changeling: (writing)
And since Tumblr is (in some ways) as fleeting as a newspaper, I'm going to put them here.

Also, I like journalling. And I like that I've been doing it recently, without struggle or effort.

In response to this gif. The text reads: "Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do."

This is something that all artists need to learn. Particularly those that have an ‘innate gift’ for whatever (I tend to find writing and learning music tends to be easier than other people find it). Because your ‘innate gift’ will produce diddly-squat if you DON’T LEARN HOW TO USE IT. All your gift does is accelerate the learning process somewhat; IT DOESN’T REPLACE IT. Your early art will still be terrible, it will just be a bit less terrible than that of someone who finds Your Thing to be hard.

But you know what? If you sit on your well-formed derriere and do not practice your art, that compadre of yours who finds art harder than you do WILL OVERTAKE YOU.

The only way to get better is to practice.
 
In response to a comic written, using some of Neil Gaiman's words from a recent speech:

Always truth. And if the trauma you’ve been through means that you can’t make good art about it, make good art about something else instead. It took me ages to deal with my last breakup, and the last thing I wanted to do was to make art about it instead of grieving.

So I wrote about other things. And one day the grief I had about that breakup will fuel other art. It’s the way things work.

I have another rant coming about why I'm involved in fandom, but it's turning into this Big Long Thing (hurr hurr), so I'm going home now & will finish it later.
changeling: (skinless)
This is the message I've been getting recently. First was PvP's recent comic "Bed Bath and Beyond Thunderdome" with this remark:
It's harder for women to make friends, okay? Women are competitive and catty and just generally unkind to each other.
...which is frankly untrue. I made at least two new friends on the weekend who were women, without trying very hard at all.

Then there was the hoo-ha that happens yearly at comedy festival time where it was said that women aren't funny. Ben McKenzie responded in an article on Crikey, "Angry Angry – Female Comedians can be Funny Funny", and you just need to read the comments to get an idea of the vitriol that gets hurled against women. I've lost count of the number of times when I've seen it explicitly or implicitly stated that a woman's job in her social group is to shut up, and put up with and laugh at the jokes of men. Some of those times have come from women's and girl's magazines on how to be popular or survive a first date. Some of those have been on sitcoms, where the female protagonists have been advised to do the same (and then usually mocked for complying poorly).

A quote from Ben in the comments of his article:
[T]o generalise that to “women aren’t funny” – even in an off-hand comment – is a symptom of a larger problem. This isn’t about women being funny; it’s about that opinion being part of the larger problem of sexism in our society. I think the only real reason people think “chicks aren’t funny” is the last one, that it’s a deeply ingrained understanding of how women are allowed to present to the world that leads to that opinion, so deep it takes some work to expose it.
The final point was made in the article "The Female Body", which makes very good points about the use of dead women in art and fiction for a whole bunch of purposes, and how this reflects our societal attitudes to women (and isn't as dry as it sounds from my summary). What struck me was this quote that was given:
Men and women don’t like each other very much. —Dame Rebecca West
So if you're a woman, we're told, no-one will like you. Other women don't like you (they view you as competition for their men and/or women), men sure as hell don't like you (this one still seems to be more true than the previous, unfortunately; the best you can hope for with some men is a sort of genial contempt, as if you were an amusing dog that had managed to walk on its hind legs), the media certainly don't like you, and advertising executives see you as some sort of magical money funnel without critical thinking skills (My three favourite words! It's on Sale! "thanks" for that, Diet Coke) or, alternately, sexual and passive set dressing to sell things to men.

It sure sucks to be a girl.
changeling: (Default)
Argh. It happened again. Every two or three days since getting this evil upper respiratory tract infection, I'll be much better. I'll be nearly free of it. Then, that night, the cold will conspire to give me the most evil night's sleep – the last two times it was my throat being incredibly painful and swollen combined with sinuses so jam-packed as to give me a headache. And, of course, prevent me from breathing.

This time it was coughing. The last couple of days the cough's gotten much worse; it seems as though it's my body trying to rid itself of all the leftover mucus. Whatever the reason, every time I got even close to dropping off last night, I'd have another coughing fit. Once I was in that state where you're very nearly completely asleep when it started off again and WOKE ME UP. I thought coughing was more or less a conscious act. Apparently not.

*     *     *


Because it was a public holiday on Monday, I had twice as many newspapers to go through as usual. Apparently when Lynne Kosky has been telling us all that the City Loop is at capacity, she's been lying. The same number of peak trains are being run as in (?) 1975 before the loop was built to DOUBLE the number of services. Then a Department of Transport Official Excuser said that we couldn't run that many trains because we have so many people jammed onto the current services that the trains are having to stop for longer to let them off.

I wanted to reach through the paper and slap him. For goodness' sake, the whole PURPOSE of increasing the number of trains is so there are fewer passengers crowding onto each service, thus magically removing the problem you were complaining of. And by the way, can we have more trains on the Upfield line at peak? Trains every twenty minutes is not a peak service. It's what happens ALL day. Even just one more per hour would be dandy.
changeling: (Default)
So we're getting rid of the car, like the hippies we are.

It's for a variety of reasons: the primary one is that I can't afford to keep it. I'm only making around $10 thou per year, so I can't afford to spend more than ten per cent of that on registration and insurance alone. Add to that the fact that the last service cost me over $800 and it didn't fix all the problems, and the rising cost of petrol, and the car is dead weight we can't afford to support.

