Tuesday, December 9, 2008

餅 Mochi Time!


"Mochi (Japanese: 餅 is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time." - Wikipedia

I have always enjoyed the texture of cakes that are not quite cooked properly,.. things that are kind of rubbery and chewy. I remember once, my mum was making cookies, and I went into the kitchen and stole a ball of dough,... then hid behind the couch eating it. Delicious dough.

Tonight i'm going to a mochi party so I am getting amped up.
餅 わ たべります!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Experiments in Happiness.

"Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi made people carry a pager, and told them that every time it went off they should write down what they were doing and how much they were enjoying it. The idea was to avoid the memory’s tendency to focus on peaks and troughs, and to capture the texture of people’s lives as they were experiencing them, rather than in retrospect. The study showed that people were most content when they were experiencing what Csikzentmihalyi called “flow”—in Haidt’s definition, “the state of total immersion in a task that is challenging yet closely matched to one’s abilities.” We are at our happiest when we are absorbed in what we are doing; the most useful way of regarding happiness is, to borrow a phrase of Clive James’s, as “a by-product of absorption.”" - from imomus.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The death of Jørn Utzon - the architect behind the Sydney Opera House.

Here's a quick tribute to the Danish architect, and designer of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon. I was disappointed when I first learnt of how Utzon was treated by tne NSW government during the construction of this landmark building. Government construction projects invariably go into the red,...I don't know the specific details, but how could you blame the architect?

What is the point of architecture? Of course, function is extremely important. But something interesting happens when art meetings construction. This is when a building becomes 'a place', 'an icon' and 'a landmark'. In the international collective perspective of the world, what would Sydney be without the Opera House? Ambitiously edgy new buildings are always risky when it comes to public opinion and politics, but it would be even worse if we never tried at all.

Baby Mama - lazy chick flick times on a Saturday night.

Looks a little cheesy, right? In a way, you are correct,...this movie is definitely like a big fluffy (yet ultimately enjoyable) marshmallow. On the other hand, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are sharp, sarcastic and bubbling with that kind of smart, self-aware humour that few actors can really pull off. Making it in comedy is hard, and I'd guess it'd be even harder for women.

So although yeh, this is probably a 'chicks flick,' that doesn't make it instantly dismissable. Though some of the jokes are a little obvious and lame, the film never takes itself too seriously. My new method of assessing a film is this: - at the end of the film do I feel cheated of 100 minutes of my life? The answer in this case is, no, not at all.

*****
Why does the office smell like vinegar? Maybe it's me?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My first t-shirt from RedBubble............!



My first RedBubble T-shirt

I finally got around to ordering a T-shirt from Redbubble!

Redbubble is an Australian company based on the Cafepress-style business model; Creators upload their works onto the site, from which consumers can purchase prints or printed goods featuring the works. In exchange for hosting your image/profile, doing the printing and posting the item, Redbubble take a fee from the sale. It's a pretty cool concept and I'm really happy to support this sort of venture.

I decided on this design by "lowvincentyh", "lowvincentyh", available here.

Cute, ne?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Take me Home" exhibition at Keith and Lottie

Tea Party collaborative painting by Lisa & Jess
Went along to the Lisa Max and Jessica McLeod's exhibition opening last Wednesday night. It was a very cute affair, with very cute paintings and soft toys. I even bought a painting! (left). This year, 2008, is the first year that I have actually bought other people's art (not just the small zines, prints, cards etc that I wouldn't normally buy, but actual original art)!

Anyway, well done Lisa & Jess for putting on this very cute show! Also, thanks for the free pocky sticks, it made my night. Take me Home will be open until the 12th December at Keith and Lottie Gallery so I do recommend anyone to go and check it out! ^_^

Also, here's a quick review for The Moon's Caesar Salad (spare the bacon)... = At first it gives the impression of just being a bit plate of lettuce. Where's the anchovies?, you may wonder. Delve beneath the surface and there are at least 10-14 of them. Salty goodness.

Martin Will's recent exhibition opening.

Clare playing Martin Wills exhibition opening So I'm a bit behind on my blogging. Anyway, this was very cool exhibition by a very talented artist, Martin Wills.

Clare Nina Norelli played the opening night, and I could also eat fancy cheese on a stick. I tried to eat a piece of artichoke, but don't you hate it when you try and eat a piece of food that's too big for your mouth when you're at a social thing? It's hard to talk with a mouth full of artichoke. I still consider it a fancy vegetable, so that made the whole experience ok.

