Thursday, July 30, 2009

My eyes jumped out of my head

It's not often that I'm reading the newspaper and see something that makes me immediately turn to old Blogger, and write about it. But you see, there's an article on page 7 of The Age about the dangers of solariums. It's titled Sunbeds join smokes as top danger.

Included is a list of substances/behaviours which are known to be carcinogenic to humans. There's a little asterisk explaining this is a list compiled from a "much longer list.'

See if there's anything here that jumps out at you:

- Arsenic
- Asbestos
- Oral contraceptives
- Solar radiation

- Sunbeds
- Aluminium production
-Chimney sweeping
- Working as a painter
- Tobacco smoking and tobacco smoke

- Ethanol in alcoholic beverages
- Household combustion of coal
- Salted fish (Chinese style)
- Wood dust

Well, there's actually two. Chinese-style fish? I'm guessing it's a highly charcoaled dish, because carbon-crunchy crusts consumed in that way is something we know can be bad for you.

Everything else is logical and unsurprising. Apart from the pill. I know there have been studies which suggest the contraceptive pill might be or is connected to higher rates of certain types of cancer. I went to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and skimmed some studies. I found out that according to their research (and I'm summarising):

- increase in relative risk for breast cancer
- risk for endometrial cancer approximately halved
- overall, the risk for cervical cancer increased
- overall reduced risk for ovarian cancer
- no significant association with use of contraceptive pill and death from liver cancer
- no association found between pill use and risk for cutaneous melanoma
- no associated risk for colorectal cancer

So, the actual data are probably what I might have expected. If someone had asked me what are the risks of the pill, I would have said "I think there's some connection with breast cancer, so they say."


With so few items mentioned, why put the pill in there at all? Everything else on that list (with the exception perhaps of the fish (Chinese-style) can be categorised as "BAD" or "DANGEROUS" by the average thinking person. I would think.

arsenic - dangerous
asbestos - dangerous
sunbeds - bad
chimney sweeping - dangerous

We know it's not good to inhale certain stuff (BOB!) - wood dust, fumes from pain, tobacco smoke, stuff that's in chimneys.

We know the sun can give us cancer.

Maybe fish (Chinese-style) is incredibly hazardous. Obviously it is, to make the list along with arsenic and asbestos.

And the pill's inclusion. What does that mean? What message does it send people who read that list? People who maybe panic and think the risks for taking the pill can be equated with the risks in having contact with Asbestos, the Evil Tobacco and the Dreaded Chinese-Style Fish!!

What message does it send women? What decade are we living in? I'm not saying the pill is without risks and side-effects, but it's like a few years ago when there were reports of Hormone Replacement Therapy causing increased risks in cancer - was it breast? - and women everywhere went off them and men everywhere went crazy. ( I can say that because I'm a woman and I have hormones.)


While at the online version of the Age I saw some other gems that I couldn't pass by.

1. Best man allegedly raped by stripper at buck's night.

Some choice lines:

'A County Court jury was yesterday told to approach their task free of sympathy, emotion or bias and to put views of strippers and buck’s nights ‘‘out of your mind’’.'


'But Naggs’ barrister, Paul Higham, asked the jury to have ‘‘in the back of your mind’’ issues of male sexuality and pride, fear, ego and peer group pressure.'

That's a lot for a jury to have in and out of their minds.

Also - 'He said if there was penetration it was accidental and he asked what led the man to ‘‘place himself in proximity to the dildo’’, which he described as ‘‘arguably statuesque.’’ '

A statuesque dildo?

But wait, there's more:

Naggs, who has pleaded not guilty, is alleged to have thrust the dildo into the man’s anus during a naked XXX-rated show in a house in Mornington on September 24, 2007.

Mr Gilligan told the jury that the man had replaced the groom and another volunteer who were reluctant to continue their involvement with Naggs. He said after she did a lap dance, rubbed her breasts in his face and used the dildo on herself, he asked her: ‘‘Be gentle. Don’t do it too hard.’’
‘‘No worries,’’ Mr Gilligan said Naggs replied.

When the man, who was on all fours and naked from the knees up, asked her not to go near his anus, she allegedly said: ‘‘Not a problem. Relax. It’s only fun. I won’t go there.’’

