Monday, September 30, 2002

I don't know what this is. it seems to be a hypertext piece made up of various instruction documents and other guff. weird.
and platypus and yabbies! but no wombat, though that URL points nowhere.
whips could be worth something in the s&m market. as could stud, with some work. and strippers won't go to a paint products store, I am sure.
speaking of work. had better.
must be feeling silly. am amused by the presence of "weed.com.au" and "vermin.com.au", among others, on this list of generic com.au names now for sale.
and "goats.com.au".
that one is so sexy I might even buy it.
goats. squid. some words are just funny.
oh, and I seem to have bought some more ramekins. don't know how that happens. it just does.
;-O
this is of no interest to anyone but myself; but last night I woke up while trying to open a door to what I thought was the bathroom.
I often wander out during the night. I think I thought I had "been" and was trying to get into another room. it wasn't until the latch turned that I realised it was the front door and awoke.
fortunately this house has a v. high front fence. so even if I'd made it out, no one would have seen me in my T-shirt.
took a melatonin last night; trying to keep up the habit of waking up early in order to Get Things Done and have time to ride the 25 ks in to work. maybe that caused it. they are supposed to cause weird dreams, and I think they have in the past.
my headache cure: stick head in bucket of cold water.
or into a cold swimming pool, which is the same thing really.
of course it also involves painkillers, dark rooms and the rest. but it's the cold water that finally does it.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

blogon
Dark Blue Star

"Working on two new goth wallpapers for the die-hard goth. Morbid, some will probably say, but then again some people like chains, coffins, blood and the like." Rob is both techie and goth, making electronic designs in his spare time.
"I can use my imagination to go to the dark place we all have inside of us.
"What, you say, you don't have one? Oh please, we all have that dark little morbid place inside of us. Some just prefer NOT to go there - too scary, I guess."
Rob's own dark little corner of the Internet is designed in blue lettering on a black background; quite gothic, but not always easy to read.
Dig a bit deeper around the rest of the site and you'll find technical credits for his design work, including a site for the Los Gatos Christian Church. Wonder if they know about the dark place?

Slashgoth
Yes, "Slashgoth" is a pun on the popular technical discussion list Slashdot. Slashgoth is aimed at "techgoths" and other creatures of the night.
Like many open weblogs, where anyone can contribute, its topics range widely. One post linked to a news article about a goth band playing to a flock of sheep (apparently they like it and it led to extra lambs), another noted the banning of "goth clothing" from a park in Edinburgh, Scotland, sparking a heated discussion about anti-goth discrimination and violence.
Other discussions centre on where to buy that "goth clothing" and the difficulty of finding good velvet frock-coats in larger sizes.
The content is predominantly British, but Australia and other locations get the odd look-in.

The Smiling Goth
Despite the title, in the photo this red-lipped, pale-skinned, dark-eyed individual is not smiling at all.
But she can recommend a good Italian restaurant in Florida and is very busy working and gardening, it seems.
If all that doesn't sound too gothic, try this: The site's official black cat is both a "Familiar to the Mistress" and "Sex Kitten Extraordinaire".
The Mistress, aka Suzie, alternates between ordinary blog-style entries about the cat and the weather and observations from a distinctly gothic point of view: "I swear sometimes I honestly believe my mother's family are all reverse vampires. They rise with the sun, feed during the day and, as soon as the sun sets, they all turn into narcoleptics. Odd odd odd."
And when she has moving-company problems, her house contents list sounds a little like the Osbornes. For instance, there was heat damage to her candles - "yet my candles were warped and melted (and these were those glassed-in graveside candles, no easy task to melt as they have to burn for seven days)."
as Collingwood take the lead, and the sun comes out on a wet and windy Grand Final Day, the dog settles in for a little sleep.
kind of weird, not being at a barbecue or party or indeed with 90,000 other people at the game itself. but the radio's on and so is the heater and it's nice to vaguely wander around on a Saturday afternoon doing a bit of work, a bit of uni, a bit of reading the paper and having a wander around the blogs. my comments don't work, and I can't comment on other sites, so I feel a bit non-interactive today.

trying to work out how words are used to mediate our very selves (and how not, for that matter) for my uni paper. but I have another blog for all that. my blogs have been proliferating lately; I have about six at the moment. this one is the main one, for dumb random things and stuff I wouldn't mind my boss/friends/husband coming across.

like how I went swimming today at yet another pool - the Fitzroy Pool being too far away, I'm moving between whatever's convenient. the one today was supposed to have a 50 m pool - I've suffered a couple of overheated 25 m pools, which are rotten for serious laps.
but when I got there, it was not only crowded with kids (Grand Final or not), but the 50 m pool was cut down to 25 m by a solid wall with lap swimmers on one side, kids on the other. yuck-o.
I got in anyway, and started counting off my 20 laps to make a kilometre. took a break at 500 metres, and after I started again I wondered how unfit I'd really got while on holiday. it seemed to be taking forever to do each 50 m circuit. but I tend to be bloody-minded about my exercise and kept on, and on, and on.
halfway through lap number 16, I stopped at the far end and had a look. and yes, the far wall was in fact moving. so my laps had been getting longer and longer. the end wall was a moveable boom that was slowly rolling back. which was quite gratifying, in terms of it being the laps that were getting longer, not my body that was getting slower.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

have just won my ebay auction. with postage, will be slightly more than they're worth in a shop. but whatever. they are cute. and I've never seen this particular set in a shop anyway. I think it was the chocolate mint one lower left that really made me go silly.

looks like the spammer has accidentally joined about 73 email lists and asked for trial subscriptions to a few magazines. oops.
hehe. I'm bad.

