Quote of the day

What a luxury a cat is, the moments of shocking and startling pleasure in a day, the feel of the beast, the soft sleekness under your palm, the warmth when you wake on a cold night, the grace and charm even in a quite ordinary workaday puss. Cat walks across your room, and in that lonely stalk you see leopard or even panther, or it turns its head to acknowledge you and the yellow blaze of those eyes tells you what an exotic visitor you have here, in this household friend.

– Doris Lessing, On Cats

Mad Max: Fury Road – Film Review

madmaxI haven’t seen any of the older Mad Max films and had no interest in the new one, until all the gushing reviews started to pop up. After watching the movie yesterday, I needed about an hour or so to decompress, because man that was one intense, exhilarating, bonkers insane experience that left me completely steamrolled, in the best way possible.

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Every autumn or so, we go picking wild mushrooms in various spots around Melbourne with my Dad and recently my sister. This seems to be a European thing to do, and gets a pretty bemused reaction from most of the Australians I know:

A. Mushrooms? Are they magic mushrooms, hahaha?

B. But how do you know which ones are good to pick?

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Quote of the day

G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories are some of the most original detective stories I’ve read. I didn’t always find them 100% plausible – sometimes the mysteries are solved with pure intuitive leaps that seem a tad too far-fetched – but there’s no denying they have an atmosphere and style all of their own, not to mention Father Brown himself, an unassuming, shrewd, empathetic, endearing character. My favourite passage from the entire series is the speech he gives to the thief Flambeau in The Flying Stars:

I want you to give them back, Flambeau, and I want you to give up this life. There is still youth and honour and humour in you; don’t fancy they will last in that trade. Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down. Many a man I’ve known started like you to be an honest outlaw, a merry robber of the rich, and ended stamped into slime. I know the woods look very free behind you, Flambeau; I know that in a flash you could melt into them like a monkey. But someday you will be an old grey monkey, Flambeau. You will sit up in your free forest cold at heart and close to death, and the tree-tops will be very bare.

This is my chair

cat-on-a-chairby Paul Gallico, on behalf of cats everywhere

This is my chair.
Go away and sit somewhere else.
This one is all my own.
It is the only thing in your house that I possess
And insist upon possessing.
Everything else therein in yours.
My dish,
My toys,
My basket,
My scratching post and my Ping-Pong ball;
You provided them for me.
This chair I selected for myself.
I like it,
It suits me.
You have the sofa,
The stuffed chair
And the footstool.
I don’t go and sit on them do I?
Then why cannot you leave me mine,
And let us have no further argument?

Living Alone: Pros and Cons

I’ve been living in my one-bedroom apartment for a few months now, and a few hiccups aside (leaking shower, wardrobe that still stinks months after painting) it’s been mostly wonderful. It goes without saying though that, like anything, independence comes at a price.

The Good:

1. Personal space and freedom
This is where you’re supposed to say stuff like, yeah you can watch movies until 3am, walk around naked and eat ice-cream and pizza for dinner every day!! I can’t say I have much inclination to do any of these things to be honest; but it’s true, having a place all to yourself is awesome. Cook whatever you want, eat whenever you want, clean the house however often you want, listen to whatever music you want.

2. You can have your place looking just as you wish
I’m basically treating my apartment as a giant creative project, picking every single detail with the utmost consideration. I’m well aware that, if I end up living with a partner some time down the track, I’ll have to work on compromising and letting go of wanting every single thing to be just so. For now though, it’s great to have the freedom to create a living space without having to contend with anyone else’s tastes or possessions, and know that everything in my apartment is there because I want it to be there.

3. Feeding one person is easier
Sure I sometimes end up making classic single-person mistakes like buying too many greens that end up in a rubbish bin. But on the plus side, one person requires much less groceries and the meals made in bulk last longer. I’m quite content to eat the same leftovers for dinner for a few days, and if you spend an evening once in a while cooking up freezer-friendly food, your lunches are sorted for weeks to come.

The Bad:

1. It’s all on you
Mortgage, electricity, water, gas, council rates, body corporate fees, groceries, renovations, repairs. I’m lucky to have a great family who can loan me money and help with things if need be, but still there’s no one there to share these costs with me on a regular basis. Needless to say, my spending habits changed a lot and holidays to Europe will not resume for quite a while. No one to help out with the housework either. Washing the dishes is particularly annoying; you wouldn’t think that one person could generate much, and yet, in a short amout of time, there goes my entire supply of spoons and tea cups.

2. OCD
My particular obsessive behaviour has always been checking the cooktop, and it got much worse when I started living alone. Just before I moved in, I accidentally turned on the gas one day and only realised this when the smell got bad, so this made me even more paranoid. I have to tell myself that the gas is switched off and everything is fine so calm down and chill out for the love of god! at least a couple of times a day.

3. Company (lack of)
Being fairly introverted, this is not usually a problem. After a day in the busy studio at work I’m totally fine with being by myself for the rest of the night, and I get to see family and friends over the weekend. Still, I’m a kind of person who can disappear into their own head a bit too easily, and sometimes, after spending a few days at home, I can feel like I’ve retreated into myself too much. You need other people to remind you that it doesn’t all revolve around you and put your problems into perspective.

Peaches at The Hi-Fi

peachesBack in the era of BM (Before Mortgage), I would attend up to 15 live gigs in a year. Ah the days when I thought nothing of forking out $80 to see a band I only mildly liked. And yet somehow I never got to see Peaches even though I’ve been a big fan since the first album. I’ve corrected that wrong on Friday by catching her live show at The Hi-Fi in the city.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron – Film Review

avengers-age-of-ultronI’m a bit over superhero movies to be honest but I was in a mood for a big blockbuster and they don’t come any bigger than this. Unlike most people it seems I wasn’t a fan of the original Avengers, which, in hindsight, had a lot to do with hype and expectations. It got great reviews, it was written/directed by Joss Whedon, so I was all pumped up to see it expecting something special. Granted, the super team-up concept was special and something we’ve never seen before, but otherwise I thought it was deeply average in all respects and not even particularly fun, with thinly sketched characters, simplistic plot and all the warmth and soul of a business summit. Expectations really make a difference – I went to see Age of Ultron with no expectations whatsoever and ended up enjoying it a great lot more. It had many of the same problems as the first movie, but there was also a whole lot more to like about it.

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