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October 30, 2006

this surprise root canal experience has had repercussions we are yet to enjoy

Well, after dentist appointment #4, I have a little dentist trauma to deal with. Now that the local has worn off, my face hurts and I'm a little upset. I don't know how much more of this I can take. But I have one more appointment scheduled. So that will be four sessions on this one fucking suprise root canal. Today we filled the canals (3 of them, no less). We attempted it without local today, but one good jab in the hole with the pokey thing and I shrieked in agony, and the dentist decided we needed local. He doesn't understand why it hurts as much as it does. I try to be brave, but mostly, there's some crying.

The tears just sort of roll down my cheek and into my hairline (because I'm upside down, flat on my back in the chair), and then the snot sort of trickles down inside my throat and makes me cough. And big, long strings of cry-saliva attach themselves to the dentist's rubber gloves as he reaches for another pointy thing, and then flick off to slap my chin. As he rubs his rubbery fingers around inside my mouth, the cry-saliva - sort of thicker and goobier than normal, watery saliva - adds a new layer of interest to the whole experience, and I can't help but think about vaginas. And how your vaginal mucous changes when you're ovulating. So I can't help but associate this whole thing with hot sex.

So, you know, this surprise root canal experience has had repercussions we are yet to enjoy.

Beyond the delight of post-probing jaw pain, impending (massive) debt and disturbing thoughts about bodily secretions, all this dental work has at least given me an excuse to see a fair few films. Word Play = good stuff.

"this surprise root canal experience has had repercussions we are yet to enjoy" was posted by dogpossum on October 30, 2006 8:17 PM in the category domesticity

October 25, 2006

the post where i wonder if i've gone too full-disclosure

I've been reading this blog by someone I knew at Unimelb, and this here by someone I don't know.

I'm kind of caught thinking 'how wonderful' in response to their grasp of the written word, and also 'how terrible' when I really pay attention to the things they're writing about.

I've also had my attention caught by Galaxy's post on Sarsaparilla about Alan McKee's book, where the most interesting thing about this books seems not to be McKee (or anyone else's) actual content inside the book, but the ideas that it's prompted in Galaxy's brain. When she writes about her delight in the cook and the chef, and declares it is beautiful, I know what she means. I like the thought of finding a cooking program beautiful, or more importantly, of making that declarative statement usually reserved for sunsets and grand gestures for the happy working relationship between a middle aged country woman-cum-marketing queen and a slight, big city type chef queer young man. I know what she means. I think it's the same way I feel when I'm sitting on the bus listening to Willie Bryant rollicking through Chimes at the Meeting. I know it's a manufactured dot of pop culture, something mass produced for masses of people - masses of years ago, no less. I know it's not perfect, and that I should be wary of the class stuff and the gender stuff and the race stuff and so on. But just for that moment, it is beautiful, because it matches the way I feel just then, and the way I like music to make me feel. And I stop thinking about it for a minute, and just enjoy the things I can do with this nice bit of music. Just as Galaxy points out, it's not technically great, but it suits my needs, as a creative person, and as a fan and as a consumer and as a producer. It is beautiful.

When I read those first two blogs I mentioned above, I think of my friend B and her partner P, who I only knew a little bit before they moved back to the states. Not only are B's blog and those other blogs alike in topic and the loveliness-to-read-ness, they're also alike in the way they make extraordinary events ordinary. Life threatening illness becomes a part of the everyday experiences of someone I 'know'. Maybe that's simply a function of blogging - bringing you closer to people through the ordinary details of people's lives.
Or maybe, as Pavlov's cat suggests, it's not only

a brush with mortality and a few days of submergence in the weird underworld of hospitals, doctors and industrial-strength drugs that brings out the very best in bloggers
but that
blogging is a particularly good mode for such experience; bloggers can write it and readers can read it almost in real time, recording and following the trajectory of the experience as it happens, and very likely even in an interactive way -- so that the act of blogging itself is therapeutic, and the responses from concerned and attentive readers maybe even more so.

