Friday, October 29, 2010

Record Club

Record Club is a project in which Beck rounds up a few of his friends, famous and otherwise, and records a cover version of an entire album in one day.

This is one of my favourite INXS songs.

(via Squaregirl's fabulous blog)

Something seems different around here ...

... what could it be? ....

no wait ... don't tell me ...

Oh! I know! Could it be the fact that our kitchen, laundry and living area have been completely demolished?

... and that we've not had hot water for a couple of weeks?

Ah yes - that's it.

As seems to be the case for many people renovating, commencement of a few small alterations revealed countless problems caused by previous modifications to this house. A simple kitchen revamp has ballooned into a rather major task, requiring several months of work and even threats of having to knock down the whole rear of our house to start again from the ground up! (not a welcome idea, given that over the past year we've replaced the roof, developed a great little garden and installed a 10-unit photovoltaic energy system .... eeek!)

crappy old kitchen

part of the living area, which we hadn't planned to change ...

part of the living area .... it looks really stark and white in these pictures, although it was rather warm and comfy-looking really



The floors throughout the back of the house will be ripped up completely next week, new slab will go down, walls stabilised (now that's pretty important, I imagine!), and we'll have recycled messmate (timber) flooring finished before Christmas if all goes well. At this stage I think we might be looking at a late Feb completion date for the kitchen, laundry etc.

I do know that we're very lucky to have access to a functioning bathroom though (braving the cold showers!), and we survived a trip to Ikea last weekend to buy some shelving for our makeshift kitchenette. It's just inside the front door - very handy.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Last night I took my mum to see Rufus Wainwright at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda.

It was fabulous - for two hours he held the audience in the palm of his hand, enraptured, as the music tumbled forth from a single grand piano and what seemed to be the depths of his soul. Yes, this may seem a little melodramatic, but when a musician glides funeareally onto the stage in a feather-trimmed Victorian gown, and requests that the audience refrain from any kind of applause during his first, one-hour, set, you get a sense that things might start to veer toward the theatrical ...

Throughout the evening, the audience was taken through a sequence of sad, yet hopeful, stories as the theatre filled with an almost overwhelming sense of beautiful melancholy. Wainwright's vocal range, songwriting skills and passionate piano expression captured more than a little attention .... Boy, can that chap sing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A mountain shell

Some time ago I lived in the Japanese Alps, not very far from the mountain resort town of Karuizawa. The landscape in this region is particularly beautiful, comprising snow-capped mountains, vibrant larch and maple forests, and in some areas many lovely examples of traditional timber architecture.

One example of a fabulous new design aesthetic in Karuizawa is Kotaro Ide's Shell Residence, which nestles into its picturesque setting and seems to coccoon its inhabitants, all the while balancing cosy, organic qualities with an understated modern edge ....

Not a bad little holiday retreat, methinks!

More details here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

50 dangerous things ....

When posting yesterday's images, I remembered how impressed I was to learn about Gever Tulley's Tinkering School some time ago ... what a great institution!

Tulley has written a book called '50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do', and he talks briefly about a few of them, as well as his tinkering school, in this entertaining little talk.

Lenore Skenazy also pleads for a return to common sense. In her blog, Free Range Kids, she highlights the craziness of hysterical 'health and safety concerns' which really only serve to deaden experience and create a society of individuals who are incapable of acting independently, making responsible decisions, or simply having fun.

Did you have a free range childhood?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eat your heart out, Mr Health & Safety!

Hello little blog ... long time no see! (well, it feels that way even though it's only been a week I guess). We're camping out at my sister's flat for a while during some renovations at our house and my days have been very busy lately ....

I'm feeling rather nostalgic today so here are some images from a more innocent age, when childhood was allowed to be fun:

(from When I Were A Lad: Snapshots From A Time That Health And Safety Forgot, by Andrew Davies, via the Mail Online)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

If you build it, they will come...

This evening after class I was talking with one of my students about the ways in which environmental design can influence people's behaviours. My student said he felt really inspired by what he's been learning so far this semester; he intends to consciously design spaces that encourage people to be more aware of their environments, promoting desirable behaviors that engage the senses and connect people with their surroundings rather than facilitating destructive behaviours.

This stemmed from a discussion about removing road space from cities, rather than building more, in response to traffic and congestion issues.

Hooray! Glad to know that someone in my Thursday class is thinking ....

Monday, October 04, 2010

Who stole my naughty dog and replaced him with a goody two-shoes?

I think it's funny the way dogs seem to have good days and bad days, just like people. For a few days after my nieces went home Gus was disruptive and restless, particularly at night, keeping me awake and making me grumpier with each sleepless hour.

Over the past week though he's been super-good, sleeping soundlessly, walking beautifully on a loose lead (an achievement for us, I assure you), lying quietly when we have visitors, cuddling gently and generally just being a sweet little dog.

I wonder who kidnapped the real Gus?

(admission: this image is a bit of a cheat .... I can't access my photos of Gus at the moment so I found one on Flickr that looks just like him. - Sort of goes with the idea of Good Gus being an impostor I guess!)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A spring day

- dozing in the morning sunshine, listening to magpies warbling down the chimney in the bedroom

- sharing stories and vegies (fresh from from our garden!) with friends

- cycling slowly through quiet streets to my pilates class, turning my face to the sun and drinking in the heady scents of spring blossoms

-  savouring each luscious segment of home-grown artichokes, freshly picked, cooked and dipped in peppered lemon butter while still hot

- sunning myself on the verandah with a cup of tea in hand, a good book on my lap, and a snoring dog at my feet

-  chatting and dreaming with my husband as we relax in our sunny room, serenaded by birdsong and the dozy buzzing of bees as they busily bumble from flower to flower

- walking our dog in the local park where people stretch out on picnic blankets and play ballgames, drawn outside by the glorious weather, as the sky starts to change from azure to burnished gold; treating ourselves to icecream on the way home

- enjoying a simple meal, watching a couple of episodes of Mad Men, then soaking in the bath, with the blowsy scent of an unknown flower filling the night air and billowing through the open windows.

♪ ♫ It's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you!  ♬♪

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Accidental mysteries

The other day I noticed that a picture of my husband, taken about 7 years ago, had fallen out of my wallet. I wondered whether someone might have found it, and if they in turn wondered about the story behind the picture ....

I like pondering the accidental mysteries of found photos.

Square America has an intriguing collection.

... also ...

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