Thursday, March 31, 2011

Silver lining, learning curve, Friday

Daylight savings ends this weekend. Although I will be sad it's over, I'm looking forward to being able to see the sun set from my office window.

I was on late shift today (late = 9.45am start). I get to sleep in until 8.30 (hurrah!) and my 1.00pm lunch time comes around very quickly when I start a little later. I don't even mind working until 6.00pm because I'm really loving my job. I was feeling overwhelmed for a while, but now I've settled in and I feel like I know what I'm doing most of the time, I'm enjoying it much more. I feel a nice sense of satisfaction from successfully surfing that steep learning curve (so far...I'm still learning).

Wooh! It's Friday eve!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let the comedy begin!

I am off to the Comedy Festival! I'm going to see David O'Doherty this Friday and I've also booked tickets for the last night of Daniel Kitson's show. I also want to see Mark Watson, and Aussies Josh Earle and Melinda Buttle. To begin with. Yay! Comedy!

Speaking of Mark Watson, I saw him at the IGA near my work on the way home tonight. I thought it was him, but I wasn't 100% sure and I couldn't hear him speaking to the checkout operator well enough to discern an English accent.  After he left, I asked the checkout dude if he was English and he was. It was him!

Have a look at these photos of the stunning Philosophical Hall of the Strahov Monastery Library in Prague. Wow!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Home holiday, spider house, tasty

My flatmate is moving out in a month and I've decided to have a short break from sharing. I can't wait! I LOVE living alone. I could afford to continue living here alone, but it's an insane amount of money to shell out in rent every week. It would mean curtailing my lifestyle and savings, which I don't want to do. I'll just have a little holiday at home for a month or two before looking for a new flattie.

There's a house on my street that has a large spider web in the front yard with a large spider in it (and a smaller spider). I'm glad the people who live there have left it where it is. I look at it every time I walk past (while trying not to look as if I'm perving in their front window).

I made a tasty salad during the week with spinach, baby beetroot, fetta, toasted walnuts and mandarine segments. I'm going to make it again this week with lamb sirloin. Yummmm.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New friend, vrooom, cooler

I can't believe I haven't written here about the joy of having a new friend!  Well, I have a new friend  - "my friend" of recent posts. We've been hanging out for about a month. He's awesome and fun and gives great hugs. My life is better with him in it.

Today we went for a wander in the backstreets of Richmond. I kicked up leaves on the path as I walked (yay for leaves!). We saw this fabulous old building off Church Street, near Swan:

And this old sign on Bridge Road:

We went looking for eels in the gardens again and saw several (or maybe the same one several times...). It's ace being with people who get excited by the little things like I do.

The Formula 1 Grand Prix is on this weekend. I like being able to hear the cars from my flat. The track is only a couple of kilometres away. Vrooooooooooooooooom!

I'm glad of the cooler weather. I'm enjoying getting back into tights and boots and being able to sleep under the doona every night. I'm looking forward to wearing my fat, puffy parka again (when it gets much colder than this). 

The transition from summer to autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, especially the way the sunlight softens to a hazy gold and the leaves turn to red and orange before they fall.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Graveyard Train, hidden, perforated

Graveyard Train was fantastic at the Spiegeltent tonight! I loved it. Not as much as I loved Wagons when I first heard them play, but still quite a lot. There's seven guys singing (often in a man-choir fashion) foot-stomping country songs about death, mortality, mummies, monsters and ghosts, accompanied by slide guitar, steel guitar, banjo, a washboard, harmonica and double bass. Oh, and the hammer and chain. Yep, one band member's primary instrument is a big chain which he whacks with a hammer. Quite effective.

It was an appreciative (and extremely varied) crowd and a lovely venue.  I just downloaded their latest album and I'm listening to it now.

My boss took me out for lunch today to celebrate me becoming a permanent employee. We went to Tokyo Teppanyaki, which is down a corridoor in a building next to the Athenaeum Theatre on Collins Street. I had no idea it was even there! How very Melbourne... 

