Friday, January 26, 2007

WARNING: not a celebratory post. Some strong language. Contains Themes. May distress young children and zealots.

Happy Australia day, everyone. I know you're as excited as me... which is not very. I know I should care, but quite often I don't know it is/was Australia day until someone else brings it up. Then their reply is invariably 'well, why do you think we have a public holiday, then?' I don't know. Maybe some idiots are riding horses around a track, or perhaps we've got the day off because some woman born into a special family has a birthday somewhere close to this date. There are a lot of public holidays I don't care about.

Of course, this time last year was a big deal. I arrived home on the day before Australia Day, and the holiday was never so approproate in all the history of its celebration - no, not even when they called it 'invasion day'. My Australian friends (three) in Guiyang were very upset about being left behind on the annual day of... what? Barbeques? Endless themed playlists on the radio? Half-assed concerts?

Let me explain myself. I love my country. I really do. I love it with a passion that frightens me. For a large part of my time overseas, while I was happy on a day-to-day level, on a deeper level I was miserable. Many people don't know where they belong. I do. I belong in Australia, in South Australia, in the Adelaide Hills. This is my home, the home of my heart and all that soppy stuff, and when people talk about Indiginous Australians pining away when put in prison, a part of me understands.

Further, I love the culture of Australia, I love its people (mostly). Yes, I hate our Prime Minister with a passion, but most of that is because, well, he's fucking up my country. It's a very personal hate. I love our history, even the unsalibruious parts.

I love our language (maybe I should make a resolution to use it more - strewth. Bonza. Bloody Oath.) I love our traditions, such as they are, and I love our attitude. I never thought all those stereotypes were true, but let me tell you, going overseas makes you see them, like it makes you notice the accent (which, I might add, can be heard across a crowded room. It's that nasal quality.) Although I consider myself quite highly-strung, in our little office overseas I was by far the most laid back person.

What I do not love is advocation of our country over all others. I happen to think it is, in fact, the best country in the world, but if you think yours is better - great. I'd be happy to talk about what makes your country great, too. I love my country in spite of it's flaws (one of which starts with a 'JH') I love it too much to pretend that those flaws aren't there, because I want to make it better. I will never put an Australian flag outside of my house because - well, because it quite frankly is not the Australian way (whatever the hell that means). I don't need a piece of material with the Union Jack on it to remind me what country I come from, thankyou very much.

Less depressingly, I also do not love organised celbration. I am not a crowd-loving people person. I am, in fact, a sit around, drink some tea, kind of gal. (I freaking love that. I just love it) Also, I am contrary. Require me to be enthusiastic, and I will fold my arms in a recalcitrant manner, and 'humph'. So, Australia Day? Not on my list of exciting celebrations.

Actually, I think this and my New Years comments are why I feel so strongly about the Christmas season. December is when I do all of my New Years/Australia Day appropriate thinking. It's Christmas and my Birthday, it's hot. It's nostalgic - those long summer nights sure bring back the childhood memories, don't they? It's a set time each year, and I spend a lot of the month thinking about where I am this time around, and why I like it, and why I want to be in this beautiful country of mine, and not in someone elses beautiful country. That is why, although most of my eyar overeas passed fairly smoothly, the month of December was sheer hell. It was cold, it was depressing, it was not what December is supposed to be.

Anyway. I had a question. It's a netiquette question. It's about comments. I love to comment on other people's blogs, although I try not to do so if I have nothing to say. what I like about it si that I do have something to say, and that sometimes, when I say it, other people listen. Did that make sense? Anyway, I talked about this last post, blog love, yadda yadda, blah. So, anyway, I know a lot of people talk about trying to reply to every comment. Sometimes people leave an email address along the lines of '' in which case, obviously, no reply is called for. Checking out other's blogs is nice, but as yet I have only had one comment form someone whose blog I do not already read.

So my question is this: when I comment on a blog, and the author replies to me, should I reply back? How long does this go on before it becomes weird and annoying for the person on the other end?

