fund-raising time again. We have a box of assorted bars to eat sell. <hand to forehead> The things we do for the school...

Small furry animals have been popping up in a lot of my dreams recently, however, Alan Rickman featured last night as a runaway prince in a sort of 18th century farce. He was running away because he wanted to study Science. His family disapproved because by tradition the royal family learnt circus arts; juggling, trapeze, high wire... all in gowns and wigs. <g> The prince was living in happy poverty in a city, and the plot - what I saw of it - seemed to centre around him staying out of his parents' clutches. Oh, yes, and there was a poor but honest city girl involved as the object of his secret affection - but then that's to be expected in such a Moliere-esque caper. I woke up wondering if I could write this play. :)

I don't normally comment on politics but the Johhny and Pete show is just silly enough to catch my interest. Pete wants Johhny's job - everyone has always known this despite his protestations of loyalty - and now it's come to light that when Johhny first came to power he apparently agreed to serve for 2 terms then hand over to Pete. Johhny's now saying that he doesn't remember the specifics of the meeting and Pete...? Pete is facing the cameras with the look of a woman wronged. "He took my virginity. He said he'd marry me..."
<rolls eyes> Honestly, it'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

I had a good day on Sunday. I got stuck into cleaning the kitchen, though not all of it. I had to leave the troublesome corner - you know the place where all the miscellany gets dumped - but the rest doesn't look quite so verminous now. When I'd had enough of industrious domesticity I took myself off to the lounge room for some peace and quiet. The cubs were in their fathers' room, leaving the telly free, and I had been considering sitting down to watch a DVD. I decided instead to switch off all the electronical doodads and read a book in blissful silence. An hour, a whole hour of uninterrupted reading. Lovely. I should do that more often.

Glancing in the bathroom mirror the other night I noticed there was a subtle but decidedly silverish sheen to my hair. I hadn't noticed before, I'm used to my hair glinting in strong light but this was the first time I saw it glinting something other than gold. After the initial 'blimey!' I found myself rather pleased. I've never been interested in looking 25, or even 30, for the rest of my life. Dammit, I've earnt the silvery hair and the less-than-perfectly-elastic skin and if anyone is going to think less of me for not persuing eternal youth then they can kiss my saggy arse!
Be cool if I went silver though. Mum hasn't gone grey so much as her hair's just faded, but my dad went silver. Be nice if he gifted me with something from his genetics other than mad-scientist eyebrows. :)

And now some amusing Blogger spell-check suggestions:
Ice cream - isochronal. (Isochronal with what though?)
Soulsis - slouches. (Sit up straight, girl! <smirk>)
Sprogs - spores. (makes sense)
Fruitcake - britches. (... the mind boggles.)
Xmas - smash. (speaks for itself)
Fistful - festival. (... still boggling.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mmm... Fruitloops...

Watched the first episode of Tennant's Dr Who this evening. Frankly it was embarrassing - until our hero finally made an appearance, then it got immeasurably better. Could've slapped Rose; whiny bloody cow. Tch. Not fit companion material. I like this Doctor though, he's got that mercurial temperament thing - that thing that's both appealing and off-putting - shaping up nicely. And he's prettier than Eccleston.
However, interesting alien prosthetics aside it was a story of cliches. But then Dr Who = cheese. It has since the beginning and yea, even unto the last episode it will reek of the dairy. Even if it's a particularly English dairy... <g>

I was reading a drivel recently (don't ask) and I stumbled over a couple of things that gave me pause. Both from the hero's perspective.
The first was him musing about how attractive the heroine was. Quoting loosely: she was the sexiest woman he'd ever met, even without make-up. <growling> Because of course, rule: 1 in the book of being a girl is that you can't possibly be considered attractive without enhancements. <swearing>
(Aargh, no, leaving that there. I can already feel myself sliding into incoherency. Where was I? Oh yes...)
That first made me cross, the second just made me boggle. Again the hero was musing on the heroine and how her proximity was a torment because for reasons of paperthin plot bonking her was inadvisable. Again quoting loosely, he mentions, casually in passing, that he hasn't jerked off since college but now, given the heroine's irresistible speshulness he might just have to resort to it to stay sane.
<blink blink> 'kin' what?!
My first thought was 'He doesn't wank? What's wrong with him?'.
What was the author trying to say here? That masturbation is something that grown-ups don't do? Bullshit! Not that I'm in the habit of questioning my male friends about their forays into self-love but over the years, as the subject's come up, the evidence seems to suggest that even with a perfectly amenable sex partner to hand - so to speak - wanking is a normal activity.
Or is that just Australia? Are we a nation of degenerate wankers? I'd rather that than live somewhere that thinks masturbation is something to be shunned. Pffft. Stupid story.

