Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our CD Launch tonight.


The Ghost of 29 Megacycles
I totally forgot to mention earlier that the band I'm in (The Ghost of 29 Megacycles) is launching an album tonight. Time: 6:00pm - 10:00pm, Location: Velvet Lounge (Behind the Flying Scotsman). $5 entry. The facebook events page is here.

Usually we play experimental drone music, but tonight we will actually be playing SONGS! Hopefully this will work out ok. ^_^

Thursday, December 3, 2009

20÷2/10 Exhibition + Tookbegi Korean


20÷2/10 Exhibition


The 20÷2/10 exhibition opened last night at Coastal Shelf gallery. The works are by Royce Alido in collaboration with Sarah Rowbottam and Jessyca Hutchens (20 works on graph paper created within 10 days). Coastal Shelf gallery is @ 8 Pier St, Perth.

If you ever go to Coastal Shelf at night (or well, during the day), try and eat at Tookbegi Korean. This place is right next to the Korean supermarket on the corner of Hay and Pier St. They have heaps of stuff for vegetarians... bibimbap, dumplings, noodles, savoury pancakes, and it's all awesome...especially if you like CHILLI!

Tookbegi Korean +++++++++++


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two films about very different girls.



So I've been slowly making my way through the "films to watch" list that I wrote in April. The latest films that I watched were The Double Life of Veronique by Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Happy Go Lucky by Mike Leigh. I like watching films where the main lead is a girl, because, unapologetically, I am a girl. We often subconsciously/consciously identify with the lead character in a film, and as that person is quite often, male; the female in me has nothing to connect to.

The Double Life of Veronique...seemed like a rather slow and solemn version of Amelie. There's atmosphere, there's European-ness, lovers using weird ways to contact each other. From there, it is not like Amelie at all. It's far too serious, far two existential. The story goes: there are two Veroniques; one living in Paris and the other, in Poland. They are not twins, they are not related, but they look identical - are they identical? It's never really explained how the existence of two identical girls came to be. I wonder, does this actually happen? Is there someone out there who looks exactly like me? I'd like to meet her. What's weirder?: that there would be someone out there who looks identical to you?, or that you are absolutely unique and there is no one like you?. Both of these prospects are pretty amazing.

Happy Go Lucky, yup, this film was very different. The main character, Poppy, is a perky school-teacher who refuses to take life seriously. I suppose that she was kind of charming; her character was pretty convincing. But I wasn't entirely taken by Mike Leigh's floaty slice-of-life style story-telling. The film just kind of drifted along, showing Poppy on a trampoline, Poppy taking spanish dance lessons, Poppy teaching her class about bird migration, Poppy going to visit her sister, Poppy having driving lessons with a mentally unstable instructor, Poppy hanging out with a homeless man in an abandoned industrial park. Generally, you feel like: gee, good on Poppy for giving life a good shot. Overall, did this film really resonate with me? Well, if you asked me while I was watching it, I would've said, "not terribly so", but actually it has stayed with me for over a week so there must be something in it.

Well, there's my films for the week. Writing about films is hard. Makes me appreciate really good film reviews. Ciao for now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The use of characters in graphic design (Perth).


As you may have noticed, I have started blogging about instances of character-design usage in commercial graphics. I am interested in the intersection of art and the commercial world, where the priority of design is to catch your attention and imagination in a simple and/or emotive way. Of course I also appreciate "fine-art", but often there is no particular urgency on the part of the artist to convey a specific message and have it understood. Sometimes the artist can't even articulate the meaning of a work to him/herself.

I feel that in the west/or just in Australia(?), that there is a sense that if an artist signs up for work in the commercial world; in advertising, marketing, etc, then they are selling out. Art is something "above and beyond" the commercial; something divine, something that people aren't allowed to touch. I think that this is definitely changing, as these fields grow and more creatives are involved in commercial work. I felt that Japan is so far ahead though, in terms of merging the artistic and the commercial. A lot of "ordinary", mass-produced items such as lunch-boxes, erasers, bowls, chairs etc are so artfully designed. Some of the advertising campaigns / promotions are surprisingly imaginative and thoughtful. "Corporate" doesn't necessarily equate with ugly, square and utilitarian. Artful and aesthetic objects and images are not just hung in galleries, but are pervasive all through day-to-day life.

I think that character design in advertising represents the joining between the creative and the commercial. Art is slowly pervading the corporate landscape, and overall I support this trend because it gives me something more interesting to look at than just the same old text-based signage. So, in this blog, I'll be presenting as many local/Perth examples that I can.

So, without further adieu, allow me to introduce "Teddy". I found this little mascot in the classifieds section of the Guardian Express:

TeddyClean Commercial Cleaning Services provides cleaning services to West Australian commercial and residential properties within the Perth metropolitan area.

The character is quite basic, but it is indeed, a cleaning bear; something just a little out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My first market - Made On The Left


First time selling stuff at a market
I finally had my first art stall on Saturday at the Made On The Left market at Hyde Park Hotel. My set-up was pretty minimal compared to many of the awesome stalls that day, but hey, it was my first try. It has inspired me to do some new art and hopefully try selling at a market again. Next time I think I will work at a better display.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meteor shower this week.



"The Leonid meteor shower occurs from about 14 to 20 November as the Earth passes through an old debris stream left by past passages of a comet. The maximum rate occurs within a day or so of November 17 and is usually less than 10 per hour."

Between 2 and 4am tomorrow morning, there should be meteors visible from Perth. Look North East, about 45 degrees up into the sky and you should see some? Please let me know if this is incorrect.

Here's some more information here and here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perth Character Design - Megasealed Frog


Here is a cute frog touting tile grout called "Megasealed".

