365 Top Ten Lists. This is my project for 2010.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ten Recommended Books from My Google Book Search Based on my 'Currently Reading' Book List.

* I have entered the books I am currently reading onto my i-Google page under the My Google Book Search gadget. Those books are: The Book of Secrets, Sense and Sensibility, On the Road, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Little Red Writing Book, Chaos: Making a New Science, Dear Me: Letters to my 16 year old self, The Kingdom of Infinite Space, She, Oscar Wilde's Plays Prose Writings and Poems, The Virgin in the Garden, The Gulag Archipelago II, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Don Quixote, Crime and Punishment, The Chronicles of Narnia, Karma: The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect, From Cape Wrath to Finisterre, Antigone, War and Peace, The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, King of the City, and, Travels with Charley. The Following are recommendations My Google Book Search makes for other books for me to read, based on what I have already listed.

1. Four more versions of She, including an omnibus of H Rider Haggard novel which is what I am reading. How does recommending a book you are already reading work exactly? It's not like it is even in translation and the third sentence on page twenty-eight may be reworded differently. This is just silly.
2. Sex Matters: From Sex to Superconsciousness by Osho. Okay, on two counts: if you like an author maybe you'd like to read something else he wrote, and, everyone will take a recommendation to read a book about sex—even if you are sitting there denying it, you're still curious.
3. The Complete Idiots Guide to American Literature. What is Google saying? Are they calling me a complete idiot?
4. Seventeen different versions of Don Quixote. Seven of which are in Spanish, and one dual language. For the ridiculousness of this suggestion, and for the benefit of any multiple but same suggestions that follow, see number one.
5. Brewer’s Famous Quotations. This may be a half sensible suggestion—although I am sure to find that ninety percent of the quotes are from either Oscar Wilde, or, Don Quixote.
6. Viewpoints, bulletin of the School of Education, Indiana University. Okay, thanks. I will see if I can get around to reading it sometime. Did you have any particular issue in mind?
7. The All Music Guide to Country. Where on Earth did they get that suggestion from? Have they also accessed my i-Pod playlists? Oops, have I given away something I didn’t really want anyone to know?
8. Malcontents: The best bitter, cynical and satirical writing in the world. That sounds Oscar-chocker but also like a bit of a fun read. I think I could get my writing into that work eventually—it does tend to be bitter, cynical and satirical!
9. Women's Almanac: Twelve How-To Handbooks in One. That sounds quite useful, even if also derogatory.
10. Sparknotes Cheaters Guide to The Scarlet Letter. Okay? I am not reading The Scarlet Letter, nor am I studying it,writing an essay on it, researching a thesis or taking an exam on it, but, hey, no reason not to be prepared with some salient thoughts about the text.

Ten Movies I Think are the Ten Best Movies of All Time.

* Not expecting everyone to agree here.

1. The Shawshank Redemption. Okay, I expect you to agree here. Phenomenal! Love it, could watch it a million times. And it's one of the only movies where the voice-over technique doesn't annoy the bejeebers out of me.
2. The American President. (Don’t even attempt to say it’s cheesy, Nasty things will happen to your karma. I can recite it line by line. If you are looking for a pressie for me, get this for me on DVD.)
3. Dirty Dancing. (Nobody puts Baby in a corner!)
4. Fight Club. (Skilled acting, skilled directing, skilled writing. Think I will write a thesis about it.)
5. Harold and Maude. (Now I want an E-type Jag hearse and a home in a train carriage too. What a great way to discover Cat Stevens.)
6. The Sixth Sense. (I can see dead people: it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck every time.)
7. Practical Magic. (Rom-coms with magic—great combo. I love Sandra. I love impossible formulas for men you can fall I love with. I should watch it again, and then make a list of lists of impossible attributes for a lover.)
8. Pulp Fiction/Memento/21 Grams. (All plopped into together because despite what makes them unique, it’s their distorted timelines that make them amazing.)
9. Grease. (Rom-coms with singing—another great combo. Riz is one of my all time favourite characters to empathise with. I love her. I want to be her. I want her red and black prom dress.)
10. Die Hard. (Mainly the first one. I know you are questioning its inclusion, but I would watch it every time it comes on so until I remember something else I think that qualifies it for its place here. Yipee-kai-yay, m*&%$@ f(%6%#^.)

Ten People I Feel I Can't Trust.

* Don't worry, or if you are a lawyer (and I say this because I don't trust you, even though you didn't make the list) don't get excited: No one is actually named in this list.

1. The people at Molescan. Disclaimer: I have never been to Molescan. But, I don't feel trust for an organisation whose only reason to be there is to cut bits off your body that look sus. If you get paid per bit, wouldn't all bits look sus?
2. Dentists. Same theory. Plus they smell odd. And there is something I don't like about people who fasten their clothing at the side of their body instead of front or back. It's not normal. I am not always a fan of normal, as you are probably aware, but this isn't a preferred version of not-normal.
3. Doctors. They never know anything. Every disease has either the same remedy, or a referral to someone else. How can you trust someone who has to Google what you think is wrong with you? I could have done that and saved myself fifty dollars and a trip to Medicare. Eeough. Shudder.
4. Mechanics. Because they are sexist. And don’t try to politically correctly guilt me into saying that’s a fallacy and mechanics treat men and women the same in this day and age of equality. If you try to say that I will add you to this list and also to the list of fools and illusioned people. Equality is bollocks! A woman is a way to make money on doing repairs that aren’t needed and ultimately don’t fix the problem—necessitating the return of the car to be fixed for the original problem and four new unnecessary ones, one of which was repaired last time and so this time is only billed rather than actioned as there is no point. No. I am not cynical. But I will say that when I get my yellow electric/hydrogen Mini Coupe, I am going to learn how cars work, what does what, and none of you horrible people will ever rip me off again. In fact, I’ll probably fix it myself. Ooh, that was a little bit of a rant wasn’t it?
5. Real estate agents/used car salesmen. I’m grouping them together because they behave in similar ways and so separately just take up space other annoying people could occupy. What I want to know is who those pitches work on? Surely no one falls for that sleazy smarminess. You would have to be a narcissistic egomaniac to be so pandered to that you would believe what they sell, wouldn’t you?
6. Insurance companies. I am not telling you anything in this list that you don’t already know. Quick to take, incredibly rich, slow to give. With policy wordings that mean you don’t get a payout whichever way you read it. I dislike them intensely, but they do fear so well that I buy it anyway. Unhappy.
7. Anyone who is selling you something and pretending that they are not. Examples include: Banks—it’s not about them making you money, it’s about you buying what they sell: home loans, insurance, financial advice; Charities—they don’t want to tell you about homelessness, illness, breaches of human rights or whales, they want you to pay for them (and even if you offer to help out with what little you can, they want more: ask me about Greenpeace one day if you want a rant).
8. V.C.A.T. Or any government body that gives the illusion that you have a voice, when, really, the little person never wins. How do you get to be someone who V.C.A.T. sides with? The little person applies for a permit to make a small change and is knocked back; the person building a monstrosity gets it through. Does V.C.A.T. get blinded by bullies—like how rudeness seems more likely to get you somewhere than sugar these days, but it has to be rudeness from the core and cannot be affectation.
9. The media. Is truth ever exciting enough to sell? Even the TV channels have to sell untruth to get you to watch. Channel Ten edit promos so that a show will look much more controversial than it turns out to be—think the ad where they made it look like Olivia from Law and Order: SVU was jealously stalking Elliot, and the scenes were actually not related and not even in the same half hour.
10. Anyone with a political, religious, spiritual, moral, ethical, psychological or lifestyle bugbear or agenda. Live and let live people. I am not going to think like you so don’t push your agenda at me unless you are willing to engage in debate in which there is the possibility that we both walk away believe exactly what we believed when we came to the table. And, let me just warn you now—I like to be the Devil’s advocate.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ten Reasons Why Rainy Days are the Best Days.

