Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Farewell, dreamers!

It's true - Melbourne Dreaming has come to a natural conclusion after its inception way back in March '06.

I no longer feel the need to keep everyone back 'home' updated on my various to-ings and fro-ings now that I'm back in their lives and just a train or bike ride away. There's also less to record, truthfully: less exotic travel, fewer gigs and events, less of the stimulation and variety that come from living in a bustling, global hub of a city. On the other hand, there's more socialising, more networking, more time spent outdoors and exercising, and rejoining the circle of my expanding family (did I mention I have acquired two lovely sisters-in-law and an impending niece/nephew?). It sounds boring; because it is - I needed more boring in my life. My life is less glamorous now, but more satisfying and settled.

And of course, I'm focusing on working for myself and putting a lot of mental energy into that. Now that I am fully engaged in generating my own work and juggling clients and projects, I no longer feel a need for the creative release of writing. I'm fully engaged in creating my own life, and it's grand.

You can still keep up with my professional profiles on facebook and twitter, plus I'll continue to act as social media coordinator for The Squeaky Wheel, so check out their feeds for bike-related posts.

Otherwise, feel free to browse the archives for recipes or stories from my London years (or the three wonderful months I spent in New York in 2008).

Thanks for reading, friends. Until our next adventure!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Roast beetroot and carrot soup with mint

This is using my super easy soup method - just roast all the veggies, add stock, simmer and blend. The sweetness of the carrot and sharpness of the mint and yoghurt counteract that beety 'dirt flavour'.

500gm beetroot, 500gm carrot and 1 onion, all peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
About 5 cups stock
salt and pepper
Greek style yoghurt
Fresh mint leaves

Put the carrot, beet, onion and garlic into a roasting dish and add a slug of olive oil and a good grinding of salt and pepper, mixing it up until everything is coated nicely. Roast in a hot oven for 40-50 minutes or until the veggies are just starting to get soft and it's browning at the edges.

Remove from the oven and dump it all in a big saucepan, cover with stock and simmer until soft enough to mash. Blend with a hand blender and serve with a dollop of yoghurt, topped with a small handful of fresh, chopped mint leaves.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Green-sy Veggie Cannelloni

It's mid-Winter in Melbourne. The sun is currently shining beatifically and there are blue patches of sky, in between rain showers. It's generally gorgeous weather, if a little chilly at night. Sorry to rub it in, but it's about a billion times more bearable than Winter in London.

It's the kind of weather when a girls thoughts turn to casseroles, hearty soups and stews, and delicious cheesy cannelloni/lasagne type dishes that warm the flat while they're baking.

This recipe gets the 'Ouit-Spald-atron-5000' seal of approval.

Olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbs of fresh herbs (whatever you have to hand, I used thyme)
350gm brocolli, cut into florets
Small handful finely grated parmesan
some finely grated lemon rind
handful pinenuts
450gm ricotta cheese
4 fresh lasagne sheets, halved crossways

Pre-heat oven to 180°. Heat a slug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in onion for 5 mins, add garlic for 1 minute, then the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins until thick, then stir in herbs.

Meanwhile, steam the brocolli for 3-5 minutes until al dente. Refresh under cold water and drain. Use a hand blender to blend the brocolli, then add the ricotta, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon rind.

Spread about 2/3 cup of the tomato sauce in a greased 1.5l baking dish. One at a time, place the lasagnes sheet in the pan and spoon 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture along the centre, rolling loosely to enclose. Don't worry about being perfect; it will be a delicious mess. When you're done, spoon the remaining tomato sauce and ricotta mixture over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy hot hot hot from the oven, possibly with a blanket over your knees (nanna style).

Monday, July 09, 2012

I still ❤ London

Hello, you! How's things?

Are you excited about the Olympics? Are you cosying up to the hearth, enjoying a pinot noir in icy, icy Melbourne, or celebrating Mid-Summer in Europe? Did you read 50 Shades of Grey yet*?

