Saturday, May 30, 2009

The rise and rise of Wagons

On the way home from the gym today

I was very chuffed indeed to see my fave band, Melbourne alt country rockers Wagons, gracing the cover of The Age's entertainment guide yesterday. Woohoo!

Not only that, but the story inside called their latest album, The Rise and Fall of Goodtown, "arguably the finest Australian release so far this year". High praise...or maybe it's been a ho-hum year for Aussie music?

Either way, it's a nice feeling when a band you love starts to get some mainstream attention and acclaim. Maybe it's because it allows me to say, "Oh, yes. Yes, I liked them before they were well known. Yes, my taste in music is quite visionary." Or just think it anyway!

In the interview, frontman Henry Wagons talked about how they played to only two people at Mojo's in Hamilton on their last tour. That's the same place I'm going to see them on my Wagons West Birthday Extravaganza Road Trip Down Memory Lane in July. Looks like my friend Anthony and I won't have to worry about tall people standing in front of us and talking through the gig then... It'll be like Henry is serenading, us.

The itinerary for the trip has been roughly planned and I have booked accomodation in the little town of Dunkeld at the foot of the Grampians for the Saturday night after the gig.

I'm really looking forward to the trip, even more so since reader Jayne directed my attention to the Fading Victoria website which features beautiful photos of old buildings, bridges and machinery, mostly in the country, which have seen better days. It made me all yearny for the country, which is not a feeling I have often (despite being country born and bred).

New toy

Got me a shiny new purple iPod today. Yay. My old one was on its last legs.

More money?!

How great is it when you discover you have way more money in the bank than what you thought? Doesn't happen often, but it happened to me last night.

Milo please

I had dinner at a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown last night which serves Milo (hot or cold). How cute and homey. I was going to order it, but we went elsewhere for hot chocolate and lemon tart.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Love letter

Posted today on a blog I frequent:

Hi Frisky Librarian,

I don't know anything about you apart from the words you've posted on this blog, but I think I'm in love with you.

*giggles* Made my day. I have exchanged emails with him.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Welcome back, Chaser

Ah, you naughty Chaser boys, it's good to have you back on the box.

For any overseas readers (and anyone in Australia who lives under a rock), The Chaser is a band of Australian pranksters/satirists who have a half-hour show, The Chaser's War on Everything, on the national broadcaster. Tonight they returned to our screens after an 18 month hiatus. Hurrah!

I particularly enjoyed Julian Morrow's attempts to get a dummy dressed as Governor General Quentin Bryce (a woman) into the snooty, men-only Melbourne Club in the city. After failing to get her through the front door as his guest, he resorted to climbing a tall ladder and hurling her over the very, very high back wall into the club's large garden. After about 13 attempts.

I found it particularly amusing because a friend and I have expressed a desire to get into that garden ourselves - or at least climb the wall to have a good look at it. I'm not suggesting he should try to hurl me over the wall.

Does anyone have a big ladder? Surely it's not an offence to look over the fence?

Monday, May 25, 2009

And the clouds parted...

Not saturn. Obviously.

Woohoo! I saw Saturn tonight on my visit to the Melbourne Observatory. It was only a brief glimpse, but it was pretty cool.

To the naked eye, obviously Saturn is just a twinkly star, but through the telescope it looked like its true Saturny self, an orb in the middle a ring (or several rings really).

It was extra special because we didn't think we were going to get to see Saturn due to bad weather. We haven't had much rain in Melbourne lately and on the one night when I really wanted the skies to be clear, it was overcast and wet, dagnammit!

But as time passed, the rain cleared, the clouds broke up and we were lucky to get a clear view. Yay!

So, that's one more thing I can cross off my 101 Things To Do Before I'm 40 list. I've completed 15 of the 101 things so far, which doesn't sound like much, but I'm in the process of completing many other ongoing tasks (for want of a better word), such as reading 40 books a year, saving money, having a monthly massage and keeping my indoor plants alive. These things won't get crossed off until I turn 40 (about 37 months away).

PS Something very strange has happened to my blog formatting. It says it's Verdana, justified text, but it doesn't look that way to me. In fact, all of Blogger looks weird. Hoping it will come good on its own...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fog, new books and a compliment

It was another photogenic morning here in Melbourne, with the city shrouded in thick, thick fog.

I took the scenic route to work along the south side of the river via Southbank, with camera in hand, snapping away at rowers gliding out of the mist (above) and cyclists disappearing into the fog ahead of me.

When I got to the city, the sun was starting to burn off the fog and it was a sight to behold. The sun was bouncing off Freshwater Place and the Rialto (below) and reflecting in huge flares onto the fog still lingering around the buildings.

