Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moon and money from Kevin

Tonight when I was walking through the park in the dark on the way home from the gym, I looked towards the city and saw a big, yellow sliver of a moon hanging above it. My photo doesn't really do it justice. But it was cool.

Let the stimulation begin!

Woohoo! I got my $900 from the Ruddster today! (For non-Aussies, the Federal Government, headed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, is giving cash hand-outs to people in an effort to stimulate the ailing economy.)

I am going to buy a new mattress, one of those ones with the big, fat pillowy tops. It will probably make it even harder to get out of bed in the morning, but hopefully I will feel better when I do. And in the interests of actually stimulating the economy, I'm planning to purchase an Australian-made mattress from a small business.

I'm also going to buy some bouncy new gym shoes since my old ones are getting too worn. They're only about 15 months old, but I do walk about 30 kms a week in them. I love new runners. Bouncy bouncy bouncy!


Tonight when I checked my bank balance to confirm the arrival of my $900, I noticed the balance of my account was almost exactly the same as the available credit on my credit card. The dollar amount was identical, and the cents only about 40 cents difference. Weirdly, that's the second time in the past week or so that that's happened.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Has anyone else seen high profile Aussie comic Adam Hills' show Inflatable? I saw it on Sunday night - it was his Comedy Festival finale - and boy, am I glad I didn't miss out (thanks, Julian!). It was sensational. Definitely the best of the six shows I saw in this year's festival.

It often takes quite a lot to get me laughing my head off - I can find something very funny without necessarily wetting my pants over it - but it was impossible not to guffaw at Adam Hills (and his sign language intepreter. I now know how to sign dickhead and "F**k you! And f**k the lot of you!".)

I also think it's pretty impossible not to like the guy (unless you are a bitter and twisted misanthrope). He's just so affable and he's got such a positive energy about him - he literally bounced around on the stage at times and you can tell that he absolutely loves what he does - and the crowd loves him back. There was a lotta love in the Princess Theatre on Sunday night and he didn't want to leave the stage. He came back on stage to a standing ovation and said, "Ah bugger it! Let's just order pizza and hang out!". Yeah, OK!

It's probably no surprise I like him given he once had a show called Joymonger, which I only realised after starting this blog.

Not only was the show hilarious, it was also uplifting - Hill's message is that there are two kinds of people in life - those who "inflate" others and those who deflate them, and you can choose which type you are. Indeed.

Dream job

Can you imagine how exhiliarating it must be to be able to send an auditorium full of people of all ages into fits of laughter? I get a buzz from making a couple of friends crack up...imagine that feeling multiplied a hundred times or more?

And what an absolute joy being able to make a living from doing something that you love and that brings so much pleasure to other people. I suppose it's tempered to some extent by being away from home and family so much, and the downside of celebrity (like people expecting you to be funny 24/7) but still...

PS. Hills is heading off on a tour of other capital cities. Click the link to his myspace page in the first line for dates. Do yerself a favour!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Return of Word Nerd

Finial on the Rose Pavilion in the Botanic Gardens

Remember I said I was engrossed in a book about some crazy American reading the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary? It took him a year to plough through the OED but I knocked over his book about it in a few days - or very late nights, to be precise. A vast difference to the last book I read which I chipped away at for months.

Anyway, here are my favourites of Ammon Shea's pet words listed Reading The OED:

Artolater: a worshipper of bread.

Antithalian: opposed to fun or festivity. A stick in the mud. Funny saying that....

Acnestis: the point of the back on animals between the shoulders and the lower back which cannot be reached to scratch. Or, in other words, the place where I am always itchy, dagnammit.

Adversperate: to approach evening. From the same root word as one of my new favourite words,
vespertine, meaning twilight or dim or of animals that come out at dusk. As an aside, animals that come out before dawn or early in the morning are matutinal.

Aerumnous: full of trouble

All-overish: feeling an undefined sense of unwell that extends to the whole body. I used to use NQR (not quite right) to describe this feeling, but not anymore.

Bouffage: an enjoyable or satisfying meal. Try that one at your next dinner party. "Well, I must say, Barbara, that was a delightful bouffage."

