Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cool, sponk and happy cows

River path

Finally, some relief from the scorching heat! There has been a beautiful sea breeze blowing in my wide-open, southern-facing windows all day and the temperature hasn't made it over 31C. It's still warm in some rooms of my flat, but nothing compared with the airless, ovenesque heat of the past week. Phew.

After a trip up the street for provisions this morning, I have spent most of the day on my bed reading The Age, listening to music and enjoying the comparative coolness. I haven't had time the past few weekends to properly read the weekend papers, so I'm lapping it up today.

More wordy books

The Age delivered up another two word nerd books to put on my must-read list. Ammon Shea spent a year reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary - all 59 million words of it - and has written a book of his favourite obscure and quirky words called Reading the OED.

The Age's
Jane Sullivan writes - "He kept going because he was discovering so many wonderful words. You may think him quite mad. But if you have any inkling of the way the heart can quicken at the sight and sound of an obscure, beautiful or quirky word, then you're a bit of a word freak yourself." Yup.

The other book is Fopdoodle and Salmagundi edited by Edward Allhusen, which includes the fabulous word "sponk". When I asked to define it for me, it told me to see "spunk". Not entirely sure which definition is the one I'm meant to look at - pluck/spirit/mettle or touchwood/tinder/punk. It's certainly not "spunk" as in a sexually attractive person (which I think is an Australianism. Anyone?). And - before one of you alludes to it - it is most certainly not the far less savoury definition of spunk (which does mention). I'll just have to read the book to find out, won't I?

They call me Daisy

I love this. I read today on that cows that are given a name and called individually by name rather than simply herded as a group produce 3.4 per cent more milk a year than nameless ones.

The researchers in the UK concluded that calling the cows by name fosters positive human/cow relations, which makes for happier cows and happier cows give more milk.

We had a cow called Buttercup when I was a kid but I don't know if she gave more milk because of it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New flatmate and sensory delights


I have a new flatmate! Well, subject to the landlord's approval, I do. Not the guy, the girl. I'm disappointed he said no ("Something else came up"), but I think I'll be happy sharing with Anna. I'm pleased finding someone good wasn't a prolonged exercise, too.


After Melbourne's second hottest day ever (0.5 degrees off the record of 45.6 or 114.8F), we had a weak cool change late this afternoon. Yay! I'd had enough of dessicated eyeballs and feeling like my head was going to burst into flame as I set foot out of my office. It's now a pleasant 24 degrees outside (at 10.30 pm). Because it's much cooler out than in and I haven't walked much this week, I took myself for a walk along the river into the ciity and back at 9.00 pm.

It was beautiful out there - a sensory delight. There were bats flying low over the river as I crossed the Morell Bridge and a sliver of moon hung low in the sky just beside Eureka Tower. I could hear gunfire and voices from the open air cinema in the Botanic Gardens, and then a roar from the crowd watching the Australian Open Tennis at Rod Laver Arena.

The breeze was deliciously cool on my skin. There were lots of couples and groups (and a few possums) along the riverbank making the most of the brief reprieve from the the heat. (It's going to be 37 tomorrow.) I could hear the throng of people at Federation Square and the Transport Bar long before I got near them. People were gathered to watch the Nedal v Verdasco match on the big screen in Fed Square.

Somewhere, someone was cooking snags* on a barbecue and the smell wafted to me on the breeze, along with the sound of bagpipes played by a busker on Princes Bridge.

The city buildings were unusually dark because of massive black-outs caused by "a major supply interruption", which has left 350,000 houses without power (obviously not me) and the train network in chaos.

Although I've seen it hundreds of times, I stopped to admire the view of the city from the south bank of the river, looking over the Swan Street bridge and the long reflection of the illuminated Nylex Clock on the river. I heard something stirring in the black water but I couldn't see anything apart from ripples and rings on the surface. Dang. Crisp leaves scuttled along the footpath behind me as I walked, carried by the wind.

