Saturday, July 31, 2010

location location location

My old house has been put on the market.

My ex and I lived there for five years. They were very good years on the whole - although the mosquitoes were pretty unwelcome and the slugs a little too voracious. And of course the last few months were less than fun. But it's a place I remember very fondly and had a long happy time at - and wish I'd managed to take more of the plants from.

We raised Griffin from kitten hood there: on a diet of rats, lizards and minah birds. It was where we first got Rufus (originally named 'Whiskey' when we got him from the RSPCA). Where we got broken into twice. Where I spent countless hours pottering in the garden. Where we had dinner parties and legendary garden parties (one in particular is horribly memorable due to all the regurgitation endured afterwards..). Where we had many friends and family come stay when they passed through town (sorry about all the animal fur on everything..).

There are a lot of memories that I'd though I left behind when I moved out eight months ago (Wow. Was it really only that long? Feels like so much longer..). They resurfaced and got relived painfully on the day of the clean-up when my ex left for Canberra. Now this discovery brings them out again - it was surprisingly sad to see the house and my garden in the real estate photos. Especially since they'd cut down one of my avocados. Bastards..

It's nice to have it mentioned in the real estate blurb as a "peaceful garden" though - I worked hard on making it so. And enjoyed many peaceful hours in my hammock.

But it's just another ending. Bittersweet as all endings are, but much less painful than the earlier ones. We move on, life goes on - and gets better in many ways. Change is good and this one has been very good for me. The one I'm not looking forward to is when I no longer get to hang out with Rufus - which will probably happen when my ex gets married and he becomes their family dog.

But for the moment he's sleeping at my feet, twitching and snorting as he chases squirrels in his dreams*. It's so lovely having him here. Tomorrow I take him to the park to sniff dog asses and pee on trees. Good times!

* He's never seen a squirrel but if he ever did he'd certainly chase it. He's basically Dug.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've been getting out & about a great deal over the recent weeks, it's great to have an active social life and be discovering more of Sydney and what it has to offer the adventurous urbanite.

Last week I went to see Bill Bailey, who must be one of the world's top comedians these days. Despite his claims to being still a 'fringe' performer. He'd at least be one of the smartest, weirdest and most talented comedians about: not many people could make a slide-show on Renaissance painters' depictions of Doubting Thomas a side-splittingly hilarious* part of their show.

The other night I saw the inestimable Stephen Fry on stage doing, first, an improvised monologue on subjects that had been tweeted to him earlier in the day, followed by a q&a session with Jennifer Byrne. He was, as expected, witty, erudite and very entertaining - holding forth on, amongst other things, the three writers that so influenced him as a child (P G Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, and - of course - Oscar Wilde).

Tonight was Tim Rogers doing his cabaret show Saligia down at the Opera House. I had no idea what to expect only really knowing him through You Am I and never being a big fan of them anyway. It was in fact quite wonderful and funny and touching. He had a great band to back him, all great performers in their own right and coming together to make some great music. And he wore an awesome red velvet suit. Win.

I've also been eating out a great deal, so much so that it occurred to me that last night was the first night for a couple of weeks I had actually cooked at my place. Which was good since the mushrooms were beginning to develop sentience.. Spending time discovering new (at least to me) restaurants has been a bit of an eye opener though. Not that I'm about to become a (blah, hate the word..) 'foodie' but spending time with people who not only appreciate good food but do so in a professional capacity has opened my eyes more than a little. I still occasionally eat cold beans out of a can though..

Finding new bars is much more my thing, and I've been doing a bit of that too. Everything from hip, schmick cocktail lounges to funky, laid-back bars to seedy, disreputable pubs. And some other places I really don't remember too much about. The only thing I can say with authority is that hangovers bear no relation to the cost of the drinks - they're always consistent..

* Although, it has to be said, he made me look at Caravaggio's painting in a new light - and use the phrase 'Christ porn' in a sentence..

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I've been pondering something (so unlike me..). I was talking with my ex a couple of weekends ago and, while it was lovely and we're getting on really well (probably helps that we only see each other every couple of months..), I found myself falling into the same ways of communicating. Or not communicating, to tell the truth.

We talk well together and we always have, that hasn't changed. But one of the reasons I felt I needed to get out of the relationship was because I just didn't feel that she was particularly interested in me. She certainly wanted to know what I had to say and what I know but wasn't so concerned about what's going on inside my head. Our discussions and topics always seem to revolve around her and her questions/problems. I don't mean to imply that she's self-centred (well, she's an only child so there's a small element of that - but she's a very generous, giving person) she's just more concerned with her own stuff. Naturally so: I think we're all like that to an extent and we should be, there's no-one more important in our lives than ourselves.