"Megasealed" is a two part chemical compound that looks like grout, but when it dries is as hard as the tiles bonding them together.
It can be used to fix gaps in shower tiles etc.

Megasealed is Australian owned and operated, with a Perth (franchise) branch. I found the Megasealed frog in the Guardian Express.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Japanese School Festival / 日本の学校 文化祭


Japanese school festival
Today I went to the Japanese School Festival in City Beach, Perth. I go there every year to eat dango and buy Japanese children's books. This year was no exception!

ペースにある日本の学校.今日はこの学校の文化祭でした.毎年私は文化祭へ行きます,団子を食べますそしてこどもの本を買います.今年も楽しんできました!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anyone else want a tea room in Hyde Park?


Today I walked home from Northbridge to Mount Hawthorn. I probably didn't take the most time-efficient route because I avoided walking on any main roads, so overall it took one hour and twenty minutes. I'm not sure if I'll make a regular habit of it. The first 45 minutes was nice, but after that I just wanted to be home already. But, I saved $1.70 by not taking the bus.

My walk took me through Hyde Park, one of my favourite parks in Perth.

Hyde Park

Speaking of Hyde Park, I noticed in the Guardian Express that the Town of Vincent is doing a consultation to see whether the public would support a tea-room in the park. This would be awesome. I could combine two of my favourite things: tea + lakes, into one amazing lake-side tea-sipping experience. It would also be awesome because that would probably mean that there would also be some more public toilets constructed for all the people who have just finished drinking tea. At the moment, if the Hyde Park toilets are even unlocked, they're kind of scary to go into.

As for the proposed Tea-room, you can download the survey here if you also support the idea and want to help make it happen. You just have to submit by the 30th of October.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vegetarian dinner


Wondering what a vegetarian dinner looks like? Here's a sample:

Dinner

I warmed up some rice from last night, quickly steamed some corn, fried some onions and red kidney beans with salsa sauce, and chopped some lettuce and tomato. Preparation/cooking time = 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thinkfirst WA Protest


Today I went to a protest. WA Parliament were debating whether or not to introduce a bill that would ban the sales of spraypaint and +6mm markers to anyone under the age of 18 (without any educational/employment-related exceptions). No thanks!

Here's a pic drawn by IKA at the protest =

Pic by Ika at the Thinkfirst protest


More information on the issue can be found at Thinkfirst WA.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobuta wo Produce

This is a fanclip made about the Japanese drama I've just started watching, "Nobuta wo Produce".




It's a show all about two guys who help out this loner girl at school. It seems cute. You can watch the whole thing on mysoju.com here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pip & Pop exhibition at Freerange Studios



Pip & Pop exhibition

This exhibit is extremely cute, I thoroughly recommend you to go check it out!

"Three minutes happiness"
by Pip & Pop (Nicole Andrijevic and Tanya Schultz)
Free Range Gallery
339 Wellington St,
Perth, Western Australia.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Piccadilly Cinema, Perth


City cinema

Piccadilly's is currently the only operating cinema in central Perth. Does this amaze anyone else? The next nearest cinemas are in Mount Lawley, South Perth(?)... and not sure where else.

The reasons that I like Picadilly's are: its art deco stylings, the feeling that when you enter the doors and walk up the stairs you are actually travelling back through time and of course, it's relative cheapness. The reasons that I don't like Picadilly's are: the seats are often uncomfortable, the floors are often sticky, and they tend to pick up and screen the more crapper of the Hollywood releases. I saw one of my most hated films here: "The Terminal". Under no reasonable condition should you ever subject yourself to this film, for you will surely perish with a seething overflow of wrath.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures in J-Drama, Hotaru no Hikari


Well, you already know my secret - that I am addicted to Japanese dramas. Recently I watched all 10 episodes of Hotaru no Hikari. The story revolves around a 24 year old office worker, Hotaru, who is neat and professional at work, but messy and grungy at home. She drinks canned beer, eats random crap from convenience stores, rolls around on the floor a lot and sleeps under newspapers. She is boarding in a cute old-style Japanese house, thanks to a drunken agreement with the house's owner some time ago. Little does she know, that the house's owner is actually her bosses father. So when her boss separates from his wife and returns to his family home, there is some shock involved for both parties concerned. The two then decide to live together in the house, but keep it a secret from everyone else at work.

There are several really annoying parts of this show that almost put me off watching the whole thing. Hotaru can be really annoying at times with the random female babbling, but what kept me going was the strong supporting cast. Hotaru works in the interior-design department of a Tokyo Building company. The 10-15 people working in this department are like family to each other, and there are plenty of jokes between them are good for kicks.

When I watch these J-dramas, I am always reminded of how different some aspects of Japanese culture are to Australian culture. Take for instance: HUGGING. In Japan, if you HUG a member of the opposite sex, it's basically saying: "I like-like you". Hugs tend to happen AFTER the couple gets together as a couple. So when a guy suddenly hugs a girl, it's a HUGE deal! Here in Australia, I tend to hug people a lot. It's often my greeting or farewell for friends, whether male or female. I am trying to remember if I hugged any male friends in Japan because it may have confused them! Hahah I definitely hugged many of my female Japanese friends and that may have taken them by surprise because even same-sex friends don't really seem to hug!. Sure, they'll take naked baths together, but they won't hug!

Anyway, here is a short compiled video of Hotaru no Hikari. Ignore the kind of annoying music, and you will get an impression of what this drama is like. Another good point about this drama, is that it has plenty of every-day contextual/situational workplace/social Japanese language, so I will definitely be watching it again to try and pick up some phrases.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mosquitos are our teachers.




When anything goes wrong in life, call it your teacher. If a mosquito keeps biting you, call it "Teacher Mosquito".

