Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloud crazy

No, that's not my photo. It's from a blog post called The Weirdest Clouds that You'll Ever See. Check 'em out - they are truly remarkable - crazy, awesome and freakish. Nature is amazing, innit?

(This came to me via Twitter, which I also think is pretty great.)

Accidentally amusing

Last night I posted my blog about the Pompeii exhibition with this typo in it:

"...the catastrophic eruption of Mr Vesuvius"

Big day out

I am all tuckered out from a big, long day today. I was up early (for a Saturday) and it was another gorgeous sunshiney spring day, so I walked to my sewing class in North Melbourne.

As predicted, zips turned out to be a challenge for Anna and me. I would have been a bit crap at it had I been awake and alert, but as I was practically catatonic with fatigue, I struggled. I was like Dory from Finding Nemo. "Sorry, what do I have to do....What was I meant to do again? Um...what? What are zips? Where am I?".

Fortunately, the zip we found the simplest is the one we are going to have to sew into our A line skirt...although, it wasn't until my third attempt that I got it right and even then it was against the odds - the teacher said I'd done something wrong, but I still did a really good job of it. I took that as a compliment.  The zip was functional. If it were attached to a garment, it wouldn't fall down around my knees.  But clearly Anna and I need to log a few hours of zip practice before we proceed to module 3.

After that I wandered up the street to the Art House at the North Melbourne Town Hall to see Leonardo's Last Supper, which is a Melbourne Festival event (although it's on until 8 November). It features a "perfect sculptural three-dimensional clone" of Da Vinci's Last Supper as the centrepiece for a show that merges visual arts, cinema, music and cutting edge technology" (too tired to think up my own description).

I didn't realise it was a 3D replica to begin with - I thought it was a trick of light that gave it depth, but no (fatigued, I tells ya). I was probably more impressed with it when I thought that! It was still pleasing to the eye - almost like a biblical music video at times.

After that I wandered up Queensberry Street and happened across the old fashioned corner store Grigons & Orr, which I've read about lately. I only stuck my head in for a quick look since I can't stuff my face full of artificial colourings and flavourings at the moment. Regardless, I am pleased just to know there is a milk bar in Melbourne where you can buy mixed lollies  - your very own selection chosen from lollies stored in big jars, not a selection chosen by Allens. "I'll have 5 bananas...and 5 milk bottles and 5 teeth and..." Just like in the olden days.  I bet 20c doesn't buy you 10 or 20 lollies like it did when I was a young un.

I continued on to the Melbourne Museum to see A Day in Pompeii. I hadn't planned to leave my visit until the last weekend, but that's what happened. I had to queue for ages and then the earliest session I could get into was at 6.00 pm, three hours hence.

To fill time, I wandered through the rest of the museum, spending most of my time in the Mind & Body exhibition where I was fascinated and a tiny bit grossed out by the real body parts that are used to explain the various part of the human body - digestive tract, immune system, nervous system, reproductive systems and so on. Real human body bits, donated to science! If only those people who left their bodies to science could somehow know they ended up as a star attraction at the museum, not just cadavers sliced and diced by med students. I'm sure they'd be proud (except maybe for the guy whose penis ended up on display. It's grey and very skinny and icky).

Being juvenile, I wanted to take a photo of the poo (fake, I assume) that is the finale of the digestive tract display but I didn't want people to see me. The poo is popular. There's even a little button next to it that makes a farting noise. I bet it's the most pressed button in the museum.

I was also fascinated (in a grown-up way) by the information on the condition known as synesthesia. Although I had heard of it before, it just seems too weird to be true! In synthesthetes, the stimulation of one sense provokes an involuntary response from another sense - for example, they can "see" or even "taste" sounds or "hear" colours. Freaky, hey?

The exhibit features the story of one synesthete who didn't know until he was 14 that not everyone sees music in colour (cello music is dark red). Although it's "abnormal", most people with the condition find it's a blessing rather than a curse. Isn't the mind bizarre and wondrous?