The other reason is the fact that we have both tram and train in easy walking distance. And I have a bike (albeit rusting in the backyard at the moment, because the local Big Road scares the crap out of me). And we have three supermarkets within a ten minute walk. And we can take public transport to a market quite easily to do our shopping.

So yesterday I called up the charity to which we're donating it to find out what the hell's going on. The nice lady on the phone said, "It says here that it's been picked up already." My housemates and I, who have to squeeze past said car to leave the house (poor driveway design) can vouchsafe that this is not the case.

She amends the paperwork, and arranges for the car to be picked up today (Tuesday). She tells me there is a sign I have to place on the dash, and another form I have to fill out, and she'll email them to me. I also have to remove the numberplates, she says, in order to deregister it properly.

I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the car of crap, and throwing in the recycling bin all our old litre bottles of water (we used to have to keep a lot around for some time, before we had the radiator fixed). One was nearly full, so I took it through the house to the tomato plants out the back. Tomatoes are thirsty, so I like to top up the reservoir below their pots whenever I can with "spare" water. (We're on water restrictions.) I came back through the house, and threw away more plastic bags and other detritus that I'd collected into a big cardboard box. I realised I'd left my keys inside. And automatically latched the front door behind me. I had no wallet and no phone.

I had $9.25 in five- and ten-cent pieces that I'd scrounged from the car. We also had our old Yellow Pages sitting on the front porch. Monday nights we have morris rehearsal, and I cook dinner and bring it in. I had no dinner with me. I hadn't even started cooking. I looked up Nat's number and scratched it into the back of my hand with my nail. I walked to the RSL and tried to call her to let her know what had happened – Steph works for the government, so doesn't have her number listed in the Yellow Pages. The phone ate my 50c and didn't put the call through.

My only choice was to head in to the city. Metcard prices had risen again recently, and I knew that they used to be about $6. For those playing along at home, I had $8.75 remaining. I cut my losses and walked to the newsagency to buy a ticket – ticket machines always chuck a tanty if you try to pay with too many coins.

It was humiliating. I had to stand there for five minutes, counting out $6.50 in five- and ten-cent pieces. It also set off my poverty complex. Still, it was a stroke of luck (?) that I'd just pulled all that silver out of the boot, and hadn't taken it inside yet. I came into the city, met up with Steph, and we bailed on morris, so we could still cook dinner at home. It was a little relieving, since I was going to have to ask Steph to cover me for dinner.

Today I went to take off the numberplates. All the screws are rusted in. I manage to snap two of the ridges on our Phillips head screwdriver by trying to force it. So far I've managed to mostly get out one screw. One. Of four. I have NO idea how I'm going to get these plates off in order to take them down to VicRoads. Which, can I add, have no pages on their website about de/unregistering your vehicle. If you search, the only pages it brings up are about arranging for a temporary permit to drive an unregistered vehicle, and pages about reregistering. This says more than a little something about our society, frankly. Clearly I am a REBEL.

I also checked my email. I have not been emailed the sign OR the paperwork. Guess I'm chasing that up come nine o'clock.

WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HARD??
changeling: (Default)
My boss has just sent me an email about Book B. The author has just sent a list of the order the birds should go in, so that the new and old material is admixed!

There are not enough synonyms for 'no' in the English language. The book is freaking well TYPESET already. It was due to go to the printer by the end of last month!!! It's just waiting on me to finish the SIXTY bloody maps! I don't want to waste another day rejigging the entire page order!

This is IT. This has TORN IT. Tonight I'm going to start applying for new jobs. Babe, want to help?
changeling: (Default)
I want to get the happiness-making thing out of the way first, to remind myself that not all sucks. This comic, particularly the final two panels, made me laugh. Funniest thing ever. I wanted to send it to my science-y friends, but I wasn't sure whether they'd sufficiently appreciate it outside the context of the larger comic. Maybe I'll send it to them anyway.

So: down to the suck.

I'm behind sending three – THREE! – books to the printer due to pleurisy, and, frankly, the authors. One (book A) is over a month behind because I didn't get the Ms for typesetting until half a week after it was due to be sent off. One (book B) is a heavily picture-based book, that I'm having to create over SIXTY bird-territory maps for. One (book C) is a novel, the third this author has published with us. It has been dragged behind deadline due to my boss's insistence on getting the first and second books done.

Now book A's author has sent me an email that, teehee!, she has forgotten to include some stuff in the book! And book B's author has emailed to say that there's a bird he's completely forgotten to include, and he wants it in! These are books, by the way, that are pretty much typeset already. If you don't see why this is a problem, you've never used any typesetting program, and have never worked for a publisher. MS Word does not count.

Right now I'm starting to get sympathy for the American culture of ultraviolence. Book B already has one bird that I'm not sure we can include, because we have text for it, but an image for a similarly named bird. We won't have an image for this new bird. And I haven't even finished all the maps for the birds that we already were including.

I think I want to just finish the novel and get the other two to the printer when I can – hopefully sometime before next year.

Maybe Steph is right. Maybe I need to find another job, where my cortisol levels aren't so high that they live in Amsterdam. It can't be any good for my immune system.

As Charlie Brown would say: Good grief.

RAGE.

Apr. 25th, 2007 09:34 pm
changeling: (Default)
RACV just charged me $45 to change my address.

I'm assuming it's because my new suburb is higher risk, but still. RAGE.

Bastards.

I turned to Steph and said, "You're right. Let's chuck this. Let's get electric bikes."

