she sells sanctuary

September 30, 2003
In the bad books
Yes, but is it art? A little debate about popular fiction v. literature (via sisyphus shrugged).

posted by Gianna 7:01 AM

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September 29, 2003
Cashing reality cheques
Lately I've been mulling over certain new realities. Such and Junior are going to be pretty darn poor once I stop being gainfully employed next January. Being an entrepreneurial sort of person though, I'm tossing up ways I could possibly earn some money once I'm more or less housebound. So far I've come up with the following ideas.
1. Reinstate PayPal button. Based on past experience however, virtual sugardaddies/mummies are few and far between. Unfortunately, judging by
Tim Blair's frequent references to his contributors, most philanthropists would appear to be Extreme Right Wing.
2. Sell nudes. I'm thinking of scanning in some drawings into a virtual gallery, just in case someone might be interested in buying one. Get into a bit of e-commerce (remember that?!) The problem is, this would necessitate me actually producing some decent drawings, as I've given my best ones away over the years. And if I know me, the pressure to perform would probably mean that I would end up with a bunch of stick figures.
3. Giannacam. Well, all the world's a stage, after all. Not sure whether the life of a single mother would be worth tuning in to, but you never know! Potential voyeurs would no doubt be turned off by the presence of a squalling baby. But still--it could be marketed as educational, say for other young women. You know--ever wondered what it's really like to have a baby?
Um, maybe not.
4. Print money. (via boingboing).
Currently leaning towards option 4.

posted by Gianna 1:01 PM

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September 28, 2003
With a bang, and a whimper
My siblings are so competitive. No sooner had I announced my news than my sister announced hers. Now my brother has announced that he and his wife are expecting again too. And my best friend from high school is also pregnant. You know, notwithstanding the fact that my brother currently lives in America, I don't know if I believe this stuff about Australia having a fertility crisis...
Anyway, congratulations also to
Scott for making it into the Herald's "World's best blogs" article today (in Icon) for uebersportingpundit. And to Tim for finally coming out of hiding!
As for me, I've just come back from babysitting a four year old boy, Hunter. It's a regular gig my sister normally does, but tonight she was having a dinner party so I filled in for her. "It'll give you an idea of what you're in for," she said ominously. But it was fine. Apparently all I am in for is a lot of kicking balls and pulling apart sofas and playing with plastic swords. And having "Noooo!!!" shrieked at me every couple of minutes. Hunter's mother is eight months pregnant herself, so after asking if it was true that I was having a baby too, Hunter enquired, "But how come your boobies aren't as big as Mummy's?". Hmph. Actually I'd been feeling quite pleased with their progress. Ah well, give it a few more months and then we'll see.

posted by Gianna 2:01 AM

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September 26, 2003
Naked truth
I love the atmosphere of life drawing class, though I haven't been in a while. At all the classes I've ever been to there's been more male students than female, so you'd think for single girls it would be a great place to pick up guys. But personally I've never really socialised there at all. You go, you pay eight dollars, you draw for three hours, you catch the late bus home. Of course, it doesn't help that these guys are all spending three hours staring at a naked woman who is not you.
The models are usually female and usually very voluptuous. I've only ever had a few men. Once we had a very old man, perhaps 90 years old, which was an eye opener, I tell you. I remember I didn't know where to look. In the end the drawings of him were all missing one particular vital organ which I'd been too embarrassed to stare at.
When you get to the class, there's a certain energy in the room already. A model is peeling off her clothes in front of a heater and in a circle around her, men are setting up easels and sharpening their pencils. When she poses, the room is quiet, except for the pencils squeaking and easels being dragged across the wooden floor.
When I go with my friend Jen, we regress and end up giving each other the giggles. We start laughing about the enraptured expression on someone's face as he draws, or the embarrassing angle the model has given us with her latest pose, or just at our drawings.
During her break the model will have a cup of tea and come and look at your drawings. I often wonder if the guys get turned on. I mean, surely it's the ultimate artist's fantasy, ravishing the model, a la Anais Nin? I think of the times I've drawn men, but I'm usually too frustrated by my inability to draw the male body to really appreciate the fact that there's a naked man in front of me. Then again, maybe it's time to give it another shot....

