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February 27, 2009

what an interesting kindergarten design

Fuji Kindergarten

"what an interesting kindergarten design" was posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2009 10:33 AM in the category teaching | Comments (0)

interesting news at faceplant

Governing the Facebook Service in an Open and Transparent Way by Mark Zuckerberg Today at 6:20am

Last week, we returned to our previous Terms of Use as we worked on a new set of governing documents that would more clearly explain the relationship between Facebook and its users. Since then, I've been excited to see how much people care about Facebook and how willing they are to contribute to the process of governing the site.

Our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent. We believe that if we want to lead the world in this direction, then we must set an example by running our service in this way.

We sat down to work on documents that could be the foundation of this and we came to an interesting realization—that the conventional business practices around a Terms of Use document are just too restrictive to achieve these goals. We decided we needed to do things differently and so we're going to develop new policies that will govern our system from the ground up in an open and transparent way.

Beginning today, we are giving you a greater opportunity to voice your opinion over how Facebook is governed. We're starting this off by publishing two new documents for your review and comment. The first is the Facebook Principles, which defines your rights and will serve as the guiding framework behind any policy we'll consider—or the reason we won't consider others. The second document is the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which will replace the existing Terms of Use. With both documents, we tried hard to simplify the language so you have a clear understanding of how Facebook will be run. We've created separate groups for each document so you can read them and provide comments and feedback. You can find the Facebook Principles here and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here. Before these new proposals go into effect, you'll also have the ability to vote for or against proposed changes.

I believe these steps are unprecedented in promoting understanding and enabling participation on the web. I hope you will take a look at these documents, read them carefully, and share your thoughts.

Facebook is still in the business of introducing new and therefore potentially disruptive technologies. This can mean that our users periodically experience adjustments to new products as they become familiar with them, and before becoming enthusiastic supporters. The launch of News Feed and the recent interface redesign are excellent examples that illustrate why we need to continue to make independent decisions about products in order to push technology forward. While these products must be consistent with the Principles and in compliance with the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, they will not be subject to the notice and comment or voting requirement.

We're honored that so many millions of people around the world have decided to bring Facebook into their lives to share information and experiences with friends and loved ones. We understand that gives us an important responsibility to our users.

History tells us that systems are most fairly governed when there is an open and transparent dialogue between the people who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We believe history will one day show that this principle holds true for companies as well, and we're looking to moving in this direction with you.

I'm sceptical. Or he's just naive. Either way, I'm not sure I'm buying all that.

"interesting news at faceplant" was posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2009 9:31 AM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

February 26, 2009

today i:

Got up earlier than usual so as to begin preparing for my (fuckful) early teaching starts in a couple of weeks. Not too early (only 8.30), but I find it very difficult to change my sleeping pattern, and it's a long road from 9.30am to 6.30am when you're going at half hour intervals. I'm considering just moving all at once, but I don't like the way I'm going to feel that one day of craptitude. I also find my body just ignores that sort of massive all-at-once change. I am a creature of habit. This will, of course, make late night DJing tricky. The early start is a Monday, with a day of lectures and tutes, then a day of tutes on Tuesdays. So Saturday late night DJing will be a bit of a pain. Last semester I found the traffic noise on our busy road very difficult to deal with and had to resort to ear plugs. I hope - and don't think - that'll happen again as I've adjusted to the noise.

Rode my bike to Petersham for lunch (why Petersham? Well, two words: Sweet Bellam the 'cake boutique'). Had bunny and a nice broad bean salad at a Portugese joint. Watched a bunch of middle aged blokes from the train station eating whole chickens and chips. Then realised that they were actually only young men, just carrying the bodies of middle aged, beer-belly-wearing, overweight, unfit men. It was a bit scary. I'd seen the same lot having lunch there the day before. Bunny and salad was kind of a special meal for me (it was quite nice, actually, though I hurt my tooth on a bunny bone), but to eat chicken and chips every single day? I was just thankful they had to walk up the hill to the restaurant. Though they probably drove. I wanted to yell out "Don't! Don't eat that again! Have a salad! Have a sandwich!" but I figured it wasn't such a good idea. I did plan on a cake, but decided to push on to my next destination first.

Printed out a road map from our place to Newtown. Petersham, I discovered yesterday, is only 10 minutes (if that) from our place. Which is such a tiny distance. On the map, that's only about a third of the way to Newtown. But the main roads to Newtown are scary: narrow, busy, fast-moving traffic on a single lane, poorly surfaced road. All bad news for a baby bike rider like me. Then I noticed this:

View Larger Map

Street view showed me this:

View Larger Map

Which is pretty exciting. You can't look at them using street view, but Sydney has a whole system of these sorts of alleys. They're not cobble stones like Melbourne's, though - they're sealed. Now, alleys are notoriously dangerous ways of getting around by bike. Things come out of blind corners, cars drive down them at speed, weird blokes grab you off your bike (that's my nightmare).

