Sunday, May 31, 2009

Me: Now.

I stayed up far to late last night at ANU Film Group last night watching a double feature of The Boat that Rocked and Milk (As a side note: if anyone can explain to me how they decided to make a double feature this Friday out of Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I'd love to hear from you!)

Which meant a late start to today...

Watching The Boat that Rocked got me thinking about Radio Hauraki and, feeling once again like a newcomer to a strange land, wondering what the history of pirate stations in Australia was...

Today: Lino cuts started: 0. Chunks of plaster painted: 0. Houses sorted and tidied: 1.

And tomorrow's the start of June which is traditionally the month of Fiscal Fasting round here. So I'm wondering. Do I do it again (even though I've kind of been doing it for the past 6 months)? Do I do the light version (aka Cook from the Cupboard)? Or do I live how I normally do now* and just report on that?)

(*Since I discovered I get paid monthly in my new contract...)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday catch-up

I spent today catching up on class stuff.

Transferring the design for my lino cutting exercise (I haven't actually starting the cutting yet):
Deciding the weather is wrong for spray painting my wearable art piece. So I hemmed my hanky instead:
Before playing with some ideas for my Wrapped Space Briefwhich included messing with this Picasso pictureto create a possible box for my wearable art piece:There's still a heap more to do but I think I need a break...

Random post-holiday post #5

Long time readers will know I tend to buy odd souvenirs when I travel. I was quite restrained in Noumea, and not just because of the lack of ready credit.

The range of souvenirs available seemed to fit into two camps: brightly coloured tat (sarong or plastic dolphin, anyone?) or Okish stuff which turned out to be made in Indonesia. I did spend the entire trip lusting after ye traditional French school slates whenever I ran into a pile of them at the supermarket or stationery shop. But I talked myself out of purchasing one. Repeatedly.

There was a close call at The Tjibaou Cultural Centre shop where they had some rather nice T shirts. But they only had size XXL left so I was safe.

In the end I returned home with three local CDs, a book called Let me guide you in Noumea (an interesting mix of history and guide) and these:
A carved fridge magnet for my miniatures collection, a well-worn 100 f coin and the sexiest pencil sharpener I've ever seen.
I framed the coin and added it to my Shelf of interesting things. And I suspect the carving may not make it into the dolls house after all...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Random post-holiday post #4

OK, maybe Noumea in close up isn't quite the same as Wellington.

For a start, the architecture is quite different:
(I almost bought a book on New Caledonian houses but spending $40 on a book in French seemed like a slightly silly thing to do so I left it on the shelf)

This is the view from the bus stop for the local blue route bus which goes out to The Tjiboau Cultural Centre. I walked right past it the first time thinking I was in the wrong place...Here's a picture I took of a local restaurant for my cruise buddy Nancy:(No, the woman on the left didn't forget to change out of her nightdress before she left home: that's the national costume.)

Local graffiti I spotted on the walk up to The Tjiboau Cultural Centre :
And a local snail who seemed mad keen on following me:I always wondered why on earth French people would bother eating snails.But it would appear French snails are bigger than common garden Aussie or Kiwi snails. Which got me thinking: is this a native New Caledonian snail or did the French import snails from home to populate their gardens?

The cockroaches are massive, too. One kept running after me at great speed in a CD shop. I wanted to take a photo but I was worried that a) the owner (of the CD store, not the cockroach) would be insulted and b) if I didn't keep a close eye on the cockroach, it would run up my leg.

And, finally, here's a statue of a very important historical figure. Or maybe it's an ad for a local supplier of soft drinks...

Random post-holiday post #3

If you're going to Noumea on holiday it's a very good idea to make sure your credit card has a pin number. Otherwise you could, just possibly, arrive at the Youth Hostel on your first night, hand over your (nice empty) credit card and be told it doesn't work.

In this situation it's useful to have another credit card on you, even if you know it's pretty much full. Hand it over anyway and, if you're lucky, it'll be accepted. And you'll be using cash for the rest of your stay.

Not that I'm telling you this from experience, necessarily. Just saying... (as they say).


My birthday lunch, 2009:
Prepackaged couscous salad from the supermarket at the port. Approximately AU$3.11 and actually rather good.Especially as it was eaten here: I thought I'd have something special for dinner but the supermarket was closed when I got back to town in the afternoon. And so were all the restaurants in town. The corner shop just down from the hostel was open for a couple of hours in the evening so I bought some chocolate biscuits there in lieu of the french pastries I'd planned. They only had New Zealand chocolate biscuits. Of course.

Oh and the slap up birthday lunch with the boys planned for the 27th?
It never happened as their ship dropped Noumea from its itinerary...

Random post-holiday post #2

Why did no one tell me that Noumea looks just like Wellington (NZ)?(View from my balcony)(from the top of the drive looking away from the centre of town)(and on the walk down into town)

Random post-holiday post #1

You may have been practicing your French before you left home.

