Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So much has happened

I've always hated bloggers who start a post after a short/long hiatus with "so much has happened since I last posted" because it seems like the equivalent level of creativity as starting a story with "once upon a time." Its also pretty fucking self centred. Of course you think a lot has been happening, you wouldn't have a blog where you tell everyone all about everything that happens otherwise. But guess what, so much has happened since I last posted.

I went for a trial at the fancy restaurant in Cottesloe and was fairly uncomfortable. Their coffee game was weak and it didn't really remind me of The Breakfast Club. Just a busy restaurant that doesn't wash their milk jugs. So I also offered my services to the cafe at MANY and was immediately offered a paid weekend long trial. A few hours later the fancy Cottesloe cafe called to offer me the job. I turned them down.

So now I work at MANY. Its pretty chilled. I work on my own which is good because I don't have a neurotic, over controlling boss breathing down my neck telling me to adjust the grind but bad because I don't have anyone to talk to when its quiet (or when its busy) which is almost all the time. But all the customers in MANY are super friendly and I actually enjoy talking to them. Coffee making is way more enjoyable when you don't have to spew out 700 long macs in forty five minutes. There is no drainage system in the cafe so everything is in take away cups and the food menu is minimalist, so there are no dishes. While I am still sick of working in hospitality, I do enjoy making coffee. I enjoy putting on a pretty dress and arranging my face into something nice and making a delicious beverage for someone who can turn around and thank me for it. I love the positive feedback of making something and doing it well, and giving it to someone else so they can enjoy it. I also get to do the instagram for Kate and Abel, so I make a flat white with some kick arse latte art and within a day 50+ strangers like what I have created. That just doesn't happen answering the phones for an engineering company.

                                                        

Western Salvation is kicking along. I've been spending my spare time pulling bikes apart and covering them in paint, wrapping piles of books in twine and fiddling around with logos on Photoshop. We're opening shop on Saturday so hopefully we'll get it all together by then!

              

This thing popped up on my facebook feed last week and it keeps crossing my mind. Its called 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose and encourages you to look at your skills and interests from a different angle to work out what you want to do. I find the exercise of "If money didn't matter, what would you do everyday - go and do that!" particularly useless. If money didn't matter, I would sleep in every day, sit in the sun drinking beer and reading David Sedaris books and go out for every meal with friends and my dogs. I would not do anything, ever. I'm pretty sure this is what most people would do if money didn't matter. I find the questions in this article far more relevant and every time I go through IT, Psychology is not the answer to any of the questions. With the results of my uni application just around the corner, this doesn't make me feel super confident about next year. I really think I want to be doing something creative (this is where people suggest I get into Art Therapy - to which I reply - isn't that just like being an art teacher for sad people?) and making/producing something. Maybe this is why I like making coffee. Maybe its just because that's the only thing I can do. Eugh I don't know. (No I don't want to own a cafe).

Oh! My sister is pregnant! She'll be due in early April which is very very soon, really. When I first found out (and before we were allowed to tell anyone else) I sent Steph a congratulatory text and said a phrase I have been waiting for almost two decades to say. I first saw this joke on a poster in my Dad's childhood bedroom at his parent's house. I thought it was daggy, but hilarious and couldn't wait until I could try it out. And so three months ago the situation had arisen. Like Eminem, I only had one shot and I didn't want to miss my chance to blow, (for me, because I only have one sibbling) this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime, yo.


Seventeen years I had been quietly saving that one. Seventeen years I made sure I didn't actually say it in front of Steph. Seventeen years I imagined saying it to her and her finding me witty and amazing and the coolest ever. I say it and she thinks I'm drunk. Perhaps this is to be expected when you plan on telling a joke your seven year old self thought was witty. Its super strange and terrifying and exciting all at once to think that there will be a new member of the family, living and breathing and eventually talking and personality having. I can't begin to imagine how Steph is feeling.

I'm sure there's more to share but I have work in the morning. I don't start til 10 but you know, the second season of Party Down isn't going to re-watch itself.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why I'm not changing my name when I get married

I had this idea for an article for ages and finally wrote it for Flint a couple of weeks ago. I was uncomfortable about it being published on his website because its quite unlike the other articles and somewhat staunchly feminist, a badge I wear with pride, but when thrown into an arena as the only one openly discussing such issues it can seem a way bigger deal than it is. Anyway, James was super encouraging and said go for it, then changed his mind and said it was too "bloggy" which I agree with. I think he's possibly forgotten about it and I don't really want it on there anyway, and if it did make it up it would probably be heavily edited. I don't think its right for Flint but I still like it as a tight piece of writing. In the name of Emma Watson, and her brilliant yet not super mind blowing UN speech, here is a slice of my opinion on the effects of a patriarchal society.

For the record, I actually hate those stick figure family bumper stickers.

*  *  *

I have a spectacular name. People have often suggested I pursue a career that results in fame, to put it to good use. Some have also mused that it should belong to a transvestite or a stripper (a classy stripper, Mum, maybe a burlesque dancer) or that I just plain made it up, although I promise them its on my birth certificate. As it stands it has a pretty good ring to it, but when my middle name, Cristel, is thrown in to the mix, it becomes a joke that my Dad still finds funny, twenty five years later. I'm a walking Dad-joke. While working in a bar in London I tried to convince my friends to make a cocktail named after me. It would be served in a champagne coupe, rimmed with sugar and probably embarrassingly pink.

Despite constantly having to spell it for strangers, and people pronouncing it incorrectly more often than not (a teacher once called out “Sean” when taking the role, even though I went to an all girls school) I love my name. Even my ludicrous middle name, with its annoyingly unique spelling. No man will have a surname as cool as “Sugars.” It's part of who I am. This is the first reason that I refuse to change my name when I get married.

In today's Western society where women are no longer the property of their fathers or husbands, and have equal education and economic opportunities, it makes little sense to change our surnames after marriage. While I understand there are some women who don't like their names; perhaps it is particularly difficult to pronounce or has sexual allusions – my grandmother once told me about people called “Sofilia Dicks” and “Miles Long,” - or perhaps they have a paternal family member who has made a life for themselves by dressing road kill in doll's clothes and they'd just rather not be affiliated with them any more. That's fine and I understand that. But why should I assume my husband's identity if I'm happy with my name and not ashamed of any of my aunts' or uncles' professions?

When broaching the subject with Sophie and Lara at a very average CBD bar, Soph stated that it would be ludicrous if someone suggested she change her first name when she got married, which is just as much of her identity, so why should it be any different with a surname. A valid point that surely makes sense to everyone. Yet women are expected to drop their surname without giving it a second thought.

A study in Norway revealed that due to women's increased age at marriage, higher levels of education amongst women, urban residence and economic independence, more and more women are keeping their surnames after marriage. However 90% of American women still accept their husband's name and 50% of men believe it should be legally required. Many argue that the reason is to uphold tradition. Perhaps its because I am a young, educated woman who grew up in a liberal household but using 'tradition' as an excuse seems akin to suggesting a woman is diagnosed with hysteria, in my mind. It just doesn't make sense any more.