Not a stupid story, however is Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I'm about a third of the way through and well and truly hooked. Gods above this man can weave a cunning thread.
(And I can't think of anything else intelligent to say cos it's end of the day and the fruitloops have worked their soporific magic. Mmmm... Fruitloops...)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I made a trifle the other night. It had green cream - and with the 'rainbow bright' sprinkles it was a very colourful dessert. Yummy too. :)

Had a good day today. Penny and I went trawling in Box Hill for material and... stuff. Picked up some really neat stuff in an op shop - a chunky green glass goblet; an elephant shaped glass jar; and a pretty little notebook. Unfortunately whoever priced the thing had whacked down a piece of sticky-tape to write the price on, and despite my care, removing it lifted and tore some of the (handmade paper) cover. Ah well, the notebook doesn't have a clearly defined front/back - the damaged bit can be the back, I spose.
I also found an interesting souvenir from Israel, at least I think it's a souvenir. What it is is a couple of intriguingly prickly seedpods encased in a 5cm square perspex cube. Beautifully done, the plastic is absolutely clear and there's no bubbles at all, but... what? Is Israel renowned for a particularly spiky plant? Something historical/biblical? I know the cube's from Israel cos there's a sticker on the base that says so. I almost didn't pick the thing up - it's a dried seedpod and therefore brown - but I'm glad I did. The more I puzzle over it, the more fascinating it becomes, if only because I don't have any other perspex paperweight things that are so wonderfully clear...
I also grabbed another handful of mismatched dinner forks. I'm going to have to watch myself; if I'm not careful I'll end up collecting forks. But then, some of the designs on the handles are so pretty.

Heh, following Joules' example I'm making an attempt at finishing up some of my outstanding fics. 'Outstanding' as in 'not finished yet', as opposed to 'blimey, this is fantastic'. <g>
The second part of 'Cathouse Ellis' is almost done, then I might think about completing the 'Elgar' series. Perhaps. What had been a vague idea for a crime novel has suddenly flared into life and I want to make a start on that while I'm enthusiastic.

One of our big retail chains here started its annual Toy Sale today. (I ignored the 'buy now for Xmas!!' signs.) The cubs - clutching the cash and gift-vouchers they got for their birthday - ventured in after school to have a look. (Actually, their hands were free; I had the goodies carefully stashed in my purse. Anyway...) The S cub was specifically looking for RC cars cos they've recently become very popular at school, and lo and behold he found some well within his price range. Bonus, the set had 2 cars in it, so he and his brother could play together. <g> The M cub found a Halo figurine he wanted but there was some problem getting a price on it. Eventually a very helpful salesperson hunted out a barcode we could use at the checkout, at the same time quoting a price that was half retail. Hee, happy cubs. We also started a couple of lay-bys (no deposit and 6 months to pay). The M cub now finally has a Darth Vader Voice Changer helmet to look forward to while the S cub found a cuddly Garfield plush. And they have a big Lego 'plane kit put away as well. Alas, there was nothing there that I wanted, which is probably a good thing, what with needing the cash for my incipient fork obsession...

Monday, July 03, 2006

First day of the new school term and it was two extremely underwhelmed cubs I chivvied out of the house this morning. <g> But it wasn't too bad, they had their ice-cream vouchers to look forward to redeeming after school and it was the first day in the new school.
I've decided that our principal has an overdeveloped sense of occasion. Not that finally moving into the new building isn't a cause for celebration - we've been waiting for two years after all - but having the school's brass band (marching behind the Aus flag) lead us in a parade from the old to the new? Seemed a little cheesy to me, but then again I think the children appreciated the dramatics, so...
After raising the flag on the new flagpole the students filed inside, followed by the parents etc. We were given quick tours around the new building and I have to say I'm impressed. The classrooms all lead off from a large central space which is much more community minded than consecutive rooms linked by a corridor. The library/computer room looks good, too, with lots of light and space. The teachers'/admin area is like a warren, rooms leading into rooms leading into more rooms. <g> And there's a good, solid door separating that from the students' area. The canteen, however, is tiny: as one of the volunteers good-naturedly pointed out the space will very quickly go from 'cosy' to 'claustrophobic' if the workers are on the large side. :)
I like the new building, I don't doubt there'll be teething problems as we settle in, but on the whole I think the design will work well, even if the exterior could possibly be likened to a shearing shed...