I was more concerned with how much I went along with it, both in the recent conversations and, thinking back, through the later years of our living together. I'm much more comfortable letting other people talk about their stuff and simply adding comments/opinions or advice to the subject of their choice - it's partly the problem-solver in me. And I don't tend to steer things around to me, or even offer much up – which is the low self-worth coming out. In our relationship I seldom talked about myself - and she rarely asked. If there is any criticism that I can level at her it's that: she never seemed to want to hear about my stuff and was too easily distracted if we ever did get into it.

So the last time we met we talked for a couple of hours about a bunch of stuff, mostly around her friendships, current relationship and impending marriage - stuff that's obviously on her mind and that I found interesting. It's understandable that she'd be a bit reticent about asking about my personal life but it simply didn't seem to occur to her to find out. This hasn't exactly upset me - that relationship is very much over and the rebuilding into a friendship will take a long time - but it was the way I reverted to type that worried me. My instinctual self-deprecation and concealing behaviours came back far too easily.

I think I'm getting better at it - meeting people and getting to know them through dating and just being more social has made me realise that I'm not actually boring and what I have to say about my life does engage other people. I'm learning to have the confidence to talk about things without being overly self-effacing and steering the conversation quickly back to talking about the other person's interests. It also helps that I've been talking with people who share many of the same interests.

I guess this is always the way with personal growth - being able to identify the times when you slide back into old habits and to try to figure out ways to prevent that in the future. I think I'm getting a handle on it and generally I'm happier with myself these days than I have been for a long time. It's kinda nice to feel good.

Monday, July 26, 2010

hullo internet

Sorry we've not been talking much lately, I know been remiss in my attention to you. I've been so busy with work and social life recently - and while I know that's no excuse for neglect I hope you'll understand if I'm a little run ragged lately.

I'll find time for the two of us soon, promise.

In the meantime here's a pretty song just for you (or this version if you prefer).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm not sleeping well; nothing unusual there. But it's not just being unable to get to sleep like normal: I'm also waking in the night and being unable to get back to sleep. Well, if I'm honest it's partly unable but also because I'm unwilling to sleep. I still resent sleep from taking me away from the things I'd rather be doing.

Consciousness is far more interesting to me than dreaming - I generally remember what I do when awake (depending on the number of alcoholic relaxants taken..) but very seldom remember my dreams. Therefore I have this weird underlying feeling that sleep is wasted time. I know it's not - but that's an intellectual thing and the feeling that I'm missing out on life by sleeping through it is a gut feeling.

I love the night. I love the oddness and freedom that comes with being awake when 90% of the city is unconscious. It feeds my anti-social (or, rather, quirky-social: I don't hate being around people - just most people) nature and my need for solitude. There's also more magic and mystery in the night than in the dull light of day - especially when you live in a big dirty city. Darkness cloaks a multitude of metropolitan sins - and makes some of those sins much more interesting..

That said: the guy who stands against the wall of my building is far more freaky at night than during the day. Not that I've ever seen him do anything. He just stands. Wearing a big jacket with lined hood, baggy warm trousers, and bare feet. He never begs, doesn't have a sign or anything, doesn't have bags. He just stands.

Even for a street dweller he's odd.

But back to my main point: I've identified my problem (in truth have known it for a while) and I think I'm probably ready to deal with it, i.e. make myself into a functioning diurnal member of society. Now comes the hard bit - actually making myself do it. Self control is needed - and I have very little of this.

So for starters I'm banning myself from taking my laptop to bed - it's too easy to get suckered into teh interwebs and the weirdness therein (I spent more than an hour on 4chan last night ffs..). I'm going to try for a more structured sleep time, i.e. something before 1am - preferably around 10-11pm. Which may be a hard ask - but if I'm at least in bed at that time sleep might come sooner.

I'm also switching to going to the gym in the morning for at least one session a week. That's going to be a killer but it'll at least shift the strenuous exercise to a better time of day. The evening training takes a while to come down from.

So. We'll see what happens - I don't think it'll be smooth sailing in the least and possibly I'll fail completely. But I'm obviously fine with that: it's my current lifestyle. It'd be nice not to be entirely dog tired for at least a couple of days during the week.

Friday, July 16, 2010


This is my six-hundredth post. An arbitrary round number perhaps but still a milestone of a kind.

That's about ninety-two blog posts per year, or the blinding pace of one and three-quarters per week. I can't be arsed working out the word count but it's probably something staggeringly banal. Suffice to say I won't be achieving any records with my output. Despite how tediously long-winded I tend to be.