Cachinator: one who laughs too loud or too long. Shea also lists grinagog - a person who is constantly grinning- and hypergelast - a person who will not stop laughing.

Fard: to apply cosmetics to hide blemishes. Says Shea: "I suspect there is a reason no one ever gets up from the table and says, 'Excuse me while I go to the ladies and fard'."

Gaum: to stare stupidly.

Jocoserious: half-joking and half serious. Obviously. I love that this sounds like a silly word someone made up but it's actually in the dictionary. Speaking of made up words, I may or may not have mentioned the word I made up to for something that's not quite blue and not quite purple - blurple. The other day a friend (Hello, Stephanie!) told me she saw blurple used in a catalogue to describe that very thing! One day I want to see blurple in the dictionary. Start using it, people!

Latibulate: to hide oneself in a corner.

pleasure in something wrong.

Mumpish: sullenly angry.

Nod-crafty: given to nodding the head with an air of great wisdom. In other words, looking smart without necessarily being so.

Onomatomania: vexation at having difficulty finding the right word.

Petrichor: The pleasant loamy smell of rain on the ground, especially after a long dry spell.

Ploiter: to work in an ineffective way.

Preantepenult: third from last. For when simple words won't do.

Psithurism: the whispering of leaves moved by wind. Pleasingly onomatopoeic.

Scrouge: anyone travelling on packed public transport such has we have in Melbourne will be able to use this word every day. It means to inconvenience or discomfort someone by pressing against them or standing too close.

Sialoquent: to spit while talking.

Tardiloquent: talking slowly. This describes a client at work very well.

Twi-thought: my head is full of these - it's a vague and indistinctive thought.

Unasinous: being equal to another in stupidity

And finally...

a person who pays too much attention to words. What the? That's like having a word for someone who pays too much attention to breathing.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oooh, clouds!

Taken from the Shrine of Remembrance

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Metal Mickey and other gems

Does anyone remember that British TV show from the 80s called Metal Mickey? It popped into my head the other morning for some reason, although it took me a little while to recall the name. Wasn't quite as popular as The Goodies...

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I found a video of the intro. Ring any bells? I remember the granny in the wheelchair often used to say, "It's m'knees"...but not much else.

Of course, as is often the case when you go hunting on YouTube for something, you find other cool stuff too. Like other TV shows from when you were a kid. The Wombles! I wish The Wombles would make a comeback so I could say and hear the word "wombles" more often. Considering the environmental theme of the show, it might not even seem too outdated.

And some more...

And finally, Basil Brush...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two words

A crepuscular rower's Word of the Day offered up a couple of pearlers in the past few days.

Crepuscular - which means of, or pertaining to, or resembling twilight, dim. In zoology, it refers to animals that come out at dusk. To me it sounds like a word to describe a weepy or crusty sore, especially as the emphasis is on "pus". Ugly word for something pleasant.

There is a much more poetic word for it, which is a recent addition to my list of favourite words - vespertine. In fact, the entry for vespertine includes crepuscular in the definitition.

Quiddity - which means the essence, nature, or distinctive peculiarity of a thing; a hairsplitting distinction; a trifling point; a quibble; an eccentricity or an odd feature. I like that there is a distinctively peculiar word for a distinctive peculiarity.

I bought it

I ended up buying myself a copy of the 40th anniversary edition of Cookery the Australian Way, which I blogged about recently. It was quite expensive, but it's such a simple guide to all-round cooking that I am sure I will keep it forever.

I haven't had a good look through it yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the seventh edition compares with my third edition from 1980, which was my high school text book. I have noticed that the recipe for golden syrup dumplings remains after being dropped in the fourth edition and reinstated in the next one. Must have been a public outcry. Quite rightly.

There's some anecdotes in the front from a few people, including some notable chefs, reminiscing about their CAW experiences. I had no idea it was viewed with such fondness by other people.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You got that?!

Walking through the Target Arcade in the city last night, my friend Anthony spotted this funny sign tacked to the front of a take-away food outlet called Health Conscious.