You may be secretly pleased when people greet you in French as you think it might just possibly mean you look like a local (or French).

You may even be able to make yourself understood (albeit in a rather halting way) and feel almost smug.

But it's guaranteed that the reply you receive in quickly spoken French will be incomprehensible to you.

An example:

I say "Excuse me, where is the women's toilet?" (A fairly basic French question, learnt in third form or thereabouts)

The reply (as far as I can make out after they gave up trying to make themselves understood and escorted me there with much pointing)? "The women's toilet is closed for renovations. You'll need to use the disabled toilet but there's someone in there at the moment..."

Another example:

I've just trekked up the hill to the hostel on my first full day after a visit to le supermarché. It's about 23 degrees and muggy after the morning's rain so I change into my jandals to try and cool down before heading into the cool room to get some stuff out of my locker for dinner. While I'm waiting for someone else to finish up so I can get to my stuff this cute French chap (dressed in a lovely thick handknitted jumper) points at my feet and lets out a string of French that goes completely over my head.

Did he just tell me to move out of the way because there's a big hairy spider about to bite my foot?

Is he telling me it's against the rules to wear jandals into the cool room?

Perhaps he's admiring my choice of (black and white spotted) jandals and asking where he can get his own?

Or is he telling me I must be insane to wear such skimpy footwear into the cool room and don't I know my feet will get frostbite and fall off and I'll be forever stuck on the top of the hill?

Then again, he might have declared that I'm the woman of his dreams based on my choice of footwear and would I marry him?

I'll never know...

I got very good at using what was to become a stock phrase during my stay:

"Sorry, I understand the "Bonjour Madame, but after that..." accompanied by a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and that little pfft noise they seem to make and that I somehow picked up.

In my head was a whole other matter. I spent six days wandering round town speaking French to myself. I was impressively fluent as long as I didn't wander far too from the territory of "I'm hot/ cold/ happy/ hungry/ thirsty/ tired" or "I don't like that/ I love this/ I want to go here/ eat this/ see that."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random stuff

1. Is it terribly sad to be burning a pile of By Design programs to CD to catch up on while I'm away? (And putting aside 5 weeks' worth of Canberra Times Panorama magazines to take as light reading?)

2. Overheard in class tonight: "Yeah, but no one's going to hire you because you shoved some clay between your tits and painted it silver" I love this on so many levels. I can't even begin to explain...

3. When you decide not to get changed out of your oldest baggiest and daggiest clothing to go to class (I was working from home all day. It was cold, I'd banned myself from most of my wardrobe because I want to take it away, clean. And I was in a "I'd rather be in my PJs" mood) you'll be told there's an opening downstairs and you should go as part of your class work. And you'll stand there, clutching your plastic glass of NZ Sav Blanc (they had rather a good selection of wine for an opening) feeling rather underdressed and remembering the time you visited your sister at work, who actually was wearing her PJs (not that anyone else would know)

4. Noticing that, for the second class running, the tutor checks up on everyone else on your table/ in the room except you. But this time remembering an editorial from the latest issue of
Urbis which referenced (of all things) The Babysitters' Club and realising that maybe the reason you're feeling ignored is because the Tutor is confident you know what you're doing. And having your suspicions confirmed by the tutor later in the evening. Nice, but not very helpful in terms of learning anything.5. This:6. Wanting to reference a mug and bowl you saw somewhere on the blogosphere recently and having no idea where it was. (Or maybe it was actually in a magazine?)

7. Trying to actually believe you're due to fly out on another
architecture related quest in less than 36 hours. And trying to imagine the reality that is 149 steps from town up to the Youth Hostel (which isn't hard if you grew up in Wellington and had to navigate the Dixon Street steps each lunchtime down from Vic Uni and (more importantly) back up). I'd add a link but there doesn't seem to be one. So here's a random image I found online. Where I used to work is up there at the top of the picture. And I mean the very very top...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mon nouveau mouchoir*

My recent** obsession with hankies continues...

The news that we had to create a two colour screen print on fabric for Monday night class last week meant only one thing for me: the ability to try out some handkerchief designs that had driven me out of bed and to my visual diary in the early hours of the morning a month or so back.

Classmate Chris called me a "percolator" but maybe we should change that to a "drip filter" as this idea kind of started taking root during my trip back to Wellington last year where I saw a hankie for sale printed with the phrase "I'm not a tissue". I would have bought it on the spot but it was a bit expensive.

When I returned home I thought of trying to print similar using my printer or Spoonflower but ended up forgetting all about it. Until a classmate started turning up in class with her "I'm not a plastic bag" tote, which the hankie had been based on.

And I came up with some bad puns to use on a range of eco hankies. In the middle of the night. As you do.

