Archive for January, 2007

Dancey feet

I’ve been going to a lot of live music recently, and Marina keeps poking me to write about the Vulgargrad concert (warning: link opens in a myspace site with music) we went to a week ago. So here’s some thoughts on that and the Lily Allen concert (musical myspace site again) at Luna Park last night.

Vulgargrad: A Melbourne band that plays street music of the Russian underclass. I went to see them play last Friday night with two friends, one of whom speaks fluent Russian. It was fun. Eastern style beats with a sort of swinging, slightly punky influence. Didn’t quite get up and dance, but I did have my toes tapping the entire show.

Marina’s translations of the lyrics added an element of surrealism to the experience. It was a good crowd, happily dancing away to what, on the surface, was nice traditional Russian music. However I’m not sure they’d have been so calm if they’d understood the swearing and innuendo that was actually being sung at them. Here’s some examples:

  • “Why did the Aboriginies eat Cook? Because they were hungry. Though possibly it was out of a deep respect. Who knows.” Which apparently is a well-known song in the Russian community in Australia.
  • “Normally, I’m a womaniser, but tonight, I’m just hungry and lonely.”
  • “You can be my cow and I can be your cowboy.”

Lily Allen: A solo artist from the UK, confident, cynical, lyrical with reggae & hip hop influences. Her album has been frequently played in my house since I bought it last July. The concert lived up to the promise of the CD, natural, unaffected, fun, energetic. I was a little annoyed with the dead crowd, who didn’t seem to be getting into the music at all. It was an all ages gig, so I suspect there may have been elements of “too cool for the school” there, as well as people only knowing her for one single rather than the entire album.

She seemed to be quite unapologetically herself as well, she walked on stage with a cigarette in one hand, and asked for another two during the show, which possibly goes part of the way to explaining the loss of voice towards the end; she informed us that she was a bit tired as she’d stupidly gone on some of the rides before coming on, and had never been so scared in her life; dedicated the song “not big” to Chris, the drummer from Jet because of an incident at the Big Day Out on the Gold Coast; paused in the middle of a song to throw a jacket back into the crowd as “can’t wear that, it’s got Man U. on it!”; and got the end of “everything’s fine” and told the “younger girls” in the audience that no one should ever tell them to be skinny, that curves (she used a different word that I forget) were wonderful, indicating the gorgeous curves that she has.
All in all, very happy that I went to see her on a school night, and got a spot close to the front. Especially as she’s not yet “big” here, which will happen.

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sun dopey

Today I wracked up another “adventure” which was wonderful. Becstarr and I went for a lovely walk around Middle Head and to Taylor’s Beach. We looked at old military establishments, decided to not walk onto a nudist beach, saw two gorgeous water dragons, collected feathers and shells, drew patterns in sand and had a paddle in the harbour. And I got sunburnt, but that is to be expected.

So now I am tired and dopey.

But it was worth it, sun and good company and peacefulness. The water was beautiful, and I’ve not had anywhere enough water related experiences recently. Just standing in the water and feeling it wash over my knees and feeling sand under my toes while poking around in rockpools was one of the best most simple experiences I’ve had recently.

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I pulled a small book from my bookshelf today, one that I had purchased years ago. The Mystic Medusa’s Surreal Field Guide: Virgo. The Mystic Medusa does amusing astrological readings, and doesn’t take herself too seriously, which is what I want in a prediction.

Randomly flicked through a few sections and here are some sections that made me laugh:

“It is astrologically impossible for a Virgo to be a der.”(that one is for you my dear derrbrain astrological twin)

“The astro motto is “I analyse”. Virgos don’t have a problem with the cliched ‘not being able to see the forest for the trees’ scenario. They see the forest, trees and early stages of leaf mould or little bug burrows in the undergrowth.”

From Dr Illich: “He aimed to analyse institutionalised structures of industrialised society, provide rigorous criticism and a set of alternative concepts” For why this one tickled my fancy read the saving the world section in this post.

“Yes, they are perfectionists. No, that does not mean that all Virgoans are up at dawn doing yoga stretches, extra-special toothcare and making sure they’re up with current affairs. But this is the curse of Virgo. The ones who aren’t doing that sort of thing are horribly aware that they should be.”

I just ran around Mystic Medusa’s site and found the oracles, which are fun. The results of the following questions amused me, and hit a chord.

“‘What Is Between Me & Success?’ – Lack of Initiative”
“‘Lovely Me: Am I Truly In Touch With My Emotions?’- Not really – you’re a bit numb but this is temporary.”

Of course these are generated from random numbers, but fun and thought-provoking.

That’s enough procrastination from house cleaning. Time to indulge that truly Virgo cleaning trait…

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perhaps it’s the after effects of the wine I drank with Mikki last night.

perhaps it’s because my chiropractor helpfully decided to stretch my hamstrings for me, and to beat me up a little, in a good way.

or perhaps it’s because there have been no flowers in my house for 2.5 months.

so I bought myself some flowers, hopefully the day will get better.

Edit: so apparently you should always look for the easiest answer. listlessness and inability to concentrate plus tiredness and vaguely feeling like bursting into tears = early stages of bronchitis. The gerberas are still nice though.

*note, this is not my photo, so therefore not the actual flower that I bought. Photo by lou.1310

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the coffy man goes for germany
Originally uploaded by deepwarren.

The weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s are my favourite, full of friends, family and rituals. However I have re-discovered the one aspect of this time of year that I dislike: the Christmas New Year’s close-down of all the decent coffee shops. What is with that? The decent coffee shops with the simple vegemite toast that I eat for breakfast while reading a book close and the dodgy, popularist coffee shops that think breakfast for an office worker should be fluffy, calorific and frou frou stay open!

This week I have tried 4 different places around Parramatta for a simple breakfast of two pieces of wholemeal toast with vegemite and a decent (not brilliant, I’m not that fussy) soy milk cappucino, or macchiato. Each time it has been a complete failure.

I tried a coffee lounge in the middle of Wedstfield, they didn’t even list toast with vegemite on the menu. So I ordered sourdough toast with ricotta and marmalade and the coffee. It was alright, but I don’t do sweet foods in the morning, as I can feel quite tired afterwards. Unfortunately I only really remember this after I have eaten said sweet thing. Why, oh why, can they not have a simple breakfast option? (my standard rant about cafes, don’t get me started!) The coffee was alright, nothing to get excited about.

My second coffee of the day is generally a macchiato, which I get from the lovely Noam and Vivione. They have closed for this week, so the task to find a decent replacement was on. Max Brenner is not that decent replacement. Their choclate is fine, their coffee is too bitter for my liking.

Ate at Starbucks (gasp!). You see the depths I am pushed too at this time of year? In fact it is the only time of year that I will patronise the place, and mostly because it is open and they do an alright coffee (better than gloria jean’s coffee, the other option we have). My main gripes were again: no breakfast option that wasn’t incredibly sweet, you have to have a large coffee, there is no small option, and they FORGOT to make my coffee, I had to walk back up and ask. *sigh*.

Today’s macchiato attempt was at pie face, which was decent and came with friendly service, although with less banter than we get from Noam, so that problem was fixed. When asked, they assured me they made toast so I thought my breakfast worries were over.

Fronted up to pie face for breakfast. “We don’t do toast” came the reply. So one croissant and coffee was taken back to the office. The croissant was decent, but not really what I was after. Scratch that for an alternate breakfast option.

Macchiato taken care of.

My first day at this job I arrived in plenty of time for my 9.30 start, knowing that I might have difficulty finding a place to have breakfast and that I had some reviewing of notes to do. The place I found for breakfast didn’t have any vegemite, as they had “run out” so I determined to not go back there again, ever. However, this morning I was desperate and thought I would give them another go.

I ordered wholemeal vegemite toast, and they passed the first test, there was wholemeal bread and vegemite. However, and this is the confusing thing. They took the pieces of wholemeal bread, covered them in some vegemite, no butter, put the two vegemite halves together and placed them into a sandwich press. WTF!!! When I prised the two pieces apart the insides were steaming! I took two bites and sent them back. What returned was actual toast, again with no butter. It was dry and horrible, but at this point in time I needed food.

I can’t wait for all the decent places to be open again next week. All I want is toast and vegemite. (let’s not discuss the fact that I could have bought a loaf of bread and toasted it at work. Half the point is to eat out of the office to relax before starting the day. Oh, and I keep forgetting to buy a loaf of bread)

*the photo has nothing to do with parramatta’s (lack of) coffee, but it is the photo of a previous stop-gap coffee shop I frequented.

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A couple of the blogs that I read have listed their favourite ways of keeping track of new year’s resolutions, or just resolutiuons in general. Despite the timing of my previous post on the themes for this year, I don’t really believe in NEW YEAR’S resolutions per se. Goals, or a new direction, are useful whenever you feel inspired to take them on. This year my re-direction just happened to occur around 1 January.

So here’s a couple of posts that link to some useful web applications for goal tracking, weight loss, finance, quitting cigarettes, and rewarding yourself for new habits.

LifeHacker: Geek to Live – Six webapps to help keep your New Year’s resolutions

Get Rich Slowly – Ask the Readers: Best Tools for Tracking Resolutions?

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Yarra River, SouthbankI just took a week holiday to Melbourne, to see some dear friends and to get to know the city a bit better after falling in love with it last July. Photos are here, if you are interested. Most of them are from the Digger’s Club’s Heronswood property

One of the things that I do when on holidays is start to relax a bit and think about how I want my life to be, so, since it is the season for resolutions I present the following.

2007 is the year of…

  1. Career Development and Consolidation: I now have a job I enjoy in an area that inspires me, so time to become excellent at it.
  2. Finance Consolidation: self-explanatory really, there are some things I want to do and have, so I need to get better with my money. I’d also like to not be worrying about cash at the end of every pay period.
  3. Developing Clean house Habits: believe it or not, I dream of living in a cleaner, simpler home, so time to remove the clutter and get some simple cleaning routines started.
  4. Live Adventurously: there is so much to see and do in this world. I don’t necessarily mean to take up extreme sports, instead I am talking about being aware of the different “adventures” that are available and get away from the couch.
  5. Rebuild Social Networks: I’ve met so many people that I no longer regularly catch-up with and would like to. More free time = ability to do this. This also relates to point 4.
  6. Fixing the World: a bit cliched, but the impulse has always been there. I’d like to make some sort of difference.
  7. Developing Healthy Habits: fitter, leaner, happier me.

In the words of the Cheese Eating Surrender Wombat: “If you make one resolution this year, let it be this: resolve to end apathy in yourself and in those around you. We are all in far too much trouble for this not to happen sometime soon.”

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