I know I've said it before, but gee, I love where I live.

* sausages

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A win-win situation

Eureka Tower glinting in the sun

I've had two great people come to look at my flat now. The icypole-bearer and one girl, who seems like she would be fun, easy going and low maintenance. I would be happy with either of them, although I've given the guy first option. He's going to let me know tomorrow. It's great to have an excellent Plan B.

I'm thinking it might be a good thing if he declines the offer because such is his hotness that my mouth might have dropped open a little when I answered the door to him. Luckily he distracted me with the icypoles.


As predicted, my perverse delight at the freakishly hot weather has all but dissipated. Now I'm gleeful about the air conditioning in my bedroom. And icypoles (popsicles).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perverse delight, ugly bird and icypoles

It's bloody hot in my part of the world. The mercury hit 43 degrees (about 109F) in Melbourne today. It's 37 as I type this at 9.45pm, which is not gleeful, but I admit that the freakishness and novelty of the extreme weather does bring me a small amount of perverse - insane? - delight. And at least it makes the weather a worthy topic of small talk!

I imagine my perverse delight will melt quickly in the next few days which are also forecast to hit 43 degrees. My flat will be like an oven when I get home from work tomorrow, but at least I have air conditioning in my bedroom.

I went to the St Kilda Open Air Cinema last night, which is on top of the St Kilda Baths right on the beachfront. It was hot yesterday too, but it was pleasantly balmy down there and nice to see the sunset over the bay.

I went to the cinema with my friend Anthony who is...he wouldn't be pleased with the description "bird fancier" even though I kinda like it, so I'll just say that he is interested in birds. Anyway, he told me about a strange and unattractive bird called a shoebill. Check it out below. Nature is so bizarre sometimes, isn't it?

I had my first potential flatmates come and look at the room tonight. I really clicked with the first guy, but maybe it was the box of icypoles that he presented me with that did it?

How are you coping with the heat (if you're in my part of the world)? For those of you dealing with cold and snow, does it help to think about how hot it is over here...or does it make it worse? Anyone seen a good movie lately (outdoors or otherwise)?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A fluther, more zhoozhing and giant Scrabble

One of my lilies opens up

Not only did I see a couple of good-sized fish swimming in the shallows of the Yarra River today, I saw a jellyfish (below). A jellyfish!

At first I thought it was a Common Plastic Bag Fish, but then I saw it propelling itself along and realised it was a live creature, not a shopping bag. What the? I didn't realise there were fresh water jellyfish, but now I know.

And the more I looked, the more I saw. There were dozens and dozens of them heading slowly downstream. When I walked past later, there were still a few about.

I've learnt something else today too. The collective noun for jellyfish is a fluther or a smack.

Project Zhoozh continues...

I got some indoor plants and pots for my flat today. The zhoozhing is just about complete. The woman who was coming to have a look at the place found something else, but I'm very happy with my efforts nonetheless.

The nursery where I got the plants had a fish pond in a large concrete pot out the front, and there was a fat orange goldfish half-hiding under a lilypad.

Lawn Scrabble anyone?

Victoria sent me a link today to photos of a couple's giant game of Lawn Scrabble. I want! I don't have any lawn so I would have to go over to the gardens to play and people would stop and take photos like they do of people playing giant footpath chess in the city!

How's your weekend going?

One of the fluther

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Zhoozhing and lamingtons and greyhounds

A veil of cloudage

It's nearly 10.30 on Saturday night and I have spent all afternoon and tonight cleaning and tizzying up my flat. Once I started I couldn't stop! I didn't eat dinner until after 10 - I didn't realise how late it was.

I've been on my feet almost non-stop since about 11.30 am and I'm utterly worn out, but the place looks good and it's satisfying knowing that it's clean - or cleaner anyway. I have more to do tomorrow before a woman arrives to look at the room.