Finally 6.00 arrived and I got into the Pompeii exhibition. It was fascinating and quite moving, particularly the casts of victims who were fleeing from the volcanic eruption or huddling together in their homes. Interesting also to see how petite they were compared to modern humans.

The exhibition reveals in some depth what life was like in Pompeii at the time of the catastrophic eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD - what they ate and wore, how they did their laundry, their entertainment, what their dwellings were like and their fondness for graffiti - as well as detailing the disaster and eventual re-discovery of the lost city. That's the kind of history I like - wars and political maneuverings leave me cold. 

After that, I walked back to Flinders Street and caught a tram home. Today's distance walked - 13.77 kms.  I'm rather weary. Sleep in tomorrow, methinks.

(I haven't inserted any links in this as yet...I need to go to bed now.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Got my glee back!

Yup, I've definitely emerged from my grump. Phew.

Today I was up way earlier than I needed to be (in hindsight) and as it was a sunny day, I decided to walk to my sewing class in North Melbourne. It was only about 5kms in the end. It was a little chilly, but fine and there were rowers on the river and more people than I expected in the city, possibly due to the Caulfield Cup (big horse in a major event, not large horses).

The sewing class was great. Our teacher was a guy! That was unexpected. Yes, he was gay and also very entertaining.

Importantly, I didn't suck at the sewing. In fact, when we were winding the bobbins and threading the machines, it all came back to me from my high school textiles classes. Well, hazily, but I didn't feel like a total novice. We made this:

It's a wallety/clutchy kinda thing. Yeah, I know my thread doesn't match. That's not the point, people (I'm not actually going to use it).

My friend Anna and I were so pleased with ourselves we signed up on the spot for the second module, which is next Saturday. Button holes and zips. This could test us... We're both excited about the class where we'll be making an A line skirt. I even went to Lincraft on my way home to have a look at fabric (I have to say fabric, rather than material, now that I can sew).

I had lunch and a chat with Anna afterwards (oopsie, diet fail) and then I decided to walk home. I'm the peripatetic version of Forrest Gump. Walk, Frisky, waaaaalk!

I stopped in at Queen Vic Market (not the food bit) and bought myself a self-heating gel heat pack that's shaped especially for your neck and shoulders (I've had a major pain in the neck this week, which didn't help my mood). You press a little metal disc inside the heat pack and - voila! - it gets hot. Toasteeeeee.

I also adopted another member for my giraffe family. That's him rear left.

By the time I walked all the way home, I'd covered just over 12kms. Whew.

Then tonight I walked up to Hamer Hall to see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was an experience and, in the interests of trying new things, I'm not sorry I went, but the music for the most part was just a bit...well, noisy. I won't be buying the CD (yes, there is one). I think if I go again I'll stick with the classics or the pops series, rather than contemporary stuff.

But the conductor was fun to watch. I actually laughed when he first started spasming and twitching about. I wondered if he deliberately keeps his hair floppy so he can flip it about while conducting. And I also pondered how the orchestra bosses select the person who clangs the cymbals. Would there really be much separating the talents of one cymbal-clanger and the next? Most of the time tonight the cymbal dude just sat on his stool, waiting to clang. Oh, and gong. He had one good bong of the gong.

Imagine if you're the clanger/gonger and you meet an attractive lady at a party and she's all, "So, what do you do?"...

Clanger/gonger (swaggery): "Well, I'm in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra actually."

Attractive lady (with interest piqued): "Oh, really? A musician! And what do you play?"

Clanger/gonger: "The cymbals. And also the gong."

Attractive lady: "Oh? Oh. Well. If you'll excuse me..."

I imagine that's why the term "percussionist" was invented, though personally I prefer clanger/gonger.

Anyway, it was a night out and now I can make out like I'm cultured because I've seen the MSO perform.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A little out of the ordinary

I went to court today. No, I'm not a criminal - I'm a legal secretary. I had to go to the Supreme Court to collect something from one of the solicitors from our firm.