Don't worry, this blog isn't going to suddenly morph into an upbeat, uber-friendly, insta-bestest-buddies site a la Meet Me At Mikes (which I love, but whose relentless perkiness can be a bit much sometimes).

I've been in London and Sweden for a couple of epic weddings, where a friend told me she missed reading my blog posts. Cherry Merry Muffin Cakes, this one goes out to you.

It was such a weird feeling to be back in the UK - like being transported to a parallel universe where everything is just as you remember it, but slightly changed. I felt like I was in a bubble, removed from my surroundings for much of the first week. By week 2 however, I was fully re-assimilated; hopping on and off buses, weaving expertly around the dawdling crowds on Oxford street, perusing the weekend Guardian and visiting favourite haunts.

And of course, it was a joy to catch up with my lovely London crew and attend the various wedding-related events.

It's funny - since I've been back in Melbourne, I've not felt the slightest inkling to return to my former life in London.

It turns out I did miss that dang town. It just took a whirlwind trip there in the middle of Summer, post-Jubilee celebrations, pre-Olympics craziness to remind me. London in the Summertime is a thrilling place - I missed that big-city feeling of anything can happen. Not knowing what urban adventure you might stumble upon next. The feeling of being surrounded by life, spilling out all around you. The low, endless cityscape rendered in - well, 50 shades of grey.

All the things I have written about London before, still hold true. And then some, because now they are brushed with a soft, beautiful wash of nostalgia.

*I haven't and probably won't, because I prefer my literary erotica to be a little more highbrow, if you know what I mean.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Living life car-free

Recently, I was lucky enough to have access to my boyfriend's ex's car while he was away in India. For nearly three weeks, I was the proud care-taker of a generic blue Astra. It felt very luxurious to be behind the wheel again - I'd forgotten how lovely that feeling of freedom is, speeding along the highway through unknown suburbs and towns; being able to change your destination on a whim; staying in a warm bubble from door to door.

And yet... I still don't want my own car.

Having a vehicle for this time reminded me how the act of driving tends to bring out the worst in people (or is it just me?).

Traffic - on my bike, I sail past the queues of cars, straight up to the lights. In a car, I fume and rant and become ridiculously impatient with my fellow car drivers within mere seconds of pulling my seatbelt on.

Parking - hellish, especially when you're used to pulling up literally anywhere and hitching your ride to the nearest pole. See also 'Cost'.

Owning a car makes you lazy - if there's a car there, it's that much easier to jump in and drive down the road rather than walking or getting on your bike, even if you love walking and getting on your bike (and I do).

Greed for speed - when you're doing 20k on a bike, you really feel how fast you're going. You're working for that movement. On a freeway, 80k feels like you're crawling - you barely feel like you're moving at all. It just makes you want to go faster. There's no sensation of the energy spent to transport you at that speed.

Cost - do you know how much a tank of petrol costs these days?? I didn't. Also, I got a parking fine of $160 (or 'vague tax' as I like to think of it).

So all up, I enjoyed my time on four wheels - especially visiting far-flung friends who insist on living miles from the nearest rail station - but I wasn't sad to hand back the keys. I think my bike missed me while I played at car ownership. I know I missed her.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Cross-cultural Collision Course (or why I will never date an Indian man again)

So the complicated relationship to which I have been alluding for about 8 months now has come crumbling to the ground.

This time, however, it was not the usual he's driving me crazy; he met someone else; we don't want the same things; he can't commit kind of relationship ending with which I have far too much some experience.

This time, the decision was taken out of my hands entirely; out of even his hands to a great extent. How can that be? Well, he was Indian. An only son. Which I have come to understand means that he comes as a package, closely bound with mum, dad and sister at the heart; extended family after that; and the wider Indian community beyond that.

He was lovely. Super lovely. Easy to be around, gentle-natured, funny and kind. Very cute. He'd been living in Melbourne for nearly 4 years; he had an accent but dressed like a local. I was wary at first about the age gap and the cultural difference, but that melted away soon enough as I spent more time with him and found him to be thoughtful and open-minded. I introduced him to my family, who welcomed him with open arms. We became closer after that, talking about everything and sharing our histories, marvelling at the many overlaps in our personalities and interests despite our very different upbringings. I still had concerns, especially after doing a bit of research online and coming across many forums detailing the stories of western women who had had their hearts broken by Indian men, most of who ended up acquiescing to their parents desire for an Indian daughter-in-law. Nervous about becoming one of those women, I asked him to tell his parents about me, and being a lovely bloke, he did.