...from Teachers from Hell, a talk by Ajahn Brahmavamso from the 29th of November 2002. If this doesn't play automatically on your computer, try and download it. Thanks to Ajahn Brahm I don't get agitated at red traffic lights anymore, and last night when I spilt all the freshly-washed cutlery into the dirty sink I barely even reacted. haha.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Using Google Maps for travel research




View Eur - Berlin in a larger map

Hello! In about 4 weeks I will be going on my first trip to Europe. This is exciting lah! It will begin with my brother's wedding in Cyprus, then to Hungary to meet relatives, to Ljubljana and Bled in Slovenia, then to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Jungfrau region in Switzerland, Barcelona, Vitoria (to check out my other ancestral past), Madrid and Marrakech (Morroco). I can't believe we'll do all of that in 9 weeks!

I have already started planning and thinking about where to go. When I travel, I classify my planning into three modes: A) Natural appeal, B) Traditional/conventional tourist mode, or C) specialised Subcultural/urban. If I travel somewhere in Australia, it's either for the natural appeal, or the urban spaces in Melbourne. In Kyoto, Siem Riep/Angkor Watt, Luang Prabang I was in conventional tourist mode. In Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya I was interested in the subculture in Koenji, Shimokitazawa, Akihabara, Ameri-Mura, Ose.

This Europe trip will be an interesting mix of the natural, the conventional, and seeking out the interesting urban spaces. Above, you can see what I've been doing for the city of Berlin. We will only be there for 4 days... So I want to know where we should go. One of my favourite things to do, for visiting cities, is to find out where the arty/alt streets/districts are, and then just wander around there. The atmosphere is the destination. So I have been reading about Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain. I was quite please to find that the hostel that I booked is actually in Friedrichshain. It was a bit cheaper out there, but at least it'll still have some interesting cafes etc.

By the way, my colour coding for the map above is: Green = vegetarian places. Red = Sites of interest. Blue lines = streets for wandering. Purple = accommodation.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hello! I am dinner for two.



Hello! I am dinner for two.
I won't list the ingredients because I think that they are obvious. But I would like to share with you how easy it is to make babaganoush = Cut up eggplant, put some crushed garlic on top of it, and steam the crap out of it. Then put it in a blender with some salt, pepper, and tahini. Blend, and there ya go!. I never really though Bagaganoush was a real food but I was wrong.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hatched Exhibition at PICA


I recently went to the Hatched Exhibition, a showcase of some of the best up and coming Australian graduate artists. One of my favourite pieces was by Michael Prior & Lachlan Conn (Victoria). I wish I could remember the description because it was very interesting, but the general notion is that this is a kind of time machine. I think I also liked this piece the most, because it was in a dark room. Art galleries are always too bright.

Time Machine Exhibit at Hatched PICA.
Here is a video I found of another one of their works. I like this.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dinner on Monday night


Dinner for me, Crispin & Greg.


This is a quick spinach/chic pea curry, a potato/pea curry and rice.

Not only is it vegetarian but ... vegan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A list of movies I want to watch

Over the easter long weekend, I decided to try and create a list of films that I want to watch. First of all, I racked my brains and wrote a big long list of my favourite films. Using this info, I spent a while browsing through the following movie recommendation websites: Rotten Tomatoes, Tastekid, Movielens, IMDb, Criticker, and Clerkdogs.

I found Clerkdogs and Tastekid to be the best for finding new films to watch, and I used RottenTomatoes and IMDB just to run a check on the plot/ratings to see if the film really suited my fancy.

Here is a list that I have compiled. If you have seen any of these films, let me know if any are good or crap.

Dramas

This Boy's Life (1993)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
Husbands and Wives (1992)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
My Life as a Dog (1987)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Ruang rak noi nid mahasan / Last Life in the Universe (2003)
My Life Without Me (2001)
Ma Vie En Rose (1997)
Dave (1993)
Ikuru (1952)
The Living End (1992)
The Secret Life of Words (2006)
High Art (1998)
The Doom Generation (1995)
Lost and Delirious (2001)
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Short Cuts (1993)
A History of Violence (2005)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Before Sunrise (1995)
Lolita (1962)
Youth Without Youth (2007)
Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (1976)

Stupid, surreal, quirky, kitsch, black, political and or teen comedy

Airplane / Flying High
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1989)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Ruthless People (1986)
Back to School (1986)
Parents (1989)
The Closet (2001)
How to get Ahead in Advertising (1989)
Heavy Traffic (1973)
Bottle Rocket (1996)
Valley Girl (1983)
Parenthood (1989)
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2004)
Falling Down (1993)
One Crazy Summer (1986)
Strike! (1998)
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
The Pick-Up Artist (1987)
The Rachel Papers (1989)
The Daytrippers (1996)
Deconstructing Harry (1997)

Thrillers / surreal / sci-fi / horror

The Vanishing (1988)
Avalon (2001)
The Deadzone (1983)
Eastern Promises (2007)

Films that involve: romance, romantic comedy, female friendship, relationships women’s issues, body-swapping, time distortion, fantasy fatalism, Robert Downy Jr and or John Cusack.

All of Me (1984)
Dream a Little Dream (1989)
Bull Durham (1988)
Moonstruck (1987)
Flirting (1991)
Things I Never Told You (1996)
Shopgirl (2005)
Me Without You (2001)
Singles (1992)
Friends With Money (2006)
Walking and Talking (1996)
Broken English (2007)
Dan in Real Life (2007)
Me Myself I (1999)
Melinda and Melinda (2004)
Happy Accidents (2000)
Next Stop Wonderland (1997)
Serendipity (2001)
Only You (1994)
Chances Are (1989)
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Return to Me (2000)
Irma Vep (1996)
Working Girl (1988)

Monday, April 13, 2009

A list of my favourite movies

For various reasons and appeals, and in no particular order, I hereby present to you a list of several of my favourite movies. If you can recommend any films to me based on this list, it would be more than welcome.