I also had a conversation with some people I know about the wrong-ness of the Hog's Breath Cafe Mascot. I think I may have scared them with my passionate anti-hog sentiments, my apologies.

All in all, a great night!

Simone and Girlfunkel at the Moon.



Simone & Girlfunkel @ The Moon


This is from last week.

Very cute and talented girls. ^_^
You can see their myspace here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The new Coen brothers' film; Burn After Reading.

Initially I had reservations as to whether I'd enjoy this film or not; it only scored about 78% on the tomatometer, and reviews indicated that it wasn't the strongest example of Coen brother's-style film-making. As one does, when they have pre-concieved low expectations, I actually enjoyed the film quite a lot.

I was quite pleased to watch a film where everyone was between 40-60 or so,... no young bimbos or token hotties,... The casting was quite unusual,...but with great performances from Tilda Swinton, Frances Mcdormand, Brad Bitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich,...it all came together well.

I particularly love the Coen brothers' style of extremely subtle yet fiercely cutting black humour. Unlike other "comedies," there is no need for obvious comedic conventions and announcements;.. "THIS IS A JOKE, LAUGH NOW!" type stuff. Actually for some of my favourite comedies, there wouldn't be so many "laugh out loud" jokes, but rather, an ongoing series of inward ironic chuckles.

I can see how Burn After Reading would only score 70-80% / 3-4 stars,... it's not THE BEST FILM in the world,... it's more like a lingering dry martini rather than a pina colada. Sharp, funny, subtle, by not TRYING to even be a block-buster, the Coen brothers nail this one, for what it is.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pacific By Rail @ Amplifer



Jess, Julian; Pacific By Rail
Went out last night to Amplifier for the first time in a long time to see Pacific By Rail.

Influences include: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Telescopes, Monster Movie, Mojave 3, Sigur Ros, Godspeed, Mogwai, Blonde Redhead, Helen Stellar, Pia Fraus, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, Ester Drang, Radiohead, The Pillows, Bailter Space, The Jesus and Mary Chain & Auburn Lull.

They're also playing the Artrage Roadtrip gig tomorrow night with Eleventh He Reaches London, Bone, These Shipwrecks, French Rockets & The Tigers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Article from The Australian - Children don't come first in lucky country, says OECD report

Stephen Lunn, Social affairs writer | October 21, 2008

AUSTRALIA'S prosperity is masking an unpalatable truth - the health and wellbeing of our children lag unacceptably behind those of many developed countries.

More than 7 per cent of Australian children have fewer than 11 books in their family home, we rank in the bottom third of the OECD nations for infant mortality, and we are 21st out of 27 for children eating meals with their parents.

These are just a few of a raft of international indicators of childhood health and wellbeing that reveal the chasm between our perceptions of a prosperous country and the harsh reality, childhood expert Fiona Stanley has warned.

An international comparison of 42measures of childhood wellbeing to be published for the first time today by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth shows we rank 13th out of 23 OECD countries on childhood mental health. Indigenous children fare disproportionately badly across a range of indicators from infant mortality through teenage pregnancy and exposure to poverty.

Professor Stanley, chair of the alliance board, told The Australian that the nation "continues to accept mediocrity for our young people" at a time when we top the rankings of some global prosperity indices.

"I'm disappointed in the way Australia has become smug about being top of the pops in wealth and sport, but for the most important element for the future of the country, our children, we're way behind the eight ball," she said.

"An international prosperity index published just last week had Australia the No1 one country in the world for life satisfaction, but how can we be so self-satisfied when there are so many indicators of childhood wellbeing that are in the middle of the range?

"We need to be asking how an affluent and successful country like Australia can be so average when it comes to raising our children and whether we're prepared to continue to accept mediocrity for our young people."

The ARACY report card, titled The Wellbeing of Australian Children, to be launched in Canberra today by Families Minister Jenny Macklin, will feed into the Government's policy agenda focusing on universal access to early childhood education, improving responses to childhood obesity and mental health issues, and combating indigenous disadvantage across the spectrum.

It notes Australian children are four times more likely to be living in poverty than a child in Finland, with 12 per cent of children in Australian households where the income is less than 50 per cent of the national median on the most recent measure.

About 7.2 per cent of children report having fewer than 11 books in their home, a figure that sits at 19 per cent for Aboriginal children.

