Snippets

May. 8th, 2009 09:45 pm
juliet: (Default)
Two nice chaps from Pack&Send showed up this morning (on time, even!) and took my boxes away (2 x clothes/books/random crap, 1 x Cepheus-the-bike[0]). I am now left with (I hope...) belongings sufficient to fit into 1 x big rucksack & 1 x small rucksack. And the sheets, which I intend to post home from Melbourne, because 2 nights in a sleeping bag would feel just that bit too much like camping out, and would make me sad.

Last surf was this lunchtime. Wah. Conditions a bit choppy, but I had the fun anyway. I should mention at this point that Let's Go Surfing are awesome & I strongly recommend them. The instructors were good, but as well as that, all the staff have been consistently helpful and friendly every time I've been in. They look after your stuff for you while you're hiring, they're happy to advise on conditions (even by phone, so you can check if it's worth going down there), & the couple of times I've spotted an instructor when I've been out on my own & in need of information[1], they've been happy to help. Yay for them.

The ship I will be going to Mexico on! This is the couple I met on the train through Malaysia, back in November. I am v much looking forward to the trip, although sadly I do have stuff I have to get done while I'm on board. (ah, the joys of freelancing...)

Leaving Sydney on Sunday...

Oh yes, some links:
* Tiny pigs!
* Lovelace & Babbage Vs The Economy! Pt 1, Pt 2.

[0] The packing process would have been *easier* if they made bike boxes a bit bloody bigger. e.g. big enough so that you only need to take *one* wheel off. grumble.
[1] e.g. "I've just been stung by a bluebottle[2]. If I ignore it, will my foot fall off?" Ans: no. Also "This board is seriously playing up." "That's because it's 9' and you want 8' or 8'6". Go swap it with that one that's on the beach there."
[2] On Tuesday I was at the Australian Museum & found out that bluebottles are not actually single jellyfish organisms, but collections of zooids! This was v exciting.
juliet: (Default)
I have had a very busy week!

Wednesday I headed up to the Blue Mountains, for a day's walkabout with Blue Mountains Walkabout, an Aboriginal owned and guided operation. It was, of course, absolutely pissing it down, but they don't cancel for bad weather, so we set off as planned from Faulconbridge. (Three of us plus Evan the guide.)

(A general note: any statements made about Aboriginal culture are my best understanding of what I've read about/been told. I am very open to any corrections if I've gotten things wrong & anyone reading this wants to correct me!)

walking about )

I'd very strongly recommend it to anyone who's in the area -- very much worth it. Although I was shattered by the time I got home!

I have also been doing much socialising: met [livejournal.com profile] cryx for coffee on Thursday, in a nice fair-trade place in Glebe which had vegan chocolate cupcakes! And the company was excellent :) Friday night I went over to [livejournal.com profile] geekboyoz's, for pizza & several episodes of True Blood (which is gory, slightly ridiculous, & has a ludicrous amount of sex in, but which is v entertaining). And I am v fond of just hanging out with nice people. Then yesterday I met up with [livejournal.com profile] electricant for a couple of beers at the Red Oak, which is a beer cafe/microbrewery. Good beer & good conversation = a splendid thing!

Things that I have broken this week:
- my socks (see above).
- the Tab key on the eeeeeepc, after it booted up with weird keys-not-working, & I took some keycaps off to have a look, and then broke the Tab key getting it back on. (And halfway broke the 2, as well.) Next time I booted it: no problems. GO FIGURE.
- the extension cable on the USB modem (at least, that is my current conclusion for why it drops out intermittently if I'm using the extension cable when on the sofa).
- my plans for returning home, in that the freighter to SF is now delayed, so I won't make the QM2, & am thus getting a freighter from Philadelphia to Tilbury instead. And will miss Glastonbury, & [livejournal.com profile] uon's sister's wedding. Boo. Still: could be worse. Thumbs crossed nothing else changes!

I have also discovered that I appear to have developed some kind of surfing-dependency. Hadn't been in all week (due to bluebottles at first, & then torrential downpour), and have been off/on grumpy all week. Went down this morning & spent two hrs pissing around on a board (I am getting better!), came out feeling outrageously cheerful, and got lots of work done in the afternoon. Fvck knows what I'm going to do when I get back to London; either visit Brighton[3] a *lot*, or find something else equally cheering.

Surfing is aces partly because I really don't think about anything else *but* the waves & what I/my board is doing for the entire time I'm in the water. And the waves just keep coming! It's like meditation, but with additional going 'zoom'! And then falling off and getting half a ton of water & sand up your nose, but there we go. (I have surfing calluses on my hands now. I am v proud.)

