Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 in review

Best Movie: So many contenders... 300 is certainly right up there. The History Boys was fantastic. I loved Notes on a Scandal, even if Judi Dench freaked me out. But my vote will go to Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Not for the historical accuracy of it - as far as I'm concerned it was a total work of fiction... but I just love seeing Gloriana on screen and Cate did a brilliant job. Not as strong as the unsurpassable tour-de-force by Glenda Jackson, of course. But better than Helen Mirren, at least. And miles ahead of Anne-Marie Duff.
Worst Movie: Hmmm, honorary mention for The Simpsons Movie. Sunshine gets a vote. But the winner is Beowulf because it was just so fucking fucked.
Theatre: Locally, I enjoyed the Cruicible at PTC. But I can't go past seeing Richard Griffiths, Daniel Radcliffe and Jenny Agutter in Equus at the Gielgud Theatre in London in March.
Band or artist: I think Regina Spektor is my winner for the year. I know she's not massively popular and perhaps it is a very Winehouse year... but Spektor is the one who's done it for me. Honorary mention to Feist, Mark Ronson, Gotye.
Concert: Lily Allen was great fun at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. But the prize goes to Tori Amos for the American Posse Tour gig at PCH. Best concert I've ever been to.
Album: Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor gets a guernsey. Winner is Mark Ronson's Version though.
Personal achievement: It's no secret I've been hitting the gym this year. I'm not claiming to be buff, Herculean or to have the physique of Chris Evans, but I could totally take Daniel Radcliffe in a cage fight. That's all that matters.
Professional achievement: Professionally it has been a fantastic year. It was great to write the paper of my childhood for six months, then to get the call-up to The West. But I think this week, after just six months at the daily, being give a large and popular round in Local Government is a huge achievement. I'm a bit proud of that.
Best Experience: Travelling around Europe with Dad was the coolest thing of the year. I loved it.
Worst Experience: Being shot. No wait, that didn't happen. I can't think of anything at the moment, I'll edit this later perhaps.
Party: Thom's 21st was about the biggest thing I've ever seen.
Purchase: Well I bought a flat. That's pretty cool. Although I think the remote controlled Dalek probably wins the prize for this one.
Television: Great year for Dr Who. David Tennant is a God to me. But Summer Heights High has to win as the best show of the year.
Radio: No one else would have this category, I'm sure you'd agree. But I love listening to the BBC World Service on NewsRadio. Winner, however, is AM.
Personality: What can I say, it was Kevin Rudd's year.
Best in Politics: Rudd wins poll in landslide. Such a huge polar shift.
Worst in Politics: The Haneef scandal was a new low. Then locally there is the re-emergence of Burke and Grill.
Best in Global Politics: Unequivocally, undoubtedly, Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Why? Because they have put climate change smack bang on the international agenda. And not a moment too soon.
Worst in Global Politics: Jesus, there are a shitload of options here. Winner is Burma. I don't think I need to explain it further.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Um, wow, okay. So, you like me, huh?

I'm finishing the year on a fucking high. It has been an incredible year. A full year living with Dad, touring the world. A full year with Thom, having the best freaking time with the best dude imaginable. Even managed to buy a new flat right slap bang in the middle of where I've dreamed for years of owning a home. While these have totally made the year great, it's at work where shit has excelled.
Getting the call up, so to speak, to the metro daily was a fantastic opportunity in the first place., but I've worked hard at it. Anyone who has noticed me disappear completely from the social scene these last six months could tell you that.
But it has paid off.
Let me come my point. LOL (Who needs an inverted pyramid?).
Yesterday the chief of staff casually told me I'd been appointed the Local Government reporter. It's a huge round. I'm thrilled. It's every dream come true. I was desperate to be given a round so I could prove what I'm really worth and Local Government has always been my specialty, so it has played right into my hands. I got a short congratulations and was told they were "very impressed" with me and then it was back to work.
Affection and reward come from the side here. I seem to have a nickname. This morning I was given two tickets to the Southbound festival. This afternoon I was given four tickets to the Hopman Cup.
Six months of no life has paid off. It was worth every dinner and concert I had to forego. I have everything I want now.
Now to not fuck it up. That is the only lesson I have left.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis mine