It only occurred to me when I woke up this morning that the place could use a some freshening up - a bit of a zhoozh - so I walked to Ikea (about 4kms according to Mr Pedometer) and went a little loco. I got a new rug and a floor lamp for the loungeroom, some storagey things and a few things for the bathroom. All it needs now is an indoor plant...

By the way, Mr Pedometer says I've walked about 43 kilometres in the past seven days.


After Ikea I ate a yummy lamington muffin, Muffin Break's Australia Day offering. It reminded me of when I used to help my mum make lamingtons when I was a kid. She'd dunk the sponge cake in the chocolate sauce and I was in charge of coconut application. I used to end up with lamington fingers.

I patted a whippet on my way home. Lots of people don't like greyhoundy type dogs, but I love them. We had a greyhound when I was a young un and she was a beautiful, placid dog. When the greyhound races were shown on the sports report, my brother and I used to pick out a white dog like ours and yell, "Go, Bessie!" at the TV. Makes me smile thinking about it.

Last year I saw a couple walking their two greyhounds - well, walking one and wheeling the other in an old fashioned pram. It must have been injured. It certainly looked very embarrassed. That makes me smile too.

On the way home last night

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Music, massage and mmmmmmmmmm

I was listening to my iPod on shuffle while waiting for the tram home today, and it played Dusty Springfield's I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself and then the Whites Stripes' cover version straight after. Out of 232 songs on my Frisky Faves playlist!

Sometimes I think my iPod is a shiny little sentient being because when I'm sad it selects songs that are guaranteed to depress me further. Sentient, but unkind...or maybe it thinks I like to wallow.

Hurts so good

I had a massage after work tonight. Man, it hurt - but it's good pain. I went to one of those Chinese medicine places near work. I felt like laughing when he was doing the hand choppy move on me - as well as making an "errrr" sound so that it comes out as "er er er er " to the beat of his chops. I resisted.


I bought myself a bunch of Oriential lilies yesterday (below) and one was open when I got up this morning. I was greeted by its perfume when I arrived home tonight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An exciting plan

I am very excited and gleeful tonight (even despite finding out my ex is engaged to someone else five months after we parted ways). You see, I have hatched a plan that, if approved, will enable me to spend more time doing the things I love and less time at work letting my grey matter sit idle because there's not enough to keep me occupied.

I have asked to cut my working week back to four days and I will be able to do this because my rent has gone up. Yes, up. It's increased by so much that I have no choice but to get someone in to rent the spare room. Splitting the rent down the middle would fortuitously save me about a day's wages, and I got to thinking...

I'm going to be 40 in less than four years (yeah, I know, not old by any means, but it's a milestone birthday) and I'd rather spend as much of that time as I can pursuing interests that I am passionate about and doing things that make me happy. I want more out of life than sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs and clock watching. Yes, I could get a busier job, but a three-day weekend seems like a lot more fun to me. I am single, childless and mortgage-free and I'm going to make the most of that relatively carefree state while I can (without suffering financially for it).

I have already jumped the first hurdle - the business manager thinks it's a great idea and said he admires my passion. Whoooooo! Now the partners have to agree, but I can't see why they would pooh-pooh a plan that means they would be paying me to skulk about the interwebs and chat to friends for four days instead of five.

First I have to get a flatmate....

Any (deliberate) downshifters among you? Would you if you could? Is there anyone who loves their job so much they wouldn't want to cut back? (If so, I hope you realise how lucky you are!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My gleeful weekend

Weather vane in the city

I have had a very gleeful weekend. On Friday night, I enjoyed a meal with friends at Mahjong in St Kilda. I had never been there before - in fact, I don't think I've had a meal in the beachside suburb since the second date with my most recent ex in November 2006.

It was an evening of yummy (and occasionally phallic!) food (below) and fun conversation in beautiful surroundings - lots of dark wood and rich reds.

Teehee (it's a banana fritter, if you weren't sure!)

Afterwards we went for a hot chocolate at a nearby bar/restaurant which I soon realised was the place where I had the abovementioned second date, but there was a very, very hot waiter with a sexy accent to take my mind off the memories!