just got yet another spam. some "business offer"
but the fool put in a Web address that is registered to a real Australian phone number.
called (made sure he was the actual perpetrator) and asked him to stop.
he said "who are you?"
I informed him that I didn't see a need to tell him that, "I'm just asking you to STOP" and hung up.
wish I could do that to every piece of rubbish that fills my inbox.
a list of some more

....most of which have broken or dead links. sigh. how's a girl supposed to feed her ramekin obsession online if the antique dealers refuse to get properly wired?
and another one
auction site
what can I say? toefun.com
the kind of place my friends G & F in Wales want to buy in France.

note the bit about "guest wing"

we are so going to visit them. so.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

paint fumes here again. feeling dizzy. must be time for another walk.
never buy shoes early in the day, or you'll buy them too small.
never buy shoes after a day walking around New York in the heat, or you'll buy them too big.
never buy shoes to fit across your foot; they'll be too long and flap when you walk.
never buy shoes that are the right length; they will squeeze your toes and quickly go out of shape.

dammit, just never buy shoes.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

well, they look alike
Kidman as Samantha and Mike Myers as Darren? I would so go to this movie!
dammit! mailed the ramekin seller asking about condition and she says she knocked one while checking and put a small chip in the bottom of a saucer. otherwise perfect, she says.
sometimes maybe it's better to leave things alone. of course it's not my fault as such, but I feel bad about it. the difference between perfect and slightly chipped is fairly important in these things (these things being old ceramics).
and I'm currently the high bidder...
must clean up my links. they're a mess. and I don't even have Mikey there.
am in bidding war on eBay for some ramekins. have until Thursday.

Saturday, September 21, 2002


transplanted again.
this time to Beaumaris, which is about 15 kilometres south of the city. it runs along Port Philip Bay, a mild affair with wavelets, not waves.
after the big move yesterday, woke up early (again! jet lag is a strange thing; by rights I should be sleeping in, but I’m waking early), and walked Mr B down to the beach.
or to the cliffs. there isn’t really a beach on the protuberance in the shoreline where we are. at one point I followed a side trail and came to a 15-metre drop with nothing to stop me (or the dog) walking over. I could see straight down into the shallow water, dappled with dark rocks and emerald seaweed.
along the straight, flattish beach road, swarm after swarm of cyclists went by. that road goes for 30 k down the Mornington Peninsula, or further, and it’s a Sunday morning ritual for many serious cyclists.
at least, they’re serious cyclists while they’re riding, dressed up in their coloured jerseys and improbably tight leggings. Mostly male, I guess they have other lives during the week, girlfriends still sleeping at home, or wives doing Sunday morning with the kids alone while the cyclist has his moment of a different life. if I ever have kids, I think I’ll need something like that.

this house-sit house is a fair way back from the beach road. it’s over a hill, so no chance of sea views, no matter how high and bizarrely one might build.
and boy, do they do it bizarre down here! there are still some plain pavilion-style weatherboards and a few 1950s brick ranches, but there’s a lot more glass, metal, brightly coloured render and strange angles. maybe it’s the sea air…
the gardens are different too. the couch-grass lawns reminded me how when my grandfather moved to Rosebud in retirement he bitterly condescended to grow that spiky stuff, in fact encouraged it, after years weeding every blade out of his lush Glen Iris lawn.
there are lots of native plants – hence native birds, like the fat scarlet rosella I can see as I type. the birds woke me with a lovely dawn chorus this morning. dawn, according to them, is 5.15 am. and possums; last night I saw a possum balancing its weight against its busy tail on the power lines across the road. apparently Melbourne has a possum plague and the Rose Appreciation Society or somesuch wants them all shot.
it’s very quiet here. the last few days we’ve been at A’s parents’ house, in uber-suburban Mt Waverly, home of the triple fronted brick veneer and the housewife’s nervous breakdown, living on a busy road.
in fact, his childhood home was only about a mile from the one my parents moved out of when I was one, a year before he was born. it was strange, finally being in the exact spot I’ve always thanked my lucky stars I escaped; even if it was to Ballarat, which oppresses in a different way.

I hope we get a few more of these house-sits (maybe not so far from our house, though). It’s kind of interesting, seeing how places are different, being in them properly instead of driving through them.
moving sucks, but.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

look! a knitter who has a Keeshond! she actually makes things out of her dog's wool!
I knew it was possible, and we did have a big bag of Bilbo's wool (they have real coats, not fur, so it can be spun like sheep's wool). I think we chucked it when we moved, on the basis it would never happen. now I'm kind of sorry.
a shawl of dog fur:

(btw, I'm trying to write a blogon on clothing blogs, which is why I was looking at knitters. so distracting, this stuff.
something else there should be a word for: a post that notifies readers that the owner will be away. like Sean's.
maybe I'll call it a "Hegarty".
heh. the competition has written about blogs. yawn. not that there's anything wrong with the article, as such, but here at my paper we've been doing that for years.

interestingly, came to the article via grumpygirl, who I haven't seen before, but is doing a masters degree with blogging as the topic. as this is what I am planning to do my masters thesis on myself, I will have to get to know the grump better. she's in the Melbourne meetup, so I guess we'll get a chance.
further woes: the winds blew over half an olive tree at our house. onto a brick wall the builders had just finished. I'm just hoping it was the bit the horrid neighbours were going to cut down anyway. we've designed the house around that tree.

paint fumes invaded my office building, so I went for a walk. returned to find the solution was to turn the a/c off. yay.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

been back three days, meant to ring my nephew. but he rang first. we had some chitchat about how my trip was, my amazing Tuesday. did he still have his job? yes.
how was his (recently purchased, first) car?
oh, there was a little accident.
had he been drinking?
um, yes, the license was going to be gone for a year.
and could I take him to get his stuff out of it? it was in a wrecking yard in Port Melbourne.

he's 19 years old. he's the most lovely, generous, helpful, hardworking young man.

he's also a complete idiot and I want to kill him. the car was a shocking sight; passenger side completely bent in. I'm not often truly shocked, but this freaked me out altogether. I could have lost him. he knows I'm angry. he knows I love him. I don't know if that's enough, this is enough, to stop him doing it again. it's going to cost him thousands; the other car (which was behind his in the yard) is totalled; he's lucky it was an old bomb too. there'll be a fine, the problems of transport without his car. but he's still at that immortal age that kills young men.

my wonderful, understanding boss (yes, he reads my blog) has allowed me to be away from work for more than three hours doing this particular nephew-rescue and has not said anything. he knows I get imy workd done. it's my first day back and I'm still a bit jetlagged anyway.