The first colour print: custom mixed by me and given personality by the fact I got a little carried away screening the print and accidentally chopped off some of the top right splatter. Then the print got a little distressed on the way home from class where someone cut me off and the (still damp) print fell off the passenger's seat...

Last night I added the second colour. Here's the screen all ready to go: Ink added:And, in a movement similar to this (these are my neighbours as both Tania and I had our hands full at this stage of my print)this was created:My lettering's a little wonky as it was my first time cutting letters (and I should have had more of a gap between "Achoo" and "se") This hanky is particularly eco-friendly as I printed it on an old 50 cent op shop cot sheet. To make it totally eco-friendly I should hand sew the edges using an op shop needle and op shop thread. But bugger that: I'll be doing it on the machines as soon as I get around to changing the overlocker thread to white.

And if you're interested in what the other designs said:

I have issues with tissues (an in-joke regarding some really bad Vince Jones lyrics)
I refuse to sneeze on trees
Using tissues is snot very green
Goodness nose hankies are greener than tissues

(But they all had more letters in them and so I decided to go with Achoo se...)

(*My new handkerchief)
(** Who am I kidding? I've been obsessed with the hunting down of black and white hankies for over a decade...)

Monday, May 18, 2009

I feel lucky...*

I started my new contract (finally).

Got a park in the dreaded Parliamentary Triangle car parking black hole at 8:45 am, no trouble at all.

Had a fabulous lunch of leftovers from last night to eat (plus morning and afternoon tea)
Enjoyed my work far too much.

Got ever so slightly fawned over by my boss (which was gratifying.)

Then got told that security issues mean I can't go into the office until some paperwork is done: but would it be alright if I worked from home tomorrow?

Cleaning up some lovely messes?

In an area that has fascinated me since I was about 8 years old?

Oh... if I must :-/

After work I drove to class, where I finished off my screenprint from last week (pictures tomorrow)

Then we started working on lino cuts. I went to the library for inspiration and information. Got totally sidetracked by the fabulous range of design/ art/ architecture books on offer and walked out with two book that had nothing at all to do with lino cutting including a copy of this which had fallen open to this page when I flicked through it:Went back to class and convinced the teacher to let me go home super-early to do some research and that yes, I would do the lino cut and yes, I would contact him to make a time to come in and print it once I returned next week.

So I was home by just after 7pm, in my PJs not long after and pretty damned happy all round having expected to drag myself home after 8:30pm, only to have to turn round and head off to work less than 12 hours later.

Perhaps I'll pack. Or perhaps I'll eat more leftovers and toodle bedwards with a book of E. Mervyn Taylor's work so I can at least pretend I'm doing research...

(To be sing to the tune of this song)

Cheesy music and cheesy food? The perfect match.

Ah Eurovision. You really aren't the same without Terry Wogan.

But I figured Eurovision night would be the perfect time to gather my friends and feed them as much of my free Perfect Italiano cheese as I could. There was a last minute menu change as I was informed one of my guests couldn't eat hard cheeses so the pizza cheese and the parmesan stayed in the fridge (and, as it turned out, that guest stayed at home...)

My Marimekko placemats, bought in Finland for my birthday back in 2003, were the only choice of table setting for a Eurovision dinner. On the menu was Alison Holst's Mushroom Strudel (which used two tubs of the ricotta)served with a carrot salad and a leafy salad which featured mandarin wedges, snow pea shoots and pecans.

And later in the evening I served Perfect Italiano's Black and White Brownies (how could I chose anything else, after spying a recipe with a name like that?) They were sinfully rich but my photos were crap so I've lifted the picture from their website to demonstrate their creamy chocolately deliciousness: As for the result of Eurovision, I think there will be a sudden influx of boys wanting to learn the violin...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On the cards

Work gave me my birthday card last night at drinks since I won't be there any closer to the actual day:It's a keeper and will join a card I was given by another work around ten years ago, which they lifted from an ad:(and yes, I had a boyfriend called Lewis at the time...)

Hats and tails

Just some of the silly photos we took on Thursday night...
There was also a silly video I shot of Sarah trying to recreate the effects on the ears of much leaping around on stage but I shot it sideways and can't work out how to rotate it. Oh well, it does it's job of showing us that the ears do stay upright pretty much no matter what...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Soft Animators photos from last night at Craft ACT

Ghostpatrol and Cat Rabbit (pretty exciting as I'd just recently watched the ABC miso + ghostpatrol documentary on You tube, recommended by one of the many blogs I read. Part One here: follow the prompts to watch parts two and three) Skull Sender I & II
Skull KeeperWinterlong I(detail)Charles Darwin Super 200

And on the other side of the gallery, Cupco
(Man, I'm so proud that I finally remembered to write down the details of what I was looking at. Which means I don't just have to blog pictures saying "This was cool!" "I liked this!")

Of course, I thought they were all cool and I liked them all. Why would I take photos otherwise?!