Saturday, February 28, 2009

Big wheel and silly sausages

The Skywheel is back, sans the seat pods as yet, but they're working on it. If you look closely you can see a workman attached to the frame (near 5 o'clock). Although I've only been on the wheel once and don't plan to go on it again, it's a very engaging sight at night with its multicoloured laser light display against the city backdrop.

The wheel is back in town for the Moomba Waterfest, which is on next weekend. I love the way that you love things that are daggy and cheesy and sort of pointless. I love it even more since it was revealed that rather than being an Aboriginal word meaning 'let's get together and have fun', its actual meaning is closer to er...'up your bum'. Bahaha. How can you not love it?

Pair of eeejits

I went to the movies tonight. We walked into the cinema and sat down and soon the movie started. Ralph Fiennes appeared on screen after the word 'Germany' and a date. My friend said, "Are we in the right cinema?".

We weren't. We were there to see Gran Torino. Not set in Germany at all. Bahaha. We skulked out and found the right cinema just in time for the start. (Gran Torino is excellent by the way, although had I been watching it at home on my own I would have sooked my head off. The dog on the front steps at the really got me and I couldn't talk for about five minutes after we left for the massive, hurty lump in my throat).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sunset and On The Radio

Pretty sunset tonight. I saw the clouds go from white to pink as I walked home. I don't know about you, but I never get sick of the view from the bridge over the Yarra River near where I live (aka "my bridge").

Gee, I like the song On The Radio by Regina Spektor, specifically this bit -

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

Here's a live version.

Yay! Friday! How's your week been?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Guitar dude

Tonight walking home I saw a man standing on the deserted bank of the Yarra near the Swan Street Bridge playing a guitar. He was several metres off the path, with an upright helmet at his feet and a scooter parked nearby on the grass.

I guess sometimes the mood just grabs you, hey?

(I was too bashful to take a photo of him so you can have another picture of yesterday's precipitation instead.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Glorious rain, and Gog and Magog

You know rain is a rare occurrence when you are thrilled at the idea of walking to work in it and you whip out your camera to take pictures of puddles and rain drops on foliage.

It was drizzling when I woke up. I could hear rain drops pattering softly onto the leaves of the tree outside my bathroom window. I unfurled my umbrella with glee when I stepped out the front door, although the rain was so light I almost didn't need to shelter from it.

It was such a refreshing change from the record dry, hot summer we've been having in southern Australia. I enjoyed having to wear a light jacket on my walk to work and the light spattering of rain drops on my glasses. I relished the gloomy grey skies and the wisps of cloud crowning Eureka Tower. Clouds make the city look so moody and interesting. Sunshine and clear blue skies are pretty but boring.

Gog & Magog

One of my favourite places in the city is the Royal Arcade with its checkerboard floor, interesting shops and, of course, the big clock flanked by the statues of mythical figures Gog & Magog, who strike the clock every hour on the hour.

I'm posting this for Fantastic Forrest who blogged about The World Clock Project and posted a picture of a great clocktower in Vancouver.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Birthday boy and small victories

I spent the afternoon at a birthday celebration for my quasi-nephew Nathan, who turned two today.

His grandma gave him a push-car for his birthday and he was so excited when he saw it. Glee personified. He pushed himself around on the deck and shook his head vehemently when asked if he wanted to go inside for cake. He tried to hold the door of his car shut when his dad came to get him out. It was adorable.

His speech has come a long way in the six or so weeks since I saw him. He's now talking in basic sentences, including "Mummy, I not happy" and "I hungry mummy. Toast".

I'm really enjoying seeing him grow and develop. I don't spend a lot of time around kids and the couple I do see semi-regularly annoy me, but Nathan is a gorgeous kid and I love the little tacker heaps (in a quasi-aunt way, not in tick-tick-tick way).

The small victories of a techno twit

I've been in a state of techno-overload the past few months. Apart from my camera (which I'm still learning to use), I have bought a new digital set top box, DVD player and mobile phone (which also has a snazzy 5 megapixel camera in it, so it's like two doses of techno overload in one toy).