But to return to my story about B and P. We met through dance, at the very first lindy exchange, and then only saw each other once a year (if we were lucky). And most of our time was spent rushing out words between dances, or over late night food. But you know, you come to know people through dancing as well - I remember how B feels in your arms when you're leading her through a swingout. I remember the temperature of her hand and how she was taller than me, and how that was just the right height for me to lead (and still is).
And I remember the texture of P's lovely velvet suit jacket under my left hand on his shoulder. The suit that boiled him alive, but which he refused to take off, for vanity's sake (and vanity well spent, I say: it was such a lovely suit). I remember the expressions on P's face and dancing to the theme song from Austen Powers with him and thinking 'this is the very perfectest song to dance to with this partner, right now'. And when I read B's posts on her blog, I remember the nice note she left us after they stayed in our house once, and the way she would talk sensibly about being ill and having to travel in to Melbourne from the northern territory for treatment. And I have so many of those little bits of memory about people that have nothing to do with what they say or think, and everything to do with the way we communicated for a few minutes with our bodies. Dancers talk about it in terms of 'connection', and that's really the best word for it. It sounds a little hippy if you haven't felt it, but how else can you explain suddenly moving with a complete stranger who doesn't even speak your language in complete harmony? Or the way you'll look up at your partner and laugh, not because you've said or done anything particularly funny, but because you've both suddenly started to really be together.

And when I read those blog entries about being ill, or dealing with surgery - living with illness, I should say, where you are most definitely more than just 'ill', you are someone who's life is still going on, who's still doing interesting things and having intersting thoughts and stopping to say 'it is beautiful' - I have that same echo-of-senses that I remember from dancing. When Stephanie writes about untangling herself from the demands of her everyday life or of illness as text, I think 'yes, I know that feeling. I can smell it, right now. It's like the feel of P's coat, or knowing how tall B is with my eyes closed, even though I was only holding her hand, and she's thousands of miles away'.

All the things that I can remember about my mother being ill are bad. There are no nice memories and nothing happy to remember. So when I read Stephanie's stories about being ill, I also think about the way Galaxy writingit is beautiful reminded me that there is beauty in the minutiae of everyday things, and that these things - the smell of ya pears or knowing exactly how tall someone is, and how much they weigh, just from holding their hand - are the sorts of details that go into making up our memories of people or of days or of things that are beautiful. So while Stephanie's stories make my nose run and my eyes fill up, I can also say, despite the difficult thoughts that go with them, it is beautiful.

"the post where i wonder if i've gone too full-disclosure" was posted by dogpossum on October 25, 2006 6:01 PM in the category clicky

October 24, 2006


Oh god, I'm a bit overbusy.

I have to write two papers for the weekend in Canberra (one of which is due by the 10th November, and is 4000 words - so we can all read each others' papers before we get to the conference), and while I've had a bash at the CSSA one, it's not really up to snuff. And I've had a look at some stuff I might write for the dance seminar thing, but...

Let's just say that I'm a bit out of the writing way of things. It totally sucks because before I started teaching I was totally on with the writing thing. And now I am not.

In addition, we have ongoing MLX issues. Because we're only a few weeks away from DDay (or dee weekend if you'd rather), there are a million little jobs that need completing. I am thinking 'volunteers' and 'get those last couple of DJs to make up their minds' and 'paper program' and 'go pimp passes at classes every night'). The registration for passes closes on the 3rd November, so we have about a week to sell a few (million) more. Things look good, but it's a bit stressy. Especially as dancers like to leave it til the last minute. Especially Melbourne dancers.

I'm also doing those sets at the Spiegeltent (what was I thinking?).

And as of this afternoon I'll have a hundred exams to mark. Then from the 6th I'll have a hundred esssays to mark.

So when am I going to write those papers again?

And of course, the Great Dental Saga continues. Round two of the surprse root canal continued yesterday, and I was more brave than last time (mostly because all the drilling was done). I only cried a little bit, and was only a little bit scared. I found thinking of my lesson plans a nice distraction. Nothing numbs pain like tedium. And a few extra rounds of local anaesthetic (thanks Dr Scott - I know it's madness that it's still hurting in there, but it is. I'm trying to be tough, but that crying - it's not under my control any more. It's a response-to-pain thing). But it's back for round three next Monday, and then we're done. Well, except for the whole cleaning the rest of the teeth situation.

All this sucks because I previously had perfect teeth. But four years of neglect meant that a tiny cavity got to go crazy in my teeth and infected the nerve. So what have we learnt? Do NOT neglect your visits to the dentist - if I'd gone I'd have saved myself over a grand in cash and a lot of pain.