But Mr Gilligan said that soon after Naggs applied cream or lubricant to his buttocks, he felt a sharp pain, a thrust and the dildo ‘‘go right into his anal passage’’.

He said the man was hurt and shocked and after Naggs allegedly told him not to worry because ‘‘only you and I know’’, he said: ‘‘What the f--- did you do that for, you stupid bitch.’’

Mr Gilligan said the man complained to police later that day while a medical examination showed a small abrasion below his anal verge ‘‘most likely caused by blunt trauma’’.

Mr Higham submitted that if there was penetration it was accidental so ‘‘this is a case, if you like, of accidental rape’’.

He described the facts as unique, involving a working mother and professional dancer of 13 years.


And finally a feel-good story that made me go "awwwww" instead of "ewwwww."

2. Lost Brissy dog Muffy found nine years' later - in Melbourne.

Oh, I just read the article. Seems it's likely the dog was picked up as a stray in Queensland and brought to Melbourne. Not The Incredible Adventure after all. Never mind, at least she's been rescued from the evils who had her (who were being investigated for animal cruelty) and will be reunited with her true owners next week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

i could have been a contender...


[Post redux number 1. This from 27th July, 2005.]

From the time when I used to put a lot of effort into posts, and because it was so time-consuming, didn't care about capitalisation. Sorry Perseus. If it offends thine eyes, look away now.


someone told me I needed to write poetry, to unleash the beast, so to speak. i think my beast does better in prose.


this is dedicated to the people who drew me here and have kept me here thus far
[i hope you don’t mind awful poetry written on the trot]:

the punchy wit of tough ms fits
the mind labyrinthine of baps la nadine
the pastries all puffy of uber-friend fluffy
the deep red haze of schizo roguemaze
the little boy lost of cotton socks
the smart-aleksdom of you know who [I have a soft spot for aleks]
and there’s a new one on my list, mike who really likes bikes
and believe it or not, the mystery man who really made me check out blogging
[saving him to the end of this piece so i can show you a magic trick]

here I was, thinking I don't have much to offer in the way of fame and fortune. i am no actor, director, no tv writer, no cool and popular girl with curly hair and “a rack that won’t quit” [can’t get that image out of my head, for some reason]. i don’t have a link to a pirate glossary on my site [LOVE that pirate glossary, i covet it]

i sat and thought and realised i do have something to offer, i could tell you the ways in which I have been so close to everlasting bigness, but always with a no cigar result.

i have said here that i am an observer. the cool stuff doesn’t happen to me, but sometimes it happens around me.

here are the ways that I have almost started the stop-watch on those warholian 15 minutes:

when i was a kid i met Happy Hammond


he had a side-kick called Joffa Boy, and it was in the late ‘60s it must have been. [they could have put me in their tv show, but didn't]

when i was a bit older i used to play with the two brothers who now run the globe skateboarding empire [one of them was a complete prick and used to try to make me give him a hand job]. they're now in the top whatever rich bastards in australia, you know that list. [one of them could have become my childhood sweetheart, then dated me, then proposed, then married me. now i could be living in a $10M mansion in hawthorn.]

early adulthood, say 19/20 years oldabout 20 years ago my girlfriend and I went to a nightclub in the city because


mel gibson was appearing there with that virginia somebody chick who was in mad max two with him. he was up and coming, and young. we went and huddled in dark corners, drinking beer and watching him at a table being surrounded by sycophants. we were about to leave [boring] when we saw him get up from the table and walk to the men’s. we positioned ourselves outside and when he came out, my friend went up to him. this is what happened. she put her hand on his arm – “mel”, she said
“yes,” he said [very shyly and kind of coy, it was weird]
“can I kiss you?” she said
“I guess so,” he said.
so she kissed him on the cheek, he kind of did the blush thing and said “thanks.”
we went screaming out of the place, ran up the stairs still screaming, up the street, into the car and screamed all the way home. whenever we stopped at a traffic light, we would look at each other, and scream again. [he could have noticed me, instantly fallen in love with me, and married me. then it would be me with 25 children, saggy tits, and mel for a hubby]

the next one is about michael hutchence. the same girlfriend from the mel experience and I saw them at some dive in waverley. we were there to see the support act and stayed to “see what the next band were like.” hutchence kept taking my friend’s porkpie hat [yes they were in way before britney did them] off her head and wearing it. [he could have taken my hat off my head, and then married me] [even though i wasn't wearing a hat]

now i'm about 23 or something
i have been on tv twice. once in a video clip for huxton creepers [onscreen perhaps 3 secs]. coincidentally my grade 5 boyfriend was in that band, and he is now also in this band
[he also could have married me, and now i'd be a rock-chick-wife]. but he's a pisshead so maybe that's not such a good fantasy.

