Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Super funny ironic frustration.

You know what happened to me today? I wanted to remember a word like "contrast" but different, and I wanted to search it in an online thesaurus, but I couldn't think of the word "thesaurus". I was stuck hovering over my blank Google search. What do you do when you forget the word "thesaurus"? It could have ripped a hole in the vocabulary-communication continuum and imploded the language universe.

Special exercise clothes.

I'm in two minds about them. On the one hand, it's just clothes for getting sweaty in. Wear an old tshirt, who cares?

On the other hand, I have a special sports shirt, and it is better. You can wash it out and dry it super quickly so you don't have the excuse of "my clothes weren't dry". Also, wearing nice clothes, not old clothes, makes you feel like you are doing something important. I exercise because I value myself; it's hard to value anything in stretched out old clothes.

It's like housework. It's a mundane thing, so the temptation is to spend the bare minimum on tools. But if you have good tools, the job is pleasanter and efficienter. Why add the frustration of thin, leaky gloves to the chore of washing up? Buy the thick strong ones. And buy a good mop that you can squeeze easily, not a cheap one that wets more than it cleans. And wear an apron, if you really want to feel fancy.

Money to move.

I hate to sound like I want to leave Sydney, but now the Gov is giving us money! Although I've lost the news story to link to. $7000 to tempt people from a metro area to a regional area. Giving the Evocity thing a boost. It's a surprisingly pro-active move. Decentralisation would solve a lot of problems in Sydney, but there hasn't been much talk about it, because why talk about interesting practical things like that, when we can focus on which politician said what about who and what we all think about it… and all of a sudden, money in hand!

On the other hand, I would carefully weigh up my options before leaving Sydney. I can speak with experience, Singles and Young Workers in the city have good social networks. It's hard to keep friends in the country because young people move on quickly (young people are generally transitory, in the city as well, but more so in the country), and its pretty quiet at night in those relaxed country places. My 6 months in Bowral was good for my daily Bible reading.

Anyhow, my job will always be a city job, so it's moot for now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On wabi and sabi and more.

From Ali's post here, I have been applying wabi and sabi to everything very loudly and explaining it to everyone I meet. Particularly wabi, which is the flaw that makes something unique and special. I have had much joy learning a word for something I already thought. I need another word in the same vein though, a word that describes a small perfect detail only you know about that fills you with pride in your work. Like having the back of the cross-stitch all neat. Using expensive organic free range eggs in a cake. Or today's example, changing the kerning to remove a ligature.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Free fonts.

Type 'free' into and you can find all the fonts that have a free weight for sample download. Such a handy way to broaden your collection and try things out for usefulness without spending money. They are generally the 2nd rate fonts, but there are a lot of OK ones there. See Museo.

Can't find the words easily.

I would so much like to be able to ring up a radio station without getting nervous. Whenever I want to ring up and I hold the phone in my hand and type the number in I get all hot and wobbly and change my mind. But I really really want to sometimes join in on those fascinating public conversations.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best office lunches: Dumplings.

I've been having boring cheese and tomato brown bread sandwiches for lunch this week, which explains why I bought a packet of frozen pork and chives dumplings. $4 a pack, but not sure how many in the pack, maybe 20. I just wanted a few to nibble on after my healthy sandwich. How to cook them in the office, though?

Microwave for about 2 minutes in a little water, covered. This will sort of steam them, if you turn them over halfway so that they don't dry out on one side.

To get the pan fried effect, put a little oil (butter was all I had handy) on the sandwich press and sizzle them for a minute or so.

Eat them with leftover soy sauce fishes and chopsticks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Design nerdery.

I had some spare time today, and since I've been feeling uninspired about stuff I make, I thought I'd try and recharge my design juices before I start any new projects. 

Adobe kuler is a web application for choosing colours. I love it. I realised today that I need to break out of my habitual colours and get some structured palettes happening, googled and found it: a fun way of getting a 5 colour palette. You can spin a wheel or upload an image, and when you have a set it how you like, download it and import it as swatches into InDesign—instant colour scheme! This is a colour scheme from my crochet work:

Stumbled over this article at a font foundry website. This makes me feel sort of depressed. I'm not super expert at typography, so I'm going to try and memorise this page. If only fonts weren't so jolly expensive.

Pinterest is my new favourite internet thing. It's very girly, lots of pictures of cupcakes and hipster home decoration stuff, and it's really useful. You set up virtual pinboards, and when you come across an image (or product or idea) on the web anywhere, you pin it to one of your boards. So they are visual bookmarks, and I'm forming idea palettes. Nice bits of design will go there.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Inside bridal shops.

The bridal shop is an interesting universe. I think it is best to be avoided if you are stressed, but it is interesting. Here are some survival tips.

1. If you are helping a bride choose a dress, don't help her choose a dress. Help carry the dresses around and hold them up for her to look at.

2. It helps to be tall and strong-armed. I had no idea how heavy wedding dresses are. It's a proper workout, hiking them up onto dressing-room hooks.

3. Take crochet, or a book. Take a seat. The lovely shop lady will help get the dresses on, so you just have to sit and wait for each viewing, when she comes out and stands on the little step in front of the big mirror.