I wish I had a photo of the car. not to blog, but to show the nephew in years to come, to remind him. because the older he gets, the more this should scare him.

there's a faint smell of petrol on my hands now. It reminds me of a crash I was in at 19, when the car ended up in a creek, a girl ended up dead and my boyfriend (driving) ended up in jail.

and I said to him as we dug stuff out of the mess: I have weeks, months, when nothing at all happens to me. What is it about this particular week? what's next?
blogon

PixelPile
PixelPile has everything: "the obligatory bee-on-flower-macro-shot", sunsets with a backdrop of forest fires and scenes of explosions.
It's not just a photography blog, it's a group photography blog. About 26 members contribute, offering a range of styles from clear and well-framed colour to impressionistic to stark black and white.

Members live in the United States, in the Netherlands and in Hong Kong, and range from "just a person who likes to create" to professional photographers. When you find one whose work you like, you can switch to a list of their images only.
The photos don't load when you open the page; instead they appear in a pop-up window linked to picture titles.

Lomo
Martyn has a Lomo - a funny little Russian camera that has a cult following among a special breed of existential photographers. His site features his "Lomo crawls" - excursions into the world to capture funky images on the 35mm camera.
ometimes he takes his Canon, his Olympus or his Yashica for a walk instead, taking photos with an emphasis on perspective, colour and form more often than human subjects.
Remember that these aren't digital images; Martyn has to scan them in by hand for your enjoyment.

Five Foot Nine
With a penchant for photographing the same object from different angles - a lamp post and a lamp post's shadow, for instance, Five Foot Nine's roving camera gives the feeling of a virtual roving eye.
Teapots, tulips and Smokey the cat all get their moment in the lens.
The site is short on commentary, apart from a page where the photographer explains: "This is a blog that I `write' with images. Whether they are blurred shot of neon lights, a picture of my feet, or electrical wires against the blue sky this page is a reflection of what i see each and every day. To you they may look like nothing and mean nothing, but they do to me. Every snap of my tiny digital camera is a memory of a moment."


F-Stop

Tamara Nicole likes to quote Simon and Garfunkel (Kodachrome), and she loves her camera.
She also likes animals, particularly hippos, and the early part of the blog was filled with images from the Toledo Zoo. Tamara was due to get married recently, and the wedding album may well be up by now.


Scuttlebutt, rumour and innuendo; when you're sick of Big Media, cruise around these gossip sites.

Crikey.com
Is Crikey really a blog? Well, it's updated often and has plenty of news and opinion, so we think so.
At the very least, it's a great source of things to link to on your own blog; the first scoop on what the pollies and other Australian "colourful identities" are up to.
Crikey specialises in the stuff that its journalist and politician readers care about: media, business and who's backstabbing whom. Recent pieces included speculation about what the Labor Party would do on the refugee policy front, aspersions cast on a pay deal for journalists at News Limited, and a list of which chief executives had missed out on the most in bonus money.
If you like what you get for free, you can pay for a newsletter update.
And if some of it's not strictly verifiable, well, that's what the Web is good at, isn't it?


The Smoking Gun
Specialising in fascinating original documents - how's Elvis's death certificate for starters? - The Smoking Gun provides a sense of reality to go with the sensational news stories of the day.
It had Tom and Nicole's divorce papers almost as soon as they were filed, a copy of the formal "plea deal" between John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban", and prosecutors; rapper R. Kelly's mugshot when he was busted for child pornography; even documents related to the "Bon Jovi family feud".
We're surprised they don't have Elvis' 2001 tax return.



Ron Fineman

Ron Fineman believes he lost his job in mid-August because of gossip about an opposing network that he posted on his blog; now he's asking for contributions to support the site.
At any rate, the Los Angeles newsman's site is well read, by the public and other US reporters, and to get a feel for just how much backstabbing can go on, it's worth a browse.


The Drudge Report

At its peak, The Drudge Report made history - remember Bill and Monica? - but it also does a nice line in bringing together all the controversial news of the day in its grainy-looking, text-only format. The Washington-based Matt Drudge naturally focuses on the "War on Terror" and the doings of Capitol Hill, but also finds space to link to bizarre medical accidents in New Zealand and a host of news services.
There's even an earthquake report link for nervous Californians.
Drudge seems to have lost the plentiful sources of insider news that once flowed to his must-read site; that doesn't stop him from claiming to have up to a million visits a month.
bit behind on my BlogOns; can't find these on the site, but here they are...

(from September 5)

Almost a year after September 11, the online journals of New Yorkers form a different kind of memorial.

Happy Robot

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the owner of Happy Robot heard that a plane had hit the twin towers, then got on the train to work in Manhattan as usual, even though "I realized that this was something majorly screwy".
So did a lot of other New Yorkers, and the train ride in was a bizarre trip, not least because "everyone was talking to each other, which is very unusual on the morning commute".
"I got my coffee and roll with butter and jelly ¤ then the second tower fell."
The uncharacteristic warmness of his fellow New Yorkers continued: "Wednesday night we came home from dinner, and someone had left little green post-its on the doors in our building that said "I love you".