Marriage used to be a financial transaction. Families would sell their daughters into another man's family, where she would accept their identity and become a live-in baby maker and kitchen cleaner. And in fact, selling wives from husband to husband was popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Girls were married young as life expectancy was lower, so there was little time for education (not that that was allowed for the fairer sex) or making a name for yourself as an independent adult. The name tacked on to the end of your first was merely a signifier of which man-led household you belonged to.

Erin sent me the link to a discussion forum where a soon to be married man exclaimed that his fiance had recently suggested she would like to keep her surname (perhaps as part of a hyphen) once they were married. Before asking fellow forum visitors if he was in the wrong, he stated that had she discussed this earlier the relationship he certainly wouldn't have continued to the point of proposal. What followed were the kind of misogynistic comments you would expect to hear from Abbot and his cabinet ministers. Perhaps one of my favourite, suggested that the man's fiance clearly didn't want to get married that badly if that's the way she thought.

I fail to see how the modern institution of marriage, which is now based on love and no longer on economic stability, would be affected should the woman want to hold on to a symbol of her identity she has made for herself for the last twenty five years or so. Surely that's the part of her that you have fallen in love with and wish to marry in the first place.

In today's modern world of independently successful women like Beyonce, Tina Fey and even Julia Gillard, surely we're not expecting women to submit to the antiquated ideologies of marriage that allowed spousal rape and denied women access to their own finances and property.

I'm not saying that all women should refuse to change names, lest they be accused of being anti-feminist and undoing generations of work by dedicated bra burners. If a woman wants to change her name that is fine, although I would be sceptical of her reasoning. I just think the archaic expectation that women are always the one to drop their names should stop.

Some brides choose to change their surname so their children and their family unit will all have the same name. However this doesn't mean the woman necessarily has to change hers, as it just as easy for the man to take on her family's identity. In fact, some family friends of mine used an online name generator to invent their own when they tied the knot. Meaning that both husband and wife are letting go of their past identities and creating their own family identity separate from (but still linked to) their parents' names. Even I would consider letting go of my fancy stripper title for this equal name changing technique.

A friend of mine, whose mother was the first woman in Queensland to keep her surname after marriage, was telling me about her family's names. Her and her two other siblings have her Dad's surname while her mother has retained her surname and sits atop the family like a protective chicken over looking its coup. Well, I believe that is how she described it to me; you'll have to trust me that it was far more poetic and profound under the influence of several Tuesday evening beers.

While the feminist inside me approves of this drunken bird analogy, I fail to see why names are that important to family. Considering today's families consist of different races and orphans, foster kids, surrogate mothers, guardian grandmothers, test tube babies and the neighbour's cat after they went to Gibraltar on long service leave and never came home - why would a common surname suggest there is any more or less love in the modern mish mash family unit. There can be just as much support and passion between people who all look and sound the same as there can from an adopted, Frankenstein-esque group of adults, children and animals.


And besides, the stick figure family on the back of your minivan is going to look just the same if the mother has kept her name. Maybe one day mine will have a little pink cocktail in her hand.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thursday

Yesterday was kind of a crazy day.

It started off pretty much the same as every other day. I had scrambled eggs on toast and thought about how my experience of breakfast would be different if I was blind. I dropped a bit of egg on my desk and didn't notice it fall off, if I was optically challenged I wouldn't have noticed until I put my hand in it. How weird.

This made me realise how badly I need a job. And something to do with my time. So I applied for a Senior Barista position at a fancy restaurant in Cottesloe, thinking it would be like The Breakfast Club but western suburbs style. We shall see.

Then I raced off to meet my cousins Cath and Dave to head to Freo for a meeting in the MANY building with Spacemarket. We talked about how Fremantle is changing as WA's second city, how the community of the MANY building works (many hands make light work) and how Western Salvation fits in to that. We agreed that WS would get one month workshop space from the first of October and three months retail space from the first of November. It's all happening.

I started thinking maybe I shouldn't try and get a job. Given that we're only going to get out of Western Salvation what we put in, it would be better if at least one of us could work on it full time. There's just so much to do.

We parted ways excited and amped but ready for the next few months. Its so satisfying to have some dates to work towards. I felt like I had all this pent up energy and plans to develop the idea but without a deadline they always fizzled out. Now I'm developing our facebook page and looking at other networking, marketing options. Plus I'm going to the Karrinyup SwapMart next Sunday to trial my Book Bundle idea and see how it goes. I also have a garbage bag full of clothes to get rid of. Come and say hi!

Then I drove home in peak hour traffic, talking to myself the whole way about what I can do for WS. I took the dogs for a walk while listening to Lolita the audio book. I tried to read it a few years ago and just thought "gross its some old guy who wants to fuck small girls" but listening to Jeremy Irons read it is like listening to poetry. It's magical.

As I was captivated listening to Nabokov's melodic descriptions I failed to stop Bobbi from running into the lake and had to hose her down when we got home. I had a quick shower and then dressed and drove to Ella's. She had agreed to accompany me to view a bike I had found on gumtree a few days earlier. Something about going on my own completely terrified me. I had looked at a bike a couple of months ago, and in the description the owner had written "in no rush to sell, want to make sure it goes to a cool home." They idea of having to prove how cool I am, to give someone money in exchange for an object is pretty hard to grasp when you've been sitting around all day every day thinking about all the stupid things you've ever said or done.

Thankfully "Rod" was a very friendly middle aged guy. He was playing basketball with his son and wife when we turned up. He happily adjusted the seat for me and made sure I understood the difference between fixed wheel and single speed (cute!). I rode it down the road and nervously made a "Thanks! See you later!" joke over my shoulder as I left Ella awkwardly chatting with him in the drive way. It felt pretty incredible. Really, I wanted to replace Frankie, my rusty frankenbike from London so I had reasonably low (but particular) expectations. It was smooth and comfortable and both brakes worked! He apologised for the scratches (which I still haven't found) as he told me a few other people were coming tomorrow but it was mine if I wanted it. Well, that's it then. It's mine. I mean, it's possibly a little too big but not such a size that I can't ride it (I think I have freakishly long legs) and I probably should have haggled the price down but that also terrifies me and I think actually he could have sold it for a lot more. A new mojo bike is about $600, he was asking $300 and I gave him $295 as I started piling coins out of my wallet and he said not to bother. He also said if I need any help or if I change my mind I can bring it back to him in a week or so. I'm pretty stoked.


I went back to Ella's, with my new bike sitting quietly in the back ready to loved and adored, and we ate dinner while we watched a documentary about Freud's influence on marketing and crowd behaviour. I kept tuning out and thinking about my day. Western Salvation! Shiny bike! Fremantle! Bullhorn handle bars! Marketing! Gold rims! After we had both painted our nails, we turned the documentary off and brainstormed as many words for vagina as we could (apparently Lloyd needed them for something), looked at houses in the Hollywood Hills and Hamptons on google earth and then looked at a list of "Infinity pools that will blow your mind." It was a pretty great Thursday night.