Up the other end of the city, the tall buildings were still lost in the pea soup but the sun's rays cast shadows of them onto the thick fog behind them (click here to see my Girl in Melbourne shot of it). It was unreal. People were just trudging past on their way to work while I was excitedly snapping away with my camera. They probably got to work on time, unlike me, but big deal.

New additions to the Frisky Library

I went to Borders tonight and spent quite a bit of money. So much for belonging to two libraries, hey?

I bought Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap which recently won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for SE Asia and the Pacific. It's been well received by critics, but I'm also really looking forward to reading a book set in Melbourne. I'm so parochial...

I also bought a nice hardcover copy of EB White's Charlotte's Webb, which I don't think I've ever read. (The only EB White book I have read is The Elements of Style, which is a book on grammar and writing well.) Maybe Charlotte's Web was read to me in primary school, but I don't remember it. Funny how I remember being read a book called How to Eat Fried Worms in primary school yet not a classic children's book like Charlotte's Webb.

Oh, apparently How to Eat Fried Green Worms is something of a classic too. According to Wikipedia, it has been the target of censors since it was published in 1973 because of its gross content (a kid has to eat 15 worms in 15 days to win a bet) and it was made into a movie in 2006. Well, there you go. I had no iea.

The third book I bought was a hardcover copy of The Butter Battle Book by Dr Seuss. Borders has a pretty good collection of Dr Seuss, unlike a lot of bookshops which only have the most well known ones. Since collecting all the Dr Seuss books for kids is on my list of 101 Things to do Before I'm 40, that just won't do.

Speaking of my 101 list, I have been quietly plugging away at it (although my listography list isn't quite up to date). I've bought a new mattress (as if you didn't know that), I've signed up to do another pilates class, I'm going to the Melbourne Observatory on Monday night and I've been having a monthly massage and cult DVD night. I'm flossing and buying myself flowers once a month (not at the same time) and I've gone back to the gym. I reactivated my online dating profile (and then took it down a few weeks later due to lack of interest - mine). And other things I can't think of now.

Aw, shucks

Someone on Twitter today, upon seeing yesterday's Girl in Melbourne photo, asked me if I was a photographer since I'm not a real librarian. I was quite chuffed.

The old Sandridge Line Bridge

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A marvellous Melbourne morning

Dawn from my laundry window

I was up before sunrise this morning and left for work earlier than I needed to, which gave me time to skulk about with my camera. I couldn't choose just one to post over at Girl in Melbourne...

Sunrise from my window

Ooh, fluffy!

Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr

Let's go for a ride


Jogger, Birrarung Marr

Monday, May 18, 2009

Balloon sunrise and a tree of my own (sort of)

I was rewarded for dragging myself out of bed a little earlier this morning by the sight of two hot air balloons wafting past my window. I love the hot air balloons. They inject a little magic into a week day morning.

One of the balloons (above) was so close to my third floor flat that I could hear the blast of the gas burner and make out the pink faces of the passengers. They would have been able to see me taking their photo. It floated over the top of my building and, I'm assuming, touched down in Fawkner Park.

Even without the balloons, I enjoyed getting up earlier while the sunshine was still golden and glowy. My living room was awash with sunlight. The sky was blue and cloudless. We are in for more mornings like this in the days ahead. I'm going to try and keep getting up earlier to make the most of them. (I'm talking 20-30 mins earlier, at 7.30, so not really that early.)

A tree of my own

I discovered today that it's possible to sponsor a tree in the Botanic Gardens. For $50 a year, you can choose to sponsor one of four landmark trees in the gardens or enquire about choosing a different tree that has a special meaning to you. The money goes towards the development and growth of the gardens. It's not on the list, but I'd love to sponsor one of the tall, white-trunked eucalypts on the Huntingfield Lawn (below).

If you did sponsored a tree for 10 years it would cost the same as sponsoring a garden seat, which is what I'd really love to do. Sponsoring a seat means a little stainless steel plaque with your name and a personal message is fixed to a wooden park bench. It's $5,000 for 10 years. Mostly people sponsor a seat in memory of a loved one who had a soft spot for the gardens, like I do. It probably sounds maudlin and egotistical, but I think I'm going to direct that $5,000 of my estate goes towards sponsoring a seat in my memory. I'ts not like I've got a spare $5k lying around now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pedant glee

You know what gives me a little fix of glee? When I find a spelling error on The Age online. I know, it's terribly pedantic of me, but I can't help it. It's not a pure kind of glee - it's more schadenfreudish* (because, ahem, it's not as if I have ever made an error in any of my blogs).

I've spotted a few clangers recently. On Friday, The Age reported Aussie acting legend Charles 'Bud' Tingwell had "succumbed to prostrate cancer". Not a gleeful topic, of course, and I was saddened to read the news, but I also did give a little hoot when I saw the error. Twits. They very quickly fixed it, however.