posted by Gianna 10:03 PM

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September 25, 2003
More denial
Watching Messrs Bush, Howard and Downer last night on the news, it strikes me that they are men in absolute denial. They are all still going on about how Iraq had been a terrible threat to the West. George Bush is still refusing to accept the folly of his ways and instead petulantly points the finger at France again. Watching him smirking at the UN, facing people whose colleagues recently became 'collateral damage', makes me cringe. This war has cost the UN dearly but Bush still won't face up to the consequences of his actions.
It was comical though watching a flustered Alexander Downer on
Lateline insisting that no, Kofi Annan was not really criticising America but rather, merely expressing the need for the UN to reform. "Kofi Annan is concerned about the capability of the United Nations to deal with new threats," says Downer. Yes. And he is concerned that the war in Iraq has actually created new threats. (Downer's idea of reform includes the novelty of an Australian dignitary possibly sitting on a special council. Mmm, and who might that be? "Oh, perhaps someone like a retired diplomat or foreign minister," Downer says humbly. Dream on, Downer.)
Anyway, as Tim Dunlop has pointed out, Australia because of its foolish participation in the invasion of Iraq now has a moral obligation to assist in the reconstruction of the country and that obligation includes, if not troops, then money. Of course, you'll notice Howard has been very quiet about funding for his war, not to mention the reconstruction itself. He won't want to risk the voter backlash that Bush has had. Leaving aside opinion polls (which probably say more about the Opposition than the Government), if voters got wind of the true costs of Australian involvement in the war, Howard might well live to regret his decision to blindly follow the US no matter what. (No matter, for example, that its intelligence was at the very least ambiguous, that it had no post-war plan or exit strategy, and that the whole ill-planned exercise was likely to make terrorism more, not less, likely).
Howard defends himself against any criticism by saying he acted 'in good faith'. As though it is OK to be utterly stupid so long as you mean well.
If Simon Crean would just kindly stop flogging a dead horse, Labor might be in with a serious chance.

PS Calling France "utterly opportunistic" is surely antiFrench, isn't it? Frankly, I've never really understood why it's OK to criticise the French, but not America.

posted by Gianna 5:46 AM

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September 24, 2003
Too much information
A lot of good news around Casa Gianna lately. My sister (no, not the
manhunter--Raph's mum) is pregnant again. She announces, "and it only took three goes this time!" and I go, "I don't want to know the details". But the reason she's excited is that last time it took them two years to conceive. Then today I find out one of my dearest girlfriends is getting married. And me, I'm expecting a boy. Far out....I'd better start reading uebersportingpundit.

posted by Gianna 8:54 PM

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September 22, 2003
Not enough cents between them
In the
Sydney Opera House No War email update circulated this morning, protesters David Burgess and Will Saunders write:
”Many thanks to The Professor (pseudonym we presume) [Bunyip, I presume] or The Bulletin’s own extreme right journo and weblogger, Tim Blair, for the $0.03 cash donation. The Professor launched an internet campaign to demoralise us with many such donations on his website a few weeks ago, backed enthusiastically by Tim. Both insisted they had already sent their 3c donations. But as only one has so far been received, at least one of you must be lying.”

Tee hee.

posted by Gianna 8:45 AM

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September 19, 2003
Hey, Martha!
Why are so many people googling over to my site looking for "Prince+Harry+ Pregnant" lately? I've had about ten of them (or one obsessive). When I tried it all I came up with was
this. Hmmm.
I also don't know what to make of these news stories: Wine-drinking women 'more fertile', (yeah, I blame the wine too), Unequal pay makes monkeys go ape (monkeys are a bit like people, apparently) and Sex inspectors on way (how does pixellated prime-time reality porn grab you?).