I got to St Kilda early before dinner and walked down to the beachfront to take some photos. It was so windy I could barely stand still, let alone hold my camera steady, but my pictures turned out fine. Yay. There were about a dozen kiteboarders taking advantage of the strong winds.

St Kilda pier

On Saturday I met up with a friend and visited the Melbourne Aquarium, which has recently opened an exhibit with gentoo and king penguins. A couple of the gentoo penguins were just as interested in us as we were in them, and had their beaks practically pressed against the other side of the glass. The penguins were great, but the sharks will always be my favourite...

A king penguin

And then today I spent time with a friend I haven't seen in more than a year. We had lunch in the Botanic Gardens and then sat under a tree by the ornamental lake for a good natter. She's in a really happy place in her life after going through a rough patch with the end of her marriage in 2007. It makes me happy to see her doing so well.

Walking the talk

Remember I estimated I would walk close to 40kms in a week? This week I notched up about 39 kms on my pedometer, and that doesn't include walking around at work and at home, plus I forgot to wear the pedometre on Friday and caught the tram on two occasions. Yesterday alone I walked 13 kms! And that meant I could go back to Chokolait for a chocolate treat! This time I had pavlova with strawberries and cream and a rich, hot chocolate. Mmmmmmm.

How was your weekend?

An old building in St Kilda

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Freaky photos

You know how I like little coincidences? Yes? Well, see this flower? I took the photo in the Alexandra Gardens on my way home from work tonight.

Then I got home and logged onto Myspace to see that my friend Victoria (the same Victoria who comments here - hello!) had uploaded a staggeringly similar photo. Too weird.

Here's some other photos I took today and yesterday.

The giant chandelier in Warburton Lane

Window boxes

Little Collins Street

Any glee to share, people?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


So. Canderflabble. For those of you who haven't asked Google, canderflabble is a made up word to describe a situation where some action obviously needs to be taken but no one is putting up their hand to volunteer. I'm sure we've all been there.

I like that there is a word for that and it's fun to say.

It's from the book FUNKtionary: a cheeky collection of contemporary words which a friend gave me recently. Some other favourites:

Accellervator: (n) a person who mistakenly believes that the elevator will respond faster if the button is pushed frequently and in a frenzied manner.

Ambipathy: (n) a state of inner conflict when you're both attracted to and repulsed by something.

BBQionist: (n) the person in charge of the barbecue.

Blurfle: (v) when you are caught talking very loudly at the moment the music at the bar stops.

Dumbsizing: (n) management decisions, such as banning chocolate biscuits at morning tea, which save minimal money but incur morale-damaging hostility among staff.

Eyerworks: (n) the little fireworks display you see when you close your eyes (especially when you squeeze them shut or press on your eyelids).

Happicle: the smallest unit of happiness, as icicle is to ice.

Mouse potato: (n) like a couch potato, only time is spent on the computer instead of the telly.

Obfuscake: (v) to talk indistinctly while eating (cake or other food).

Penciventilate: (v) the habit of blowing on your pencil after sharpening it to remove any stray scraps, to the (ahem) point that is more stylistic than functional.

Sheeple: (n) People who are very influenced by what other people think.

Timefable: (n) a short fictional work displayed in public showing an idealised program of arrivals and departures of public transport (aka timetable).

Verbivore: a person who studies or loves words.


I bought some truss grown tomatoes at the supermarket tonight, the ones that are still attached to the vine. I just love the smell of tomato vines. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my brother and the neighbours kids would have tomato fights with the fruit we found growing wild behind our houses.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ooooh! Fish!

Cute building

I saw fish in the river! A whole school of tiny black ones when I was walking home from work.* Yep, the fish spotting viking stikes again.

There was a man holding a small child on the edge of a river landing and when I looked where they were looking, I saw a disturbance on the water's surface and there they were! Not as impressive as the school of large silver fish I saw last year, but fish are fish.