Hairspray
Election
Say Anything
Pretty In Pink
Blue Velvet
Mulholland Drive
Down By Law
The Fly
Raising Arizona
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Adaptation
Amelie
There Will Be Blood
Napoleon Dynamite
I Heart Huckabees
Videodrome
Terminator II
Spirited Away
Dr Strangelove
Crybaby
Pecker
Sex Lies and Videotape
Secretary
Sean of the Dead
Crumb
Breathless
American Beauty
The King of Comedy
Citizen Ruth
Clueless
Dead Poets Society
Chungking Express
American Splendor
The Shawshank Redemption
My Neighbour Totoro
The Hudsucker Proxy
Gummo
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
They Live
The Graduate
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Wild at Heart
Dead Man
Barton Fink
Kentucky Fried Movie
Chasing Amy
Poison Ivy
Mannequin
Rushmore
Sideways
Being John Malkovich
Saved
Ghostworld
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Welcome to the Dollhouse
Better Off Dead
The Secret of My Success
The Royal Tenenbaums
High Fidelity
Being There
Network
Thankyou For Smoking
War Games
The Day After
Spinal Tap
In America
Clerks
Mallrats
The House of Yes
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Dead Man on Campus
Somersault
The Matrix
Wonder Boys
Mean Girls
Body Melt
The Opposite of Sex
Goodbye Lenin!
Love and Other Catastrophes
Strange Planet
City of God
The Wedding Singer
Lost Highway
Flirting with Disaster

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mary and Max - A new feature length Australian claymation.

Last night I went along to a preview session of the new Australian claymation, "Mary and Max". There was also a Q & A with the director Adam Elliot and producer Melanie Coombs. I don't have the time and energy at the moment to write a synopsis or proper review of this film, but there is an excellent summary here.



You know, I must admit that I have a pre-existing bias towards stop-motion animation. I grew up on Gumby, Pingu, Trap-door and Plasmo and even as an adult I haven't ever tired of this medium. These days digital technology can seemingly create any effect you can imagine. If I asked to see a comet crash to earth and give birth to an alien brain exploding fireballs, it could be done these days with quite a high degree of realism. But I guarantee it would still pretty awesome and probably more entertaining if made with clay.

Anyway, coming back to "Mary and Max". Why is this movie special? Well firstly, the artistry of the characters and the set are so spot on, that you often totally forget that you are watching an animation. Then, when you momentarily remember that you are watching CLAY and that each and every second took HOURS of work, one feels overwhelmed with respect for the artistry behind it.

I also really liked the theme of this story. When you live alone and have very few friends, recieving a letter and a chocolate bar in the mail would mean so much to you. Max irons, laminates and sticks all of Mary's letters up on his wall, and right towards the end of this film, you really get a strong sense of how important Mary has been in his life. With the global financial crisis slowly washing over us like a slow-burn tsunami, this film is perfectly timed to remind us that at the end of the day, we remember our lives through the relationships that we've had and not the money that we spent.

I am a bit too tired and sleepy to really give this film it's proper due,... but yes, it is well worth watching. As an individual, it would only cost you $10-$15 to get along and support the Australian film industry by checking out this incredibly unique and engaging animation that has been 5 years in the making.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bean Vermicelli Salad & Shiitake Greens soup



Bean Vermicelli Salad & Shiitake Greens soup


This dinner took only about 30 minutes to make. The salad consists of: soaked and drained bean vermicelli, firm teriyaki-flavoured tofu, snow peas and a touch of oyster sauce. The soup consists of: cheap asian greens, soaked and chopped shiitake mushrooms, dashi (fish stock) and soy sauce.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Adventures in Japanese Drama


Today I will explain for you my recent explorations of Japanese dramas. There is a particular type of drama that I enjoy - must have some comedy and some romance, and even better, some sort of sci-fi or fantasy element. The acting must be believable and the characters, likeable. The episodes must be poppy and enjoyable but also engaging on some sort of intellectual level.

Absolute Boyfriend

The first jdrama that really caught my eye was Zettai Kareshi / Absolute Boyfriend. A Japanese A.I company develops what they call, "a love robot" which is provided to a young single office worker. Of course, all sorts of complications arise while she struggles to find a place in her life for the robot. Things get even more complicated when a real warm-blooded love interest arises between her and a co-worker. Spot the robot:




You can watch this whole series online here.

Kimi Wa Petto

Kimi Wa Petto is a story about a successful single female office-worker in her early thirties. She is pretty cold, rational and finds it hard to connect with other people. One day she comes home to find a 20 year old boy, huddled and bleeding in cardboard box outside her apartment. She takes him in, cleans him up, feeds him, and he becomes her pet. Complications arise when a real warm-blooded love interest arises between her and a co-worker (sound familiar!?). She must choose between taking on the challenges and revealing her vulnerabilities in a real relationship, or keeping "her pet". I didn't like this drama as much as Absolute Boyfriend because the girl in this show fails to realise the obvious. However it's still kinda light and enjoyable for at least the first half of the series.




You can watch this whole series online here.

Papa to Musume no Nanokakan

Papa to Musume no Nanokakan is a jdrama that I started watching last weekend. The main characters, 17 year old Koume and her 47 year old father, are not exactly close and have not spoken to each other for years. Fate intervenes, and after eating a magic peach, they are involved in a train accident where they body swap! All sorts of complications arise, as they struggle to cope with each other's lives (whilst in the girl's body, the father goes on dates with the girl's boyfriend), and the girl (in the father's body) has to go to work at the perfume company where her dad is managing a new project. I LOVE the genre of bodyswap, even more so when the method of swapping is patently ridiculous. This drama is more than just novelty though; the characters are sweetly believable and the plot explores the awkwardness and difference between a father and a teen daughter pretty well. It's also kinda bizarre and funny in a way that only a Japanese show can be... like, how the girl (in the father's body) is constantly having to ward of sexual advances from her mum! (That does sound sick, but it's something that is pretty funny in a Japanese comedy).