posted by Gianna 7:14 PM

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September 17, 2003
Double trouble
Whatever the
risks of calling a snap double dissolution election, my gut feeling is that John Howard will still do it. I don't think he will risk losing Government next year just to avoid being criticised as opportunistic. He didn't let criticisms of opportunism spoil his refugee-election victory.
Right now, the Opposition is just too weak, there's that housing bubble and interest rate rise forecast, and Howard is not yet facing the kind of negative reaction from voters as his Coalition of the Foolhardy partners are, though that's surely only a matter of time. So I reckon he will strike while the public opinion is hot.
But what if Howard is misjudging public opinion as he has misjudged so many other things? He has told us repeatedly that he can be held accountable at the ballot box--suppose voters plan to do just that? What if people know it's not 'Protecting, Securing, Building' but 'Misspeaking, Misinforming and Misjudging'?
Well, I'll just keep on dreaming...

posted by Gianna 9:52 PM

. . .

Every couple of months I decide enough is enough--I'm only going to write in a single notebook from now on. But within a few weeks I'm writing in half a dozen notebooks again and there's bits of scrap paper scattered around the place. I can never find anything I've written again. It drives me crazy.

posted by Gianna 9:14 PM

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If the shoe fits...
This year's Desperate & Dateless ball is being advertised with the line, 'Meet your Cinderella or Cindafella!'. Cindafella? Argh! That's nearly as bad as 'metrosexual'.

posted by Gianna 8:49 PM

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Bleeding obvious
In the middle of
Tim Blair's latest Bulletin column, there is a paragraph about the War on Terror:
You know why it's important to continue the war against terror? It's kind of simple. You – you, the person reading this – are a terrorist target. The people waging terror against the US and Israel and Australia and England want you dead. It doesn't matter if you're a lifelong lefty, devoted to Third World causes and supportive of Palestinian statehood. It doesn't matter if you opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (And if you supported East Timor's independence, then you're really in trouble.) If extremist Islamic terrorists could kill you immediately, this very moment, it would be done. There are lists on the internet of all the thousands of people killed on September 11 and in Bali; swap one of their names for yours. It's all the same to al Qaeda or any of several groups devoted to the same bloody cause. Get on the wrong plane, work in the wrong office, drink in the wrong bar: dead. This war isn't about September 11, over which so much was spoken last week. It's about tomorrow.

Based on Tim Blair's staunch support of Bush & Co., I think this paragraph is intended to be some kind of post-emptive defence of the Iraq war. But anyway...Um, Tim...nobody is arguing against the War on Terror. We get that the world has a problem with terrorists. I think you'll find what many people object to is Bush rashly and foolishly bringing on an unrelated war under the umbrella of the War on Terror. Not only has the Iraq war increased the risk of weapons being obtained by terrorists, but the simple fact is that priority should have been given to helping to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, which so many extremist Islamic terrorists use as a rationalisation for their acts. This is not about 'giving in to terrorism', but accepting certain realities. There are so many motivations for terrorism (cultural envy, religious brainwashing, personal vendettas, whatever) but one of the main propaganda weapons is always this festering conflict. And god, we hadn't even sorted out Afghanistan yet, without creating another mess we now have to clean up. Meanwhile new wars create thousands more bereaved families and further incite terrorists and assist with their recruitment drives.

posted by Gianna 8:18 PM

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September 16, 2003
Context is king
mentions new research showing how, if the first and last letters of a word are in the right place, all the other letters can be randomly placed and we'll still figure out the correct meaning of the word (provided it is in a paragraph, of course).
This kind of thing really highlights the prejudicial nature of our minds. We don't read every letter--nor every word--because we have particular expectations from the context and syntax.
Sort of tangentially connected was an interesting article in The Australian magazine on Saturday (no link available), about Prof. Allan Snyder at the University of Sydney who's doing cognitive psychology research into unlocking your inner savant using a special machine which stimulates certain parts of the brain. The article described a similar contextual exercise where Snyder shows a subject a card that reads:
A bird in the hand is
worth two in the
the bush

and it's not til after the electronic treatment that the subject notices the second 'the'.
Snyder reckons his method let's you see what is actually there, not just what you expect to be there.