So I was kind of careful. But I chose to ride along this one anyway, all the way to Newtown. I'm really glad that I did. I saw lots and lots of good scrumping opportunities. Lemons, Grapes (ripe! accessible!), longans (you know I have no clue what to do with them), plums... all sorts of neat stuff. I also came across a few doozers and their mini digger. I couldn't get past on-bike, so I had to carry my bike over the ripped up concrete, and then up and over the edge of the digger. The doozer bloke (young, mediterranean, well-trained) offered to carry my bike. I smiled and said "no thank you" and hefted it over. I'm glad I'm not one of those steel-is-real nuts. I'm also glad I didn't bring a big bottle of water this time. But dang, I felt tough. It was all very interesting. And riding there from Petersham was ridiculously easy and quick.

Dropped in on a friend's shop to say hi, then went up the road to the bike shop.

Bought stuff at the bike shop. I bought a new helmet (because mine was old and skanky and really kind of crapped up through mistreatment), new lights (because we've lost our lights and I needed new ones for getting home from yoga) and new grips for my handlebars. It cost me far too much money.

I also looked at cleats/click shoes (I am mad keen on these ones, but not too hopeful). I'm not sure of their names, though I did ask the bike guy. Wikipedia tells me cleats are just specialist sports shoes with spikes. So who knows what you call the cycling ones. Basically, they're special shoes that have a little locky thing on the sole that clicks into a locky thing in your pedal. Why bother with that rubbish? It makes pedaling more efficient - you make better use of your muscles and your foot moves around less on the pedal, stopping you wasting energy with wiggling. So to get this set up happening, you need special pedals and special shoes. The shoes are quite stiff and can be super-daggy or fairly ok. I think I only want them because The Squeeze has them. New click-wearers tend to stack it a few times at first until they learn how to work the quick release.
I'm not sure whether these things will make me cooler/a better cyclist/a consumption stooge. But for a girl who's been browsing far too many (make sure you check out the little movie on that one) bike sites, it's actually pretty impressive that I haven't suddenly decided to dump my perfectly serviceable Apollo road bike for something ridiculously expensive and terribly sexy. ..
.. it is sexy, though.

Anyway, after a little wander through the bike shop and a quiet (private) mock of the fashionista bloke buying his first fixy (enjoy that no-gears, no-break thing, dood - especially with your perfectly white dunlop volleys, immaculately shaved and tanned legs and perfectly perfect designer shorts), I left Newtown.

And went to Petersham for a cake. The flourless chocolate cake at Sweet Bellam is fabulous. Their coffee is ordinary, but it's a very nice place to have a sit and a read and a cake. Petersham was rocking with groups of senoras on the lookout for spunky older gentlemen and "coffee! coffee!" so I had to be very careful making my way down to the other back-roads path home.
There is a system of back-road designated bike routes which I don't really understand. The one I used a lot is the 'L5', though I'm also into the 'L10'. I thought they were prepaid only bus route numbers. But there're also pretty well-signed bike routes. Roads are usually shitfully bumpy and crap, but they're quieter, wider, safer roads. Don't seem to join up properly, but that could be because I'm not following them properly. Anyways, they're worth the look.

Looked at lots of bike pron. I've just waded through a heap of sites, including:
- this RTA bike route map collection which I can't seem to understand.
-the city of Sydney's new Cycle Way, which ties into the Jan Gehl assessment of Sydney (as discussed here on City Of Sound. I don't really understand the new cycle way yet because I don't know the city roads or areas well enough to understand the practicalities and issues involved.
- a lecture on the Powerhouse's bike collection via their their weekly lecture series
- bike bus project website, where I felt a little bit frustrated. I'm not interested in getting into the freakin' hardcore yahr! masculinity of the real-steele/fixy scene (mostly because I'm packing a uterus, and they're not really appropriate in that scene - apparently you're harder hardcore if you risk your gonads wearing them on the outside while you cycle), but I'm not really into these semi-lame government/council initiatives, either. I'm just not sure where I stand, really. With my friends or The Squeeze or on my own, probably.
- and, finally wished I'd seen this rider spoke thing earlier.

Had a little think about my 'goals', as a badass cycling feministah. I'm very attracted to the steel is real/fixy thing. If only because it is so tattooed, no-cleats, RAHR! badassin' hadcore. And male-dominated. I like to think of myself as all those things (sans tatts, though), and I do like to push myself into male-dominated scenes. I also like it as an alternative to the happy-clappy, hand-holding hippy cycling world. Or to the shave-your-legs, wear-lycra, ride-down-highways-really-quickly crowd. But I don't think I could really be bothered.

I want equipment that's tough and hard-wearing, so I don't have to replace it.
I'm not really interested in brands, but I'm not like those fixy-fashionistas who peel all the stickers off their bikes to be cool in a sort of faux-op-shop Revival sort of way.
I want to get maximum efficiency from my body by using the right equipment, but I don't want to buy stuff 'just because'. My old bike is perfectly adequate. My flouro yellow rain jacket is daggy but safe (and kind of stinky atm). My new helmet isn't skatin' rad, but it is safe and good quality. Do I need clicks? Do I need lycra pants? In the latter case, I definitely need some sort of new shorts situation - I've lost so much weight none of the shorts in our house fit me any more.
All of this is, of course, some sort of desperate attempt to distract myself from not dancing. It's classic transferral. I need to resolve my feelings about not being able to dance. Or I could just throw myself into another activity obsessively. I'm sure as shit not doing any sewing these days. But gardening... that's another story (remind me to blog our seedies' progress).