I don't often get to be inside a courtroom, but when I do, I always get a little kick out of it, perhaps from knowing that it's a place that many people never see in their life time (and mostly happily so). It's a little mysterious and esoteric with its rules and customs (I had to bow to the judge!) and funny wigs and gowns. And it's SO QUIET. I was like a dinosaur clomping about in my boots through the deserted paved courtyard on my way to court 6 today. I felt like I shouldn't really be there, though of course it is mostly open to the public.

But the best thing was that I got to see the court bulding from a different angle. I'd only ever seen it from the street, but today I got what felt like an insider's view - of the court yard and the building in the middle of the courtyard (above), which I think is the library. It's quite an imposing building and the lack of noise and other people only served to magnify that.

I have heard the library has one of Melbourne's finest interiors, but I wasn't able to find out for myself at its annual open day this year. Dang. But I must see it. Next year.

PS I don't want to speak too soon, but my bad mood seems to have lifted...feeling much perkier now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nerd fest

I spent an hour in nerd heaven this evening. I went to see comedian/author Tony Martin and radio/TV host Andy Muirhead at the State Library talking about books. *sighs happily*

They were part of the 'Melbourne: Books or Bogans?' debate. For anyone interested in the outcome, the bogan team won. Yup, we're a bunch of bogans living in a UNESCO City of Literature.

I wish I could kidnap Andy Muirhead and bring him home with me. He's so cute, especially when he has his glasses on. I've always had a thing for men in specs...

PS Would you believe that the Mr Man above is Mr Brave?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


...but poisonous. Angels Trumpet in Alexandra Gardens

These unusual flowers are in pots near the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets. Anyone know what they are?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lilies and a treat

I am greeted by the scent of the white lilies on my dining table when I walk in my front door.

I noticed the water lilies in the Botanic Gardens are starting to flower. There's also irises in bloom.

I ate a Milky Bar (I'm allowed the occasional one on my elimination diet because they aren't real chocolate).

Monday, October 12, 2009


So...some good things about today...

* Lamb mini roast for dinner.

* My wheat bag. Warrrrrm.

* An early night. Right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Less grump, more glee

I was feeling much less cranky and a lot more gleeful today, but going back to work tomorrow will be the true test!

Today's good things:

It was another beautiful sunny day - and there was also some rain.

I finally went to visit my new little nephew, Thomas James. I had some cuddles and he didn't cry once - he slept peacefully in my arms. He's so tiny.

In the evening I walked by the river into the city. The sinking sun bathed everything in a golden glow. It was a nice mild night to be out.

I saw Ringing the Changes by Strange Fruit at Birrarung Marr, showing as part of the Melbourne Festival. The troupe of five performers waved about on bendy poles dinging and donging the Federation bells (in a musical fashion).

Then I headed over to Alexandra Gardens for Transe Express, another Melbourne Festival show. While I was waiting for the it to start, I ate some poffertjes (little Dutch pancakes). It was quite a treat to be able to eat something away from home without breaking my elimination diet. Yay.

And the show was great - the performers, in elaborate jester-style costumes, were suspended about 40 metres in the air, playing drums and bells, and there were three acrobats who performed without a safety net. It was like a giant musical mobile. Quite captivating.

Afterwards I walked home in the dark. I saw something swimming in the river! Ooh! But there wasn't enough light for me to see it properly. Dang. Probably just a native rat anyway. Nothing can top the dolphins I saw a few months back. Except a shark. Or a whale.

I walked another 10kms today - 25 in total for the weekend. Feeling a little weary...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good things

I've not been in a good mood lately. In fact, the past couple of days I've been in a positively rotten mood (or should that be negatively rotten?) and it's got to the point where I'm getting really sick of myself.

But I don't seem to be able to talk myself out of it. I'm better today since I'm not at work, but I'm far from gleeful. I feel like a fraud!