the other time on tv was This is Your Life. but it wasn't me, but a school friend. you know the drill; as one of those people who tells a funny story about the famous person they went to school with, and then they cutaway to the famous personage in question and they are laughing with a fond look in the eye. well, in my case, the camera showed the famous person sitting on the couch just after I told my witty bit, and she squinted her eyes and looked confused. she didn’t recognise who I was. [she couldn't have married me, i accept that. but we could have become best friends and she could have taken me to the swanky parties]

there is a very, very minor big brother contestant who parks his saab outside my house. bet he didn’t have a saab before he went on. no way.

my grandfather met Price Phillip, and Alfred Hitchcock [they could have adopted me]

my godmother is daughter of a famous australian artist [he could have given me a painting, just one would have been nice]

my mum’s friend met spike milligan [he could have given me a job. or married me]

my dad’s second cousin is helen garner [she could have requested to see her 3rd cousin twice removed, and asked to see the three or four unfinished books i have lying around

my dad went to school with hostage dude doug wood [he could have marr... no maybe not]

my mum went to school with pixie skase. she could have become my second mother and then i could have stolen chris from her and... no maybe not

i once stayed in the house of a roadie of van morrison’s [ either could have married me. except i met neither]

i once burned a hole in molly meldrum’s leather jacket [um, pass] [that was on purpose]

i once did the same to the denim jacket of a rrr radio announcer [er, hip radio dj dude] [the burn was an accident] [i did love him at the time, but, wasn't to be] [now i think he's a dick]

i met gary ablett at a book signing, he blessed my child [I was pregnant at the time] [and i was married, so he couldn't marry me, just as well i guess]

my cousin met the king of spain [my cousin could have invited me along on the yacht so that I could have met the king of spain]

so with all these connections you’d think I’d be a natch to be up there with the celebs.

but alas, I’ll just have to make do with my fantasy world here. and my real world. which is real.

ps the mystery man is andrew landeryou. I can summon him at will
“andrew come and comment on my blog!”

just wait and see, he will appear…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

500th post - extendo version

Gee, it seems an age since I started blogging. I have to say, I do put less into it now than I did then. Back then, sometimes I even drafted my posts, spell-checked and everything. I would spend hours putting stuff together, looking for pictures, putting a lot of thought into what I was writing.

Now, it's become more of an online journal rather than an online "let me tell you what I think about everything in the world."

My life has changed a bit over the course of 500 posts, since that first post on a Wednesday in June, 2005. I got engaged, got married, created a blended family with my man Clokes. Made him start blogging - he had two going at one stage: Capeman and Clokeeeeeey. The name Capeman was inspired by him having a Ferrari party for his birthday and wearing a Ferrari flag as a cape. Clokeeeeey is all about Collingwood football playing David (is it David?) Cloke.

Princess has grown up; from a wonderfully assertive and precociously bright seven-year old to a wonderfully assertive and precociously bright almost-13-year old.

In that time we have moved house three times. From St Kilda to Caulfield South, from Caulfield South to Bentleigh and from Bentleigh back to St Kilda (via 3 months overseas.)

In that time I've completed my postgraduate diploma and gotten a Master. Remember those days? I think that was my blogging apex when the frenzy was most dedicated. Work avoidance is always a huge motivator to blog for me.

I've started publishing my bad '80s diaries here as well. What started as laziness (ie it was all there pre-written, I didn't have to think about what to write) has turned into a little bit of sunshine for some readers, and for me, quite a cathartic endeavour. I read somewhere that Helen Garner burned all her diaries. I don't know if I could bring myself to do that, but if I ever do, it'll be knowing that they still exist on another plane.

Also in that time my mother had a full remission from cancer. It was a happy day. The happiest of days, because she had been working so hard at getting well for 7 years. That day I wrote about the news on my blog and all the comments that people made were so heart-warming and loving. I printed them all out and gave her a hard copy. I just had to share with her what these kind-hearted "strangers" had written.

