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Showing posts from July, 2013

Day 212: May I Make a Recommendation?

It was said to me and I pass it now to you: if you have never read Haruki Murakami then I envy you the discovery of something wonderous. Once known he is still magnificent, but it is the coming to know him that is special. But as beautiful and unusual and tight as his writing is, it is not easy. To generalise his genre would be to put it in the magic realism realm—think Salman Rushdie or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's imaginations mixed with Raymond Carver or Hemingway's economy of language. The translations are, to me, seemingly amazing, but I believe there is a level of nuance missing from the Japanese which is un-translatable. It is to do, often, with the plethora of Japanese pronouns that dictate hierarchy and relationships, and which have no equivalent in the English language. I started with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, followed with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and have just finished 1Q84: Books 1 and 2. There is no real order. Dive in anywhere.

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Day 211: The Quiet Reader

I resisted the e-book to start. It wouldn't be the same. The smell, the sound, the texture of the page turned. It can't be replicated by something with buttons and a waning energy bar. But then I got my Kindle and lots and lots and lots of books. A bookshelf in my hands. And I sort of forgot about my hesitations. A part of me still feels bad. A little part tucked away in a corner of what I reluctantly call my soul, for want of a better descriptor. I feel bad because I am part of making it harder for the physical book. Will the physicality of books become more expensive because of me? And then, when Amazon has us caught in its little evil hands, bang! Will it throw up the price of e-books as well and then all reading becomes too expensive? Hopefully there will still be libraries. But one thing my number-loving soul does rejoice in with the Kindle is that percentage-read indicator. I get to ninety percent and then all pile protocol goes out the door. Three books reached ninet…

Day 210: Fearing and Fasting

Week two of fasting didn't go as well as week one. But it is a learning process and what I learned was that fasting on a day off doesn't work. If I am trapped by the confines of work where accessing anything but what you have brought in involves either the easily avoidable vending machines or a fair-to-middling walk in a limited time allotment, and where my time is filled with having to work instead of choosing to, then forgetting about food is much simpler. On my attempt to do this on a day off I got to one a.m. and just. had. to. have. something. NOW! I ended up with pie. And real coffee. And then I didn't eat for another twenty four hours. So in a way I both did it and didn't do it. As of last monday (today, in blog land, but it is almost a week ago—don't ask me? Time is a strange and allusive concept) I had lost a kilo, but this week I don't feel that it is working. It would be better if I could actually eat 'normally' on the rest of the days. The…

Day 209: Cool for Coats

It's winter for us down here under the equator. So while everyone is sweaty and sticky above I am starting Coat Week. Seemed a good idea to make it all about coats and shoes on paper, but a little more awkward when that's all I took 'on location' to Williamstown and surrounds, and some of those coats don't really fit all the way around. Keep that in mind when you see my look of fear on Monday's shoot. In the mean time, here is Coat One and Sunday Social.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: I would go mad. If there is anything I can't do it's eat the same thing over and over. Whatever I love would become unloveable if it was the only thing. This is a question I am incapable of answering.

Q: What's your guilty pleasure/comfort food?
A: In the predominant absence of cake, biscuits. Chocolate teddy bear biscuits with coffee sucked through them, Dark chocolate royals. Sponge fingers—the large ones. E…

Day 208: Why Speak Plain When You Can Speak Beauty

Part of my routine, especially after long nights of dealing with the [insert inappropriate words about the general public], is to listen to that most old-fashioned of devices on my walk home—the i-Pod (everyone listens to their smart phone now, don't they?) I'm a word freak. The music can be daggy, twee or just plain odd, but if the words are right, I'm all yours. I was thinking about it this morning as I came home and listened to two of my favourite songs: 'The Table' by The Beautiful South and Randy Travis' 'Where Can I Surrender?'. What I call 'fine lyrics' are those which, essentially, use metaphor (as such) to create imagery. It may be, as in the former song, a thing of beauty, or, as in the latter, a thing of wit. If there is anything more satisfying that coming up with new and exciting ways to twist language in writing, to stretch its boundaries and make it do things that banality and the everyday can't foresee, then I haven't f…

Day 207: Random Samplings of an Unstill Mind

Normally it is milk. I use a long life lactose-free one. The boy doesn't like to see anything less than a crate of them in reserve on my shelf in the kitchen. They get snuck in when I am not there. At the moment though, it is toilet paper being snuck. I now have fifty-four rolls. 'In case', he said. Maybe there will be a world-wide shortage. Or some sort of a toilet-paper-deficit apocalypse. Overnight another two rolls appeared. It is tantamount to an OCD. I worry slightly about that boy.

Friday night equals SYTYCD. For the first night of competition the choreographers did not hold back. The standard is insane. Christopher Scott is the new 'bomb' choreographer! And he always looks like he is going to cry at the end of his protégée's performances. There was no shortage of props for day one, including a couple who danced with blindfolds. They must have been able to see through them. Otherwise it was incredible trust and knowledge of each other's presenc…

Day 206: A Matter of Perspective

For Meet Me At Mikes' fifty-two lists project this week I am looking at 'Things I Do Everyday'. I'm splitting it into two lists: things I actually do everyday, and things I have exagerrated and poeticised in order for them to sound like much more exciting things to do everyday.