Giant Genius
This blogger gathered his posts about September 11 into a kind of mini-site, arranged chronologically.
His style is straight description; he woke up at 8:50am that day, and he doesn't mention that that was almost exactly when the first plane hit.
The sheer ordinariness of the morning degenerated into a dreamlike series of events, with nothing as he expects to find it.
He found a vantage point with other shocked New Yorkers: "The man's arms seem to snap, quiver and twist as he gesticulates. 'This is not TV,' he says."
At home, he, like most of the city's inhabitants, feels compelled to reach out to absent family and friends: "It seems like a good idea to e-mail my family to let them know I am OK. This is a phrase that will flood the next two days: I'm OK. It is a complement to the omnipresent e-mail subject of September 11: Are you okay? (var. You OK?, Are u O.K., Everything okay?, R U OK, OK?, etc)."
He offers "apologies for the sloppy grammar", but grammar is not the point; this is about the immediacy of his observations.
By September 13 he's back at work but has hardly arrived before the building is evacuated. A touch of wartime humour creeps in: "I tell the senior associate I work with that I will be at home the rest of the day. If I'm going to be threatened by a Manhattan skyscraper, I would prefer it to be the Empire State rather than the MetLife."

fotolog
Scott Heiferman keeps a "photolog", and although he only posted one photo on September 11, its contrast with his usual witty material says it all.
It was taken between the time the second plane hit and the towers collapsed; in the foreground, people can be seen on the roof of a building, watching smoke pour into a clear blue sky.

Bertie
This post actually comes from another blog; Uprush is hosting the piece for Bertie, who watched the second plane hit from a train on the Brooklyn Bridge.
"People on the train started screaming and panicking, and so I got off at Canal Street, but not before I was hit in the head by a panicking man in his leap across the subway car," she writes.
She had the presence of mind to get out of the way, and to take a few photographs.
"People were praying and crying in the streets, something you would never expect to see in New York City."

New York Bloggers
This sub-page of a site devoted to blogging in the Big Apple has brought together September 11 entries from more than 50 sites.
When you've finished reading those, click on the "home" button to go to the main page with links to current New York sites.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

see, this is why I'll never win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
Jon is calling Batty "my sweetie" and I didn't notice a thing going on during BlogCon.
(adopts primary school singsong voice:)
Jon likes Bat-ty
Jon likes Bat-ty
Jon likes Bat-ty

/voice/

too cute.
batty is beating the ANZAC drum.
happy to take responsibility for Tim Finn and echidnas; but not for our refugee policy or the crocodile guy...
if it wasn’t all a hallucination, I have just had the most amazing and strange day.
and my head hurts.
got back in yesterday, tired and jetlagged. slept about 5 hours last night. woke up with slight headache but thought that’s OK, I’ll have a nap later.
then the phone rang. K had rung Andrew to tell him to tell me she’d be at the hospital at 9.30. she wasn’t due until Saturday and her husband isn’t back from their overseas work address, but the baby was coming anyway.
so I drove through what seemed the worst traffic ever to her flat, then while another friend took her to hospital, struggled through more traffic to get there myself.

then it became clear that I was actually going to stay for the whole thing. first friend was male, and he left after a while.

then an older female friend turned up, and with a midwife and a student nurse, we basically spent the day saying things like “push” and “breathe” and feeding K water when she could manage to sip it. and holding her in our arms, and helping her roll over and talking in her ear to keep her going, so many intimate things I can’t even begin to describe it. put it this way, when she was breathing heavily, I found myself matching her breathing patterns, as if that could help. and the four of us moved around the bed all day, focussed on K and her cycles of resting, pushing, shouting. not as much talking as you’d expect. you can tell when someone’s about to have a contraction, and after a while we got good at just getting into position and pushing along with her. meanwhile, the mobile phone (K’s) was ringing what seemed like every ten minutes; friends, and K’s husband, understandably distressed at not being there yet still being able to hear K yell – he gets here in about a day.

after about five hours of this, the baby was moving down, but not enough. more pushing, different ways of pushing, more cold cloths on the forehead and pep talks – of course she had had quite enough and was utterly exhausted, not having slept, but had to keep going.

eventually as things started to happen, the (male) doctor came back (he’d dropped by a couple of times in a flippant way) and decided first, it was going to happen and second, he’d have to make a cut. I coped pretty well with all the groaning and silent effort and the physical force of the pushing up until then; but the sound of scissors cutting was really a bit much for me. and then she had to push some more!

seeing the little girl’s head half-born was more than weird; she was very still and I couldn’t relate to that as a baby at all. but suddenly the rest of her body was there, half in the world and half not, then all of her, long and blue and wriggling. then she cried and there was a new person in the room and I could hardly breathe myself.

then lots of rather gory action with stiches and placentas and the husband rang again and at first I was asking how he was – he was stressed – then I realised and told him, several times, that it was all fine, it was over, he had a daughter (he wanted to know the weight – all I knew was she was big – later she weighed in at 9lb something) and it was OK.

so now it’s about 5.30, I’ve somehow managed to drive myself home (we’re camping at the in-laws’ between housesits) and I can’t believe what I just saw. and I’m exhausted and my head really hurts now and there is no way we’re moving house tomorrow and my God, I just saw a baby – the daughter of one of my best friends – born and I will take a while to digest this.

(we also took photos, on her camera and mine, but I don’t know if I can figure out FTP from here. if I can I’ll put a pic up – and put them all up elsewhere for the husband to see).


Friday, September 13, 2002

up, up and away!