F——ing car insurance.
changeling: (Default)
Why is it that even though you've installed the wireless router exactly according to directions, that it now not only won't talk to either computer I have set up, but also won't talk to the internet? I have turned it off at the wall. If it won't work, it doesn't get any power. This is a punishment, and also a sensible energy saving whatsit.

I am finally connected to the internet at home! Admittedly by plugging directly into the modem (having moved my enormous heavy PC to the other end of the house in order to install the wireless router as my laptop didn't have an ethernet socket), but it's done. Only took me all morning.

God, I wanted to leave for work an hour and a half ago. :(( At least I got this done, and our contents insured. I can breathe slightly easier when leaving the house.

Off to work. I have to get a stupid manuscript off the the printer today, liek OMG it should have been ready a month ago!!. I don't care. It wasn't my project until last Friday. Hmph. Still, CD's burnt, and MS is printed, so I just have to arrange for a courier now. Then get back to the other new project I was given on Friday, and finish off putting in the changes to the Quark file. I hate Quark. Why can't we all switch to InDesign? InDesign makes SENSE. Stupid Quark and its complete lack of "insert symbol" menu item, or in fact anything useless. ARGH.

Or maybe I should do the other OTHER MS I'm working on, where I have to create image files of all the headings because we don't have the font the author wants in Postscript format.

I also want to read over the page of notes I took during yesterday's Production Meeting. It's a big long to-do list (except for the bit which is a list of all the new books I'm taking on), and I don't remember a single item on there.

I wonder if I can pick up some worms on the way to work? Hmm. (For our BRAND NEW WORM FARM, you see. It's very exciting, but the hardware shop was all out of composting worms, so it's mostly just collecting dew on its roof at the moment.)
changeling: (Default)
The best thing you can do with your submission to a publisher is to put page numbers at the bottom. Especially when your book is over 180 pages, not including prelims and multiple copies of the front page.

Printing it in a sensible, easy-to-read font like Times or Courier are also helpful, especially if an editor is going to have to spend many, many hours working on it. Fonts like Papyrus don't always have full symbol sets, and may do wonky things to the spacing between letters.

Printing it out in black, with no fussy page border is also favourite. Lilac is really not the best colour for your Ms. Trust me on this.

Yours,
An Editor.
changeling: (Default)
In our next house, I will have a study closed off from the rest of the house, where I can work without having to listen to country music repetitive bubble-gum techno repetitive pop from upstairs (which I loathe, but not as much as C&W) loud country music and loud-dulled Tori from the bedroom (whose music is catchy and doesn't allow me to concentrate well).

At least Harry had a door on his Room Under The Stairs.
changeling: (Default)
OMFGSOTIRED.

Steph cocked up the setting of the alarm last night. I'm all for saving the planet, but I miss having a proper alarm clock. I want to find one powered by procrastination, or something, since I have a unlimited supply of that.

I currently have two jobs. One is part time and involves being secretary to my mother (no really) at the nursing home she manages, and is generally filled with tedious and annoying tasks, mostly because I'm only there part time and can't OVERHAUL THE SYSTEM!!! and because I haven't been given a proper induction and still don't know where e.g. the resident accounts are.

The other job is even more part time (especially for the first few weeks when it's only two days part time) and abysmally paid (as opposed to First Job, where I'm being paid about $20 an hour). It is both fabulous to have, as it is in the Publishing Industry, and annoying, as a whole lot of editorial assistant/publishing assistant jobs have turned up which are much better paid etc, but this is Looking A Gift Horse in the Mouth, and I am not allowed to do that for a few months yet, I think. Still. Why did they have to save up all the good advertisements for after I'm out of the running? It's like getting engaged and suddenly finding a naked Person of Your Dreams splayed out on your soon-to-be marital bed and saying that they can't remember where they live, can they stay here? And by the way, do you fancy oral sex as much as they do?

It's a good thing I don't have a Person of My Dreams. Only Steph.

...

Oh, anyway. I'm feeling a bit dodge about the job because we're trying to get a house, and it's hard to be confident they'll choo-choo-choose you when your "net income" is less than $240 pw.

Houses lost due to homophobia: 1

Anyway, I'm far too tired for this. Have you read [livejournal.com profile] apiphile's Black Books fanfic? It's awesome.

Bed now.
changeling: (Default)
The "I'm a Mac" ads have jumped the Atlantic. Check out the UK versions. The first two are the best, in my opinion. (P.S. I've seen the Mac stark bollocking naked. Strange, but true.)

The sister-in-law's home today, too. Luckily for me, I have the cheap foam earplugs that S & I got at the Somebody Gypsies Counterfeit Gypsies' gig, and a pair of cheap computer stereo headphones to put over the top to complete blocking out her music with mine. It is an unfortunate fact that both S and her sister like playing a few select songs on repeat, while I cannot stand hearing songs too frequently or for too long a duration. Combine with that (what I consider to be) her abysmal taste in music, and you have lots and lots of unfun coming my way. And, dammit, today I want to use the computer, which means somehow putting up with her music. I choose blocked ear passages.

I tell you what, though. Between the kinesiologist telling me I need to let my creativity out, and Jess giving us each a booklet of writing prompts, and my old friend Issy calling out of the blue and inviting me to a writing group she's running (working through Julia wossnameCameron's The Artist's Way), it certainly feels like Someone (or several Someones) conspiring to Tell Me Something.