So, I'm writing this on a day that marks exactly one year since I came home. This is the first time I've lived in one city for a year since  2010. Staying in Perth and buying a bike were the two main goals I had since leaving London. Other non achievements included growing out my hair (done), paying back my parents (not done) and moving out (still in same bedroom). But I'm getting there!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The other day

The other day I was so bored I coloured my lips in with black and white eye liner to see what it would look like.

It looked weird.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 positives about temping other than "its not hospitality"

Because now that I have worked two full days as receptionist cover I have the authority to make these judgements. I'm scrounging around for some positives to get me through this, even though I volunteered and thought it would be a good idea.

You sit down all day
Standing up is tough. My feet would ache and my shoulders and legs and back and everything and its exhausting. Receptionists are provided with a comfy office chair right in front of the phone and computer they must man (lady) at all times. There will be an ergonomic foot stool directly in front of the chair and they will have no option but to sit in the position, as demonstrated in the manual, replicating someone with 'good office posture.' When I came home on Thursday I felt like I had been sitting in exactly the same position for eight hours and had this huge desire to run and dance and do yoga and swimming and move my body in every way I could imagine.

You have a computer connected to the internet in front of you
The first place I went to made me do things when I wasn't answering the phones, but Sheena, the Office Manager from the second temp place actually said "you can just browse the web, or whatever" when I asked if there were any tasks that needed to be completed. Even with explicit permission to use non company approved websites, I still felt like I was doing something wrong so I avoided the fun ones like reddit and Facebook. I pretended to be interested in the latest disgusting statement from Christopher Pyne on the ABC news website before I realise all I really wanted to do was continue reading my David Sedaris book (the one I lost in Melbourne). Instead of pulling the book out of my bag at my feet, I searched for some of his other articles online. Consequently I spent most of my eight hour shift reading his essays on The New Yorker; I read so much that I started to think like him. Coming soon: a post about how I can almost do push ups after three months of Pilates and how this relates to my Born-Again pre-primary teacher and the emotional damage that she inflicted on me as a four year old.

If you make a mistake, you won't be there later to deal with the repercussions
This is possibly the best point about temping. If I don't know how to do something I can pretty much just be all "lol soz I'm a temp" and someone else has to deal with it. Even when I really hate the work I'm doing, I usually still try and do it to the best of my ability but this temping set up just lends itself to increased levels of apathy on my part.

Endless supply of chocolate biscuits
I'm fairly sure offices are the main customers for Arnotts. My first day temping I ordered over $100 worth of Tim Tams from Woolworths because they were on sale and they have to have their chocolate biscuits. From my extensive experience I have noticed this is probably related to the overweight admin staff.

All offices are the same
In the same way that all airports are kind of the same, that particular sense of familiarity is evoked. There will always be that ergonomic chair strapping you in for the day, office space dividers, plain kitchens that always make me feel sad, automatic hot and cold taps, fluorescent lights that make your skin feel gross and pine reception desks. Even the phone script is very similar. At this last place I went to I had to say "Good morning, Sirius Resources, this is Sian speaking." By mid morning I dropped the "speaking" so there was one less S. I was reminded of a chapter in Sedaris' book when he goes to a speech therapist who taunted him and his lisp so he learnt to speak by avoiding S's. Maybe I should read another book for a while.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My second experience with an amolst-cult

Sometime last week, my friend Ella sent me an email inviting me to join her at a free business convention on the following Saturday. It could be useful for Western Salvation, she said, and if its shit it would be great to have a cynical friend there to sit and make fun of people. I wasn't sure if I could make it for registration (between 8am and 9am) as I had to move out of Lloyd's parents' place (I had been house sitting for three weeks) and I had a possible family commitment later that afternoon (visiting relatives from San Diego). Eventually things straightened out, the family day moved to Sunday and it turned out I had my dates mixed up and Lloyd's parents were coming home three days earlier than I thought. I could attend the convention! Plus Ella said she was going to make me a sandwich for the day. Possibly with deli meats.

While standing in the foyer of the convention centre, Ella and I discussed our plans for that evening and lamented the fact that we couldn't write our own novelty name tags. A middle aged man approached and interrupted us to ask if we had noticed that according to the program there were to be no women speakers for the day. I was almost annoyed that I hadn't noticed this, and then I remembered that it was 8:43 on a Saturday morning, I was mildly hungover and I hadn't even bothered to open the program yet. The three of us discussed our business plans and the importance of recycling, Ella and the man talked about tax and superannuation within the arts industry while I gazed off in to the distance and wished my coffee tasted more like coffee and less like a cup of hot, sweet dirt. As the man walked away, I said I was worried he was going to ask one of us to get on stage and talk. Ella said "give me a microphone and I'll find something to talk about."

We all filed into one of the rooms and filled up the middle front section. For a free event that was supposedly teaching us trade secrets there were a lot of empty seats. Eventually Richard Bell, the MC burst on to stage in his ill fitting suit. I'm sure it once looked very smart on him, but the way it stretched around his thighs and chest gave the impression he had worked out a lot and not thought to update his suit measurements. He spoke in simple sentences and requested the audience's demonstration of understanding by show of hands during and at the end of every point he made. We also frequently had to turn to the person next to us, tell them what we wanted out of today and occasionally yell idiotic things like "I'M GREEDY" and then do it louder and louder. I fucking hate that shit. Richard talked about how successful he is and how far he's come from living in his car after he left school and how beautiful his wife is and how we could have it all too if we followed the advice given out today. He spent a lot of time talking about and explaining social media and checking in, tagging and hashtagging the events of the day. I am sceptical of people who think social media is the duck's nuts. Yes it is a powerful marketing tool, no it is not amazing that you can now change the length of time that people can view your snapchats. I'm surprised he didn't try and sell us the supposed merits of QR codes. After talking for a while without really saying anything he introduced the Executive Director of The Entourage (totally forgot they called themselves the most douchebag name known to man, oh and the whole day was called the "unconvention" because they're cool, I guess), Jack Delosa.

A video was played about Jack's merits that I was sure was a joke. It was filled with tacky, but flashy graphics, punchy drum beats, snippets from TV interviews (where he was always slouched in his chair - he's just that successful! He doesn't even need to sit up straight when on TV) and spinning newspaper headlines. I really want to watch it again.

Jack is 26 and left school when he was 4 and now he's an amazing and talented entrepreneur worth 70 bajillion dollars and also with a stunningly beautiful wife who is 80% legs and perfect blonde hair. We all seemed to be there to learn from the master, Jack. People went ape shit when Richard gave away one of his books for free. He used the words "fricking" and "cool" way too often for anyone to regard him as such and he seemed convinced that the secret to business success almost completely resides in dropping out of university. Jack also made us put up our hands every three and half seconds and smile and cheer and generally act like school children. He also instructed us to write down various, nonsense phrases and sentences so that we could learn from them. For a group of people who appeared to very proud of going against the status quo and not bothering with formal education, it seemed a bit rich to expect us to come to them and learn from their experiences in such a basic way.