(stolen from a planespotting site)
Batty is better. hooray!
for some reason I can't comment on her site, so I can't tell her about the guy across the yard from this apt who goes outside to talk loudly on the phone. or how much I agree with her about it having to be Coke, not generic caffeinated soda.
my empathy on the issue of blisters and general foot health, you don't need.
am #13 on Google for "paprika east village"
so let me again recommend their pasta with pine nut sauce, and their excellent Chilean wines. I feel personally responsible, having found it without the aid of any guidebooks, in which it does not yet appear. it's on 8th st, I think. somewhere east of second avenue. go. eat.
turned on the TV this morning, looking for weather. haven't watched much TV while I've been here. hotels always have CNN, and I didn't realise it wasn't free-to-air!
anyway, the first show was "Maury" and fat babies. 100-pound two year olds. I couldn't believe they could treat this stuff as entertainment - sure, they made the odd comment about "getting help" and showed one distressed mother, but the real point was the footage of roly-poly kids stuffing their faces with fries. outright child abuse.
the second show was Jenny Jones (I think) with anorexic pre-teens. the poor little 12-year-old they had on was distressed and inarticulate. the 27-year-old weighing, I don't know, maybe 78 pounds, well, she was just shocking. hopefully the 12-year-old got a scare. but the footage of the older woman in her bra and knickers got hoots of horror from the audience, even though she was sitting right there in front of them. just another freak in their freakshow.
final New York blog before I pack the laptop away. this should be the bit where I rhapsodise about this wonderful city, evoke magical images of the view from the Brooklyn Bridge as I strolled across it just before sunset, watching the skyline light up for yet another night in the city that never sleeps, etc.
but a) I have a headache from a long day's art appreciation and a mostly interested in my taco and Bud, and b) I walked across the wrong bloody bridge, didn't I? the guy in the DuMbO (spelt?) organic fruit store said "go over there, you can't miss it". to which I say, pig's arse I can't. I guess the upside of taking the Manhattan bridge instead was that I had a good view of the Brooklyn Bridge. and most of the good views are in that direction anyway.
why did I leave the Met until the last day? having ploughed my way through some cool modern stuff, and rooms FULL of Monets and Van Goghs, I accidentally wandered into Egyptian and realised my afternoon nap was cancelled.
seems the Met and its sponsors financed several full-on Tomb Raids in the early 20th, and they have more sarcophagi than you can poke a stick at. I felt rather sorry for the poor old mummies, though. they went to all that trouble to be buried in state, and now they're lying in plastic cases. at least they're well-preserved there, which was after all the point.
another highlight: the Tiffany window. yes, bandwidth theft. the Met can afford it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

turned the TV on and the ads came blaring at me.
"Mr Rooter" is the funniest by far. doesn't "rooting" mean here what it does in au?
and is it wrong of me to find it strange that the Concert for America (in memory of 9/11/01) is sponsored by Boeing?
note: New York does not always make dreams come true. it crushes people as well. those street people came from somewhere.
on the downtown train, at the stop after 49th, she peered out the window before alighting, just to make sure that 42nd street still came next on the line. that nothing had changed.
sitting in Sheep Meadow on a hot Sunday afternoon with all the other little people. I'm in the shade; and the squirrels are above me busily eating acorns and dropping the shells on me. it feels good.
graceful ageing rule# 32: once your chest hair is white and your white skin is tanned dark brown and leathery, you really ought to stop showing it. especially while rollerblading down Central Park West.
more random Gugg. thoughts: looking at Mondrian and remembering a piece in the Times about the peculiar patterns formed when you put numbers into a spiral and pick out the primes. I bet you could make a nice Mondrian that way.
and when a painting doesn't work, you can just call it "study for ..." the work you eventually get right. then remembering reading in Interview magazine, Beck talking to Marianne Faithful. she said sometimes you make a record just so you can make the one after that.
the Guggenheim: sitting on a bench just for the feeling of sitting on a chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I'd come to an exhibition of milk cartons here. fortunately, the contents are also quite nice.
but the endless perspectives and angles and shapes that appear as one moves up the spiral (which itself gets smaller inside, but larger outside) show just how good the guy was at space.
also thinking about popping back to the impossibly funky Chelsea Dia Center for art and dropping a bundle on a buckminster fuller book: I liked a line about how if machines are extensions of the self "the average young american male now weighs approximately half a ton" or similar.
they also had a FLW book I want, but I can get that in Australia.
although I have no visual ability at all - can't draw, can't design - I like architecture, structures, composition, perspective, and I like to read things written by those who could do them.
visuality is wonderful in its directness, and I sometimes feel trapped with words, which is all I can do; and everyone can string words together.
To compose like Jeffrey Smart, have a spirit like Emily Kngwarreye, know colour like Rothko and be able to imagine the whole thing from every angle like FLW could.
that would be a thing indeed.
People have started asking me for directions. I like this. I answer confidently and despite my accent, they seem to trust me.

(but take it from me: the far reaches of Brooklyn are worse than Venice in the getting-lost department. for a start, the distances involved are longer. but I prefer to forget that. especially the bit about finally finding a taxi and discovering he was lost too. at least he had a map.)
the public library: I sat in the reading room with its mural ceiling and wrote some random words about the weight of history. of being surrounded by all those great books of the past. yet some people still manage to sit there and try to write (and by that I mean compose, not study or do essays. brave. or foolish? all too postmodern.
the Monkey puppet show, by a troupe from Salem: also funny. it was, too, nice to see the New York families out on the grass at the cathedral with their kids, laughing. as it was on Sunday to see them at the carousel at Central Park. it must be hard to give kids a proper, by which I mean untouched by adult ugliness, childhood in this too-sophisticated town. but they try.
Seven Samurai: surprisingly, well, funny. yes, all 3 1/2 hours of it. and rather wrenching, too. the fights and deaths may have been the inspiration for Westerns, but to me they seemed not graceful but up-close, panting and grunting human things. anyway, the movie, qua movie, beat Metropolis for sure. which is saying something. if I was here for a few more weeks I might get through the rest of the Kurosawas that are on at that cinema, but I guess they'll keep. I've waited this long...
s11; not much to say, really. I watched part of the ceremonies in the morning on TV; but most of the speeches were recycled. One young woman read out a farewell to her father that was more real than all the rest of it. and the reading of names took a very, very long time.
seeing as how I’m actually home before 9pm, I’m going to try to catch up on some blogging and some study and emails. so if all this seems out of chronological order, tough.