1. Because you can sleep, nap, snooze or go to bed with the rain is pitter-patting on the roof and cars making a swishy sound when they drive past.
2. Because it means the world is cool, if not cold.
3. Because when it breaks the heat with its big, dusty-smelling, pattery drops, that is the best relief in the world.
4. Because I love that a rainy day means you have to bring in all your washing. I love the order and mind-refreshing rotation process, but that is hard to explain without sounding like an extremely odd person, so I’ll say instead that it’s because of that lovely laundry smell that fills the house—especially when the double whammy rain-heater combo is in operation.
5. Because rain gives justification to something that I don’t believe requires justification—wearing gumboots. It does also mean, however, that you can also jump in puddles and wade through what you would normally have to go around. I would recommend testing depths though, as the l’il man would attest to from the time we nearly ended up all puddled from a lack of testing on my part.
6. Because I loved to take Bodhi out in the rain. He would go out with gusto, and then slowly his ears would work themselves backward-facing as the realisation of what was happening dawned on him. Coming home we would always play the towel game which he adored. And I could get the great smell of eau de wet dog. It’s earthy and reminds you to love everyday you have. I won’t get maudlin, but earth is what I imagine eternity smells like, and I like to have a good association with it just in case.
7. Because rain means thick black cloud and in turn, darkness. I am no nyctophobe. Give me darkness any day. Not to say there can’t be magnificent moments when the sun shines though that cloud and it appears even more beautiful. As a loyal member of the Cloud Spotting Society, I am, of course, of the firm belief that a sky without clouds is like a face without emotions.
8. Because that leads me to clouds themselves and the variety and formation and change that facilitates the phenomenon of rain in the first place. How amazing to see the cloud with its tail of rain sweep across vast spaces to reach you, then leave you. The cloud holds no man as its master.
9. Because rain makes the world sound different. It swooshes. And drips, scatters. Taps. Tattoos, gurgles, plops and bubbles. It is a cacophony and a melody and a hum.
10. But the best thing about rain is that everyone else goes away, and if you have gumboots and a dog with backward facing ears (if only in spirit), you can reclaim it for a moment as your own.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ten Delicious Menu Items at Rumi, Brunswick.

1. Sigaro Boregi. Thin filo pastry cigars filled with cheese, capsicum and basil. They were very hot and absolutely delicious. Very creamy. If they had been given the chance to cool, they would possibly have been oily, but they were devoured before that happened.
2. Cured bastourma. This, I have since found out, is halal beef porterhoused, cured and finely sliced. It had a lovely flavour, almost gamey.
3. Rumi's Vodka Cocktail. Vodka—although you wouldn't guess it from the taste—pomegranate juice—which makes you younger—and lime. Ultimately it's a trendier Cosmopolitan. Very refreshing, and the spicy, salty food made you want more! I had two.
4. Freekeh. A salad of sorts, made with roasted green wheat. It looks like bulgur wheat. It was mixed with almond slivers, herbs, feta cheese and pomegranate viniagrette. Delicious, slightly sweet due to the pomegranate possibly, and texturally exciting. Compared to many of the other dishes too, there was lots of it.
5. Cos and Herb Salad. Very simple but lovely and fresh with all the richer items. Cos, herbs such as parsley and coriander, radishes (not imbided, I don't do farting—only kidding, I always fart, I just farted then for effect, I don't do radishes), and a light dressing. We were talked into it. I am glad.
6. Lebanese sausages. Again a strong gamey taste. I am not sure what they were but they were yummy. The texture was very fine, a very dark colour. They were, I am hestitate to say, a bit like a blood sausgae with a rich take to match. Served with labne.
7. Spicy prawns. Deep fried with a spicey coating. These were reminiscent of whitebait and eaten in the same way—a crunchy all-in. Made you thirsty so lucky I had another cocktail.
8. Persian Fairy Floss. Divine. This is a food of the Gods. Unlike normal sugary pink fairy floss, this is more like the fluffiest, air infused halva you ever had. It was fresh, plentiful, addictive and melted in your mouth.
9. Shortbread cookies with a filling which I believe comprised fig puree and rosewater. Very nice, especially with ...
10. Lebanese coffee, sweetened, with cardamom. Served in traditional coffee pots off the stove complete with mud at the bottom.

*It was a great meal. I have been looking at reviews to get names and ingredients right and all I can say is that it is known there is a two sitting policy so if you come for the first sitting know that you'll get kicked out and don't complain. I am over people who complain. All those people on i-Google that complain about the random selection of themes—choose one and stick with it and then you won't be 'disappointed'. Better yet, design one yourself—I just hope your design doesn't pop up in my random display. This is off the track but I have something to say about it! So, ner! Randomness has the possibility of both good and bad inherent in it, if you are not up for that, stick to what you know and be boring, but most importantly silent!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ten Crazy Things I Have Done With the B——ster: A Birthday Celebration.

1. Remember the time when we were dared to drive home with the roof of the V-dub open, wearing avaitor hats and scarves blowing in the wind. We were five or ten minutes from home when we got rear-ended. Saying we failed the dare was unfair. I do think that if that happened today we would not have taken everything off—merely untied the scarves from the rollbar and exchanged details like we did this sort of thing everyday.
2. Remember all the other V-dub adventures. The time Leigh squished the huntsman into a green smear on the windscreen with his shoe, and we had to get it off with the windshield wipers. Or the dog poop under the fingernail day. Or the time we were the accident on the radio. Or when we spruced the car and ourselves up to take Guy Leech to a store appearance and he snubbed the dub! I am surprised it wasn't you that had to help me push the car out of the Oakleigh drive-in, up and over, up and over, because the battery was flat and they wouldn't let us wait inside for the RACV—that would have been apt.
3. Remember leaving for Europe with our matching 'world map' shirts. I know it was the eighties but we must have looked very daggy. Not only were they matching, but they were tucked into our jeans.
4.. Remember when you were the grape and I was the vine. Riding down the valley of the Seine can often——with it’s up and down rolling hills——drive you a little in-Seine. B———— had a purple jacket, I had an olive green one. After miles and miles of vineyards it seemed only natural to emulate our surroundings and make like the grapes. Don’t know what the passing traffic thought, but the photo always brings back funny memories.
5. Remember when we thought we'd share just half a cake each in Amsterdam. Nothing changed so we had another one and flew home to London on the bus.
6. Remember when the thing that sent us home from Eurodisney was not Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, but the teacups. Yes, the teacups. You big wooses. But we got that thing up to speed, no doubting that. Don't ever take a teacup for granted.
7. Remember driving in a rental car, in a torrential rain storm, off road, through red-coloured puddles of indeterminable depth, in the Northern Territory, in our undies. It seems that you, me and a car usually means we end up in a weird place.
8. Remember all the times we have trolled through the racks at Savers. I think we even managed it in the really hot summer days of 2009, with no air-conditioning and the sometimes questionably smelly locals. The best trips were always the ones where there was a cupboard for sale out the back that had a mirror and we could try stuff on their instead of waiting in the queues at the changing rooms. The trips always end with eating and drinking somewhere where you can wash the blackness and the smell of the millions of recycled items off your hands. And, later, the four-pickles show and tell. Its an institution.
9. Remember another of those special driving moments—Sicily to Greece in twenty-four hellish/hilarious hours. That was one crazy day. Buses, trains, planes, automobiles; scrabble, billiards, scrabble; no sleep, tiny nap, the best sleep of our lives—and only a madman would take the ‘upgrade to the chair’ over the fabulous sea-night air we had.
10. Remember all the 4 Pickles couch moments. There is always a lot of jest, laughter, wit and malice directed at the public as we see it on the box. I feel particularly proud if I can emit from you a spurt of whatever just went into your mouth. You feel particularly proud if you can get the rapid head jerk. It’s a cocoon—a special cone where silence is definitely not the objective, but it is probably well and good that no one else can hear.

Ten Sets of Match Ups—A Great Way to Learn Synonyms.

Match up is a game on my i-Google page. Luckily it is refreshed only once a day or I would become an addict. It has a bunch of words on one side and a bunch of synonyms on the other. The words are often madly obtuse though. Love it! Maybe some will stick and I can use them. This list will be composed of two: questions and answers. In the first are the words followed by the synonyms. Match them up yourself and then check the answers. I will show off by adding my score. This will not always be showing off of the positive kind.

1. quiescence, howdah, hydroponics, seamster, cayuse:
    Indian pony, aquiculture, houdah, tailor, dormancy.
2. castigate, variegate, abnegate, macerate, apprise:
    vary, advise, chasten, deny, soften.
3. clandestine, mawkish, circuitous, wizened, gauche:
    hush-hush, roundabout, unpolished, hokey, shriveled.
4. vendetta, singlet, troika, drachma, verisimilitude:
    dram, III, blood feud, vraisemblence, vest.
5. tympan, phagocyte, harangue, arboretum, zealot:
    scavenger cell, botanical garden, drum, drumbeater, screed.
6. occlude, imbibe, obviate, cogitate, descry:
    close up, sop up, rid of, mull, spot.
7. circumspect, pellucid, languorous, picayune, cacophonous:
    dreamy, cacophonic, discreet, crystal clear, niggling.
8.alumna, rancor, vendee, affront, entrepot:
    buyer, resentment, insult, graduate, transshipment centre.
9. heathenish, hexangular, pompous, inalienable, isochronal:
    pagan, hexagonal, portentous, isochronous, unalienable.
10. sheepcote, genuflection, fief, balustrade, dolmen:
     fold, handrail, demesne, obeisance, cromlech.