The first of many of Jack's golden business nuggets almost made me laugh out in disbelief at the nonsense that was being pedalled at the audience. He was talking about how difficult it is to start a business when the people around you can't see the future world you're living in and they tell you not to quit your job or drop out of school. But you have to stay strong to your vision, don't listen to the negative comments because only you can see the difference you will be making. He summed this up by saying "When the voices inside your head are louder than the voices outside your head, you know your business is working/dream is beginning/life is successful." I can't remember the exact ending to this because I was focussing on controlling my breathing and internalising my laughter.

Maybe its because I stayed in school and then went on to complete tertiary education in this specific field but I was under the impression that if the voices in your head are louder than the voices outside your head, you should seek psychiatric help. Also, you probably shouldn't start a business.

The seminar continued with more crowd participation and simple self-congratulatory rhetoric from Jack. Every now and again he would ask the audience to pick up their pens once more and repeat the deluded sentence so everyone could make sure they had it correctly written down in their programs with special note taking space. There were plenty of reminders that we could all update to VIP experience, which for $147 gave you front row seats, lunch, a signed book, some other things and the opportunity to pick Jack's brain about how he became so fricking cool. There were several attempts at jokes, none of which were funny.

An example of their legendary humour.

But I was having a great time, laughing at the absurd suggestions and wanky self help style slogans, generally feeling superior with my education when I realised I was the only one laughing. With the probable only exception of Ella, sitting next to me, enthusiastically taking notes to write a comedy sketch on the convention, everyone else in the room was lapping it up. And then I felt very sad and sorry for the people around me and started texting people who were using their Saturdays appropriately. I paid attention for long enough to realise that instead of applauding audience participation in the regular way that would happen within polite society, Jack had done away with that and requested that we clap once, in unison on the count of three. He called it "giving some love." I felt sick and I wanted out.

Before we broke for a quick break, Richard was back on the stage announcing that another member of The Entourage had been nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and decided that he should be forced to complete the challenge on stage in front of everyone. In his suit! This was apparently hilarious to Richard and his ill-fitting suit and I was suddenly reminded of Gob from Arrested Development. Don't worry, the third Entourage dude didn't ruin his suit because they only poured ice cubes on him and very little water. Thank god. Richard had the crowd standing up and everyone immediately pulled out their phones to film this stranger completing the challenge for all the wrong reasons. I bet these are the kind of people who clap at the end of movies.


After a quick wee break, Ella and I chatted to Eda, who seemed to think these guys were actually geniuses and we all had a lot to learn from them, we decided our Saturday would be better spent sitting in the sun and eating those sandwiches she had made. We lasted two and half hours. The convention lasted eight hours. I wish I could have stuck it out for the comedic element but it was just too painful. And I had the sneaking suspicion that our bros from the Entourage were backstage laughing at everyone's stupidity for believing their motivational nonsense. Or maybe not. Maybe because they dropped out of school they thought they were actually helping people.

Ella and I discussed what had just happened to us. I pointed out that it was odd, and cult-like, that everyone was in suits and corporate attire yet Jack, the leader, the guru, the saviour, was in smart casual chinos and sneakers. Ella mentioned that their advice was assuming we all already had brilliant business ideas and just needed help working out how to turn that in to millions of dollars, yet the reason people often go to those things is because they WANT an idea. They want to know where they can get one or steal one that they can turn it in to the millions of dollars. Learning business is one thing but its completely useless if no one is going to buy into your shitty idea in the first place. While I understood the Entourage was about turning everyone into entrepreneurs rather than business owners, I thought there was unfair assumption that people with start ups were only interested in turning their vision into a profit and selling the company on to someone else. Most start ups happen because people have that vision and want to be a part of stopping landfil and making recycling cool or running a production company. 



The convention really was a parody of itself. I commented on how effective 30 Rock was at satirising business and as we walked with our bubble tea towards the Supreme Court Gardens Ella explained to me what synergy actually means (its actually a thing!). The sense of community they created was quite clever, and powerful for motivating people who are feeling lost and unsupported by their friends and family. The interaction and the smiles and the hash-tagging all make the act of "giving some love" seem more worth while. Projecting the idea that these guys were giving away their secrets all in the name of helping us was very generous of them and only enhanced this new age cult feeling. I can't imagine ever wanting to belong to that kind of thing. Maybe not something that is so obviously trying to win me over, anyway.

In reality, I can criticize all I want but these jerks are still going home to their leggy blonde wives and millions of invested dollars while I sit in my childhood bedroom with my Centrelink money and unpaid HECS debt.

The Unconvention Instagram account liked this. Are they loving our piss-take and not perturbed by it or do they not understand that someone squeezing water into a bubble tea straw and suggesting that's as successful as they're likely to be for the next quarter is probably not a great result after being educated by the almighty Entourage? I'm curious.


I'm sure there were more golden moments, Ella seemed to be taking a lot of notes while Lara and I discussed me being the Original Gangster that everyone refers to and Lloyd texted that he holds unfavourable public speakers in the same light as the paedophile from Donnie Darko, but I just couldn't pay attention any more. I spent my afternoon going through Jack's instagram which, as you would imagine, is filled with inspirational gems that make you feel better about yourself.

This one had Ella and me in fits all night.

Perhaps this one is a good example of why you should stay in school.

So much magic.

I wish I had seen this before the day, so we could have cured my hangover with hair of the dog and turned this in to a drinking game.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend

I spent my Centrelink money on flights to Sydney and Hobart in November
I am pretty damn excited to hang with Su and Rob in Sydney and Jessie and Ali in Tasmania. Weeeeee!

My cousin offered me a job editing her PhD
In second year I pretty much dreamt in APA formatting so that will be fun to return to.

I went to the new Northbridge Brewery
It was underwhelming. I ordered a Pale Ale which according to the tasting notes I would like if I like Sierra Nevada and LC Pale Ale. Perfect! I took my first sip, from my pint that had two inches of head, and assumed they had accidentally poured me the lager instead. The night improved when we went to Ezra and sat next to a 30 year old woman who was a genuine fan of One Direction. She said she really wanted one of those electric toothbrushes that sing songs so she could literally have One Direction in her mouth.

This important update from Mum




















Spending all of Sunday on the couch
I watched Office Space, The Killing (the Danish one, obvz) and had a nap after I exhausted myself thinking about where to get nachos in South Perth.













Dinner party at Gemma's
Gemma got accepted to cook on Master Chef so she practised on us. Given my culinary induced nap, this was an excellent end to my weekend. There was wine and fried parsnips and tiny carrots and controversial dinner conversations.

This song
I am obsessed. And have subjected Monash to watching me dance around the house while I play it on repeat.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tradies

Sometimes I think about how precise construction work is. How exact and perfect and polished the finished product of building a house or a chair or tiling a floor has to be. And how weird it is that usually the people creating such perfect objects are big burly men who exist on a diet of sausage rolls, Dare Iced Coffee and Winnie Blues. Their fluro shirt is stretched tight over their bulging gut and they adjust their balls with permanent paint stains on their calloused fingers. And that's kind of beautiful, that something so exact, so equal, so smooth is the result of all that grunting and swearing and testosterone.