(food note: am starting to develop scurvy, I think. currently munching on celery b/c it was the only green thing in the supermarket that didn’t have a vaguely slimy look. am so looking forward to visiting my organic vegie stall at the Vic Market; will buy EVERYTHING.)
new shoes
(only red)

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

cat update: I offered her a juicy piece of chicken from my lunch. she actually took it out of the bowl and left it on the floor.
then I opened a can of oily fishy gunk. she gobbled up every bit.
sigh...
lots of fascinating insights in my notebooks. lots of things I've done, like see an outdoor puppet performance of the Monkey legend, and see Seven Samurai for the first time. too busy doing it, sleeping or doing laundry to blog it right now. instead, a recycled BlogOn column:

or not. can't find it on the Age tech site. instead, a link to an article about September 11 postings on the Web.
things I can stare at for hours, and do, given half a chance:

Rodin's Kiss

Any of Monet's water lily paintings.

fires

Niagara falls, and most other waterfalls

my dog

the view from the top of the Empire State building as day becomes night.

Monday, September 09, 2002

tried to go on a shoe-shopping rampage. failed again. ended up with more clothes from C21.
did try on a pair of purple fuzzy-velvet Gucci high heels. they looked gorgeous. my feet felt like they were in a vice. and yes, they were the right size.

maybe it’s not me. maybe it’s the shoes’ fault. am I the only girl who finds it difficult to feel sexy and stylish while her toes are being pinched together and she is unable to move faster than a fragile totter?

and besides, shoes get more comfortable as they get older. I do need new sneakers. really need. and I would like a pair of red patent leather Mary Janes with a solid back, a modest heel, a covered toe and no side bits. in a size 8. for under au$100.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

ecological rentals/purchases. have forgotten how to blogroll
Glasgow: A study has established a link between drinking alcohol and perceptions of beauty.

looks like Sean is having some trouble with Movable Type.
We would be very happy to have you worship with us at Abyssinian Baptist Church. Founded in 1808 by a group of African Americans and Ethiopian merchants who refused to accept segregation in God's house...
(!)
I thought they were going to use my interview with expat Australians on the 11th. but it ran tomorrow (ie, Monday in Australia) will post last week's BlogOn later, have to go out and get some sunshine.
the average time people are spending here is shrinking - Site Meter only records lengths for visits where more than one page is looked at. but more people are coming. soon, everyone will be here none of the time.
this is my third visit to New York
each time, I’ve wanted to go to a Harlem church service. but uncertainty about where to go and what to do, and concern that I might be seen as a tourist, an interloper, stopped me.
today is my last Sunday here. my guidebook mentions two churches; yesterday I decided I would be sorry if I didn’t go. I was going to spend the morning in Central Park with the paper, or maybe having a serious brunch, but this is something I hadn’t done.
so I got up earlier today, giving myself an hour to get all the way up to 138th St.
I wore what passes for Sunday best in my collection of clothes here. I even put on my sparkly earrings. on the train going up I read a Times article about the significance of sermons today, a few days before September 11. the preacher at the church I was going to – the Abyssinian Baptist Church – was quoted. and somewhere in the process I started to think that maybe I was going to feel something important – no, not become converted to Baptism or even serious Christianity, though I was brought up in Christian churches – just some sort of reaching-down into the soul that such group experiences can give.
and I forgot my worries about being an outsider, a mere observer, and hoped I would at least gain admittance to the fringe of a group of people who understood how to share things of the spirit, if not actually give understanding of them.
But when I got to the church (having stopped down the street to put my cardigan back on in the 30 degree heat because I could see how carefully dressed the congregation were), I was not allowed in .
The usher very kindly explained that it was some kind of “special” day – what, I don’t know – and said I should go around the corner to another church. I said I would go home.
Because exclusion is exclusion, wherever you find it, as is second-class relegation. And to be honest, I had my heart set on that particular space, those particular words.
Now, I know I am in the wrong. I know it’s mean of me to note that there was a TV crew in attendance and to wonder how special it could be that it was being broadcast or recorded – to me, not intrinsically part of the coming-together of people in a sacred place. And to resent that I was properly dressed when I saw other “tourists” walking up to the door in shorts and T-shirts – of course they didn’t get in either, but I felt I had done nothing disrespectful, that I had come in the right frame of mind.
And I know that people have a right to make decisions about whom they will allow into their church – or do they? Perhaps the church was completely full of regular attendees – who would define themselves as the congregation.
I imagine a gathering of elders where they talk about how best to handle the crowds of tourists who fill up the pews. And I’m sure the decision was not made lightly.
But, probably because I had to take such a brave step to go, because I was afraid that I would be treated as an interloper and a tourist, had to convince myself that it wasn’t so, then was rejected, I feel deeply hurt.
I feel as if I’ve been told to go back to my own place – that I have a place at all, in fact, where here I’ve been trying to convince myself that the world is an open and welcoming thing.
I feel, in short, as if I’ve tried to go to church on a Sunday morning and been turned away.