4. Then put your book down, and walk around the bride saying "ooh, lovely! do you like it?"

5. Wedding dresses: they basically all look really nice. And nobody cares about the details, apart from the person wearing it. But here are some navigation tips.
a) There are not as many shades of white as you would think; it's easier than painting a room "white", for example. Most are ivory, which is the natural white. Some are white, which is the bright white. Occasionally one is off-white, which is half way between. Occasionally one is a bit brown or grey, and is called something like 'cafe'.
b) Lace-up backs are the way to go, cos you can put on weight or lose weight, as women are wont to do.
c) Shops want six months (!!) to make your dress. Don't include the Christmas holiday shut-down. So you really need to order now. Now now now. (At moments like this, remember you can order a dress off the web for a tenth of the price and a month delivery, then get it altered. Geez.)

Here are some other random bit of jargon: bustle it up, jumper leads, hoop hire, cathedral train, do you feel special in it? and mermaid.

KESC 31: Yong Jing's Kitchen Enlightenment.

This Friday, 6.30, near the corner of Middle Street and Anzac Pde. Come along to eat and be lit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kinds of Blue.

Help us print and launch Kinds of Blue! by Karen Beilharz on Pozible

Check out an anthology I've contributed to, which aims to explore what it is like to live with depression.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Whispering Jack

So John Farnham is touring again. There's just something delightfully ironic (if that's the word) about about hearing a retired singer announce his umpteenth tour AFTER his farewell tour. And there's something comforting about it. If John Farnham's announced another tour, you know all is well with the world, and we are running as per usual.

If Australia ever faces a disaster, I think we can judge how well we recover by measuring the time between the event and the announcement of the next Farnham tour.

Office organisation guru.

I won an award for organisation at the office Christmas party last year. It was a joke award, somewhat unfairly, due to the number of organisational transformations I have attempted. To-do lists methods alone number around a hundred. In fact I now have a VERY helpful list method which I invented myself: I draw a coloured pencil framework each monday, with 6 columns at the top (one for each day of the week and one general 'master/other' list) and blank at the bottom half, for random notes, drawings, and personal stuff. It sits in front of me and I write things down and tick things off. I showed it to Em who is famously efficient, but for some reason she was horrified. Each to their own, I suppose.

I listened to a podcast from Tony Delroy with an organisational expert. I am implementing 2 things:

Handle it once.
If you touch an email, do something with it. Either reply and delete, or write it down on a list and if necessary, save it somewhere relevant. The inbox is not a to do list or reminder system, it's an inbox.

Don't multi-task. This is a bit hard, with my attention span, but in the past I've found that using the Pomodoro timer to do one thing for a set time makes me feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a block of time or a task, whereas jumping randomly from one thing to another I don't get that "Done!" moment. In particular, I'm closing down windows I don't need. Shutting email and web, shutting folders I've opened for other jobs, and minimising distractions.

Small, reasonable goals. Not an overnight transformation, but hopefully some small improvements.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More than a clothes horse

I'd be the first to say that the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, is gorgeous. But it frustrates me that all that the media has to report on her is she wore this! or she wore that! Come on, she has a degree, she's an intelligent woman. Can't we have something of more substance to say about her other than her outer appearance? It feels as if her role is reduced to looking pretty and staying quiet.

On a tangent, don't you feel that the media always wants to make a fashion icon out of nearly anyone who's famous? Why do you have to be fashionable if you're famous? I'd hate to have that pressure if I were famous. If I were famous (God forbid), I'd glamourise dagginess.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

KESC 30: Time for Thai.

Note: Thursday, not Friday, the 16 June. Just to mix it up. 6.30. And please note, this is a detour. Instead of working towards the uni on the eastern side, cross the road.

KESC 29: Shalom review

This has been a long time coming because I can't be bothered to get the photos of my camera. Imagine satay sticks and salad made from tofu, lettuce and peanut sauce. That was most of it, and it was yummy. We tried a chicken piece with Shalom special sauce, and it was the hottest thing we have eaten on the entire challenge! And unfortunately they do not provide table water. In fact, the system threw us off a bit because you have to pay when you order at the counter, and we wanted to share, so we ordered a bunch of things, calculated the cost each, pooled our money, then ordered.

The food did come fast, and it was nice, and not very expensive. Portions a bit smaller than at Ayam Goreng I think, and their range is limited to peanut sauce, mainly. Ayam Goreng wins on table water, though.

The devastating news is that ABC is no longer open at nights, for ice-cream. Devo is an understatement. So we tried the fried ice-cream at Time for Thai, which opened behind us, and I wish I had my camera because it was interesting... wrapped in bread. Not the normal way. But we liked the restaurant so we are detouring over the road next time, to eat thai, before our next happy mile of of chinese places: Kitchen Enlightenment, Dong Dong, and Kingsford Chinese I believe.

So next THURSDAY, Time for Thai.

Cheap travel.

Girls of slender means alert! Did you know long distance train travel was so cheap? I can not get over it. You can ride for hundreds of miles for no more than $7.80. Obviously you have to limit your luggage to what you can carry, and it takes a little longer than car, and you have a bit of stress following timetables; but on the up side it's cheaper than petrol, and you can read or knit or peel a banana or any of the other things you can't do with your hands on a steering wheel. Also, country train stations are rather romantic. This is my long weekend then! To Goulburn and back for $15.60.