1. quiescence=dormancy; howdah=houdah; hydroponics=aquiculture; seamster=tailor; cayuse=Indian pony. Okay, all that stuff about the words being obtuse. Today they weren't. Five out of five.
2. castigate=chasten; variegate=vary; adnegate=deny; macerate=soften; apprise=advise. Is it wrong that the reason I know macerate is from cocktail menus? Two out of five.
3. clandestine=hush-hush; mawkish=hokey; circuitous=roundabout; wizened=shriveled; gauche=unpolished. Gauche is one of my favourite words, its one of those words that emotes what it means. It is fabulously forties. Five out of five.
4. vendetta=blood feud; singlet=vest; troika=III; drachma=dram; verisimilitude=vraisemblence. Five out of five. Nil out of one 'witty' comments.
5. tympan=drum; phagocyte=scavenger cell; harangue=screed; arboretum=botanical garden; zealot=drumbeater. Harangue is also one of my favourite words. I often harangue about how good a word it is. It is also good to know that although I tend to make it a lot more verby than it appears to normally be, I am using it fairly accurately. Five out of five.
6. occlude=close up; imbibe=sop up; obviate=rid of; cogitate=mull; descry=spot. Who'd'a thought it would go one to one across the grid. That's randomness for you, perfect order. I didn't think it, but I am also not a good puzzle doer today because I am cogitating over something and it's taking all my focus. Two from five.
7. circumspect=discreet; pellucid=crystal clear; languorous=dreamy; picayune=niggling; cacophonous=cacophonic. Those matches should have all been pellucid. Isn't picayune some sort of a mexican mammal? Three out of five.
8. alumna=graduate; rancor=resentment; vendee=buyer; affront=insult; entrepot=transshipment centre. I love theses things. Why do game makers not realise the huge potential word games have in an open market. If that was the case though, why would I be the only person I know who wants to play scrabble. Five out of five.
9. heathenish=pagan; hexangular=hexagonal; pompous=portentous; inalienable=unalienable; isochronal=isochronous. That was almost too easy. I'd like the in- and un-s to mean different things. Five out of five.
10. sheepcote=fold; genuflection=obeisance; fief=demesne; balustrade=handrail; dolmen=cromlech. Sometimes I think that words pre-exist in your head until you activate them and they become a part of your working vocabulary. It explains why you have a subconscious feeling of knowing about them, without being able to say why, or how to use them. Three out of five.

Forty out of fifty. Yay, a HD.

Ten Strange Stickers Stuck up at Work and Why They Oddly Seem to Pertain to Me.

* Someone at work has mad possession of a Dymo. Stickers appear randomly around the workplace. It's become a game/obsession. Oddly, they always seem to have something to do with me—and I am not now talking about how your starsigns in the paper always seem completely accurate, this is really, spookily, me-focused. I think I may have a stalker.

1. 'Bodhi'. We had just had a door installed at work. L— said to me: 'The door is named after Bodhi'. I thought that the company who installed it may perhaps be Bodey & Doyles Automatic Doors Inc. But no, there was a little adhesive sticker with my dog's name adhered to our automatic button. I started to wonder. How many people knew about the Bodhster? Quite a few. Investigation was required.
2. Shellii. Twice, one for each 'i' maybe.
3. Hugger mugger. We now know that although this means confusion or disorder, it also means secrecy and clandestine, so its a double whammy: revealing a possible secret that may apply to me and another person who can't be named and may be the above mentioned stalker, who may be in the same place that the stickers are, and, the favourite pizza of a couple I intimately know. This is a masterfully devious sticker-person.
4. Max Brenner. The bald man. A chocolate love story. The mixed emotions of chocolate. Max Brenner is a euphemism for a relationship (small r). And it's scary when they know what you order.
5: Free to try, five to buy. This one has had internal appearance and continues to have an external appearance. I see it every time I walk over the bridge. The stickers are now graffiti art—and ironic at that as the artist once spent an inordinate amount of time taking down stickers placed around town by a fellow guerrilla sticker-man. There is still one down along the bike path in Docklands. A donut with a crown on top and a bite mark on the side. See if you can find any others and I'll pass on their locations. See if you can find the bridge.
6. Free Praline Sample. This turned up on the sugar bowl and was removed rather quickly. Praline is about seventy-three percent sugar so I don't know what the fuss was about.
7. Irregular Choice/NYC-LON/Melb? Poor sweet graffiti artist! I had to pull this one off the wall straight away and stick it in my list book because I had just spent thirty animated minutes of break-time extolling on the virtues of Irregular Choice to anyone and everyone who would listen. I would have revealed who the receiptee of the graffiti art was, and it would poss have been short shrift to then work out the identity of the artist.
8. Small (r). The artist is getting funnier. He’s … oops, that’s an odd assumption isn’t it? … getting postmodern. Could he write my thesis on his dymo please?
9. The Do-Bee. The do-bee is that all purpose word for every occasion. I always know what it means. Do you?
10. Big (r). Eek!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ten Things to Do While Playing Hooky From the Thesis/Exegesis Lecture at Uni Today.

* Look, this is the one and only lecture I went to last year, and it was the one that made me think they didn't care about us poor Literature students who only write about other people's work rather than creating our own. I mean, do they think that creativity isn't required or utilised when writing a critical piece. See Oscar Wilde about that if that's what you think! Not all critical essays are as boring as bat-poo or as obtuse as ... well, as lots of other critical essays. So there.

1. Go to Borders and drink chai lattes and eat smiley face cookies while watching people bespatter books with their chai lattes and smiley face cookies. While you are there you can search for the next book in the crime series' you are reading, only to find they don't have the next ones on your list (that you haven't made yet, and, possibly, won't be a list for here, unless you get desperate). Sometimes the universe does tell you to not spend any money when pay day is still a week away.
2. Play computer games at Dick Smith. Except if the universe is telling you not to because it's Final Fantasy XVII, or some other game where you punch people. Why can't stores that have games for people to play when they are browsing, have Singstar as an option, or something wacky on the Wii.
3. Book accommodation at the Hibiscus Garden Resort and Spa for our trip to Port Douglas in July. I still have an inherent distrust of travel agents. Knowledge is a dangerous thing. But there is the advantage of holding the booking without having to pay for the accommodation up front. Hope it is as nice as I told all the people I sent there it was!
4. Look at diamond rings at Tiffanys. Friendship rings. Don't get funny ideas. Rings for when people have been friends for a very long time.
5. Search for Marshmallow spread at Coles. Coles always stops selling the stuff I like.
6. Drink Rose. This was a lightly sparkling Brown Brother's Moscato Rose. It was sweet with strawberry and raspberry highlights and a cinnamon back. The effervecence sprinkled rose petals on the palate, and the aftertaste of watermelon was a refreshing accompaniment to spaghetti bolognese. I just googled it for a more accurate description than mine: they used roses and red berries in the aroma, with spicy perfume in the nose, and balanced fruit, acid and spritz on the palate. I wasn't too far off.
7. Play hide and seek.
8. Have a foot massage. I am fairly sure this is reality and not just a seemingly convincing fantasy.
9. Watch NCIS. Well, technically I would have finished playing hooky by now, but I love games so sometimes I just keep playing.
10. Find somebody's ticklish spot at last and then torture them back finally! Ah, sweet, cold revenge.

Ten New Places I Have Now Visited Because of the Melbourne Romp.