I love its many layers of amusement. Firstly, the y at the end of 'health'. What have they got against healthy unconscious people, huh? And do they actually refuse to serve people who are conscious but not healthy? How can you confidently spot someone who isn't health conscious? Have they established a standard of health consciousness one has to meet before being served? Perhaps a questionnaire to be completed before you get your lunch? Do you need to tell your server your BMI?

The use of capital letters on ONLY suggests they are quite cross with junk-food loving slobs and determined to turn them away. Were they exasperated by a steady stream of befuddled people asking for Mars Bars wrapped in bacon and fried in lard with a straight whisky and ciggie at 9.00am? Is this their equivalent of a 'No hawkers' or 'No change given for parking meters' sign that's stuck up in the hope of repelling time wasting nuisances? Like people with a hankering for hot chips?

And what if someone looks like they love junk food but has just decided to turn over a new lettuce leaf? Should they be spurned in their attempts to eat better? I think not! Lunch nazis!

I am tempted to go there on Monday and see if I can find any item of food available that I deem a little bit nutritionally dodgy, perhaps something that's not low enough in fat and salt. No, wait! I am going to go and ask for a Mars Bar wrapped in bacon and deep-fried in lard, a whisky and a ciggie, just to watch smoke come out their nostrils as they gesticulate wildy at the sign. Yes indeedy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reading the dictionary, and nanna trolleys

I was up until past 2 am on Monday night reading a book about a man's adventures in reading the dictionary. No, I wasn't looking to cure insomnia. I couldn't stop reading it. Who would have thought such a book would be un-put-downable?

You may recall I mentioned Ammon Shea's Reading the OED a little while back. Not only did he read the entire Oxford English Dictionary - it was the TWENTY VOLUME SET I blogged about on the weekend! Holy crap! That's 62 kilograms of books, containing 21,730 pages bearing about 59 million words. Gadzooks!

The book details the year-long process of reading the dictionary as well as listing some of his favourite funny/quirky/obscure words. How he managed to condense his favourites into a 220 page book, I do not know.

I like the understatement of his opening line - "There are some great words in the Oxford English Dictionary."

The OED is not the first dictionary Ammon Shea has read - he has been collecting and reading them for a decade. I like that for most of this time he has been employed as...a furniture removalist!

He considers himself more as a collector of words rather than word books.

"These books are merely the tool with which I gather my collection. Although the books may be physical objects that take up room in my apartment, the real collection is the one that takes up all the room in my head, providing me with endless fascination and amusements as I move through the day, constantly thinking, 'There's a word for that...'."

I think I want to marry him.

I will blog my list of favourites from his list once I'm done.

Judith Lucy

I had a good old cackle at Judith Lucy last night. I probably didn't laugh as hard as I did when I saw Stephen K Amos, but I did relate to her and her stories much more.

For those who don't know, the show is called Judith Lucy's Not Getting Any Younger and she talks about being a single, 40-year-old renter whose friends called the hospital one night when she didn't come home, thinking it was more likely she'd been hurt than picked up.

Not that that I related to that bit! I liked the bit where she said she'd got herself a nanna trolley to cart her shopping as she doesn't drive. Like me! But then she said she thought it was an admission that she didn't think she was going to see another penis before she died. No! It's not true!

The show was at the fabulous Forum Theatre - upstairs! I never knew there was a theatre upstairs as well! It's gorgeous, with its blue ceiling and Greco-Roman statuary. It's faded like the first level, but I quite like faded glory.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter epic - Part II

Well, Easter's just about over and done with for another year. I've had an eggcellent (sorry!) loooooong weekend.

On Saturday, I met my friend Paul for brunch at Gluttony on Smith Street in Collingwood. A couple sitting near us had a tiny and adorable Maltese/Shitzu puppy which seemed to take a liking to me, or more likely to the aroma of bacon coming from my plate (I know, what diet?). Lots of people passing by stopped to gush over the pup and pat it.

It was an overcast morning, but in the afternoon the sun came out and it was warm. I wandered up to Brunswick Street and poked about the book stores and clothes shops. I didn't buy any books but I did buy a T-shirt (below). They had one with 'Far out brussels sprout' on it too which I got excited about but I couldn't find one in my size. Dang!