Now that I type this it doesn't sound very important, does it? I have a bit of guilt because I've had a couple comments I haven't replied to in a row, because I read those people's blogs, and I feel like it's not really necessary to reply - we are already interacting. Anyway... I guess I'm just a geek.

In other news, I'm moving tommorrow! Very exciting, but it means no internet for at least a while. I don't know how I'll survive, although i am informed that the internet does not, in fact, supply oxygen, and that non-internet survival is technically possible...

And something for the road: My grandma (who is soooooo cool - more about her some other time) has a habit of giving things away. Since she's lost a whole bunch of weight lately, some of her clothes can now be legitimately be passed on to me, the largest of my generation. I saw her on the weekend, and I scored two shirts for my interview on Monday and a top. The top is black and white stripes, 3/4 sleeves (which I hate, usually), and a sort of turquoise/teal stripe under each arm and for the zip thingy. Placard. Anyway, the point it, the shirt is made by a company called Black Apple, who if theyhave a website, I can't find it. So I put the thing on, and do you know what the first thing that went through my head was?

"*gasp* I'm Inside a Black Apple"

I'm such a geek.... :-D

All cartoons from

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We love knitting. Doesn't mean we don't love our grandmothers.

Some grandmother knitting love.

I think, apart from the fact that, as I have previously mentioned, my grandmother is waaaaay cooler than me, I, along with January One, am sick of the 'beginners knitting' books which contain few if any projects worth knitting and are rude and condescending. Even (especially) teenagers learning things don't want to be talked down to, so why do these books do it? I know not all beginners books do. But the ones I love are the ones that assume that you want to learn, that you can learn, that once you master the knit stitch you will want to learn other things, too.

In aid of which let me tell you that I have just this minute learnt the long tail cast on from with the aid of knitting help, and I am in love. I literally gasped 'oh my god' as I managed to get it to work. I bounced on my chair. It wasn't so much the technique (although, can you say 'awesome'?) it was that I learnt something new. I love that feeling. Next on my list after quilting, I am going to learn to crochet. Yes, that's right, you heard me! Yes! I am a fearless crafter!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I found it!

I saw this on a link from someone else's blog and I've been thinking about terrariums ingeneral and little lambs in particular all week!

Link to the flickr photo

Link to blogpost

Feel the blog love

I didn't realise how much I would love comments. Or how much I love it when I comment on someone else's blog, and then they reply to me. It makes me feel - I don't know. Like this isn't just wanking in cyberspace, you know? Not that I started a blog to be famous and well-liked, or anything (you know, apart from in my dream-land where everybody loves me anyway) I started it with only me in mind, and if other people happened accross it, that would be great.

The thing is, even when I have no personal contact with people, just reading their blogs makes me feel... special? Oh, God, this is definately leaning into pretentiousness. I suppose that was unavoidable - anything meta, any talk about connections with people over great distance, etc, is bound to. Partly I love having a personal 'in' on events elsewhere. I learn best when there's a story involved, which is why I am great at history and not so much at maths (or remembering dates in history. But I can tell you everyone's names!) So i love being able to tell people that there's still smoke over Melbourne because Jac told me so, or that there's a warm snap in (parts of America). I know. I read it on Bittersweet.

But the thing I love best is something that I think I'm making up in my head. Which doesn't make it any the less true. (right?) What I love best is that read these blogs written by (predominately) women who are intelligent and emotional and articulate and resourceful and crafty and who have real lives and who write about real things. And they let me visit their lives for a while - bits of them, anyway. I don't pretend that I know them. But I know some things about them, maybe things that their real-life friends don't. And I love reading these blogs. But what I love even more is that when I'm crafting or trying to do something I haven't done before and it's not going well, or maybe I'm just having a bad day, I know that all these faceless women out there are wishing me well, if only in an abstract kind of way. OK, that's kind of a creepy image. I hope you know what I mean. When someone whose blog I read has had a bad day, I wish them well. I wouldn't fly all the way to see them and tell them that, but I might take the time to comment or email them with the sentiment. And I like to think that there's this great well of blogging goodness, floating in the land of abstracts, this warm, fuzzy monster made up of the thoughts we send to each other.