Yeah, so things are kind of hard at the moment. I must admit, though, I do like being really busy. I wish I had a few minutes to stop and think and perhaps a chance to think about the music I'll play. I'd also like a chance to go to yoga sometime soon. But I haven't been able to go in ages, and I haven't had a weekend off since I started teaching. Hell, I'd kill for just one day right now. One whole day where I could just do nothing. Maybe sew something. Or lie on the bed and read.

I have, though, been able to treat myself to afternoon films. The whole anaesthetic/pain/trauma thing has made it necessary for me to spend a bit of time sitting down before riding home from the dentist - thank goodness for the Kino across the road is all I can say. So I've seen a fair few films lately. Plus The Squeeze and I have squeezed in a Tuesday evening and a Sunday evening of date time so we can reacquaint ourselves with the features of the other's face. Maybe kiss 'em too.

And I've been going to bed really early and getting up early too. Later than 11pm? What? That's crazy talk! I am all about 9.30pm bedtimes these days.
But I have been doing more exercise - riding to work rocks.

And I'll have to leave that there. Got to go fuss over those papers for half an hour before heading off to the university. Think of me, will you?


"eek" was posted by dogpossum on October 24, 2006 11:57 AM in the category dogpossum

October 22, 2006

animal encounters

Last night riding home from die Spiegeltent (where I am currently doing a few DJing gigs - Nov 4th and 18th and Dec 2nd if you want to catch up - it's a glorious venue, there's a cheesy dance class (which every one loves - especially the kids) and there are cheesy performances (which you can't help but enjoy) and cheesy jokes (and I don't care if it's only me who adores them) and some fricking AWESOME DJed music - all for $10. Though it's $10 for a beer(!!!!) )

... yeah, so on the ride home, we saw ten cats. I kid you not - ten cats. I usually see three (often the same ones, though not always), but last night we saw four ordinary cats and then six feral cats down near the railway line. I don't know who thinks feeding feral cats is a good idea: if you do, you're ON CRACK. The Squeeze got off his bike and tried to chase one to give it a squeeze. He stopped when I warned him that he'd have to sleep in the shed if he caught one.

I don't much care for cats. I certainly don't like to see them out on the street, looking for things to kill.

We have also seen a lovely small corgi tied up outside our local shops a couple of times lately. Last time it was outside the Safeway, yesterday it was outside Nino and Joes. I think I'm in love. I suggested The Squeeze squash it into his backpack and then make a quick getaway, but the owner overheard and didn't look too impressed.
That is one fine corgi - it is gentle and sweet and has lovely fur and huge ears. Unfortunately, generations of inbreeding have left it with stunted feet.

Tomorrow is dentist appointment #3. The second one wasn't so bad (just two small fillings), but tomorrow is the follow up on the surprise root canal. I am a bit scared, as it seems that side of my jaw is more sensitive than the other. I have promised myself another trip to the cinema (we went to see Children of God tonight at the Nova) and I think I'll let myself see anything I want, even if it's Little Miss Sunshine which The Squeeze wants to see as well. Either that or that dullish biodoco* about that architect bloke. I like films about buildings. Really, I'd prefer a chick flick, but they're all out of them at the cinema. And I doubt they'd have it at the Kino, which is across the road from the dentist. Nor the Nova, which is my second choice.
So I guess I'll just have to settle for some insane spontaneous CD purchasing instead.

*Sounds like something I'd buy at Nino and Joe's, huh? Nope. But I did buy a lovely rolled turky roast this weekend. I love turkey, and this was some great action. Stuffed with something sweet with nuts (shh, don't tell The Squeeze - he hates nuts but didn't realise). Took two bloody hours to cook, but man, was that some tasty giant fowl.

Note to self: turkeys aren't big on the swimming.

"animal encounters" was posted by dogpossum on October 22, 2006 7:31 PM in the category bikes and brunswick and djing and fillums

October 18, 2006

we don't see so much lawn round here. concrete? yes. lawn? no.

I found this article via B who's attention was caught by the article's argument that walking 1-3 hours a week improved women's breast cancer survival rate by 50%, but more specifically, B was interested in the (less excellent) results of chemotherapy. Go to B's blog and read her discussion there.