In slightly related news, this one time in London my friends and I played a game where we asked everyone who they would want their celebrity dad to be (yes, I realise this is weird for twenty-something girls to be thinking about, I didn't question it at the time). I said Kevin McCloud and I won.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

My fist day temping

I thought getting out of hospitality would fix all my problems. I thought sitting at a desk and answering phones was going to be the new me. There were a bunch of reception/admin roles advertised on Seek and Gumtree that I thought would be rad but needed at least 3 decades of experience. So what better way to get a step up, than by doing temp work!

Bre said her housemate's girlfriend works for a recruitment agency and could potentially help me get work in an art gallery! Yes! This sounds great! Everything is coming up Milhouse!

So Bre gives me her business card, and I notice she works for one of the big corporate temp/recruiting agencies, which is not a good sign. When I go in for an interview she asks me to take out my nose ring and says "its nothing personal," excuse me lady, but that bit of metal is my favourite thing about my face and there's a reason I paid someone to stick a needle through my cartilage. It is personal. She suggests I get one of those clear plastic studs as a way to "meet me half way." Considering I regard those studs in the same light as transparent bra straps and transition lenses (everyone can still see them!) I decide to begrudgingly remove my ring in the morning and put it back in when I get home. She also said work in an art gallery is very unlikely. These developments, although not unexpected, lead me to wallow in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

 About half a week later, I get a call in the morning to cover a receptionist's desk for an engineering firm in Osborne Park while she is off sick for the day. No problem! I run around making breakfast and coffee, take Monash (Lloyd's dog) for a quick walk around the block so he can bury his nose in everyone's gardens, get dressed and head to Osborne Park. I struggle to find a parking spot (its after 10am by now) and leave my car in a visitor's bay for a different building, just so I can let the staff know I have arrived. With instructions of somewhere to park, I circle the block and find a paid street vacancy and quickly power walk back to the building. I am flustered and hot and out of sorts but I am ready.

I report to Jackie who, although nice enough, has the kind of twangy whine that makes you embarrassed to be Australian. She shows me to my desk, right in the front of the door, and introduces me to the other receptionist, Nikita an overweight Kiwi who doesn't appear to have any discernible personality. Jackie explains to me that I will be answering the phone and transferring calls to the office staff while entering time sheet details into MYOB. I get that sudden child like rush of fear and anxiety and think "no no no no no I don't want to I don't want to you can't make me where is my mum."

I fuck up both entering the details and answering the phones. Thankfully, Nikita and Jackie are both patient with me and explain how to do it properly. I also check the supplies cupboard and order more stationary, as well as refilling water bottles and doing the dishes from a meeting. I get out of hospitality and I still have to do the fucking dishes.

While on my 30 minute lunch break, I sit at Aroma, the only cafe near by, and eat my shit and overpriced quinoa salad. I think about how completely boring and horrible this is. I've never felt more motivated to go back to uni or try harder to get a job in the arts industry. Hell, I would even rather be a barista. A barista with my boss saying mean things about me behind my back. I didn't realise how much fun it is working in a cafe or restaurant. I walk in, probably hungover, wearing whatever the hell I want and hug my friends. We chat and laugh at how clumsy I am. I joke with customers and make fuckin' ace flat whites that people compliment me on and probably put on Instagram. Then I do the dishes and sing out of key and generally entertain everyone in my immediate vicinity. I really took all that for granted. Being surrounded by fellow weirdos every day is pretty tops, even when my hands were rotting from doing the dishes all the time.

Five o'clock rolls around and I thank Jackie and Nikita for their patience and help and head back to my car feeling pretty dejected about everything ever. And very much looking forward to taking off my bra (my only beige one that had to be worn under my white blouse, and is also extremely uncomfortable). As I get in my car, I notice there is something under my windscreen wiper. A $100 parking fine. Well fuck you, City of Stirling. What a waste of shitty day. Then I sit in peak hour traffic and wonder how people can do this for decades. Literally decades. Oh and I'm fairly sure I had to repierce my nostril to get my nose ring back in, too.

I knew it wasn't going to outrageously fun and rewarding, but I thought there would at least be a little bit of that first day excitement about pretending to be a real adult. But I really just hated all of it. It was sterile and impersonal and boring and I want nothing to do with the corporate world.


I was expecting something like Workaholics or Ilana from Broad City. Where they're generally shit and do what they want but seem to get away with it because they're temps and it doesn't matter. But the reason those shows were written was because they sat through soul destroying jobs and used it to channel their creativity into something amazing. Or something. I think I'd just like to be friends with Ilana, really.

So, in scrounging around for some semblance of a positive outcome, I am deciding that it's good that I tried office work and learnt that it's definitely not for me. Now I will feel more motivated to keep studying, or looking for particular work outside of the corporate world. In other news, I got my centrelink money (I'm thinking a sneaky little trip to Sydney/Tasmania or buying a bike) and I am currently wearing one of my favourite jumpers that I thought I lost on the way back from London but it turned out Mum just washed it and its been sitting in Dad's wardrobe for a year. Its the kind of jumper that feels like home.

I will leave you with this video from Six Feet Under when Claire starts doing temp work.


P.S I haven't given up altogether. I've asked my recruitment officer for "less corporate work" and maybe more data entry based assignments. I'll keep going because I'm bored and would like some monies but I'm looking for other work too. I'm off to find out where I can buy one of these tshirts.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

8 things that remind me I lived in London

1) When people on the escalators in train stations stand still on both the left and the right. Do you not realise you would be eaten alive in tube stations?! One side is for standing and lamenting the beginning of another day wearing pants and the other is for workin' those glutes and halving your escalator ride time. Get it right and get out of my way.

2) The smell of mulled wine. I made mulled wine last weekend and I almost started crying in the kitchen while I waited for my friends to turn up. I had one of those sudden, sweeping rushes of memory that wash over you in multitude of senses and emotions. I remembered walking around East London with Jess (South African) when it was super cold, but not quite snowing, and trying small pop up, amazingly-out door bars that sold sweet, spicy mulled wine in the small plastic cups you use for water in the doctor's waiting room. I remembered walking around an even colder market place in Edinburgh and being desperate to find a mulled wine stall so we could cup the warmth in our frosty, gloved hands. I remember making mulled wine with Jessie (Australian) on the best Christmas Day ever.

3) Bikes. All bikes, anywhere, any time. Especially watching people do that thing where they start standing up from a stopped position, and they're really pedalling but not going very fast at first and they kind of wobble the bike from side to side as well as their body bopping up and down, trying to get their momentum up. I'm sure there's a fancy Tour de France name for it. Dunno why, but that shit gets me every time. I miss having a bike. I really should buy one.

5) Listening to Alt J. I can feel the jolt of the bus as it careens around the Old Street round about. Its snowing and dark outside - I'm starting work at 6am. I'm really not enjoying this job, but I think still want to live in London. I hope that finding a new job will make it better. It will. 'Matilda' will soon remind me of my first few day time shifts at The Breakfast Club when everyone was exciting and new and it seemed like the best place to work ever. It kind of was.