Oh, and S & I have taken to a new "vegan" food - nutritional yeast. We started with powdery stuff (the organic shop's assistant hadn't heard of nutritional yeast, which rather made me question how long she'd been working in such a shop), then the parents-in-law found the flakes the next weekend. My current favourite breakfast thing is toast with American mustard and yeast flakes on top. The flakes might look – and smell – a bit like fishfood, but I think it's tasty.

Chalk that up as one more odd food I'd never have tried without this wacky veganism thing.
changeling: (Default)
Fuckity-fuck balls. My back hurts so very much. I thought it'd be better than yesterday, but presumably I slept on it wrong, because I've been in more pain today than I was yesterday. I had less of a crap day, though, because Princess Bitchface wasn't home, so I was installed upstairs, where I played Voodoo Vince for about fifteen minutes until (after a foolish backtracking to a previous level) I lost my temper with its poor game design (the way it handles the camera is seriously wonky) and switched it off. I also continued reading through The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, by Nick Hornby, which my dad got me for Christmas. After Steph came upstairs to give me more aspirin (I decided yesterday I wasn't going to have any painkillers, but today I went back on that. Anyway, it always bothers Steph when I go through pain. She has a lower pain barrier for me than I do), she also brought me Morrowind (as I requested). I sucked. I picked up my old save game, but it wasn't where I remembered leaving it, and I didn't remember all the little tasks on my "to-do", or which ones I'd already completed, or ANYTHING. I got brutally slaughtered by a bunch of dark-elf policemen for picking a couple of leaves off their pot plants, which seemed to be a vast overreaction to me. There was blood on the screen, for fuck's sake. So I switched it off in a fit of pique, and went back to my book. I guess that's what happens when you don't play a game for over a year. I think that next time I might just start a new game from beginning. It'd be annoying wandering around Bumfuck, Morrowind, but at least I would know who I was, where I was, what I was doing, and not to pick other people's pot plants.

We were due to go to Y—— Street for New Year's tonight, but my back has kinda put paid to that. I wish we had at least the soy icecream Steph and I bought for Litha, but we left it at Hedda and Liam's, who are among the many people in Melbourne who have plans for tonight. *sulks* We have no plans, and nothing to do. We'll open a bottle of wine, maybe. That'll be it. Steph suggested we watch the fireworks on telly, but I declined, since frankly I'd rather watch a computer screensaver. So I'm not sure what we'll be doing this New Year's Eve, but I can pretty much guarantee that it will involve me lying on my back. Bah. As Steph's said, if I'm still this bad tomorrow, I'll have to call my temp company and cancel my day of work on Tuesday (though I'd still like to know what happened to my two-week contract I thought they'd arranged with me which also started Tuesday). I won't be all that sorry, since they wanted me there from 8am to 6pm, which I think is a stupidly long time to answer phones. Please, please, universe, let me get a worthwhile job in 2007.

Don't forget to answer my two polls (on Steampunk cards, here, and send me vertual hugs becausde i need the locing form me frineds!! LOVEs JME! on my pagan filter, here. And ignore the italics, which is Steph interfering as per ushual, as Molesworth might say). I'm hoping to send my cards out tomorrow. I hadn't seen Chronographia's steampunk holiday cards when I devised mine, but I heartily approve. I already know what I want to put in mine – a short-short story inside, and there should be an illustration to match.

OH, GOD. I had racked my brain, trying to think of a food I wanted to eat tonight, but came up dry. We're having Mexican, but N—— is making it. I just heard her argue with Steph that it doesn't need garlic. DINNER IS DOOMED. is ojk I PUT IN a gablespoon!!

Home

Nov. 26th, 2006 09:55 pm
changeling: (Default)
home
O.E. ham "dwelling, house, estate, village," from P.Gmc. *khaim- (cf. O.Fris. hem "home, village," O.N. heimr "residence, world," heima "home," Ger. heim "home," Goth. haims "village"), from PIE base *kei- "to lie, settle down" (cf. Gk. kome, Lith. kaimas "village;" O.C.S. semija "domestic servants").

I get a lot of things at home. I get a roof over my head, food in the pantry and fridge, love and cuddles from my spouse. But the one thing I really don't get is silence. I miss this.

S–– and I end up going to bed one to two hours earlier at my parents' place, and this is due to the fact that at about 7.30 or so, everyone goes to their own rooms and entertains themselves, usually with a book. Here, it's noise from the TV down in the bottom room that is put up stupidly loud – understandable, if annoying, since both parents were in the military and did bomb disposal and other things of that kidney. S––'s dad is 20% deaf in one ear. S––'s mum has some hearing damage, too. This rules out spending some time in the front part of the house – the only place to sit and read is the combined sitting and dining room, but this is right next to the bottom room, and you can hear everything on the Idiot Box. The only other room is the parents' bedroom, and that's not appropriate, and probably wouldn't be much quieter.

Upstairs is The Monster, and since there's only our bedroom door between us and her, we can generally hear the obnoxious, loud and sexist music she has on endless repeat (I wish I were joking. For weeks at a time, she'll only play about five or six songs). This also rules out our study/sitting room, which occupies a small alcove next to and under the stairs. I've been sitting there when Monster has been upstairs, and usually have a headache within minutes. And now she's on holiday, she'll be up there, with her repetitive, chauvinistic music for easily ten hours straight. Unless she breaks to watch endless reruns of Friends or Will and Grace on cable in the bottom room. This also rules out the "shared" sitting room upstairs, which Monster has claimed as her own, and which forms her base of operations.