But my attention was caught not only by this article (which I traced back to the full academic article), but by the zillions of others which were, essentially, saying nothing more than 'if you get some exercise, you won't die or get sick'. It worries me so much that we have come to the point where we must beg people to walk just 1-3 hours a day so they don't die or get ill. I mean, 1-3 hours, what's that?
- walking half an hour every day. That might mean (as I do), choosing to walk to a further-away bus stop in the morning (let alone the afternoon!)
- saying to your partner "let's walk to the video shop to return this DVD - it's only 15minutes each way" and then doing it, and holding hands while you tell each other about your day
- walking to the park to look at the soccer doods running about. Or to watch the cricketers doing... whatever it is that actually happens in cricket. Manipulating those odds, I guess.
- walking about in a shopping center, aimlessly without buying anything. Or walking up the road to look at the awesome easter lights in the neighbourhood.

I know it sounds insane, but for many people, driving a car means not doing these little things. They drive to the video shop. They drive to the supermarket. They drive to the ice cream shop. They drive everywhere, even if it's only a 10 minute bike ride or a 20 minute walk, just because they have a car. And because they think of walking as something you get in a car to go do in a park. Or are too unfit to find any pleasure in.
I know I'm lucky enough to live in a walk-friendly suburb, but riding my bike around (horrible) Reservoir, I've noticed far fewer pedestrians. Brunswick has a lot of nannas - and you see them wandering around the neighbourhood. In Reservoir, at what would be prime-wandering time? Nothing. I don't know if it's a cultural thing, or because people are busy hiding in their houses, or perhaps a bit frightened of being exposed out there on those huge expanses of lawn*, but really. What are they doing in there?

Since I've stopped having a car (ie, since I moved to Melbourne, six years ago), and since I discovered that having a nice bike encourages you to ride about, I've noticed that the way I think about my neighbourhood, the way I think about getting to places has changed. I found those first few weeks of teaching so tiring because I was just getting on the bus, then getting off - I wasn't doing enough exercise. But since I decided to start the whole 'walk half an hour to the bus rather than 15 minutes' thing, and the 'ride your bike to the train, then train, then ride to the uni and then vice versa on the way home' thing, I've had so much more energy, and I feel so much better.
I'm hardly a super athelete cyclist. I ride very slowly, I'm afraid of hills (though FUCK you should have SEEN ME TODAY!!!! I flew up that Melville Road hill that dips down to the Merri Creek! I was AMAZING!), I don't like to spend more than an hour on the bike at any one time (actually, half an hour's about where I draw the line these days), I have no interest in developing any training routine or any of that bullshit.
I just toodle along on the thing. That is how I get around my neighbourhood - I ride to the shops to do the groceries (and lug the bastards home), I ride to the city to go dancing, or to see a film, or to go to the dentist, I ride to the GP (though riding home + pap smear = not great fun), to the pub, to get ice cream at 10pm on a warm spring night.
And it's enough - think of all those lovely hormones being stimulated (that seems to be the crux of the breast cancer thing - you're more likely to benefit if your breast cancer is hormone respondant; type 2 diabetes is directly related to not getting enough exercise, and insulin is a hormone, as we all know). Not to mention the way it triggers those sweet, sweet endorphines. I might be covered in sweat, with aching legs, a runny nose and coughing up a gut, but dang I feel good when I get to the university in the morning!

So, really, there's no point to this post other than to point out how sad it is that we have to push people to do so little exercise. We're not saying 'join a gym and WORK IT', we're saying 'go have a nice wander round your neighbourhood to steal lemons from the alley one street up' or 'take half an hour to hold hands with someone you love in the outdoors' or 'take that silly argument about which Buffy episode is best to the streets'. When you build that bit of exercise into your life - when you do the extra bit of walking to the tram, or leave the car at home when you go to get ice cream after dinner - you make so great a difference to your health that it would mean living or dying to someone with breast cancer. Imagine that - so little effort for such an amazing effect!

And we haven't even talked environmental benefits yet!

But I cannot over-emphasise how important riding a bike is to my lifestyle. That's how I get to the pub on Saturday. That's how I get to the city to go dancing. That's how I (now - yay!) get to the university (in part). That's how I get to the shops to do my grocery shopping. And I'm not a super athlete - I am a little, round person who gets very pink, sweats a lot and is a bit afraid of large trucks. Imagine if you were a super athlete!

Imagine if we all rode our bikes to work every single day! Or even just to the train station!

... and have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have a shouty conversation while riding a bike home from the cinema? It's the best.

*I live in Brunswick, ok? We don't see so much lawn round here. Concrete? Yes. Lawn? No.