A spokeswoman for Ms Macklin said last night the Rudd Government was committed to a child-centred approach to family policy and that the ARACY report card would "provide vital baseline data".

"Children are our most important asset and we are determined to make children's interests the driving force of our decision-making for families," the spokeswoman said. "This is reflected in the Government's commitment to introduce a paid paternity leave scheme, the development of a Child Protection Framework and increasing the child care tax rebate from 30 to 50 per cent in our first budget."

She said the indigenous indicators are "shocking" and closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians was an "urgent national priority".

Rob Moodie, professor of global health at the University of Melbourne's Nossal Institute and an ARACY board member, said obesity was one example of where we fell short in looking after children's wellbeing, to the point where the life expectancy of future generations was about to start falling.

Professor Moodie said that governments, communities, business and parents must work together to provide better options for the nation's children.

"We need to value teachers, we need to make sure there are safe public spaces set aside for kids to be active," he said. "We need to get kids walking to school, so they can get both exercise and get to know other children."

Professor Stanley agreed the response had to move beyond polite dinner party conversation.

"Society has to start changing what it values."

She labelled rising psychological problems among children and young people as a particular concern, one that "just shouldn't be happening in a successful country".

From The Australian News Online.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mu's photography exhibition

Just got back from Mu's photo exhibition at Blend(er) Gallery, Joondalup.



Well done Mu for an awesome collection of gorgeous photographs!

Do check out her works if you can!

Gallery Opening Times
Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 2pm
Friday to Sunday 6pm to 9pm - hope to see you there!!

Candy for Grown-ups

A bit of a write-up for the group exhibition I am currently holding at the Breadbox Gallery.

Their paws, claws and antennae wave for our attention from between the pages of comic books, their bouncing figures guide us through pixelated game worlds, and their large eyes peep at us from TV and movie screens. They can be furry, scaly, prickly, smooth, warm, cold, big and small. Some have ears, some resemble a strange mix of two different animals, some are made of robotic steel and others, candy-coloured plasticine. Some echo our deepest childhood fears; murderous ghosts, blood-thirsty vampires, flesh-eating zombies, and others descend from worlds of fantasy; friendly monsters, bouncing sprites and cheerful robots. They are characters, and from childhood, these weird and cute characters like Dracula, Casper, R2D2, Snoopy, Gumby, Gizmo, A.L.F and E.T have become a significant and persistent part of our collective memory.

Rather than discard the toys, videos and comics, many in their 20’s and 30’s have preferred to keep these iconic characters of their childhoods close to their hearts. Some might think that playing Super Mario, collecting Transformers or watching Mighty Mouse in one’s 20’s is an indulgent and immature childish habit, but perhaps what this trend of 20-30 something “kidults” really represents, is a generation of adults who have refused to let go of their imaginations. Though the rational part of our brain knows perfectly well that E.T is not real, we are still open enough to go along with it, forget about reality and let ourselves be convinced. With this generation, therefore, we have seen a disintegration of the old indicators of adult-hood and child-hood. Whilst our parents and grandparents may have preferred more adult pursuits of chess and back-gammon, many of us are not afraid to admit that we still collect Star Wars figurines and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in our spare time.

Unfortunately, the increasing enjoyment of these seemingly “childish” pursuits has led many a social commentator to label this generation as immature, indulgent, materialistic and escapist. This claim would fail to recognise that although we do enjoy a nice new pair of sneakers, many creatives in their 20’s and 30’s actually create a lot more than they consume. The convenience and freedom of the internet, combined with the plummeting costs of print and production technologies, has mean that many motivated creatives have been able to set up their own record labels, self-publish comic books, release their own lines of toys and market their own self-created brands. “Self-contributor” sites like Flickr, Etsy and CafePress, RedBubble all reflect the recent de-centralisation of production that has allowed for the development of independent creative enterprises.

It isn’t surprising then, that many local creatives, who grew up on Warner Brothers cartoons and video games, are now also producing and distributing their own character-based comic books, games, animations and toys. Whilst comic writers Jessica McLeod and Edward J Grug III write, illustrate and publish their own comic books about talking animals and unusual super heroes, craft artisans Ali J and Teresa Watts create and sell their character based purses, badges and cards online. The strength of Jessica’s Space Rabbit character has seen her work translated and published in Germany, whilst many of Ali J’s fashion-centred characters have found their ways onto walls of fans and appreciators on the other side of the globe.

