Heh

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Odd Spot from The Age on Tuesday:

German police called to a weekend traffic incident found Jedi master Yoda from Star Wars at the wheel, much the worse for wear after Halloween celebrations. The green-costumed driver had his licence confiscated. “In this case, the force was not with him,” police said.

Totally unrelated yet very enjoyable slice of coverage:

Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki Cover) – Dr Dog

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And there’s gold falling from the ceiling of this world

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Have suddenly discovered art journals, via the magic (and serious time sucker) Pinterest. Check these out willya? Wow.

Inspired, today I thought I’d give it a go, and splurged on some new stationery. This is something I try not to do too often because I bloody love the stuff, but I was quite restrained today. I came away with new fine liners, some funky textas and some watercolour pencils. Nothing too fancy or out there, and more than capable of carrying out my fairly modest artistic ambitions!

I’ve started two different journals today, and one of them I think might be a lyrics based one. I know, what a surprise!

Here’s how the first page came out

I know it won’t win any awards, but it was fun and I think it’s cute, and I reckon that’s all that matters!

And The Boys – Angus & Julia Stone

Some art journal love:

Balzer Designs

Judy Wise

Teesha’s Circus

And if you too are a sucker for Pinterest, come find me!

This

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I could tell you all about my uneventful yet totally lovely morning

OR

I could just post a few of the tunes that soundtracked it.

All unashamedly nicked from Captain Obvious, and all unashamedly wonderful.

Marie (Jack Nitzsche Cover) – Family Band I was deep in study when this came on, but it pulled me right out

Love The Way You Walk Away – Blitzen Trapper Just the right amount of twang

All Is Well (Goodbye Goodbye) – Radical Face Lovely

Gun Shy – Widowspeak She sounds a little bored – love this

It’s a cruel and beautiful world. Study notwithstanding.

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Spent an hour today studying. That was enough. Had forgotten just how blahhhhhh study can be. I’ve been procrastinating long enough though – I was awarded a grant to complete this course almost a year ago and I’ve only just started the damn thing today. Sigh. Self motivation has never been my strong point.

Ran 4 k’s this morning. Want food but am not actually hungry. Have to work in an hour. Listening to Grouplove’s 2010 self titled EP. Really like ‘Colours’ and ‘Naked Kids’, but ‘Cruel and Beautiful’ has stolen my heart this afternoon. Big love.

Cruel and Beautfiul – Grouplove

Find out more about these American indie rock kids here.

Dilemma

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I want to rearrange the furniture in my lounge room, but we had a mouse plague here a few months back and while I can’t smell anything resembling death or decay, I am still slightly concerned that I may find something lurking behind the couch and if I do find it then I will obviously have to get rid of it and I still can’t erase from my mind that time where I knelt down on the floor to fix my hair in the mirror that should be wall mounted but isn’t yet and when I dropped a bobby bin and glanced down to find it I noticed the corpse of a recently poisoned mouse that had tried to escape but had sadly passed on a few inches from my front door in a position that can only be described as the final throes of death. Paralysis, girly screaming and a frenzied hunt for a plastic shovel ensued, to be followed by frantic and repetitive handwashing and copious amounts of sherry.

It was all I had, alright?

There are. No words.

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Pet hate: When you finally get around to taking your car in for a service and you use the guy your dad recommended to you and you drop it off at 8am and you’re assured by the woman at the counter that it will be ready by 3pm when you have to work but when you ring at 2pm to check on it the woman can’t seem to remember who you are or where your car is and finally informs you that they haven’t even started working on it yet and do you think you’ll be able to organise another ride to work, love?

So you get your friend to drop you off and you work and the next day you go and pick up your car which has finally been serviced, at a cost that incidentally is higher than what you were originally quoted, sorry about that love, but you are a woman, so this is naturally to be expected when you do anything car related without taking a hunky man in with you, and you drive it around for a week and then when you take it to be washed in one of those do-it-yourself outfits you realise as you’re scrubbing the bird crap off the back windscreen that they’ve had THE NERVE to place a sticker advertising their business on the back of your car.

Fuckers.

New to me: Radiolab

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Last week I sent out a plea on Twitter for some podcast recommendations. I got a handful of suggestions, much of them music related but there were a few that were not and of these, Radiolab (suggested by Anthony from God Don’t Like It) was an instant winner.

Radiolab is an American radio show that airs all over the country and tackles both big and not so big issues in the realms of science and philosophy – I use these descriptive words because they use them on their ‘About’ page, although I understand that those titles can be off-putting sometimes. To me, the show is more about the exploration of a whole range of ideas, and each podcast usually begins with somebody, whether it be an expert in a particular area, or just an ordinary person, telling a story. The stories are always fascinating and told with great interest and spirit and often humour as well, and afterwards a question might be posed or more research is conducted and further ideas explored, and I am yet to come across an episode that hasn’t captivated me in some way.

