A friend posted the above photo on my Myspace on the weekend. I don't know if it's real or not, but I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool to live in Happy Lane?' (Not least because it looks very pretty.)
This got me wondering if there was a Glee or Gleeful Street in Melbourne. The closest is Gleeson. There are, however, numerous streets with names relating to happiness. A selection -
Bliss Street Elysium Court Elysian Road Halcyon Avenue/Court/Drive/Grove/Way Happy Valley Court Happy Jack Way Jolly Street Joy Street Laughing Waters Road Merry Street Nirvana Avenue/Close/Crescent/Place Utopia Street
And then I got to wondering about funny/weird/street names in general. Here are my favourites for Melbourne.
Budgie Court Cuddle Court Doona Avenue
(a doona is what Aussies call a quilt/duvet) Sesame Street (x2!) Goodenough Court Hit or Miss Road Pick'n Pan Way Tingle Close Upsndowns Road
I would love to live in Cuddle Court even more than Happy Lane. Were I a less law-abiding citizen, I would steal all these signs and hang them on my wall.
For my full compilation of funny/strange/cool Melbourne street names, visit my listographypage. And yes, before you say anything, I do have too much time on my hands!
Are there funny/odd/cool street names where you live? (I know you have one Julian!)
I am such a nerd. I read Foyle's Philavery in one sitting on Friday night. I couldn't stop! I have kept a list of my favourites, but in the interests of not swamping you with another list of words, I'm going to save that for another post.
Oh, I will mention just one thing. In the pages of Philavery I found a name for a condition that afflicts my friend Hannah, only I don't think it occurred to either of us that it was an affliction that might even have a name. You see, she has a major aversion to the feel of cottonwool balls. She cannot stand to touch them. It turns out this is known as haptodysphoria - "an unpleasant sensation felt by some people in response to certain tactile sensations".
Christopher Foyle writes that in compiling the book, he came across haptodysphorics who have reactions to the feel of kiwi fruit, jelly, hamsters and um...old forks.
And on Saturday night...
I whiled away several hours at www.rinkwords.com, a site reader The Infamous Mrs Blueballs mentioned in the comments last week. It is a treasure trove of interesting stuff about words. The collection of collective nouns is highly amusing, but my favourite thing is the lengthy list of funny and unusual words. I took notes there too but again, I'll save that for later.
Oh, I will mention just one thing - did you know that there is a word to describe the act of causing a frog or toad to jump up in the air? Well, there is! It's "spanghew"! That's hilarious.
And one more thing! There is a word for the worship of words - epeolatry.
The pleasure of binding
Part of the charm of Foyle's Philavery is its presentation - it's a solid little book with an old-fashioned hard cover and fabric binding on the spine bearing the name in gold lettering. It also has a little red ribbon to keep your place (not that I needed to use it).
Does anyone else find pleasure in the presentation of a book? Books these days generally lack the visual and tactile appeal of those from years gone by, don't they? (Geez, how old do I sound?).
I had to buy one of my other favourite books, Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (writing style, that is) when I opened it up and saw that it had 'hello' and 'goodbye' printed inside the front and back covers . I liked the idea of something so silly on a book on an ostensibly dry topic and it reminded me of the sort of things I used to scribble on my exercise books when I was at school (along with "Private! Keep out!"). The book is also pleasingly cloth bound and has quirky illustrations, unlike the little softcover edition I had when I was at university.
Do you have a book that you like for its presentation?
I bought Foyle's Philavery on my way home from work tonight. It's cold and wet and I am tired and headachey, and very much looking foward to curling up on the couch under a blanket and losing myself among the collection of uncommon and pleasing words. No doubt I will share my favourites with you soon.
While at the bookshop, I saw quite a few titles that are on my list of must-read books. I was a tiny bit tempted to grab them all and buy the lot, but fiscal reason reigned.
The joy of mastery
As I approached the steps at Federation Square on the way to work this morning, a toddler with a mop of curls was tentatively walking down them holding on to her mother's hand. She smiled at me, clearly thrilled with her efforts. I smiled back and thought about the pleasure and pride that come from attempting and mastering a new skill.
It's been quite a while since I learnt to do something new. I think it's time I put my pupil hat on...
Glam tram driver
I caught the tram home tonight because of the cold snap. The driver appeared to be sporting a wig modelled on a 70s glam rocker 'do, but I think it was actually his own hair. It was so appalling that it was glorious.
Does anyone else delight in things that are so bad they are good? The Go Fug Yourself girls often do - they had an amusing entry today on Sarah Brightman's whackjob stage costume. I want to memorise the line "This is so much no, yet it all adds up to YES" for the next time I see some hideous goodness.