And that brings me to these "strangers."

I have met some wonderful souls through blogging. For me, someone who is shit at small-talk face-to-face but pretty good at blathering on with words, it had been a truly satisfying way of connecting with people. I have had my spats - there was a guy called Mike who was into bikes. I got into a fight with him over comments he made about Jewish people - that was it. End of acquaintance. And again, a guy called Jaded DJ. We got into a spat as well, but I can't remember what that was about. Maybe it was a case of an argument that was unnecessary? Anyway. Water under the bridge. I got involved in a bit of a bitchy thing against Steph at Ms Fits' blog, which I wasn't proud of. She was good-natured about it and we kissed and made up and there were no hard feelings and when she shut down her blog she said some very lovely things about me. She was the bigger person in that exchange, and I - I was just carried along with the pack. It made me realise something about myself, about human nature.

Steph is one of the people I miss. I also miss Fits. I miss I'm Not Craig, even though he be still around a little, and we have met and shall meet again so I don't mourn him in the way I do others. I miss Fluffy big time, I miss Rowena (she's not completely gone, but not blogging anymore.) I miss BEVIS, even though he's twittering, so I still get a bit of him. D-Stah is still around a bit, on Facebook, and she is one blogger I loved and met, she is great. I miss LadyCracker. I miss SUBLIME but she is still around a bit. Pomgirl went back to Engerlund, she was nice. And Krankiboy, he's very sporadic so I don't check his blog much. (Actually, looks like he might be back. He's started writing again. Oh happy days. Now for a return of the Wizard!)

Another fight I had was with Cotton, a precious candy-boy. And Roguemaze was good while he lasted, but he's off being a movie star.

Possibly one of the people I miss most is Gianluca di Milano.

As for where I read now, I thought I'd list my blogroll. It's not complete, but these are the places I go for a browse most days. It's the best way I can think of acknowledging my current Blogworld affections; my daily toe-tip into bloggy goodness.

Another Outspoken Female







Pirate Elaine



Super Kawaii Mama - fashion blog

Tokyo Undressed Be warned, NSFW.


squib - she's stopped her blog which is a bugger because I'd just found her really.

Lisa D-Cup - an American blogger who is married with three kids and lives - I think - in Georgia. She and her husband have been through hard times. With the recent financial shit in the States they went bankrupt, lost their house and car etc. Hard times. But she has a fantastic spirit, great sense of humour, she pulls no punches (what does that mean, anyway?), she is direct and raw about all things in life, and she is very inspiring. If you've had a hard day, go and read her archives. And she is never, NEVER woe-is-me. Tough gal.

Living and Teaching in Malaysia - this is my good friend Jo, a friend from way back in real life. Her blog is private so I'm not linking. She is another tough cookie, doing her best for herself and her kids. I really admire Jo, she is all about working out herself and life and not shying away from it. Her blog is open and honest and I think she is the bees' knees.

[mystery site] - this is my number one love-spot. This has been like my secret lover and I haven't wanted to share them with anyone, so I haven't linked them. It has ironically replaced RYWHM in my heart, ironic because the demise of RYWHM and TSSH (a blog I visited occasionally but never commented on, it was too scary) occurred simultaneously/connectedly in ways that remain quite mysterious to me, and kind of sinister. And my dirty little secret is that I think I like it even better than RYWHM. It's remained fresh and interesting and varied and sycophant-free. Unless I'm the suck. Probably. Most of the characters from there have no personal blogs themselves which is just as well otherwise I would never get off this fucking machine. For real.

Over the next little while, I'm going to redux some of my favourite posts. Along with diaries, of course.

Monday, July 20, 2009

curtain update, plus TOUR dinner

SO, this morning I thought I was on the home stretch, but no. I managed to fuck up the curtains. Not badly, mind you. But I was sewing the tape across the top (which has threads which you pull to make the curtain gather) and I stupidly pulled one end without sewing off the other end. There was a reason for this: I had bent a needle on the very thick part of the curtain where there are several layers of lining and fabric, so I just wanted to make sure the needle was performing properly before I did that maneuver again.