And yup, you can watch it all online here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Australia has waited long enough for this!


"Dear Friend,

To date, this Government has delayed the introduction of a paid parental leave scheme - waiting for the Productivity Commission to report, while making grand promises to mums and dads around Australia.

The Productivity Commission has now reported and the evidence is in: government-funded paid parental leave is good for babies, good for parents and good for the economy. And at $450 million a year, it's a sound investment.

We've just found out though that a decision on whether to include paid parental leave in this year's budget sits on a knife's edge.

Click below to sign the petition telling the Government this delivery is overdue - and we'll take it directly to Canberra next week as the Budget decisions are being made:

www.getup.org.au/campaign/DeliverOnPaidParentalLeave

The Government's excuse for not introducing it - the global financial crisis - simply doesn't stand up. Paid parental leave has proven economic benefits. It will stimulate the economy, retain parents in the workforce, and safeguard the nation's future prosperity.

A government-funded parental leave scheme would mean those working in small businesses or in low-wage sectors will have access to something previously only the domain of those lucky enough to work for big corporations that have their own scheme.

Decisions are being made now about this year's Budget. This is our one opportunity to show the Government we aren't willing to wait any longer for paid parental leave:

www.getup.org.au/campaign/DeliverOnPaidParentalLeave

There are only two developed countries that don't have paid maternity leave - Australia and the United States. There's no good reason to delay this scheme any longer - but without your support, the Government will sit on its hands and do nothing.

It's easy for a government to make grand promises like this - now it's up to us to make sure they deliver. Join our petition today and we will deliver it to Canberra next week.

Thanks for being a part of the solution,
The GetUp team

PS - We've designed a new series of bumper stickers to put on your car, pram or nappy to spread the message of this campaign. Click here to get your sticker".

__________________________

GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Authorised by Simon Sheikh, Level 5, 116 Kippax St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Someone please give me an invite to FFFFOUND!?


Just found this cool site... you save/accumulate images that you like and the website generates recommended images for you. I can browse it without joining, but would need to be a member in order to save images. Please invite me, someone? If you invite me, I will send you a cupcake in the mail. Failing that, I will draw a picture for you of anything you please.

Anyway, here are some cool images that've caught my eye so far:





Friday, February 27, 2009

Niall Ferguson on Lateline - The Global Financial Crisis for Idiots - Part 2



Last night on Lateline there was an interview with financial historian, Niall Ferguson. Times like these certainly benefit from some historical perspective; if you really want to understand what's going on, watching this will help!

Here's the link to the Lateline website, the video is there on the front page. You can also see the transcript here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Outfit for work



Karen's outfit

I never thought I could wear open-toed shoes that weren't thongs, but times have certainly changed. My experiences of being forced to wear jesus-style sandals in primary school completely put me off the open-toed style for many years. I stubbornly wore socks and closed-in-shoes, summer after summer up until this point. I never thought it would come to this;... but there's only so long you can avoid this 'fashion' item when you live somewhere with 38-degree daytime temperature peaks.

So on this day, I put the sandals on and crouched, waiting for the sky to fall. I counted to ten, and ... nothing. The sky didn't fall, I was still alive. I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror and saw myself looking back- completely normal and unharmed. I can now wear sandals almost everyday with only a minimal level of psychological discomfort. You know, I'm 25 years old now, and this is one indication that the logic of life is slowly starting to set in. Eventually I suppose this logic will progress to wearing bumbags, the sock and sandal combo, plus eye-glasses neck strap whilst walking amongst birds at 5:30am.

One small step for a sandal, one giant leap for Karenkind.

Learning Japanese through music: "Folklore" by Clammbon


As a big fan of Japan, naturally I really want to like Japanese music. Listening to music is a good way to learn more about the language and culture of a country, so it's been one of my recent objectives to find more Japanese bands to listen to. In the past I've been glad at least to catch onto Cibo Matto, Shonen Knife, Kahimi Karie, Pizzicato Five and a few others. The problem is that when I try and search for more Japanese bands/music, the songs that I find seem to be lacking something. Many Japanese bands have earnt some reputation for being good at mimicking other styles, but music needs more than technical accuracy to be good. What is it?

Anyway, here's a particular song that caught my ear. At first I didn't like it, but it's since grown on me like a moss. I've decided to listen to it lots of times so my ear will acquire some more familiarity with the vocabulary (not that the lyrics are common-language or anything), but some familiarity is better than none. The lead singer Ikuko Harada, is also very cute and that's a bonus.