I think it's fair to say that they freaked the f*ck out.

Not only was I not Indian, I was 5 years older than him. I might as well have been an eight-headed monster shooting laser beams from my eyes.

It was awful. We talked and cried and tried to break up and got back together and cried and talked some more. We decided we both cared enough about each other to try to stay together despite his parents extreme disapproval, deciding that he would talk with them more in the hope that they might come around.

A further four months down the track - four months of agonising, talking through various scenarios,  negative horoscope readings, and long-distance arguments with his parents culminating in a visit to Mumbai - it became apparent that they were not coming around, and that his continuing to be with me was causing a major rift in his family and he couldn't bear it anymore.

That was the end of us.

* * * * * * *

What have I taken away from this?

1. Cross cultural relationships are really difficult, sometimes impossibly so. I was naive; even after I became aware how common this scenario is, I was hopeful that we would somehow be exempt.

2. If you're thinking about dating a man from a traditional Indian background, meet his family first. They will be the ones who decide your fate.

3. And finally: be thankful to have been raised in an enlightened country where we take our freedom and independence for granted.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Me. Running.

My boyfriend (of the eternally complicated status) was signed up for a 5k run recently by his boss, as were all of his workmates. I decided to join him on some training runs, just for the hell of it.

I should explain, my relationship with running up 'til now has always been a 'hate-hate' one - give me a bike, some roller-blades, a boogie board and a beach - ANYTHING but trudging joylessly around an oval with my butt fat jiggling with every tortured step.

I've tried engaging with running a few times in my life, as a means of getting fitter or dealing with stress in my life, but it's never 'taken'. I appreciate the cardio workout, and the fact that it's a no-kit form of exercise, but I never really enjoyed it enough to keep it up.

This time, however, it's been different. Maybe it's to do with returning to Australia, where people are generally much more health-conscious and the weather is more conducive to spending time outdoors. Maybe it was the incentive of training for an official run, with a running partner. I found myself looking forward to doing a lap of the Tan, and I would always feel good afterwards, even when I was feeling lethargic to begin with.

Also, there's something stoic about running which appeals to a stubborn bugger like me. It's harder than any other exercise that I do. It's boring. My pace is steady, so the only variation comes from hills. It requires perserverance: an ability to just keep going.

So the bf's boss heard about me training with him and very kindly offered to sign me up as part of their  team. It wasn't long before I received my kit and instructions in the mail - number to pin to my top; timing tag to tie to my laces; complicated instructions about starting points and baggage drops. It was kind of exciting.

On the day, I woke up grumpy after not getting enough sleep, forced down some porridge, grunted at my boyfriend when he arrived at the door, and sulkily followed him on my bike to the event. It was buzzing with people, random stalls and porta-loos just like a music festival, except way more clear-eyed. There were teams of people dressed up in costume, people with t-shirts bearing the faces of the kids they were running for, and lots of mums and bubs. After forcing our way through the crowd to the secure bike stand and checking our bags, we met up with the rest of the team with minutes to spare, and took off in a big, slow, straggly group which gradually dispersed as the 'real' runners took off and left the fun runners and walkers behind. My bf, generally the slower of the two of us in our training runs, took off ahead of me at a steady trot. My competitive streak kicked in and I upped my pace to match his.

At times it was more like an obstacle course than a race, weaving around the crowd and jumping gutters, but I got into a steady rhythm and carried on.

Coming up the 4k mark, I felt a sense of pre-emptive victory and ran a little faster. Very quickly, the finish line was in sight and without even trying, almost as if I was on auto-pilot, my legs went into overdrive. It was an amazing feeling - almost as though I was a machine, and the movement was absolutely effortless. As I crossed the line, just a second behind my running partner, I had to force myself to put on the brakes and slow to a walk. We high-fived and congratulated each other in breathless voices, got ourselves some water and untangled the timing tags from our laces.