I think part of the reason I'm cranky is because I'm so tired and I'm also in the midst of another attempt at completing an elimination diet to diagnose my food intolerances. It's pretty hard going. I don't like deprivation. I do like eating. It's not doing wonders for my spirits, but I am feeling physically better, which I am pleased about, but it's hard to maintain it day in, day out in the glaring absence of chocolate.

In an attempt to chivvy myself out of the grumps, every day until I feel cheerier, I'm going to blog about all the good things that happened in my day, which will hopefully not just be things like "I didn't get the sack" or "I didn't split my pants in public".

So. Today's good things...

* I got to have a little sleep in, but I still got up before my alarm.

* It was a beautiful sunny day.

* I walked nearly 15 kms, including a quick stroll through the Botanic Gardens in the late afternoon sun.

* Then I had a little rest under my doona, read my book and listened to Wagons (still under doona listening to Wagons. I'm worn out!).

* I visited my osteo for a good bone cracking and a chat. I like my osteo.

* Porridge.

By the way, next month is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month - the blog version of NaNoWriMo) and I'm going to participate, which means I will be posting every single day. It's one of my 101 Things to do Before I'm 40.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another rainbow

As I was leaving work tonight

We have had a return to wintry weather in Melbourne. Brrr. But look! Up in the sky! A rainbow!

I like the cold less and less as I get older, but the prolonged dry spell in South Eastern Australia means rain is a much more welcome visitor. I can't bring myself to complain about it, even if it does sometimes spoil my plans or make me soggy on my walk to work.

I've also made a conscious effort not to complain about miserable weather since a very cold and wet day a few months ago when I saw a homeless man walking in the rain without even an umbrella for shelter.

Sometimes it's good to be reminded how truly fortunate most of us are...

Monday, October 5, 2009


In my post yesterday I encouraged you to pass along the phone numbers of any cute nerd boys you know...and today I came home to find a flyer in my mailbox from Nerds on Time. Well!

"We come to you!" it declares. "We can help," it soothes. "Call now!" it purrs.

Oh, I think it's something to do with computers. Sigh.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A crush, Wagons again and new places

(Sans specs, but with smile)

Think I have a little crush on Justin Townes Earle after his solo show at Thornbury Theatre last night. Talent, a gorgeous smile and I can't say I've ever found a Southern drawl quite so alluring before...

You know how in those American teen comedy movies like She's All That they cast a pretty girl to play the school nerd and they nerdify her by giving her a daggy hairdo and slapping a pair of dark-rimmed glasses on her face? Well, Justin was kinda like that - a cute guy with a short, back and sides and a pair of dark-rimmed specs. Mmm....I do like a cute nerdy guy (if you know any who are single, please feel free to pass on their number to me).

You could tell he loves getting up in front of a crowd and playing his songs - he played for about an hour and a half without a break, just him and his guitar on the stage. His guitar playing is quite mesmerising - to the ear and the the eye.

And Wagons was great too, although it was a fairly short set. We had an ace spot right in the front row. The friend who came with me hadn't seen them before and he enjoyed it more than he expected, which was pleasing. They've got two more shows coming up on the Melbourne Cup long weekend too. Yays! I had been thinking about going away as I have a five-day long weekend, but now I'm glad I'm not. (I'm in the middle of planning a bunch of other things to do with my Melbourne mini-break too.)

The other star of the night was the venue. I'd never been to the Thornbury Theatre before and I fell in love with it as soon as I walked in and looked up at the beautiful pale blue and gold foyer (above). I'm going there again in a few weeks to see Aussie songstress Clare Bowditch and her band.

Speaking of places I haven't been to before, the Royal Botanic Gardens had its Spring Open Day today and I visited Gardens House, which is normally off limits. It's an old two-story house which used to be home to the director of the gardens but it's now a private function venue. I don't think I even knew it was there before. I've seen the locked gate, but never knew what was up the path beyond it. Told you there's always something new to discover in the Botanic Gardens!

After I had a look theough Gardens House, I spent the afternoon in the sun reading the paper. And I took a few photos. Of course. A nice way to spend a Sunday.