V, a Ryvita and several changes of clothes later.

Yesterday was my first solo time with The Nephew, V. V for Vendetta. Vendetta against the crimes of Ryvita.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe that we’d sit on the couch and watch The Ice Storm together, him with a sippy cup of water, or maybe something a little harder, like juice, and me with some ginger beer [I’m having a love affair with ginger beer right now. I want to take it behind the cricket nets and get it pregnant]. But no. Apparently kids just want to a) scream and laugh, b) stand up, fall over, stand up, fall over, c) destroy EVERYTHING from remote controls to issues of The Skeptical Inquirer, and d) laugh at themselves in the mirror. To be fair, I like to do most of these things myself. When I’m drunk.

I tells you, this kid business is tiring, so I thought I’d feed him and get some quiet time. No. Have you ever fed a kid a Ryvita covered in hummus? It’s V favourite, and let’s just say that I’m glad we ate on the kitchen floor because we both needed full changes of clothes by the time it was over.

I was told that he’d nap around 3pm, but at 3:30 he was all ‘AAAAAAAARGH!!!’ and The Wuz was all ‘HISS!’ so I thought I’d give him some milk and I will wish until my dying days that I got a video of it because this kid got stoned on milk. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. One second he was all ‘Oooh! Sippy cup of milk!’ the next he was a dead weight in my arms, eyes rolled back in his head, frantically drinking milk while he was asleep, so putting him down for a nap was all easy peasy.

All-in-all, I think the day was quite the success.

The Lady of the House

The end of the year is always so expensive, what with bills, Christmas, endless rounds of alcohol to drink yourself out of the seasonal depression you suffer because of the humidity in Sydney. So many things!

The seasonal depression caused by the humidity in Sydney has not been helped by The Wuz’s desire recently to sit on me at every opportunity possible. I can’t stop moving in my own home, because if I pause, I get four kilos of thick furred cat all up in my grill.

This got me to thinking that after three years, it might be time for The Wuz to start earning her keep. I thought about getting her to sling some dope, but seriously, who has the patience to teach a cat to yell ‘FIVE-OH!’? Not me, so I’m going with the next most obvious choice: cat model.

She’s well on the way to having quite the portfolio.

Road Trippin’: Hill End

Looking through my photos, I realised two things. First, I spend a lot of time pulling faces at myself on my web-cam, and secondly, I never wrote about going to Hill End with my mum in July, which rounded out our Central West road trip.

When we last left you, we had visited both Wattle Flat and Sofala, and I had begun to fear for my life at the hands of a hoon, known as My Mother, Mooma, M-Diddy.

Mum had been to Hill End a few weeks prior to my visit with Dad, and he had taken her there via the Bridle Track. The Bridle Track is a very narrow stretch of road, wide enough for only one vehicle, with a cliff face on one side, and a large drop on the other. The experience scared the living bejesus out of Mum. The Bridle Track is currently closed due to a rock slide. I suspect Mum caused it that so Dad would never take her on it again.

Anyways, possibly to save face, when she took me to Hill End, via another route, she really got in touch with her inner Ken Block and I am not ashamed to admit that after several very fast, white-knuckled blind corners, I asked her to slow down. And she cackled at me and paid no attention to my pleas.

We made it to Hill End alive, and it was time for some photos [more here]

When Mum saw this floor, she immediately started wondering aloud how easy it would be to replicate at the farm. When we got home, she described it to Dad and before she even finished, he was all ‘No. No. No we’re not doing that’. Foiled!

As we were heading back to Orange, Mum caught a glimpse of this sign, hit the brakes and had me run across the road to get a picture. In doing so, I risked my life, but as you can see, it was worth it.

Looking back through all these photos has reawakened my love of road tripping, though the only one I currently have planned isn’t until next year, but it is in the US and it does include Death Valley. So excited.

Dennis Lehane

For my birthday back in October, my mum gave me $100 and instructions to buy books. Even 12 months ago, I would have spent that $100 locally and maybe come away with three books, four at most.

Not these days though, not with The Book Depository. While it’s nice to buy locally, the prices of the books on Book Depository are just so ridiculously cheap [even taking into account that their “free” shipping is built into the cost of the books] that it’s virtually the only place I buy from now, and so I put a call out to friends and asked for book recommendations and ended up buying the following ten books:

Mystic River – Dennis Lehane
Dust – Elizabeth Bear
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
Gone Baby Gone – Dennis Lehane
Songs of the Doomed – Hunter S Thompson
The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon – Tom Spanbauer
Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson

Most of them I am holding off reading until next year, when I’m going to try quality over quantity, but I started reading the Lehane books recently, as I’d rented the film version of Gone Baby Gone and remembered how much I like all three films based on the  above Lehane books.

Airport novels, blockbusters, books where the author’s surname takes up a third of the space on the cover: these are not typically the books I read. I don’t think it comes from book snobbery, I just tend to not enjoy the way these kinds of books are written, even when on holiday when you’re meant to relax everything, even your reading muscles. No. I don’t do relaxed. Not even with my holiday reading. When I went to Thailand, what did I take? The court transcripts of the Scooter Libby trial. Seriously Julia, what the what? So heavy was that book that the spine split [when I left it open and face down in the hot island sun and went swimming and then got a massage, whoops].

I started the Lehane books with trepidation and was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying them quite a lot. Sure, I’ve discovered I prefer the film versions more, which tend to edit out some of the more unbelievable plot twists, but it’s been really nice to get on the train at the end of every day and get lost in Boston crime. Good job Dennis Lehane, good job.

Country Cousin Canonistas!

A few weekends ago I was in Orange for the wedding of one of my best friends. I took along a camera, but I wasn’t really feeling a photo taking vibe, possibly because I was feeling the sitting-in-the-sun-with-friends-drinking -rosé vibe. Big time.

I also didn’t bother because there was at least two people there doing a far better job than I could have. One was Sir David ‘Bane of my Existence’ Johnson, you can see him here, and the other was Chris Bennetts, who I went to school with.

At some point I was all ‘Chris!’ and blah blah blahed about cameras, as I am want to do. He works for the Orange Photo News and has a really great blog, Lime Fridays, showcasing all the different kinds of photography he does. I’ve really enjoyed looking through, you should check it out.

I was also talking to Chris about a photographer I’m a leetle bit obsessed with, Gracie Johns. I can’t remember how I first saw Gracie’s photos … on Facebook somehow, maybe? Anyways, she’s super young, maybe 12 [Okay, probably not 12, but still young!] and I saw some of her portraits displayed in the Orange Regional Gallery in July this year. They were very compelling. Chris told me I should tell Gracie that I liked her work, and I agreed. It’s always nice to know you’re appreciated. So Gracie, I like your work!

You can see Gracie’s stuff over at Gracie Johns Photography.

I think more people should pimp the stuff they love and let the people that create it know. I’m always on the lookout for stuff to blow my mind grapes, so please, feel free to share recommendations!

Vale

One of the biggest influences in my life passed away ten years ago today, in the very early hours of the morning.

Life, in a very quiet and subtle way, has never been the same since.

I still smell you and your kitchen all the time, I still love you as much as when you were here and when I find something with your handwriting on it, I cry every time.