So, am I a runner now? My heart says no. It's still boring and hard. But my diary says I've signed up for the 8k Mother's Day Classic.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Socially Awkward Penguin Me

Have you seen this meme? It's basically a diagram of my life. With penguins.

Can't count the number of times I've done this. Most recently I wished a friend happy birthday (on my birthday) the year before last, on my 34th.

That's right, I can't remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, but embarrassing memories are there for life. Way to go, brain.

Um, yes. I've walked into a hanging pot plant and apologised to it. In my defense, I may not have been entirely sober at the time. Witnesses to the event probably don't remember it as vividly as I do.

Oh lord. This is an especially awkward one that I seem to have gotten myself mired in on a few occassions. The problem is that I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, thinking I may have just misheard them - but then further down the track, I realise they are calling me Kylie. Or Kaylee. Or Renee. Or Emma. Or Helen.

My yoga teacher in London called me Helen for the first 6 months I was going to his class. I didn't correct him because I couldn't be sure he was talking to me (I was generally upside down or facing away from him at the time). MASSIVELY AWKWARD.

The number of times this has happened to me... and the 'd'oh!' that echoes around your head when you realise you've missed your chance to say that really funny/clever/appropriate thing.

High School is the peak awkward phase - for me, and for most people I suspect. I remember preparing to give a presentation in class and counting down the number of other students who'd done theirs so I could calculate the odds of me being called on next (we were called up AT RANDOM. Terror upon terror!). Praise be those days are behind me.

The penguin speaketh the truth.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knit Make your own muesli

For a long time - maybe a year or more - I had the same breakfast every single day. Porridge with whatever topping was handy. This comforting stand-by made sense in freezing old London, but not so much in steamy Melbourne, so this morning I decided to make some toasted muesli, not too sweet (but you can always add more sweet stuff if you prefer). Great with natural, Greek style full-fat yoghurt.

2.5 cups rolled oats (the big ones)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
50g honey
A good slurp of pure maple syrup
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup sultanas

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 160°C. Mix everything in a large bowl. If the honey is thick and not runny, you might want to warm it first so it doesn't create clumps. Mix well. Spread mixture over a large tray (I used a Pyrex dish) and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. You want to get the ingredients browned, and for the fruit to become deliciously chewy. When it looks about right, take it out of the oven and allow to cool before pouring into a suitable container.


Monday, April 09, 2012

Not Cross Buns

I made hot cross buns! But I ran out of time so they didn't have crosses. Oh well, I guess that is only proper for an atheist who doesn't believe in people rising from the dead (unless they're zombies).

500gm plain flour
45gm butter, cubed
45gm raw sugar + 2 extra tablespoons
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 egg
275ml whole milk + 4 extra tablespoons
100gm sultanas

Sift 500gm of the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in 45gm raw sugar, salt, spices and yeast. Add the egg and milk, and knead into a pliable dough. Knead 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Return to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for an hour (it should double in size).

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knock the air out, knead well then split into 12 even-sized buns. Cover with oiled cling film and leave for another 30 mins (I left this step out but they turned out ok regardless!)

Bake for 15 minutes at 200° until golden. Meanwhile, put the extra milk and sugar in a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then boil for a few minutes. Brush the glaze over the warm buns.

If you want to add crosses, just mix 125gm flour with some water to make a paste, and pipe onto the buns before baking.

Serve hot from the oven, split open with butter.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Nic Cage losing his sh*t

Oh my lord, this is gold. I think I'm going to have to see Deadfall now just to witness Nic's epic comic performance.

Thanks for the tip, Posc!

Monday, March 26, 2012

On being 35 and single

OK technically, I'm not quite single. But the relationship I'm in is very complicated and I'm not sure we're going to make it through the obstacle course we've been presented with. I am, however, 35, unmarried, and at that delicate point where my fertility is apparently starting to nosedive. Can I just say, and I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm stating the obvious: it's really difficult being in this position. It's properly, existentially, painful.