Don't know why seeing fish thrills me. It's possibly partly because the Yarra River (particularly around where I live) is not the healthiest watercourse around, so it's nice to know it can still sustain life. But even as a small child when I had never even heard of the Yarra, I was always looking at the colour picture in my mother's gardening book of goldfish in a pond.

* Yes, work again.

Obviously I'd prefer to be on holidays still, but it was good to see my friends at work. I also think it will be good for me to have some routine back in my life to give me some structure again.

I wore my pedometer to and from work. The round trip is a smidge under 6 kilometers. This is silly, but I'm pleased to know the route on the south side of the river is not significantly longer than the north side as I had thought.

I had a soak in the bath tonight and exfoliated off half my body skin. Smooooooth.

PS I have the word 'canderflabble' stuck in my head... (I'll tell you what it means next time, unless you're too impatient and have to go ask Google...or you know already, you clever clogs.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Banana juggling and The Magic Handbag

Svetlana squeezes indelicately through a hoop (Is there any other way?)

Today's fun was planned. I went back to see the full performance of the California-based Daredevil Chicken Club after only catching the highly entertaining final 10 minutes of it yesterday when I happened upon the Streets of Melbourne Festival by chance.

I was wiping away a laughtear after that small taste so I wanted to see the rest and wasn't disappointed. How could you be let down by two people juggling bite-sized pieces of banana with their mouths (below - the piece of banana is just under the red V on the right)? Yes, the banana came out of her mouth and into his. Fire eating? Pah!

And since I had my camera with me today, I took some pictures of the cutesy and colourful sugar art by Pip and Pop.

The magic walking handbag

I wore my new pedometer today and clocked up 8 kilometres...although considering that my handbag registered a couple of hundred steps while the pedometer was clipped to it during the Daredevil Chicken Club show, I'm not entirely convinced of its accuracy.

How was your weekend? Any frivolity involving fruit?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Unexpected fun with acrobats and hula hoops

Circus Trick Tease on the lawn at St Paul's

I had an unexpectedly fun day. I went into the city to do a little shopping and found myself in the midst of The Streets of Melbourne Festival, an outdoor confection of arts, music, comedy, street theatre, circus arts and cabaret.

There were buff young men (mmm...biceps!) and women performing daring feats of acrobatics, swinging from things dangling in the air and cracking jokes, men in kaftans playing guitars, a French maid juggling balls and a broom, a duo of faux air hostesses hula-hooping and cracking jokes, a great big bubble machine, and quirky art made from sugar and kitschy plastic bits and baubles...all in the beautiful summer sun with appreciative crowds.

So much to see and dammit! I left my camera at home. Noooooo! I've become so used to having it practically attached to my hand that when I realised I'd forgotten it, I felt that slightly bereft feeling I get if I leave my mobile phone at home. (Picture above taken with crappy camera phone.)


I bought a pedometer today. I want to find out how much walking I do in a week. I reckon it would be getting up close to 40 kilometres. Walking to and from work for five days alone is about 30 kms. I'll keep you posted (assuming I can work out how to use it).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tourist in my own town - part two

I did the touristy thing again today. I threw my camera and a copy of Walking Melbourne (The National Trust's guide to Melbourne's historic and architectural landmarks) in my bag and off I went to explore.

I managed to visit close to 50 landmarks (of the 250 or so in the book) and took photos of each. Some are well-known stops on the tourist trail - like Flinders Street Station, St Paul's Cathedral and the Fitzroy Gardens - while many others are less grand and well-known - the type of buildings which tend to merge into the streetscape. It was great to find out more about them and their historical significance.

There was one prominent and grand building I visited for the first time and that was St Patrick's Cathedral, Victoria's largest church (above). Regardless of your religious bent (or lack thereof) it's a very impressive and imposing structure, and the gardens are pretty and peaceful, with lavendar and rose beds. (I was too scared to venture inside in case they have some sort of heathen detector that would smite me dead).