I had a craving for Coco Pops the other day and have had a big bowl of the chocolatey cereal for breakfast the past two mornings. Mmmm....just like a chocolate milkshake...only crunchy. I had a bowl of them this afternoon too, and my boss disagreed when I insisted cereal is "anytime food". Pah!
I brought the half-full box of Coco Pops home with me tonight which means I carried it around the book shop in a clear shopping bag. Normally I have a calico carry bag or similar with me, but I had to scrounge up a plastic bag in the kitchen at work to avoid having to just tuck the box under my arm and go. I felt a little self-conscious about carting around a box of kiddy cereal - it doesn't really go with Foyle's Philavery - but the incongruousness of it still pleased me.
I learnt a clutch of new words yesterday in an article in The Age about a collection of words that are verging on extinction due to lack of use. The people in charge of Collins Dictionary have placed them on a list of words that could be cut from the next edition unless they can find evidence of them being bandied about (outside articles about their endangerment).
My favourite is fubsy, which means short and stout ("I'm a little teapot fubsy....."?), and I like niddering (cowardly) and exuviate (to shed) and abstergent (cleansing or scouring).
And made up words!
Regular reader Victoria thoughtfully sent me a link to the latest contributions to the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational, which ask readers to take a real word, and alter it slightly to create a new word.
Here is my selection of the winners -
1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
3. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
5. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
6. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
7. Glibido: All talk and no action.
8. Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
9. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
10. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
(Hmmm...wondering if I should start a blog devoted to words...)
EDIT: Reader Julian, with his "Urban Legends Debunker" hat on, informs me that there is no such thing as the Mensa Invitational. The above list of words is from a weekly competition in Washington Post about 10 years ago called Style Invitational. No matter - it's new to me and they are still great words.
First pennyfarthings and unicycles, now tall bikes. Walking home beside the river tonight a man zipped past me on a bike that must have been more than two metres tall. Two metres! The wheels were standard size, but the seat was atop a tall frame way above. People are odd, aren't they? And luckily the bridges along the river aren't low (although I'm sure I would laugh my head off if he smacked into one a la Wile E Coyote).
When I was walking up the street this evening, I looked up and saw the word "IRONMONGER" built into the stone facade of an old building that now houses a fish and chip shop.
"Now there's a word you don't hear much these days," I thought. "Monger. Certainly not in the sense of somebody who sells something, anyway. Why aren't car salesmen called carmongers? Why aren't there shoemongers? Bookmongers? Meatmongers?".
Apart from fishmonger (which you don't hear much), all the uses of "monger" these days that I can think of are negative - scaremonger, gossipmonger, hatemonger, warmonger.
Anyhoo, there is no point to this waffling, except for that I have decided to try to rescue monger from its negative connotations by calling myself a gleemonger. I wish I'd thought of that when I named my blog....
I have also decided I want to marry a man whose last name is Gleeson...might be reducing the pool of available men to a dribble however...
I have been tagged by small footprints to post eight random facts and/or habits about myself, so here goes...
1. I was christened Jane but changed the spelling to Jayne when I was 12. Jane was just too boring.
2. I am very fond of Dr Seuss, particularly Oh, the Places You'll Go!
3. I collect tea cup and saucer sets.
4. I have met 43 guys off dating /social networking sites...and I'm still single, but not the least bit bothered about it. I love my life.
5. I have never owned a car, and have no plans to buy one (for the sake of my finances and the planet). I got my licence six years ago and have driven only once since.
6. .I used to be a journalist but became a legal secretary after I was retrenched in 2002 (sort of by accident).
7. I'm scared of horses.
8. I grew up on a farm but I'm proof that you can indeed take the country out of the girl when you take the girl out of the country.
Now, I am supposed to tag eight others to blog eight random facts about themselves, but I think it would be more fun if you all tell me your eight things below. Not everyone has a blog after all, and I want to know you better. Regale me.
I don't know if you have noticed, but I have retired the name GleeGirl, partly because I wasn't overly taken with it to begin with, but mainly because I want to reduce my online personalities to just the one I have been using for the past few years in various other places on the net - Frisky Librarian.
It was such a beautiful, mild sunny day when I set foot out of my flat this afternoon I stood on my front steps, and almost flung my arms wide and said "Aaaaaaah!" to the world.
As I walked to the end of my court it hit me again that I am going to get to stay in my flat for another year and I couldn't help grinning like a loony. Then I crunched some very crispy leaves on the footpath and felt very, very happy.