Despite this, I enjoy my freedom. I like my life, even though I feel the lack of a significant other keenly. But the hardest thing about being 35 and single? Feeling like (and being treated like) you're abnormal.

Most of my friends are happily married with several mini-me's occupying their spare bedrooms. This is fine - great, even, if you like kids (and I do) - but there are times when it's impossible to avoid feeling like a complete freak of nature (behold, The Last Single Girl On Earth!) - an object of pity and/or a problem to be solved (usually by pairing me off with various other stragglers in the game of bonk/marry/procreate).

Here are some of my coping strategies for the other single thirty-something-never-married-no-kids peeps out there. If anyone else has advice, please feel free to share!

- Make the most of your friends kids. I may or may not have kids of my own - I know that it's out of my hands - but I get to have relationships with my friends kids, and that makes me feel slightly better about it. Plus, I can't wait for my future nieces and nephews to make an appearance.

- Observe your friends relationships and take notes. One couple I know are great at treating their kids like people (not cute playthings); another have conversations where they look at and listen to each other - surprisingly rare in a lot of long-term relationships. Spending this much time on your own, you've got more time to figure out what you want and don't want from a long-term partner.

- Cultivate friends outside your age bracket. It will give you a different perspective having friends who are older and wiser, as well as younger and more wide-eyed. Easier said than done, but I'm lucky to have come across a few good ones that I treasure.

- Male friends help. Thank goodness for the single blokes out there - ex-boyfriends and old school mates who are still footloose & fancy-free. I find blokes in my age bracket are more likely to be single/unmarried and a whole lot less likely to angst about it.

- Don't feel obliged to attend every engagement party/baby shower/first birthday/christening you are invited to. There are a shed-load of these things, and it can get tiring being the only single person surrounded by families. Your friends won't mind if you skip a few, or just show your face briefly, especially if you're feeling vulnerable.

- Enjoy this time. I can't help feeling like I will look back on this time and envy the boundless freedom I currently enjoy.

- Don't lose heart. Yuh, it's hard. If you find yourself in that terrible dark place where all seems bleak and hopeless and just too damn hard - wait it out. One day the spark will reappear and you'll be on the roller-coaster again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Cyclists vs. Drivers

It's war out there, yo. Road war. Peopled by Road Warriors.

One one side are the Pedal Powered Peeps, or the PPP (of which I am one, clearly) - putting their bodies on the line every day, weaving deftly between SUVs, trucks and buses (why does no one have a small car anymore?), scaring pedestrians*, all while saving the planet and solving the obesity crisis.

On the other side are the Miffed Melbourne Motorists, or the MMM - piloting the aforementioned SUVs, trucks and buses through the daily snarls of traffic, seeing red when cyclists squeeze past them, sail through red lights, whizz by their open doors with millimetres to spare, or slow them down by riding two abreast or single file in a narrow lane.

Things seem to have been escalating recently, with more people signing up on both sides as Melbourne's population booms. Truthfully, I think we're only a few years away from some kind of Mad Max scenario.

If you don't believe me, watch this video:

Ouch. Not a proud moment for the MMM (UK division). Don't think that it doesn't happen here, too - it's just that we don't have CCTV cameras on every street corner to capture the evidence. Closer to home, a fellow PPP swore at a driver who cut him off recently, only to have the driver chase him down, push him off and proceed to trash his bike.

You may have head about a recent clash between a PPP and a high-profile MMM. Shane Warne claimed the cyclist cut him off, abused him and hit his car. The cyclist claims that Warnie deliberately knocked him over and wrecked his expensive bike before hooning off. Naturally, the King of Spin got straight onto twitter to  blast the cyclist in a  drawn-out rant, rallying his followers in a public howl for cyclist blood.

I'm going to keep an uncharacteristically objective distance on this one and let you decide for yourself which side you are on - however, the I believe the evidence (one wrecked bike + one unscathed Merc + a driver who admitted leaving the scene of an accident) seems to fall in favour of the PPP.