Friday, September 06, 2002

a car being towed up 10th Avenue, howling in alarmed protest.

taken individually, the people on the street here really aren't that cool, with a few standout exceptions (and the guy wearing a full angel costume and beard in broad daylight today).

but as a mass, they rock. there are so many different ways of being, and they mostly have tried to enter fully into whatever look it is they're doing.

which might contribute to my feeling that I am somehow cooler here in clothes that I wear at home. making myself part of a New York mosaic.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

heh. for some reason I've been looking at real estate on the Web.
the Yapeen pub, which I nearly bought, is still for sale. which means either that I should buy it, or that it is definitely not worth what they're asking.
I am 36 per cent gay according to this
important news: Cat Fishing Success.
maybe because I was sitting so quietly at the computer, the cat dashed across the room after some imaginary thing.
I seized the chance and dangled her toy - two feathers on a string attached to a long stick - and she chased it! she even got up on her back legs to attack as it flew by! she watched it intently as it went back and forth, like a tennis spectator. I had special success with putting it into corners and paper bags - she seems to like to ferret it out.
so she is not after all an animatronic fake cat being moved from couch to under the bed in my absence, then back again. she is real.
then she permitted me to feed her.
it bears repeating: writing articles in an apartment in Manhattan in complete silence, apart from the cicadas outside my window, is a lot more fun than doing same in a noisy office with bad air.
if my boss didn't read my blog, I'd estimate that I have just finished a 1,000 word piece in about a quarter of the time it would take me at work...
(and it's probably 22.34% better written)
Dear Miss Manners,

There must be some mistake. This morning I set out to purchase some tasteful low-priced clothing in lower Manhattan.
On returning home I took a short nap (the afternoon heat, you know), and awoke to find my chair piled with clothes that really belong on the likes of Britney Spears. These objects include, but are not limited to, a strappy denim dress, an “I (heart) NY” T-shirt, a revealing frock which ties behind the neck and a dress that resembles that worn by Marilyn Monroe in the poster where she is sitting on the ground, back against a wall, laughing. All the abovementioned objects are made of tacky synthetics; the only cotton is a pair of “dirty” embroidered lowslung jeans with “whiskers” worn into the crotch area. I very nearly added to the pile an au$100 handbag, silk with sequins, that resembled the bag Ms Monroe is holding in the aforementione photograph. Were it not for an inexplicable credit card failure and a resulting need to pay in cash, there would probably be a purple silk top with no front in the heap as well.
The only item that I am ever likely to actually wear is a pair of sensible flat black leather ballet-style shoes. As usual, I expect they are too small.
None of these items are returnable. I cannot, as you would expect, go back to the stores concerned and say “I’m sorry, but I’m a 36-year-old woman and these are clearly not my clothes.”
I ask you. Is this fair? Is it reasonable?
One has managed, in one’s many travels, to refrain from anything resembling a “holiday affair”. How then, is one to put a stop to repeated bizarre choices in clothing while in foreign countries?

yrs,
much the poorer but none the wiser.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

yawn...in lieu of uni reading, I cruised to the uni discussion site and corrected a few people's netiquette. well, there's no need to SHOUT.
funny how at undergrad level, the kids - 18-21 - went crazy on the board. at postgrad, the 30-pluses seem not to be interested. it's frustrating when I'm away for three weeks and would love a good argument about the ontology of online presence. or something.
double-yawn...
day Eight. cat still under bed. emerges for food and to scratch furniture/be scratched. situation has stabilised. permits me to scratch her head when she's napping on the couch. but I am still aware she regards me as an interloper. as long as I provide food regularly, I will be permitted to live.
...vague expectations
ground zero; shrouded buildings, boarded up windows afraid to look.
street vendors from whom i won't buy photo albums of people running in terror.
stores selling crystal, fragile Twin Towers.
the way the road has been moved and the pedestrian overpass rebuilt; the city routes around this wound.
people taking photos of themselves in front of the wrecked neighbouring buildings. they're smiling.
lots of cameras, TV, private, every kind. very few pens.
but above it all is something you can't see - empty air where once I had to tip my neck back, open my jaw and strain to see the top of the World Trade Center.
maybe blogging is american after all - it's so out-there, so "I". web therapy
differance, as derrida did; the things that this place does well that Melbourne doesn't - public transport, for example, and dog-friendliness in shops. and the things that I am pleased to find done as well here as they do in Melbourne - like small, funky, Italian-influenced eateries.
thinking about someone from the past, the catch-22 that if he'd given me what I wanted - something he couldn't, I guess - then I could have given him what he needed - a kind of detachment, not independence but a form of self-sufficiency.
but I also wanted to turn to her at one point and say "what exactly is a 'cheesecake person' that you are not one?"
more from paprika: the couple next to me, starting out in old-friend mode, descending to where they were going to fsck. I stole a glance, just to confirm that the rules of attraction held; they were more or less equally (un)attractive. still, he kissed her hand.
I have such a blogging backlog. lots of notes scribbled in notebooks and thoughts in my head. must be having too good a time to spend hours online getting it all down. and don't even think about my uni reading!

so forgive my randomness.

notes from the back of a free postcard picked up in the wonderful Paprika restaurant on 8th or 9th in the East Village, where they treat single females like humans and bring you yummy Chilean red wine:
how it's good for me to just sit, with no newspaper, no one to talk to, nothing but the inside of my own brain. recharging my energiser-bunny self instead of always responding, writing, talking.

shopping list: a Metropolis poster.

the way you can tell the owner of a joint apart from the waitstaff; the familiarity in his step, the constant, subtle checking of everything that's going on.