1. St Patrick's Church up at the top end of town. At the back of the church is a great fountain that runs down the steps through a sort of memorial type garden. It is quite lovely, modern, and juxtaposes well with the classicism of the church.
2. Argyle Square in Carlton. This is actually a lovely square with some very interesting features. Its the one off Lygon Street—you always see it but possibly never go to it like me. It has a great star clock in the middle of the spiral stonework. Work out which number is missing. Chuppa-chupp to the first person to 'comment' the answer.
3. Cussonia Court. Melbourne University. There is something inextricably lovely about Melbourne Uni isn't there—even the seventies buildings seem lovelier there. This little square has a magnificent fig tree and off course a Cussonia tree. It was a nice place to sit for a little while and get your bearings, including longitudinal and latitudinal, height above sea-level ...
4. Trades Hall. It has concrete steps worn by the tramping of the feet of the proletariat—how can you not love the building. Each different trade has a room for its representatives and a preserved board has all the trades listed with their historical locations. Just because it isn't what it used to be doesn't make it any less fabulous.
5. The Women’s refuge at Melbourne Central. Although I am not sure if running madly through it, with only the merest neck turn, and envy pang, at the table where kids were having the Melbourne Romp passports stamped, qualifies me as ‘being in’. I did see new parts of Melbourne Central though. They have a flight simulator. And astro turf.
6. The cafe with the chess board (is that still there) opposite the Town Hall. It always looked like a good place to stop for a cuppa. We did just grab a traveller so the visit was brief and the impression not overly memorable
7. The Polly Woodside. I am a little ashamed to say that in the thirty years that I have lived in Melbourne, I have never visited the Polly Woodside. There is an argument for it being a fairly open sort of entity, and so displaying is loveliness from outside, dispelling the necessity to go on board. I have to admit—ashamedly—that I have never taken the time to admire its attractiveness from the outside either. It is a very pretty ship. I’d circumnavigate the globe in it, no questions asked.
8. The stuffed animal exhibit at the Melbourne Museum. I don’t recall it from the time that I did visit the museum previously. I think its technical name may be something other than ‘the stuffed animal exhibit’. There is something weird about stuffed animals isn’t there? Maybe it would look less disturbing if they stuffed them in the postures of death, rather than in an attempted animation of life. We know they are dead, let’s just face it. The last time I did go to the museum they had a great exhibit in a very long case—it was a collection of dead animals and they looked dead. I liked it much more. I didn’t throw my wig at it though so there may be a tainted history for the poor stuffed animal display with me.
9. Seaman’s Mission. Anyone who’s ever let me crap on at length would probably have allowed me to get onto the bit about how I was once ‘this close’ to living here. It is a little off therefore that I have never been inside. It’s quite lovely. Oldish, rundownish, atmospheric. There is a public bar which it was probably good I didn’t know about when I was doing probation. Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was in the room under the dome. We got to sing. Which was all well and good, mucking around, the Sound of Music, until you realised that you were with a trained opera singer. And then I felt a tad embarrassed.
10. Degraves street restaurants. A lovely lane. The shops on it are sweet (meant as the highest of compliments). I may have snacked or coffee-d there once, but have never dined. It was a lovely way to finish the day and chill. The bathroom was horrible and hot though, so go before you go.

Under Construction ...

Ten Things That May be Funny, But Can't Possibly be as Funny as Accidently throwing Candy at a Stuffed Lion.

* No animals were harmed in the production of this list.
** Glossary:
—Accidentally: The plan was: when we got points for the next challenge on the Romp, I would throw my wig in the air for joy, thus revealing to the other members of my team my bald head. The wig accidently flew over the glass display cabinet and landed on a stuffed red bird.
—Candy: A blonde nylon wig.
—Melbourne Romp: A four hour long treasure hunt-cum-amazing race-cum-trivia contest, whereby teams race around Melbourne to checkpoints where they solve clues and gain points.
—Stuffed Lion: An exhibit at the Melbourne Museum guarding a quote from Albert Einstein which I was laughing too hard to ever be able to recall.

1. B—— had to ride her bike to and from the post box urgently before going for a leisurely walk along the beach. Later, relieved, letter-posted, she walked along the sands of Port Melbourne and realised she had forgotten to take off her helmet.
2. This is indescribable. Ask V—— to see the video of him dancing. He is undoubtedly going to kill me for even mentioning this to my nearest-and-dearest (let alone publishing it on the web). He has one of me dancing too. It makes him laugh uncontrollably, but presented to any sample audience side by side, it is the video of V—— that incites raucous laughter. It is very funny.
3. Coming home and finding your friend giving her boyfriend a manicure. It didn’t seem to be that funny to me, but it certainly got my friend going. Car-car-car-car-car. She has an odd laugh.
4. Saying goodnight to Lolli, B—— sweetly spoke to her through the blanket on the couch. Turned out that the lump she thought was Lolli’s head was my foot. Goodnight B——, love, my foot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ten Moderate-to-High'ly Exciting Purchases from Savers.

1. Red 70's Trench coat with ribbon trim on neck and sleeves. Love it. Wearing it all the time now that it is cold, and its hundred percent polyesterness and never-have-to-iron-ability means I can just throw it in the wash when it gets dirty—unlike my last wool coat, which, although fabulous and woolly, does sport some seriously suspicious stains. Add dry-cleaning to my conspiracy list.
2. Grey, French dress coat. This is a beautiful sartorial item. It is a grey wool with amazing pink detailing throughout. I love it to bits but unfortunately don't fit into it. Its in the vacuum bags of shame that are under my bed waiting for me to lose weight.
3. Black Skirt. This doesn't sound exciting—although a good black skirt can never be under-rated, as can not a good black cardigan—but this skirt is different. Woven fabric with an elastic stretch to it, it has a wide, possibly fold over waistband, and I actually wear it as a dress. It becomes sleeveless but looks good with a shirt with a nice collar or sleeves underneath: just below knee length. I have had lots of wear out of it, and it smarts up very well!
4. Grey off-off-the-shoulder swinglet. I love this top. It has the most delicious feeling cotton, silky. It covers all manner of nasty body parts. It has a gathered waist with an incredibly long tie at the front waist area which, although totally impractical, I like for some reason. Comfy and two types of cool.
5. J-Lo jeans. I'm not a branded type of girl, but there is something about purchasing a branded item for five dollars that makes it infinitely more exciting that spending five hundred. And when the brandee promotes a large arse in jeans, all the better. It also has a sparkly button.
6. Sherlock Holmes Cloak. It is a year of cloaks and I should be getting off my bottom, instead of sitting here day in and day out writing blogs and thesii, and actually sew buttons on cloaks and inner warm linings on other cloaks, so that I can take advantage of the four I have on permanent display on my clothes rack (never on my actual clothes-horse body). This one is tweedy and collaresque like I would imagine Sher to wear around and about Baker Street. Just needs a couple of buttons and I will be out there looking more unusual than I ever could believe myself to look. (Benefit of never looking in mirrors—you think you look fabulous. Disadvantage of never looking in mirrors—when you see yourself outside, in a random reflective surface such as a window or pond or magic silvery portal, it's too late to do anything about it.)
7. M.E.L. Waistcoat. Again, branded quality in great fabrics and stunning design (not always the case with brands of course). A tu-tu-esque frill makes it but it's the attention to details that makes it lovely. Now just have to wear it once or twice and I'll be happier.
8. Denim skirts. Somehow a trip to Savers seems incomplete without a denim skirt. I have done it, but it is rare. And for the most part the skirts get worn about eight hundred times each. My current favourite is a mid calf length one with a wide turned up hem. I wear it more than my pyjamas. Goes with absolutely everything.
9. Blue swing top. This is again a lovely cotton, soft and warm. I like the detail in this top. The neckline has tiny concertinaed pleats and the sleeves have a join just below the elbow which allows for a fuller, gathered lower sleeve. I have to stop myself from wearing this all the time in case it runs out.
10. My last item is a homage. I have had my black cardigan for about fifteen years. Its cost per wear is an atom. I no longer wear it very often but can't bring myself to sending it away. It is still not pilled, and although it has been repaired a few times, it is still in great shape. This is a miracle in a world of instant gratification and latest trends. Thank you black cardigan—you are a star!

Ten Ways to Make Your Hammies Hurt.

1. Weed the side of the house for four hours.
2. Climbing stairs: to the fifth floor for breakfast or lunch (from the 3rd); up the Eureka Tower for charity.
3. Walking with a backpack loaded with pillows and bar bells on the beach. This also gives you sandy socks and a blister under your arm. It was meant to be an ongoing training regime, but the blister is holding me back.
4. Yoga. Oh, I miss you lovely yoga. I would gladly take a stretchy hammie for you. Come back to me.
5. Tearing it from the bone in a football game like poor Nick and other assorted football players. This would be unlikely to happen to me, and, saying it will ‘hurt’ is a bit of an understatement.
6. Practising to be like the dancers on SYTYCD by doing developpe a la seconde in bed. That, or any other arrangement of limbs that facilitates a direct knee to face relationship.
7. Walking all day in flippers. I haven't actually done this but I would imagine the effect would be sore hammies.
8. Jogging on the spot in the backyard for five songs on the i-Pod. With no warm up. On another fitness regime that lasted one session. Maybe my one-sessionness is because I get sore hammies. No, its because you dislike exercising intensely.
9. Zumba. This is not spoken from experience, but when I have ever sat on the couch and watched a paid-presentation for Zumba, I have got a sore set of hammies. That may be because of the weird way in which paid-presentations somehow keep you rooted to your spot, never moving, never able to turn off the TV and go to bed, even though the presentation goes for about three hours and is made up of the same five minute soundbite eternally repeated. If you don't understand this, see my blog on why I think I may be susceptible to hypnotism.
10. Kick starting a Vespa that hasn't been started for many years. I love it, but I can't ride it. I don't have a licence or the wrist strength. It's on my list of a-hundred-and-one-things-to-do-before-I-die to put getting my moped licence on my list of a-hundred-and-one-things-to-do-before-I-die. That may be a diversion. Don't think too hard. Anyway, if you ever want to strengthen your hammies come over and try to start my bike.