So it's been kind of a big day. I'm so glad I'm back on my bike, and back exploring Sydney. Next I'm going to find some way to explore the beaches. Possibly a train/bike combo.
Yes, please.

"today i:" was posted by dogpossum on February 26, 2009 6:06 PM in the category bikes and clicky and fewd and gastropod and sydney | Comments (0)


I'd really like to redesign this site. It's been ages since I gave it a new style sheet - years. I have no idea what's cool in the css world these days, so I guess I'd better have a look.
I actually use my 'blogroll' all the time, so that should probably be further up. I could ditch a lot of that other stuff in the side bar, though. Maybe drop menus for the categories - or is that _so_ four years ago? Are we all into clouds? I'm not sure I like the messiness of clouds.
I think I want the sidebar on the right. That's where everyone else has it these days.
I might make it so that more entries are displayed on the first page, and then do the 'older' link at the bottom, so people can navigate backwards through time, a chunk of entries at a time. That's how I like to navigate people's blogs.
There are quite a few spacing issues that need fixing - some proportions need tidying up. I think I'm ready to go border free. Completely border free. Kind of a big step for someone as ob-con as myself; I like the order of boxes.
Most of all, I need to remember to do all this styling on the laptop, not on the imac. The imac has a fully sick screen, and the laptop is smaller and squashier. Using winblows? Well, I won't be taking your needs into account. This will be firefox/safari friendly only.

"redesign!" was posted by dogpossum on February 26, 2009 10:39 AM in the category dogpossum

Urambi Village Housing Cooperative, Kambah, ACT [6]

Urambi Village Housing Cooperative, Kambah, ACT [6]. Originally uploaded by canberra house.

There's something fascinatingly ordinary about this Sydney regional architectural style. It makes me think of the SF I watched as a kid, and of my friends' houses in the newer suburbs in Brisbane's north.

"Urambi Village Housing Cooperative, Kambah, ACT [6]" was posted by dogpossum on February 26, 2009 9:34 AM in the category | Comments (2)

what a lovely pic

I just had to share this lovely photo of two of my friends. I would have blogged it straight from flickr, but couldn't. You can see it here, but make sure you check out the rest of this photographer's amazing pics.
This is a good bud of mine who's living in New York, though she's been living in London for a few years now (four?). The guy is another friend, an American who was living in Melbourne but now lives in the Netherlands. I love this pic because of the shapes and pose (they weren't actually posing - just dancing), but also because I love the expression on D's face. She's having so much fun. We miss her a lot, but we're also proud she's off being jetsetting Woman of Business. This photo also makes me a little bit sad, because it's all the things I love about dancing - having fun, being creative, figuring things out, making beautiful shapes, experimenting with weight commitment and leading and following. I also like the way G hasn't dragged D over too far - he's actually extended his arms. And that's something a lot of guys can't seem to manage (often because they carry far too much tension in their shoulders and just _can't_ extend that far). I also like it that they're wearing normal clothes, not vintage gear - this is everyday dancing for everyday people.
So I like this photo a lot. Nice framing, nice light - just the perfect moment capturing two lovely people doing something they both love very much. Sigh.

"what a lovely pic" was posted by dogpossum on February 26, 2009 8:47 AM in the category clicky and lindy hop and other dances | Comments (0)

February 25, 2009

i have a thing for early 20th century australiana


We went to see the modernism exhibition at the Powerhouse a little while ago. Well, we actually went to have a look at The Museum, and this exhibition was on. It was, overall, dull. And not terribly well curated, I don't think. But it had some fully sick stuffs in it. I was, of course, captured by the 20s stuff. But also by the late 19th century bits.
I have the beginnings of a full blown Thing for olden days Australiana. I like the stylised kangaroos. Flipping through a design/architecture magazine at the sports specialist a little while ago, I was struck by the set and prop design for the ill-fate Lurhman 'Australia'. Gorgeous. There's something about the super-kitchness of Australian animals (with their utterly bizarre physiology) done up by art deco or modernism (don't really know the difference between the two, I'm afraid). I like the way the bizarre is made streamlined and beautiful. The way a kangaroo is styled up like a greyhound.

"i have a thing for early 20th century australiana" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 4:56 PM in the category digging | Comments (0)


New Matilda give good style sheet. Can't wait to get in and have a gander at the code.
I know it suits my general aesthetic (ie white with pale grey borders), but there's a reason newspaper pages are white. I really like a site where the design is invisible, or so very ordinary you have trouble figuring out how it works.