List One:
Make coffee as soon as physically possible after rising; check my phone for messages—I like to see how many strangers and companies have loved me overnight; check my Blogger stats—again looking for the love; work, if I have to; do blog stuff (decisions, consultations with Irene, photos, editing, writing, editing, reading other blogs, link-ups); play Candy Crush Saga instead of doing anything else useful; squeeze in as much reading as possible—which is usually stolen moments; self-depricate at some stage of the day; actively, and if necessary, grumpily, avoid all forms of news; wish for and often fulfil dreams of cakes and biscuits and then self-depricate some more; tell myself t…

Day 205: A Bedside Manner

According to a Sunday magazine I was reading today, circular skirts are in (they accentuate the waist), and Dr Google is out. Aawh! Dr Google is my go-to doctor. Apparently, and this is just a rumour, but apparently he is not a hundred percent reliable. I dislike doctors. Humungous generalisations follow, but I find them to generally be disinterested and disassociated idiots with only money and time on their minds and an over-riding dislike of women. It may be bad luck with who I have come across. It started with the doctor who, in my early teens and on one of my first solo forays into the consulting room, didn't feel it was necessary to advise a teenager that glands, which apparently needed checking, are situated in your groin, before plunging in. I avoided them for the most part after that. Recently, and only because I needed a certificate, I went to one. I thought 'while I'm here' and proceeded to ask about poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. A relative had it, and I t…

Day 204: The Sky Brooded, The Colour of Lint

It is winter and lots of black creeps in. It is also Melbourne. We are known for our propensity to wear black. Well, we know. I am not sure how internationally aware people are if this Melburnian trait. The trend for colour in the last couple of years has done a little to sway us from our tradition, but, through winter particularly, it is waves of dark clothing that predominate any crowd. No-one really knows why? I think our collective consciousness channels a combination of beat-generation Audrey, Coco Chanel on a dark day, and Lisbeth Salander. Some people blame it on the weather which some comedian over here described in a 'weather report' as "Morning spring, possible winters clearing, followed by brief patches of summer before a partly autumn afternoon. A top of thirteen and twenty-one and nineteen degrees'. Which would be slightly funny, if it wasn't true.

Irene               List_Addict
But the reason I am clapping on about black is because there is some…

Day 203: Taking Another Wagon

The twenty-five for twenty- five is back on. I am that Pinterest pin that says 'If you don't like starting over, don't quit'. I am it in the bad way. I quit. And then I reluctantly, or even sometimes eagerly, start over again. The good thing though is that although I'm starting again, it is not at the beginning. Of the twenty-five kilos I want to lose, I have only twenty-three to go. And maybe in my number based goal (25 F(or)25), a symmetrically numbered method (let's call it the 2:5 Diet) will prove to be a success and I won't quit. Again.

List_Addict               Irene
I had my first 'fast' days on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The (by me) newly re-ratio-ed 2:5 Diet (or Fast Diet) involves eating normally five days a week and then for two (preferably, but not essentially, consecutive) days having only a quarter of the calorie allowance (five hundred for women, six hundred for men). It went exceptionally well. I divided the calories into t…

Day 202: Forget the Food! Champagne!

Despite some rather dodgy tactics during the bulk of the Tour, some shoving and pushing and general seeming ungentlemanliness, the last stage always pulls together a semblance of camaraderie and politeness with it's ambling champagne start and the way the first part of the race involves people getting together for a chat on their final strolling ride through the French countryside. It all changes to a Romanesque battle on the Champs Élysées though. Of course, as I said yesterday, I accidently forgot to watch it. But I am sure that is the way it went. It always does.

In the spirit of the socialising Tour participants on their last day's riding, join me in Ashley and Neely's Social Sunday:

Q: What was your favourite show as a kid?
A: A while ago I was talking about how, being a South African, I didn't really watch an awful lot of TV as a kid. So I will go for a couple of things I used to love as a young teenager: Doctor Who (I had the long scarf doctor, Tom Baker), Th…

Day 201:Cucumber and Smoked Trout Terrine

It is the last day of the yellow tutu. Very sad. It also means tomorrow (which is, at the time of writing, last Sunday) is the last night of the Tour. Turned out I watched a movie (Taken 2, which Liam said he would never make—if I was an Albanian thug I would gladly die at the hands of Liam Neeson) and completely forgot to watch the last stage of the race. It was a foregone conclusion that Froome would win. The Brits are all 'successful and stuff' at the moment: cycling, cricket, rugby, tennis, heirs to the throne. How would I sum up this year's tour? It was probably a little like Taken 2 actually. There were lots of shady happenings: shoulder nudges, deliberate forcing of other riders into the crowd, sly bending of the no food/no drink rules, hanging onto team cars. There was also lots and lots of collateral damage. I wish a little more of it happened to the crowd. Did I say that? It did appear to be like an action-style car chase at times. And then there were always th…