I walked back in to the city via Gertrude Street where I could see the sun setting behind the dome of the Exhibition Building and illuminating the arched windows with golden light.

When I got to the city, I jumped on the City Circle tram for a spin through the docklands and then I walked home from Flinders Street, arriving in the dark.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon and early evening at my Dad's. My brother, whom I haven't seen in over 12 months, was over from Adelaide and it was good to see him. We had a yummy roast lunch, and ate lots of Easter treats (including the truffles and chocolate spiders I made).


Today I slept in, chatted to a friend on the phone and walked into the city in the warm sunshine and went to the gym. Yep, again! Three times in nine days. Just got to keep it up now...

I walked home again afterwards and nipped into the Botanic Gardens to enjoy the late afternoon sun (along with a horde of other people) and to take some macro shots of flowers. When I was crouching down to take one shot, a little boy with his face painted like Spiderman stopped to talk to me. He spotted the black and white stripey feather I'd picked up along the river bank and said he thought it was from a peacock.

At last!

Oh, and tonight I FINALLY finished the book I have been labouring over for about two months now - The End of Food by Paul Roberts. It's really put me behind in my goal to read 40 books this year but I'm glad I got through it and please to be able to start on a new book.

I would have abandoned the book, but it was really interesting - I wanted to finish it. It was just that it was so large and fat and I only managed to knock over a few pages a night before bed because my brain was too tired to concentrate.

One thing in the book I loved was the description of an alternative, sustainable, closed-loop method of rice farming in Japan which substitutes peckish ducklings for chemical pesticides.

"Each June, Takao Furuno releases hundreds of ducklings into his newly planted rice paddies, the ducklings ignore the seedlings (which contain too much of the mineral silica for their liking) but gobble up insects and weeds. Their waste fertilizes the rice, while their contant churning of the paddy bed stimulates the roots of the rice plants to grow faster...In the fall, Furuno removes the ducks (who would otherwise eat the mature rice) to a barn, where they produce eggs and grow to market weight..."

He sells the rice and the ducks and the eggs. How cool is that? Remarkably, his paddies produce about as much rice as his neighbours' paddies, which are more conventionally farmed.

Speaking of ducks, check out this duck I saw on the Yarra today. Usually I just see brown ones.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Easter epic

The things I have to tell you! I'm three days into my extended Easter break and it's been great so far. Better get yourself a cuppa...


I had a crack at making Anzac biscuits (cookies, for you Yanks). They are supposedly simple enough for kids to bake, so clearly I have less culinary aptitude than a child. While the consistency and texture were fine when made with gluten-free flour, they're too salty. They can't make up their mind if they are sweet or savoury (swavoury?). I followed the recipe I printed from the net too, dagnammit. It's the recipe's fault then.

I should have gone straight to my trusty Cookery the Australian Way because its recipe has no salt (only baking soda, while the recipe I used had both). The only reason I didn't go straight to CAW is because the interwebs led me to believe traditional Anzacs contain coconut (which is forbidden on my allergy elimination diet) and I assumed that the CAW recipe would be old-school. As it happens, it has not a skerrick of coconut. The interwebs lie! Books rule!

I have also decided to make some chocolately treats for my family for Easter so I have a pantry stocked with condensed milk, cocoa, chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter, milk and white choc bits and itty-bitty patty pans (hey, that's fun to say). Easy-peasy stuff though, nothing quite as advanced as biscuits. Going to do that tomorrow.

Wednesday night I went with a group of friends to see English comic Stephen K Amos and it was excellent. I barely stopped laughing - or at least smiling hugely - right from the start when he did a dance routine to Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). He is a master at crowd interaction and there was plenty of it. He seemed to really enjoy himself - the crowd even had him cracking up (especially a woman from Scotland who could imitate one of those honking bicycle horns).