This afternoon I helped make up the name tags for attendees at a seminar at work tomorrow, which involved tearing along many perforated lines. I find tearing along perforations very pleasing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to the Spiegeltent

I'm going to the Famous Spiegeltent again tomorrow night - this time to see Melbourne cult "country/horror" band Graveyard Train.

I had heard of them, but didn't know anything about their music.  Before the Barry Morgan show at the Spiegeltent last night, my friend  mentioned that Graveyard Train was similar to Wagons. Oh, really? My ears pricked up. Then as we were leaving, I saw that Graveyard Train was booked to play at the same venue two nights later!

I checked out some of their videos when I got home and bought a ticket today.  This video made me laugh. A dancing mummy (the kind that's wrapped in bandages)! And a dancing little person!

One of my blog readers sent me a link to these cool photos of NYC. Check 'em out.

I really like toasted sunfower seeds. Yummy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A glee-packed weekend

I am in bed, weary but happy after a weekend of gleeful fun and sunshine.

* I met a friend in the city on Saturday afternoon and we walked to Johnston Street, Fitzroy for bagels at Bean and Bagel (we loves the bagels, we do). While sitting in the window munching my sesame bagel with cream cheese, I looked up and spotted a faded sign on a building on Brunswick Street. Moran & Cato, it said. But then I walked off and forgot to take a photo. Dang.

* We walked down Johnston Street to Smith Street and poked about in a couple of second hand stores (where we tried on dorky glasses and top hats, and sat in old vinyl chairs discussing sex you do).  He found an ashtray with his Dad's name on it (apparently his namesake is a whisky distiller). We also looked in the vegan shoe store, where I mostly sat and patted the resident cat while my friend looked at the shoes.

* We then headed back to my place, stopping for a few minutes in the Fitzroy Gardens to admire the city bathed in hazy late afternoon sunshine.

* I spotted several other old signs as we wandered about.

* Just before we got to my place, we made a detour into the Botanic Gardens to see if we could see the eels in the Ornamental Lake. We've been several times in the past few weeks so that my friend could see the eels for the first time, but we've been out of luck. I even emailed the Botanic Gardens administration asking if the eels are still there and I got a quick response saying the eels are mysterious creatures - they suspect most have left the lake to make their way to their spawning grounds. What the?  Left the lake?

Turns out the eels (which are Short-finned Eels) LEAVE THE WATER AND TRAVEL OVERLAND! ON THE GROUND! LIKE SNAKES! THEY'RE FISH! FISH!!!!!!! They can breathe through their skin (as well as gills) and they have mucous-coated bodies which help them slither over the ground. They slither to the nearest river, the Yarra in this case, which means crossing a fairly busy road.

If that's not amazing enough, the eels travel downstream to the ocean and then swim 4000 km north to the spawning grounds in the South Coral Sea (off the coast of Queensland). AND THEY SWIM ALL THAT WAY WITHOUT EATING!  They survive on their fat stores.

Between one and three years old, the baby eels (elvers) float southward on ocean currents and eventually make their way upstream in rivers in Victoria. Isn't that bizarre and amazing? I have a newfound respect for the eels now. I still think they're creepy, but at least they're interesting.

I also learnt from the Botanic Gardens website that the gardens are home to a frog called the Easten Common Froglet (hee), small bats called microbats (as well as 'megabats' like the commonly seen Grey-headed Flying Foxes) and (non-flying) foxes. Foxes! I now want to see an eel slithering across the ground and a fox going abouts its foxy business. Just when I think I can't love the gardens any more than I already do...

Anyway, did we see an eel this time? Yes, we did! Yay! Just the one, but that was enough. My friend now knows I wasn't making them up and photoshopping pictures of them, so we're both happy. While in the gardens, I rescued a European wasp from the lake using a bird feather (then watched it rubbing its proboscis with its front legs as I lined it up for a macro shot), and then I scared a fairly large spider by twanging its web. It ran off like a big sookie pants. Pffft.