Without further adieu, here's "Folklore" by Clammbon:


Lyrics in English:

The night that the fierce typhoon passed, I was looking down on the city from the top of a tall building
The wind still a little erratic, tearing at the edge of its departure
The lights of the houses nearby shimmered like through searing air
I've never witnessed a scene like, though I was used to seeing it

Something is going to change, that's how I felt, in a little while
It disappears quietly, June, number 6, in a little while, in a little while

I can hear the low anouncement of the final train more clearly than usual
Like always, I just keep on staring blankly at the sky
My eyelids a little heavy, I close my eyes
From far away I hear your voice, I'd better get going

I've cleared a period of low pressure, that's how I felt, in a little while
My feeling suddenly becomes lighter, that's how I feel, in a little while, in a little while

Something is going to change, that's how I felt, in a little while
It disappears quietly, June, number 6, in a little while, in a little while
By the time I notice, the hour hand is pointing to 2 o'clock, in a little while
My feeling suddenly becomes lighter, that's how I feel, in a little while, in a little while

The night that the fierce typhoon passed, I was looking down on the city from the top of a tall building
I'm still a little erratic, tearing at the edge of its departure

La la la.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Global Financial Crisis for Idiots - part 1


If you are anything like me, you probably don't have much background in economics and financial theories. I was never really interested in this topic at school and I basically failed economics in upper high-school. In this subject area, I am myself, an idiot. However, the topic is both just so crucial and also, surprisingly interesting once you can tease out information from the enormous intimidating mess of abstract concepts and corporate disinformation. As the world falls into the economic crisis, it's about time we all took a bit of control over our own knowledge of money and the economy.

I thought that this video, Money as Debt would be a good start! Here's the write-up from the producer of the video, Paul Grignon. This guy is immensely interesting.


****

"Born in Toronto, Canada in 1948, I first became suspicious of our money system when I was in high school in Ottawa. We were studying logarithmic functions such as interest and it struck me that a money system in which money accrues interest at every turn could only function with exponential growth of the money supply. Something did not make sense to me. I wasn’t sure what it was but I had a strong feeling that banking was a scam designed to benefit bankers at the expense of everyone else. I vowed never to get into debt to bankers.

As fortune would have it I got to (mostly) fulfill that vow. As a hitchhiking, backpacking young adult I was led to Gabriola, a forested coastal island off British Columbia, Canada where the building code was not yet in effect. My partner and I were able to take up residence in a tent, then a shack and as the years went by, and our four children arrived, our primitive shelter without water or power gradually evolved into a modest but comfortable owner-built paid-for home. This was achieved on a sporadic income that would never have been sufficient to buy a home had we gone the conventional mortgage route.

For several years, I made my living in the logging industry as a seasonal tree planter until injury forced me off the slopes. Taking whatever jobs I could get at first, I eventually established myself in my longtime ambition to be a landscape painter and visual artist. (http://www.paulgrignon.com)

In 1997, as a result of an inheritance, I was able to realize another long-held ambition. I set myself up as a digital video maker and produced several professional video projects.

In 2002 I was commissioned to produce a video for United Financial Consumers (http://www.ufc.ca), a small organization dedicated to defending credit customers from the predatory practices of banks. I taped a 5-hour seminar explaining an innovative strategy for reclaiming the equity banks defraud us out of when we sign for a so-called “loan”. I prefaced this rather abstruse lecture material by telling “The Goldsmith’s Tale” in animation form. Entitled “Money as Debt”, it was my first full animation project.

Other monetary reformers saw this original “Money as Debt” cartoon and approached me about using my animation as part of an information package being sent to municipal politicians, urging municipalities to demand interest-free loans from our publicly owned Canadian central bank, the Bank of Canada.

The Canadian Action Party, a federal political party devoted to monetary reform posted it on their website.

Two gentlemen from the American Monetary Institute in the USA also saw the animation. One described my cartoon as “far and away the best explanation of fractional reserve banking” he had ever seen. They requested that they be able to use it for their educational purposes as well.

I informed them that I was in the process of writing a much-expanded script. I knew there was a lot more to explain and felt certain that an animated cartoon was the best way to overcome the eyes-glazed-over reaction one often encounters when trying to interest people in this subject. I asked them if they could wait a few months until I had finished the project to my satisfaction.

They agreed to wait and to assist me. Their avid interest in the project spurred me on. I worked day and night (12 -20 hours per day) for 6 months to complete the movie.

My new US contacts were able to provide me with very valuable information and feedback on my script. One of them, a senior member of the Institute, had learned this information directly from US Congressman Wright Patman, who was Chair of the House Banking and Currency Committee for 12 years.

With the help of my partner Tsiporah and my neighbour and voiceover man, Bob Bossin, the final script was edited and rewritten numerous times. Money as Debt is now a colourful, fast-moving 47- minute animated short feature that explores the basic concepts of money creation in words and pictures that are not only clear but also enjoyable. It is intended for all audiences, including elementary school children. My particular hope is that it will convince environmental, social justice and electoral reform advocates that monetary reform is essential to the goals they hope to accomplish.

Money created as interest-bearing bank credit is a magic trick, a fraud - now 3 centuries old; one that very few people have seen through despite, or rather because of, its utter simplicity.

It is my intention to make this mysterious debt-money system comprehensible to everyone. It is also my intention to foster sufficient understanding of the problems with this money system that citizens will be motivated to join the monetary reform movement and/or create local alternatives to the global monetary system - a system in which most of the productive people of the world are collectively chained to an ever-increasing and perpetually unpayable debt.

This is a system designed for elite control of the people by those who have given themselves the privilege of creating money. It is also, I believe, a system that is designed for catastrophe. As the movie explains, there can be no sustainable civilization without a sustainable money system." - Paul Grignon

****

The video is about 45 minutes long, so make sure you have enough time and possibly a nice cup of tea.


Happiness according to me



Happiness #1


Ingredients:

- macbook with extra monitor
- episodes of Absolute Boyfriend / Zettai Kareshi / 絶対彼氏.
- asian style dinner with miso soup, tofu greens, rice and korean pickled veg

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vegan dinner in 20 minutes


I pretty much hate cooking in summer, but if I don't make and eat something then I am likely to starve. So I have become interested in making the quickest meals possible. This can be hard sometimes when you are a vegaquarian with a food intolerance to wheat. We don't even eat fish at home because I can't be bothered buying or learning how to actually cook it properly. So apart from a bit of cheese, milk, fish stock and oyster sauce, many of the meals we end up eating are practically vegan.