6) Come Dine With Me. I've been doing lots of house sitting for people with Foxtel lately. I hate Foxtel. But I watch it anyway (for example, as I type this I am also re-watching Bored To Death - and an adorable chocolate Labrador called Monash is snoring in front of me. I think its partly the novelty of sitting on a couch with a TV instead of awkwardly lying in bed with my laptop propped up on my chair, a pillow and two Frankie magazines so it won't overheat. At any given time Foxtel will always be airing Sex and The City (hilariously outdated topics when you compare it to Girls or Inside Amy Schumer), Friends, The Simpsons/Futurama, Seinfeld, Veronica Mars, Secret Diary of A Call Girl and several other series I have already seen several times but will choose to watch again over Keeping Up With The Kardashians (or "Karshadians" as my sister calls it) any day. Also why are there ads on Foxtel?! Surely no one has the attention span to stay on the same channel if ads are involved any more. Anyway, Daniel and I used to watch Come Dine With Me with a cheap bottle of wine and joint after work. Its totally crap and definitely insulting to your intelligence, but I still kind of love it.

7) My love of breakfast condiments. I've always been a fan of condiments, but I frequently crave a full English breakfast with ketchup (it took me so long to learn to say that rather than "tomato sauce"), HP or brown sauce and maybe a sprinkle of tobasco too. The combination of bacon and tomato and mushrooms and brown sauce in one bite is one of life's simple pleasures, and best enjoyed at Cafe 338 on Bethnal Green Road.

8) When after a particularly hard and shitty day of slave labour/volunteering at Pica, I asked a fellow volunteer if she wanted to join me at the bar (about twenty metres from where we were standing at the time) for a pint, she laughed at me for saying "pint". And then when I saw her again, she asked how my "pint" was. It was fucking magical, thanks for asking. I don't get it. I ordered a pint. I got a pint. It was a pint of beer in a pint glass. Its not like I walked up the bar, removed the tobacco pipe from my mouth and ask for a "hot toddy, cheers old chap" while peering over my monocle. Well I don't really want to be friends with some one who thinks an invitation to have a pint together is odd, anyway. I'm definitely would have said this whether I lived in London or not, I just wanted to complain about it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boyfriend Jeans

I bought a pair of boyfriend jeans today.

I was supposed to be volunteering at Pica but I accidentally got there three hours early (after thinking I was going to be late and sprayed perfume in my eye in my haste to get ready in time - very painful, do not recommend). So I sat in the library and read my book, 'How Proust Can Change Your Life' by Alain de Botton. Growing bored of that (I'm not particularly interested in Proust, and the internet has ruined my attention span), I ventured out into the grey drizzle in search of a pint of cider or a bowl of Pho, yet found myself in Myer looking to replace the book I lost in Melbourne, 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris. Their limited biography section didn't have it so I decided to see if the store's constant sales included a pair of casual jeans. The ones I was wearing were so tight Lloyd once asked if I was wearing jeggings, and the crotch rip was approaching indecent exposure levels.

Oh and also the volunteering gig was cancelled for the day altogether. I deserved gifts.

So I'm pretty excited to wear a pair of slouchy jeans that are easy to chuck on; they are very low commitment pants, will go with all tshirts and colours and are not leggings. I can wear my old tiger cub shirt, with the bleach stain on the back, and roll up the cuffs and my sleeves and wear jelly sandals and round black sunnies with messy hair and look rockin' but be totally comfortable too, knowing that you can't see the outline of my labia or exactly where my underwear line is. But the whole 'boyfriend' clothing range really bums me out. And its not because I'm single and I have to actually pay for boyfriend clothes rather than wear my significant other's attire. 

I'm calling a sexism on this one. They did a sexism on us, ladies. 

It irks me because this trend suggests that women can't wear loose fitting, unflattering clothing unless it actually belongs to a man. Her man. Boyfriend fit garments tell the world that you're cool, sexy and interesting enough to have a boyfriend. And perhaps you've recently had so much sex in a short amount of time you completely forgot, understandably in your post orgasmic haze, which pair of jeans were yours and threw on the closest thing to the sweaty bed, where you've made your home for the last several days. But now you must journey out in to the real world, a break in your passionate sexathon, in search of sustenance and congratulations for looking so damn fine in men's clothing. 

Its almost like they're saving face; "please excuse my dishevelled appearance - I'm not wearing my usual second skin, wet look, spray on trousers, I'm wearing something that wasn't designed for me, so its okay." This implies that women must always be wearing clothing that is flattering and attractive. And there is something inherently wrong with suggesting that women must always be at their best, that our appearance is our most valuable asset to the world around us.

But they're not even men's! They're still tailored to a curvy body. They're more shapely than my Cheap Monday jeans, which are actually designed for both men and women to wear (which totally baffles me, btw). I don't have a problem with wearing men's clothing, or in fact your boyfriends clothes (whether or not a sexathon was involved, wearing other people's clothes is rad, especially when they smell like someone you have warm fuzzy feelings towards, and men's clothes really are very comfortable - men's underwear, anyone? Yes? Yes.). I have a problem with the trend and suggesting that this particular cut has been assigned that name and those connotations. I almost wish I hadn't bought them (I held out for so long!) but they're really fucking comfortable and are actually a nice fit. And they were only $60.

If someone comes up with a range of men's clothing called Girlfriend Tees, or Girlfriend Slacks, for the man who wants a fancier, more fitting dress line, maybe I'll ease off, but until then this shit ain't fair.

Maybe I can call them slouch jeans instead. Or maybe just my jeans. I should be comfortable and confident with my appearance in skin tight jeans or baggy unflattering jeans because they're mine and I chose to wear them and they have nothing to do with who I'm rolling around in bed with. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reality Bites

How did I only just find out about this film? Its the best.


Plus once I got over Ethan Hawke in a role that isn't Jesse from Before Sunrise, Jesse from Before Sunset or Jesse from Before Midnight, it was fun noticing how much of the mid nineties fashion is totally trendy again now.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Dream

What I really want is someone to come up to me and say "hey I noticed that you're really good at this and your strengths lie within this industry so you should pursue this professionally. Oh and also here is a job application for an amazing opportunity that is perfectly suited to you and your current situation and all you hopes and dreams; I have already put in a good word for you. Go, my child! Go forth and seize your magical, prosperous and professionally and romantically successful future! Satisfaction and happiness awaits you!"

That's all I want.

Here is a small collection of cartoons I found while looking for one that I remember seeing a billion times before and I think sums up my thoughts brilliantly. It ends with the girl wrapped in her doona like a burrito or something.






Anyway, I'm off to watch more Borgen and practice my Danish for when I meet my love, Pilou.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Femineminemineminism

I've read about this particular comment in feminist articles far and wide. In fact, even in that book "Destroying the Joint", which I finally finished reading about a month a go, many of the essays discuss that a woman in the public eye is under a particularly harsh level of scrutiny over her appearance compared to a man.