"golly" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 4:49 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

river and train obession

I can't stop listening to this song. Not this precise version, but one that's very similar.
It's the first song in the film 'Jazz on a Summer's Day'. I'm obsessed. Suddenly, not dancing means that I'm actively listening to jazz that can't be danced to. I've even dug out my Miles Davis CDs. And I'm liking it light and nice - nothing too challenging. No bop, thanks.

"river and train obession" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 4:42 PM in the category music | Comments (1)

level of awesome: 10

more Loutit awesomeness:

Metal Heart from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

"level of awesome: 10" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 3:36 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

city of sound

I think it's the post-ride endorphines. They've jolted me out of my unemployed, understimulated lassitude.
Found city of sound and suddenly my cultural studies interests have merged with my (shy) interests in design and architecture and urban planning.

"city of sound" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 3:33 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

the way i feel about sydney: busy, all water and sun and people

I've been living in Sydney for six months, and I still feel like a tourist. It's that sense of excitement and exploration that you get living or visiting somewhere new. It's wanting to go out and just _look_ at the things around you. To take photos. To see interesting things and then tell people the story of your day.
I lived in Melbourne for eight years, and in Brisbane for about fifteen before that (and lots of other places in the years before). Living in Melbourne I never felt the urge to live near the sea, or even to visit it. The Victorian coast line never really woke the inner-swimmer in me. The person who used to live in Fiji and learnt to swim almost by osmosis. Living here, in Sydney, I think I'd like to live in one of those posh beach-side suburbs. I like the sound of Bronte. Sydney is a city all-about-the-ocean. Keith Loutit's little clips are the way I feel about Sydney: busy, all water and sun and people.

Bathtub II from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

"the way i feel about sydney: busy, all water and sun and people" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 3:26 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

because everything i am is domestic these days

There are eight doozers erecting scaffolding around the three story heritage building across the road. The doozers are making lots of noise and performing general acts of physical skill, bravery and derring do. I am choking a little on the testosterone. Soon the painters will be able to finish the top floors. But not until these doozers have finished their show.

My foot has suddenly flared up over the last week or so. I began yoga two weeks ago. The connection is irrefutable. It breaks my heart. I will see if we can amend the poses for me tonight, but for now it's not looking so good. I'm left with just cycling for exercise. It's not enough. I have considered swimming, but something is putting me off.

Semester starts in two weeks and I'm teaching in (yet another) giant first year introductory media/cultural studies subject. Same old, same old. But I don't mind it - I can teach it with one hand tied behind my back, and can get on with developing some decent teaching technique, rather than worrying about learning the content.

I have to get a book read and reviewed for a journal. It's slow because it's not a terribly well written book and I keep distracting myself. Will do better today, though.

We are both still losing quite a bit of weight. The Squeeze more so than me. One of us needs to go buy some smaller shorts ASAP. We share a few of them, and they're all now ridiculously big on us. Neither of us is particularly keen likes shopping for clothes at all, so it will be a race to not go. I bet it's me at Jay Jays sometime next week.

It's killing me to not be able to dance. Just killing me. My foot has not improved, so there's no chance I'll get to dance any time soon. Just walking is still painful. Back to the specialist in a week or so. Where he'll tell me there's nothing that we can do. I haven't gone this long without dancing in ten years. Hell, I haven't gone longer than one month, let alone three in all that time. I am trying not to be badly depressed about it, but I'm not doing a very good job.

Oh, the comments are back on. The Squeeze fixed it. Good on him - he rocks.

Stumbled across this bloke recently. I am highly skeptical. I smell a bit of gendered division of labour there. There is no gendered division of labour in our house at the moment. The Squeeze has to do it all (bar grocery lists and purchasing). My foot is too sore for me to vacuum or stand up long enough to clean. He is a very wonderful Squeeze.

I am spending too much time on faceplant and twitter. But then, the entire developed world is, I suspect.

"because everything i am is domestic these days" was posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 9:30 AM in the category domesticity | Comments (1)

February 24, 2009

Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber, Tennessee (LOC)

Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber, Tennessee (LOC)

Originally uploaded by The Library of Congress

Still rocking in the flickr commons project.

"Operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber, Tennessee (LOC)" was posted by dogpossum on February 24, 2009 5:31 PM in the category | Comments (0)

February 23, 2009



To make your band's album cover, do the following:

1 - To get the name of your band, go to Wikipedia and hit “random”
or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - To get your album title, go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

3 - For your album cover photo, go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Post it along with these instructions and tap the friends you want to join in.

I choose not to tap.

"meme-on" was posted by dogpossum on February 23, 2009 11:20 AM in the category clicky | Comments (0)

February 22, 2009

libraries gettin' flicky wid it

Man and young boy boxing

Originally uploaded by State Library of Queensland, Australia

I've been fascinated by the recent sprouting of 'official' archives and libraries on flickr. The latest (and most interesting) is the State Library of Qld. These photos are wonderful for their ordinariness. And their... unordinariness. So Queesland. And it's only since I left the state that I can really appreciate how unusual Queensland is.
A number of libraries and galleries have recently leapt into flickr. This fascinates me. I've also heard of some wonderful archive/google map hacks: historical google maps, as illustrated by the (Australian) National Archives. This is where my research interests sprout: I am utterly enthralled by the way people take 'found technology' and hack it to suit their needs and interests. de Certeau would be delighted.