I had a nice sleep in this morning, although I woke up with my handbag on the floor beside the bed, which is not where it usually lives. Sleep walking again...
I saw a funny little flotilla of ducks on the river as I crossed the bridge today. Don't usually see ducks swimming in formation on the river (above).
In the park on the other side of the river I saw a very large specimen of what my brother and I used to call a fairy when we were kids (below). It was nearly as big as the palm of my hand. Did you used to pick them and blow away the fluffy bits and make a wish? I might have done that if there weren't any people around...
When I came back past later in the afternoon, the big fairy was gone! Gone! It was quite a windy day. I hope Mr Wind made a wish.
I learned some interesting words playing Free Rice at work yesterday. Two of them fall into that category of words that sound like they should mean the opposite of what they do (like pulchritude).
Sybaritic means luxurious, but it sounds to me like it should mean scabby or infested with lice or something similarly icky.
Fulgurous means dazzling, but I reckon it sounds like it means something like "bearing fungus". "My, what a fulgurous smile you have!" doesn't sound very complimentary, does it?
Other words I learnt -
* to crepitate is to crackle. I ate some pop rocks this week that made my brain crepitate.
* a bleb is a bubble. Blowing blebs just doesn't have the same ring to it. Sounds like a euphemism for farting.
My next book...
For any word lovers - or people who love word lovers - here is a book I read about in the latest Readers Feast Bookstore Book Guide today - Foyle's Philavery by Christopher Foyle. "Philavery is 'an idiosyncratic collection of uncommon and pleasing words'." I must have it. I'm crepitating with anticipation. There is also a follow up called Foyle's Further Philavery, which is quite a tongue twister, isn't it?
I went to a great new bar in the city last night called Seamstress (new to me, I mean). There was a cute bartender with a sexy accent and a nice breeze coming through open windows. The walls were painted dark and the ceiling draped with Asian-style fabric. A row of colourful Cheong-Sams hung over the bar. I met up with some people from the Ask Sam blog again. There were some new faces and some familiar ones. I particularly enjoyed catching up with Karma again, who is very kind and lovely, not least because she thinks I'm funny! Hello Karma if you're reading! (We have a tendency to keep calling each other by our blog de plumes.)
Speaking of being funny, like most people, I love to have a laugh, but I realised while lying face down on my osteopath's table a few weeks back that I love it even more when I make someone laugh. I was chatting away to him about stuff and he laughed out loud at a couple of things I said. It was thrilling! If only I were funny enough to make a living out of it....
I should stop here. Oh, just one more thing. Mmmmm....chocolate gelati.
Got any funny/peculiar words for me? What will your next book purchase be? Do you like to make people laugh?
Aaaaah...After three days of hot and at times windy weather which appeared out of the blue, a cool change has just swept through, bringing a refreshing cool breeze and showers. What a relief!
The temperature dropped more than 10 degrees in a matter of minutes after being in the low 30s all day. It was 28 degrees C (82 F) when I left home this morning!
The smell of hot, wet bitumen is wafting in through my open windows. That, for me, is the essence of summer (although it's not quite summer yet). No sign of the thunderstorms that were forecast, but the night is young.
I can see some pleasing specimens of cumulonimbus out the window too.
The decluttering continues My decluttering drive continued tonight. The local council is conducting its annual free hard rubbish collection tomorrow, so I've carted a bunch of stuff down three flights of stairs in the heat and dumped it on the nature strip. (The pile includes the hideous vase my ex gave me last Christmas!)
I had more stuff to get rid of than I realised and I'm happy to have cleared some space in my spare room, not least because someone might have to move in there.
My building sold at auction two weeks ago, and I have been in a state of uncomfortable uncertainty since. But good news! I found out today the new owner wants to sign us all up to new 12-month leases. Hooray! I get to stay in my sunny little inner city haven!
It's such a relief and I'm thrilled to bits. The only thing that could possibly dim my joy is that the rent is going up (amount TBA) and I will probably be forced to rent out the spare room. But at least I have the option of getting a flatmate to share the rent, hey?
I adore living on my own, but the more I think about the prospect of sharing again, the more enthusiastic - or perhaps the less apprehensive - I am about it. There can be positives about sharing - including the potential for making a great new friend - but the benefit that appeals to me most right now is the extra $100+ in my hand each week.
Finding the right person to share with will be the key, but maybe that could be fun too. I want to share with a guy, so I might meet a lot of (hopefully not creepy) men...
The photo above is the view from my lounge room window. When I look out the window from where I'm sitting now, the full moon is staring back at me.
More of 333
I dropped into 333 Collins Street Monday afternoon to admire the gorgeousness of the domed vault. Here's a couple of better shots of it than the one I posted on Sunday, with bonus Christmas tree top.