Ten Mad Products Discovered on Etsy Through Random Word Searches.

* A word is generated on a random word generator and then fed into Etsy. Hours of trawling later, this is what we get:

1. Random Word: Tortilla. Etsy: Ceramic flip flop ornament for your rear-view mirror. The variation of this great gift idea shown under this search criteria has a tortilla-like glazing. You can have these made with your company logo on them. Um, mad!
2. Random Word: Atheist. Etsy: Eight by ten print of the 'Holy Vagina'—what the artist calls a merging of two powerful female symbols. I like that she pre-empts customer (or more likely non-customer) complaints by trapping you in a two way negation of yourself: if you think the image is a desecration of an icon, then look at the desecration the Bible wreaks on women, and, if you denigrate the vagina in the image then you say that a vagina is 'dirty' or 'wrong'. You can't win this argument you didn't even get to have it seems. Um, mad!
3. Random Word: Northeast. Etsy: Twenty fours pieces of found 'seaglass' for twenty four dollars. Does craft extend to finding a piece of glass on the beach, washing it, working out what colour it is and putting it in that pile. It is Maine found: possible point of difference to glass located on beaches in other parts of the world. This is either entrepreneurial or, um, mad!
4. Random Word: Nasal. Etsy: A twenty-four carat gold Nose fridge magnet. I think even the maker believes it's an item with some inherent oddness when he begins his description with: 'Lord love a duck, it's a gold nose magnet'.
5. Random Word: Sow. Etsy: A knitting pattern for a rather strangely shaped sow (I didn't recall how many meaning sow can have) with press studs on her belly onto which you can attach her suckling piglets. It just doesn't look like it it too far from her and her littl'ens to the sausage factory.
6. Random Word: Gage. Etsy: Fantasy Tooth Fairy Not for the Squeamish. This ceramic sculpture of not-known-what usefulness and questionable beauty is a head with large teeth supported by what looks like testicles. The tooth fairy has no standard manifestation in the imagination, but this is not even near to what I would begin to imagine.
7. Random Word: Thorn. Etsy: Rose and thorn ball stretcher. No, this is not a devise that makes your tennis balls more pliable—they are talking about your testicles. And, I feel a little jibbed because it is actually a rose and barbed wire design.
8: Random Word: Drench. Etsy: Um, okay. A set of three lip balms dedicated to the Kardashian sisters and titled Juicy Rear Lip Smear (watermelon), Hot Mama Lip Drama (cucumber and melon), and SExy Wench Lip Drench (acai berry). I think I would feel that my lips were not where these products were intended to be used. Is that just me?
9. Random Word: Bawl. Etsy: A vial containing two rabbit testicles. The seller suggest they would make a good buy for a science teacher teaching reproduction,or a break up present for the ex. I am sure we would get fewer domestic calls about exes if they received one of these on the demise of their relationship. Also recommended as that something for someone who has everything.They were harvested off a dead bunny, found,in case you are wondering.
10. Random Word: Jerking. Etsy: Shower Art. A waterproof, rubber,collage with astroturf background, a pink robot toys arm bended up with a fist and a series of buttons spelling out 'Jerk It'. The random word was, no matter what you think, random, but also nearly one hundred percent guaranteed to get a good selection of hits. This is actually quite funny and a postmodern art work for its location. I think I'll buy one.

Ten Items I Could Buy on eBay with the $1.52 I've Made This Month on my ING Savings Account.

* Disclaimer: Because this is a time intense list, a certain amount of leeway has been applied and items  are included that may actually be worth $1.52 in an alternative currency. Sorry for any disappointment that this may cause if you are actually trying to buy something for $1.52, but this doesn't allow for postage anyway so you must be prepared to pay a tad more anyway—you don't get something to $1.52 anymore, you know. Also, please keep in mind this is a list, not a factual guide.

1. One hundred and fifty-two hand carved wooden dog figurines. And very odd looking dogs at that. Postage: $8.73.
2. Twelve gold-dust lampwork glass rings. Large clunky rings with swirls of coloured glass in them, and yes, sprinkled throughout with what must, at the price, be genuine gold-dust. Postage: Free to the US and we are closer to China so, hopefully, also free to us.
3. A Homarid Spawning Bed, Magic: The Gathering, trading card. It wasn't quite what I imagined when I read the words 'spawning bed'—in fact I was a little afraid to click in case it affected my ASIO file, but it is more like a garden bed where you grow 'things' of, seemingly, the monstrous persuasion. Postage: free (it'd weigh all of a gram!)
4. Sixty Pastel Hands. This is a bizarre world. These are hands punched from pastel acid-free paper to use on your scrapbooking. I suppose it's not so odd when you put it like that. Postage: Sixty cents.
5. A Black Tie. Four inches wide. New and from Wrexham Ties UK which sounds fancy at the least. This is one pound which converts to approximately $1.52 Canadian. A bargain. Postage: Two Pounds to Canada. This is complicated international trading scheme isn't it?
6. Five hundred bb's for your bb-gun. You can get them in blue, green, orange and yellow. If you are feeling flush though, spend the whole twenty five dollars and you'll get a free pistol! Postage: $1.79. And gut instinct tells me this may be an American site.
7. A Gothic Victorian Steampunk Black Lace Bracelet/Cuff. That's good value. It's also a good idea. Mmm, the ever circling cogs are incorporating inspiration into ideas for [company name not yet registered] items. Postage: $3.50 USD.
8. Minus Anion Healthy Sports Wrist Watch in Ion Black. One: what do these sentences mean—I think it makes sense, but there is apart of my brain going 'alert, alert, con in progress'. Two: how do they sell these things so cheap. This is 1.13 euro to buy: in Europe, where its aimed, how much is the retailer selling it for? Something tells me not 2.26 euro. It's all wrong, and now that the Internet makes things both more and less invisible, you get the sense of its wrongness. Postage: Free from China to Europe.
9. A blue, white and silver striped top, collarless with tied sleeves. Reminiscent of an Indian sort of top. Second hand. It is size 26. I can't say why the seller is selling because it would make me a hypocrite. Postage $8.00.
10. One yard of pale cream Romney wool combed for spinning or weaving. Again, no idea what that means. Its wool. But you'll have to do something with it before you can use it. Postage: $3.50 US.

Number of items actually purchased: none!

Ten Wise Sentences from Bruce Lee.

1. 'Don't think, feel! It's like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all the heavenwy gwory.' (As this is the quote that was stated to me on the control room floor in this format, and is the inspiration for the list, I must leave it in its originally quoted, rather dubious condition—apologies.)
2. 'Love is like a friendship caught on fire. in the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.'
3. 'The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.'
4. 'I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine.'
5. 'If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of.'
6. 'Choose the positive. You have choice. You are master of your attitude. Choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.'
7. 'Knowing is not enough, you must apply; willing is not enough, you must do.'
8.'In Buddhism, there is no place for using effort. Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food and move your bowels, pass your water and when you are tired go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will inderstand.'
9. 'Do not run away; let go. Do not seek, for it will come when least expected.' (What will come? I'm excited.)
10. 'Don't pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.'

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ten Items I Desperately Need to Purchase at the Supermarket. Aka: My Shopping List.