"libraries gettin' flicky wid it" was posted by dogpossum on February 22, 2009 10:07 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)


We have comments! Hurrah for The Squeeze and his cleverness.

"and..." was posted by dogpossum on February 22, 2009 9:36 PM in the category dogpossum | Comments (0)

February 21, 2009

The Columbia and OKeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions


Mosaic has a lovely Benny Goodman Orchestra set that I have my eye on. I've been going through my music lately, doing a little tidying, and I've discovered I have only a couple of Benny Goodman Orchestra albums. This must be rectified.
I know it's just an obessive 'must have' completist type thing, but... must. have.

On other (related) fronts, I have been blowing through my 50 emusic downloads not within a month, but within a few minutes after my account ticks over. I can't possibly get by with these few songs. It's just not possible. Again, this is crazy 'must possess all' thinking. But then, I must. And emusic is really wonderful - it has all those chronological classics. And quite a few other hard-to-get indy labels. And that's just in the 'olden days jazz' section. I've glanced through the 50s blues, but I really haven't even begun to look at anything else.

Think of me, in my obsessive compulsiveness this week. I think I might 'back up' my downloads with CD copies. Nerd ON!

"The Columbia and OKeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions" was posted by dogpossum on February 21, 2009 6:59 PM in the category music and objects of desire | Comments (0)

February 20, 2009

loose marbles

I found this neat photo of the Loose Marbles singer here. That's how lindy hoppers are looking these days - covered in tatts. Low body fat. Very ghetto Harlem, a la 1930s.

The Loose Marbles are a great American jazz band who do a lot of busking. They do have CDs, but they're hard to find. The band's hard to find online, as well. Look, here they are busking:

"loose marbles" was posted by dogpossum on February 20, 2009 5:37 PM in the category music | Comments (1)

February 18, 2009


I know you can't comment. There's something wrong with the templates. I still haven't figured out what. But I'll have a closer look when I get a chance. Sorry, mates.

"argh" was posted by dogpossum on February 18, 2009 9:56 AM in the category | Comments (1)

February 16, 2009

bike on!

We've been doing quite a bit of bike riding round here since I've been injured. That means lots of hills for me, and lots of riding really slowly behind Boss Ham for The Squeeze. I am getting tougher and fitter, but I'm no hardcore commuter or something-to-prove Steel is real type. I ride for pleasure, to buy my groceries, to get places and to sticky beak as much as humanly possible. I ride a $500 bike of ordinary brand. The Squeeze rides something fancy he made himself from parts he bought on the internet. I am not afraid to leave mine locked up on the street. He worries about his the entire time we're in the cafe/shop/pub.
We've been surprised by how few people ride bikes in Sydney. Well, not so much surprised. It is hilly. The roads are narrow and do not have safe, well-signed bike paths. Motorists are aggressive and don't know how to drive safely near cyclists. There aren't many bike shops about and there are very, very few loops for locking up your bike. We didn't really expect the same number of cyclists as in Melbourne. Melbourne is, after all, jammed with them at the moment. But we have been surprised by our Sydney friends' thinking about bike riding.

1. Not many of them have been on a bike in the last ten years. This isn't too surprising - nor had I when I moved to Melbourne.

2. Very few of them have any desire to ride a bike. This, again, isn't too suprising; a desire to bike ride is built into you after a number of pleasurable rides. School-time memories aren't exactly conducive to cycling enthusiasm.

3. Most of them are very suprised to hear that a) The Squeeze commutes to work, and b) that I do my grocery shopping on the bike. It is this incidental cycling that I think is essential to making serious life style changes, for both our own fitness and for environmental goodwomanship. I'm always surprised that they're surprised by the thought of riding their bike (rather than driving their car) fifteen minutes to the next suburb to buy a whole heap of groceries.
They're always very surprised to hear that many veggie shops home deliver, and that people who aren't nannas use this home delivery service. I think that quite a few of them hear the delivery fee (which can range from $3 to $7, depending) and blanche a little. But then most of them find it difficult to believe that many places deliver things for free. Home delivery was once common place. It's certainly a feature in neighbourhoods with many older residents. But it's simply not something most car drivers would imagine using. For me, it's an essential (and entirely wonderful) part of life.
I like riding my bike for groceries. Because I work from home, I can go during the week, as many times as necessary (another thought that stumps people - shopping a few times a week? For pleasure?). Riding to the shops is not only convenient, it's also fun. It's nice to get out of the house and wizz off to do something useful. But I have also been a weekend grocery shopper. The Squeeze and I used to shop for our groceries together on the weekend when I was working out of the house, and we've been doing it a bit lately recently as my out-of-house commitments have increased.