* I finished my New York jigsaw  puzzle! Wooo! I did most of it, but my friend helped me finish off the hardest part, which I left til last. He let me put the last piece in place. It was very satisfying.

* After that we went up the street for dinner and admired the supermoon, shining big and bright over Richmond. On the way back we lay on the grass in Gosch's Paddock, full of noodles, looking up at the supermoon. It reminded me of lying on the front lawn on hot nights as a kid with my parents and brother, stargazing and looking for satellites and shooting stars, with a stinky mozzie repelling coil glowing and disintegrating slowly nearby.

* I got an unexpected invitation to attend Barry Morgan's World of Organs at the Spiegeltent tonight with a friend I haven't seen in many months. I can't say I was busting to see the show, but it was such a lovely warm night, and I really like seeing shows at the Spiegeltent, so I eagerly accepted. It was silly, but lots of fun. The man gets a lot of mileage out a few double entendres and goofy expressions.

We had dinner afterwards and a good catch up. And now I'm home in bed, ready for sleep. Goodnight.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sing, stalagmite, short week

I made a stalagmite (OK, my freezer did)

I went to see The Waifs at the shabbily beautiful Forum Theatre last night. They were fabulous - the sisters' voices are gloriously powerful and Josh's guitar work is goosebump-inducing. I just love being part of a crowd all singing along with a live band. There was a lovely sing-a-long to Bridal Train last night. "All the girls arooouund Austraaaalia..."

I timed my (solo) arrival very well. I only had to hang around on my own for about 10 minutes before The Waifs came on stage. Not that I was really too bothered about being on my own in such a big crowd anyway.

It's Friday tomorrow already! Yay for public holidays (Monday was Labour Day in Victoria, to commemorate the successful campaign for an 8-hour work day).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rockin' out, puzzle fun, big payday

My Mum visited on the weekend. She was staying with family in southern NSW and caught the bus down to Melbourne to go to the Neil Diamond concert. Yes, I went too. Yes, I liked it. My Dad was a big Neil Diamond fan, so I grew up listening to his songs. It was funny seeing all the baby boomers rocking out, especially a guy near us who was going off but kept clapping out of time.

I have done around half of my New York City jigsaw, and most of that I did in one night. I couldn't stop and stayed up way too late doing it. There's something so satisfying about slotting those tiles into place, especially when you pick up a piece and think, "Hmm, I wonder if that bit goes there?" and you try it, and it does!

I got my first monthly pay in my new job today. Wooh! I felt quite rich there for a little while. Now to make it last until next pay day...

I'm off to see The Waifs tomorrow night. Yays!  I'm going on my own - my first gig flying solo.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Puzzle, Temptation, tickets

Hurrah! My jigsaw-in-a-suitcase was delivered to work this afternoon. Check it out. Can't wait to get started on it. ('It' being an illustration of NYC, complete with King Kong, Superman and Spiderman among the skyscrapers).  

I downloaded The Waifs' new CD Temptation last night. It's more mellow and bluesy than their recent albums. I like it. I'm looking forward to seeing them live next week.

I booked tickets to Next to Normal  today. Yay, i'm off the the theatre! Not for six weeks or so though.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Another remarkable tree, jigsaw, like minds my friend Anthony sent me his photos from the Melbourne Club garden open day a few weeks ago. This is the enormous old London Plane tree in the corner of the garden. Guess what?  This tree is also in Australia's Remarkable Trees! It was planted in 1895. It's a shame the public can only enjoy its shade once a year when the posh private club opens its garden gate to the masses.

I forgot to tell you about the New York jigsaw puzzle! Look at the suitcase it comes in! One of my readers, Marg, sent me a link to it and I had to have it. I hope I can find the space to put together a 1000-word puzzle...

I heard comedian Mark Watson talking on the radio this morning about the simple pleasure of having exactly the right change to pay for your purchase, which is something I have waxed gleefully about here.  I like the way he thinks!

