Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Cat Empire at Freo Arts Centre 

The Cat Empire played at the Fremantle Arts Centre last night and Gill, Martin, Caelan, Judith, Dylan and I went down to join in the fun.

We sat on the lawn beside the former women's asylum and I could see a bright half-moon above the building to our right. The sun went down behind the stage and I could imagine us on the hill, facing the port and watching over the world as it visits WA.

Local dub/reggae band The Sunshine Brothers started the show, soothing those of us who waited in line longer than we expected to enter the grounds. They played a version of AC/DC's 'TNT' that made me smile - fancy recognising familiar lyrics but not the music. They have a CD out called Rebel Yellow and will play at Beck's Verandah for the Perth Festival.

Of the six of us, I'm the only one not to own a CD by The Cat Empire and so the only one not to know their music (apart from 'Hello'). All I needed to know is that I could dance to it but I also liked that I could hear and enjoy each instrument. There was lots of trumpet, a little hip hop and even some scat (like Cab Calloway on the Blues Brothers during 'Minnie the Moocher'). I liked 'The Chariot' but maybe because I picked up on the anti-war vibe and I like the words 'timber and steel.' I'm so easy to please.

The Fremantle crowd ranged in age from young kids (including Caelan) to men about Dad's age. People kicked off their shoes and placed children on their shoulders. I left feeling relaxed and like I wouldn't mind doing it all again the next night.

The Cat Empire play at Xanadu near Margs Saturday night and then begin a world tour in late January - including Germany, so watch out Iris and Ingo!

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Jelly Cake, Two Jam Cakes 

And a lamington, but we like the jelly cakes and the jam cakes better.

Lamington, two little iced cakes, a coconut-covered jelly cake

Nanna calls the jam cakes 'little cheese cakes' - even though they don't have cheese in them - because that's what her Mum called them. They have a pastry base, then some jam, then regular cake (maybe a bit thicker) and then icing. They're yum! I'm posting a pic because, even though it's a bit mean this year, it's tradition to tease those who don't have a jam or jelly cake in their hand.(Look at me, I'm eating a jelly cake, ha ha ha.). Just because some family members are in Tasmania's no reason to break with tradition, especially if they started it.

I celebrated my first 21 Christmases in Busselton but this is the first in my hometown in a long while. I met six of my grandparents' neighbours (from four different households), went for a swim with my aunt down at the bottom of Gale St, smelt burning rubber at the beachfront one night, ate choccies with Nanna at Villa, drank port (and ate dinner) with my aunt's family - who made me feel very welcome, counted kangaroos in the paddock behind where my Nanna and Grandad used to live (forty of them - no cows!) and ate lunch with my brothers and grandparents.

We drove around and looked at the Chrissie lights too, although there were plenty to see in my grandparents' street. The three must-see displays (according to the local paper and talk) were at Lancaster Rd, left off the mill road (that's Queen Elizabeth Ave for those who aren't my family), Black Swan Drive (out near Breeden St, and where two houses joined in Christmas harmony, with music and a nativity) and at the end of a cul de sac off Peel Tce, east of the Butter Factory.

Everyone knew the name of the guy from this last display, so now I know where he lived in Busso before now, who he lives with, in which other south west town he grew up, and that he's an 'incredible carpet layer.'

So that was my Chrissie. One year I might even celebrate somewhere outside of the south west. But it's such a good spot for it.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

Thanks for popping by and reading, and for all your comments, and especially for all the great reading I find at your blogs. I hope that if you celebrate Christmas you have a good one!

If you stand on the south east corner of the intersection above (Hay and William Streets in Perth) and look at the centrepiece, and then look up at the suspension wire - and keep looking up at the suspension wire - you'll see that it isn't the sky holding up our city's Christmas decos but that the wire curves over towards the Bankwest tower. Or it appeared to curve tonight.

I'm off down south for a few days, so I won't be blogging over Christmas but I'm looking forward to getting back into it soon!