Dinner, Wednesday 11th Feb 09


Here is an extremely quick and random dinner that I threw together in 20 minutes last night. On the left is a red cabbage salad. Just chop up half a red cabbage into small bits and mix it with two tins of beetroot (chopped), plus chopped parsley. This takes like, two minutes and tastes pretty good. The dish on the right was a random invention: I took a tin of lentils, rinsed the lentils and then put them in a foiled metal tray with some oil and put them under the grill for about 10 minutes. On the stove, I quickly fried some chopped cauliflower. Then I threw the lentils into the pan, along with some chopped cherry tomatoes, chilli powder, turmeric and tomato paste. That's all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feeling as French as possible in Edgewater WA


Last night, a friend had a most excellent idea of celebrating his birthday French-style. This included baguettes, camembert, four different vegetarian french dishes, wine, champagne and Jean Luc Godard.

We didn't have enough time to watch any features, so we just watched two short films that had been included as extras on his DVDs.

The first film we watched was All the Boys Are Called Patrick, a cute 20 minute film about a Parisian casanova who chats up two room-mates on the same day. This film, written by Éric Rohmer and directed by Godard, is so snappily perfect that it's hard to believe that it was made in 1957. He uses several experimental film techniques that were revolutionary for his time, like cutaways and playing with film speed. This film also was shot in the informal observational style that was soon to become iconic of Godard. This style was most likely influenced by Godard's tertiary study of Ethnology, "the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity."

Heavily influenced also by Jean Rouch, the father of Cinema Verite / Cinema Truth, Godard observed his subjects in a sort of light anthropological style; retaining the randomness and inconsequentiality of every day conversation without any overbearing cloak of dramatic pretense. This has led some people to criticise his films for their superficiality, but as this short film demonstrates, there are other truths to be found in the random banter that fills most of our lives. The girls are pretty cute too.

Watch the film; you will not be disappointed! I truly believe that no cooler film was made in 1957.











We also watched the 1958 short, Une histoire d'eau / A Story of Water which was also very fun but I couldn't find it on youtube.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

St Jerome's Laneway Festival - Friday Feb 6th


Still Flyin @ St Jerome's Laneway Festival


Since hitting my mid-twenties, I have been rather reluctant to go along to any big music festivals. These days I prefer smaller gigs, or staying at home with the stereo and a cup of tea. So I surprised myself by deciding to go along to the Perth version of the Laneway festival.

For the past few years I haven't really been keeping an eye on bands and new music. So without really knowing much about many of the bands on the line-up, I settled for some old favourites; Stereolab, Fourtet and locals The Bank Holidays. I was pretty happy to be seeing Stereolab as they were a particularly iconic band from my youth. The Bank Holidays were comfortable, like wandering through a field of daisies towards a croquet field. Fourtet was also pretty good but I was getting pretty cold by that time.

Oh, and the picture that I've featured at the top is of Still Flyin, a San Franciscan super-band with members from The Aislers Set, Ladybug Transistor, Dear Nora, Masters of the Hemisphere, Je Suis France, Bright Lights, and Track Star. Random stage dancing, ample amounts of novelty boxer shorts, and the wearing of a pig-faced soft-toy on the head all ensured a most entertaining set.

Speaking of entertainment, one of the more amusing moments on the night came on the walk back along James Street to Adam's car. We were passing by the window of "New York Tailors" (the shop that has all the rock & roll belt buckles etc in the window)=

new york tailors


Lo and behold, as we were passing, I spotted a RAT walking around throughout the belt buckles, in the window of the shop! I quickly pulled out my camera to take a shot, but by that time it had leapt onto the floor. Here's the rat running away:

rat


I think it was Adam who said that perhaps, Ratatouille-style, this little rat was an aspiring window dresser, who, in order to avoid detection, had to sneak out at night to develop his passion. For this reason, I implore to the shop-owners of New York Tailors to support this little rat in his ambitions by offering him a retail traineeship.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Attempt at Thai cooking 7/10


Thai Salad & Stir fry dinner

On the left is a kind of Thai salad made of up of: dragonfruit, orange, beansprouts, sunflower sprouts, coriander and chilli.On the right is a kind of Thai stir fry made up of capsicum, cauliflower, chilli and sweet chilli sauce. It all tasted okay and I think I'd give myself a 7/10. Not extremely delicious but highly edible. The creation of this meal however, was fraught with disaster and chilli-related physical pains.

I came at the chillis with a kind of innocent enthusiasm. C had recently been talking about the anti-cancer effects of capsaicins, so I kind of went a little mad with the chopping and throwing off mini chilli-bits into both dishes. All was well for about half an hour after I cooked and ate dinner,.. but about 45 minutes later, my hands started to burn like nothing else.

I washed my hands in water, in soap, in dishwashing liquid but the burning persisted. We looked up remedies online; I rinsed my hands in milk, in vinegar, in alcohol, rubbed them with an onion - everything gave temporary relief of about 10 minutes but after that the burning kept returning. Man it killed so bad, and the best I could do was sit still on the couch nursing my hands with a bag of frozen peas.

C kept checking on the internet and found various comments from other people who had burned their hands with chillis. Apparently the burning sensation was to last between 8-10 hours!. I had prepared dinner at 7, so I guessed that the sensation wouldn't subside until 3-5am. Aarghhh! There was so much heat in my hands, as I sat there staring at them, I honestly would not have been surprised if small flames had of leapt out of them, they were that hot.

Eventually out of desperation, we went to Mt Lawley chemist and I tried to explain my situation to the clerk. Unfortunately the clerk didn't really seem that sympathetic and kind of looked at me like I was half mad. Could he not interpret that I was talking figuratively rather than literally when I spoke of flame bursts erupting from my palms? Most unhelpfully he had nil suggestions, so I settled on an anaesthetic antibacterial skin-spray and a box of codeine enhanced painkillers.

