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July 31, 2008

sinner, you better get ready: more liveblogging unpacking

My mum got me a few great CDs when she was in Washington (DC, that is). She went to about a million Smithsonian museums, and gotted me some great CDS. Just in case you didn't know, the Smithsonian collection includes some freaking amazing recordings of American folk music (including jazz, blues, gospels, spirituals, etc etc etc). I am a big old nerd for late 19th and early 20th century American music. I prefer jazz and blues, but I'm also a nut for some of the sort of music you might have heard on the Cohen Brothers' film O brother, where art thou?. Anyhow, one of the CDs mum got me is called VA/Classic Southern Gospel From Smithsonian Folkways. I know my grammar is broken, but I am suddenly very tired.

Any how, I have moved on from Leadbelly (which was another mum gotted CD, btw) to this stuff. Beginning with The Lilly Brothers singing 'Sinner, you'd better get ready'. Sweet. I like this sort of southern gospel/bluegrass type stuff for the obvious development of British/European folk forms. I'm a nerd for being able to hear the history of a music/see the history of a dance in its current form. Especially when we're talking about diaspora. I likes folk music and dance because they change - they're not institutionalised and static. They're constantly changing to suit people's needs and interests. Just like language. Fully sick.

(If you're interested, mum also got me a couple of Harlem Hamfats CDs: a document self titled job (vol 3) and Let's Get Drunk and Truck. I love that shit).

"sinner, you better get ready: more liveblogging unpacking" was posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2008 11:09 PM in the category digging and domesticity and music

"the television, he is fixed": more 'liveblogging' unpacking

So spoketh The Squeeze. All that talk about being an AV queen and setting up the electrics... what rot. The upshot: basically, I got real bored and wandered off to chip the paint off the door latches so they'd close properly. Truly. Well, I only did two doors before The Squeeze said (rather pathetically) "that was the one job I really wanted to do." I did text him today to see if it was ok for me to do the electrics and he was cool with that. But the door latch chipping? Not to be shared.

So the television, he has electrics. More importantly, the airtunes is now G-O. So I have Leadbelly on, starting with my favourite song, '4,5 and 9'. My version has Willie the Lion Smith. It reminds me of... oh, I don't know, one of those modern 60s artists like... Bob Dylan. Anyways, it's a great song. I like it.

For the past couple of nights I've been in bed by this time. Tonight I am on the couch, making sweet, sweet internet. The Squeeze is off in another part of the house doing something rattley. There's a large, loud plane labouring overhead, on it's way to Marrickville and then the airport. I have cleverly covered up the second loungeroom powerpoint with a full (and very large) bookcase, so I'm getting lappy power from a too-tight cord, stretched from behind the afore mentioned telly to the couch. The coffee table is just a bit too far away to comfortably rest my feet. I feel I might have grown new heel bones. If Mz Tartan has new bones disease, so do I. But obviously a more exotic, northern strain affecting the nether extremities. I wish I knew where the sitting room cushions were so I could ease my discomfort. Meanwhile I have to balance the lappy way down on my legs, so my arms are stretched waaaay out.

There are many, many cafes in Summer Hill. But no hardware store. This is a Wrong Thing, and perhaps a sad indication of Worse To Come. To whit*, I have seen only one fabric store in this big city, and that was in Marrickville. Apparently Marrickville is the place to be. Like Footscray, but with hills and no trams. There's a dearth of trams in this town, and I feel the lack. The roads are disturbingly narrow and tend to twist and turn a bit too much. What have they got to hide? I like a long, straight road that tapers off in the distance.

We have not had telly since we moved in, and haven't missed it. What with all that going to bed early. But now we do. The Squeeze is in another room and doesn't seem to have missed it. I'd rathe listen to Leadbelly yelling incoherently about someone's momma. The internet, though, she has destroyed our after dinner conversation deader than ever telly could. It requires greater attention.

Another important thing before I sign off: I own three dining tables. One is a large chunk of pale pine that I took from the Parents in Brisbane and had dropped off to me in Melbourne on their way through to Hobart. I sanded it back. It's large, hard and heavy, and you can stick it full of pins when you're sewing. Earlier this year The Squeeze inherited a couple of dining tables from his grandfather, as selected by me (tables, not grandfather - though I would have selected him. He was ace). One is silky oak. One is... well, I'm not sure, but I'm suspecting some other sort of oak. Both are covered in a nasty dark varnish - the sort I've sanded away from many other pieces of hidden, beautiful native woods. I haven't managed to sand either of these tables, though. Not in six months. But when we moved into this house, the removalists and I had a little discussion about the three dining tables, and where I should put them. Or have them put (they were doing the putting - I had the greater responsibilities of Directing Putting and Crossing Off Items on the master list). I decided to put the larger grandfather table in the (lovely black and white tiled floor) kitchen. It looks sweeeeeet.
Anyways, the other two are now in our not-very-secure garage (along with the bikes - cross your fingers and knock on wood for their safety, friends), waiting for me to make a Decision about them. I am considering making over part of a bedroom for a sewing room. That will require a table. But I'm not sure it's worth it, seeing as how you can only buy your clothes ready made in this town.

...another note: when I'm at my most active, lifestyle wise, I have no time to sew, but run out of clothes as I get skinnier. When I'm at my least active, I have plenty of time to sew, but bemoan the expanding girth requiring new widths and elasticated waist lines.

*This is the first time I've used this expression. I am pretending it's proper talk.

""the television, he is fixed": more 'liveblogging' unpacking" was posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2008 10:43 PM in the category domesticity

live blogging (almost) unpacking an interstate move

The best part of moving in is unpacking the backpack you've been living out of for a month. Opening drawers is a far better way of accessing your clothes than unzipping pockets.

The next best thing about moving in is finally being able to do a few loads of laundry and then letting it sit out on the line in the sun all day.

Another very nice thing about moving in is reminding yourself that you can a) reassemble Ikea furniture, and b) assemble complicated home audio-video set ups all on your own. With judicious use of Tshirts for moving large, heavy thing and walks to the cafe for recuperative afternoon teas.

I have also been struck by the kindness of people. Not just strangers, but all sorts of people. Before we left Melbourne (which, I should note, we did only last week, only three weeks after our decision to follow The Squeeze's job offer north to the land of winter-days-that-feel-like-Melbourne-spring) I had a series of emails from friends (and strangers) offering to do me favours - hook me up with work, hook me up with DJing gigs, help me find a place to live, host us while we looked for a house of our own, etc etc etc. These people have all been so wonderful - there've literally been dozens coming out of the woodwork, offering advice on transitional accommodation, teaching gigs, new town tidbits (where to live? Where to dance? Where to shop?) and even just dropping a line or calling or emailing or just stopping by to say 'welcome!'

At this rate Sydney is going to win friendliest city. I'd remembered it being a bit faster and ruder than Brisbane or Melbourne, but it's actually still Australian-type friendly - just faster. The real estate agents have been polite and helpful (!!! no wai! WAI!!1!1!), there are Brunswick type people (Malta, Greece and Italy were all well represented this week - Charlie, Nick and Maria, respectively), though there wasn't quite enough interest from passers by in the removals truck on Tuesday. If this was Brunswick at least half a dozen little men would have wandered out to have a stare and to offer advice. I guess it was the rain kept them away.

I have spent the last three days unpacking like mad - kitchen first, followed by books. Mostly to clear away the book box ramparts keeping us from the couch, our beds and making dinner. Today I have reassembled a desk, a bed and a stereo cabinet. Yesterday I built five book cases. On the first day I was so tired when The Squeeze came home from work (he had to start straight away, or he'd be here carrying heavy things) I could only lie pathetically on the couch while he made dinner in our lovely new kitchen. Then I went to 'just have a lie down' at about 7.30, before ending up passing out - dead to the world - about an hour later. But last night I was able to stay up til at least 9.30! Partly because the internet was finally unpacked and reassembled. I think it's an Ikea product - took an inordinate amount of screwing about.

Speaking of which, because we found a house on the first day looking (true! direct from the airport and everything!), we were able to use our hire car to do some Large Object Shopping. We'd been staying with a variety of friends and family of friends during that week (a big shout out to the Frase's Ps and to my Ps' buddies), so had visited no fewer than four different shopping centers. In part because the outer suburbs don't seem to have strip shopping here (just malls). But also because we ended up going to a (blurgh) Ikea to buy a new cupboard. It was crowded and just as horrible as usual - we didn't enjoy it one bit. Though I did see a rug I quite fancy (could be Strib, though it wasn't as brightly coloured as that one in the picture... could be Gedser), we didn't find a cupboard (though I guess wardrobe is a more accurate term) and we didn't buy one single thing. Luckily we'd been to a Big W just the day before (at the far superior... Burwood? shopping centre - we recommend that centre. It had a wall of windows to the outside world in the food court, and you could see a pretty sandstone shrine while you ate your fairly decent salad), so we didn't end up buying a rubbish bin or a broom or a stupid animal-shaped dustpan and brush from Ikea. Instead we bought ordinary, dull as dishwater ones from Big W. But it was useful having a car for a week while we looked at houses. It was easier to get around (especially when it rained), we could buy those Large Objects - jumbo sized laundry detergent and bottles of juice, brooms, etc and it gave us a quicker way to explore a large city.

Overall, we Approve of Sydney. It is, unfortunately, a bit hilly and the streets are a bit narrow for bikes. They have hardly any bike lanes, and the few bike riders we have seen seem a bit dumb - they don't drive too safe. The car drivers are utterly clueless when it comes to driving safely with bikes, and we suspect there'll be less biking in our future... though I hope not. The Squeeze likes to commute by bike and I like the independence and freeness of it.