It's also the first time I have taken a photo of a public toilet (below)! Did you know Melbourne has the world's second most extensive set of cast iron urinals after Amsterdam? No? Well, now we all do! Can't recall seeing that boast on the That's Melbourne website!

I finished the day with a disgustingly decadent chocolate overload at Chokolait while I relaxed and read the paper.

Yep, I admit it was a little too much chocolate

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Funny how you can walk past something twice a day nearly every day of the year and it never occurs to you to take a photo of it and then one day you do!

It looks like part of a big ugly bird with scales and feathers. It's actually one of a number of bumps on the trunk of a tree in my street. I like how the bark seems to flow around the bump like water.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tourist in my own town

I can see my house from here

I spent the day being a tourist in my own town today. I like to do it every now and then to give my adopted hometown a hug and get to know it even better.

Despite having lived in Melbourne for 17 years, there's always something new to see or discover about the place and its history, which I love.

Today I caught a ride on the free tourist shuttle bus which does a circuit of the city's major attractions and landmarks. I enjoyed seeing my town with a busload of tourists who were seeing it with fresh eyes. It's easy to not really notice stuff you see all the time. (Today's sights included a cordoned off street and a bunch of police near the Magistrates Court which had been evacuated after a bomb threat, although we didn't know that at the time.)

Then I had a bite to eat at Southgate before heading to Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne and the tallest residential tower in the world, and zooming in the lift to the 88th floor at more than 9 metres a second, which is apparently the fastest lift in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 88th floor is home to the Skydeck observation deck, which offers 360 degree views, as well as a glass-bottomed capsule that slides out the side of the tower, 300 metres above the ground, but I was too chicken to try it. Apparently the tower can flex up to 600mm in high winds...

I was ridiculously chuffed at being able to see my house from the Skydeck and also to be standing in the place of all the people whose camera flashes I can see when I'm walking home through the park at night.


Just a day or so after Julian mentioned in the comments the quirky habit of people taking picutures of stuffed toys in various foreign locations, I saw a young Asian tourist taking a snap of a plush Pink Panther in front of Flinders Street Station (the hub of Melbourne's suburban train network).

Turtle stalker

I saw a turtle in a pond in the gardens on my walk home this afternoon.

Eureka Tower and Flinders Street Station

Monday, January 5, 2009

Three libraries in one day

I didn't plan it, but I visited three libraries when I was out and about in the city today.

First I returned three books to the City Library (still going on one). Then I joined the historic Athenaeum Library where I borrowed a book* and enjoyed the dark wood surrounds and squeaky floorboards. It feels a bit like visiting your Nanna's place - there's tea, coffee and hot chocolate and lots of old things. They also keep a pet album with photos of members' pets!

And then I took a leisurely stroll around the awesome State Library of Victoria and admired once again the fabulosity of the domed La Trobe Reading Room (above). It's impossible to capture its fabulosity in a photo - it's such a huge edifice with so many beautiful features - the shelves of ancient books lining the balconies, the spoke lay-out of the old timber desks (below) with their little green lamps and the ceiling itself, which lets in so much natural light that artificial lighting isn't necessary in the day time. If you ever visit Melbourne, you cannot leave without seeing it.

Today I discovered the State Library also has an impressive, timber-floored gallery of old paintings of Melbourne, the state of Victoria and historically significant figures and events.

Jungle Drum

I have a new favourite song. Emiliana Torrini's Jungle Drum. It's so jaunty (and vastly different to the stuff from her previous album). I have been listening to it pretty much all day...on repeat. Obsessive much?


I bought three more Dr Seuss books today - Horton Hears a Who, Fox in Socks and Yertle The Turtle and Other Stories. I now have eight (my favourites being The Lorax and Oh, The Places You'll Go). One of my 101 Things to Do Before I'm 40 is to buy and read the entire Dr Seuss collection. Yep, got a ways to go...

I'm nearly finished the 101 Things list, by the way. I'm up to 95. I will post it here soon.