I have been fantasising about something for the past while. I'd forgotten it while the Monster was away (I missed the comparative quiet of the house within minutes of the homecoming, not to mention the annexing of the upstairs sitting room again), but now she's back in Princess Bitchface mode, I have revived and strengthened my resolve.

I am going to go to Bunnings (the local hardware store), and I am going to buy a couple of Items. It used to just be earmuffs, the sort you use when using power tools, but I no longer think this would be enough. I am now also going to invest in earplugs. S–– warns me these will be expensive, and I haven't exactly got a job on the horizon, but I am prepared to put aside some of my savings for this. It will improve my quality of life immeasurably.

I will wear both of these things together, whenever I have to deal with any of the areas of the house that the Monster has claimed – I enjoy the sitting room, especially since its recent outfitting – including our study, which she has claimed through extension with her noise, though she use it, except to stand on our stuff to "reboot" the wireless wossname. In fact, I may use them in all engagements with the Monster. I have tried endless love and respect, regardless of behaviour, but this does not work. This way I will hopefully be immune from her nastiness, which is the eternal drip of poison on my rocky, patient steadfastness.
changeling: (Default)
I'll admit I've been looking forward for an excuse to go to the Hopetoun Tea Rooms for some time. Located in the genteel Block Arcade, I'd passed it with many a longing glance.

My main problem with the Tea Rooms is that they're not really very interested in serving tea. They have three types listed on the menu: English Breakfast, Earl Gray, and "herbal". Presumably I could inquire as to what herbal entailed, but I was here for old-fashioned English tea, and tea I was going to have. My companion, Ben, was quite disappointed that they didn't have Lady Gray, a tea that is reportedly difficult to find in the cafés of Melbourne. The Tea Rooms, I feel, have an opportunity to stock a range of actual teas, like Russian Caravan and the ilk, to distinguish them from many cafés, which will stock a wide range (well, a range anyway) of herbal teas.

The arrival of my tea came with two small metal "teapots" – the sort that look like the result of a sordid affair with a café milk-frothing jug, and the sort of heavy, thick, white china that one expects to see in a truck stop, or an airport waiting lounge. The fingerloop was too small to fit more than a finger and a half in comfortably, and the cup was too heavy to drink from delicately. It was definitely at odds with the décor. I felt that I was not being trusted not to break something and were Lady Hopetoun around, she would be outraged. I've been to several Asian-run tea rooms in Melbourne now, and they all trust me with a proper teapot and cup. In their favour, they at least used leaf tea instead of bags, and I don't think they were using Tea2, which use flavourings in their tea (chemicals; as opposed to infusing tea leaves with jasmine or bergamot, or adding whole cinnamon).

I also, in the interest of having something to eat (I could see no vegan options besides salad on the menu, and I'd already had lunch), I tried one of their cakes. It was supposed to be a flourless almond and orange chocolate cake, but it bore no resemblance to the either of the fabulous mudcakes I've made in the last while (I made one flourless with hazelnut meal, the other orange and spice flavoured). It resembled the packet mix cakes my sister makes – certainly not what I expected. They had drizzled chocolate syrup, and one taste sent me right back to my childhood – they'd used Cottee's chocolate topping. Another strike. The ganache was passable, though there was rather a lot of it (about a centimetre and a half – trying to make up for the cake?), and I wasn't really interested in eating chocolate-flavoured lard. I would have liked to be asked whether I wanted cream (undoubtably from a can) with my cake, so I could decline. I suppose that's too much to expect – many places only ask if they have the option of giving you ice cream instead. And – THEY WERE OUT OF SCONES. What is a tea room without scones‽ This must be a one-off, you say. But no, last time Ben was there they were out of scones too. Disappointed, Hopetoun. You're letting the side down.

On another point, I really hated the uniform the waiters wore. They wore collarless dark-green blazers as you might expect a bellboy to wear at the Highett, and they were shabby and looked as though they'd been kept at the back of the cupboard for years. Were I to take over the Hopetoun Tea Rooms (a fantasy that became more insistent the longer it dwelled) I'm not sure what uniform I would institute, but Highett Bellboy really isn't what I expected.

Overall, I am disappointed. I don't know why all the reviews I see online are so effusive. They all talk about "indulging in the whims of a more mannered era" (not actual quote) and similar nonsense, but as an anachronist*, they really don't do this. The staff don't show any of what Wooster would call "the feudal spirit", and they don't make you feel at home. Clearly the reviewers have never visited any similar tea rooms elsewhere – particularly in England, where they do quaint so much better than Hopetoun ever could.

* Word made up on the spot to mean "someone who indulges in anachronicity in dress or behaviour"
changeling: (Default)
Argh. I'm stinky, but it's not yet safe to shower, because I didn't get up at 6 (I got up at 7, I'm not that much of a lazybones), so there won't be any hot water until about midday. I'm not sure I can stand it much longer. I may have to risk the sudden Ice Age 1 1/2 minutes in.