In honour of the cubs' birthday I unwrapped the fruitcake I'd made at the beginning of the year. It's very yum, perhaps a little dry, but rich and heavy nonetheless. Hee, delicious, but all the dried fruit gave me some ferocious wind.
I'm going to make another cake (perhaps two!) in the next couple of weeks for xmas. A slight lessening of the cooking time and a more liberal use of brandy should help smooth out the dryness. <g>

Speaking of xmas... We're halfway through the year, and if previous observations are anything to go by, in 8 weeks time xmas merchandise will start appearing in the shops.

Found something odd in the supermarket the other day - Caviart. The taste was reminiscent of dill pickles, and the wee balls were firm and didn't pop between your teeth like real fish eggs do. Good to try it but I don't think I'll be going back.

The cubs had an early start to their birthday this year. The day before the hallowed event we trotted off to the local op shop where they found a fistful of 00 scale model railway tracks and a compatible 'iron' bridge for just a few dollars! Happy cubs, and it revitalised their enthusiasm for model railways.

On an impulse I bought a boxed set of season 1 of Deadwood. It's set in an American frontier gold-mining town in the late 1800's and while it's brutal and gory - I wouldn't want to eat any of the pork in this place - I really enjoyed it. Even despite the casual violence I got sucked in to the lives and trials of the characters, and the characters are, generally, compelling. Not always pleasant or attractive but they feel like real people. For example, at first glance I thought Brad Dourif had been cast yet again as a creepy weirdo but as the series progressed and the character was allowed to develop it was revealed that there was a lot more to him. It was intriguing to watch it all unfold.
The cubs' father watched some of it with me and he queried the sense in using historical figures (Wild Bill Hickok, calamity Jane) in the story. Didn't bother me at all, I thought it gave the series an easily recognisable frame of reference. I knew where I was right from the start.
Heh, I have this thing though, where if I watch a lot of something I'll begin to mimic the speech - at least in my internal monologues. When I was indulging with Taggart there was a pronounced Scottish lilt to my thoughts; after watching Deadwood I find the voice in my head has affected a ponderous mode of speech with a frontier-town drawl. <g> It's probably just as well I never got into Lernsom' Durve cos I would have been incomprehensible even to myself!
So anyway... loved Deadwood and I'm going to get the second series. And I'm delighted to see there's a third season in production now. Woohoo!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hee, cubs turned 11 today. They've been bouncing off the walls for a week in anticipation of their birthday. I'm not quite sure what time they went to sleep last night but they were still awake at 11.30 when I tried to sneak into my room to haul out their presents. Tch. However, all was quiet in their room when I dragged myself off to bed at 2...

Cubs have had a great day - and it's not over yet cos I'm letting them stay up 'til midnight. <eg> Doubt they'll make it that far, to be honest, they're both flagging noticeably.
By the time I'd managed to wake up this morning the cubs were already well into a game of Halo 2, a present from their dad. He also gave them a couple of action figures from the series, a copy of the Trainz software, and two plastic kits of WWII 'planes. From our housemate they received another couple of H2 figures - and from me they got a Spongebob Squarepants xbox game, a gift voucher from Trampoline Icecream each, a Mars Rover board game thingy and a couple of little spy games kits. They were very pleased with all that but the fun didn't stop there. Their cousins (with Soulsis, naturally) came 'round and gave them a set of toy weapons each, and a Dr Robotnik figure to share. And Becca showed them her gorgeous new pet mouse - Belvedor - but I was probably more thrilled about that than the cubs were. <g> (He's so cute! Soft dove-grey fur and ruby eyes...)

The cubs' father had organised a party for them at Darkzone where they (and their guests) had a ball. It started with tearing into even more presents (more games, more 'spy'ware, gift vouchers, stuff from Cars...) then a 15 minute 'free play' session in the arcade followed by the first of the laser-tag maze games. I didn't join in, cos I'm a wuss, but it sounded like loads of fun. :)
Then we trooped upstairs to the party room for pizza and ice-cream cake, (and sushi, which Soulsis had bought for me) then back down again for a second free-play session and a final run through the maze. <g> Soulsis joined in for that one.
Said goodbye to the friends - except for their cousins, and Sarah, who stayed with us for a little while - and went home where the sprogs played more or less cooperatively on the xbox, then had fish and chips for dinner (thank you, cubs' dad!).
And then they all went home and I passed out on the couch for a couple of hours. Heh.
Despite the snooze I don't doubt I'll have any problems getting to sleep tonight, and I know for a fact the cubs won't! :)