"we don't see so much lawn round here. concrete? yes. lawn? no." was posted by dogpossum on October 18, 2006 6:55 PM in the category bikes and bikes and melbourne

Hamp & slow-mid range swing

hamp.gifMy love for Lionel Hampton continues in an unnatural way*. Unnatural in that I have not only abandoned my qualms about DJing jump blues for lindy hoppers for Hamp's sake, but in that I have also decided that boogie woogie is Fun. I have also (quite unashamedly) overplayed my favourite Hamp songs (eventually, I guess, I will tire of songs like Drinkin' Wine spo-de-oh-doh, Hey ba-ba-re-bop! and Lavender Coffin (yes, despite all evidence to the contrary, they are actually different songs)) and will continue to do so.

I think my love for Benny Goodman's small groups is in part (perhaps a large part) owing to my love of the Hamp.

Right now, I am declaring a love for Don't be that way (you can hear it here). I have already played it far too many times, and will continue to do so. I just love the way it chuggs along. And you get the feeling that there's some joking going on in the band there. I love the saucy brass with the brruurp brruurp trombone underneath. I love the twinkly vibes. I love the chunky beat (bass, guitar esp). I even love the sax (and really, who could love sax?). I love the restrained, but kind of bursting-at-the-seams feeling of momentum building. It's only 137bpm, but it feels like it's going somewhere.** It feels like... like... like bounce feels - like energy stored in your body, that might bust out any old how.

This brings me to a comment another dancer made the other day. After I'd just played a set of old scratchies that were all between 120 and 167 at a sedate after-class gig.
The comment involved these points:
- I wish that guitar would move away from the microphone. It's so dull - clunk, clunk, clunk
- that older clunky music sucks when it's under 180 - it's really boring.

I didn't really lay much value on these observations.But it made me think a lot about the issue (of course). And here are the things I came up with:
- that slower stuff sounds dull if you're looking for tinkly, complex melodies and delayed timing, a la Oscar Peterson. But if you're into combining moves, and working with phrases as the markers for your complexity (ie, working on a larger scale), or perhaps looking at the layers of sound only a big band can offer, and which are clear markers of that earlier, late 30s sound, then this stuff is quite interesting. It begs a combination of moves and a use of lateral or horizontal space, rather than micro-movements on the spot. It says 'think of each note or each beat or each chunk of rhythm as part of a bigger pattern' not 'think of each note or beat or chunk of rhythm as something you have to echo in your body exactly'.
The free-er, riff-based and improvisation-heavy nature of Kansas City jazz (in particular) encourages musicians to think of how they can combine improvisations and solos within a looser musical framework. For dancers, that approach encourages contributions to the rhythms going on, rather than a strict representation of what they can hear. So, for example, a Swede would add a bit of syncopated footwork at the end of an 8 to add rhythm to the song, rather than simply making flesh exactly what they can hear. They would also make greater use of a dynamic, lateral energy rather than just a restrained, micro-movement and energy-contained.

So, really, this stuff is actually very interesting and challenging for dancing. Even at slower tempos. I actually feel that slower tempos can offer greater scope for improvisation and interest - you have time to add stuff in. When you're moving to 200bpm, you don't have time to add in extras - you pare down the movement to basic moves simply because you don't have time. It's about combinations of moves rather than individual movements.
When you're working at a slower tempo, you can add in all the interesting visual 'commentaries' and social interaction that faster tempos prevent. And if you're working with the more open, improvised connection of a Swedish or old skool swingout, for example, both partners can happily add in variations and jazz steps, breaking out into open to do 'solo' stuff as well. And all that in addition to the combinations of moves and use of lateral space that says 'hey, I can hear more of this song than just the three or four notes in my immediate vicinity'.
I also find that phrasing becomes more important with this sort of music - you work in combinations of 8s rather than within an 8 for variation and interpretation and improvisation.

So my love of the mid/slower tempo chunk-chunk songs by people like Lionel Hampton run in the face of arguments challenging their aural interest. But I must admit - 120 is the lowest I'll go in that style, and really, it's better if it hits 140.

*a love that will never be realised as this fan's was here
**a lot like the slower version of Flying Home that's about - it builds to a frenzy of almost-fastness. It's at least 20bpm slower than the version most dancers know.

"Hamp & slow-mid range swing" was posted by dogpossum on October 18, 2006 10:42 AM in the category digging and lindy hop and other dances and music

October 16, 2006

the most expensive breakfast ever


But it is the 'wick - you do get what you pay for.