Ah, I love The Age. It has good articles in it (even when they're nicked from The Guardian). Mostly, though, I love the weekend magazines and the "A2" (or whatever they call it these days) supplement during the week. You know, the arty sort of stuff. OK, I do end up reading a selection of articles on the website, especially now Steph emails them to me (admittedly I'd frequently read them all when I was working at the nursing home). It's everything I might read a women's mag for, without, you know, the stupid. Now the Age website has blogs on it. It's great. Steph sent me a link to this post in "Chew on This", one of their resident bloggers. It's about the relative cost of veges. Kind of interesting, but blatantly obvious if you happened to think about it. I suppose part of the aim is to get people to think about it. Some interesting comments, though. Steph's commented, as has [livejournal.com profile] daharja (see "Leanne" towards the bottom). And check out Moron Gordon. You still need full-fat meat and dairy my arse. That's not what the research I've done has suggested. It's not even what his comment suggests! Just tacked on at the end, apropos of nothing. Even I commented this morning (as a response to Gordon), but The Age reviews comments before posting, so I don't know when/if it's going to be up (it was very civilised. I may post it here if it doesn't get approved). Gordon really got my back up, though. Fine, be a meat eater. Just don't claim that being vegan is somehow a lesser dietary choice. Pretty much the only thing we're deficient in is B12, and that's due to the crappy quality of our soils – it's a microbial by-product, hence why meat and dairy still contain it. It's from the animals' guts. Even human gut passengers make some B12, just don't rely on it as your sole source.

I'm a bit worried about next week. We were away last weekend on a morris dancing trip (check out Steph's journal, [livejournal.com profile] earlymorningair for photos), and before that we were out every night, right back to Sunday, except for Thursday, on which night we packed. Next week we have morris dancing on Monday, potentially dinner with my family Tuesday, Steph and I are hoping for a date Wednesday, Thursday we're having our Friday night swim, because Friday we have Nat's birthday (at Veggie Bar. YAAAAAAY!). Then Saturday day we have the Britannia Morris Men's ale (yearly footup ... no, wait. That doesn't translate into non-morris speak either. Yearly party) and Saturday night my best friend Jess's birthday. At least on Sunday we just have a Litha practice with Hedda and Liam. Then on that Monday, we'll have morris dancing again. Argh! At least we'll be home again on the 21st. I may have to put a note in our Google calendars. It will read: "VERBOTEN. No leaving the house." Busy, busy, busy!

I've just started my first piece of embroidery since year seven or eight, when we were supposed to do a sort of sampler, and I think I just mastered chain stitch. Just like any Google-enabled crafter, the first thing I did was search for and print out instructions and photos of stitches. Last night I did a lovely curly thing in outline stitch, which is like stem stitch but the other way around. Apparently, according to my stitch site, outline stitch was widely used in the Bayeux tapestry. This makes me happy.

Yesterday was a day of good food. For lunch, I made myself a wrap. I was craving the fake-chicken schnitzels Steph's sister eats, so I dry-fried one and had half in a wholemeal wrap with avocado, chickpea pate and sundried tomato tapenade spread on it, and fresh tomato, cos and purple lettuce and roasted pepper inside. Bloody fantastic. I had the other half of the schnitzel in another because it tasted so damn good. And if I hadn't been so lazy, I bet you could chuck some eggplant in instead of the schnitzel and it would taste even better.

Then, for dinner, I made a varient of Pim's "Rena's Aubergine in Tomato Sauce". I used one whole large eggplant, and fried it in water and some mushroom ketchup. Then used the half red onion in the fridge, and then I was lazy and used two tins of tomato instead of fresh (I was running a bit behind time). I was planning on making this a pasta casserole, but the only short pasta in the house was the stuff Mum-in-Not-Law bought with "Added Omega-3!" which means, yep, you guessed it, that it has fish oil in it. Still, I chucked it in a small casserole dish, and put the ground-up pine nuts and some wheat bran/husk stuff on top (what's it called? I've blanked), which is my default substitute for breadcrumbs. Absolutely delicious. Steph's only complaint was it wasn't sufficiently filling (we ate about two serves each), but that would have been solved by the pasta, or, failing that, some good ole bulky quinoa.

Then, as I was cooking that, I managed to get a apple crumble (I've been craving crumbles since Sean/Jenni served it to us at Y—— the Monday after our Penola morris trip) prepared and in the oven so it was ready after dinner. I subbed out some of the flour and put in some oats, because I wanted that texture, dammit. Then I took out some of the butter/nuttlex, since that was there to make the flour "crumby". And I used wholemeal flour, because white flour is for pussies. I also upped the apple content. It was very nice, especially when served with vegan custard. I used brown sugar instead of white, so it actually looked more like a caramel sauce. I also halved the amount of not-milk used. Overall, very, very decadent. There's even enough left over for another tonight, even after I halved the recipe! Yummyyummyyummy. It's only a modified recipe, not a brand-new one, but I might put it up on Reynard's Feast just so I can make it again. And next time, I may even increase the oats further ... I'll have to decide after I have it again tonight. Yum, dessert!