[0] Songs have many functions in Aboriginal culture: lore/laws, social information, stories, navigation... a songline is a route between various sacred/ceremonial/etc sites.
[1] The Aboriginal group that used to live here were the Darug, but the last full-blooded Darug person died in the 19th c -- the population was very heavily hit by a smallpox epidemic immediately after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The only Darug remaining are people who have Darug ancestry -- they're trying to recapture/rebuild what they can of their cultural knowledge, but a lot of it is lost forever now. Evan said that he spends a lot of his spare time looking for Aboriginal sites in the Blue Mountains.
[2] Dreamtime is not a very good translation of the concept -- I get the impression that it doesn't translate well at all into English. I've heard it before translated as lore/laws/cultural understanding (by the Anangu people up by Uluru). Evan described it more as a way of being/experiencing; as being in touch with country/land and with what's going on around you. The link between lore/understanding and country is very, very strong in Aboriginal culture.
[3] I gather Brighton has a surfing beach?
juliet: (swimming in the sea!)
I have had a very busy week!

Wednesday I headed up to the Blue Mountains, for a day's walkabout with Blue Mountains Walkabout, an Aboriginal owned and guided operation. It was, of course, absolutely pissing it down, but they don't cancel for bad weather, so we set off as planned from Faulconbridge. (Three of us plus Evan the guide.)

(A general note: any statements made about Aboriginal culture are my best understanding of what I've read about/been told. I am very open to any corrections if I've gotten things wrong & anyone reading this wants to correct me!)

walking about )

I'd very strongly recommend it to anyone who's in the area -- very much worth it. Although I was shattered by the time I got home!

I have also been doing much socialising: met [livejournal.com profile] cryx for coffee on Thursday, in a nice fair-trade place in Glebe which had vegan chocolate cupcakes! And the company was excellent :) Friday night I went over to [livejournal.com profile] geekboyoz's, for pizza & several episodes of True Blood (which is gory, slightly ridiculous, & has a ludicrous amount of sex in, but which is v entertaining). And I am v fond of just hanging out with nice people. Then yesterday I met up with [livejournal.com profile] electricant for a couple of beers at the Red Oak, which is a beer cafe/microbrewery. Good beer & good conversation = a splendid thing!

Things that I have broken this week:
- my socks (see above).
- the Tab key on the eeeeeepc, after it booted up with weird keys-not-working, & I took some keycaps off to have a look, and then broke the Tab key getting it back on. (And halfway broke the 2, as well.) Next time I booted it: no problems. GO FIGURE.
- the extension cable on the USB modem (at least, that is my current conclusion for why it drops out intermittently if I'm using the extension cable when on the sofa).
- my plans for returning home, in that the freighter to SF is now delayed, so I won't make the QM2, & am thus getting a freighter from Philadelphia to Tilbury instead. And will miss Glastonbury, & [livejournal.com profile] uon's sister's wedding. Boo. Still: could be worse. Thumbs crossed nothing else changes!

I have also discovered that I appear to have developed some kind of surfing-dependency. Hadn't been in all week (due to bluebottles at first, & then torrential downpour), and have been off/on grumpy all week. Went down this morning & spent two hrs pissing around on a board (I am getting better!), came out feeling outrageously cheerful, and got lots of work done in the afternoon. Fvck knows what I'm going to do when I get back to London; either visit Brighton[3] a *lot*, or find something else equally cheering.

Surfing is aces partly because I really don't think about anything else *but* the waves & what I/my board is doing for the entire time I'm in the water. And the waves just keep coming! It's like meditation, but with additional going 'zoom'! And then falling off and getting half a ton of water & sand up your nose, but there we go. (I have surfing calluses on my hands now. I am v proud.)

[0] Songs have many functions in Aboriginal culture: lore/laws, social information, stories, navigation... a songline is a route between various sacred/ceremonial/etc sites.
[1] The Aboriginal group that used to live here were the Darug, but the last full-blooded Darug person died in the 19th c -- the population was very heavily hit by a smallpox epidemic immediately after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The only Darug remaining are people who have Darug ancestry -- they're trying to recapture/rebuild what they can of their cultural knowledge, but a lot of it is lost forever now. Evan said that he spends a lot of his spare time looking for Aboriginal sites in the Blue Mountains.
[2] Dreamtime is not a very good translation of the concept -- I get the impression that it doesn't translate well at all into English. I've heard it before translated as lore/laws/cultural understanding (by the Anangu people up by Uluru). Evan described it more as a way of being/experiencing; as being in touch with country/land and with what's going on around you. The link between lore/understanding and country is very, very strong in Aboriginal culture.
[3] I gather Brighton has a surfing beach?