"the most expensive breakfast ever" was posted by dogpossum on October 16, 2006 7:01 PM in the category brunswick

spam ON!

Is all this spam about diet pills trying to tell me something?
And this stuff:

How many times did you get unhappy after noticing you keep ordering pizza after pizza?
would carry greater weight (tee hee) if I hadn't recently rediscovered Crust (the seafood pizza was more wonderful than words can describe - and all this for a Brunswick girl who Knows Pizza).

Though I suppose I could be tempted by offers as exciting as these:

Feel yourself more powerful and confident with [deleted name] [tool of the patriarchy] enlargement pills.

I must admit - if this stuff could really make me feel more powerful and confident, well...

Sounds like they're promising me a shot at superherodom. Here is your cape, here is your super power, and here is your confidence.

And then, there's the spam from people who're actually reading my site, but seem... shall we say, a little less than informed? I mean, maybe it's just me, but I really hadn't pegged 4 Corners as

onesided, sensationalized journalism
But then, what would I know?

I think I'm going to call myself Italian Sausage Calzone Girl.

"spam ON!" was posted by dogpossum on October 16, 2006 6:39 PM in the category webbing

i don't love him just by accident, you know

The other week when we were flying up to Sydney, I'd packed a few nutbars and things to eat on the plane - to tide us over between going straight from work and going straight to the dance.

The Squeeze took great delight in declaring "Snacks on a PLANE!" whenever I offered him something.

"i don't love him just by accident, you know" was posted by dogpossum on October 16, 2006 5:04 PM in the category sydney

round up

I have about 45 minutes before I have to leave for apppointment #2 with the dentist, and I'm surprisingly unscared. I slept like a baby, weighted down by a million blankets because we've gone from 30-odd degrees during the day to having to wear fleecy pajamas at night in the space of 24 hours. Ah, Melbourne. But if I continue to write about it, I'm sure I'll start getting scared.

I spent a very productive weekend, after a week of incredibly poor teaching on my part. Having the surprise root canal on Monday made for interesting lecturing on Tuesday, what with my numb lips and tongue and post traumatic stress syndrome. Tutoring Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was equally ordinary, though Wednesday was spectacularly bad. Thursday was ok, and by Friday I was back to being tired and an ordinary teacher. A run in with a particularly difficult student did not help (thank you for those public, in-class accusations of incompetency. And enjoy your future marks*).

This week, though, I did ride into the university, using a combination of bike (15minutes on a terrifying road to Northcote station), train (10 minutes in blessed airconditioning), 20minutes riding the terrifying streets of Reservoir (say 'res-ev-or' not 'res-ev-oir') and then a delicious 5 minutes swoop downhill through the uni. I tried riding back that way, but was frightened by the traffic (dang, those suburban types are completely un-bike-aware. And terrifying).
I also tried riding through the university to the next train line over, to Macleod station, which was a very lovely ride. Except for the bit where I got lost about 5 times and had to ask for directions at least 3 times. But even that wasn't so bad - it was a lovely day, I love my bike, and I was having a lovely time in our quite lovely campus (which is very bushy and has lots of wild life, including some bulllying magpies). But I got to zoom down a very very steep hill, through very lovely tree-ey suburban streets (they have GIANT eucalypts out there). And then I caught the train in to the city. It was zone 2, but I dealt with that.
So, riding to work: great fun. But good for sweat-making, which isn't so cool when you forget to bring a change of clothes and have to squash into an overcrowded tutorial room with a bunch of fairly prissy teenagers (unlike dancers, who really don't mind about sweat at all).
It's also a nice option because I've discovered that catching the Macleod line train to Westgarth rocks, because the Westgarth cinema (here is a link to the site, but because it uses frames you'll have to click away til you find the Westgarth, but you can read about it on wikipedia as well) has reopened. Admittedly, now owned by a megacinema group (oh, how I miss the insane amount of independent cinemas in Brisvegas), but still quite stunningly beautiful inside and out. So I will be dropping in there to see fillums quite regularly I think (especially as it's about a 15/20 minute bike ride from our house (about the same on the bus), where you ride along the Merri Creek bike path, which winds along the Merri Creek**. Could there be a more perfect way to spend an afternoon?

On a like note, we saw A Prairie Home Companion last week at the Kino, and we LOVED IT. It's just like the Muppets, but with bluegrass/country music. Same sight gags, though.

