Monday, October 29, 2012

Blimp, perks, baby cheese

I stopped to look at the sunset on my way home from the gym tonight and spotted this airship floating about over Southbank. I didn't notice until I looked at the photos on my computer that there's a long rope or something hanging from it. I didn't see anything dangling from it and can't see anything in my other photos. Wonder what that's all about? Those blimps and their mysterious behaviour. 

Speaking of the gym, one of the perks in my now-not-so-new job is a $90 per quarter gym subsidy. I'll be claiming my first subsidy this week. It will bring my gym membership down to about $60 a month - that's $15 a week or $7.50 per visit. That's pretty good. 

We've been having baby beetroot and 'bambini bocconcini' (grape-sized bocconini) in our salads lately. Not only is it tasty, but I like saying "bambini bocconcini".

It's almost National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) again. Already! I think this will be my third year of posting every day for the month of November. Since I have so much fun stuff coming up in the next week or so, I should get off to an easy start. 

Three more days until my five-day weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Breaking through, squawking, laughing

It was a gloomy (but mild) afternoon in Melbourne. It felt a little ominous, like the calm before the storm, but so far no rain has fallen.  As I was walking home, the sun weakly and briefly broke through the clouds before disappearing again.  

As I was crossing Morell Bridge, a cheeky cockatoo landed on top of one of the lamps and started squawking loudly, seemingly at a woman who was standing nearby. It was looking down at her and really letting rip. Maybe it wanted a cracker? She ignored it, but I took a photo.

In between squawks 

Speaking of Morell Bridge, I must remember to tune into ABC1 at 8.30 on Sunday night to watch The Mystery of a Hansom Cab because some of it was filmed near Morell Bridge. The  telemovie is based on the 1886 novel of the same name, which was a best-selling  murder mystery set in Melbourne. (I haven't read it.)


I forgot to mention something funny Luke said to me the other night. I haven't laughed so much in ages. In fact, I didn't just laugh; I guffawed. 

Luke (snuggling up to me): You know what you smell like?

Me: No, what?

Luke: A cricket bat.

Me: Bahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha etc. 

(For the record, what he could smell  was rose hip oil, not linseed oil, which cricketers used to use (and possibly still use) to condition their bats.)


Here's a little something for the word nerds among you. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back down the garden path

I walked home through the Botanic Gardens for the first time since daylight savings started. My camera got a work out, as usual. I made another video too (see right down below).


This flower is an absolute jaw-dropper. It's the only one 
on the bush and it's almost the size of a saucer. 
Anyone know what it is? It's in the Chinese  garden section. 

Huge leaf getting ready to unfurl...

...into one of these 

My photo doesn't really capture how lovely it is to stand
 under the canopy of this tree on a sunny afternoon

 Look at that root system! 

 Delicate little orchid 

I know these as dragon bells (or something like that)

 Veiny underside

 Another one of these flowers. What are they called? 
Something bonnets? 

Iris bud

And a purple one

And now for my (very amateurish) video. It was a little breezy, but this leaf was waving about like crazy. It must have wanted me to take its photo. Me! Me! Take my photo!    (Listen for the bell birds!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Queen of the Secretaries

I had to staple 42 lots of four documents at work because the printer was out of staples. (Life is just so hard sometimes.)  I checked how many staples were in my stapler and there was about 1.5cms worth of them. I stapled and stapled and stapled...and stapled and stapled and stapled and did not run out of staples. "That's weird," I thought, "I should have run out well before now". I flipped open my stapler and it was empty. I had checked it exactly after using the last one. I must have some kind of ESP with my stapler. 

Earlier when I was printing off the 42 copies of each document, I clicked on the little up arrow for the number of copies and watched the number whiz up and up and BAM! I stopped exactly on 42. And then BAM! I did it again!  I'm rocking this legal secretary  business. 

I went to the gym tonight, but only because I had an appointment to make sure I'm doing the exercises in my new program correctly. If it weren't for that, I would have gone straight home because I was exhausted. I dragged myself up the steps of the gym as if I were towing a small car behind me. Gah. I decided I'd just do my weights and go home. But then I thought, "Ah well, while I'm here..." and smashed out 30 minutes of pretty intense, super sweaty cardio. And then on my way out I skipped down the steps like this:

(Only I didn't bounce off anyone or stop to pee. Yes, I know I posted this video before, but it's so cute and funny you should watch it again.)

I realised (because Luke told me), that we're going to see The Black Keys on 31 October, not the 25th, which means we'll have to rush straight from the Bill Bryson lecture at the Town Hall to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Fortunately the lecture starts at 6.00pm, so we should be fine. Gonna be a big night. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Skip they do...still

Last weekend Luke was skipping rope in the driveway (FOR EXERCISE. LIKE FIERCE HEAVYWEIGHT BOXERS DO. <----- inserted for the purpose of relationship harmony) and I made a comment about the Malcolm McLaren song Double Dutch from the early 80s. I had it on a compilation cassette* called 1983 Thru The Roof and I loved it.