Lots of love and reasons to grab for a camera (even if you can't quite capture what you wanted),


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Friday, December 22, 2006

Introducing GirlFriand 

Hey, so I have a new blog with her own domain name! GirlFriand is where I'll focus more on writing and wandering. If you don't know what a friand is, there's an explanation in my first post Pudding's Sweet / But Too Aloof (a line from a Chili Peppers song, If You Have To Ask).

I'm posting regularly but I still need to play more with the template and run accessibility checks. That's why I've not announced the new blog earlier and now suddenly it's Christmas - there are posts to read - and I'll feel bad if I leave it too long before some people to find out.

WordPress is easy to use, and it's such a relief not to have to enter the word verification letters every time I post. Usually when I start new Web projects I go mad checking that the code is standards-compliant and the pages are accessible. I think that's partly because I know I can get that right (eventually). I feel relaxed enough now that I can just have fun with the content. Yay!

Temporal Island will stay as it is, with less writing/wandering stories and perhaps more blogging/RP and disability/family and friends stuff. I think writing GirlFriand might have a shaping effect on Temporal Island but we'll see how that goes!

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Daypop's Almost Back 

Daypop, the current news and weblog search site is back. I like Daypop because it has a clean design, and also because of the 'blogs-on-a-stick' connotation.

A search for my new blog (GirlFriand) returns a link to here, where I only added a link to GirlFriand in the sidebar yesterday (-ish). However, when I tried to submit GirlFriand itself (which hasn't already been indexed that I can tell) I received an error message, so it doesn't look like it's accepting new site submissions or seeking out new blogs to cover just yet. The Daypop Weblog hasn't been updated recently, so maybe they're just easing on back slowly.

The Daypop Top 40 Links is current and lead me to read
Gawker > Bad Lingo: Blog Media Clichés. I know I use 'um' a bit - but not usually to be condescending (because I really hate that) and more often to show that I'm embarrassed to admit something. Either way, it's not actually a word so I should drop it. Or seeing as how I'm not actually blog media, I can do what I like.

[The Daypop news came via ResearchBuzz > Apparently DayPop is Back?]

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Staying Calm 

My body thinks that either a) I will need to fight someone tomorrow morning, or that b) I will need to run away very fast. Neither is good form for what I'll actually be doing. I'm planning to think Alexander Thoughts and hope I don't embarrass myself. Wish me luck!
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Web Content Workshop 

The latest Fellowship of Australian Writers WA (FAWWA) e-mail included info about a February workshop that might interest Web-types:

Workshop: Writing for Websites ? Create Killer Content with Tanya Dewhurst.

Saturday 10 Feb 10am?1pm Tom Collins House. For anyone with a website which could be improved. For anyone with a website which could be improved. Writing for the web is different to writing for other mediums. Don't let your website plod along with most other sites. Learn from a web creator with 10 years experience here and overseas. Cost: $44 / $33 FAWWA members.

More information about summer workshops is available from the FAWWA.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christy Dena's Leederville Talk 

A few weeks back I promised Simone and Iris that I'd tell them what I learnt at Christy Dena's talk on blogging.

Most of what Christy covered would be familiar to regulars at blogger meetup. We saw how to set up a Blogger account, how to check statistics using SiteMeter (both services I use), and talked about some of the diverse subjects covered by bloggers.

I took away two ideas to consider. One is to investigate more social networking sites. Christy signed up for as many of these as she could as part of her study and when she recently deleted accounts (too many to manage!) she noticed that her Technorati rank dropped. I don't want to have so many accounts I can't manage them but I'd like to check out more of what's out there, and maybe become a little more engaged and visible.

The other idea is to place links at the end of posts so that interested readers won't be distracted and click away before they've finished a post. I'm not sure that will work so well in a personal blog - sticking addies down the bottom might mess up the flow a little - but I'm trying to do this when it feels right.

Kinda weird being at a blogger do with people who don't blog. Found myself chatting to people about why I blog, mumbling that I only have a personal blog, and discovering that I know more than I think I do about blog culture. Out of the few people I chatted to over yummy finger food (for free, how's that? - Strawberries!), a couple skived out of speech night to learn what their students get up to online, two wanted to be up-to-speed for work, and another wanted to promote a service she enjoyed on the net and which I didn't quite understand. Christy was open and friendly - a good person to have talking about blogs!

Simone and Iris, I hope this is useful! You can read more about Christy Dena at her blog, Cross Media Entertainment. Thanks to Tom from AFTRS / Australian Writers Guild in Leederville for organising the talk!

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For Those Who Think Love is Science Fiction 

The State Library of Victoria is oozing Text Appeal!

Love is in the air at the State Library of Victoria this summer.

Text Appeal is a new take on the traditional dating formula. Each person brings a book they love, loathe or have recently read to act as a conversation starter. Jane Austen may find Patrick O?Brien, Salman Rushdie could be captivated by Zadie Smith, and JK Rowling - can take her pick. The books people bring may reveal who they are, who they aren't and perhaps who they are looking for, all in a three-minute conversation.

Text Appeal will run once a month from December 2006 to February 2007, with the final event being held on Valentine?s Day.

Time 6 Dec 2006, 17 Jan & 14 Feb 2007; 7-9.30pm
Venue Experimedia
Bookings Registration is essential. Fill in the form below, tel 03 8664 7555 or email
Cost $20 per session - drinks, entertainment and the promise of a bookish romance included (a three-for-the-price-of-two discount applies to group bookings

Ooh, if I lived a little closer I'd be there. Something fun for mid-February that doesn't involve getting a year older.

After reading about the events, I had a favourite song snippet from Crowded House's It's Only Natural in my head:

Read me like a book
That's fallen down between your knees
Please, let me have my way with you

But now I only have Chrissie Amphlett from the Divinyls singing 'Wah ooh, Wah ooh' like she does in 'Science Fiction.' At first I thought this concept might work well with favourite/most hated music as the conversation starter - but, yeah, ouch. Maybe not.

[Via Kathryn]

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Andiamo Alla Spiaggia 

Gill, Caelan and Caelan's Italian friend from school went to the Synergy (not Western Power anymore) Playground today. I tagged along so that I could take Gill up on an offer of a lift home. In cooler weather I might bail and catch a train or a bus but on a hot Perth Sunday... hey, why not?

Originally I popped over on Saturday night for a test-taste of chocolate pavlova with raspberries and cream. Mmm, mm. We accidentally talked until four in the morning and went into town today for some Christmas shopping. Surprisingly low stress - although I think that's because we didn't care (or didn't notice) that we bought a couple of books, ate muffins, and came home.

We asked Caelan's friend how to say 'let's go to the beach' in Italian - partly to give Caelan an idea that speaking Italian isn't the same as speaking English with an Italian accent, and partly because you never know when it might come in handy. If I'm ever in Italy and someone asks What now? I can say, Andiamo alla spiaggia!' Cool to listen to someone speaking Italian clearly and slowly enough that I could understand.

Then we bought takeaway and drove down to Cottesloe, where the wind came up, rubbish dotted the grassed terraces, and a few raindrops fell.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Twinkling and Skittering 

Glorious weather yesterday, travelling down Stirling Highway I felt all relaxed and open. Later in the day I caught a train to Freo to do some shopping and bought a felafel at the markets. The felafel came with basil. Mmm mm, I love summer. At home I set up my small and wiry Christmas tree, which looks wonky when it isn't lit up but oh, wow, who can resist electric colours in the dark? I felt like camping out beside it.

Yes, ridiculous - especially if you consider that a) it's only a couple of metres from my bed, b) at $20, it's probably not one to leave twinkling while I sleep, and c) the changing lights are very similar to the flashes I sometimes see when I close my eyes (and sometimes when I don't).

After that I took out my new yellow thongs (which should match my yellow tankini - I'm so sunny! Not at all like an untanned banana!) and snipped the plastic tie that joined them together. I stood there imagining all the good times we'll have if I go to the beach. Then, over the noise of Sports Tonight, I heard a skittering sound.