MLX6 planning continues, and I finally had a chance to get all caught up and up to date with my responsibilities this weekend (I do long for a whole 2 days in a row where I can just sit about and do nothing, or do things like ride to the Westgarth for a fillum). It is looking scarily huge, with a crazy amount of internationals and interstaters booked in. I hope our venues are big enough.
Brian has continued with another podcast (Fat Lotta Radio, fyi), to which you can subscribe by popping this url: into your itunes or podcast reader. This is the sort of thing that makes MLX so much fun.

...ok, I have to ping ding, chicken wings - got some stuff to do. Think of me at about 11am, will you?

*That was a joke. I have of course handed over this student's marking to course coordinator.
**Which locals think is great, but if you are from one of those lovely cities with lots of stunning parks and greenery (eg the Brisvegas river-side rides), this will look kind of lame. But you know, when you live in concrete-land, you don't sniff at a bit of green.

"round up" was posted by dogpossum on October 16, 2006 9:35 AM in the category bikes and fillums and melbourne and teaching

October 11, 2006

current dance clip viewing

First dancer: Naomi who won. Second, Sharon from Perth who came second. Third, whatshername.

Saucy, no?

"current dance clip viewing" was posted by dogpossum on October 11, 2006 11:26 AM in the category lindy hop and other dances

no, it's not stealing. it's copyright terrorism.

I have plenty to blog about, mostly involving surprise dental surgery on Monday, giving a lecture the next day with tongue and lips still unrecovered from aneasthetic, figuring out a way to ride to the university that takes me only 45 minutes! when the bus takes me an hour and a half, having an infected ear with a (gross) pussy ear drum, discovering this and getting excited because it starts a couple of days after this, procrastinating with a 'mini program' for MLX6, getting the proper podcasting gear online for MLX6 podcasting (fat lotta radio will follow - when I made de page), adding two DJing sets to this already busy week and... well, other stuff.

But rather than write about all that boring rubbish, I will just steal some content from a blog I quite like:

5. Nora went to the doctor yesterday and she is finally THIRTY POUNDS. The big three oh! And it only took 44 months to get there! Better lay off the Fig Newtons, you tub of lard, or soon you'll be waving bye-bye to the fifth percentile! I am joking, of course, but it does feel like a milestone. Nora explained away her recent weight gain by saying, "It makes sense, because I have been pretending to be a superhero for a while now." You all can ditch your 'roids and powders, because apparently the way to build mass is to wear a cape and run around the house striking poses and screaming CAPTAIN AMERICA! or INCREDIBLE HULK! I have tried to suggest that superheroes do more than scream out their own names (but do they really? Isn't the entire superhero gestalt an ego-driven enterprise?), that they fight evil and such, but the concepts are too nebulous for Nora to grasp. Sometimes we play a game where she sits on the couch and I get ready to sit down, with elaborate yawning and "gosh, I'm beat" antics, and then I lean back on top of her and she yells OH NO! CAPTAIN AMERICA IS BEING SQUISHED! And then she struggles out from underneath with accompanying grunts of effort and triumphant shouts at the end. Maybe you missed the issue where Captain America is squashed on the couch by the buttocks of a five-foot-tall Midwestern editor and mother, but I hear it is a valuable collectors' item, particularly in Japan where they probably have a fetish for that very thing. Check eBay.

This is the sort of thing that we approve of in our house - the amassing of mass and the declaration of superhero handles. We feel that asserting one's professional identity in verbal form is important. While we were content with things like 'The Ham approaches!' and 'The Cheese abides!', I feel that we will now take it up a notch.
To full caps at the very least.

"no, it's not stealing. it's copyright terrorism." was posted by dogpossum on October 11, 2006 11:11 AM in the category clicky

October 6, 2006

Katherine's bag detail

Here is a very orange photo of a bag I made out of remnants for the friend who hosted us in Sydney (there is another photo on flickr there if you're interested). Note the little button thingy there - it works as a fastener for the drawstring (which was also recycled - the ribbon from a box of chocolates). The floraly fabric was made into a skirt for a good friend in Canberra, and the lining is from... um... oh, it was supposed to line some wool trousers which turned out to be a big mistake - say no to check trousers.

The whole thing is actually far less orange in real life, but The Squeeze took the photo and he has colour issues, and I couldn't be arsed fiddling with it in photoshop. But the bag turned out well, pleased the recipient, and took only a minute to make. Yay.