I also recently saw they had used the word loathe instead of loath (as in reluctant). It's a very common boo-boo, but....c'mon. I expect better from The Age.

Of course, finding a slip-up in the actual newspaper is more gleeful again, but less common (partly because I only buy it on weekends).

* It's sometimes said the English language has no equivalent word for the German schadenfreude but it does...or at least it did. Epicharicacy disappeared from dictionaries in the 19th Century, according to Ammon Shea's book Reading the OED.

PS. I know I should proof read this post far more thoroughly than usual, but I am tired and lazy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lemur day

This video makes me chuckle (although it's not a lemur - it's a tarsier). Make sure you watch it with sound.

And this is one is so cute. I want a lemur. It can ride round on my mini donkey. (Another stupid video immune to my editing efforts.)


I bought The Panics' CD Cruel Guards tonight (featuring the song I posted Sunday, Get Us Home). It was only $13, which I didn't even notice until I was on the way to pay for it. Noice! Bite me, iTunes! So far, I likey.


I've been back at the gym for five weeks now and my butt and arms feel more toned. Go, me (or, more to point, keep going, me).

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Wagons West Birthday Extravaganza Road Trip Down Memory Lane (WWBERTDML)

At last, some Autumn colour

What is this WWBERTDML, you ask? And has there been a more unwieldy acronym? Whatever. WWBERTDML is a plan I am incubating for the celebration of my upcoming birthday.

It's a weekend jaunt around the south-west of the fair state of Victoria, a road trip (with a friend who owns a car, unlike me), which will take us in a loop from Melbourne, to Ballarat, and then to Hamilton, where we will stay the night. The next day, down to the coast at Warrnambool, perhaps for a spot of whale watching, and then back to Melbourne along the spectacular Great Ocean Road.

Why? How is a visit to a bunch of regional towns a worthy celebration for one's anniversary on earth? Well, you see, the "Wagons" bit in the title refers to...yes, my current favourite band, Wagons, which is about to head off on a national tour to promote its new album The Rise and Fall of Goodtown. (No, I am not the band's publicity department.) Wagons will be performing in Hamilton on Saturday, 11 July and I thought, "Hey, I could go and see them there for my birthday!"

I know that sounds stalkery and, given my thing for frontman Henry Wagons, I can't deny the plan has stalkerish overtones, but it's not just about the band (or Henry). I grew up in that part of the state and haven't visited for many years. When I got to thinking about it, I started to feel more and more like a mosey down memory lane to revisit the places of my childhood - the farm where I grew up, the little country schools I went to and the small town where I lived as a teenager.

I can't wait.

PS. My new mattress is delightful.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I love this song

The strings are ace. (Sorry, I couldn't make the video fit properly.)

It's here!

My much-anticipated soft, cushiony mattress arrived this morning. It is ace in the extreme. After the delivery men left, I collapsed face first onto it with my arms outstretched and said, "Aaaaaah. Hello, new bed". I lay there revelling in its pillowy plushness. I was almost tempted not to put sheets on it because the fabric is so velvety soft and I love to stroke furry things (yes, I do like men with hairy chests).

But I did make up the bed with crisp new sheets and then I spent all afternoon sitting on it even though my flatmate is away and I have the run of the flat.

After I finish this, I am going to climb into my new bed for its maiden sleepage.

Hey, I've read that

This morning when I was walking along my street, I looked in the window of a house which is set a little below street level and I saw a book sitting on a side table which I have also read.

It's hard not to glance in their window when I walk past. It's a big window and it's right where I cross the road so I'm facing it. But it's also hard not to be curious about other people's lives and houses.

I sometimes see the man who lives there out walking his dogs along the river in the morning, but I don't think he knows I live in his street. Or maybe he does and he chose not to return my smile when we crossed paths recently because he thinks I'm some sort of peeping Tom(ette). If so, I have one word for him: blinds.


How good are crumpets? I saw someone eating them for breakfast in Centre Place on my way to work on Friday and I had to have some. Not only am I fond of crumpets, I really like the word.

It reminds me of a wonderful older lady I worked with once who used the phrase "to do your crumpet" to describe having a hissy fit.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wagons and cows and farm girls. Yeehaw!

Henry 's autograph

I went to see my current fave band, Wagons, play instore at Basement Discs in the city on my lunch break today.

Not only did I enjoy listening to them belt out a few songs, I got the autograph of the lead singer, Henry Wagons, who, you might remember, I have a little crush on. I know, that sounds embarrassing, a nearly 37-year-old clamouring for an autograph of a guy in a band who she has a thing for. I felt a little sheepish, although I was only clamouring on the inside. I'm too cool (or more likely to reserved) to clamour visibly. I stood quietly in line but I was pretty chuffed to speak to him.