Okay, definately crossing the line into wankerville, here. But it's true. I guess that's why something like this is so upsetting. Because if you don't want to contribute to the fuzzy-abstract monster, people, then just go away quietly and do something else.

In other news (I use that phrase a lot here, don't I? I never say it in real life. Why would I?) it's been raining on and off for two days or so, here. It was muggy as hell this morning. I don't know if hell is muggy, but it probably is. And then the rain set in, and it's like freaking June here. It's nice, actually. It's been that kind of comfy weather, where you want to stay inside and make soup and maybe bake something, or read a book next to the window, wrapped in something comfy like... oh, I don't know, a flannel quilt? *pause for dramatic effect* Pity I've only just started it, huh?

Yes, that's right. I've started my quilt. My mum's friend who quilts (let's call her A-M, shall we?) came over and helped me work out what all those words that I thought I understood meant when arranged in that order. And thay say knitting is another language! Anyway, it's not even fully cut out, and the rotary cutter is a bit scary, and there were a few minor disasters (had to live up to the name of my blog) r.e. cutting the wrong size and then not having enough fabric for the next bit, but otherwise, very exciting! It may just be finished by winter which, if this weather is anything to go by, will be stinking hot!

Friday, January 19, 2007

And now for something completely different...

Nothing. Well, not really. But I feel blog-guilt. The thing is, although I do have things to say, I don't feel like saying them. I am still camera-less, and I miss the images. Not just as pretty things to look at, but as punctiation for my blog. I want to use them the way Julia does. I don't feel like i can tell you the things I want to - things about colour and craft and the place I live - without showing you them, too. The computer screen is such a hostile medium, for me at least, that I feel that without the personalising photos to prove to you that I am a human being who lives in the world, I can't connect the same way. Maybe this is just me - I have trouble reading off of a screen without breaks for my eyes - but who am I writing this blog for? Mostly me.

That was more eloquent than I thought I'd be. I think.

Anyway, mostly I wanted to tell you two things.

1) About my knitting:

My jumper is finished. (I almost said 'sweater'. Repeat after me: jum-pah. jum-pah. otherwise the joke makes no sense!) The button band is curly, but everyone I've asked about it thought it's supposed to be like that. It looks kind of shell/wave-like. So I'm going to leave it for a while and see if I hate it. Also, it is nowhere near shaped enough, and the armholes are weird - I don't know what shape Jo Sharp thinks people with 110cm busts are, but although I go a long way out, I go a long way in, too.

I bought Big Girl Knits from Amazon (it's not out here) and while there are one or two patterns I want to knit, it was worth the > $40 just for the introduction. Despite being encouraging (You're fat. Don't like that word? OK, you are not skinny. Get over it, move on, do not under any circumstances dress like you are a fatty bumbah. Fat is fine. It's great. It's beautiful - sometimes) there is a great part about shaping, with places to plug your measurements in and equations written out for you. I am not the best at maths, but I am encouraged. I almost want to knit the jumper again to get it right - although I'm not sure how to go about fixing the armholes. I almost need to knit a size or two smaller and the put in extra shaping. Hmmm...

Also, My cardigan for Arwen is on the go. I knitted the whole back before realising that in doing the switcheroo with the needles to get gauge, I'd neglected to switch needles when I needed to. So I was knitting WAY too tight. So, frogged that, started on the front. It's pretty cool. I'm knitting it sans-cables and attatching them later, because my wool is too chunky for the cables. I'm halfway through the second sleeve and I think I might have mixed up the short-row shaping. I haven't checked - it's been on hiatus because....

2) I'm moving out! Finally! I've been living with my parents this last year while I was studying again and it's been... well, let's just say it's been far from ideal. But next weekend I will be moving in with my cousins. I guess I might talk about living arrangements later. But anyway, it's entirely satisfactory except for the fact that I only have a cleaning job which is here. So until I get another job (a better one, please the gods) I will be doing a ridiculous hour commute to the hills. Nevermind, I have an interview on Tuesday. (YAAAAYYY!!!)

Anyway, people of the blogosphere, I really do have things I wish to put out into the ether, but I want to do them properly, with punctuation. So, until next time:

Photo brought to you by You Knit What??

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A New Year is born...

Happy New Year, all.

It seems so insignificant, somehow. As telfair has said, it really is a second tier holiday, for me at least. I think it's important to have an occasion for reflection on the old year and the new, etc, but I guess i do that at christmas. Particularly this year. Last year's christmas will be stuck in my mind forever as being shit. I was in China, I had to work, it was cold. It was shit. And the perky TA's kept asking me 'are you happy?' It was all I could do not to swear at them. They were just being nice, how were they supposed to know I was anything but.

Then I got my calls from home, most meorably from the family gathering at my grandma's, where I had to have the same conversation with everyone I spoke to. You know how it is. Anyway, this christmas I was there in person. It wasn't a bad christmas, but it didn't seem very meaningful, somehow. I don't know. Maybe I'm still recovering from the China experience. In a lot of ways it taught me to distance my emotions, bury them a little. If you're being yelled at in the street becuase you're a round-eye, or you just got ripped off big time by someone you thought was being nice to you, or your bosses are screwing you around because they can and you're helpless to do anything about it, you learn to just push whatever to the side at least a bit, so that even if you're angry, you don't have to be as angry. Which can be a good thing, I think the Western world could use some of that, I know I could. But certainly not in large doses, or if you don't know you're doing it. My dad's side of the family tends to be a bit like that anyway.

A family of Asians recently moved into the town I'm living in, that I grew up in. I won't say what town it is, but it's an old (for Australia), German settled town in the Adeliade Hills. Most of the people who live here were born here, some of them have hardly ever been into the city, which is just incomprehensible to me. Anyway, these Asian men moved in, they were working at the abbatoir. Their families have just joined them. They don't have much English, but they're very nice. The kids have hung around the school I clean after hours, just sitting around in a group. I said to someone recently that they are in all probability acutely aware of everyone's attention every time they go out in public. Even if no one's looking, everyone is, if you know what I mean. That kind of thing can be wearying. That kind of thing is why the grwoing population of African's in Adelaide won't meet your eye casually in the street. If you think you won't like what you'll see there, you learn to go around in a bubble. Several times when I was in China I almost missed a friend in the street because I was inside my protective box.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not whingeing about my treatment in China. It was emotionally quite hard to live there, although it would probably be easier in a less backwards province (when I went on holiday to a bigger city the relief was indescripable) But there were many many privelages that I got for putting up with it. It was just part of the package, and most of the time people weren't looking at you because they hated you, just because you were different and interesting, and maybe they'd never seen a Westerner before. It was still hard if you were having a bad day. I can't imaginge what it must be like to have that kind of attention with added fear and hate, and quite frankly I don't want to. I don't want to put myself in the shoes of the group of African men that moved here at about the same time as the Asian men. One of the deli's here refused to loan them videos. I don't know, I guess they think that they'll never see them again, or something retarded like that (apologies to retarded people. This PC thing is hard) I don't want to think about how that would feel because it wouldn't feel good. Because I'd like to think that the people I grew up beside in this tiny town are friendly and nice and welcoming, and I just can't believe that in this century, in this country, that something like that is socially acceptable. The bastards.

I didn't mean for this to be about rascism, xenophobia, fear, hatred, difference. I was going to talk about body image and fatness and that (also something which I don't think has recovered from the China experience) but I guess I've been thinking about this even though I didn't realise. I just wish people would put a little thought in. I myself make and effort, after China, to have a smile for everyone, especially our new neighbours. I don't know if it makes a difference for them, but it makes a difference for me, knowing that I've been accepting and welcoming in even a tiny way. I hope they know that I sympathise. But you know, while I wish mightily that it wasn't so hard for them, I'm glad they're here. It does people good to have some change every decade or so, don't you think?