(It is of course, non-dancers, a shoe bag. Which I did fill with nice Tasmanian soapy things for presentation)

"Katherine's bag detail" was posted by dogpossum on October 6, 2006 7:54 PM in the category old sew and sew

Henry 'Red' Allen's World on a String

I have my eye on Henry Red Allen's World on a String after reading about the version of St James Infirmary discussed on SwingDJs here. The song caught my ear while watching the ULHS finals (which I talked about here).

I don't have any Red Allen, but I'm definitely interested.
As for my stalking yet another version of SJI, alls I can say, is that if obsessing about multiple versions of particuar songs is good enough for Jesse in his October show, it's certainly good enough for me.

Although, on a side-note, one of my reasons for seeking out the older or 'betterer' versions of particular songs is motivated by the current musical clime in Melbourne lindy hop. There's been a recent rash of new DJs in our town, which I do applaud. I am particularly happy about the fact that most of (if not all of) these noobs are women. But I do have a great deal of issue with the fact that they're all into boring old groove, and that most of the Melbourne DJs playing this sort of action don't actually own their music - they've ripped it off someone else. Which is problematic not only for the fact that they're, well, ripping people off, but just as importantly for a community of dancers, it means that the same old music is being recycled through the speakers every night. We hear no music - only poor quality versions of ordinary songs someone's downloaded illegally (in a shitty mp3) and then shared around.
So when I hear a particularly shitful version of a song, I'm immediately motivated to play a betterer version so people can hear that there is more to the jazz world than fucked up versions of goddamn Lou Rawls goddamn version of SJI!
Dang - I am SO on my high horse here!
...the thing of it is, though, that un-groove is out of style here in Melbourne town, and even if I do play a 'better' version, it's unlikely that there'll be any dancers there who'd value it in the same way I do!


So, yeah, I'm hot for that Red Allen album, but goddess knows when I'd get to play it for dancers. Guess I'll just have to love it on my own. Like I loves de McKinney's Cotton Pickers and early Cab on my own...

"Henry 'Red' Allen's World on a String" was posted by dogpossum on October 6, 2006 7:33 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and melbourne and music and objects of desire

Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy

Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy!

I'm not sure how I feel about this album. I have been a bit keen on Hot Lips Page playing with Billie Holiday in the Olden Days of Scratch, but this album is an overview of his career ranging from 1937 to 1950 and the later stuff really isn't that amazing. I quite like a couple of the tracks for novelty's sake - The Hucklebuck is a cutey, I like the melody/vocal line of I've got an uncle in Harlem, but the rest of the band is kind of annoying...
There is a nice, higher tempo version of St James Infirmary which clocks in at 122bpm, as opposed to the <100bpms of most versions other than the Cab Calloway 1930 version which is 125bpm and my current favourite). Nothing like a little necrophiliac blues to kick start your evening, huh?

But the Count Basie Story CD is still winning - it's a great band doing great music.

"Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy" was posted by dogpossum on October 6, 2006 7:17 PM in the category digging and djing and music

October 3, 2006

a partial reckoning

We have returned from SLX.
Injuries acquired:

  • sore ear from my cold (and flying with ear infection - never have I felt such pain. Ever. I cried like a baby and people stared. But I didn't care, because having blocked ears is like closing your eyes - no one can see you)
  • sore groin from doing stunts at a late night party (The Cheese regrets his spontaneity)
  • sore thigh from lawn bowls (The Squeeze does not regret learning to bowl)
  • a big bag of regrets (I wish I had been well enough to acquire injuries like The Squeeze's - but I did a lot of sitting about and talking shit. It seems that Sydneysiders do not fall for long lines of bullshit as do our Southern Cousins from Tasmania. But I tried)

"a partial reckoning" was posted by dogpossum on October 3, 2006 7:02 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances and sydney

random lindy hop triva

There is a girl who DJs here in Melbourne who is so short she has to stand on a milk crate to see over the DJ desk.
And I thought I had DJing challenges.

"random lindy hop triva" was posted by dogpossum on October 3, 2006 7:00 PM in the category djing

when DJ nerds go online

This is a fabulous example of the sorts of games swing DJs play with the internet, a few minutes of downloaded footage of dancers and some old scratchy musical recordings.

Don't you just love digital media?

"when DJ nerds go online" was posted by dogpossum on October 3, 2006 12:05 PM in the category djing