I think I listened to half a dozen of them today (some go for an hour, but they also produce episodes they call ‘Shorts’ which are usually between 15 and 20 minutes long) and by far my favourite was one that aired back in March last year, called The Bus Stop. It begins with one of the producers of the show talking about her grandpa and how he’d begun to display signs of Alzheimer’s, and he’d gotten to the point where he’d started to wander off a lot.

This story lead to a discussion of a nursing home in Germany whose residents were predominantly suffering from Alzheimer’s as well, and a lot of them would frequently escape from the building and turn up in all kinds of places in town when the staff managed to track them down. Upon being asked what they were doing and why they had left, there was usually a great sense of urgency – they had to mail a letter, their husband was waiting for them, they had to pick up their son from school, they were late for an appointment. Much of the time they were reliving events from their past as well of course – their husband had actually died ten years ago or their son was now an adult with children of his own.

The nursing home staff realised of course that this situation couldn’t continue and they were at the point where they thought that the only solution was to lock the ward so that the residents couldn’t wander off any more. This is understandable in terms of keeping the residents safe, but heartbreaking and I guess pretty cruel as well. Just as they were about to put locks and barriers in place, somebody (I forget who) came up with the idea of placing a bus stop near the entrance to the nursing home – a bus stop to which a bus would never actually come. This idea was met with a bit of skepticism, but they figured there was nothing to lose, so they gave it a shot. A couple of days after, the staff noticed one of their residents were missing and sure enough, there she was, sitting at the bus stop just outside the entrance to the nursing home.

When a nurse went down to talk to her, she said she was waiting for the bus and if I remember correctly, she was quite agitated in the beginning, very eager to get to her destination, but the longer she waited the calmer she became and eventually she forgot why she was there and happily went back with the nurse when she suggested a cup of tea.

This situation was repeated again and again whenever a resident got the wanders, and most of the time, the bus stop was as far as they got. Now some people would say, and did in the podcast, that the staff are essentially lying to the residents, or tricking them. They’re providing a bus stop with no bus, and just waiting for them to ‘forget’, for the disease to kinda do their work for them, I guess. I don’t see it that way though. What’s the alternative? Locking them up and taking away the little freedom they have left? This way they’re able to go where they like, and if that means they only get as far as the bus stop outside, well surely that’s much safer than the alternative?

Have a listen. I think you might like the part too when the woman telling the story added that many locals were also found to be waiting at the ‘new’ bus stop, and had to be informed by staff that they could wait all they liked, but the bus would never arrive!

I also really liked a comment that somebody left on the blog, about the bus stop being a bridge between the ‘real world’ and the world going on inside the resident’s heads. I thought that was a really lovely idea.

Other Radiolab shows that I liked include The Walls Of Jericho, which endeavours to find out how many trumpeters it would take to actually knock down the Walls of Jericho. The Bible says seven, the answer is somewhat different! This proved to be quite the controversial episode actually – I just thought it was a bit of fun, an entertaining exploration of the Biblical story but judging by the comments on the accompanying blog, not everybody was of the same opinion!

A couple of other episodes I enjoyed were Vanishing Words, a discussion about Agatha Christie and how her 73rd novel demonstrates a dramatic fall in the sophistication of her vocabulary and ideas, and how scientists believe this indicates the first signs of dementia. Killing Babies, Saving The World (the title makes me cringe too, don’t worry) involves a moral dilemma that I found very interesting and chilling and confronting all at the same time.

On time & writing & change

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Ah, blog. Hello again.

I have a lot of time on my hands lately. Earlier in the year I found myself working around 50 hours a week for nowhere near enough money, despite promising myself this time last year to slow down, to not work so much because for some reason I’m just not wired to work standard full time hours (let alone an extra 10 on top of that). Somehow I forgot this around February, and before I knew it I’d signed a full time contract, was working extra hours in a second casual job as well, and my life was suddenly running at a pace that would inevitably prove to be way too fast.

Sure enough, around June, things got a little hard to handle. My job was more stressful than it perhaps should have been, and the long hours I was keeping did nothing but add to the pressure. This isn’t really the point of this post though – it’s just a lead in to the fact I ended up extricating myself from this job and am now working a lot less. Sometimes I only work 5 or 6 hours a day, and quite often these are split shifts, so I’m out of the house early, back home around 10 or 11am and don’t have to work again until later in the afternoon.

Which suits me just fine. Well, apart from the fact that money can be tight sometimes, but that’s another issue altogether. The point is that I’m no longer stressed outta my mind, I’m sleeping well at night again, and I’m less inclined to bite the heads off my near and dear.

The biggest bonus is getting all this time back again. I don’t have to rush madly around at the end of the day trying to get tea ready, to pay bills, to do all those boring houseworky things that are a right royal drag but still have to be done. Every day I have a long stretch of uninterrupted hours in which I can tackle all these odd jobs and still have time to do whatever I like.

Before I continue I should add that I live alone and have no children, so I recognise that all this extra time is a luxury that many people don’t have. I also realise that there will probably come a time when this is not the case – I will have responsibilities that may include kids and mortgages and loan repayments and all that other grown up stuff.