1. Radiant washing powder. Have you noticed that some things at the supermarket have rocketed in price compared to others. Maybe it's a weight to fuel consumption ratio thing. Washing powder is one of those things. Dog food was another. Everytime I go near a supermarket now I check if Radiant is on special because otherwise I can't afford to buy it. Before you ask: B—— prefers the smell of this one.
2. Veggies. I have some spinach in the fridge. That is all. Until I get the fridge I was going to put in my savings list (until I realised a fridge wasn't an incentive for me to save), the number of vegetables I can fit in the existing one is limited. Those of you out there who have had to see me eat the same thing day after day, will know what a relief (to them) it will be when I can veggie-load and make different meals every day. In the meantime, at least one other vegetable will constitute choice.
3. Fruit. Same as above but only two serves a day instead of five or more.
4. Marshmallows. Isn't that a staple item in everyone's shopping list. A sugar boost at only seventy-seven calories for ten marshmallows, no fat. The pink and white ones.
5. Milk. The current flavour of the epoch for milk is lactose free. I like the idea of soy a lot—especially as a possible way to avoid HRT (according to some sources and not at all to others)—but it makes a weird London-bathwater type ring around my cup. I got tired of that. The lactose free is good, but they turn the lactose into fructose, and also, it seems, into fat, so here is the sugar and fat I lost on the marshmallows. Hate it when you find something you wanted to lose.
6. Eno. I think Eno is the next-big drink to be re-marketed. First there was the rebirth of Lucozade as an energy drink rather than a hangover or gastro cure. Then the very uneconomical one-Berocca-twisted-into-water drink. Now I think they will have the twist-technology for a spoon of Eno. What a money-spinner. I’ll buy my energy drinks in bulk thanks. Oh, but I actually need it because I’m burpy.
7. Marshmallow whip. Like the many other items that Coles addicts me to and then denies by removing from the shelves, this one is something I search for in vain every time I pass the condiment aisle. The others are Coles Stem Ginger cookies (now replaced with an inferior version with no actual stem ginger in them) and those long windy liquorice straps (oh I love those). Actually, looking at that list, it seems that maybe Coles is looking after me. Why is what’s good for you so painful?
8. A teeny-weeny light bulb. I am always in search of this light bulb. The problem is that although I know it is teeny-weeny, there is not much else I know. It is possibly tear shaped and it is either screw-in or bayonet. If I could just get that teeny-weeny light bulb, I could read in bed and then turn off the light without having to get up. That would be wonderful. Maybe after I have done this I will go and look at the blown bulb and get the answers to the universe's great questions.
9. Advil. I like the little round brown Advil pills. But again Coles has stopped selling them. They make me feel like I am travelling as that's where I got my little bottle, and that's what I take when I go.
10. Floss. Like fruit and veggies and other good intentions, floss is considered and rejected for chocolate biscuits and cake, thereby creating a greater need for itself that in turn is unfulfilled. Oh, the strange merry-go-round of life. Don't forget to buy floss ... ooh, Tim Tams.

Ten Things List-Making Teaches You.

1. If you actually do things it is much easier to make lists. Sitting on the couch generates diddly-squat.
2. Sometimes things seem to come in tens, but when you go to write them down, there are far fewer than you thought. Ten is sometimes a hard place to get to.
3. You can get too close to things to see them. It is not seeing the forest for the trees. There are lots of simple things to make a list about—no need to complicate life too much, as usual.
4. Patterns. I have a pattern of being sarcastic. I have a pattern of absurdity. I have a pattern of book and word related focuses. I have a pattern liking gimmicks. Like I said right at the beginning, this is a way to see who a person is: a person is a series of patterns.
5. That maintaining a blog is a time-intensive activity. It takes forever, but you can find ‘forever’ when you need it.
6. Everybody loves a list. Well, maybe not everybody. Here is a list of people who don’t love a list. Only kidding. I posit that it is because we like that squared-in structure, that limit we can reach and complete. Coming up with ten things is a puzzle we can solve, a little mini pat on the back everyday. Who wouldn’t like a list?
7. A year whizzes by. Three hundred and sixty five counted up one list at a time actually happens quite quickly—especially when you're running behind and everything comes up as 'Under Construction'.
8. List making teaches you to look for the minutia in life, to look at detail, to be be observant, and to do it everyday. I think my brain is getting exercise, I think it may have a little muscle showing—oh, no, that's my arm.
9. How absurd the world is. That's it, just that—it's absurd, no question, no point expanding. That would be absurd.
10. Lists tell stories. And three hundres and sixty-five lists make a novel. Unfortunately, it's like a bad travel novel—egotistical and self-indulgent. I possibly wouldn't recommend anyone read it. Maybe have it as one of those books you read in the toilet if you aren't doing Sudoku.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ten Things I Have Discovered About my Skull.

1. It is not grossly deformed.
2. There is a birthmark at the back of it—not a unique one but the one everyone who goes through a birth canal has. Only thing is: I didn't go through a birth canal. Riddle me that one, Batman.
3. I've obviously doinged it at some stage. It has a white indentation where no hair grows.
4. Having hair on your skull makes it much warmer.
5. My features don't, as I thought they might, gather about my nose like office gossips around a watercooler.
6. I have an unformed twin sister attached to the back of my head. Now is the perfect opportunity to get it removed. Sorry: her.
7. You know those twisty bits—where your hair does a whirlpool and goes off to another part of your head, the bit that always hurts first after a long international flight when you haven't been able to wash your hair for a while. A hairdresser told me I had two. She lied.
8. When you have a long fingernail, and it breaks, there is a sensitivity in your fingertip because it hasnt touched things for a while. When you have hair, and then its all gone, your whole head has that feeling. It is very weird. It feels a bit displaced.
9. My skull is a little slimy. It must be down here, in the nitty gritty, that the oilyness of oily hair derives.
10. I've had to search hard, but there it is, another dint. No idea what I did.
Suggestion made: Thank you R——. 'While you have no hair, you should get a treasure map tattooed on your head, and then when you die, people will spend hundreds of years trying to find it.' Of course, the realisation that the tatooist may get to it first was raised. He will have to be ... (Can't say the rest on a public forum.)

Ten Things that Make My Dad Unique.

1. His generosity. Even when he doesn't want to, resists with all his might, he is always generous. He is resisting the heater issue, but he'll settle for the more expensive, higher energy rating one over the cheaper, terrible energy one because it's cheaper to run. That doesn't benefit him. Thanks Pa. I also like to think it's because he has a green conscience.
2. His skinny, funny legs. It kind of makes him a cartoon Dad. Everybody loves a cartoon Dad.
3. His appreciation of books. It's peculiar because he doesn't really read books that aren't about stamps or cameras, maybe once about cricket I seem to recall, but he always bought us books, taught us to read (I remember him getting cross about me getting the b's and d's the wrong way around in The Owl and the Pussycat), and protected books (I remember him getting cross about me colouring all my 'the's purple in my Nancy Drew book). Sorry Dad, the crossnesses just contributed to my own love of books and my extreme reluctance to write in them to this day (I try to rebel occasionally, to make them mine), so I don't hold a grudge—in fact I wrote a poem about it:

'Literary Histories'

Reading the 'other':
When I was four;
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea.
In a deautiful pea-green doat.
Hoarding five pounb notes and runcidle spoons.

When I was five:
Miss Baker tut-tutted, shook-her-head, wrong/wrong.
I ironed my sentence straight; set g and j in heated rollers.
Why does this not satisfy her still

Textual Analysis:
When I was six:
I coloured, plummy purple, all the 'the's
in my Nancy Drew. Nancy says 'the' a lot;
and does a lot of 'the' things.

(I don't actually recall my grade one teacher's name who kept making me re-write a sentence and not telling me what I kept doing wrong. I did everything I could with the sentence to make it good, neater and neater, but didn't realise that putting the question mark on the next line because it doesn't fit, isn't the way to go.
4. His cooking skills. He makes a mean curry, a fabulous taco, superb re-friend beans, and I'd pay twenty-eight bucks for his Chicken Marsala.
5. His ‘quality’ philosophy. He always got the best—the best camera, the best microwave or video recorder, the cheapest house in the best suburb. Cheap is false economy. It’s a good lesson to learn. I always get two pairs of the best shoes. Actually I should but I don’t.
6. His stockmarket savvy. I could say that the reason I don't go up and work out what my portfolio is all about and how to participate in managing it is because I don't want to be disillusioned by a realisation that he isn't a witchdoctor of the ASX. Unfortunately most people would probably realise I was lying and just justifying a lazy approach to my own wealth creation.
7. His quietness. It is a skill to appear calm. Not saying that there hasn't been the odd occasion where the seas have broiled, but most people wear everything out in the open, loud and opinionated and emotional and silly. That is not the case here. But behind the facade you know all those other things exist.
8. His good work ethic. And damn him for passing it on! I dislike having a good work ethic. I want to not care like everyone else. I want to go home and not worry about things that happened in the day, I don't want to put in extra effort for the same amount of money. But, no, I can't. Damn. I better go to heaven for this.
9. His history. Who'd have thought that behind that responsible Dad with the good work ethic, the stockmarket savvy, the quietness and the silly legs, would be a car racing, stovepipe trouser wearing, hair slicked back, Teddy Boy. Dad, you really need to tell us more about that time; we really need to ask you more.
10. His great kids. I won't elaborate because it'll take the focus to the wrong place, but it takes a great person to make great kids and he is half of a great team!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ten 'Baldy' Insults from 'The Boy'—Even Though He Was the One who Shaved it to the Bone.

* Today I went bald for the cause—Leukemia. It's not too late if you still want to donate. I also wanted to see what my skull looked like. Now I know. Despite 'The Boy's' mum telling him not to pick on me about my hair, or lack there of, these are just ten of the insults I recieved today.