* Fittingly, So Many Books, So Little Time: A year of passionate reading by Sara Nelson!

River walk

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oooh! Oooh!

Cheeky bird in Botanic Gardens

Don't you love it when you randomly stumble across cool stuff on the internet that makes you go, "Oooh! Oooh!"? I do. It's not only finding the cool stuff that is pleasing - it's discovering it completely by chance. Doubly gleeful.

You may recall that I am compiling a list of 101 Things to Do Before I'm 40. I poached the idea from a someone on, who had posted her list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days but I gave it a little twist of my own. (I get 1281 days and counting....). I didn't give much thought to where she got the idea or if it was her idea, but I liked it.

On Twitter this morning I got a new follower and when I looked at her updates, I saw she'd posted a link to her own list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days. I went, "Oooh! Oooh!" and clicked the link, where I found her list but also a link to the site Day Zero, which is where the idea originated. People can join up and post their own list.

Not only am I pleased to learn of the provenance of the 101 Things list, I'm going to ransack the hell out of those lists for inspiration! You see, I'm only up to about 70 things and I'm struggling a little. Compiling the list is a project in itself!

Day Zero also has links to some other interesting, fun and worthwhile projects, including:

* Learning to Love You More, which is the idea of artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher.

"Participants accept an assignment, complete it by following the simple but specific instructions, send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and see their work posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience."

* Gimme your Stuff, a cultural exchange project blog "where you can swap items of significance to your area with items from others around the world. A conduit for many an international cuisine to change hands. A place where you can trade a newspaper from South Africa, or a CD from Finland. A place where we take no responsibility for anything anyone else does. A place where we are changing the world with other people’s stuff".

* 365 Day Flickr Group, which is a Flickr community of nearly 12,000 people who post a self-portrait every day for 365 days.

* Post Secret, which is a blog that publishes the secrets of anonymous people who send them in on the back of a postcard.

Anyone feeling inspired? Have you stumbled across any cool sites by chance recently?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Double puzzle delight, coincidence and more words

There were two Target puzzles in The Age today instead of the usual one, so I had two "Oooh! Target puzzle!" moments of glee as I turned the pages. (It's a special holiday edition of the paper.) And I got the nine-letter word in both. Wooh!

Another little coincidence...

I had not heard the expression "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" (Ralph Waldo Emerson) until I read it in a book last Sunday. And now I have encountered it three times in a week.

More word books

My friends gave me two word books and I am busting to get started on them (after I finish my library books, which are due back Monday).

* Bloom's Bouquet of Imaginary Words by Jeffrey and Carole Bloom, which is a collection of words made up by adding, substracting or changing a letter (like the list I blogged recently). It's also a very cute little hardcover book not much bigger than my hand.

* FUNKtionary - A cheeky collection of contemporary words by Ruth Wajnryb, which includes silly made up words and expressions (including plenty of combo words, which I love) and the legit sort of new words that will find their way into the dictionary if they aren't there already.

I can't wait. I should go and finish off that library book now...

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new year, falling in love, and ducks

Welcome to 2009! I saw in the new year in a very low-key way with friends, nibblies and champers out in the 'burbs.

I think I have mentioned their almost-two-year-old son before. Every time I see him I fall more in love with him. He is just SO adorable, with his blond hair, blue eyes and long, dark eyelashes, and he's funny and sweet natured (most of the time). Though I love him to bits, spending time with him doesn't make me want a child of my own. Phew.

I am enjoying being on holidays back in Melbourne. Apart from visiting my dad and step-mum Wednesday, I have no concrete plans and love that I can make it up as I go along. Today I didn't get out of my pjs until nearly 3.00pm, which felt like quite an indulgence on a week day, although I don't want to do it every day for the rest of my break.

After I finally got dressed, I went for a walk in the sunshine and saw a family of ducks. Aw.... I'm overdosing on cuteness.

How did you see in the New Year?

C'mon! Everyone in the pond!