Thursday, March 30, 2006

well i've done it, i've just gone and done it

yesterday i bought a piano.

i have never bought a piano before in my life. i am very excited. princess starts lessons at school next tuesday and i am going to ask her teacher if she will give me classes.

i have always wanted to play the piano

you know how often people say that? it's like some magical, unobtainable thing, to be able to play the piano.

i got it from a tuner who restores and sells pianos. lois, an old friend of my mother's, recommended him. me and the kids drove down to carrum yesterday and len showed me three to choose from. he was in his fifties, had large and dirty hands, cause he has a workshop out the back. he puts new bits and pieces in the pianos and it has been a family business since 1912. he talks about them like they are alive. things like:

a piano does well with having its lid left open


a piano will just settle into any spot you pop it

he understood when i told him i wanted princess to love her piano, take it with her when she grows up and leaves home, that it will be an heirloom that she will have in her family long after i am gone. i also told him that i wanted to give her the opportunity to have what i didn't have, the potential to perhaps play gorgeously like him. to be able to sit down at an instrument and play.

i'm sure my mum asked if i wanted lessons.

nup, i probably said. ungrateful beast. i was all about netball and skateboards.

so there were three pianos in a little shed. he said they were all good instruments, all with iron frames and so sound they would all last another couple of generations at least.

1. a mendelsson from about 1918, made in america that a piano teacher had used for lessons. this was an upright grand, in a gorgeous cabinet with very special features, such as a gorgeous little key, a large music stand, and a practice pedal that you can use to mute the volume. superb burnished walnut i think he said.

2. a ronaldi piano, about the same vintage i think, in the teens, made in germany but after the name of an italian composer/musician. this had been used in a church. it had some brass features and a floral carving. it was cute but it didn't grab me. princess of course was drawn to this one.

3. a foster & co, made in america, around 1926. this was used for playing jazz. it's high and it's a darker wood, matt finish, like a solid oak or something, i really don't know my woods that well. this also has a large sheet music rest. grand and satisfying. with a history. it looks like a pilgrim's piano, i don't know why i think that. it is austere and imposing, yet with really simple lines - i loved it.

so number one was 4k and the others 3k. my budget stretched to 3, so the upright grand was out of the question. really, no truly. mmm...

so we were to choose between church and jazz. can you see where i'm going here?

len sat down, first at the mendelsson. he played a gorgeous piece, it was bright and airy.

the church piano he played amazing grace and i almost cried. he plays beautifully.

at the jazz piano of course he played a piece full of jazz riffs. i was sold. my dad is the jazz man incarnate, and even though i'm not sure if he still plays, he might have some sheet music and i really see myself learning to play. i can taste it.

so we stepped outside to talk business and the kids jumped on, one piano each.

sounds like a modern piece, muttered len with a smile.

so piano is arriving tomorrow afternoon, i am so so excited. my mum is coming around saturday morning with her classical sheet music to potter on it.

and i really won't mind if princess, as is her fickle way, decides piano is not for her. she can keep it and have it and i'm sure she will enjoy the luxury of just having a piano.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

sundry literary matters - easton ellis, dbc pierre and whoever writes the funny political sidebar in the age, oh misha schubert

i am being a good girl and reading the next book on the list for ms fits' bookclub.

well i hope it's the new book. i can't quite see where it's confirmed, anyway i purchased ludmila's broken english and am reading it. i look forward to being able to say something about it, unlike the last one, which i committed to, and then forgot.

i'm also excited because a friend has bought be lunar park by bret (two ts or one? methinks one) easton ellis (two ls or one? can't be fucked checking). but it might take a while for it to migrate from northcote down south. we don't see each other alot.

THEN today i chuckled when i read the following, inspired by the love-fest that our parliamentary members have been enjoying recently, with a visit from tony blair:

"Like a minx basking in the afterglow of its romp with Tony Blair, Parliament yesterday laid back and lit a metaphoric cigarette." (page 9, today's age.)

speaking of tony blair, hearing part of his speech on the radio made me think, does he really believe what he is saying or is he that good an actor? i just don't understand. he sounds so convincing when he talks about the evil of terrorism. as if it is something simpler than oppression + hopelessness = death. was this the equation? i can't find the article i clipped just at the moment. but it amuses me, and saddens me, that the flawed human capacity for choosing perspective, or even only being able to have one perspective means that love for one, is hate for another; freedom fighting for one is terrorism for another; sage green for one is gold for another.

Friday, March 24, 2006

so don't tell me i'm not connected here, that i'm living an inauthentic life. repeat after me, yes i am authentic, yes we are authentic.

I resent the shallowness of the critics who say that if you sit in front of a computer and participate in online conversations worldwide you are not leading an authentic life. I question the premise that one person can judge the authenticity of another person's life. Millions of people passively watch television all day long. Don't tell me that having an email relationship with someone on the other side of the world is less authentic than sitting alone and watching the tube. For many people, this new medium is a way of breaking out of the virtual world they already live in. [Howard Rheingold]

you go, howard. that's all i can say.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

does anyone know anything about buying a second-hand piano

i will love you forever if you can give me any tips on how to get one of these

[something is wrong with my pic upload. just imagine a piano in this spot here]

and if anyone can give me a tip on why i can no longer seem to upload pictures like i used to, i will double love you forever.

hope you are all really well.

Monday, March 20, 2006

new enterprises

i have started two new blogs. you will see them linked to the right.

one is under the food heading, it's my own place to talk about food. it is not reviews, which is done in a collectively marvellous way at we do chew our food.

so i present to you food musings. i'd love you to take a look and let's start a discourse about food. you know you want to.

i repeat, i will not be in direct competition with that lot, of which i am one. but i have been wanting to do a food thing for a while, and now is the time. you know, now that i have to really be concentrating on my thesis, focused and really committed. what better time?

in that vein, the slowly-beating one which pumps with my commitment to my thesis, i also announce the other, other new blog.

this one is where i hope people can answer questions i seem to have every day, about mundane household-y things. and i hope people will also ask questions. and that other people will then answer those questions, so that in about five years we will have all the questions in the world, about how to really get a shower clean without using chemicals, and what's the best way to shape a lavender bush, along with all the answers in the world. we will have presidents visiting this blog to check the archives and find out the best way to remove semen from close-weave fabric.

grandiose? absolutely. frivolous? maybe. useful? undoubtedly.

so, see you at big tips for all those questions and answers. that we all have. don't we?

Friday, March 17, 2006

i have started a new blog

and i can't seem to publish, it tells me there's an error and this is what is says:

001 EOF while reading from control connection

can someone please help me??

thanks x

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mad Max meets Margot Fonteyn. With duck.

the title of this post must be credited to this article, in the age today.

i haven't watched the opening ceremony, we have it on tape and i think we might get to have a look at it, oh around about friday night?

but i did read they sang (the people at the g and the people along the mighty yarra*.) the two first verses of the national anthem. which doesn't surprise me, but it made me realise it's time to EXPOSE the national anthem for what it is, bust open this whole charade, baby. it's a fucking scam, don't you know? you think it's just a fairly simple and inoffensive piece, do you? is it more the drudge of the music it's sung to, that you don't like?

have you read the whole national anthem?

[verses two, four and five are rarely sung. i really can't see why. what's wrong with a bit of british imperialist arrogance along with some aggressive warmongering???]

verse 1 - this is the fairly innocuous verse you only know the words to if you are under 15.

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"

verse 2 - this is where we learn about this great country's history. forget about the millennia before cook. that doesn't count.

When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
"Britannia rules the wave!"
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"
verse 3 - this is the one which again seems ok. it's a trick though, don't get sucked in.

Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"
verse 4 - here we go again. here we are saying the only people we want to come and share this country are enligsh, scottish and irish. in other words fuck off everyone who is not anglo-celtic. just fuck off!

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We'll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England, Scotia, Erin's Isle,
Who come our lot to share,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

and verse five, this is where we get tough. we are being very proprietorial, ironically of a land whose original people we had to conquer in order to posses. and now we are saying, just forget that we did it, don't you think of doing it. ironic, yes? and then we're saying we will fight to guard this land, and then our people back in britain know we are keeping a british soul. so that's the argument about national identity and what it means to be an australian done then. you can all stop thinking about it, and debating it over dinner. it was already decided and you just weren't told about it.

Shou'd foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Britannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean's roll,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains the let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

so basically any time you sing this song, or parts of it, you are acknowledging and accepting all this shit.

let's get it changed. how do we do that?

ps do you think the 'fair' in the song refers to beauty or justice?

* why are we so embarrassed and apologetic about the yarra. yeah it's muddy, so the fuck what? it's like we are cringing because it's not a crystal clear type of english merry brook. and it's not. because we are in a different country. it's not england. for fuck's sake.

Monday, March 13, 2006

bloggers can bbq too

we walked through the park. it was so fucking hot. we kept seeing tall black people in traditional nigerian dress.

"are the bloggers black?" asked the smallest of the children with us?

"no, we don't think so" we quipped.

we had told the kids in the car that this picnic was with our blogger friends. of course they had asked "who's going to be at the bbq?" so we had to explain. princess doesn't like the word "bloggers" for some reason and i can't remember what she said to call ourselves. i'll get back to you.

finally we found elaine and fungoir and settled in. they're not black. not that there's anything wrong with that.

and then, in no particular order:

the kids had a water fight and then i bought them an ice cream each, from the second mr whippy van that turned up, because the first one wasn't authentic enough. we lolled on rugs, fluffy was just as i imagined and i kept wanting to hug her. elaine was wearing a cute smocky-type of top that i think i heard someone say she made herself. admiration high. i played croquet with cotton and clokes. i lost twice and cotton won both games. sublime was there, with funky red earrings and a tub of delicious shredded pork swimming in white lard that you had to scrape off, it was a larrousse fantasy come true! a few other people were there, fungoir and rowena, can't remember the others. no i didn't drink ALL of my wine. we waited for scarlett, who went to the wrong park. nevermind, next time! the ants got into cotton's bread and his mango was still uncut when we left. i wonder what happened to that mango? oh yes fluffy had her dog but not tiny man. she'd also brought her boots to play footy but no one had a ball. but the croquet and frisbee got a lot of use. we had african music, and fried haloumi. chops and sausages from algerian-french peoples. cotton didn't wear the white shoes but he did brandish a pair of funky original "swimmers" and talked about going to the fitzroy pool.

"when does the fitzroy pool close?" he asked the group.

"oh, 1987" was cloke's witty answer.

it was a good day. fluffy apologised to me about swearing in front of princess. i told her that my language can be bad and sometimes princess hears me. oh, mother's guilt. but to make fluffy feel better, later that night, after we'd read a few pages of harry potter 4, and the light was turned off, i lay on princess' bed next to her and said, "what did you think of today? did you like them? the people?"

and she said "i liked them all. they were all nice."

and no there aren't any photos.

Friday, March 10, 2006

when you don't check your yahoo mail account

often i forget i have another email address. and today i saw that there were 27 new messages, from the foodie group. there have been conversations going on, new members being welcomed, angst about templates and such, pleadings about editing out old hotmail addresses. and silence from me.

i'm sorry guys. if any of you still come here after what you probably thought was my icy, stony cold silence. i still love you all.

but i have been exceedingly busy of late. trying to finish this fucking thesis. it is on my mind all the time, and now i have an extension until the 31st of may.

and yesterday i was in court supporting a friend who had an application for an intervention order taken out against him by a psycho who is actually the one doing all the bad stuff, like hitting people, and swearing at them most disgustingly.

anyway, he is coming to dinner tonight along with another couple.

what to cook. what to cook?


i tried to look up hunkar begendi in my copy of larousse gastronomique. it wasn't there but this was:

foie gras

preparations made from the livers of fattened geese and ducks were know to the ancients. the goose was regarded by the romans not only as a sacred animal, from the time when a goose saved the capitol, but also as a succulent one, for its meat and liver were highly prized by the gourmets of this time.

the romans used various methods of fattening ducks and thereby causing a considerable swelling of hte liver. history tells us that in order to fatten goose livers, scipio metellus, a roman gastronome, had the idea of plunging the livers, warm from the still panting bird, in a bath of milk and honey, where they were left for several hours. when taken out of the milk, the livers were considerably swollen and it is said (though we can scarcely believe it) endowed with a richer flavour.

one thing is certain, the fat goose livers upon which the romans feasted were very large indeed.

in cookey the name foie gras is used only of goose or duck liver fattened in a special way.

these livers, especually those of geese, sometimes grow to a considerable size. the livers of toulouse and strasbourg geese sometimes wiegh as much as 4 pounds (2 kilos).

foie gras is regarded as one of the greatest delicacies available. 'The goose,' says C. Gerard, author of L'Ancienne Alsace a table, 'is nothing, but man has made of it an istrument for the output of a marvellous product, a kind of living hothouse in which grows the supreme fruit of gastonomy.'

this 'fruit' is foie gras, from which are made the succulent potted products and marvellous pates made in some french towns such as strasbourg, toulouse, perigneux, nancy etc.

the finest foies gras come from geese reared in alsace and south-western france. toulouse foies gras are greatly sought after. duck foie gras is also very delicate but having a tendency to disintegrate in cooking, lends itself less satisfactorily to the many ways, hot or cold, in which foie gras can be prepared. other european countries (besides france) produce very good goose foie gras, notably austria, czechoslovakia and the duchy of luxembourg.

[taken from auge, gillon, hollier-larousse, moureau & ci (1961) larousse gastronomique,
paris: paul hamlyn limited. p. 418]

Sunday, March 05, 2006

went to brokeback today

spoiler alert spoiler alert spoiler alert spoiler alert spoiler alert spoiler

unfortunately i was sitting next to this person:

no i'm not being mean about my nan. we stumbled in, the film had already started and the first available two seats not too close to the front were next to nan.

she had her handbag on her lap. i had a large diet something in a cup on mine, my lap, even though it was a medium one, it was huge. i drink diet somethings about once or twice a year. i don't drink soft drink, so please don't judge me, but i had had a very large night, the night before, that's saturday night, so i just needed it, all right? and so i could write that sentence with lots of "nights" in it.

so, the movie.

i liked it alot. yes i went the tear, and i also did this at one point in the movie, when something happened that i really didn't expect:

exactly like this except i'm not a man. really.

during the sex scene in the tent, where it's so dark you can't see anything, and which makes words like "explicit" laughable, nan put her hand up to her face. it distracted me, and took me out of that tent. which was annoying. i was thinking, shit, didn't she know what this movie is about, a love story between two men, what if she had no idea, jesus how awful for her. and other thoughts like that. distracting and annoying.

i liked it so much:

other movies on the list to see:

- walk the line

- match point

- capote

one question, if anyone has seen brokeback mountain, do you think jack's wife knew about him and ennis before she was on the phone to ennis? do you think she realised how he died? what do you think?

also i think there was a glimpse of ennis's penis during his love scene with his wife. anyone else catch that?