Five days after my drought-breaking and paralysis-inducing gym visit, I was finally able to go back there. My quads packed it in after about two lunges and I nearly fell over (phew, no one around!), but everything else was fine. Had Billy Idol's To Be a Lover on repeat and I was running and trickling sweat. I kinda like it when I get sweaty at the gym. Is that gross? I don't like the perspiration per se, just what it represents.

On top of my gym work-out, I also walked 10kms. I have become a little obsessed with my pedometer and how far I'm walking. One week recently I walked 50 kms!

Thursday afternoon I nipped into the Blood Bank and deposited some of my blood so I felt all community-spirited. I'm sensing a pattern here, but is it gross that I am quite fascinated by the sight of my own blood? Not when it spurts out in an uncontrolled, oh-my-god-I-think-I-severed-a-digit way, but in situations like having blood taken...or blood noses even (although that can be uncontrolled - I spent a night in hospital as a kid with cotton wool stuffed up my nose). I always watch when I have blood taken. Not only is blood such a purdy colour...that stuff is what keeps me alive! That's what's inside of me! Anyway...this blog is called Gleeful, not Gross. Sorry.

Thursday night I went to see my current fave band, Melbourne country-rock* group Wagons, perform songs from their soon-to-be-released album at the East Brunswick Club. It was ace. I love those guys (obviously since I have blogged about them about eight times now).

Good Friday

I had a sleep in this morning and then walked into the city to continue my self-guided Walking Melbourne tour. I've now visited and photographed 107 of the 235 buildings and landmarks. It's taking for-bloody-ever^! But I like it.

My wanderings today took in several of my favourite buildings - the gloriously Gothic Olderfleet Building (below) and Melbourne Safe Deposit Building, and 333 Collins Street, which contains the magnificent domed bank vault I have blogged about before. (It was closed today though.)

I was gobsmacked at the things I had never noticed before - for example, the building at 247-249 Collins Street, Newspaper House (once home to The Herald), has a huge glass mosaic on the first floor facade featuring almost nuddy men below the Shakespearean quote I'll put a girdle around the world. According to the Walking Melbourne guide, the figures and objects in the mural represent communication and transport. How could I have never noticed something so stupendous? (Well, as the photo shows, it doesn't really jump out at you. Stupid tree).

Just over the road...I have also never noticed the three stone figures (see one below) playing musical instruments on the arched entrance to what I now know is called Lyric House. It was built in the 1930s to house a piano retailer.

And also one the same block is the Centreway Building and Arcade. I'm very familiar with these, as I walk through them nearly every day to get to work. But I didn't know that somewhere on the rear wall of the arcade this message appears-
weliveinasocietythatplacesaninordinateemphasisonconsumergoodsandservices! (Man it's hard to type without automatically hitting the space bar). This was added during a 1987 refurbishment. I didn't see it today because I was too lazy to backtrack, but next time I pass through, I'll stop to have a look.

I'm a mum to word-triplets

I am now the proud...owner?...parent?...propagator?...of three words from the Save the Words website. I adopted one by accident though. I meant to adopt "lambition" (the act of licking or lapping) and "quibbleism" (the act of beating about the bush), but I inadvertently adopted "psalloid" (shaped like a harp) by careless clicking. Clearly they need more stringent adoption procedures. I will never love "psalloid" as much as its siblings.

I don't think I will get "lambition" on a T-shirt afterall... I chose my words because they seemed to be among the few available for adoption that would be able to be used in every day conversation (which is the point of adopting it - using it, so we don't lose it). While I liked the word panchymagogue, for example, I can't imagine I having much cause to refer to a medicine that purges bodily fluids.

While looking around the Save the Words site, I learned that there is a 20 volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary available to buy. I want it..too bad it costs $1,500 (not to mention that I don't have the shelf space).


I'm having brunch with a friend in Collingwood and am going to have a poke about the second-hand bookstores and other shops on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

* Frontman Henry Wagons says if he had to pick a genre to be pigeon-holed into, it would be "Fat Elvis".

^ There is a word for that - sticking a word in the middle of another one. It's called tmesis. Gosh, you are learning lots of words today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's a library, of course

Thank you to Mrs Blueballs for sending me an email containing this photo of the Kansas City Public Library. I like! If money were no object, I would travel around the world going to libraries. But sadly, money is an object...sigh.