Interestingly my stat count is about to hit thirty thousand visitors too. Roughly the same number a twenty second clip of a kitten on YouTube gets in half an hour. Fame appears to be eluding me. Thankfully.

But anyway: six and a half years, six hundred posts.

Not sure what I have to say about reaching this point. Thanks to people like it was an Academy Award?

Well, I'd never have started without Eroica - this is all your fault. I'd almost certainly have dropped out early-on if it weren't for Michelle so much of the blame goes to you love. Thanks too to Jen: you've been hugely supportive - and a delightful house guest. Vanessa - next time we meet let's make it for longer than just a cup of tea. And not in Bristol. Ysengin, Sal, Babs, Helena - each of you has played your part in the continuation of this debacle, you'll be up against the wall when the revolution comes too.

There are plenty of others including, but not limited to, everyone who's ever been in my ever-changing blogroll. All those whose blogs I chanced upon and was intrigued by or commented on. And everyone who has ever commented, anonymously or not - any and all comments are an unexpected joy. It pains me that I've lost the wonderful comments from the previous five years (curse you for changing your system Haloscan..). Even the guy who just kept calling me 'gaywad'. Ahh, such cutting repartee..

Plus the fallen: D, Pornyboy, Avatar, Sarah, Frank, Tam, Kittylifter, Pisser, Surtr, Late Bland, etc etc. Too many have disappeared without a trace but certainly aren't forgotten. If it wasn't for the blogging community, disparate and fragmented as it may be, I'd never have been interested in this odd form of exhibitionism. Especially given my generally rather private - almost secretive - personality.

I thought I'd be anonymous and I guess I still largely am - but mostly because no-one is really interested in whiny, self-indulgent personal blogs (except other whiny, self-indulgent bloggers of course..). But the anonymity is less important to me these days - enough real-life friends & acquaintances know about this thing that it's a moot point anyway. Besides: I continue to be discovered by people from meatspace, which is an uncomfortable learning experience for everyone..

I don't re-read my own blog much but I don't appear to have learned a damned thing. About blogging, about myself, about life. Ok, so that's not entirely true - I have learnt but I seem to be unable to actually put my knowledge into practice and stop making the same fucking mistakes. Or different mistakes in the same way. Or the same mistakes in creative and original ways. My very nature conspires against my own, well, nature..

But I digress. My life appears to be one large digressive ramble away from.. whatever point it was that was supposed to be made. I forget.


I'm still here. Still keeping going. Still interested in where this will lead me. Still very interested in who I might meet.

Thank you for reading. I love you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

smell of a man

And like that, it's done..

I refer of course to the whole Old Spice thing:

Here's a round up/collection of some of the vids if you missed them.

Usually I don't get into viral marketing things but this one has been done so well in such an original funny sexy/creepy way that I just have to applaud. Perfect combination of great delivery, great writing and creative visuals.

Still won't be wearing the scent but.

Silver fish hand catch!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Apparently I'm not eating enough. Despite the 5-6 meals I have a day. Or so my trainer keeps telling me - I'm beginning to wonder if she's a feeder..

But she obviously has a point - I'm not gaining any weight even though I work out (argh, I hate that term..) regularly and with a plan geared towards muscle gain. I'd thought I was eating plenty and was telling her how often and how much it was - then she pretty much flatly said I need to eat twice that amount for my build and level of exercise.

Which is a drag. I sometimes eat just to feed the machine anyway and I'm not really a 'foodie' (another term I dislike..) but turning food into a chore really sucks any enjoyment out of what should be a sensuous experience. Although I'm eating out enough these days that I'm getting my fill of good dining - hanging out with people who really know food and put thought and consideration into their dining experience is a bit of an eye-opener.

I love breakfast - my favourite meal of the day - and I've come to enjoy cooking myself dinner (although it's not what I'd ever call masterful or adventurous) but I'm obviously not eating enough between those meals. Gah, I hate that I'll probably have to go to the lengths of buying protein powder or something similar to supplement my daily intake..

Or just eat more pies.

Anyway, all that griping done - now I've got to go grocery shopping. Why are supermarkets so uniformly awful?! There's a huge whinge for another day..

Friday, July 09, 2010


So I saw Exit Through The Gift Shop. Twice. And I want to buy the DVD when it comes out.

Yes, I'm a Banksy tragic - but this goes beyond that. It's simply an excellent movie that explores the issues of reality and validity and originality in art. And does it in a side-splittingly funny way that both intrigues and confounds. I came out of it the first time saying "I don't think I believe anything I just saw!" but the second time around I think I get the 'truth' in it. Or at least the point that it's making.