Speaking of money, I got an English 50p piece in my change somewhere in the last day or so. Waaaaait a minute. That's not a 50 cent coin!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bubbles, rhubarb pills, bagels and beautiful trees

Well, that was a fun weekend *dusts off hands* I've been over at the Botanic Gardens again blowing bubbles with my choc-chip-cookie scented bubble mix. This time it was at twilight and the softer light seemed to really make the bubbles shine with irridescent colour. So preeeeety...but fleeting. I always want to take photos of them, but they pop before you get a chance...or the friend you're with runs about popping them like a gleeful child.

My friend also got me to spin round and round while looking straight up into the air (to "test my balance". Pffft.) Of course I very quickly got dizzy, lost my balance and fell over on the duck poo. Lovely. But it was funny.

I cooked lamb fillets again. So tender and tasty. Yummy scrummy in my tummy.

Today was pretty much spent in search of bagels. I discovered there is now a Glick's bakery near South Melbourne market so we set off on foot in the sunshine to get some. On the way we passed this awesome building on Cecil Street with much of its original sign writing still visible. Look at it! I was in old sign heaven! This is probably my favourite example of old signage so far.

Top hat cough? WTH? Oh! Stop that cough...
with Dr Scott's Balsam Horehound

Marchalls Rhubarb Pills - for the liver

Use J King self-raising flour

When we got to Glick's it was closed, dammit, but we were determined to have bagels so we decided to walk to the Elsternwick bakery instead. It was rather a long way, but it was a nice day, the path was quite shady and it meant going past a bookstore on Clarendon Street that I'd seen last Sunday selling a copy of Australia's Remarkable Trees, marked down from $65 to $20! It was closed then, but not today! That book is mine. It's a beautifully photographed guide to the country's biggest, oldest and most unusual trees.

Eventually we arrived at Glick's, hungry, thirsty and footsore (me, anyway),  and ate five bagels between us. Hey, we'd really worked up an appetite with all that walking. I had a look in my book to see if my favourite tree, the Golden Elm on the corner of Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue, was among Australia's remarkable trees, and it is! Yay! We visited it on the way home.

There's also another tree, an Algerian Oak, in the Royal Botanic Gardens in the book too. I'll have to go and find it. 

Here's my post-bagel straw moustache. Just because.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lamb, matching and Wagons

The dinner I cooked for my friend on Wednesday was yummy. The lamb...oh, the lamb! *drools lavishly like Homer Simpson*. It was tender and delicious and the roased tomatoes were sweet and juicy. Oh, the company was also rather good.  I bought some more lamb fillets today. If they weren't so expensive I'd eat them every day. Sker-rumptious.

Last night I went to see one of my fave bands - yes, Wagons  - with my friend Luke (his first time seeing them live). Five minutes after we met up, I noticed we were dressed almost exactly the same in blue jeans, khaki shirts and black jackets! Haha. It's funny when that a slightly embarrassing way. Maybe I need to dress more like a girl? In my defence, my shirt was more of a shirt dress.

We had a nice Mexican dinner  - and I had a very tasty lemon margarita  - then headed to The Corner for the show. It wasn't the best gig of theirs I've seen, but it was still great. Henry was entertaining as always. I was rapt to hear they have finally recorded one of most popular live covers, a song called Willie Nelson, which always goes off. It will be on their new album coming out in May. Cannot wait. This video doesn't even do Willie Nelson justice.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Robots, dinner for two and Next to Normal

My robots are here! So cute!

I'm cooking dinner for a friend tomorrow. I bought my provisions tonight and can't wait to throw them all together into a (hopefully) delicious meal.  It's so nice to have someone to feed instead of just myself (I've been eating a lot of cheese and tomato on toast so it will do me good to have a proper meal for a change too).

I found out today the hit Broadway show Next to Normal is coming to Melbourne next month. I'd never heard of it until my US friend J, who visited in September, played me the music in the car during our Great Ocean Road sojourn. It was fantastic - and extremely moving. I had to try really, really hard not to cry. I think I will need to take a box of tissues if the music alone had that effect on me.