3 places I'd like to own (yes, like the guy in the post two down), inspired by glimpses in through East Village windows:

Castlemaine: a country cottage with a garden, a cool green corner, an open fireplace and a big red velvet couch:
Melbourne: a yard for kids to play in, an Emily Kngwarreye painting on a white wall. a teal and a purple wall in the dining room. and later, many years later, an apartment near the Vic Market.
Manhattan: a 3rd-floor, south-facing, back of the block 1 br apartment; with room for a sofa couch, where I'd use the living room as a bedroom and have a study in the bedroom, with racks of books sticking out from the walls much like the ones in the place I'm in now. a small terrace outside, big enough for two chairs and a table and some plants. white walls hung with fabric and beaded curtains. in the Village somewhere, or Chelsea, close to everything.

maybe I do need an iPaq and a foldout keyboard. a laptop computer I can stick in my handbag is a fine idea.
having worked this morning, I felt entitled to shop. so about 5 I went down to Union Square and walked down Broadway, past and into tens of identical shoe and jeans shops.
well, almost identical. of course I will never find the shoes I liked again.
sadly, I've also discovered that now my jeans size is 30, not 28, it's impossible to get my waist and length in the same pair. this is a real crisis, as what's the point of coming to America if I don't leave with a new pair of 501s? do you know what those things COST in Australia.

what's nice about being here for a couple of weeks is that I feel no pressure to buy stuff the second I see it. I've realised there's plenty more. I will, soon, though, go all the way with my sjp channelling and spend, oh, about 400 australian dollars on shoes. this will be an absolute bargain, you understand. you cannot buy a decent pair of leather laceups in Melbourne for under $250; here it's more like $100. yes, well, now that I've justified that...

and Century 21! what happened? I remember a store with lots of nice designer clothes, cheap. granted, I did find a D & G coat for only US $169 - might have bought it, too, if the zip worked. but apart from that it was mostly stuff dripping with sequins. red leather blazers with glitter applique. gold sequinned capri pants, I kid you not. for about US$150. right next to the gold leather trousers and the white jeans with red sequins down the side. it was just too horrible. the bag section, though, still looks good, and I may have to go back tomorrow. what, you thought I was here for the art and culture? puh-leeze.

the local French place not only does huge bowls of coffee to get you going in the a.m., it is also great for overhearing things.

like the actress the other day who could not utter 3 words if one of them wasn't "I". like the two guys this morning, talking to someone - an agent? - it was like a job interview but more relaxed.
guy #1 was talking about the time he flew to LA and did endorsements for some power company or something for $10,000
when guy #2 copped the "where do you want to be in 5 years" question, he described the ideal NY lifestyle; a big apt, a country place, and "I'd like to be seriously looking at adopting a child."
in one sense I have huge sympathy; it is very difficult to have kids if you're gay. in another, I reacted with the "what are they, another commodity?" thing. I am very probably quite wrong on this, and what he said was most likely a superficial manifestation of a deeply felt need and love for his future adoptee.

I hope so.
when you find a good Mexican place, stick to it.

there must be a word for this: I know for a fact that both my boss and the person from whom I'm subletting are reading my blog.
this makes me somewhat cautious in what I say. all I need is my husband, or maybe my Mum, to start reading it and I am so changing the URL without notice.
in the meantime the job interviews are going well (can't wait to get away from that horrible old job of mine) and I've nearly finished piecing together the antique vase I broke
;-)
yawn. if I was really cool I'd probably work for a company like Heavy, in whose Garment District warehouse offices I've just spent a few hours. they have a Melbourne-born CEO.
then again, under all the funky sumo/hiphop/bitchslapping, they are a kind of ad agency/content producer. so maybe not. I do know I'd like to live in the apartment you can see across 38th Street from their 11th floor offices; 12-foot ceilings, white, huge windows to the north and south; you can see straight through the building.

the guy was late, so I went for a walk. I found a gift shop with an entire rack of "disaster cards". this city can turn anything into content, can't it? it just routes around it, converts it to New Yorkness. if in fact a nuclear bomb went off here and it became some postapocalyptic movie nightmare with mutants living in the subway, after a few years it would be like "oh, it's just the mutants. pay no attention."

Monday, September 02, 2002

want to know how I'm spending Labor Day afternoon in NYC?
doing my laundry, that's how. Well, it has to be done sometime, and I'm learning a thing or two about very-small-space living and the virtues of semi-tidiness.
Besides, it's raining out there, and the Tennis Hordes are making life for normal people unbearable. It took me an hour to get to the Guggenheim on the subway, and when I got there, all these people from Milwaulkee (sp?) or somewhere equally horrid were making the place into a big, damp echo chamber. I couldn't even make it to the end of the ticket line - I flounced out and squelched down Fifth Avenue, hoping to find a quiet corner of the Met. No dice. It's closed Mondays. By then my feet were wet through and I could easily have just moped home again and slept more or something.
I gave myself a good talking to and caught yet another train, then another, to the temporary MoMa in Queens, where there are Van Goghs and Seurats, but not enought space for Monet's Waterlilies, a deep disappointment. It's a nice enough space, for a gallery in Queens, but it seems to have been chosen mainly for its proximity to the subway, which is excellent.

so that was nice; there are some cool modern installation soundscapy things, the obligatory one of each wonderful artist, though I do my best art appreciation earlier than 1.30 pm, I have to say.
at least I tried; I never fail to be shocked at galleries by the way people briskly work their way through. at the risk of sounding like an art wanker, how can you really appreciate The Starry Night in under 20 seconds? some of them spend more time focussing on the works through their digicam viewfinders than looking at them. Like Suerat; they're not pictures of boats in the harbour, they're works in colour and composition; you can even see where he's added a boat for balance.

mutter, mutter, tennis-loving philistines, mutter...