Both times I appreciated that it wasn't necessary to know whether it's a documentary or a mockumentary (or, as a brilliant friend coined, a 'prankumentary'), it works as a film without that certainty. And I think is a much more long-lasting film in the way it has been made - a more straightforward exploration of street art and graffiti artists would have only limited appeal to the general public. While I'm sure this won't be hugely popular with the urban art unaware (not as much as it should be..) I think it'll become one of those cult films screened many times over the years.

It's possibly just my love of irony and ambiguity that made it resonate so much with me - your mileage may vary. But I really can't recommend it enough. Even if you have no interest in street art, trust me - this is one excellent and funny film.

Whether Thierry Guetta exists as a real person or a construct he is hilarious to watch, and the last word should go to Banksy:

There's no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else's.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

five seven five

I have a fascination with haiku and brief forms of poetry or word-sculpture. Not that I claim to be any good at them but I do create them regularly, mostly as something to do during those times of the day that are pretty useless for anything. Getting coffee at a cafe, waiting for public transport, standing in a crowded bus, etc. Those parts of our regular city lives that are portioned up too small for most meaningful activities.

Other than reading the paper I suppose now that most people have iPhones, iPods & other handheld digital media devices they're able to surf the net or zone out to music or otherwise escape from reality for a short time. Others seem to be able to read books but my transit time is about 10-12 minutes tops which doesn't allow me long enough to concentrate on a book. Yes, my mental faculties are that degraded..

I could read short stories or listen to podcasts more (I've just downloaded a bunch and will be doing that tomorrow - This American Life ftw) but I like to observe what's going on around me and try to create something in words around that. I just don't tend to write these down often. I've gotten out of the notebook habit lately and am embarrassed sometimes when I pull out a battered-looking moleskine full of pristine blank pages. I feel like a fraud.

But I've been emailing with a friend and mentioned about making up poetry and was surprised at the encouraging response. I'd always thought I was just fooling around and that no-one really took haiku seriously (most people don't even know what they are!). Besides which I don't even really like much poetry - a couple of sonnets, a bit of Auden, some Coleridge, Walter de la Mare's The Listeners, ee cummings*, that's about it. Ok, dirty limericks too but everyone needs a vice.

On the other hand the best birthday present anyone has ever made me was Eroica's collection of our recent haiku exchanges which still brings a huge smile to my face whenever I read it. Not sure where I'm going with this.. It's late, I'm rambling. As usual. I guess I might actually start using my dormant twitter feed to actually publish some of these poetry snippets..

If I manage to get the courage.

Well, it's marginally less scary than thinking about showing off my fiction...

* I've seriously been thinking about getting a tattoo of ee cummings' l) a. I'm just not sure I'm cool enough for it... 

Sunday, July 04, 2010

social media schmedia

I split up with Facebook a while ago but I've been thinking about getting back together with the fickle wench. Although, quite frankly, I'm not really sure I need her in my life.

It's been more than a month since I've been on there and I haven't honestly missed it that much. There are certainly people I'd like to keep in touch with more but I'm not sure that 'liking' someone's posts or leaving random one-line comments is the same as meaningful communication.

Of course I haven't been actually doing anything more meaningful (i.e. writing/talking/emailing) - but the intention is there.. As always.

I also wonder whether anyone has noticed I'm not posting/commenting any more? Probably not: the scatter-shot and mass-broadcast nature of the medium means that if you've got 100+ friends updating and posting regularly it's hard to see when one of them stops. My email volume certainly hasn't picked up.

Blogging has become more appealing lately: I don't know if I've actually got more to say or I just seem to have a need to be more long-winded about it*. I'm also liking twitter - but more from a consumer standpoint, I don't use it much to talk to people.

Facebook just seems kinda.. prescriptive. Standardised for commonality. Which is fine but I feel like it lacks nuance, and I'm all about the subtleties of communication. Or at least like to think I am.

ANYway. All that said I'll probably be back on the facespace soon. Like junk food it's easy and quick and comforting and as long as you don't overdo it your legs won't drop off from gangrene**.

* Rhetorical.
** yes, I know, that analogy lost some traction at the end..

Friday, July 02, 2010

electric doom

The electronic uprising is nearly upon us: yesterday I walked past a guy taking his robot for a walk.

That's all. I have nothing more. Isn't that enough?

Yes, it was pre-coffee but I wasn't hallucinating.

Ok, I'm reasonably sure it was real.

It's Friday afternoon, I went to the pub for lunch and I'm shutting up now.