Anyway, I went onto the other curtain, to finish, and with THAT one, the pulling thread snapped after I'd pulled them and tied them off. Grrrr.

So a little behind, I thought they'd be finished this morning. But I have to unpick the rooted tape and buy more and sew it on and blah de blah.


Saturday night. I couldn't go to the birthday party of my equal first favourite poet-blogger because like last year, we had our Tour de France meal planned. We drank French champagne (really, I can't taste the difference), French onion soup, I made coq au vin which was very nice, accompanied with rich buttery mash and green broad beans and a French burgundy, then we had Poires Au Savon (or something) which were baked pears with cream, vanilla and something else. I only cooked the coq. We watched some bikes but it wasn't a very interesting stage. Oh well. Then yesterday we took the dogs and children to the river at Yarra Bend for a run and the sunshine was glorious. Back home early yesterday and had left-over coq on steamed rice, while watching Friday night's taped Masterchef, and then the final.


My shoulder is bothering me still. Has been for ages. I'm going for an ultrasound on Wednesday. Physio hasn't helped as I'd thought it would, plus it's been well more than a year that I've had this bung shoulder/arm thing happening. I hope it's nothing bad.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

500th post

I have written an elaborate celebration piece but came across this while going through my archives.

I'll bring the other one to you soon, but in the meantime I wanted to re-post this from the Dormitory Boys.

I think it has to be my absolute favourite. Consider this the beginning of a small series of fave videos revisited.

I just watched it again for the first time in a couple of years. It makes me smile and then I get all teary for some reason at the song's peak towards to end.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lindcraft Angel

I've just returned from Lindcraft. I met an Angel; an elderly man with a European accent who was hovering near the thimbles when I asked a shop assistant for help with sewing machine needles.

"This would be the best person to ask," she said cheerfully. He was wonderful. He helped me get the right needles, he told me the reasons why the cotton can loop underneath the fabric. He told me to ask God for help when I sew, to feel happy when I sit down to sew.

"I'm such a beginner," I said. I didn't say I was also such an atheist.

Let the people have their God, I thought.

But I do need all the help I can get, I thought after that, wondering.

No, I told myself. Don't be a using hypocrite. You can't just borrow Him when you want. When you need to.

But that's what other people do. They rush to church when tragedy strikes, isn't this the same sort of thing?

No. They are believers anyway.

They're not seeking comfort in the beauty of the architecture? The music? The words of a wise preacher?

Oh shut up.


I wanted to cling to the man, ask if he could adopt me and make me his acolyte, even though I think I'm the wrong gender for acolyte-ism, and probably a few decades too old. I wanted to ask if he gave lessons, did he have a card, did he ever sew for anyone famous, what stories does he have, which country did he leave and why? Who knows? He could have been Melbourne's Dior for all I know. Or another old Nazi.

He bought a thimble with an open top - he said they are the best types. He wished me good luck, and to have a wonderful day. I told him he was very kind, and thank you. I didn't want to walk away from him. Did he feel it too? I wonder.

I bought:

- a measuring tape: soft, not a fucking metal builder one which I've been using and which likes to attack me as I'm stretched out on the table, in my most vulnerable positions.

- some fabric scissors.

- some thread snippers.

- a metre metal ruler. Look out.

- some cotton.

- sewing machine needles, pack o' 5.

So I'm all set to go. Again.

Tomorrow is sewing day. Again.

I will practise more on the fabric scraps, which are kind of running out. I will fix my looping thread problem. I will get these curtains done.

Happy Tuesday to you all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I am not a natural