We hop on our bikes, ride fifteen minutes to a cafe for a nice brunch, then off to the shops. We select and purchase our F&V, we leave empty-handed (the best part of home delivery!) Then off to the butcher or the deli or the supermarket. Because we do this sort of shopping-for-pleasure grocery shopping, we tend not to use the supermarkets. We use smaller businesses for our meat, fruit, vege and fish, and for specialist items (tofu, spices, etc). This means that we're not only buying better quality products, we're also avoiding huge chain shops. And we're also zooming in on businesses which are more likely to home deliver. Businesses which are right on the street with lots of spots just outside for us to use for bike parking.
Then we ride home.
We certainly don't need a car for all this. Riding a bike is more convenient than public transport. And it simply makes you feel good to get a little endorphine action on a nice weekend day.

I'm also surprised by non-cyclists' surprise at The Squeeze's commuting by bike. They immediately assume he's some hard core badass cycling machine (he is, but that's not the point). They don't tend to think of ways to ride a bike to work that don't involve masses of lyrca or really expensive bikes. In Melbourne, many people ride to work with their friends, at a very sensible medium pace. You see all sorts of bikes (and all sorts of cyclists) in peak hour - it's not all lycra. But that doesn't seem to happen here in Sydney. And I think it's a sad thing.

4. While they're interested in coming riding with us, they think of it as 'going for a ride' rather than 'let's ride to lunch on Saturday'. I love hopping on my bike to ride to the pub or to see a band or to explore an interesting area. The riding is fun in itself, but it's not the sum of my enjoyment. I like it that cycling lets you talk to your companions and stop easily to have a good stare at something interesting. But I think that for many non-bike riders, the ride itself is so unusual and strange it becomes the focus of the event. I think, also, that when you ride infrequently you don't really know how to dress for cycling or how to plan ahead. So the ride is often a little uncomfortable or awkward the first time. Or requires a little more preparation than just popping out to the car. For us, this is second nature. We have said goodbye to delicately fashionable haircuts and wide-legged trousers. But we have also said hello to three-quartered trousers, comfortable shorts and a wide range of funky Tshirts. I think of my helmet as a mark of coolness these days: "Look, here is my helmet on my arm. That means I rode here. That means I'm wicked cool." I know that that is the best ten year old thinking, but, frankly, ten year olds have it right: riding a bike does make you feel wicked cool.

5. They feel a bit sorry for me when I 'have' to ride (or catch PT) home. This is one of the stranger responses. For me, riding home is a pleasure. Catching PT isn't horrible. Getting stranded at the bus stop is, but the actual bus ride isn't. And I really, really like the combination of bike and train or light rail. You don't have to muck about with bike racks or parking or any of that rubbish. You just get on. And that, my friends, is where bikes piss all over cars.

So, I'm generally quite surprised by Sydney people's responses to bike riding. I think they think it's difficult and challenging and frightening. Like climbing mountains (this of course makes The Squeeze my Tenzing Norgay). I'd like to imagine that I'm a little like a mountain climber, but mostly I know that I'm more like a badass feministah who likes riding down hill more than uphill, and is more than happy to stop for a look or a cup of tea or chat mid-ride. Cycling in Sydney is not dangerous. Motorists in Sydney are. But there are far more safe, lovely rides away from the main streams than you might expect. Cycling in Sydney is fun, and it is safe and it is, really, a lovely thing to do with friends.

In the spirit of my (recent and ongoing) attempts to get more of my Sydney friends onto bikes, here are some interesting links I've found:

Budget Bike: riding a cheap (<$100) bike (Australian male author)
Dulwich Hill Bike Club: a local club with a 'Saturday Slowies' group:

I've noticed that most cyclists in Sydney (that I've seen) are male. Most of the hardcore cyclists I've know have been male as well. Hardcore cycling can (I suspect) be faily blokey with lots of dick-in-hand posturing. I really don't have any time for that. A cycling nut once dismissed my yellow safety jacket as a clear indication that I was 'a commuter'. The implication being that this was the worst possible insult for a hardcore cyclist. In my world, 'a commuter' is badass, and something I'd like to grow up to be. I think, though, that I'm far more likely to remin 'a mosier', someone who mosies along on their bike thinking a lot and staring in people's gardens and windows even more. Speed is not my goal; stamina is.
So I guess a woman-friendly, un-competitive casual cycling group would be useful. I know many of my female friends (who aren't dancers) aren't comfortable with physical activity and physical risk. Dancers are better - they're used to looking like idiots and taking the odd spill. I think, for many women, it's this risk-taking and knowing that you're actually capable of doing things on your own (even if it is just riding your bike to the shops) that's very important. For me, cycling is about being independent, about being physically capable, about being strong. I'm not as strong or fit as The Squeeze, for example, but that doesn't matter when I'm riding off on my own to Marrickville for fabric or to meet a friend for afternoon tea.

Last weekend we rode to the Marrickville community markets. It pissed down rain (luckily before and after we rode), but we saw some really great stuff (and we think we might actually be Marrickville People or Dulwich Hill People rather than Summer Hill People) and the markets are great. Plus it's a pretty safe ride without too many nasty hills. Though my sense of 'hill' is changing as we ride more - I can't believe how pathetic I was about hills in Melbourne. There were no hills in Brunswick.