The problem is that the PPP is a small movement that has been steadily growing in profile, while the MMM - a vast army of personal car users who are used to having everything built around their needs - are looking increasingly unsustainable.

What is the solution for bringing these two disparate sides together? Greater civility between both parties would be great, obviously - but the best way to encourage that? Bike registration, as called for by Warney and his pack, would be costly and largely pointless. Separate bike lanes are great, but controversial. Cyclist-awareness programs should definitely be a part of any driver licensing; and of course cyclists who endanger pedestrians or act unlawfully should be punished.

What many drivers don't appreciate is that the vast majority of cyclists are also car users - which means that they have an insight into the mind of their enemy, and they contribute to the cost of road infrastructure (one of the MMM's more petulant arguments being that cyclists don't pay to use the road, therefore they have no rights). Sadly, it seems that the MMM are just not ready to climb down from their SUVs, trucks and buses to experience the  road on two wheels, with only a styrofoam helmet for armour.

*anti-social cyclists. Yes, there are asshole cyclists just as there are asshole drivers. It's just that the asshole drivers are more numerous and control a machine capable of killing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy V Day fellow geeks!

For those among us who went through puberty in the nineties. And fellow eyebrow freaks.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inspiration Friday

So beautiful. So true.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday 7-up

Reading: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Browsing: Letterheady
Watching: John Safran's Race Relations
Eating: Icy-poles
Listening: Born to Die by Lana Del Rey
Visiting: St Ali (recommend the 'Bada Bing Bada Boom')
Wanting: More paid work...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Duke Uke'em

I'm learning to play a simple version of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', largely thanks to this awesome kid. As you can see, I've a ways to go yet. I haven't yet mastered the art of doing anything else while playing, like say, singing along or keeping time. Sorry about the pauses while I change chords.

But it's loads of fun. I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

More thoughts on freelancing

It's been fairly quiet over the Christmas period, workwise. I've spent lots of time in the flat, browsing lots of silly web sites on the web of silliness.

I've been applying for several part-time positions with the notion that maybe a regular gig might help prop up my finances, as well as giving me a much-needed social outlet (and a reason to get up before 9am). It's a delicate balancing act; my current clients like to know that they can contact me anytime and that I can turn something around super-quickly, and I'm aware I might not be able to do that so easily if I'm working a couple of solid days a week. We'll see.. if the right couple-o-days-a-week position comes up, I will probably take it and see how it goes.

I've also experienced my very first dead-beat client recently. Woowee! I am thanking my lucky stars that it's only a small sum that they owe me for (if it was a more significant amount, I would be hiring a hitman). I met with these people a few months ago. They had found me via Gumtree, and seemed like a lovely, if slightly clueless couple who were in the process of starting up a creative business in their spare time and with their own money.

[distant alarm bells]

At our initial meeting we got the niceties out of the way. They talked me through all of their vague and rambley ideas, and I made encouraging noises. They contacted me the following week, saying they wanted to go ahead but could we meet up to talk some more things through?

[more bells]

We meet up again, they ramble some more, ask for some printing contacts, and give me a tiny little starter job which they proceed to micro-manage to death ("we want to use this font, these colours, and it needs to look exactly like this file I mocked up in Powerpoint").


For some reason I agree to a third meeting where the client tells me they want to proceed to the next job, and outline exactly what they want. I say I will put together a quote for their approval, which I do. They agree to let me make a start on the job and I send them some initial designs.

No response.

It's been nearly 2 months. I have emailed, called, and left initially-polite-but-increasingly-pissed-off messages. NOTHING. There have been times when I have called her mobile, only to have her pick up the phone but sit silently on the other end while I fume down the line. Yes, it's only a small amount of cash, but I wasted approximately 4 hours in meetings with these people on the promise of a long-term project and now they're giving me the silent treatment? I'm chasing it up on principle. And rage: my general feeling on this is BRING IT, B*TCHES.

I'm not the timid high school girl I once was.