Wheeeee! I'm on holidays! I'm looking forward to going to bed tonight without setting an alarm and not having to be anywhere in particular at any set time during the day tomorrow.

I've decided I'm going to try making Anzac biscuits on my time off (and not just because Anzac Day is coming up). The recipe says kids can bake them, so I should be OK...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter glee

Goodbye daylight savings...

I am eagerly anticipating the Easter break, especially as I have a couple of extra days off. Tomorrow is my last day of work for the week. Hurrah! Gotta love a two-day week.

I have oooodles of fun things planned for the next week or two -

I'm giving blood for the second time (OK, that's not fun as such).

I'm going to see a bunch of Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows - Stephen K Amos, Judith Lucy and possibly Danny Bhoy, as well as a show by local comic, Ben Lomas. I'm also excited about seeing Andy Muirhead, the host of the ABC show Collectors doing a stand-up show at my beloved State Library on a Saturday night. I'm such a nerd to get excited about going to the library on Saturday night. It's being held in a part of the library I haven't seen before, so that's part of the attraction. I actually have no idea what Andy Muirhead's comedy is like, but he's cute and seems like the kind of guy you could bring home to mum (not that I'm planning to comic-nap him or anything).

I'm going to see Wagons' preview of their new album, The Rise and Fall of Goodtown, at the East Brunswick Club. Can't wait to get a copy on my iPod.

I'm going to my Dad's place for a roast lunch, and my brother, who I haven't seen in ages, will be visiting from Adelaide.

I'm catching up with a few other friends and I'll continue with my Walking Melbourne tour (once I can walk again).

All that, AND the weather's going to be great too. No call for gloves and boots just yet!

What are your Easter plans?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In praise of woolly socks and Billy Idol

I got caught in the rain without an umbrella today. By the time I got home the damp had soaked through my sneakers and into my socks. My jeans were very soggy along the bottom third of each leg.

It was nice to change into dry clothes when I got home. I especially enjoyed pulling on a pair of new, thick socks. After months of thong (flip flop) weather, it's nice to have my toes cosy in woolly socks and to rug up just a little when I go out. I'm looking forward to wearing my new gloves and boots.

I'm confident my enthusiasm for extra layers will wane once winter arrives, however.

Thank you, Billy

I went back the gym yesterday after a (cough) six month absence. I wasn't as unfit as I expected and I even managed to run for a bit, but I owe some of that to Billy Idol. Let me explain...

You see, whenever I listen to To Be a Lover, I can run like the wind, even after six months of no running, even after a bunch of lunges that left my quads feeling like noodles (even if it was only for five minutes!). That song is magic for me. I have other high-energy songs on my iPod, but they just don't do it for me like To Be a Lover. I'm going to listen to it on repeat during every gym visit.

I don't think it has anything to do with the fact I was mad about Billy Idol in my teen years...that sneer...the pelvic thrusts...the leather...the bare chest...I listened to his greatest hits all the way home too. (Yes, I have them on my iPod. What of it?)

PS The not-so-gleeful bit is that today I could barely roll over in bed, much less get out of it. I've been waddling about like an arthritic penguin. (I probably wouldn't have got so damp in the rain if I'd been able to walk at my usual cracking pace.) But it's good pain. Good. Pain. *grimaces*

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Donkey dreams

I dreamt about a baby donkey last night but I forgot all about it until I saw a donkey foal on the telly just then.

I asked Google what a baby donkey is called (that's called "research", I believe) and while swinging through the interwebs, I found some photos of baby miniature donkeys. How adorable and furry are these little guys? I want one! (I think they should be called dinky donkeys though.)

Mini donkeys are in fact sold as pets. They grow to less than a metre in height and can live for 30 years. Maybe not suitable for a third floor apartment. Perhaps I could keep my dinky donkey over at the Botanic Gardens?

I rode a donkey when I was a very small child. Well, I sat on top of it bareback while someone led the donkey around and I remember them pushing me back up on top of it as I started to slide off.