Aha, a cockroach. I thought You don't christen your new thongs (Aussie Soles - made in China and in American sizes, 'Relax Ya Feet') by squashing a cockroach! Where are my boots? Then I saw it and slapped it with the right thong. And again.

Then it disappeared.

So I turned my Chrissie tree off and went to bed.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Germany, Gherkins and Meetup 

Iris and Ingo are visiting from Germany and so far I've asked lots of questions about life in Germany and tried to answer a few curly questions about Australia.

For example: Why do we have such high fences around our houses? Wow, I don't know, and having never travelled overseas, I'm flummoxed. Also: Why do English-speakers say 'either' two different ways, and the same with 'neither'? Unfortunately, this question led me to sing a bit of 'Let's Call The Whole Thing Off', which isn't a song I can sing. But what's Perth Weblogger Meetup without a little cultural exchange? I even handled some Euros - I was Euro-cool for all of a few minutes!

Here are Iris and Ingo (and a little bit of Simone!) at the Brass Monkey.

Iris in cool red spectacles on left and Ingo

I am also the lucky recipient of unexpected gifts. Ingo imports gherkins (there is only one big gherkin in this one big tin) from the former East Germany and they tell me I should eat it all in one go with no help from my friends. Iris presented me with the liquid malt extract as payback for Vegemite. I can add a teaspoon to milk or beer - although I'm not sure how willing I am to risk the taste of a can/stubbie of EB. I love that the gherkin tin says 'Get One!' on it in English and has a groovy picture of a gherkin.

A ceramic goose, tinned malt extract, gherkin tin

Sometimes I wonder why I blog but so far this is a great outcome.

In other meetup news, Simone has shifted her personal blog and now reveals The Not So Secret Life of Simone for all; PerthNorg had to change servers after a hack (after visiting Matt Didcoe's blog via AustralianBlogs today, I realised that hacking isn't as rare as I'd think); we now know that Web2Thing is called Scouta (sign up if you're as curious as me to know what Richard & Co are working on), and: JOOB is getting cuter. Skribe and Toxic Purity took pics at the meetup in which you can see JOOB's stand-out taste in apparel.

I'm sorry I didn't get to chat to everyone. Via Simone's meetup post I've discovered Hannee, who came along with her partner, and her blog, so I'll be making up for it soon!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Toes Painted 

I painted my toe nails tonight and quite a bit of the skin surrounding them too. Bugger it, nail painting is fun! I refuse to miss out. Got a few pre-Christmas jobs done too. Today I:

  • Made a spontaneous gift purchase at the GPO while paying to re-charge my pre-paid mobile. Gift may be appropriate for my youngest sister.

  • Bought Chrissie cards from Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.

  • Made another spontaneous gift purchase - this time a small prezzie for the sibling least likely to reciprocate and most likely to lose it (which isn't to say he won't appreciate the thought and hey, it's another Oxfam jobbie).

  • Realised that although my brothers and sisters and I don't exchange gifts, I should now probably keep an eye out for suitable small prezzies for those I'll see on Christmas Day. They're not big, really! Tiny, almost inconsequential.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

All Ages Out and About 

I have so much stuff to catch up on... and I owe Dad a reply to his first ever e-mail to me too. I'm getting there! Stuff that's amused me over the last little while.

  • Walking out of the Cancer Council on Rokeby Rd as a bus pulled up to have Martin jump out of the back door calling 'Hey Dee!' Reminded me of uni days - kinda nice that middle-age doesn't prevent friends from jumping out of buses and yelling in the street.

  • Meeting a member of the BlindPeopleWork discussion list who has only lived in Australia for six months, and discovering that her sister - who also came for coffee - is my cousin's boyfriend's mum!

  • Getting out for a duck at cricket after taking three wickets (thanks to B taking two catches, and an LBW). Someone from the opposition said Never mind, honey. Lol.