It's nice having new toys but I don't enjoy the process of trying to come to grips with new technology or not knowing how to do stuff on the new toys I could do on the old ones without thinking. I already feel like I'm so far behind the technological vanguard it's pointless trying to catch up. I just bumble my way through (since I can't delegate it to the man in my life like I used to in the past).

But even so, I do get a buzz when I manage to make things work, like when I plugged in my DVD player and set top box all on my own and they actually worked! And tonight I have (admittedly only with the help of a friend) managed to download some photos from my phone to my laptop. None of it was tricky in hindsight, but I'm pleased with myself nonetheless. Go, me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Soft light

I really enjoyed my walk home tonight. I didn't walk a different way or see anything particularly noteworthy - there was just something about the light. It seemed softer than normal.

Maybe it was because I came home later than I usually would after work which meant everything was a little glowy or perhaps it was the haze hanging over the city which gave everything a soft-focus look. Or a combination of the two.

As desperately as we need rain, it was a beautiful, balmy evening to be walking along the river. There were people having barbecues along the banks and lots of rowers punting up and down the river.

And whaddya know, I took some photos.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday scenes

Honey, I shrunk the musical comedy act...
Tripod performs at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl's
50th birthday freebie concert

Jayne and Michael at the 50th birthday concert (yes, it's my face!)

The sun setting over Princes Bridge


Saturday, February 14, 2009

A wasket in your basket

Looks like a baby Wookiee to me! The wasket is from Dr Seuss's There's a Wocket in my Pocket. Some of you may have read that buying and reading the entire Dr Seuss collection was one of the goals on my list of 101 Things to To Before I'm 40. I'm one-third of the way there.

Other things I've done -

* I bought some indoor plants and they're still alive.

* I bought a set top box (Yay! ABC 2!) and a new DVD player, and made arrangements for the old DVD player to be collected for recycling.

* I retrieved an important file from my ancient PC - or, more accurately, the very helpful computer guru Julian retrieved the file for me. The old PC is also being collected for recycling.

* I've been flossing every second day.

* I've started my allergy elimination diet. I'm only five days in and have a ways to go yet. Completing the diet is one of my major - but less fun - goals.

* I've done a new will.

* I've registered to be an organ donor.

* I've visited the Skydeck at Eureka Tower and the Melbourne Aquarium and done a lap on the tourist shuttle.

* I attempted to go a week without dropping the F bomb but I'm not sure I achieved it. I was nearly there and was absentmindedly singing along to Inside Outside by The Grates which goes, "Every motherf*cker thinks they're born to dance...". Dagnammit! Does that count?

* I've gone for nearly a month without shopping at either Coles or Woolworths. (These are Australia's two dominant supermarket chains and it takes some effort - and sometimes extra expense - to do your grocery shopping elsewhere. But I'm willing to put up with the inconvenience to avoid giving my money to companies with questionable business practices).

* In a similar vein, I've got a copy of the Ethical Consumer Guide (just have to read it now).

* I've read six of the 40 books I plan to read this year.

* I started my photoblog.

...and some other stuff I can't think of at the moment.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Return of glee

As you might have guessed by my silence the past few days, it's been hard to summon up any glee while the devastation of the bushfires still unfolds in Victoria.

It feels wrong to be focusing on your own happiness while others are suffering so much. But walking home today, with the smell of smoke in my nostrils, it occurred to me it's even worse to be alive and not revel in it.

So while I'm still shocked and saddened at the loss of life and the destruction, the glee spotting must go on.


I bought myself another bunch of Oriental lilies today. I'm looking forward to them opening up and filling my flat with their sweet aroma.

The flatmate saga

My new flatmate, Anna, moves in this weekend. Although I'll miss living on my own, I'm also feeling positive about having someone else around the place. (Oh, I have reluctantly decided against dropping back to a four-day week. When I thought about what my mum would say - that I should save the extra $100 a week, especially in these uncertain economic times - I realised it was too fanciful a plan. But one day...)

Swan lake

On the way home tonight I stopped in at the Botanic Gardens to watch the smoke-shrouded sun sinking in the sky, its golden rays reflecting off the Ornamental Lake. There was hardly anyone around, just ducks waddling over the grass feeding on insects. Then I spotted them - cygnets! Three of them, swimming in single file after their mother on the lake.