- Be wary of 'hobby' businesses. Likewise, start-ups. If you do end up working on one, protect yourself by getting a signed contract before you do anything.

- Think about charging clients for time spent in meetings (beyond the initial briefing meeting) - I wasted a lot of time running around to see this client on three separate occasions, only to get stiffed. Charging for that time = less time wasted, as clients have a financial motivation to get their shit together.

- Trustworthy clients are gold. Treat them as such.

- Final lesson: trust your instincts - they're pretty much always right. Those alarm bells are there for a reason.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

David O'Doherty @ Melbourne Comedy Fest

One of my fave Edinburgh Festival comics. Damn I wish gigs in Australia weren't so prohibitively expensive. I need to get a boyfriend in the entertainment biz (Bert? Daryl? Rove? God forbid, Eddie?*)

*Sorry to be obscure, non-Melbournites.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday 7-up

Reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Browsing: Ghetto Hikes
Watching: Ae Fond Kiss
Eating: White Christmas
Listening: Fever Ray by Fever Ray
Visiting: NGV
Wanting: a cute ukulele

Friday, January 13, 2012


2011 was a big year for me - I put a deposit on a flat, settled back in to Melbourne life, started working for myself, joined the Squeaky Wheel committee, dated several amiable losers (and one super lovely guy but it's complicated so please don't ask me to elaborate or we could be here all night, srsly).

So 2012. I'm not really into the resolution thing - I tend to think about doing things as and when they occur to me, on the fly and sporadically, cos that's the kind of lazy ass I am. I already do yoga and zumba once a week, and ride my bike. I already try to eat right - in between sweets - and there's NO WAY IN HELL I'm giving up sugar like some ascetic freaks out there. I hardly drink; I don't gamble, take drugs or sleep with supermodels - sugar is my one and only only vice. Well, sugar and cute boys. Cute geeky boys who wear specs, in particular.

So don't even suggest giving up the sugar and the boys. Take those away and I have no reason to live. None.

So... one random resolution appeared to me one day out of the fuzzy static in my brain. It's a little embarrassing. I can't believe I'm confessing it to the internet.

I decided I would like to learn to play an instrument. A piano seemed like a logical place to start, but they take up so much room and I live in a teensy one bedder, and guitars are really cool but kind of intimidating, and then I saw this clip:

...and I decided that a ukulele would be perfect.

Compact. Cute. Not too hard (don't tell me! I prefer it here in fairy-land). Would look good on my shelf even if I never learn to play it. Won't annoy my neighbours (too much). Fits with my geeky outsider status.

So... I've been looking on ebay. I'm going to buy me a uke.

Sometimes it sucks being single and knowing your life is of little consequence... and sometimes it's awesome.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012: Let's hope it's a good one

I've been thinking a lot about hope recently. How hope for the future is the main thing that keeps people going, and how the loss of that hope, however temporary, can feel like the end of the world; like a dead weight dragging you down, down, down.

On a personal level, my greatest future hope is for a stable relationship, and further to that, to have a family (my definition of 'family' has changed somewhat over time). As I get older and another year passes, this hope has become more distant and cloudy. Sometimes it evaporates altogether, and the weight in my heart becomes overwhelming.

Thankfully, I have found a medication that stops me from sinking to the extreme depths where I was marooned for many years without hope.

On a wider level, I have hope in human nature. Couples staying together despite being dealt all manner of shit (Karleen, I'm in awe of you). A little kid being thrilled to discover a 10c piece in the grass. The good humour of friends. Inspiring documentaries. The comforting huddle of my immediate family; my ever-expanding tribe. Wired magazine.

It's easy to feel cynical about humanity and our future prospects - and believe me, I often do. It's much harder to be hopeful. I have consciously taken a decision to try not to worry too much about the larger problems and to focus on myself and my immediate community; the people I come into contact with every day. I follow the philosphy of those great thinkers of our time, Bill and Ted: 

"Be excellent to each other".

Right on, dudes.

I am starting to learn that we can nurture a sense of hope within ourselves, and that hope can take many forms.

So here we are in the year 2012. I hope it will be a great one for you.
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