I had a delicious apple and passionfruit juice with my breakfast when I got to work this morning. Never have I enjoyed a bottle of juice so much. I had a few too many wines over dinner with a friend last night, you see...very parched.
Doctor Dictionary delights me yet again. Word of the day on Sunday was horripilation which means goose bumps! Makes me want to get chilly just so I can use it.
This is my 50th Gleeful post. Hurrah! The glee-spotting and recording has been rewarding and fun - it has helped me to see and appreciate my world with fresh eyes and encouraged me to look for bright spots on gloomy days. So yay for that!
Of course, having people read it and take the time to comment makes it extra-special. I especially like it when someone says I put a smile on their face - that is surely one of the best simple pleasures in life - or shares their gleeful experiences with me. So, a heartfelt thank you to all of you. You make me gleeful.
Anyhoo, enough navel gazing.
I've had a great day today. I enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate at a cafe on Spring Street in the city with my friend Anthony before we visited The Impermanent City exhibition at the City Museum in the beautiful Old Treasury building. The exhibition, subtitled "The rise and fall of Melbourne's skyline" features photographs and models of 11 notable buildings that have long been demolished, and their "ghosts" which can still be seen today.
My favourite was the Australian Building (above), which was the tallest building in the country when it was built in the late 1800s, and held the title of Melbourne's tallest building until 1957. Although described as 'the epitome of the architecture of Marvellous Melbourne', it was modernised in the 1940s and knocked down in the early 1980s. Parts of the side walls are still visible on the buildings that flanked it.
In the museum's gift shop, I picked up a copy of Walking Melbourne, a National Trust guide to the CBD's historic and architectural landmarks. I looked up one of my favourite buildings at 333 Collins Street and discovered it was narrowly saved from demolition in the 70s. What the????!
It's a comparatively unassuming building from the outside, but inside the ceiling is a jaw-droppingly stupendous ornate dome (below). The thought that it was slated for demolition almost hurts.
I'm looking forward to wandering the city with the guide (and camera) in hand. I might do that on my month off work at Christmas.
After that, Anthony and I walked to Little Collins Street to check out the remnant brick wall of workers' cottages that were featured in the above exhibition. The cottages were home to the city's poorest inhabitants but were knocked down in the 1890s. The wall fronting the street was spared and now forms the back wall of the garden of the exclusive Melbourne Club (the snooty men-only hang out of business bigwigs and politicians). You can still see on the wall where the windows were bricked in. We lamented that we'll never get into the garden to appreciate the full splendour of the massive elm trees whose lush canopies soar above the high brick perimeter walls.
List writers' delights
Then we visited Metropolis Books, which I'd never been to before. You won't find the latest Dan Brown best seller there - it's a collection of books on art, graphic design, architecture, photography, fashion, popular culture, film, music and the performing arts, plus a nice sprinkling of quirky reads. As an inveterate list writer, I was very tempted to buy Listography Journal - our Life in Lists. It's an illustrated "guided journal" for creating "a unique autobiography entirely in list form". You can compile lists on topics including greatest accomplishments, best friends, favorite food, guiltiest pleasures and greatest acts of kindness. Maybe next payday...
Oooh! I just discovered the author, New Yorker Lisa Nola, has a website at http://www.listography.com/ which enables you to create a database of lists on anything your listaholic heart desires! I can put my ever-expanding list of books to read on there! Cool bananas!
Then we went to JB Hi-Fi so I could buy the Dead Letter Chorus' debut album The August Magnificent. (I got too impatient waiting for it to hit iTunes.) I've only listened to it a couple of times, but it is indeed magnificent. One of the lead singers, Gabrielle Huber, has a gorgeous voice.
And all this under beautiful sunny skies....Aaaaaah.
I patted some rats today. Not what I expected to be doing when I left my house this morning, that's for sure!
I visited a shop that sells clothing and accessories of an alternative bent (goth/metal type stuff - lots of black, buckles and skull motifs). I'd seen a skirt online that I liked but wanted to try it on for size. As soon as I walked in, the shop assistant came over and was on for a chat.
At first I was a little irritated - shut up and let me shop, dammit! - but I ended up happily discussing the rampant consumerism of Christmas, vegetarianism, the death of pets and various other topics quite unlike the normal small talk you get from shopgirls.
Then she mentioned she had her pet rats in the shop today so I asked to see them and I had a pat. Obviously I'm not grossed out by them. It's not like they just crawled out of a pile of roach-infested garbage. (When I was a kid, living on a farm in the middle of a mouse plague, I always felt sorry for the cute little mice when they got killed. Perhaps I am just favourably disposed to rodents?)