You know how there are some things that you are a natural at?
I'm a natural eater, writer, gadabout, teacher, cook and imbiber of wine. These are things I think that I do well, with little or no formal training.
Then there are things I am shit at, and no matter the help I get, or the study, the effort, the brain-power that is invested, I am still shit at it.
For me, one of these things is maths. Another is that I find it very hard to read sarcasm, or irony in a face-to-face situation with a person I don't know. This is because I'm naturally gullible and trusting (another "natural ability" of mine) and so I don't pick up on the cues.
Another thing I'm shit at is money. Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm good at spending it, but can't save for the life of me, can't budget, can't understand where it all goes. Connected to this particular anti-talent is my shit abilities at navigating what normal people might find ordinary, every day stuff. Like paying bills, remembering to get milk and understanding why, but why do we have to do things like do tax returns, change light globes and clean the oven. I just want someone else to do all that stuff so I can do the stuff I like. Because the stuff I like is incredibly demanding and time-consuming. And all that other stuff just seems so uninteresting and not "important."
But the thing that I am most shit at in the whole, wide world is sewing. It has been this way forever, I have always been crap at it; in fact it's one area of my life I've shown most consistency. Even the simplest, easiest task that involves needle and thread, I WILL FUCK UP.
Now, I'm not a stupid person. Once I did one of those thingies that told me I could be in MENSA.
But I can't sew.
I know why it is. It's a blend of impatience, lack of skills and bad maths. My genius lies in tangential lines of thinking, being able to find patterns and abstract forms of logic. All the things that maths isn't. I'm not terrible at maths the way some people are, but it's hard for me to visualise things spatially if they are not right in front of me. So this, combined with possibly a kind of sewing-trauma induced phobia means that whenever I try and sew, I fuck it up.
Evidence of avoidance:
When I was at uni the first time, instead of trying to sew a seam that had come undone in my nice cardigan, I used a million little safety pins to pin it up. AND IT WASN'T THE LATE '70s!
Buttons I can manage, but that's taken me thirty years to "master" and I'm sure that a pro would snigger at my buttons.
I just can't sew. I'm hopeless at it, I really am.
Recently I decided to take up my own pants, now we have a sewing machine and all. How hard could it be, I thought. I can do it. I'll just take my time, be logical and work it out properly.
First I tried on the pants, took them up with pins to the length I wanted. And because I'm SMART and I think of all eventualities, I tried them on with really high heels, and then again with flats to get the best length. I double checked. Then, when I went to cut the pants, guess what I did. I moved the pin, which had been holding the make-shift hem in place, let the bottom part of the fabric drop down, and put the pin back in the same place.
ThankfullyI thought it looked like heaps of material to be cutting off so I didn't cut that much, but even so I could only make a tiny hem rather than an elegant cuff, so basically, I fucked the pants. They are ok, they are wearable, but they are not the hems I wanted and planned.
Then the actual sewing. It was fucked. I used white cotton on tweedy black and beige pants. I was in a state, a lather. But I get so stubborn that I don't stop, I just push on, and I ended up breaking the needle on the machine, finishing by hand IN BLACK COTTON, it was a disaster. This was less than a week ago.
SO, now I have set myself a project to make curtains. And not just easy every-day curtains but lush, bordello-style velvet curtains with a heavy lining.
Luckily, I've had some help. When this project stalled recently, the Lovely Elaine offered her help, so yesterday I went around to her house and in a couple of hours, she made a curtain. I took notes and watched closely and then slipped her a few shekkels to pay for her expertise. Here is the result:

It's not hung yet, obviously. I need to keep it down as my model. Elaine's seams are so straight, she has no loopy threads underneath and it didn't take her a whole day just to cut any of the fabric or lining. She is ace.
Today, all day, I have done the following:
1. changed the needle on the sewing machine.
2. figured out again how to put the bobbin in.
3. cut the lining into the right-sized pieces.
4. cut the other bits of fabric into the right sizes.
5. some test seams on off-cuts of velvet.
6. found it is quite hard to sew a straight line.
7. blushed when I remembered Elaine saying "how hard is it to sew a straight line."
8. found that the stitches are looping, so I've tried adjusting the tension but it doesn't seem to be helping.
9. been very relieved that I had decided to do some test seams on off-cuts instead of just plowing ahead and getting started.
10. blushed again when I remembered my mum saying "And you'll do some testing with fabric, before you start sewing the real thing?" and me saying "I know how to use the sewing machine!!" in an injured voice.
So my initial estimate of taking three times as long as Elaine has been revised. I think it will take me ten times as long as her to do one curtain. Maybe longer.
But for some perverse reason, I am being very determined about all this. I can't say the same for bills and tax and other grown-up things. Maybe because this is creative, I am determined to not let it beat me.
Anyway, stand-by for more updates as I go along this week.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The problem

The problem with wearing these shoes out on the town

is that you end up walking home looking like Mrs Doubtfire.

But fuck me, they are good looking shoes.

Diaries tomorrow. I promise.