Guess what? I still love it, nearly (gulp) 30 years later. I love the soaring gospel, 'Hey, ebo, ebo, ebonettes'. I love the male bass, 'ah bah bah-oombah bahs'. I love the clapping. I love the sound of the ropes swinging.

And I like the video clip (apart from the bits with the creepy Malcolm McLaren in them). It's daggy (the high-waisted shorts!), but those skipping girls are amazing. They're mesmerising.

I remember skipping double dutch at school. Do they still do Jump Rope for Heart in schools? Yes, they do

I saw some girls skipping rope on the footpath when I visited Harlem during my 2010 trip to NYC. I badly wanted to take their photo, but I was already painfully aware of being a white tourist, on my way to rubberneck at an African-American gospel church service (which turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip).

You know else I love? That I can google the album 1983 Thru the Roof and it HAS ITS OWN WIKI ENTRY. Seriously. It's got the whole track listing. Bop Girl by Pat Wilson was another favourite track.

I don't think I knew that the Bop Girl video was Nicole Kidman's first appearance on screen and it was directed by Gillian Armstrong, both of whom went on to much greater things than Pat Wilson herself.  

The album also features Culture Club's biggest hit, Karma Chameleon. I was quite the Culture Club fan.  Ah, memories. I'm gonna go and google all the other 80s compilation albums I used to own...

(*I'm 40, remember?)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Plovers, daisies, Magic Lantern and Bill Bryson

A very pleasant day to walk into the city. Aaaah, spring. 

 The plovers are back again!

What's that over there?

I spy with my little eye...

 A (wonky) circle of daisies

 Make a wish...

 A different kind of daisy

I popped into the City Gallery for a squiz at the Melbourne Parks and Gardens through the Magic Lantern exhibition.  This picture and many others of Melbourne's public gardens in the early 1900s were taken from delicate glass slides made for a projector called a Magic Lantern (which is also on display). 

The slides were found in a storeroom at the Burnley School of Horticulture in 1975 and thought to have been used by the school's first principal, Carl Bogue-Luffmann, in his lectures. The school was established in 1891 and caused a stir for admitting women.  Bogue-Luffman said  in 1900 he "did not think horticulture is an affair of sex". He was waaaaaaaay ahead of his time. 

As I was passing the town hall I saw a sign promoting a free public lecture by Bill Bryson. BILL BRYSON! FREE PUBLIC LECTURE! The 16th Kenneth Myer Lecture, to be exact. Bill will be talking about "the most important and remarkable (and generally under-appreciated, even by scientists) things he learned about science while researching his book – A Short History of Nearly Everything".  The lecture is being presented by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.  I sat down straight away in front of the town hall and registered online to attend.   Yay for smartphones., eh? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Something to look forward to

I'm a giant!

I'm not sure of the original source, but a smart cookie once said happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.  

I have many somethings to look forward to at the moment. Luke and I are going to see The Black Keys at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on 25 October.  We had tickets to see them a couple of years ago, but the show was cancelled, so I feel like I have a double dose of anticipation building. It better not be a rainy night (it's an outdoor venue). 

Then I have an extra long weekend at the start of November. Luke and I are going to a wedding on the Friday and it's a public holiday in Melbourne on Tuesday for the Melbourne Cup, so I'm having Friday to Tuesday off work. On the Monday night, we're going to see Henry Wagons and the Unwelcome Company at the lovely Thornbury Theatre. Other than that, I will potter about at home. 

Then as I mentioned in a previous blog, I'm off to Sydney for Christmas and New Year's Eve with Mum. I've got a full two weeks off work, and will spend the rest of my break in Melbourne. I love a staycation. 

And then! My friend Bertie is getting married in February and just before that I'm off to the seaside at Sorrento for her hen's weekend. 

Oh, and The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth (the author of my beloved Etymologicon) comes out on 1 November. The start of November is going to be gleeful indeed.

Right now,  I'm looking forward to going to bed. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fruitful, awesome find, fiery sky

I had homemade fruit salad for breakfast this morning. Yum. I've probably eaten about five serves of fruit today. 

On my lunch break I dropped into the discount book shop in the old Angus & Robertson store near work. I didn't find anything of interest until my eye lit upon the follow up to Neil Pasricha's The Book of Awesome, The Book of (Even More) Awesome for a paltry $5. Tis now mine. 

For those who you don't know, the books were a spin off from Pasricha's blog, 1000 Awesome Things, which, like Gleeful, celebrates life's simple pleasures (only he's made wads of money out of it!). 

I got a Facebook message tonight from a friend in the US who is sending calendars with pretty pictures of her home state of Oklahoma to her online friends. She asked if I would like one. Yes, please! I love stuff like that. Thanks, Erin! Does anyone want a Melbourne/Victoria/Australia calendar?