1. He grabbed me in a head lock, patted the top of my head and sang a la mode de Benny Hill.
2. 'C'mon on Kojak.'
3. 'Ghandi'.
4. 'Chrome dome'.
5. 'Mirror ball'.
6. 'Billiard ball—magic eight ball'.
7. 'I'll call you "your Holiness" from now on. We can get you those little cymbals. Hare, hare. Hare rama. Rama, Rama, Hare Krishna.' Accompanied by dancing down the street. Clarendon Street!
8. 'Here, lean over, I want to read my fortune.'
9. 'Can I shave your eyebrows? Then you'll really look like Uncle Fester.'
10. 'I can't decide whether you look more like Dr Evil or Dr No.'

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ten Reasons Why I Feel Apocalyptic Lately.

1. Ten centimeter hail stones fall from the skies on an afternoon where, moments before, brides rode in strapless gowns on open carriages, and muggy sweat gathered on brows sleeping in preparation for night shift.
2. Three feet of snow fell, twice in four days, in Washington D.C.—bringing the seat of first world government to an eerie stop.
3. Hundreds of thousands of people dying in earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
4. Natural selection becomes survival of the one with the knife. For the first time, I am ashamed of the place I live.
5. Iceland erupting. All flights stopped to Europe. This is a malevolent being damning the overuse of fossil fuels. Hope he is over his hissy-fit by June. My no-car lifestyle pays for my use of aviation fuel—I'm carbon deficient.
6. Meteor makes the night sky over five American states a spooky green before exploding with a sonic boom that is heard for hundreds of miles.
7. All the bumble-bees are dying. When all the bumble-bees are gone, we might as well shut up shop.
8. Hundreds of thousands of litres of oil spilling into the Gulf from a pipeline that is so far under the ocean that it can't be reached to stem the flow, and, that is only able to be switched off from an oil rig that has been blown to smithereens. The astonishing advance of the human race is too fast for mere humans to follow.
9. The locusts are coming. This is your classic apocalypse stuff. where are the rivers of blood and the sacrifices of first borns. Now I feel really apocalyptic. And they're coming to town. It's like a bikie funeral.
10. And now,last but not least, we have the forty days of rain. Maybe not literally, but it sure feels like it. We have already hit our average yearly rainfall with a month and a bit to go. Keeping in mind, of course, that the average yearly rainfall has been decreasing lately because there hasn't been any therefore making it technically easy to reach—this is the hidden nastiness of statistics. Where is the Ark?

Ten Quotes I Really Like From Books on the Reading Pile

1. From: Travels with Charley; John Steinbeck. Re: Turkeys. 'To know them is not to admire them for they are vain and hysterical. They gather in vulnerable groups then panic at rumors.' Fresh, fabulous writing. This is what turkeys are like, no-one ever said it this way before.
2. From: From Cape Wrath to Finisterre; Bjorn Larsson. Re: Marriage. 'Why then, one might ask with some justification, don't more people move in together on a boat for a trial period? They would soon find out whether there was any point in getting spliced.' In a sailing book what better analogy for marriage than rope-talk.
3. From: Gilles Deleuze; Claire Colebrook. Re: Love. ‘Love is the encounter with another person that opens us up to a possible world.’ That's a great way to think of something that is usually over-defined and thus pray to disappointment.
4. From Written on the Body; Jeanette Winterson. Re: Something unforgettable that someone says (or shows) to you. 'I've hidden those words in the lining of my coat. I take them out like a jewel thief when no-one's watching. They haven't faded.' Ah, Jeanette! Whole tracts of your work could be in this list. You are magic with words. I have a line of words hidden in my coat lining too. Just as they were hidden on a wall in marking only detectable by ultra violet light when I was first shown them.
5. From 1Q84; Haruki Murakami. Re: Amazing ways of describing facial expressions. 'Komatsu smiled. It was the kind of smile he might have found way in the back of a normally unopened drawer.'
6. From Auto de Fay; Fay Weldon. Re: Justifying name changes. 'Those who don't change their names enjoy a straight line from their past to their future, stay the same person, for good or bad.'
7. From Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago Volume II. Re: Stool pigeons in the general populace. 'He is an ordinary human being like you and me with a measure of good feelings, a measure of malice and envy, and with all the weakness which makes us vulnerable to spiders.'
8. From Tender is the Night; F Scott Fitzgerald. Re: The characteristics of children. 'Lanier was an unpredictable boy with an inhuman curiosty. "Well, how many pomeranians would it take to lick a lion, Father?" was typical of the questions with which he harrassed Dick.'
9. George Bernard Shaw quoted in Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life; Nora T Gedgaudas. 'No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.'
10. From The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Murakami again. Re: simply stunning simile. 'I held May Kasahara's hand in my pocket. It was a small hand and warm as a sequestered soul.' Simile and metaphor are sometimes too clever for themselves, but I cannot help but hold them as my favourite word game.

Under Construction ...

Ten Bonnie-isms. No, Make that B——-isms

* We're talking So You Think We Can Dance's Bonnie here. Her advice is cringe-worthy at the best of times. Each year it seems to get more painful. On commencing writing down her advice though, she has exacerbated her annoyingness by suddenly becoming less ridiculous. Stay posted—I am hoping she will revert.
** Bonnie must have been having a bad night when we came up with the Bonnie-isms list. Ever since then she has failed to perform with the same alacrity. I managed three of her -isms, but really the rest of what she says needs to be heard to be appreciated, and its hard to hear over your wishes that she would stop talking. The rest of the list is devoted to the hopefully more forthcoming B——-isms. If you can guess who I mean, please let me know if she makes an -ism in your presence. I'll add it to the list.

1. 'The growth is growing'. On Keiran's and Karly's progress in the competition.
2. 'Cougar. I thought, yeah, I like it. Ha ha ha.' On Ivy and Robby's sexual chemistry on stage.
3. 'You were dancing it as well.' On commenting that a dance had told a story. I thought the whole reason they were all there was to dance.

Ten Pieces of Good Advice and Inspiration from Dr Suess.

* My Dr Suess advice comes all from one place—Oh, The Places You'll Go. Far and above the best Dr Suess book of them all. And not nearly, ever so nearly, scary as The Cat in The Hat Comes Back. That book just freaks me out, always has.

1. You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.
2. I'm sorry to say so
    but, sadly, it's true
    that Bang-ups
    and Hang-ups
    can happen to you.
3. Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
    for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
4. I am afraid that some times
    you'll play lonely games too.
    Games you can't win
    'cause you'll play against you.
5. All Alone!
    Whether you like it or not,
    Alone will be something
    you'll be quite a lot.
6. On and on you will hike.
    And I know you'll hike far
    and face up to your problems
    whatever they are.
7. So be sure where you step.
    Step with care and great tact
    and remember that Life's
    a Great Balancing Act.
8. And will you succeed?
    Yes! You will, indeed!
    (98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed.)
10. So ...
     be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
     or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
     you're off to Great Places!
     Today is your day!
     Your mountain is waiting.
     So ... get on your way!

Ten Ways You Know Aqua Crew was Working on Any Particular Day.

* Aqua is my work crew. Disaster finds us every time—we were working for each of the following days. It tends to raise the call volume somewhat, as you can imagine. I sometimes think where I work is literally Hell and, a la mode of Dante, Aqua is the forth (out of four) level, and I am not sure what I did to get there.

1. Melbourne gets hit by a super-cell hail storm that smashes windows and car windscreens, floods roads and houses, and puts everyone in the dark at three in the afternoon.
2. It's Black Saturday.
3. Melbourne has its Storm of the Century.
4. A few days later Melbourne has the Storm of the Century II.
5. Melbourne rocks in an earthquake.
6. Melbourne rocks in another earthquake.
7. A man throws his child off the Westgate Bridge.
8. Crimestoppers urges anyone who has seen a white van to call Triple Zero. Do you know how many white vans there are in Melbourne?
9. Zombie Shuffle. On the whole they're well behaved, but they sure are mucking up traffic.
10. Six youths break out of a high security facility and go on a bit of a rampage. Three million Melbournians believe they have seen them down the street.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ten Ways in Which I Could Daily Work Towards Completing my One Hundred and One Things to Do Before I Die.