The international popularity of Japan’s Astroboy, Holland’s Miffy, America’s Mickey Mouse and Switzerland’s Pingu reinforce the sense that successful character art can effectively transcend limitations of language, race, age and geography. Although we may not understand the Japanese, Spanish or Thai spoken by artists Yui Matsubara, Marco Recuero or Studio Aiko, their cute girls, candy monsters and surreal mutants embody simple narratives and emotional meanings that can be easily understood and enjoyed by audiences of any background. Typified by its strength in visual communication, character art is therefore, starting to be acknowledged as a genre in its own right. Clearly more than just a child-hood pre-occupation, characters are also increasingly being recognised for their power to create instant emotional connections with audiences.

The characters of Australian artists Jodee Knowles, Tim Waters, Deathbot, Paul Robertson, Yok and Creepy clearly function on this basis of immediate emotional connection. Furthermore, though visually their characters are highly accessible, they also reflect a more complex layer of emotional and social commentary. The contorted robots of Tim Waters and Deathbot reflect a surreal meshing of the organic and the technology, whilst the inked faces of Jodee Knowle’s characters reveal an uneasy sense of emotional detachment. Artists Maximillian Goldin and Suspecto have effectively challenged the “cutesy” nature of character art by juxtaposing bright child-like colours with themes of decapitation and horror. Overall, in the creation of these characters, artists have combined their sense of imagination and play, with the expression of more adult concepts and emotions.

To celebrate this recent generation of “user-contributed” character creation, Candy Cult will put on show over 50 of the most unique, cute, weird and imaginative independent characters from 35 local, interstate and international artists. From cute witches to sexy anime girls, musical demons to demented bunnies, this collection will demonstrate the dual power of character art; as a highly accessible visual communicator, and also as a vehicle of expression for more adult concepts and emotions. With a strong graphic appeal, this exhibition will inspire and engage those who who wish to deepen their appreciation for the imaginative and unique characters that populate contemporary comic illustration, street art, graphic design, animation, game art and craft-making. Overall, Candy Cult will celebrate the imaginative world of this generation; a place where monsters still lurk in the shadows, and ninjas fly through our day-dreams, for as long as we continue to believe.

Viva la imaginacion!


Candy Cult artists:
Yok, Sean Morris, Jodee Knowles, Creepy, Suspecto, Deathbot, Luke Milton, Peter Long, Jessica McLeod, Edward J Grug III, Ali J, Isobel Knowles, Paul Robertson, Yui Matsubara (Japan), Lisa Max (Germany), Marco Recuero (Spain), Kimiaki Yaegashi (Japan), Stick A Thing (Germany), Ciah Ciah (Poland), Zoé Byland (Switzerland), Hylton Warburton (South Africa), Talita Hoffman (Brazil), Studio Aiko (Thailand), Fomat Brain (Argentina), Mutsuko Okayama-Everitt, John Patterson, Stefanie Bop, Tim Waters, Teresa Watts, Karen de San Miguel & Emma Lurie.

Where?
The Breadbox Gallery, 233 James St, Northbridge.

Gallery opening hours:

12 and 5pm, Wednesday to Friday
2 to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday
Candy Cult will run from the 19th of October through to the 2nd of November.

More information:
www.candycult.net

Candy Cult art character arts exhibition


Candy Cult will be open until the 2nd of November. Entry is free, and opening hours are:
12 - 5pm, Wednesday to Friday
2 - 5pm, Saturday & Sunday

If you pop in on Saturday or Sunday I will be there personally if you would like to say hello!

Although many of the 1/1 Limited Edition Candy Cult Character Cut-out prints have already sold, there are still a few fantastic creatures who are still looking for loving homes. Looking for some awesome, contemporary monster art for your bedroom wall? Now’s your chance!

It’s all happening at the Breadbox Gallery, 233 James Street Northbridge.

First Post

Here is my first post on Here Now.

I decided to start this blog, in order to document my thoughts and reactions on things currently happening here in Perth.

You can expect to read about social issues, art events, urban planning, health issues, and anything else that I have a reaction to.