Back at home, the skin-spray only gave 10 minutes of relief so around 1am I resorted to the last, and ultimately most successful option of dosing my self up with the opioid analgesics. I was happily knocked out for the rest of the night and awoke in the morning so very very happy to find that my palms were back to normal.

Moral of the story: Love the chilli, but use protection. Does this mean that I have to buy latex gloves from the supermarket if I want to chop chillis again? That would be an embarrassing item to purchase. Possibly even more embarrassing than female sanitary hygeine items. Actually I am not embarrassed to buy those anymore, but latex gloves,... they imply a whole plethora of possibly icky and unusual private practices. When purchasing the gloves I would have to mention to the clerk, "oh, I'm chopping chillis," but the excuse would probably sound like a lie.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wedding portrait commission

Wedding portrait
Here's a wedding portrait done for a friend of a friend. They are not Japanese, but really into the culture.

I guess I'm doing commissions now! I'm open to anything; weddings, engagements, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations etc.

I also particularly specialise in cute personal pictures relating to foreign cultures/languages and/or subcultures; punk, indie, retro etc.

The cost would depend on the size of the picture and the time spent on it, but as I'm just starting out, I think my prices are currently pretty reasonable! Enquire within for more details!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toy box - Moving house

Toy Box

We are currently in the middle of moving house, and it makes me realise something which is probably typical of others in their mid 20's.

I currently own more toys than I ever did as a child. Perhaps this is a sort of compensation for my childhood years where my family could not afford much beyond a simple teddy and a pair of floaties. Now that I have a disposable income, it's hard to resist the lure of certain luxuries which were previously unaffordable, like robotic cats and troll dolls.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to beat a lip balm addiction.

I am a little bored right now and couldn't think of what to write about. So I thought I'd share with ya'll how I beat my lip balm addiction.

It all started at the age of 12, when I was given a set of 'Lip Smackers' as a birthday present. Lip Smackers are basically a tube of shiny smelly goo in flavours such as 'peanut butter,' 'jellybean,' 'lemonade,' and 'oreo'. Infused with the aromas of various low grade junk foods, Lip Smackers are like crack cocaine for your lips. Surely it is obvious by now that these things are EVIL, and I had an evil addiction from the word go. The problem with these products is that they strip off the natural coating from your lips, and inhibit your own ability to self-moisten. This creates a vicious cycle - you use the product, your lips get drier, you have to use the product more to relieve the dryness, your lips get drier still, and so on.

Anyhow, I soon grew tired of the gross sweet smear effect of the Lip Smackers, but as I had been drawn into the vicious cycle I couldn't escape this product type entirely. So I then moved onto the slightly less offensive, but still unhelpful product; the strawberry chapstick. The most loathesome thing about chapsticks is their supposed sweet sweet innocence; they catch you in, and for many the relationship develops into a lifelong obsession.

I used this product from the age of 14 until I was about 18 or 19. It was then that I was introduced to the tub of the gods, BLISTEX. When you apply Blistex to your lips, you are treated with a rather pleasant tingling sensation that no other lip balm provides. I couldn't leave the house without my tub. Sometimes I would be caught out without a tub and I had to either go back home for it, or buy another one. The thing that bothered me most about Blistex was one of the ingredients - phenol; which I think may be responsible for the pleasant tingling. Anyhow, this chemical has rather grim historical connections - in concentration camps in Nazi Germany, phenol was injected directly into the hearts of some unfortunate inmates during fatal medical experiments. This nazi-balm historical connection always bothered me greatly.

In 2008 I realised that I had been addicted to lip balms for 11 years. I estimate that in my lifetime I have spent about $300 on lipbalms. It seems like a relatively small and innocuous amount of money to spend on a 'beauty product' over 11 years, but think of all the other millions of people who have done the same - and then you realise how evil these corporations are - selling these products that lock people into inescapable addictions that fuck up parts of their face.

Anyway, the way to beat a lip balm addiction is simple. Throw out all your lip balms and buy a small tub of vaseline. Even with the use of the vaseline, your lips will probably dry and crack and it will all be very unpleasant for about a week. This will pass. After that, contine with your use of the vaseline when needed. You will notice that it has very few of the addictive properties of the other marketed lip balms, and you will not need it as much. Start to get more disciplined - i.e, only use it once in morning, once at lunch and once before bed. Keep cutting it down and then one day you will find yourself, as I did, at a party without my tub. I didn't panic and I was totally fine. This could be you!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Into Ynki - an exhibition at Keith and Lottie

This exhibition by local artist Zoe Keogh is open until the 23rd of January at Keith and Lottie Gallery. Very cute illustrations; only 3 days left of the show!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hot Fuzz


It's strange, when this film came out at the cinema I was not interested at all. It sometimes happens that a film is marketed more to the mainstream, and therefore I completely ignore it because it looks kind of naff.

I initially thought this film would be like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a film which I guess I tolerated with only mild interest. Hot Fuzz was heaps better than I expected, most probably because of the presence of Simon Pegg.

Over the past 6 months or so, I have finally got into Simon Pegg through watching Spaced. Do you ever get the feeling that you've watched all of the tv shows that you could possibly like and that you've run out of quality shows forever?... and then you stumble across a show which in your opinion, completely nails it? Such a satisfying moment. I really love Spaced.

Anyway, Hot Fuzz hit the spot just like Shaun of The Dead. Deep down within us all, I think each and every one of us just has a pent up urge to smash a zombie's head with a baseball bat or blow away a satanic cultist with an AK47.


"Hot Fuzz" - 3 1/2 stars