Memery

Mar. 8th, 2009 03:31 pm
juliet: (tree)
[livejournal.com profile] catsgomiaow gave me things to witter about!

memery under cut )

An update

Jan. 31st, 2009 05:08 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Things I have been up to of late:

  • Seeing Leonard Cohen, who was awesome, and I nearly cried, er, several times (Hallelujah was one of them; also I think the spoken word version of Thousand Kisses Deep). Very, very much worth it, even if I was right at the back (the advantages of a seated gig: decent raking, decent acoustics, so it didn't actually matter that much).
  • Surfing! Another lesson yesterday (at Bondi Beach this time). It wound up being a small class (only 4 of us) & all girls, and the instructor was incredibly enthusiastic and made cheering noises whenever any of us did anything remotely competent. I stood up all the way in! Albeit in a slightly wobbly fashion. Intending to get a couple more practices in by myself before the next lesson.
  • Getting up before dawn (i.e. 4.45am) this morning to go down to Bondi for the Dawn Chorus concert. It was lovely, and surprisingly popular. After which I went for a sunrise swim, which was also lovely. Bondi is pretty busy by 7.30am on a Saturday morning. Doubtless more so today because of the concert, but the lifeguards are there from 6am every morning in the summer.
  • Getting noticably fitter, thanks to a) the fact that Sydney is full of hills, & that there is at least one hill (depending on your definitions) each way between my flat & the two places I cycle to most often, viz the CBD, and Bondi; and b) carrying the bike up & down the stairs daily (I can now lift it straight up to my shoulder. I'll be doing cyclocross next.) Also clearly losing my mind, as evinced when I decided to race a roadie up the second half of the hill out of Bondi this morning. (I held him off till the last couple of hundred yards, which wasn't bad given that he was on Snazzy Unladen Bike & I had a pannier full of crap, as ever.)
  • Enjoying this whole "freelance & therefore no fixed hours" business. Hurrah.
  • Progressing to the point where I am capable of trapping a cockroach with the glass/paper trick & chucking it out of a window. What with that & the obsessive-nightly-kitchen-cleaning, I haven't seen anything scuttling for a couple of days, which I am tentatively labelling a Win.
  • Going native: not only have I acquired a pair of thongs, but the word I use for them in my head is "thongs" (this being Aussie for flipflops). They are strictly for the beach (I can confirm that sand + bike sandals Does Not Mix, so the bike sandals get locked to the bike on arrival) and for going upstairs to the washing machine on the roof, not for walking around the street, so I haven't gone that native. I have however worn running shorts to go to the supermarket, which I would never have done in the UK. It's quite a lot warmer here, in my defence. (I love the running shorts.)

I think that's it, more or less.

An update

Jan. 31st, 2009 05:08 pm
juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)

Things I have been up to of late:

  • Seeing Leonard Cohen, who was awesome, and I nearly cried, er, several times (Hallelujah was one of them; also I think the spoken word version of Thousand Kisses Deep). Very, very much worth it, even if I was right at the back (the advantages of a seated gig: decent raking, decent acoustics, so it didn't actually matter that much).
  • Surfing! Another lesson yesterday (at Bondi Beach this time). It wound up being a small class (only 4 of us) & all girls, and the instructor was incredibly enthusiastic and made cheering noises whenever any of us did anything remotely competent. I stood up all the way in! Albeit in a slightly wobbly fashion. Intending to get a couple more practices in by myself before the next lesson.
  • Getting up before dawn (i.e. 4.45am) this morning to go down to Bondi for the Dawn Chorus concert. It was lovely, and surprisingly popular. After which I went for a sunrise swim, which was also lovely. Bondi is pretty busy by 7.30am on a Saturday morning. Doubtless more so today because of the concert, but the lifeguards are there from 6am every morning in the summer.
  • Getting noticably fitter, thanks to a) the fact that Sydney is full of hills, & that there is at least one hill (depending on your definitions) each way between my flat & the two places I cycle to most often, viz the CBD, and Bondi; and b) carrying the bike up & down the stairs daily (I can now lift it straight up to my shoulder. I'll be doing cyclocross next.) Also clearly losing my mind, as evinced when I decided to race a roadie up the second half of the hill out of Bondi this morning. (I held him off till the last couple of hundred yards, which wasn't bad given that he was on Snazzy Unladen Bike & I had a pannier full of crap, as ever.)
  • Enjoying this whole "freelance & therefore no fixed hours" business. Hurrah.
  • Progressing to the point where I am capable of trapping a cockroach with the glass/paper trick & chucking it out of a window. What with that & the obsessive-nightly-kitchen-cleaning, I haven't seen anything scuttling for a couple of days, which I am tentatively labelling a Win.
  • Going native: not only have I acquired a pair of thongs, but the word I use for them in my head is "thongs" (this being Aussie for flipflops). They are strictly for the beach (I can confirm that sand + bike sandals Does Not Mix, so the bike sandals get locked to the bike on arrival) and for going upstairs to the washing machine on the roof, not for walking around the street, so I haven't gone that native. I have however worn running shorts to go to the supermarket, which I would never have done in the UK. It's quite a lot warmer here, in my defence. (I love the running shorts.)

I think that's it, more or less.

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