I remember around about year ten, we had a female politician* come and talk us about what it's like being a woman in the government. Pretty much all I can remember about the talk is that she mentioned you must have 'political hair' - referring to a hair style that cannot be messed, mussed or moved either by the weather or your opponents' attacks and criticisms. She seemed to be implying that a woman's appearance holds more value than her intellect.

This is usually the point raised in the articles on the topic. A woman in the public eye is seen to be representing all women rather than just herself, and therefore must be better, the best she ever could be. As quoted in the above book, "because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, 'She doesn't have what it takes.' They will say 'Women don't have what it takes.' "

Yet even with this is mind, last night while watching the Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop comment on Peter Greste's future in an Egyptian jail, I pointed out to Mum that she was probably wearing too much eye liner for the situation. Noticing that she had finally laid her hideous early 90s I'm-from-a-parody-business-sketch hairstyle to rest, I was forced to choose something else to criticize.


If the current Foreign Minister was a man, I wouldn't have noticed his appearance and instead would have listened to what he was saying, thought about how awful this news must be for the Greste family or more likely, just resumed rubbing Georgie's tummy.

So why is it, that as a proud, semi-well read-ish feminist (I recently explained to a friend why she was actually a feminist, despite her contrary beliefs) who is often painfully aware of how horrible women are to each other and the detriment this is causing to the public opinion of feminism (probably why my friend wants to distance herself from the word), I still nit picked Bishop's make up? Shouldn't I be thinking "hey, its great that a lady is Foreign Affairs Minister." Aside from the fact that she's a member of the Liberal Party, obvz.

Apart from Clive Palmer, I have never cared about a male politician's appearance - I swear to god one time he went on TV with his shirt half unbuttoned and gave the general impression that he was oozing out of his seat. And also Abbot's monkey ears and filthy smirk but I think they're more directly related to a general dislike of him.

And Gina Rinehart? Mum and I still don't understand how she can be the richest woman in Australia (or is it the world?) yet she doesn't seem to want to spend money on a dress (or on someone to choose a dress for her) that suits her, uh, rotund shape, or perhaps even a hair brush. I dressed up as her for Halloween last year.

Ella: I came as G Dragon
Me: Hey me too!
Ella: Hey Tracy! Take a photo of us! 
I think it's because women are taught to care about our appearance. And what the woman next to us looks like. We spend hundreds of dollars and hours and tears perfecting the way we look before we leave the house, and constantly checking, reapplying and upgrading while we're out, so much so that it's fucking hard to switch off. Even as lazy as I am with my appearance, I still want to look a certain way and I always notice of how everyone around me is portraying themselves to the outside world. And I seriously judge them on this (don't turn your nose up at me, you do it too). Oh you wear your hair like that? I don't think we would have anything in common. You clearly shop at X so you probably also like Y - gross. When something bad happens we cut and dye our hair (an act we can enjoy thanks to the feminists before us) and when we feel good, we buy a new dress to celebrate. Its ingrained in being a woman.

I once found a thread about make up use on men and woman while I lost myself down the rabbit hole of a stranger's tumblr. Someone had commented that its weird that men look as attractive as they do without make up. They just roll out of bed and bam! that's it, they look babin'. Whereas we have to wash and scrub and moisturise and conceal and contour and outline and perform rigorous daily make overs. The comment underneath simply stated, that its because society has decided men don't need make up; they're beautiful as they are. Needless to say, the original poster's mind was blown.

I don't have an answer to this problem. I just wanted to get this off my chest, I suppose. Admit that I indulge in this faux pas when I know I shouldn't, that I in fact may be part of the subtle misogyny that the tweeters behind #YesAllWomen were trying to highlight. I guess this is where the slut shaming thing and girls giving girls a bad name came from . I can only promise that next time Julie Bishop is on the telly, I'll listen to what she's saying and not criticize the colour of her blazer. Maybe. I'll try.



*I think the politician who spoke to us was Julie Bishop. I mean her policies would definitely be in line with the St Mary's ethos and she used to live in Perth. Eugh.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Darwin

Mum and I went to Darwin to visit Steph last weekend. This was my second visit to the NT capital.


Leaving the house early on Thursday morning, we were dressed in our Perth winter layers finest. Arriving in Darwin in midday and walking across the tarmac we realised our leggings and jumpers were out of place in the hot, balmy day. After peeling off yoga pants and socks, Steph picked us up at the airport, we kissed and hugged, careful not smudge out lipstick. She dropped us off in the city while she finished work not far from Mum's favourite arcade.

We had lunch at the vegetarian canteen just before it closed. The woman has notoriously shitty customer service but she uncharacteristically chatted to us about the weather. Maybe it was because Mum said we had flown from Perth especially for her food. As soon as we'd finished out delicious, fresh salads we headed to Embella, Mum's favourite jewellery shop. And well, I guess judging by my growing collection, I quite like it too. Mum had a voucher from Steph from Mother's day so she bought some earrings, a necklace and a dress for a wedding she's going to in Bali (after I tried the dress on and considered it for myself, of course). I bought some earrings and a ring.


People always seem to think I'm joking when I say I don't like summer, but heat really makes me feel uncomfortable. I was suffering in my non-cotton short dress and went on a desperate search for shorts and a singlet; apparently Cotton On doesn't actually sell cotton clothing any more. After changing into my specially purchased flannel shorts and polyester singlet, I found Mum sitting in an air-conditioned shopping centre chugging a bottle of cold soda water. We ordered iced coffees to satiate our dependence and waited for Steph to finish work.


That night we went to Mindil Beach Markets. Going to markets seems to one of the main attractions of Darwin. I don't have a problem with this, I love markets. When I was travelling, one of the first things I would look up was if there were any markets on while I was there. But once you've been to one, you've pretty much been to them all. Luckily, for Darwin there's some great people watching to be done at markets too. It's almost like London; everyone is from somewhere else. There's a huge mix of nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. There are backpackers, and grey nomads, and Claremont types (as Mum called them) and Bintang wearing mulleted men who appear to be perfectly happy stuck in the late seventies.


We missed the sunset because we were too busy buying one of all the foods on offer. We had paw paw salad (I said I wanted to eat this and only eat this for ever and ever and all the time), baked eggplant, some kind of fried soy bean product and fish or squid or something I can't remember. We grabbed a juice and headed back to Steph's dust covered car. On the way out we passed an organic natural nappy stall, I remember noticing the owner's child was wearing a regular plastic nappy. Tut tut.


Friday morning we spent at the Wave Pool. I remember thinking wave pools are silly, especially when they're twenty metres from the actual beach. I also remember staying in the waves longer than Mum and Steph, so I guess they're not that silly. We had lunch at a pub across from the pool. After my one schooner of beer and much needed exposure to the sun I remember having a strong desire to nap when we got home. So I did.