Oh, and yesterday I steamed the two smaller Christmas puddings I made Tuesday. They're my own recipe – I used the two vegan recipes I found and combined them a bit. I wanted to make sure that Steph and I have vegan treats to eat on Christmas day, and puddings are traditionally made far ahead of time. We'll probably get down to vegan rum balls and things closer to the time. I'll probably write up the pudding recipe in Reynard's Feast if they work. I have another pudding to steam today. I made double quantities of the recipe, and this will be the "full-sized" pudding for the morris Christmas. The other two are half-sized, for Steph and me as we'll probably be spending Christmas lunch apart. :(

Still, it's exciting! I bought the calico yesterday, and boiled it as instructed. The water turned this weird brown colour, which was off-putting. Still, calico-y water is good enough to flush loos with, so I tipped it into the bucket in the bathroom. The small puddings were boiled for four hours, and they went very soft! The calico was oily to touch, which I didn't expect, never having made puddings before. Still, it's just copha, so is probably very good for my hands. I'm glad I spoke to Steph's grandmother on Cup Day. She let me know about grating the copha (lard substitute) and getting the cloth wet beforehand (then I Googled and found out about boiling the fabric - makes sense, makes it sterile). The little puddings have been hanging up from the indoor clothes line all night. I just got them down. The fabric's stiff from having been essentially waxed, and the cloth around the puddings is stained dark, as it should be. They smell fantastic. After I'd bought all the ingredients (which set me back about $60–70 or so, $30 of which was the brandy), I found out that Steph's parents were planning on buying us a vegan pudding (they'd already bought a normal one)! Oh, well. It was partly the tradition (every family member stirs the pudding and makes a wish for the coming year) that attracted me, anyway. I was a little sad that Liam and Hedda ended up not being very interested, as they don't like pudding. Still, maybe they'd like MY puddings! ;)

Steph looked askance at her parents' pudding after she saw mine. "You can tell it hasn't been cooked in the fabric," she said. I'd noticed the same thing. That pudding's calico was pristine. A little poking showed plastic underneath. Hardly environmentally friendly, and NOT the way Steph's Nan used to make!

I should probably put the big pudding on soon. I have to boil its calico first. I want to get it on early, though. It'll be bigger and will require longer cooking. If only the various recipes I read could agree on a cooking time! Or at least on a cooking time per weight.
changeling: (Default)
So far, the count is the brown felt cloche I bought in Lakes Entrance, the posh skirt Steph bought for me in a boutique in the city, several of our CDs, our bowl of hairpins and probably loads of other stuff. The thing is that she never asks, she rarely returns things, and is very rarely actually nice to us. As both of us have said to each other repeatedly, it'd be different if my little sister borrowed things – at least she treats us like real human beings, and has conversations and things (and as S has just remarked, respects our property. V treats us as if our stuff is just being conveniently stored in our room for her).

So V's boyfriend has just been playing my xbox for the last couple of hours. Of course, they haven't asked. And if V catches us using her Playstation to play a DVD, she cracks it. Her standards don't go both ways. And apparently, leaving my xbox connected to the TV in the living room we're supposed to share with her (but in reality aren't allowed in to) constitutes "leaving it out". Whatever.
changeling: (Default)
I made a delicious Mexican lasagne last night. It wasn't my usual own-recipe Mexican lasagne, which uses layers of corn chips instead of pasta, and uses salsa and guacamole (made from scratch, of course!) instead of bechamel.

Instead it was a thick tex-mex style chilli for the base, with my new black turtle beans. I even used some of the TVP that my mother-in-not-law kindly bought for us, though you could barely notice it was there around the zucchini, tomato and sweetcorn. I bought some wholegrain lasagne sheets (this is the first time I've used wholegrain lasagne. It's nice), and made a Vegan-Planet standard white sauce with tofu and a bit of oat milk. I layered all those together (I made a special one for M-I-NL, who doesn't deal well with spice, and then added in globs of chili and cayenne pepper into ours), then topped it with a salsa cruda (instead of cheese) and popped it in the oven for a quarter of an hour, while I made up some guacamole, to be dobbed on top just before serving. It was delicious, and very, very filling.

Steph came home from work early yesterday (her new "workplace agreement" while lasting out the last couple of weeks in this temp job), so she and I went shopping together yesterday for the tofu and lasagne and lettuce and so forth, then she plumped down on the couch with my laptop and chilled out. She deserves it; she works pretty hard. She won't get away with that tonight, though! I'm going to need some help today so that we can get everything done nice and early as we're going to go out tonight (quite late!) to an event called "Spiral Moves". Tomorrow S & I are going with [livejournal.com profile] hollyhearth and [livejournal.com profile] shinyandnat to a beginning kinesiology workshop. I'm looking forward to it, since I've found so far that kinesiology is pretty much the only thing that has any lasting effect on my painfully-solid muscles.

I called up [livejournal.com profile] bare_feeted, an old friend who I'm crap at catching up with (the fact that she's now based in Ballarat helps my case here slightly) to invite her to Spiral Dance, but she won't be in Melbourne. We chatted for a bit, and she said that she'd been really enjoying my food posts recently, which was cool. Instead, I'm going to go to Bikram Yoga with her Monday morning. I like this. I'd much rather catch up with friends by doing something, even if it's just having a meal together, than going to a bar or pub. I can never talk – or breathe – in pubs.

That remark may seem to come from the left field, but S and I couldn't make it to Liam's new-work bash on Saturday night (good thing we didn't go, anyway; it sounds like it would have broken the bank unnecessarily) due to the fact that we went back to my parents' place (80k round trip from where we live), picked up my bike and bought me a new work suit. The acquaintance of ours who was formerly [livejournal.com profile] mjsax made a rude comment about how Steph and I never go out (I don't know where he gets his information from, as he's never asked me out anywhere besides his birthday celebrations – and Steph and I went to those), and apparently [livejournal.com profile] spirail thought it was a fine joke and joined in.

This seriously pissed me off. For a number of reasons, which I shall actually number for ease of wossname.

1. It seems that it's one of those little jokes that single people have at the expense of couples – yes, our social options need to be hampered because I need to cook lunches or Steph needs to do the washing, or whatever. Maybe we'd like some "couple time", or bang boots. It's none of their damn business what we do with our time, and once they are in a long-term relationship, they'll understand how their approach to time management can change. Must change.