Monday, March 10, 2008

About Me

Likes

JAPAN!,language, art, photography, travel, dreams, learning, living styles, clouds, nerds, musics, arts, op shops, socks, street fashion, books, umbrellas, parasols, cameras, Scrabble, Boggle, Balderdash, mad-libs, sociological science-fiction, dystopian fiction, organic architecture, post-materialism, op-shops, social change, social justice, vintage dresses, indoor plants, video clips, badges, people-watching, idioms, jokes, language, polka dots, bright red, conspiracies, costumes, mix cds, knee-high socks, glasses, libraries, well-thumbed books, other people's junk, verge collections, the internet, interior design, fashion, being surprised, maps, gingham, pheromones, hair-styles, magazines, cubby-houses, time machines, ghosts, aliens, speculation, satire, black humour, robots, tree-houses, children's games, learning, memory, imagination, creativity, evolutionary legacies, tabula rasa, game-play, personality, perception, social responsibility, civics, manners, logic, pop, xylophones, showers, rain.

Favourite subjects

Music, Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese language, Asian studies, Anthropology, History, Psychology, Media Theory, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Sociology, Humanism, Mythology, Ancient History, Social History, Human Biology, Neurology, Behavioural Science, Alternative Medicine, Child Development, Evolutionary Psychology, Organisational behaviour, Religion, Politics, Economics, Epistemology, blah blah blah, you know, everything interesting.

Focus subjects

Japanese language/culture/society, History, Media, Character Design.

Favourite foods and drinks

Real lemonade, cupcakes, lemon meringue, sushi, sashimi, tofu, mochi, green tea, bananas, dates, avocado, baked beetroot, rainbow paddlepops, tacos, burritos, pizza, thai food, palak paneer, indian food, grapes, mangoes, blackberries, persimmons, kahlua, baileys, franjelico, beer.

Favourite bands

low, monster movie, blonde redhead, the dirty three, deerhoof, air, shonen knife, beck, mojave 3, slowdive, sigur ros, catpower, the books, auburn lull, boards of canada, manitoba/caribou, red house painters, lullatone, mice parade, bjork, pj harvey, nick cave, kraftwerk, radiohead, kahimi karie, radarmaker, pacific by rail, colleen, mum, my disco, architecture in helsinki, the necks, the flaming lips, the postal service, broken social scene.

Favourite TV

flight of the conchords, degrassi junior high, weeds, arrested development, northern exposure, the x-files, japanorama, six feet under, big love, freaks and geeks, the mighty boosh, garth marenghi's dark place, press gang, the it crowd, snuff box, the goodies, the pick up artist, gumby, plasmo, sooty, tim & eric's awesome show, anpanman, the human body series, art attack, full frontal, zettai kareshi, father ted, black books, nathan barley, manwatching, the human sexes, seven-up, cnnnn, chaser's war on everything, pbs news hour with jim lehrer, sbs news, 30 rock, the wonder years, family ties, the d generation, star trek: next generation, spaced, the funky squad, the twilight zone, amazing stories.

Favourite Authors:

Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, John Wyndham, Desmond Morris, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Charles Landry, Steve Biddulph, Elizabeth Warren, Marshall Mcluhan, Haruki Murakami, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, James Howard Kunstler, Banana Yoshimoto, Chuck Palahniuk.

I spend most of my time...

Working (at a large library in Perth)
Shopping for food, cooking food and taking photos of it.
Reading random books and articles on the internet.
Studying Japanese.

Musics

Between 2003(?) and 2005 I played drums and bass in an all-girl post-punk group, Trashband 1987. This band was a joke that everyone took seriously, much to our amusement.

From 2006 I have been playing music with Greg, firstly in Jasmin Loop Control and then in The Ghost of 29 Megacycles. Best way to describe this kind of music is: "organic ambient drone".

My favourite bands/songs seem to tend towards post-rock, indie-folk, indie-pop, electro-folk, ambient, dreampop, shoegaze, slowcore, lo-fi, ambient pop, alt-electronic and cheesy pop. Check out my LastFM account if you are interested in hearing more of what this kind of music sounds like.

Arts

In 2007 I produced a series of cute character paintings for my first solo exhibition at Keith and Lottie, Tiny Town (2007).

In 2008 I curated and put on a group character art show, Candy Cult, which was part of the 25th Artrage Anniversary Festival. With help from Lisa Max & Teresa Watts, we put on a show exhibiting 36 local and international artists.

These days I'm too busy to put on shows, but have instead been working on a few commissions. I occasionally put some works and photos up on my Flickr, if you wanna have a look at that.