After missing out on seeing the babies of the swans that nested by the Yarra River boatsheds last year, I'm happy I got to see these ones. They are so fluffy and cute!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A sombre 100th post

This is my 100th post, but I'm not feeling in a celebratory mood. As many of you know, Victoria, the state of Australia I live in, has been and continues to be ravaged by bushfires. A staggering 131 people have died and there is no doubt the toll will rise.

It's the worst natural disaster in Australia's history. Whole towns have been wiped off the map, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land is blackened, and thousands of people are homeless and traumatised. It's shocking, gruesome and heartbreaking...and it's far from over.

I normally write about the simple pleasures that add the texture to life, but at times like this, it's impossible not to reflect on the big picture and and to be grateful for the things that really matter - being alive and well, having people to love, being safe and secure and having a roof over your head.

My heart goes out to all those people who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their communities and livelihoods.


Of course I am also very pleased you have all continued to drop in to read my ramblings and share your own gleeful moments. Thank you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Glee spotting and giraffe spotting

I found glee today. Literally. In the Target puzzle. If you want to find the nine-letter word yourself, avert your gaze now! The rest of you, scroll down.
It's ideologue. Go, me! (OK, maybe that doesn't work in a blog, but don't say I didn't try.)

I found something else gleeful today too. See those giraffes below? I have been looking for these toys for months and today I found them at a cheapie shop on Chapel Street. Yay! I was walking past and just happened to see them in the window completely by chance!

Do you know what they are? I don't know what you call them, but the parts are strung onto string which is pulled taut and when you depress the button on the bottom, the tension eases and you can make the toy move - dance or collapse off to the side or just nod its head.

I already had one giraffe, sitting there on my mantelpiece which was given to me years ago. Recently for some reason - I can't remember why - I just got a hankering to give him some friends. Not necessarily fellow Giraffa camelopardalises (don't know if that's the plural, but I'm going with it), but certainly fellow jointed-wooden-toys-with-a button-on-the-bottom.

But I couldn't find them anywhere. Until today. There was a selection of different animals, and a clown and a few other things, but I decided to create a corps of giraffes (that's one of the collective nouns for giraffes, as well as herd and tower, supposedly).

Silly, but I'm very happy with my new toys. Look at their little, slightly demented faces! Here's the whole tower.

I think I'm going to give them names now. Thinking..... What do you think are good names for giraffes?

PS. No, the record breaking heat (46.6C/115.5F) hasn't addled my brain. It's usually addled.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A gleeful miscellany

My neighbours' cherry tomatoes

Silly little things I like...

* Having exactly the right amount of change in my wallet to pay for something

* Popping press studs

* Re-stapling a document in exactly the same spot as it was originally stapled

* Stamping things at work with my red 'URGENT' stamp (faxes usually, not walls or people)

* When my iPod and mobile phone are both fully charged at the same time

* When I text someone at exactly the same time they text me (this happens freakishly often with one particular friend)

What silly little things do you like?

PS Sorry I have been slow in replying to your comments lately. It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm fabulous, doncha know?

OK, not me personally, but my blog is, according to Fantastic Forrest, who has bestowed me with this award -

Aw, shucks. Thanks, FF! I'm chuffed.

Now, I am meant to bestow the award on 10 other blogs, but I think I might struggle to come up with that many since I would feel a bit of a goose awarding it to some of the hugely popular blogs by professional or high profile bloggers I mostly read. When you already have squillions of fans/subscribers (like Zen Habits by Leo Babuata or Go Fug Yourself) you probably don't need a nobody from a place you've likely never heard of telling you your blog rocks, do you?

Anyway, I would like to award my friend Victoria/A Work in Progress for her daily photo blog M(o)mento, in which she regularly makes the ordinary look interesting and beautiful. I'm a bit jealous!

I also give it to Small Footprints, for Reduce Footprints, a blog about simple ways we can all minimise our impact on the environment. It's informative and positive and completely non-preachy.

And to Three Beautiful Things and The Happiness Project (the two blogs that helped inspire me to start Gleeful).

Yeesh...four blogs. Clearly I need to get out into the blogosphere more...