  • Chatting to an elderly woman in an apricot outfit and a white crocheted hat between McIver and Perth on the McIver to Perth shuttle bus. S was returning from a retreat and told me she once climbed to the crow's nest on the STS Leeuwin and asked her guide for a kiss. At the train station she asked me for a goodbye hug too, so she's not shy.

  • Learning about a mysterious group called the Forum at the BCWA Christmas Party. No one in the Forum knows anyone else's surname and the group gets together for occasional adventures. The same person who told me about the Forum told me all about square dancing.

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Meeting Iris In Freo 

Iris from Double-Half and her partner Ingo are visiting Perth from Germany. We've arranged to meet at the Freo train station on Monday at 2pm. I'm not sure where we plan to go from there! Iris says she'll recognise me from Col's ten-year-old pic of me that's been doctored to give me a moustache... I've said I'll bring my white cane along just in case the image and the reality don't quite match. If you read either blog and you'll be in Freo Monday arvo, let me know and maybe we can say g'day!

I've also invited Iris to Perth Weblogger Meetup, which is on this Wednesday night (not the third Wednesday this month for good reason!), but I'm not sure she'll be able to make it.

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Locked Out, Lip Gloss and Chocolate Ice Cream 

I locked myself out today - first time since I moved here in May. I figured it didn't matter so long as I could get to Gill's later and pick up my spares. I was so unstressed about it that I returned home between outings for a toasted ham sandwich and only then remembered I couldn't get in. D'oh.

For the first time in forever I caught a taxi by myself too. I asked the first driver in the queue at Wellington St if he was available. He said no, he was married.

Eye roll, please. At least three of my comments reminded him of songs - which he sang - including 'When I'm 64.' Then he suggested I apply for a taxi subsidy. I know, I know! But thanks.

Later at Vic Park train station I saw an elderly woman helping a young man work the ticket machine. Two dollar and fifty cent pieces kept slipping through. The woman called over a customer service guy, who got it to work first go. You guys always get it to work, said mystified guy. The customer service guy explained that it helps sometimes if you rub the coins together. I said Ahh, you do have the magic touch.* To which he replied, So why am I single?

I don't know why he's single. He looked like the kind of person who wouldn't be - a useful kind of person.

I, on the other hand, look like an arty eccentric according to one member of my writers group. A look she'd like to get happening for herself, and perhaps become a hermit to boot. I'm not sure if all of me looks arty eccentric or just my hair.

I confessed to the group that I'd locked myself out but it wasn't till later that the potential eccentric admitted that she'd left her wallet at home and had to scam a Multirider off the guy at the video shop.

Lucky for me, Gill and family invited me to stay for dinner, including Peters Natural Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert. We wandered down to the shops to buy cous cous (so not a very different dinner from most nights, only with better spices and chick peas) and stopped in at the chemist to look at hats and sunglasses. Instead I bought some SPF 30+ lip gloss.

The chemist was friendly and I think he liked the look of Gill, although he sold us a lot of stuff, so maybe he's just good at his job. From the supermarket we heard a teenager suddenly take off on his skateboard pulled along by his dog. You don't expect all this on Hampden Rd.

In fact, I don't expect most of what happens in my days but today I can't complain.

* I'm from the country, I talk to people. Or maybe I'm just chatty, you decide.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Skewiff Searches 

Tonight I checked my site referrals to see where my visitors have come from. Someone from Cranford, New Jersey, USA searched for 'rain eating urine german.' Umm, and 'here's the post they found.

Another visitor found me by searching for 'wardrobe mishaps' - which lead to a post about a then-upcoming blogger awards night that I didn't attend. Can't people tell from the summary of the search results that a page or post isn't relevant? Maybe some people are just bored and surf without intent.

Two different people (one from Massachusetts and another from Kentucky in the US) searched for 'immaculate degeneration' too. I've often wondered what occasionally draws people to my September 2005 archive and now I think I know. Misinformation - but at least the post might give them a better idea of how to find out what they want to know.

Rodney from The Journey recently asked about the weirdest or funniest searches that led people to your blog? So here's my response!

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