I'm going to make more people ride with us on the weekend. It will rock.

"bike on!" was posted by dogpossum on February 16, 2009 4:27 PM in the category bikes | Comments (0)


You know your day to day life is small when getting a couple of loads of laundry done feels like a huge accomplishment.
Even if they were sheets.

"small" was posted by dogpossum on February 16, 2009 4:12 PM in the category domesticity | Comments (0)

February 11, 2009

yay yoga

Well, things are kind of boring over here in boring town. If only boring people are bored, I guess I must be pretty damn dull. I like it that the weather's cooler, and it makes me want to get outside and ride my bike. But it's also raining, and that's not much fun in a hilly town when you ride a bike with skinny, slick tires. It's weird to be wearing trousers again. It's been months and months.

bksi.jpgOn Monday I went to yoga for the first time since I've been here. It was so nice to be yogaring again, I smiled involuntarily all through the class. That could have been the endorphines speaking. The studio is very close to our place - only 10 minutes door to door (including time spent wrestling with the garage door and my bike on our steep drive way). I do have to ride down a very steep hill, then up another very steep hill, but I'm hardcore now, so that's ok. In fact, I can't believe what a baby I was about hills in Melbourne - there's no way I could ride _anywhere_ here if I couldn't handle hills. But I can, now, because I am badASS.
So yoga rocked. It's Iyengar, and it's a baby class, but I need that babyness. I am so out of condition. My poor foot got a bit of a workout, though, which is ok. Lots of standing poses which I usually love, but which were a bit intense for my poor plantar fascia. They did give my ankle a good stretch and flex, though, which is really important. Now I understand why back bends (where you sit on your feet, knees bent, bum on your heels) hurt so much - my ankle doesn't bend enough. So some of those sort of poses freakin' hurt, but my ankle needs to be worked a bit so I can get greater movement and - consequently - ask less of my plantar fascia.
The studio was small, which is ok. The cost was only $15 per class, which is good. The class itself was nice, but we didn't do any partner work (waaah!) and we moved through poses a bit quickly for my liking. I like taking a long time to get into a pose, holding the pose for ages, then getting out of it slowly. I like the slow, careful movement because it makes me really _think_ about the way I'm using my body. It's also a lot harder and makes my muscles really work. It was strange having a female teacher. You know, men and women have different bodies? And their muscles are differently proportioned? That's some wacky shit.

Basically, I feel freaking GOOD in my body today, even with the second-day-after soreness. It's a good soreness.

At any rate, I'd like to go back tonight, but I should probably give my foot a bit more of a break between classes. Though I think it'd probably be ok. Heck, I could justify my way into going back. So long as it isn't raining when I want to leave.

What do I like about Iyengar?
I like the precision and emphasis on alignment. I am a big old biomechanics nerd, particularly in regard to dancing, and I'm fascinated by the way Iyengar develops your awareness of your muscles and tendons and fascia and bones and bits. I like the way it micro-focusses on poses, and the way you learn to do them perfectly. Because I have a bunch of knee and hip problems usually, I like the way Iyengar's emphasis on having everything properly aligned (foot under knee under hip under...) teaches my body to hold itself properly and get over bad habits.

I like the props. I like using all the blankets and bolsters and belts and things. Partly because I like making cubbies, but also because props actually make poses easier. A belt holds you in place so that you can get used to how a pose feels. But you can adjust the belt to a hold that's comfortable, so it's not freaky. Bolsters and blankets can help you with a pose that might otherwise be too strong - they give you an easier version of a pose.

I like being adjusted by the teacher. I like having that one-on-one attention because it helps me learn. It's also nice to get that attention in class and to have someone put their hands on you. I like working in pairs for that same reason. I like the physical contact because it's helpful to have someone actually put your body in the right position, and because it's just nice to work skin-on-skin with someone like that. I like working in pairs because it helps me learn - you see how someone does the pose, then you work together to make the pose work properly. I also like assisting the person doing the pose and seeing from the outside how it's working. I like having a partner when I'm in the pose because it makes it easier. It's also nice to work with other people on this stuff - you can talk through a pose and experiment. It's less scary as well, and it's reassuring to have someone else to work with. And it reminds you that everyone has completely different issues, so it's ridiculous to compare yourself to anyone else. And that reminds you that yoga is about developing your own awareness so that you can be on better terms with your own body.

I like the slowness and the emphasis on holding poses rather than rushing through them. I like the challenge of holding a pose for a long time - it's like resistance training and lifting weights, but without props (ironically). It's challenging. But it's also really satisfying. I like it that my own body is enough to provide a really challenging work out. And that I can learn to use my body in a way that lets me lift my own body weight.