Maybe we could attach Snyder's machine to George Bush's head?

posted by Gianna 9:53 AM

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September 15, 2003
"This is an acid test for the UN. If the Security Council turn away from enforcing its will, the authority of the UN will be fatally crippled. The world will never again turn to the Security Council to deliver an internationally acceptable outcome to a difficult time."
John Howard (
SMH 22 Feb 2003; no link)

Sept. 2— President Bush plans to ask the United Nations for help with security in Iraq, and the administration will soon begin circulating a Security Council resolution proposing an expanded international force there. (ABC News)

"If Iraq is not disarmed, other rogue states will copy Iraq. This would make it more likely that terrorists could get hold of these dangerous weapons."
John Howard (SMH 22 Feb 2003; no link)

The Joint Intelligence Committee report, International Terrorism: War with Iraq, also said there was no evidence Saddam Hussein wanted to use any chemical or biological weapons in terrorist attacks or that he planned to pass them on to al-Qaeda. "However, it judged that in the event of imminent regime collapse there would be a risk of transfer of such material, whether or not as a deliberate regime policy." SMH, 12 September 2003

(PS. Ah, WMD, I wonder what you are doing now..?)

posted by Gianna 9:20 PM

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September 13, 2003
Still want one.....
I pulled out a magazine from my letterbox yesterday, called The Australian Rechabite. I am unfamiliar with the term but the cover explains: "Rechabites: People who enjoy an alcohol-free lifestyle". At first I think this is a friend's idea of a joke, subscribing me to this newsletter. I am not exactly "enjoying" my newfound alcholol-free lifestyle. I am tolerating it. Because notwithstanding my views on calling spades spades and alcohol a drug, I've always enjoyed a glass or four of wine, vodka cranberries, daiquiris, martinis, and the rest. Anyway, then I see the newsletter is addressed to a former occupant of my house. Published by IOR Friendly Society Limited (according to its
website, this is a health insurance company), the contents page lists articles like, "Party protocols", "Women behaving badly" and "Pressures facing young women".
"Party protocols", intended for parents of teenagers, contains the advice, "If you feel that party arrangements are inappropriate, express your concern and encourage alternative activities." Gee, I think to myself, that's pretty democratic. When I was growing up, concern was usually simply expressed by a thundering, "The answer is no!" and then it would be another Saturday night spent crying in my bedroom while all my friends got to go out, leaving me torturing myself that the boy I was in love that week was off pashing some other girl. (Do kids still 'pash' these days, or is that soooo 1980s? We almost exclusively 'pashed', just as we 'went around' with each other, instead of 'dated'.)
Frankly, though I'm sure it's a worthy idea, I just can't believe any teenagers go to alcohol-free parties these days. When I was a teenager that was kind of the entire point of a party. It didn't matter that my parents were the kind who made sure there were parents present at parties I went to--my schoolmates' parents were just as likely to be off their faces during the party themselves, anyway, growing up as I did in that Less-Than-Zero rich kids' milieu of fancy mansions on the North Shore. (Well, that's possibly a gross overgeneralisation, but that's how it seemed to me.)
And it didn't matter that my strict European parents gave me a 10 o'clock curfew and grounded the living daylights out of me whenever they suspected I had had too much of a good time. Nothing could compete with the overwhelming peer pressure to drink. Funnily enough, the fact that my father rather "enjoyed" a drink never really struck me as hypocrisy. I suppose I must have bought the line he used to spin, which in German was: "Was dem Jupiter erlaubt ist, ist dem Oxen schon lange nicht" or something like that, which roughly means "I'm the boss around here, and I get to do what I want". But in the end it was that typical story: the stricter my parents were, the more determined I was to break the rules. I think I'll play it differently with my kid, but I guess we'll have to wait and see....

posted by Gianna 9:01 PM

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September 10, 2003
Open mike: Go ahead, make my blog
I am back on a bit of a hiatus, in case nobody noticed. For someone like me who blogs about my life ad nauseam, is it too coy to claim "personal reasons" for lack of bloggage? I guess I'm feeling a bit dark and gloomy at present and not much in the mood to blog. (Don't get me wrong, it's not the pregnancy; I'm still stoked about that. There's just...stuff...going down at Casa Gianna.)
Luckily everyone else seems to be blogging great guns right now, so I'm enjoying reading others' posts more than creating my own. I'm also writing a bit of fiction again, something that kind of fell by the wayside for a while there. Good to have a break now and then as I come back to things and find it much easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. (It's still mostly chaff.)
My sister and I had a garage sale last Sunday which netted very little; seems one man's trash sometimes really is just another man's trash. One of the items which didn't sell was my sister's crappy old walkman, so I've been putting it to good use on my walks to work and back. I'm walking again, because I don't want to have to start wearing muu-muus just yet. And because it gives me a good hour to think about everything--and I'm having to think a lot about things lately, as you can probably imagine. Decisions, decisions...and I'm not the most decisive person in the world.
Anyway it's nice to walk through the city with Mick Jagger murmuring "you will be mine, you will be mine, all mine" in my ears. Even though I have to concede it's not about me. It's a nice fantasy though.
Anyway, not that I expect a lot of comments (these open mike thingys don't usually work that well for me, but what the hell), this comments thread is now open for business.

posted by Gianna 9:33 PM

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September 07, 2003
A pencil case
Over at
stewsblog, Stewart Kelly has some interesting thoughts about an American school which is taking the Leftist concept of 'redistribution of assets' to the extreme and into the classroom.
Unfortunately Stew doesn't have comments, which is annoying. But anyway, my guess is this kind of thing will probably have an outcome sort of similar to 'social loafing', which is where people will put less effort into a group effort if they think their personal contribution cannot be measured or rewarded, thereby reducing the group's overall efficiency.
What would probably happen here is that the wealthier parents would stop buying their kids the fancy gear and instead go for no-frills stuff, since they have no guarantee that their kid will end up with the equivalent of what they contributed. So ultimately, those who could theoretically afford to improve the class's collective wealth will actually contribute less, and thus all the children will end up disadvantaged. So, I don't think this is such a great solution to inequality either, Stew. Surely there's a better way.
Geez, between this and Tim's 'restaurant voice', home schooling is looking more and more appealing...
(By the way, if we'd had that 'restaurant voice' thing when I was at school, I would've failed dismally--our family went to restaurants about twice during my childhood, because we just weren't the type, or we couldn't afford it, or my mother cooked too well. Actually I still only really feel comfortable in boisterous Italian restaurants which resemble the family dinner table, where you had to be really loud and interrupt a lot to be heard. Not much of a restaurant voice...)

posted by Gianna 7:55 PM

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Five string serenade
I am happy today because a friend has returned some CDs of mine I forgot she had, including one of my all-time favourites, So tonight that I might see by Mazzy Star. This makes up for the fact that a few days ago, the cats knocked over a stack of discs, managing to scratch another of my all-time favourites, Ben Harper's Fight for your mind. (I have already bought that damn Ben Harper CD four times. Four times! For some reason it is always getting lost, lent, scratched or knocked off the stack by a cat.)
Hope Sandoval, lead singer of Mazzy Star, has been described as Nancy Sinatra on acid, if that means anything to you. I'm no music critic myself though, so all I can give is my usual thumbs up--"uh, it's great to sing along to"--especially Fade into you, Five string serenade, Blue light and Into dust.

posted by Gianna 5:46 PM

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The cheek of it
A circuitous route via
Tim Dunlop who came via languagehat to Jonathan Delacour's post about the sound of language (phew!).
Apart from the way you can love how a language sounds, you can also love the kinds of words and phrases they come up with: I am cooking chickpeas and thinking how out of the three words for them that we used in our household--chickpeas (English), garbanzos (Spanish/Portuguese) and kichererbsen (German; translates as 'giggle peas'), I like the German one best. How can you not laugh at a pea that looks like a sweet little pair of butt cheeks?

And what is more...

Herbs go bananas
"Texas mudbaby", "Dirty dick", "Kiss-her-in-the-buttery"? Have these botanists been smoking their herbs again?

posted by Gianna 5:22 PM

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Was it all just in my mind?
There was a bit of hoopla last week as the media seized upon findings by some University of Toronto researchers that morning sickness is probably both a physiological and a psychological condition. This allowed the media to bandy about the expression "all in the mind" and whip up a bit of outrage among pregnant women, who angrily deny that they are merely imagining the nausea.
The two female researchers apparently
claimed that pregnant women overstate the severity of their nausea (I am unable to find a link to the actual research):
The study involved 500 women seeking medical help for morning sickness.
A total of 45% described their condition as "severe", a further 45% said the symptoms were "moderate" and the remainder rated it "mild". The researchers found that the correlation between how sick the women thought they were and their actual symptoms was "very weak". The scientists calculated 14% of the women's misery could be attributed to physical symptoms, suggesting 86% of it was in the mind. Dr Kiran Chandra and Laura Magee, the authors, said: "Women will tend to perceive symptom severity according to how they are feeling overall and how other aspects of their life are affected."

I imagine they are arguing that claiming to feel nauseous all day, but in fact only vomiting once or twice in a day, is exaggerating the illness. Well, I too beg to differ. The past four months have been the most physically unpleasant I can remember having. Even if I was only actually being sick a couple of times a day, I was feeling sick almost continuously.
It probably would have been more helpful if the researchers had framed their conclusions more along the lines that morning sickness has both a physiological and a psychological cause. It would be foolish to dismiss the idea that there are psychological causal factors involved. I doubt that anyone in medicine would seriously dispute the existence of a mind-body connection when we have so much proof of the placebo effect. For example in relation to antidepressant drugs, where placebos duplicate more than 80% of the effect of antidepressants. Or when it can be shown that psychosocial factors influence the efficacy of drug treatments.
Is it just a coincidence that most women experience morning sickness only for the first three to four months, and that also happens to be the time when you are made painfully aware that your chances of miscarrying are 1 in 4, and as a result you usually suppress the news that you are pregnant until after that magic three-month milestone? Not only that, but pregnant women are probably in shock for the first few months, and some may be making momentous decisions about whether or not to keep the baby, and how to tell people--finding out you are pregnant is not necessarily happy news for everyone. All these emotions--fear, dread, anxiety, excitement, secrecy, perhaps anger--are blended in together on top of the indisputable physical changes going on in the body. So it does not surprise me that that the nausea--though physically real--is partially the result of psychological factors.
Further, your body probably behaves according to your expectations of how it should behave. Such expectations are usually based on what others tell you you are likely to experience. My doctor told me very authoritatively that my nausea was set to disappear during the four month, and it did. But this was despite the many well-intentioned people who would say to me, 'Oh, you're lucky. My wife/girlfriend/sister was ill every single day of her pregnancy!'. No offence, but I'd be thinking, 'Stop it! You're ruining my placebo effect!' Mind you, whether or not what people say to you has any effect probably depends on whether you are 'highly suggestible' (for example, if you are easily hypnotised). And how important you rate their opinion to be. I'm probably selectively suggestible--I tend to hear what I want to hear. For example there's a lady at work who told me that after four months of illness, she started to feel like Superwoman. Now she passes me in the corridors and says, "Superwoman yet?" and I say, "Getting there...". And so I am.

(PS. What? That was a week off blogging, wasn't it? Felt like it...)

posted by Gianna 4:32 PM

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September 04, 2003
In a while, crocodile
I'm taking a short break from blogging--back in a week or so.

posted by Gianna 7:32 AM

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September 03, 2003
The story seller
I was waiting at the lights at the 7-11 on King Street when I noticed him sitting on his milkcrate. "How's business tonight?" I said and he said, "So-so." The cars passed.
"OK, give me one then," I said. "How much?" "Four dollars", he said.
I considered my coins. "Would you take three?"
He said, "OK."
"Is it just kind of lucky-dip," I asked, looking at all the different options folded up in front of me. He nodded. "Got something about Newtown?" He pointed to one sticking out a bit from the rest. "This is the latest."
I looked at the cover. The Price of Living, Diamonds Don't Shine in the Dark, and The New Criminals. New short-short stories by J.T.Wilson. I read the first line of the first story.
You're in the fifth white house, on the fifth white street, in the fifth white neighbourhood, on the fifth side of town.

I gave him my coins then the lights changed and I crossed the street.
He sits there every day, between noon and three, and then between four and six, if you want to buy some stories.

posted by Gianna 7:55 PM

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Imagine that!
A colleague tells me you can now get White Chocolate and Mango Magnums. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......! Of course, nothing compares to the real thing--that is, sucking lovingly on a mango pip until it's nothing but a dried out little husk and you have mango shreds all through your teeth. But still. Hope it's not just an urban myth, like the white-chocolate TimTam hoax. (As you can probably tell, I have a white chocolate fetish. Before the purists get into a lather: yeah, I know it's not real chocolate. I still love it.)

posted by Gianna 12:06 PM

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September 01, 2003
Shake your booties
My mum sent me a parcel to my work and I opened it to find a book with the words
UP THE DUFF on the cover in type about two foot tall. Subtle! But great for carrying with you on a crowded bus as it's practically guaranteed to get you offered a seat. (Oddly enough just having a visible bump itself doesn't seem to work. I guess I'm still at that "she could just have eaten a few too many thousand TimTams" stage).
The book is by comedian/cartoonist Kaz Cooke and is a mix of practical down-to-earth information coupled with the fictional pregnancy diary of Cooke's trademark cartoon character, Hermoine the Modern Girl. It's a laugh. For instance, here's Hermoine on pregnancy books:
One book has four filthy drawings of bright pink couples 'making love' during pregnancy, in different positions. In the first position they look bored. In the second position they look like they've had a lobotomy. In the third they look really smug, and in number four, I don't know how this is quite conveyed, but I'm pretty sure they were singing 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore'.

And since I am currently having illicit dreams about well-known people, I could relate to this:
I am having strange, vivid dreams. Last night I dreamt that American author Gore Vidal came to afternoon tea and I gave him a Chocolate Crackle on a silver plate and he said, 'How perfectly charming'. I was completely furious that Des woke me up at that precise moment to kiss me goodbye as he went to work. "But I just gave Gore Vidal a chocolate crackle!" I said accusingly.

I keep cracking up, but then the laughing kind of turns into weeping. It's irritating actually. I haven't cried in years* but now I'm teary all the time for no good reason. (*Well, except for when Smooch went missing for four days earlier this year. Oh, and when I realised that someone I had a severe crush on just wanted to be friends; but we won't go there, eh..!)
I even had a bit of a cry when my sister (that's Raph's mum, not the manhunter) dropped around a box of baby clothes yesterday. Damn, those socks are tiny! And so darn cute with their little contrasting heel and toe. What a shame BabyGap is so politically incorrect. Ah well, mustn't look a gift horse in the mouth...
At the weekend I also unravelled the purple scarf I knitted earlier this year in order to knit some tiny little leggings. They're quite arty looking actually, like they belong on a baby called Summer Skye Daisy who lives on a commune just outside of Nimbin.
Well, commune or no commune, my baby had better get used to home-made everything; I'm a bit of a DIY freak from way back. Blame my parents and their hippie DIY books. Like "The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book" in which you were taught, for example, how to get a square of fabric, fold it in half, cut a hole in the top and hey, presto! You have a poncho! (Note: I may be fond of teepees, but I draw the line at ponchos.)
But on hearing me rave about the sweet little knitted leggings, my sister sniffed haughtily that "babies are not toys to play dress-ups with". This from someone passing on what seems like a few thousand dollars worth of designer baby clothes! But frankly, I'm just impressed with the speed at which you can turnaround baby clothes. It's much more satisfying than buying ten balls of wool at the start of winter with the intention of knitting yourself a sweater and, come summer, having an arm to show for it. Anyway, who needs BabyGap? My kid is going to have its own unique sense of style. And okay, possibly a poncho or two...

posted by Gianna 7:27 PM

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