It's not much. It's not a massive four-bedroom-two-bathroom-two-storey-terracotta-roofed-red-brick-federation-Mount-Lawley manor house. But it is my home.
Sort of.
It's mine in the sense that my finance has been approved for it and settlement is being arranged. It's mine in the sense that my name is going on the title deeds. But it's not mine in the sense of me living there.
I didn't mean "home", I suppose.
It's a one bedroom flat in Highgate. Perth actually. It has a 6000 postcode. It looks more like Highgate though. And either way it actually means you get all the advantage of living in Mount Lawley, which was always my greatest requirement for buying another property in Perth.
Yes, my two bedroom flat in Maylands probably had more re-sale value in the sense that it was bigger, had already been renovated (by me) and had the extra bedroom. But I really wanted a place near the cafes and pubs I live my life around.
Even, illogically, if I don't plan to live there. I mean, I will live there one day... I'm just very very happy and comfortable living with Dad at the moment and could do with renting it out so someone else pays my mortgage. There is no hurry to move. I get vacant possession on January 14 or something. I plan on two months of renovating. It needs everything done to it you could think of: It's a quarter of a million dollar hole. But I'm going to turn it into my dream flat, in my dream location so it is ready for me when I want it.
Sound good?
These are my BEFORE shots (as it is, it rents for only $165pw)
Here is the outside...

This is the view from my balcony... lawn which can't be built out. That's rare.

This is the main living area... the door goes onto the balcony. I'm going to make that a glass door. The blinds will be replaced with venetians and underneath the carpet is parquetry, which I will have polished (it worked so well on Kenilworth Street)...

The kitchen. Obviously this is a disaster area but a cabinet maker should be able to sort it out, maximising the space. The biggest problem is the fridge, which actually juts into the living area. It MUST be altered.

Worst of all... the bathroom. I think I've worked out how to solve all the problems in here with the exception of one. Above the shower and toilet area is the bare metal pipe of the shower above (but thankfully not the toilet above, LOL).

So... these are the BEFORE shots. Stay tuned for plenty more photos of tool-belt clad Dan, dusty architraves, and drop-sheet gloriana before the AFTER pics are posted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Census for December

Reading: Exclusively reading my Russian exercises.
Watching: Monarchy on the ABC, tonight, actually. Also, so freakin excited (and I know this makes me a sad fuck, but today I bought myself Elizabeth R starring Glenda Jackson. It was made 10 years before I was born, I haven't seen it for at least another ten years, but I love it so very very much. Already watched two of the Glorious 85minute episodes this afternoon.
Listening: A mix of Basia Bulat and Feist. Thom mixed them onto a CD for me and there are a couple of songs I am totally in love with.
Downloading: Not downloading much, frankly.
Website du jour: Yahoo and MSN Messenger.
Café: OMIGOD there is fantastic new place on Eighth Ave in Maylands. It's called Milkd and I think it's the same people who did Soto in the Lawley and Milk in North Perth. Whatever. I'm in love.
Pub: The Scotsman... which is still renovating and I'm holding fire on my love for it until I see what the finished product looks like.
Club: God I haven't been to a club in ages, I should really update these questions. I joined the ABC rewards club today... that's as close as it gets.
Eating: Lindt chocolate balls.
Drinking: Pimms. My darlings have declared this to be the summer of Pimms and I have to say, super idea. We need another Pimms party.
Wearing: Work clobber. I'm never out of a freakin suit these days.
Last show: Haven't managed the theatre for a while, rather unusually. Have seen a lot at the cinema though. Loved The Golden Age (predictably). Though Beowulf was pretty shite (boring traditionalist me, I don't think you should make a film unless you have a script... no matter how many other gimmicks you have to try to get yourself over the line).
Next show: I'm seeing Cindy Lauper (cause girls just wanna have fun), Sharon Jones (peeing myself), and Nouvelle Vague. Very excited about all of it.
Can’t wait ‘til: Christmas, amazingly. I have got some choice gifts for peeps and I'm dying to let them play with them.
Most recent scoop: Jesus I haven't had anything I would deem worthwhile for weeks. They did go nuts for my rare flora story earlier this week, which astounds me because I pitched it two days earlier and they didn't care. God bless Sundays.
Most recent purchase: Ooh, technically it is Elizabeth R but seeing as I've already mentioned that, I'll say... MY GPS! It is fantastic. I need never be lost again. Aaaaand I have slutty Sylvia giving me directions.
Want but can’t afford: The holiday to Greece. It's off, for now. We'll just leave until we actually leave for overseas 12months later.
Need but can’t afford: A cabinet maker. Not the maker him/herself, you understand, but rather the services s/he provides.
Last nice act: Did a shift swap to make someone happy. She doesn't realise she is endebted to me now. You are MINE Beatrice... MINE!
Last bad act: As far as Santa, or anyone else is concerned, I've been a GOOD BOY.
Bad news: Managed another car accident last week. Fuck knows why my insurance company hasn't disowned me.
Good news: My Russian teacher actually thinks I'm a good student and progressing well.
Goal: My goals are twofold... to keep the buffing up regime going and to finish the Ruski lesson book by this time next year. That's not a simple task.
Yesterday I: Worked in the evening... and tried to set up some yarns to run over Christmas and New Year... when I'm WORKING.
Right now I should be: Studying the Russian.
Later today I’m: getting some of that much needed sleep.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts recently

"I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."
- That great misogynist and fisherman, sometimes writer, Ernest Hemingway.