I ended up buying a T-shirt (above) which I did really like, but I also felt I couldn't walk out empty handed after standing there talking for 20 minutes! Maybe that's her sly plan...
(PS The Army of Wonderland T-shirt is by Beserk, an Aussie label.)
I had a chuckle when I walked past a shop which had a few male mannequins in the window wearing very, very well padded trunks (below). The bit that looks like the mannequin's right leg is actually the bulge! I also like the way the mannequin on Mr Bulgy's left is reaching for a tentative hand hold. Aw...dummy love.
I have just learned the word mannequin comes from the Dutch language. It originally meant dwarf but then came to refer to an artist's model. We later adopted the French spelling. The words easel and landscape were also plucked from the Dutch artists. Etymology is so interesting, isn't it?
I got a very nice compliment today. A FABULOUS compliment indeed. Had it been said to my face (rather than via a blog), I would have blushed madly.
A man I met for the first time at dinner last Friday night told me I am stunning (in response to my comment that I was worried I would be invisible to guys now that I have short hair). Stunning! I would have been pleased with pretty!
It made my day. As reader Julian commented recently, a compliment is a wonderful thing - so easy to give and such a simple way to make someone feel good. Got to be genuine of course, but it's usually not that hard to find something nice to say about people you like, is it?
I walked home in light rain tonight. I like the sound of the rain drops pattering onto my umbrella. It's still raining now. We so badly need it.
Check out this baby pygmy hippo. I saw it on the news tonight. Awwww...so cute!
Anyone received a nice compliment lately? Or given one?What are some other easy ways to make others feel good?
We finished work at 3.00 pm today and sat in the boardroom all afternoon sipping champers and nibbling nibblies. Yum. It was partly to mark Oaks Day (another big day on the Spring Racing Carnival calendar) and partly to celebrate the arrival of a partner's second child.
I got my hair cut and coloured tonight. Aaaah.
I love the way the trees and grass seem to glow in the early evening sun. I love that there is sunshine in the evenings, now that it's daylight savings.
Aaaah, public holidays. Ya gotta love em. Today is Melbourne Cup Day, a day off for the horse race that is the pinnacle of the city's spring racing carnival.
It's dubbed the "race that stops a nation" but it didn't stop me lazing away the entire afternoon in the gardens in the sun (and er...eating a Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate bar while reading about the evils of the sugar!).
I had a nice sleep-in this morning after a late-ish night out last night to see the Wagons gig at the Northcote Social Club. I was not disappointed - it was sensational. I absolutely loved it. I can't pick a highlight, it was awesomeness wrapped in stupendousness and rolled in chocolate sprinkles.
I plan to see them again at The Famous Spiegeltent in a month, which will be a double delight - great music and a special venue.
The support acts last night were pretty good too, especially Sydney's Dead Letter Chorus (below). I'm totally loving Aussie music right now.
Melburnians, what did you do with your day off (if you got it)? Anyone been to a great live gig recently? What about to the Spiegeltent?
This is the last picture I will take with my old camera because today I bought my new one! Woohoo! It's a Canon Powershot AS 2000 IS with 10 megapixels and a 6x optical zoom. It was on sale too. Noice!
I have a huntsman spider in my kitchen which simultaneously pleases and scares me. As long as it stays out of my bedroom, we'll get along fine.
* A tasty dinner ending with yummy lemon tart at a restaurant (called Birdie Num Nums!) with a bunch of new friends.
* Exploring a street I've never been to before and thinking, "Hey, I feel really at home here".
* A man with his face painted like Marcel Marceau...driving a Magna stationwagon (one of the dullest, most conservative family cars there is).
* A beautiful and unusual flower (above). Is it an azalea?
* Half-peeled banana cufflinks. I'd like to meet the guy who'd wear them!
* A drunken sailor - or at least a very disconsolate dude in a sailor suit - sitting on the steps at Windsor train station.
* A pair of dogs standing at the automatic door of a Priceline store looking in after their owner, the golden retriever's nose just poking inside.
* An hour spent nosing about the Chapel Street Bazaar second-hand wonderland. I saw framed prints of 1940s "nudie cuties" nestled up to a picture of Jesus, the ugliest Madonna and baby Jesus ornament in existence (below - that's seashells stuck on a heart with sand glued to it) and a chocolate tin the same as the one my mum used to keep her loose buttons in when I was a kid. It was priced at $58!
* Saying Onitsuka Tigers (the brand of my new sneakers) in my head with a silly Japanese accent.