2. I'm actually far more social than I was when I was single. I've been far better at catching up with those "sometimes" friends like [livejournal.com profile] barrington or [livejournal.com profile] bare_feeted than I was. *thinks to self* Now I just need to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] gadge and [livejournal.com profile] muzaken. Haven't seen them for yonks. I also now have to add "catching up with parents" into my social calendar, as well as my less-younger sister and her boyfriend. Just because I'm not spending time with you, it doesn't mean I'm not spending time with people.

3. There seems to be some sort of judgement on what "going out" entails, and it seems to largely do with [livejournal.com profile] mjsax's obsession with a mediocre cocktail bar on Brunswick St and a nearby pool hall. If I'm not consuming alcohol in some way, it's not going out. I go to morris dancing practice in a pub once a week, catch up with all my bell-wearing friends, work up a fun sweat, and fail to drink any beer. Once every two weeks I have choir, where I go along and (in the case of last week) eat some tasty chocolate loaf cake. Once every other week I go into the city, meet up with Jess and [livejournal.com profile] cupiscent in a cafe or somewhere, socialise and write a bit of novel. The last couple of months we've been going to [livejournal.com profile] daharja's for a weigh-in and a natter. In between there I might be, say, meeting up with my dad, going op shopping with [livejournal.com profile] daharja and [livejournal.com profile] burningskyfire, or going over to Hedda and Liam's to hang out. How do these activities make me a homebody?

In conclusion, FUCK YOU, [livejournal.com profile] mjsax and your capitalist lifestyle.

Phew, glad I expressed that. Maybe now my brain can go back to pondering things to cook for dinner instead.

Letting Go

May. 9th, 2001 10:56 pm
changeling: (Default)
Daniel and I had another fight tonight.

It revolved around my not expressing myself as clearly as I would like, and his reaction to it. And my reactions, which inevitably dug a bigger hole under myself.

My side in the conflict was centred around the fact that I never know anything about what's going on in his life. Often I think I must have misevaluated our friendship. I thought we were best friends, but clearly I was wrong. Of course, I'm basing that judgement on the fact that I always considered him a close friend, and the fact that he described me as a best friend in an entry on OpenDiary mid to late last year. We've had several fights like this, and the blame inevitably rests completely on my shoulders. I'm sure I'm not the only one at fault, but Daniel never admits to any mistakes.

He's the only person I know who can hurt me like this, and he does, frequently and unknowingly. I hold his opinion in such high esteem that his remarks affect me deeper than they should. Actually, I don't think that's quite true. I think that Liam could hurt me like this if he tried. The difference between the two is that Liam doesn't. He trusts me, and I trust him. We talk about what's going on in each other's lives, we have coffee and spend time together for the hell of it. Daniel keeps his distance and only spends time with me if our friends have organised a group activity like going to the movies. Sometimes we run into each other, or see each other at work, but we don't have the same sort of close relationship I have with Liam. Liam has never once brought me to tears.

Daniel is constantly afraid I'm going to smother him, or be clingy. Trying to cling to Daniel is like trying to cling to a sheer ice wall. He doesn't give you so much as an emotional hand hold. I'm wondering if I'd be less "clingy" (as he perceives it) if he actually let down some of his defences that keep me so far from him.

He's let me down so often. I know they're just stupid things, like the fact that I asked him to come and see two of the plays I was in last year. This current argument stems from the fact that I'm helping to organise a comedy debate with a friend of mine from a different university. I'm in charge of My University's team. So far Liam and I are team mates. Laim (not I) suggested that we ask Daniel if he'd like to be our third. We know he can be funny when he wants to be, and he's an accomplished debater. I knew from the outset that he wouldn't be able to and/or wouldn't want to do it, for really good reasons (because he always has good reasons), but I knew he'd be ideal, so I asked him. Last time I spoke to him, he intimated that he might be interested, but didn't venture anything more than that. I hadn't really talked to him between then and now, and really dragged my feet about calling him to confirm. I don't like calling him, because I feel like I'm imposing on him, and if I impose then I'm trying to cling to him. *sigh*

So he declined because he couldn't do it before June 6 (or 7...I forget). I phoned Sarah to see if she could do it, but she said it'd be impossible just before uni exams. I realised that it'd be pretty hard for me too, so I phoned Allan (the boy organising the comp) to reschedule. Knowing that it'd now be most likely after June 6 (or 7) I ICQed Daniel to ask him if he'd be free then. He said no, and I managed to infuriate him because I was angry. I don't even want to get into the argument.

I actually went and spoke to my mother about all this, something I rarely do. Well, spoke is a bit of a misnomer. I sobbed it, I suppose. She told me I had to let go, step back before he destroyed me. (Her words.) I find it so hard to do that. I try to distance myself from him, but I'm not very successful. At the moment I hate him, and that's what I hate about him most; his ability to make me feel like a battered wife. He destroys me (without meaning to), but I can't let go, can't sever the cord. I suppose it really doesn't help that we move in the same circles, both debate, go to the same university, even work at the same place.

I am really not looking forward to working with him this Saturday. It'll just be the two of us, in an enclosed space, for three or four hours.

The girl got reasons...they all got reasons. - Sour Girl, Stone Temple Pilots




my current mood: more than depressed....perhaps despairing, and also unloved.

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