Remind me to post photos - our house is sweet. I am especially in love with our kitchen and bathroom - new! Cleanable! Sweet!

"live blogging (almost) unpacking an interstate move" was posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2008 4:47 PM in the category domesticity

July 11, 2008

whinge, speech, whine, blah blah blah

Now that most of our stuff is packed up there's not much crafting to be done. No pop up tools. No sewing machines. No yarn. Just me, the telly, all the Buffy and Angel DVDs and the heater. I could say that I'm bored... but that would be... ungrateful? Anyhoo, I'm looking forward to dinner: ma por tofu. The Squeeze is the best ma por tofu maker ever. He's always been a really big fan of that particular dish, and now I love it too. It's comfort food. Yummy, delicious, glutinous comfort food.

In other news, it is pretty good to have the house stuff under control. Packing is right on track. The garden is still kind of trashed - it's steadily being worked on, but the weather is a bit off-putting. The cleaning looms, of course - five years worth of occupancy is going to take a little more cleaning than I'm used to. But it's a good thing we're tough.

--Aside: Doesn't Buffy whine and whinge and speech and bore and whine and annoy and whinge and ... oh, man, will she ever shut up? Season 7 is just one long, boring, annoying bitch fest. Harden up, Buffy! Good thing Angel brings it a little more in the parallel season...--

Is The Squeeze ever coming home? All that ma por tofu talk is making me HUNGRY!

I don't think I have anything more to say, really. So I might as well carry on with the annoying Buffy rubbish.

"whinge, speech, whine, blah blah blah" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2008 7:23 PM in the category domesticity


I'm going to miss the huge windows of this room when we move. I will miss checking in on the zillions of cats in the 'wick.

Meanwhile, on to more important things (meme! from here):

1. Where is your cell phone? dunno
2. Your significant other? cbd
3. Your hair? short!
4. Your mother? hobart?
5. Your father? hobart?
6. Your favourite thing? books
7. Your dream last night? sweaty
8. Your favourite drink? tea
9. Your dream/goal? employment
10. The room you're in? bedroom
11. Your hobby? sewing
12. Your fear? structurelessness
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? employed
14. What you're not? skinny
15. Muffins? sure
16. One of your wish list items? cds
17. Where you grew up? many
18. The last thing you did? packed
19. What are you wearing? bad
20. Favourite gadget? sewingmachine
21. Your pets? nonexistant
22. Your computer? sweeeet
23. Your mood? snotty
24. Missing someone? nope
25. Your car? nonexistant
26. Something you're not wearing? makeup
27. Favourite store? musicwithoutboarders
28. Like someone? yep
29. Your favourite colour? bright
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? today

"ephemera" was posted by dogpossum on July 11, 2008 6:28 PM in the category clicky

July 9, 2008

brunswick rocks

We're moving to Sydney quite soon (at quite short notice), and have been hurriedly trying to get rid of five years worth of accumulated junk. The Squeeze has trundled the shopping trolley up to the church charity bin round the corner at least a dozen times this week. We've sent our friends off with bag after bag of bits and pieces. But the very best bit has been feeding the Brunswickian scavengers.
On the weekend we put a range of items out on the footpath with a sign saying 'Free'. Everything was gone within an hour. Today we put out a bunch of other things - gone within 45 minutes. It helps that we're not putting real junk out - everything is useful. But it's an odd collection. The green plastic base thing you put a fresh christmas tree in. Four home-covered couch cushions. A couple of tables (formica - 1, pipe-and-board - 1). The plastic bats from a totem tennis game. Two pieces of wood left over from shelves. A drawer from my desk. An old printer in a box. An old skate board. Everything worked, but nothing was amazing. And everything has just disappeared.
Today I managed to catch a glimpse - an Italian poppa making off with a huge, heavy single futon bed base under one arm, two shelves under another (I kid you not - I couldn't lift either on my own). A few minutes later he was back with his grandson to carry off the couple of extra things we'd added. The only thing they won't take is the totem tennis pole. I don't understand why - it works fine, just needs a new ball-on-a-string (which only costs a few bucks at Kmart).

It's weird and also eerie. The Squeeze is delighted. I am wondering if I could get them to carry off the five garbage bags full of fabric scraps (choice quilting action here!). But it's more the male of the species that sports an acquisitive streak. The female (the better target for fabric) is a little less likely to wander the streets looking for things to carry away. But it's been magical - people won't come and collect stuff if we ask them, but if we put a sign saying 'free', they sneak it away on their own. Fully sick.

"brunswick rocks" was posted by dogpossum on July 9, 2008 4:51 PM in the category brunswick