As I had already bought their new album and didn't have it with me, I got him to sign one of the tickets I had bought for their upcoming gig at the Corner Hotel, which I did happen to have in my bag. He seemed pretty chuffed that I had already bought tickets. He signed his name and wrote "loves you" after it. Teehee. (OK, he signed that for everyone).

Hope his scribbling over the barcode doesn't deny me entrance....


I am having a love affair with full cream dairy products at the moment. I've been buying Gippsland Dairy's full cream plain yogurt (it's plain apart from a little sugar) and it's scrumptious. I eat it straight from the tub all on its own. So rich and thick and creamy. Yum.

And as I couldn't get the light version of my preferred brand of milk on the weekend, I bought the full cream product instead. The difference is amazing. It makes my porridge even creamier (strangely enough) and more delicious.

I feel slightly silly rhapsodising about full cream milk after having grown up on a farm where we got our milk straight from the cow, although Dad was the only one who could drink it while it was still warm. We used to separate the cream from the milk, but even then it was much creamier than commercial skimmed milk. DIY skimming involved the use of a contraption called a separator which consisted of about 320 stainless steel parts and rubber rings and all sorts of doodads. From what I recall, you put the milk in a big bowl at the top and wound a handle or something and cream came out one tube and skimmed milk out another. It had to be pulled apart and washed after every use (which was every day).

After we left the farm, it took some time for us to adjust to homogenised, pasteurised store-bought milk. I'm not sure I will go back to skim again.

Anyway, enough reveries of my rural upbringing. Full cream milk is ace.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A website, a book, a movie and a song

Wheeeeee! I discovered a new website about words which I'm excited to check out even though I'm not sure how much spare capacity I have left in the vocabulary centre of my brain.

World Wide Words
is the site of Michael Quinion, a UK word boffin who has written several books on words and parts of dictionaries. I haven't explored the site yet - since I found it while I was at work - but I'm keen to check out the weird words section (I've already spotted a few of my favourites) and the questions and answers section in which Quinion answers reader queries on all sorts of stuff, such as spelling, pronunciation and the origin of words and phrases.

There's also a
list of links to other word websites...I predict paroxysms of wordie delight in my future (and blogs with lists of words).

One thing...I checked out the word obnubilate which means to darken, dim, cloud over or obscure. I seem to be a magnet lately for words pertaining to dimness. Remember crepuscular, vespertine and advesperate?

Starter for Ten

I was moodling about JB Hi-Fi the other night when I saw that a book I really enjoyed a few years back -
Starter for Ten by David Nicholls - had been made into a movie. I had no idea. It was only $10 so I bought it. Something to watch while I am lounging about in my new bed on the weekend.

Midnight Rambler

Man, I love the Rolling Stones song Midnight Rambler. I'd forgotten all about it until I heard it at a bar on Sunday afternoon and I've now got it on my iPod. I am very partial to the harmonica.

Here's an abbreviated live version from 2006.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Racing the ATM and my personal soundtrack

Remember I wrote a while back about silly little things that I get a kick out of? I thought of another one.

I like to whip my cash card out of the ATM before the machine starts beeping at me so I don't forget it. Every time I do it, I think, "Ha! Beat you!" It still gives you one beep though. It likes to have the last word.


The other day I was listening to my iPod as I arrived home after work and the song My Happiness by Powderfinger was playing. As I walked in and put my bags down, Bernard Fanning sang, "So you come in and put your bags down".

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Teddy bed and Cookie Monster

I went out on Saturday and did my bit to boost the economy with the purchase of an Australian-made, super-cushiony cloud of mattressness. Not that I care for the economy in quite the same way as I care for my sleeping comfort...

It's seriously gonna be like sleeping on a giant teddy bear - it's even upholstered in furry material like a soft toy. It's like the offspring of Fat Cat and a queen ensemble. I can't wait for it to be delivered next weekend. I'm going to clear my schedule and stay in bed.

Speaking of furry...

I had dinner with a friend on Saturday night who told me about this amusing piece called Cookie Monster searches deep within himself and asks: Is me really monster? Poor conflicted Cookie Monster.

Those signs...

I mentioned a while back on my other blog the strange signs in Heffernan Lane in the city and said I'd post some photos on Gleeful. Here's a few of them:

Work without doing. Gotcha.

Turns out they are an old street art installation for the City of Melbourne Laneway Commissions project. They are excerpts of Greek and Chinese sayings (Chinatown is at one end of Heffernan Lane and the Greek Precinct at the other).

On a side note...have you ever detested something so much you found yourself almost liking it? I have. The word 'moist'. I've been opposed to the word for many years, but now when I see it somewhere (as in the sign above) I feel a perverse fondness for it.

Ahem. The Dude abides. I watched The Big Lebowski again the other night.