I had a good session at the gym tonight. I always worry how I'll go when it's an effort walking up the stairs to the gym entrance, but I did well. I have a new program that I like...partly because the weights part of it doesn't take as long!

The sunset was AMAZING tonight. I took loads of photos. 

I always look behind me when photographing a sunset. Sometimes the sky goes a nice pink along the horizon in the East. Tonight I saw this reflection. I also saw someone flying a kite and some people rolling down the steep hill at Birrarung Marr. 

 Yes, it was this exact colour!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pictorial Sunday

If you look hard, you'll see a painted over Coca Cola sign 
(north side of Curtain House, Swanston Street)

Yes, I was at Melbourne Central. 
Here's the obligatory Shot  Tower pic

 Another lovely floral display in front 
of the Town Hall

In the flower bed above. I love these flowers, 
but forget what they're called

 Street art on Hosier Lane 

Part of the Citylights Project, Hosier Lane 

No surface spared in Rutledge Lane

Blue and green should always be seen 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Glee in excess

I went to the osteopath today and arrived - unintentionally - 45 minutes early for my appointment. I thought it was 10.00am, but no. Early is better than late, but WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN?! (I initially typed BRIAN instead of BRAIN. Heee.)

I went for a wander along Chapel Street in the sunshine and poked around a couple of the op shops. I saw this old sign on the window above the door of vintage store Shag.

When I went in for my osteo treatment, there was a new framed print on the wall: 

Where can I get some of this for my brain troubles, I wonder?

After the osteo, I met Luke at Hellas Cakes in Richmond so I could have the delicious blueberry pancakes again. They were just as good this time.  *drools*

I went back to take some photos of the 70s-style moustaches on the mannequins at the strange barber shop a few doors up from Hellas, but the blinds were drawn as they usually are. There was a gap in the venetians on the door, and I managed to get this crap shot.

The one on the right is more Fu Manchu than 70s style. 

We walked back home by a different route, along Cremorne Street, the former location of the Cremorne Pleasure Gardens back in the mid-1800s. 

There's a shop there selling custom made motorcyles, including this modified postie bike.

There's also a large Matt Blatt furniture store which wasn't there the last time I walked down Cremorne Street. We were greeted by a horse with a lamp on its head. 

I sat in this ball chair. It was very comfy, and much less expensive than I expected. I kinda want it, but I don't really have room. I liked this couch too. 

Luke finished assembling the bookcase while I was at the osteopath. We've 3/4 filled it with our books and DVDs, so there's room for new books. Luke's books are one side and mine are mostly on the other, except for my set of Anne of Green Gables and one or two other books. He joked that he wasn't sure he was happy having Anne on his side. 

That corner where the bookshelf is looks so much less cluttered without the desk and its piles of the detritus of daily life.  I meant to take a photo earlier but forgot.  

Tonight I opened the bottle of Hendrick's gin Luke got me in duty free on his recent trip to the UK. I'd not heard of the brand before (I like gin, but I'm hardly a connoisseur), but I think he made a good choice. It has a cork stopper instead of a screw on lid. It makes a pleasing 'pop' when you pull the stopper out. 

And the label reads thus: 
This handcrafted gin is distilled from a proprietary recipe which includes traditional botanicals such as juniper, coriander and citrus peel.  The *unexpected* infusion of cucumber and rose petals result in a most iconoclastic gin. IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Please enjoy the unexpected responsibly. (Their emphasis, not mine)
I don't know why exactly, but that tickles my fancy. The text in the little recipe booklet hanging around the neck does too. It says (in part): 
Loved by a tiny handful of people all over the world...In our opinion there are far too many experiences that are so-called "normal", which is why Hendrick's follows its own peculiar path....A wondrous orchestra of 11 botanicals sets the stage for our piece de resistance: two rather unusual, yet marvellous, infusions...Hendrick's is made in miniscule batches by hand. It takes considerably longer but tastes considerably more wondrous. 
Humdrum limes be banished...Take a moment and consider the cucumber. It can be said with some scientific certainty that Hendrick's owes its distinctive flavour to the all important cucumber. Thus, little explanation is required to understand why etiquette dictates a cucumber garnish is to the served with a Hendrick's cocktail, rather than humdrum lime (whoopsie!).
 Now make your way to and marvel at the endless multitude of garnishes than can be made from the GLORIOUS CUCUMBER! (*giggles*)
On the back of the booklet it beseeches: 
Be bold, dear reader! Enter Hendrick's marvellous curiositorium. Peruse our review of all things unusual. Make haste to and 
I made haste. As product websites go, is marvellous. Their events page - called Wondrous Affairs & Occasions - promises "glee in excess"! This gin was made for me!

I can't believe I've just written so much about a bottle of gin!