I like it that yoga thinks about muscles (and bones and so on) as a complex system of parts. Unlike doing weights at the gym, where you tend to think of muscles individually. When we lift our arms out to the side in yoga, we think not only of our arms, but of how our feet are placed on the ground, how our legs are positioned, how our pelvis is sitting, how the muscles in our sides, back, neck and so on are working. All this to hold our arms out straight to the side. And of course, because you're holding all these muscles in place, you're really working, so your heart pumps and you're generally giving good 'resistance training' style effort. I really like the way yoga makes you use the right muscles for the right job. Just as with dancing, you use big muscles for big jobs and small muscles for small jobs. And you always start from the ground up. I think this is why my foot injury upsets me so much - it makes it so very clear that you can't dance properly without proper weight commitment. Your feet are so very important.

I like it that Iyengar is good for injured people. Injuries at dancing mean sitting out for a few months. Injuries mean going to yoga to help heal. I like it that everyone can go to iyengar yoga and participate, no matter how old or infirm or injured they are. It can be as gentle or as strong as you need or can bare. I think this is the most important thing for me at the moment. I've been spending the last few months thinking of my body as fucked up and an impediment to my independence. But yoga reminds me that it's not actually fucked up, that I can still get on and do things and be in it and enjoy it. I just have to respect its limitations. So with yoga I can still go and spend an hour sweating and working really hard, and not be told that I'm 'broken' by those same limitations. I think it's this sense of confidence and respect for my body (rather than resentment) that is most important for me at the moment.

I like yoga very much.
It makes me feel so good. It stops me thinking for a couple of hours.
It's gentle and non-competitive, which is nice after dancing.
It's intellectually stimulating and I learn a lot. But it's learning about myself.

"yay yoga" was posted by dogpossum on February 11, 2009 10:42 AM in the category bikes and lindy hop and other dances and yoga | Comments (0)

February 10, 2009

Bud Freeman- Chicago/ Austin High School

1002.jpg ... featuring my new love, Jack Teagarden. A little hi-fi 'trad' jazz... (more details here.

"Bud Freeman- Chicago/ Austin High School" was posted by dogpossum on February 10, 2009 5:10 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music and objects of desire | Comments (0)

February 1, 2009


Gotgastro is perhaps the greatest googlemaps hack I've come across so far. The Squeeze has been gleefully cross-referencing this with the Good Food Guide. It's almost disturbing to see that all the dumpling joints in Ashfield have violated the health code. Having just dealt with a horrible stomach virus (and it was virus, rather than food poisoning), this site suddenly seems far more important than it did before.

Browsing the List of Shame, it seems that it's best not to eat:
- chinese food from a chinese restaurant
- at Subway, Red Rooster, KFC or Hungry Jacks (though McDonalds is apparently ok)
- Sushi
- at the Top Choice BBQ Restaurant in Burwood
- anywhere that sells meat.

But it's probably ok to eat at vegetarian joints (so long as they're not Indian or Chinese). I was sorry to see the F&V shop I get deliveries from on that list. Thank god I only buy F&V there.
Man, we need to grow all our own food. NOW.

Where are you eating tonight?

"gotgastro?" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2009 9:25 PM in the category clicky | Comments (0)


A new Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes film has me suspecting we'll see more than a little (more) Holmes/Watson slash.
sh.jpg It'll star Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law (Law = Watson, Downey Jnr = Holmes), two blokes who're kind of made for slash. Dunno about Ritchie's involvement, but I quite like watching those two blokes on screen (read more here).

Also, phwoar.

"also..." was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2009 4:54 PM in the category fillums | Comments (0)

bob willis and the texas playboys' Tiffany Transcriptions

ttbw.jpg Suddenly, I want this Western Swing classic. I know most of the songs, either via jazz or my western swing faves.

Initially recorded for a furniture company to play in their shops (!), this collected set apparently has greater live and vivacity than their other recordings. I don't much care, so long as the band continues to remind me of the Hot Club of Cowtown... though it should be the other way around.

It isn't as hot here in Sydney as in other cities and I have largely recovered from the world's worst stomach virus. Three days of throwing up. Two days in bed. One day partly up and out of bed, mostly sitting or lying on the couch. Today I had a real lunch and kept it in my body. For about two hours. It was pretty cool, though - I had digestion going and everything. My ps are visiting. It's been hard. I have been foul. But then, I am ill. They're acclimated to Hobart and think this is hot. We know it's not in the 40s, so we think it's nice. Apparently it's broken 30 in Hobart this week.

I have recently begun saving water from my showers. The Sydney water restrictions aren't as tight or as well policed and publicised as in Melbourne, so collecting water makes me feel badass and way wicked. Also, it's free water for our new baby plants. I have plans for a rough tomato/basil patch near the compost bin. But the seeds didn't come from Eden Seeds, which is just plain weird. I will chase it up on Monday if I'm up to it.

Bought new songs on emusic yesterday. Suspect it's not so good to buy music when so trashed. But it could shake my collection up a little.
Just finished Alison Bechdel's Essential Dykes to watch out for. It's great, as you'd expect. Have eye on Fun House.

Humidity is high. But that's ok.

"bob willis and the texas playboys' Tiffany Transcriptions" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2009 2:31 PM in the category djing and domesticity and greenies and music and objects of desire | Comments (0)