Da, ya gavaryu pa ruski yizik

My Russian teacher, Anna, is fantastic.
I have to say that because the other week she admitted to googling me and you never know when she might do it again. LOL.
But seriously, she is fantastic. If she were some grumpy old babuska I might not be having so much fun learning Russian. As it is though, she's a fantastic young woman with two dachshunds and a great sense of humour. Anna is also incredibly patient with me, which is just as well.
I thought I was a bit slow and dopey at my ruski but she assured me yesterday I was doing very well indeed. I'm pleased. Because I love the language. I love how it sounds. It's so sexy.
I had asked her during the week for some Russian films and yesterday she lent me a couple.
Thom and I tried to watch one last night but had this bizarre situation where some of the movie was in English. The English bits weren't subtitled, or even dubbed over. Instead, they had added in a woman speaking the lines in Russian, over the top of everything else.
Bizarrely, this was translated back into English on the subtitles, so we both heard and read it in English, and then heard it again in Russian. After about 10 minutes we were going stir-crazy and gave up on it.
But I have several more to watch, including a big documentary series.
As my vocabulary grows and I can start to make up little sentences - even just in my head to practice - I'm growing to love this language more and more. The idea of borrowing the movies was to experience the Russian culture too. But that may have to wait until I can go there... I can't do three kinds of subtitles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Casual Tuesday at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

He will be fine. I know he will be fine. And this is totally not my story to tell, it is Thom's. But as I type this he is in theatre, unexpectedly having a medical procedure performed. It's after 10pm. We left for the emergency department before 6pm. Remarkably fast service. I'll let him blog about the medical issue, but he's going to be okay.
Otherwise... I'm pretty much just whittering on here in order to keep myself amused so I'm not thinking about it. Except of course I'm writing about it.
Crazy time in the ED waiting room. One woman came in with explosive shits. Another man had taken most of his fingers mostly off after falling from a roof. Another guy was mysteriously wheeled-in bent-double clutching his stomach and wailing and taken straight through and never seen again. I have spent much of the evening engrossed in the Wallace family's plight. They're here from Scotland on holiday. The old boy was already in a wheelchair and on oxygen before he left Glasgow... and then the nurse asked him questions clearly indicating the man now also has DVT.
When Thom was taken through I scooted off to get something to eat, then came back and sat with him for a bit. He had made friends with a hard-nosed Irish nurse (they're all from the UK at Charlies, apparently) who had called the boy in the bed beside him a woose because he chundered.
We were sitting their quietly laughing at the almost-fingerless builder beside us who was protesting he needed to get back to Kalgoorlie and the surgeon was busy reassuring him he probably couldn't go home tomorrow.
"You have four fingers almost removed, they're hanging on by partially severed tendons, you're going to need to stay for at least a week."
"Can you just operate now, I told them I'd be back tomorrow."
I kept Thom entertained by telling him a story about my American ally Nick, who put up with months of massive digestive pain only to have doctors remove a complete and unmarked toothpick from his stomach.
Otherwise, the whole thing was very casual indeed. The surgeon's registrar dude was in a bond's t-shirt and jeans. In fact almost everyone was in jeans. It was bizarre.
We were laughing around and couldn't wait to hear what the indian man opposite us had. He looked hale and hearty.
"Do you know why you're here?," the doctor said.
"Yes I got a letter from my GP saying to come in here immediately," Indian man replied.
"You have a tumour... are you experiencing headaches?"
I mean, talk about dropping a bomb and then moving it along. Some people might like to digest that information.
The guy took it like a trooper though, bless him. Maybe it is because the Irish nurse was eyeballing him in a way that suggested to faulter would result in him being called a woose?

Monday, December 10, 2007

General update

Haven't blogged for a bit so thought I'd post a general update. As you do. When it's 12.30am and you've been boozing for three hours with your long lost best Canberra-based buddy, who's flown in to Perth for 24hr top secret assignment with the Federal Government.
As you may have gathered, I've spent the evening (night, more accurately, but you can't just go around saying you spent the night with someone) with Canberra Phil. Fucking wonderful night it was too, considering we were boozing at the Deen because it is about the only place open on a Monday night. I have a stamp on my wrist. I feel so trashy.
I have a tip for that by the way. You know how pub stamps are so hard to remove the next day. Trust me on this. Soap up your wrist and use your pubes as a scourer.
There. I said it.
But it's true. Others have laughed at me only to try it and swear by it.
In other news, I have conditional approval for my loan, which means the flat is a step closer to being mine. I'm very excited. The idea of renovating has me all aglow with excitement and I blame the DOA because she's made the Dianella pad look exquisite and I'm a competitive lil homo nephew.
Also... big booboo on my part. Absolutely totally stonking forgot to attend my cousin's engagement party on the weekend. I sent an apology by sms yesterday but got no reply, so I think I might be in a bit of trouble. Oops. I'm already unpopular because I'm working Christmas Day and missing all the family... cheer(?).
Put my hand up for a round at work. This directionless general news bit is dispiriting. I need a subject to cover. Local Government, I've asked for. I figure I've spent most of the last eight years fossicking through agendas, it's what I'm good at, so what if I have to attend a few councils meetings? It's about headlines and bylines and making a mark.
Lindsay is leaving me. She's off to Scotland for Christmas. Eeeeemma Gant has already returned to the Uke. Mass exodus. My life is so different to 12months ago. And substantially different again from 2 years ago. All of these things are good.
Russian. Now that is hard language to learn. I'm doing well considering the amount of time I'm able to dedicate to study each week. I do love it though. I'm addicted to the language and the sound of it. I love it. So help me God, I will speak it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And so it is done.

All squared away and guaranteed. It is in the bag. All the paperwork has signed and today I own a new home. Not that I plan to live in it. Although perhaps I might, some day.
It should technically be a neatly affordable project to keep myself amused. A bit of a renovation project. I have high-falootin plans, but may tone them down as the reality of costs kick in. But certainly the kitchen and bathroom need doing so I can see the rent I can charge leap from the severely under-priced $165pw it is currently to the $240-$250 the exact same flats in the building are achieving. At that price it practically becomes cost neutral.

The current tenants are out in mid January... about the same time as settlement is planned. So over the next six weeks I'll be doing a fair bit of shopping around for tiles, basins, stoves, cabinets, toilets, floor coverings, window treatments... All the freakin cool stuff I love doing. Sooooo much fun.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All but signed, sealed and delivered

Last time I jinxed myself by writing about my flat purchasing activities here, so I hope that won't happen again.
I signed an offer and acceptance today. I've bought a one bedroom flat on Stirling Street in Perth. Probably Highgate really, but apparently it's technically Perth. One street back from Beaufort Street.
Got it for a good price. Much cheaper than I invisaged I could buy a flat for in Perth these days. But the most exciting thing... the tenants are out in January and I'M GOING TO RENOVATE!
I know how that sounds... homo renovates = disaster. Don't be silly darlings, I'm going to get a little man in to do all the difficult bits. LOL.
Very excited. Need to find a cabinet maker for a new kitchen, bathroom vanity and bedroom cupboards. Does anyone know one? I will put a bit of business the way of our family tiler and window treatment salesman (we're nothing if not loyal in our family). I can't wait. It's the kind of distraction I need. Will post "before" photos later.

Freakin tragic

I can't do this justice, but I need to record it. On Friday I went to my cousin's funeral. Gordon Stuart Brydson. 23. Father to two. Soon-to-be-father of three. Devoted fiance. The youngest of five kids.
I've never been to such an incredibly sad funeral. A celebration of his life, yes, but so so freakin sad.
I haven't seen that side of my family for several years so I felt like a ghost at the back of the room, removed from the mourning but not unmoved by the occasion. In fact I was devastated to see my Aunt, Uncle, cousins, in the pits of grief. Such a terrible thing.
And I was sad to have lost touch with him. We weren't similar people. But I should have made more effort to keep in touch. I've missed out on seeing a guy who was always a fun and adventurous kid become a great man.
The funny thing was, it has made me aware of time. I don't mean in that "I'm only here for a limited time" kind of way. Rather, the passing of time: The measured certainty of it, yet transient and ephemeral nature of it. We move through it unthinking and the journey ages us. Pray you're lucky enough to wear its ravages and wear them with pride. Between my school reunion and my cousin's funeral this year seemed to have contrived to mark itself out in my life as a measuring stick. A pause on my journey. A chance to reflect and regroup.
It sounds like a load of horseshit, doesn't it? But you try being the ghost in the back of the room. Some days you can hear the metronome ticking.