1. Write a little every day. Goes toward: 4. Be a true and soulful poet; 32. Write at least one travel book (and get it published)—a good one; 34. Write songs—at least one of which gets sung by someone and makes it onto the airways; 61. Write a TV series as fabulous as 'Buffy'; 73. Write and publish at least one erotic novel; 76. Write a book about lists (I love lists); 101. Write a novel.
2. Laugh. Goes toward: 58. Laugh a lot.
3. Do yoga. Goes toward: 14. Join and stay in a yoga class until I am super zen and super flexible.
4. Make sure I am being a good friend. Goes toward: 5. Cultivate, keep and protect four to five good friends.
5. Don't sit around on the couch eating bad food. Goes toward: 6. Get to and stay at size 14-16 so that I can go into most shops without feeling like a fool.
6. Like myself—say something nice maybe. Goes toward: 48. Accept that I am a square peg in a round hole; 97. Be the person my dog thinks I am.
7. Carry my passport where ever I go, in case .... Goes toward: 18. get a taxi to the airport and buy a ticket for the next international flight leaving.
8. Read a little every day. Goes toward: 40. Read at least a hundred books a year.
9. Make the most of now, it's all I have. Goes towards: 44. Carpe Diem.
10. Sew, knit, embroider, use my hands. Goes toward: 21. Have a mixed media fabby book published by Phaidon or Thames and Hudson; 64. Make body jewellery sculpture; 66. Make my own clothes (one item a month is not too much to ask for, is it?); 75. Make all the presents I give to people; 94. Make a quilt.

Ten Alternative Colours I Could Paint my Boudoir.

1. Pistachio. It would go well with the wood, with the red and pink bedding, and with the navy bedding. It would look lovely and fresh, but would loose a little of the essence of boudoir-ness.
2. Dark Navy Blue—possibly with a sparkly finish, like my nail polish. All you nay-sayers are saying anyway, and no, it won't be too dark. Bedrooms aren't for light sunny days anyway. This would look fabulous with all the wood, and possibly a few extra lamps.
3. Dark Grey and Black. With a stencilled design. Same argument as above. Fabulously moody. Coloured details will sing against that background.
4. Aubergine. Dirty, dark and purple. All the yellow will come out of the wood and glow. Greens would be great against it. Very boudoir.
5. Pure purple (red side), blue (tending to navy), or green (British racing car). Done in a buttoned leather design on the walls. Plush. (Not the sofa people, but beware of the tacky line separating it from this).
6. Brown feature wall. I imagine a dark chocolate. With the other walls a mid tone blue (greener side) and Chinese type branches and blossoms painted on the walls. Nice.
7. Silver or Gold. They have to be great quality. Possibly nothing less than leaf. It would be stunning. And stunningly expensive. But stunning. Yeah, but stunningly expensive. Agree to disagree people.
8. Lilac. This sounds tame in comparison, so make it a mid tone dirty lilac and then paint an opalescent clear in thick horizontal stripes to make it a little fancier.
9. Red. Boudoir staple. Pinky, yellow end of the scale. Maybe leaking to a deep pink down the wall. A wash type effect. Just so it's not 'typically' boudoir. Don't want to look ordinary.
10. Mural. Either a communist type of one full of people—like the one they used to have at Spencer Street Station. Or something like the Moon and Ba stuff from the Google theme of the day the other day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ten Things to Do While Breastfeeding.

Guest List

Courtesy of Isabella and A—— ... thank you. See Isabella at http://mymindsephemera.blogspot.com/

1. Blog.
2. Read other blogs.
3. Watch videos on http://www.ted.com/.
4. Read books.
5. Watch TV.
6. Talk on the phone (be careful about revealing that you are breastfeeding at the time, some people may feel awkward).
7. Plan what to do when you finish the feed.
8. Eat (requires pre-planning or a helpful spouse, be careful not to let crumbs fall on the baby).
9. PFE's (other mothers will know what this means).
10. Sleep (but only if you are in bed and can trust yourself to keep the baby safe).

PFE's? Positive feeding exercises? Positive feeling energies? Putting food everywhere? And how on earth could you possibly sleep while someone with hard gums bites on your breast? Mmmm. Thank goodness for mothers—they let the rest of us enjoy care free lives while knowing someone will be working to pay our pensions later on.

Ten First Lines in the books on the 'Book of the Day' Gadget I Added to my i-Google Site Today.

1. 'The present century has been marked by a prodigious increase in wealth-producing power.'
(Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions, and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth. The Remedy; Henry George.) I am serious—sounds fascinating doesn't it.
2. 'In those strange old times, when fantastic dreams and madman's reveries were realized among the actual circumstances of life, two persons met together at an appointed hour and place.'
(The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne Volume 12; Nathaniel Hawthorn. Extract from 'The Hollow of the Three Hills'. Please note: due to there being no limited preview of this book available, it cannot be guaranteed that the extract is actually from this book. Sorry to the purists.) This sounds intriguing. That's a good first line. I want to read on.
3. 'Whilst every one at court was busily engaged upon his own affairs, a man mysteriously entered a house situated behind the Place de Greve.'
(The Man in the Iron Mask; Alexandre Dumas.) This doesn't sound too bad either, a bit of french, a bit of mystery. Detractors: why are there no women at court? why do I see Leonardo Di Caprio's face whenever I think of this book? I never saw that movie adaptation.
4. 'When the Narasimha Rao government, shortly after taking office in mid-1991, announced its intention to overhaul the workings of the Indian economy, many observers considered the plans of Finance Minister Manmohan Singh far too radical for what 'the compulsions of democratic  politics' would allow.'
(Democratic  Politics and Economic Reform in India; Rob Jenkins. Technically this is the first line of chapter 2; pages  one an two are missing on the limited Google preview. That was just the introduction. Although, bet it was a snappier line.) Might wait on ordering this one off the net, maybe I can borrow it from the library.
5. 'In our current technical society we often measure a continuously varying quantity.'
(Digital Filters; Richard Wesley Hamming.) Too many books are actually published. Like getting pregnant—they say it is incredibly difficult, but so many people seem to accomplish it regardless.
6. 'It has been estimated that the human body is made up of over [10 to the power of 14] cells of which only around 10% are mammalian.'
(Oral Microbiology; Philip Marsh and Michael V Martin) Oh, that is a car accident. I had to look. Turns out the rest are our leeching microflora. Euuogh! It got me reading, it made me want to stop.
7. 'No one would try to teach electrodynamics without using vector calculus.'
(Applied Differential Geometry; William L Burke.) I think I will stick with life. after. theory  and The Moral Vision of Oscar Wilde for the moment thanks.
8. 'Amadeo Terra is staring out the window to the sea on which the sun is dancing.'
(The Cigar Roller; Pablo Medina.) It's not overly catchy for a first line. I dont expect to see it in an overpriced book journal like the one I saw today in Border's—the kind you list the books you have read in. The character's name is a little of a draw though as someone called Terra would seem perhaps like he is going to be an everyman, and therefore I would think that maybe this will be a book about me.
9. 'It is inherently human to show pity to those who are afflicted; it is a quality that becomes any person, but most particularly is it required of those who have stood in need of consolation and have obtained it from others; now if ever there was a man who craved pity or valued it or rejoiced in it, that man was I.'
(The Decameron; Giovanni Boccaccio, Guido Waldman, Jonathan Usher.) I have wanted to read The Decameron for a while so the wordy first sentence won't put me off. I will persevere.
10. 'Dictionary-style definitions of anti-Semitism ("hostility to Jews") are usually not much help, in part because their brevity and abstractness are inadequate to this particular protean phenomenon.'
(Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews; Albert S Lindemann.) This text would, I imagine, be quite interesting. The first sentence, from a writer's point of view, and a critic's scathingness, is not fabulous though. Starting with dictionary definitions. I can't. Sorry.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Under Construction ...

Ten Overheard Conversations.

I'm listening out. Be careful what you say.

1. Friend One to Friend Two, on seeing three men in the vicinity wearing red and white horizontally striped shirts: 'It's like playing "Where's Wally?"'
2. Pre-amble: Schrodinger’s cat is a thought experiment pertaining to quantum mechanics, in which a cat (a theoretical one, not a real one) is locked in a box with a very small piece of radioactive material, a Geiger counter and a flask of poisonous acid. The radioactive sample can theoretically either decay or set off the Geiger counter—in the case of the latter, a hammer breaks the flask and kills the cat with the poisonous gas. Because what happens to the sample is random, and because the box is sealed, we must imagine the cat as both alive and dead simultaneously. If this doesn't make sense, do what I did and Google, then Wikipedia it.
A pub garden in Hay-on-Wye.
Girl 1: You know Schrodinger’s Cat? Does that work for other things? Can it work for a carrot?
Boy 1: It has to be something alive.
Girl 1: Well my aunt is a vegan and she won’t eat mushrooms because she says they are alive even after you have picked them.
3. Guy from B——'s work: I'm an environmentalist: I let Mother Nature wash my car.
4. Same Guy: For Hush Puppies, these shoes are really loud. (This guy is telling us a lot about himself!)
5. This guy's a font, but when questioned on why he hadn't said anything quote-worthy lately, he promised: I'm going to tuck into my wisdom.