That night we went to the Deckchair Cinemas. Steph is on the committee so she had free tickets. We had Indian and beer for dinner before we watched a documentary about a man who developed an app to get kids off screens and outside into nature. Somewhat ironic, but pretty clever too. He found all these interesting phenomenon about parents being too controlling and not letting kids do whatever they want, even when sometimes that means hurting themselves and learning things the hard way. And that its parents' fault, rather than the rise of technology. I liked it because it was set in London too.


On Saturday morning, Mum and I drove ourselves to Parap markets. With empty bellies and the memory of delicious crepes from last time we visited, we desperately hunted the stalls. After a few laps we admitted defeat; I had a chicken satay roti wrap and Mum had an egg omelette. Just in time before we killed each other as a result of extreme hangriness. We had a deliciously, toffee like coffee and then headed to the Embella store and bought more goodies. Mum being so passionate about supporting the designer's resort stays in Indonesia, knew there was 15% off that day. Although apparently not in the markets, only in the store we had visited on Thursday. She called Sally, explained who she was and begged for the discount anyway. We got it.


Steph informed us that she wasn't going join us at the markets and could we please pick up a few things for her. We grabbed some lunch for everyone (more paw paw salad for me, obvz) and some flowers for Steph's living room. Unfortunately in our haste, we went to the wrong flower stall first, so we bought all the flowers to make up for it.


Saturday night we had dinner at the Nightcliff Foreshore, from a pizza and pasta pop up. We enjoyed the view and food with mid-strength beer and wine.


On Sunday we went to the Nightcliff markets for our last chance to have crepes. Still nothing! Apparently the owners had gone on holiday that weekend. How selfish! All morning I overheard people complaining and wondering what to do without the crepe stall. I had Pho and a strawberry, mint, lime and honey juice instead. We sat with Steph's friends and each had a turn holding baby Jagger, who seemed nonplussed about being handed around to strangers.


With fully bellies, we headed to Steph's new house in Palmerston, to deliver Dean the lunch we had bought for him while he was fixing the retic. Mum and I decided to be the first ones in their pool. Without bathers or a towel, I tried to sun bake afterwards to dry my bra and knickers before getting dressed again. I just ended up getting sunburnt and hotter than before I swam.


Sunday night we headed to the Greek Glenti (festival) which was technically the main reason we had come up that particular weekend. I had images of the Panighiri (traditional Greek party) I attended in Stavros, Ithaca. And I guess, in reality it was pretty similar. Lots of people ranging in all ages sitting at white plastic chairs and tables, stall after stall of delicious food and a centre stage with entertainment. Although we got our timing wrong and instead of Greek dancing, we watched Dora the Explorer march over a mountain or something. The food possibilities grabbed out attention straight away and we immediately started buying dolmades, tzatiki and pita and barbequed octopus.


We got up and explored some more and decided to buy some dinner for Dean, who was too tired to come with us. Slowly but surely, we bought enough food to have a second Glenti of our own at home. Walking to the car, the three of us carrying polystyrene containers stacked on top of each other, Steph leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I have a souvlaki in my bag too." We ate and ate and ate and ate. Needless to say Mum and I didn't need breakfast or a snack for the trip home the next morning.


I think my favourite thing about Darwin (after hanging out with Steph, obvz) is that it feels like everyone is on holiday all the time. The last time Mum and I went up, when the markets were smaller and quieter (although the crepe guys were there!) and it rained constantly, it still felt like a tropical vacation. Maybe its because so many people are on holiday. And the air is always hot and thick so things just move slowly. There is an abundance of delicious food and the city is surprisingly very colourful (see my instagram from our last trip). I guess the eclectic mix of people adds the feeling of 'anything goes'. Everyone's a little bit different so you can be different and do what you want too. Its a wonderful, relaxing and inclusive atmosphere to be in. I've always loved places like that.




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Western Salvation

So I have joined two of my cousins, Cath and Dave, on a rather huge but amazing project. A few years ago Cath came up with Western Salvation, a community project to promote the restriction of household items going to landfill and encourage recycling, up-cycling and re-purposing of items that can be collected from verge collections.

The idea has now been granted a business start up - Launchpad Scholarship from Spacemarket. This includes three months rent free shop space in the old Myer building in Freo as well as marketing and publicity for the business, which begins in September.

So with my new found abundance of spare time and proclivity for recycling and second hand things, I am helping out Cath and Dave. We had a meeting yesterday and worked out a short term plan and started scavenging for goods among the verge collections around Cath's house in Subiaco. We found a solid wood headboard, metal sheets, concrete blocks, planks of wood, a metal ladder from a bunk bed, bags of polystyrene balls, PVC pipes, twine and ropes, five glass shelves, a trumpet case sans trumpet, picture frames and a functioning golf bag buggy thing. At the moment this now lives on my uncle's front veranda but the next step is to re-purpose this stuff in to useful household items or art or a combination of both. We will then display it in our shop or sell it (on gumtree as well) and promote the idea that these items were otherwise heading to landfill, when they were all in good condition and can still be used instead of buying more objects, that will also inevitably end up in landfill. And this was all from one car load, pretty much from one person's verge. Imagine what could be made, and landfill space that could be saved if this was done consistently throughout the year.



We're also looking at noting and calculating the percentage of types of items people are throwing out and what people are leaving on their verge expecting other people to come and pick it up before the rain destroys it or council collects it. And perhaps we can go through people's verge offerings and take what we need but also take stuff to charity shops as well. Yesterday someone was throwing out a pair of old sneakers that we couldn't really do much with (unless we get some conceptual artists on board! Ideas?) but are likely to be of more use to a shoeless customer in Salvo's than in a hole in the ground.

In selling what we find/repurpose/create we want to tap in to that market of buying something that looks old and recycled, but actually use items that were something else, and stop people from spending lots of money on new items that have been made to look old. We want to make old items look new again. And show people that old, recycled goods can look just as good as brand new items from expensive, designer furniture/art shops. And save the environment at the some time.

So this post is to let ya'll know what I'm up to and also a call to anyone who might be interested in helping out. The more people involved the better! We need people to help scavenge with us, or even just donate old household items/furniture to Western Salvation. We need artists and builders (preferably Perth or Fremantle based) who can help us create new objects. Dad has been teaching me some basic carpentry skills and Erin and I considered doing a TAFE 'Carpentry For Women' course, but the more styles and hands building, the more ways to recycle objects we'll have. We welcome ideas, tips, advice, constructive criticism, love and everything!

I'm currently focussing on making us some business cards. We're thinking of custom made stamps on recycled carboard - old Xmas cards, cereal boxes etc. I'm on the hunt for creatives who want to get involved. Either build/make stuff, sell it in our shop and we'll take a small percentage of the sale price, or we can just display what you make like an exhibition and we'll use your work to promote the idea behind Western Salvation and you as an artist/builder etc. I'm also looking at ways to recycle and resell old, second hand books which can be really difficult if you don't have a second hand book shop or books other than the latest trendy Penguin Classic. So if anyone's got some old books (no book is too daggy or outdated for my idea!) they want to get rid of, send them my way!

Dave is working on a website but until then, this is our facebook page. Get at me, people!