Which is why I can’t help but think I should be making the most of all this extra time. I shouldn’t be spending it all on the couch watching DVD’s (guilty) and faffing about on the internet (you know you do it too) and turning on the telly in the middle of the day because I just HAD to see Ellen and Colin Farrell scaring people in a public toilet (I did it once, ok… gees. The watching, that is. Not the scaring).

I reckon it took me a couple of months to go from “it’s so awesome having the time to just kick back and veg out” to “seriously? this is how you choose to spend your days?”

In the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed my habits slowly changing. I’ve always exercised fairly regularly, but I’m knocking off from my morning shift and heading straight out for a run two or three times a week now. I’m going to the gym at least one night a week, often two. I’m playing netball every week and walking every day. This sounds really simplistic, but somehow it makes me feel like I’m doing SOMETHING, I’m not being totally slack.

I’m hardly turning the TV on at all now either. I’ve always been a big reader, and I’ve been getting through heaps of books lately – my sisters have informed me that I’ve turned into a big fat dork actually, because I read book recommendations online and in the paper and then hop on my local library’s website and put books on hold over the net and wait for them to email me and tell me they’re in. According to them this is really nerdy but I just think it’s efficient! And the resource is there to be used, why not use it?

Something else that I’ve noticed lately is that my listening habits have changed this year. I’ve spent the last two or three years eagerly following music blogs and downloading new songs and listening to a power of different tracks every week. Somewhere along the way though, I’ve become stuck. Or not stuck exactly, I think there are two things going on here.

The first is that I think I’ve found my little musical niche. When I began It All Started I was searching for new music, for new ideas. I’d never really heard of blogs until a month or two before I started my own and the first few that I read were music blogs and they opened my eyes to music that was well outside my little comfort range of Top 40 plus a little Triple J every now and then. Now I know what I like, and while my tastes encompass a fairly wide range of music, I’m feeling less inclined to want to extend my musical library.

The second thing is that I no longer feel the need to ACTIVELY seek new music. I often stumble across music that I like, usually via the radio or via friends, but I’m no longer keeping track of all the blogs I used to visit or checking out the latest releases or visiting Hype to Elbows to see what’s going on. I’m happy for the music to find me for a change.

So what does this mean for It All Started then?

Well… I’m still not sure. I love writing and there’s something so fantastic and absorbing about sitting at my desk with my laptop and tinkering with words, searching for that perfect combination of rhythm and sound and ideas. But I don’t think I want to write about music any more. It’s still a big part of my life and there’s not a day that goes by without me popping on the headphones or turning the radio up loud in the car, but I don’t seem to have the passion for blogging about it any more.

I have so many other ideas though that are not music related that I reckon are worth writing about and with all this time that I blathered on about before, it seems pretty silly not to be making the most of it.

So I guess my question is, do I keep It All Started, but use it to write about other non-music related things? Or do I start a new blog altogether?

There is no other voice I want to hear but yours

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Fuck, it’s cold this winter. I use the expletive because it really is bloody fucking cold here this year.

I know this because I bought a new coat last year that I reckon I only wore three times. This year that beautiful gorgeous smoky-grey fitted lifeline has never left my side. Or my back.

I need sunshine and warmth and blue sky and usually in this neck of the woods the days may start frosty but burst into full sun by 10am. This winter though the heavens remain stubbornly grey and gloomy.  And the wind! It’s the kind that rips right through you and lets you know without a doubt that somewhere out there it’s snowing like nobody’s business. Whatever that means.

So the antidote to all this wintry woe? Lots of couch time with a hot water bottle and one of the quilts that Mum made me. And tons of books – I read seven books last week! I had a couple of days off which explains a little of the excess reading time, but I tell you what, it was just what I needed.

This summery mix from I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has also gone a long way towards taking my mind off the yucky weather lurking outside my window. The whole thing is available for download here, and I especially love the two tracks you see available for download below.

I absolutely adore ‘Rio’ by Hey Marseilles. There’s a kinda hypnotic rhythm to the lyrics that I love and there are horns and strings and tempo changes and it’s all wonderful stuff. Listen!

Silhouette seasons and far-away reasons are all I have now
Borders can keep me if Rio will have me to dance and to drown
Take to the harbor like sails to set
Sleep for the evening in failed regret
Hold on to skylines of pale and coal
Clouds on horizons and love to grow old

On the way I will go 
Where the days left to breathe
Are not gone, are still long
I am traveling on

Love is a hazard in lower Manhattan
You cannot escape, and musn’t be saddened
By men who abandon your eyes for another’s
There are always Brazilian boys to discover….

Rio – Hey Marseilles

‘Vocal Chords’ by Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr (yes… it’s a strange name) is another favourite. It’s the chorus I think, the way the vocals rise at the end of each line. I don’t know why but that just totally works for me and I find myself singing it over and over again, for days sometimes. And this bit – –

I am your love
There is no other voice
I want to hear but yours
Whispering vocal chords

Is a tad soppy I guess, but I don’t care. Love it.

Vocal Chords – Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr