Thursday, January 27, 2011

Possibly the nerdiest thing I have ever done. So I was into music when I was at school. I played clarinet in the orchestra and the wind symphony, sang in three different a capella choirs, and played piano in a shit jazz band called Thingy. (I feel entitled to call it shit, seeing as I wrote most of our repertoire.)

So when I hit university and there were various clubs you could join, I innocently thought I'd join a music club. Nobody had taken me aside, you see, and told me that only the nerdiest nerds joined interest-based clubs at university. I forget what the actual club was called, but we were basically the RMIT band. Most of the students were utter nerds – computer science and electronic engineering students, etc.

Now in musical terms, a 'band' basically means a symphonic band or a brass band – ie, made up of wind, brass and percussion instruments. However, we had to make do with whatever the people who'd signed up at the start of the year played. We had some traditional orchestral instruments, some brass, some woodwind – I seem to recall we had a surfeit of flutes – and so we had to sort of assign certain parts to whichever players we happened to have.

We used to rehearse once a week in a sort of multifunction room. I remember that one lady was in charge; she would bring the sheet music and we would practise several different pieces. I don't think I lasted more than a semester in this group, and we only performed once that I remember. It was at lunchtime in the RMIT caf. I seem to recall feeling very ashamed to tell my coolsie advertising mates about this gig, but they showed up anyway and stood in front of us, smirking.

I was just thinking about this tonight because I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the theme song was familar. This reminded me… are you ready, this is the nerdiest thing I have ever done… that one of the pieces we played was a medley of various Star Trek theme songs!

Not being an intense nerd, not all of them were familiar to me. My favourite was Voyager, which has a great trumpet solo and I seem to recall we actually had a trumpet player. This was his/her time to shine.

I think this might be the actual medley we played. We probably sounded as hilariously bad as this poor old community choir – and they had all the instruments! (In my opinion they were better at the Star Wars medley.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My day on a plate. It sometimes amuses me to imagine how my lifestyle would be portrayed in those ridiculous magazine segments that are designed for people to show off about how virtuous their lives are. It's the same enjoyment I get from defying 'foodie culture' by blogging my Shit Cooking™ recipes.

Back when my favourite intellectual journal, Sunday Life, ran a fitness test for 'ordinary people', I would fantasise enjoyably about how abjectly, hilariously low I would score on such a test. Sometimes I debate whether I should photograph my entire house, in all its banality and messiness, then blog it as a parody of those Apartment Therapy/Design Files tours through the homes of 'creative people'. (But then I feel uncomfortable about offering randoms off the internet a comprehensive picture of my personal space.)

Today I have decided to offer you an insight into my life by completing the Sunday Life "My Day On A Plate" segment. This is what I ate yesterday.

3pm I meant to get to my favourite cafe, North, much earlier than this, but I sat down at my computer to 'check on my eBay auction' and ended up doing some blogging. I had huevos rancheros – otherwise known as black beans, cheese, fried eggs and salsa on tortillas with some corn, chopped-up chorizo and avocado. I also had two glasses of water and two lattes – one before the meal and one afterwards.

6pm I went to check the Enthusiast post office box in Prahran and it was disgustingly hot, so while I was waiting for the tram home, I bought a medium-size Slurpee from the Sev – half cola and half 'mixed berries' flavour.

7pm Got home, destroyed from the heat. Had a large glass of iced water and a glass of verdelho from the Meredith goon bag in the fridge. Fell into more blogging.

9pm Holy shit, I have forgotten to eat dinner. Made a salad: lettuce grown in the school garden where my mother teaches; cherry tomatoes; avocado; cucumber; artichokes; crumbled Mersey Valley cheese; vinaigrette dressing. Had another glass of verdelho while I started to watch Misfits, the British TV series everyone has been raving about.

2am Have now watched four episodes of Misfits and got through another two glasses of verdelho. Was saved from further eating only by the fact that McDonald's does not do home delivery.

Humourless nutritionist says:*

Mel should definitely be eating breakfast and lunch. It is ridiculous that she didn't eat or drink anything until mid-afternoon – no wonder she was tired and thirsty later on! She should steer clear of coffee as it will also dehydrate her. The beans are a good source of energy and the tortillas are low GI, but the chorizo is too fatty and Mel should consider poached rather than fried eggs. Slurpees are really just sugar and Mel should choose water instead. A salad was a good dinner option, but it was eaten too late at night – Mel should have eaten it at 7pm when she got home. Cheese and avocado are fatty and Mel should put some quinoa in her salad, because I always advocate adding quinoa to just about any dish. It is a whole grain and has a low GI, even though it is as tasteless as horse oats. Mel should also cut down on her wine intake – one glass is the recommended daily alcohol intake for women. By drinking wine at home, Mel may also have been drinking more than one standard drink per glass.

* This is probably bullshit. My knowledge of nutrition is largely gained from reading various trend-based stories in newspapers, Sunday Life, women's magazines, and that time I was made to study responsible drinking at the Australian Drug Foundation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The maiden voyage of the All Terrain Cat Vehicle. You may recall that last August, I did some crap domestic hackwork. Among my proudest hacks was when I found a wheelframe on the street and decided to turn it into the base for an All Terrain Cat Vehicle.

The project languished at this point because I was always on the lookout for a long handle from a child's toy to steer the damn thing with, but I never found one (probably because the places I was looking were 'op shops' and 'hard rubbish').

But matters came to a head! Over Christmas I had custody of my brother Matt's car, and I decided to use this opportunity to finally get Graham up to date with all his vaccinations. On the bright side, Graham turns out not to have cat AIDS. But on the dark side, the FIV vaccination procedure requires a course of three shots, so I would need to bring Graham back to the vet twice more in a month.

Last week I had to give Matt's car back, so I was not looking forward to lugging five kilos of cat, plus the weight of the carrier. I only live 600m away from the vet, but it feels much further when you're as unfit as I am, and in this disgusting humidity. So today was the day! The fateful day when I would debut the ATCV!

Here it is, sitting on my front verandah after its first outing – I was too wrecked to bring it inside.

I went to the local hardware store and picked up three octopus straps – two 60cm ones and one 75cm one. The smaller ones I used to lash the cat carrier to the frame, although I decided to turn it backwards to the way it is displayed in the earlier pic. This was so I could attach the steering strap to the rail on the wheelbase.

The unforeseen consequence of this, however, was that once the carrier was lashed in place, the wheelbase rail prevented the door from opening completely. However, Graham could still get in – and be dragged out, scruff-first, by the vet.

I had gaffer-taped the steering strap in place to offer more stability, but I quickly discovered when I tried to steer that what I really need is a rigid stick that can twist and turn at one end, not a cord that's flexible all the way along. The vehicle moved beautifully in a straight line, but it was hard to turn or alter course quickly, and sometimes it moved faster than I did, bumping into the backs of my legs. I found myself trotting along beside it rather than leading it sedately from the front, as I had imagined doing.

For the unsecured occupant, traversing the ordinary footpaths and cobbled lanes of my neighbourhood, and occasionally bumping into me, must have been like four-wheel-driving through rough woodland terrain. When I got to the vet, I was very contrite to observe a scratch on Graham's nose. However, he was relatively quiet compared to the hysterical miaowing display he puts on in a car.

On the whole, it was far easier and more enjoyable than carrying Graham there. I was worried about looking like an absolute lunatic to any passers-by, but they seemed impressed, if anything. "Hello, kitty!" said a passing child, and an old man commented genially, "I should be getting around like that." The vet told me that it was the most impressive cat vehicle he's seen, but he is no doubt skilled in the arts of pandering to crazy cat ladies.

However, I still ended up back home feeling exhausted and putting on the kettle for a soothing cup of tea, because about halfway home the rain decided to hammer down. Alarmed, Graham mewled within the carrier, but he was relatively dry when we got home. Not me. I just had to cop the downpour – on my freshly washed hair! my white T-shirt! – because I had no hand free to manage an umbrella as well as the vehicle.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Unfortunate business names. I have never kept an official list of these, but from time to time a business name strikes me as really counterproductive for the sort of image the business is trying to project.

Now, it seems to me that businesses are very confused about the connotations of rustic words such as 'shack' and 'hut'. It's appropriate to pick up a drink from Shake Shack or a pizza from Pizza Hut, because convenience foods and drinks have traditionally been purveyed from ramshackle stalls.

However, the business that provoked this blog post was an establishment called Kitchen Shack. Why would you ever seek out a durable, well built kitchen from a building that isn't even durable or well built? Also, Sunglass Hut. Why would you shell out hundreds of dollars for eyewear from a dodgy-sounding 'hut'? You'd only spend $5 on such eyewear in a similar hut in Bali or Phuket.

Some of the worst offenders are women's body hair removal products. We all know (and chortle about) Nad's – to remove the hair from your nads – but how about Julienne? Jesus Christ, when I'm ripping hair from delicate areas of my body, I do not want to be reminded of finely sliced vegetables.

Other random inappropriately named brands: Nitsa hairdressers on Nicholson St North Carlton; Bambi Leathergoods on Swanston St Carlton; hawker-style Asian restaurant Norsiah's Kitchen; CBD Indian restaurant Funky Curry; Be Yourself makeup and fake fingernails.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter