Amy Tries Again


Low Res – or – No Monster Trucks
December 28, 2013, 6:22 AM
Filed under: Dangerously Close To Sentiment, Miscellanea

New Year’s resolutions are great fun to make.  They combine lots of things I like: lists, happy thoughts and the warm fuzzy idea that I am going to turn into a better version of myself.  Actually doing the things – well, that’s quite different.  It’s very easy to resolve to write a bestseller, run the Sydney to Hobart (yes, that was supposed to be a joke, but I felt compelled to explain it as such in case people genuinely thought I didn’t know.  That’s JUST HOW SPORTY I AM), win a series of monster truck rallies and learn to sing jazz.  It’s the doing that’s the issue.  And, of course, when I inevitably realise in mid-February that I have not yet achieved complete mastery of each and every niche pursuit in the entirety of human endeavor (ooops!  Giggle!) – it does tend to make me a bit glum.

Hmm. I don’t have a large book to write them in. I should probably get a large book to write them in.

With that in mind, I am lowering my expectations.  My resolutions for 2014 will be more like – well, guidelines.  Polite suggestions from my current self to the Amy of the future.  You know, if I’m not too busy.

1.  Do things I like.

There are things that are absolutely guaranteed to make me happy.  I love to perform.  I love to write.  I love to tell jokes and wear wigs and wave my hands around and debate the significance of women in comedy.  Sometimes I don’t do these things, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it seems too obvious – well, of course I like doing that sort of thing, I always have.  Couldn’t possibly be my calling.  That wouldn’t be complicated at all.  Less of that, please, future me, and more limb flailing.  You like limb flailing.

2.  Find more things to like.

There are lots of things out there that I might like.  I should go and have a look.  I sometimes find myself assuming things about what I might or might not be interested in, and the type of person I am.  Sometimes I’m right, but a lot of the time I’m not.  There might be a completely new hobby out there.  After all, I didn’t know about impro once, and that turned out pretty well.

3.  Be nice.

I will never give up the power of snark.  I would, however, like to wield it a bit more deliberately.  Sometimes I am nastier than I mean to be, to myself and to others.

Three.  That’s not too many.  I’ll see how I go.  Happy New Year, everyone.



An Update – or – I Used To Have A Blog Once
November 11, 2013, 1:17 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

This post is not going to be much good.  I warn you now.  However, it is a post, and therefore has a lot going for it.  I have been a very terrible blogger of late in that I haven’t been blogging at all: so here’s a pained attempt at breaking the drought and hopefully clearing the ol’ creative pipes with some mundane news about What I Have Been Doing.  Metaphors: I mix ’em.

I continue to reside in Edinburgh.  I’ve been living by the water in Leith, a really interesting suburb.  Exactly twenty years ago, it was the setting for Trainspotting, and was as dodgy as could be.  But time marches on, of course, and now it’s a strange mix of the incredibly gentrified (Emerging designers! Cupcake boutiques! Harbourside living!) and the grotty.  You can go to a Michelin-starred restaurant, but walk for a few blocks and you’ll find shuffly people sucking on their teeth.  It’s fascinating – and don’t worry, Mum, it’s quite safe.  I want to say that the Brisbane equivalent is West End in the nineties, but that’s not quite right.  Anyway, I’m particularly obsessed with the excellent selection of Polish delis and Asian supermarkets (okay, there are two Asian supermarkets, but that’s still more than I’ve seen clustered elsewhere in Edinburgh).

I was working at a ghost tour company on the Royal Mile for a few months.  There were a lot of things I enjoyed about it – the people were great, and I loved the fact that I was technically someone who made their living performing – but I found myself enjoying it less and less, particularly when the days grew colder and there weren’t many shifts available.  I left a few weeks ago, just before going on holiday for a fortnight, and now that I’m back, I’m a temp again, but I’m looking for something permanent (or at least longer-term).  It seems there are worse things than a nice warm office with endless coffee and a swivel chair.  I do miss the performance aspect of the tours – the itch to flail my limbs and do funny voices is getting stronger and stronger, and I’ve been doing improv jams (yeah, I say improv with a V now) with some awesome locals.  I pine for ImproMafia and The Sexy Detectives a lot.  Basically, everyone in Brisbane needs to come here, either forever or just for the Festival.

What else?  I went to Spain and Portugal with Me Ol’ Ma and her Harrumphing Consort, which was lovely.  I was never allowed to drive, which saddened me, but would no doubt cause the residents of both fair countries to breath a heavy Iberian sigh of relief if they had but known.  I was surprised at how much Spain looks like Australia.  I really wasn’t expecting that.  It’s quite dry, and even features the occasional gum tree.  Despite that, I quite liked it, but my heart belonged to Portugal.  Portugal is cool and you should go there.

The tiny spark of blogging enthusiasm that I managed to fan into a feeble flame is fading now.  I’ll close before it fades entirely.  Fading…fading…gone.  Smell ya later.



Edinburgh – a shopping punderland
July 22, 2013, 8:57 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

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Okay, the last one isn’t a pun, but it made me giggle for about ten minutes. Potatoland!



Amy’s Alliterative Adventures Abroad
June 6, 2013, 4:31 AM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Don’t worry.  I’m not actually going to do any more alliteration.

After months of silence on the blog front, gentle reader, it appears I am back.  However, things have changed.  I am not writing this from my spinster pad on Petrie Terrace.  My faithful fish is no longer by my side (don’t stress, he’s fine), I am no longer a dutiful employee of the law mines and I cannot cavort with my usual gang of limb-flailers.  It’s starting to sound a bit grim, really, isn’t it?  It’s not supposed to.  These are sacrifices that have been made for the greater good: I have upped stakes and moved to Scotland.

I made the decision to come here some time ago, but the months and months I had to wait for it to actually happen made the whole enterprise seem entirely fictitious and years away. It got a little realer when the lasts started.  My last shows with The Sexy Detectives and Impromafia, my last night in my little flat, my last shift at work – perhaps this was actually happening?  It didn’t really, absolutely click until just a few hours before I was due to jet off.  I was at my Esteemed Mother’s house with the lady in question, my cousin and my brother.  Armed with bathroom scales and an overstuffed suitcase, we were enjoying a game of What Don’t You Really, Really Need, Amy, And Remember They Do Have Shops In The United Kingdom.

The game was interrupted by anguished howls from the street – an obviously unwell young woman was walking up and down the hill, screaming in distress and hitting her own head.  It was unlike anything we’d seen.  Baffled neighbours conferred with one another about what to do, approaching the woman to try to help.  My cousin called the ambulance, and my brother headed outside to try to keep an eye on where the woman was – she was still pacing the streets, howling as if the world was ending.  Eventually, both the ambulance and the young woman’s guardian arrived.  She had mental health issues and would be given the help she needed.  The whole episode ended as well as it could have, but we were all a bit shaken.  Perhaps this makes me flippant about what was obviously a very distressing episode for this woman, but it was only then that I thought, quite suddenly: this is not the most noteworthy thing that is going to happen to me today.

There were hugs and tears, and then I was alone.  I don’t mind flying by myself.  The dry tiredness of long-haul flights doesn’t make for good companionship anyway.  A few bursts of YEAH-I’M-FINALLY-DOING-IT enthusiasm managed to break through, but for the most part I sat in a solemn little bubble all the way to London with my brain switched off as much as possible.  I’d be very keen on a service that offered a general anesthetic before any flight over six hours.

Finally, my overtired, greasy-haired, stinky self was on the final leg: a short flight to Edinburgh.  I perked right up, and I like to think the four cups of coffee within an hour weren’t the only cause.  Look!  Out the window!  It’s Scotland!  It’s right there!  It’s real!

Scotland continued to be real on the ground.  I love those first few hours when you get somewhere where every sight and sound is spectacular just because it’s different from the place you were before.  On my way into the city centre, I was punch-drunk on dappled light through green leaves, cobblestones and church spires.  Brisbane had been gloomy and rainy.  Edinburgh, at least on the morning I arrived, was all blue skies and sunshine.

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Nice panorama, ME

I collapsed into a hotel on Princes Street, and, when recovered, proceeded to tourist my heart out.

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The Museum of Scotland is freakin’ amazing and I want to have a sleepover there.

Unfortunately, whilst busily ticking attractions off my list, I managed to get sick, and have spent the last few days at half-speed (snot production has been up, though).

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I must have been sick because I completely neglected to purchase any memorial Diana tartan.

I’m feeling a lot better now, and have some good news – I’ve found a lovely room in a flat, and moved in today.  I’ve taken a short term lease of a month and a bit as I have notions of a wee bit ‘o hill and glen (or, okay, a one bedroom flat) all to myself, but it is good to be out of  a hotel and into the real world.

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My new view.

I took myself on a dogged bus journey to Ikea (it was hidden in a vast commercial park that involved a lot of traipsing) this afternoon to buy soft furnishings and am generally feeling quite pleased with myself.  The next step is to find a job.  I’m looking at doing temp work – I’ve been a temp before and have quite enjoyed coming in like Mary Poppins to save the day when Belinda from Property or Joanne from Conveyancing goes on holiday or maternity leave or something.  I much prefer word processing, but if secretarial or receptionist stuff comes up, sure, why not?  I’m also keen to try some more unusual jobs.  There are lots of ghost tours here, and I used to take one in Brisbane…of course, my Australian accent might not help.  Perhaps the Edinburgh Dungeon needs a (non-speaking) ghoul to leap out from the haunted something-or-other.  I hope to locate the local branch of my people – improvisors – shortly, and they always seem to know about jobs like that.

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Maybe they can even explain what these are.

Anyway, this post is getting a bit rambly, so I’ll finish it off.  It’s beginning to get a bit cool, and although there’s a radiator thing in this room, I have no idea how to work it and the other people in the flat have gone out.  I might fiddle with knobs for a while.  Hey?  Hey?  Oh, I amuse myself no end.

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Wherever I go, I have a little home thanks to my darling cousin Courtney.



Endogenous
February 13, 2013, 6:10 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Hey, reader.  It’s been a while.  I haven’t got much that’s witty to say today, but I’d like to say something because an ill-fated experiment that I was conducting came to an end today.

I’ve been on and off antidepressants since I was 16, and a bit odd in the old brainpan since long before then.  I’ve been to psychiatrists, psychologists, support groups, eating disorder counselors, outpatient programs and, long ago, a carefully decorated, child-friendly room in which a lady called Helen asked me to draw pictures of my feelings.  Everyone has tried very hard to fix me, myself included.  It’s done a lot, it really has.  We’ve just never been able to manage a complete, permanent fix.  Several times in my early 20s I was convinced that it had happened.  I would shout hooray, and taper off my medication, or announce that I didn’t need to continue counseling, or stick a body acceptance sticker to my dressing table mirror and declare that I was well forever.

I wasn’t well forever, and of course it didn’t last for long.  You see, the tools used in managing my condition felt inseparable from the condition itself.  I wanted to be free of them all.  When veganism, or a boy, or leaving university for the third time or whatever magical action that was going to render me complete failed to do so, everything would turn grey.  I didn’t feel my sanity was slipping.  I just felt tired and sad and worried.  Everything I said or contemplated had consequence beyond itself.  Thoughts were sticky.  I knew I had a filter over my eyes, but I didn’t have the energy to remove it.

Eventually, I would ask for and receive help.  Until then, everybody could fuck right off.  I’d be ashamed that I’d been wrong, again, that I hadn’t been cured. I got older, and I had to function.  I still wasn’t cured, but I had to function.  Mad dashes for what I perceived as freedom grew less frequent.  I did what I was told in order to be well, mostly, and it did help. But this wasn’t it.  I wasn’t completely free of it all.

Having dutifully towed the line for several years, I felt reasonably well.  I wasn’t in counseling – my last group of sessions had come to an end with the counselor’s agreement over a year earlier.  I continued to take my medication, considering it a long-term thing, and life was okay.  It wasn’t perfect, but it would do.  That’s when the terrible thought started in the back of my mind…maybe THIS WAS IT!  Maybe I had CURED MYSELF!  Hmm, I thought.  Perhaps I’ll stop the meds.

I went off my medication, hoping and hoping that I was finally over it.  That was four months ago, now. It WAS okay, for a while.  For quite some time, really.  I wasn’t a wreck.  I felt more anxious, and was quicker to burst into tears, but I was able to function.  It sort of escalated.  I don’t think you would have been able to pick it if you didn’t know me very well – even when I wasn’t feeling good at all.  I’m not a bad actor.  I waited for it to go away.  It got worse.

On Monday, I was at work, and I started crying.  I have no idea why.  Sobbing.  Bawling.  They were great fat ugly tears, and they wouldn’t stop.  I muttered something about some bad news over the weekend and got sent home.  Poor Amy.  She’s had a bit of a turn.  Not like her, she’s usually so smiley.

I hid in the dark in my flat, sleeping, weeping, eating condensed soup from the can and generally being extremely sad and tired and worried – until today, when the family cavalry came.  I have been to the doctor, and to the chemist, and to have a blood test, and to my mother’s house to make mini pizzas and talk about happy things.  I am back on my medication.  Obviously, it hasn’t kicked in yet, but all that support has done a great deal towards making me feel better.

When Mum’s partner, Peter, was driving me home, he said something interesting.  He told me about the difference between endogenous and exogenous. I didn’t know the terms, but the roots of the words held clues.  Endogenous means something within you, something internal.  Exogenous means something caused by outside events.  I’d been musing that I couldn’t seem to kick this, and that it’d always been there.  I’d been sad for no reason since I was a small girl.

‘Amy’, garrumphed Peter, who likes to garrumph.  ‘If you send a fellow off to war and kill all his family and burn down his crops, he’s going to be depressed until he gets over it.  That’s exogenous.  But if you’ve just always got it in you, it’s not going to disappear.  It’s endogenous.  Why wouldn’t you take the bloody medicine?  Now, tell me if you think this picture I took on my iPhone of a painting at the gallery looks like your mother.  It’s a nude, but don’t worry, it’s from the back.’

So, there we are.  Endogenous.  From within.  Permanent.  It sounds like a depressing thought when I write it down, the idea of it never leaving me, no matter what I do, but it isn’t.  Endogenous might be the loveliest word that I’ve heard in a while, because it doesn’t mean that I’m not trying hard enough or hoping enough or am not a good enough person.  It’s just in there, and honestly that’s a bit of a relief. I am never going to wake up and suddenly be cured, but I can get on with things, and do what I have to do to keep myself well, and even thrive.  It’s liberating, knowing I don’t have to work towards a miracle.  I just have to do what I can to live happily, day by day.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve let the flat get into a bit of a state.  Time to freshen things up and start again.  Again.



South Pacific – a review
January 3, 2013, 2:42 AM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Last night, I went to the opening night of the Brisbane season of South Pacific at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre.  I was the guest of my friend Natalie, who writes about such things for the Brisbane Times, and as I spent most of the show thinking about what I would say if I could review things…well, I decided to write a small review of my own.

Firstly: this is not a show that would be written today.  This tale of WW2 in the pacific islands is a good show, but, for me at least, the 60+ years that it’s been running are very evident.  The pacing (just a little slow), the songs (just a little repetitive) and its non-controversial controversy (more on that later) – maybe the problem is that it isn’t old enough.  Perhaps being considered a museum piece instead of a nostalgic romp would do it good.  You see, it’s almost what I’d expect in a modern musical.  Almost.

That’s not to say the cast members don’t do their best with what they have.  Lisa McCune’s Nellie Forbush sings beautifully, and is appropriately spirited and charming (if perhaps just a little more advanced in years than her on-stage lover’s comments about her youth suggest).  When her character expresses some era-appropriate opinions about – gasp – relationships between people of different races, you could hear the audience’s collective intake of breath.  Australia’s Sweetheart isn’t supposed to say such things. For all the high-kicking servicemen and boogie-woogie nurses, the theme of the show remains overcoming racial prejudice.  Daniel Koek, who performs strongly as Lieutenant Cable, sings ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught’, a song considered quite controversial when the musical first premiered.  And what, exactly, was this controversial song about?  Merely that prejudice is learned.  Well, yes.  For a modern audience, the resolutions made about love and tolerance conquering all aren’t the confronting part.  It’s rather more strange and disconcerting to see likeable leads engaging in the behaviour that leads up to the resolutions in the first place.  I’m not suggesting a re-write.  It is, however, hard to know entirely what to make of this show.

By the way, the rumours about them being an off-stage item are true because a taxi driver told me so last week.

By the way, the rumours about them being an off-stage item are true because a taxi driver told me so last week.

Its age shows elsewhere.  Each song goes on a little too long and is reprised, it seems, at least six times.  Still, upbeat songs like ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair’ and ‘There Is Nothing Like A Dame’ are welcome crowd-pleasers, and Gyton Grantley as the entrepreneurial Billis is particularly good fun.  The chorus of nurses is a burlesque enthusiast’s dream come true, and their male counterparts, the servicemen, have an infectious energy that is hard to resist.

Christine Anu’s Bloody Mary is not particularly likeable.  This is a good thing.  I enjoyed not trusting her, and her rendition of ‘Happy Talk’, its upbeat lyrics contrasting with the action onstage, was pleasantly disconcerting.  The subplot involving Bloody Mary’s daughter Liat (Celina Yuen) and Lieutenant Cable could inspire many an undergraduate essay, but actors Yuen and Koek do their best to make it seem as non-creepy as possible.

Whilst I enjoyed Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ performance as love interest Emile de Becque, I felt his performance could have benefited from a slightly less operatic approach.  Although this is an Opera Australia co-production, and he certainly has an extremely impressive voice, I found that some of the lyrics he sang were lost a little in all the grandeur.  I was also somewhat baffled by the decision to have him bald on all promotional material but sporting a wig onstage.

Impressive sets and lighting, smooth transitions and a large, excellent orchestra made sure the production looked (and sounded) the part.  A few items on set did seem a bit…well, wobbly – but then, we were in the third row.  I was surprised to see a microphone wire seemingly dangling, loose, in a shirtless scene when a bit of tape would have solved the problem, but overall the costuming was effective and appropriate.  I particularly enjoyed the costuming for the Thanksgiving concert put on by the servicemen and women, which was made to look like it had been cobbled together out of buckets, netting, old issues of Life magazine and whatever was at hand.  This scene in general was a favourite, but then, I’m a sucker for a play-within-a-play, let alone one with a rotating stage allowing the audience to see what was going on ‘backstage’.  I was also impressed when, in a scene involving water, a character actually got wet!

Singing by the main and ensemble cast was consistently good, and accents were held fairly thoroughly throughout the show, with only the very occasional brief slip into ‘strine for a syllable or two.  Some attempts to bring out the bawdiness that was only implied in the text (for example, the Navy boys mentioning how they missed…companionship) ended up in unnecessary crotch-grabbing and gyration, the overall effect of which was that of Arts Council performers attempting to appeal to schoolkids with the rude bits of Shakespeare.  On an odd note, I was surprised to see only one person smoking – very briefly – onstage.  It seemed unusual to include it there, as while it’s something I’d expect to see in scenes from the 1940s, it didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t there for the rest of the show until someone lit up for about 15 seconds in a musical number.  If it hadn’t happened at all, it’s not something I’d have noticed, but isolated like that, it seemed – well, odd.

Overall, I found this show enjoyable, but preferred the second act to the first.  Naturally, I cried at the ending – it must be stated that the young actors who took the roles of de Becque’s children were absolutely adorable – and went home humming the catchier of the tunes.  Director Bartlett Sher and his creative team have done a good job with a show stuck in a strange in-between state – beloved classic, or museum piece?  Perhaps South Pacific is both.



Shankin’ – OR – Cooking With Food
December 30, 2012, 8:46 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

How to cook lamb shanks

1. Preparation

One week beforehand:  Grow dissatisfied with Mi Goreng and leftover Indian delivery food dependency.  Muse on importance of feeding self like proper adult.  Resolve to embrace cooking.  Well, in the new year.  Not NOW.  Order Indian food online.

The morning of:  Rediscover convection oven purchased on a whim several months ago and now residing in its original packaging in a dusty corner of the front sunroom (aka The Room With Junk In It).  Become filled with burning urge to create culinary masterpiece and decide to do so that very night.  Have nice cup of tea.

The (early) afternoon of:  Remain unsure as to what you are actually going to cook.  Google ‘convection oven’.  Wonder why exactly you purchased the thing in the first place (answer: you were at Aldi, it was on special, and you were feeling domestic that day).  Peruse confusing internet discussions about convection microwaves versus halogen convection ovens.  Become overwhelmed.  Ignore problem and google pictures of cats.  Oh, cats!  The things you do!

The (late) afternoon of:  Regain equilibrium.  Decide upon roasting something, mostly because you feel like you might want to eat some potatoes.  As have never cooked a roast before, admire both decision-making prowess and bravery in the field of cooking meat.  Drag self to supermarket with list reading ‘MEAT OF SOME SORT’.  Ignore little voice telling self that a proper dinner-cooking bad-ass would have gone to a real butcher.  Grow disheartened upon discovering the selection of Things For Roasting, as they are all very large.  Realise hearty roasts aren’t really a quick meal for one.  Allow eyes to dart around like those of a frightened rabbit before they land on packet of lamb shanks in a far more manageable size.  Breathe sigh of relief, put lamb shanks in basket and then go to pick over the heavily discounted Christmassy food.  Take your chances with some marked-down butterscotch custard.

2. Cooking

Take stock of ingredients.  Decide against peeling the potatoes.  Unpack cooker.  Realise you should wash it before using it, and almost drop it on own foot whilst doing so.  Remember suddenly that you once impulse purchased a piemaker.  Where is piemaker?  Has piemaker been lost?  You’re sure you used it that one time.  Look for piemaker.  Piemaker remains at large.

Look for camera in order to properly document process for blog.  Camera gone.  Is camera with piemaker?  Find camera.  Drag attention back to task at hand.  Decide to consult the manual for the cooker.  No manual provided.  Google instructions.  Find Youtube video review of convection cooker from a nice man with a broad Australian accent.  His is from Aldi, too!  And he’s cooking lamb shanks!  It all looks fairly easy.  Discover, courtesy of the internet, that countertop convection ovens are quite popular with caravan enthusiasts, and are generally considered foolproof.  You just whack everything in and leave it.  Decide recipes (beyond COOK IT FOR THIS LONG AT THIS TEMPERATURE AND IT MIGHT NOT KILL YOU) are for chumps, preheat the cooker to – um, well, I actually just turned it up as high as it would go and then turned it down a bit – and mentally roll up sleeves.  Discover that cooker lights up very brightly, which is really quite exciting.

Well, I found it exciting.

Well, I found it exciting.

Chop up some potatoes and carrots and green beans and onion, do your standard roast veggie parboiling for the potatoes (and maybe a bit for the carrots, too) and put them on the lower rack with lots of garlic (LOTS of garlic) and herbs (I went with tarragon and lemon pepper because I like tarragon and lemon pepper) and some olive oil.  Remember that for some reason (an impulse kitchen purchase?  NEVER!) you own two silicone basting brushes.  Paint all the vegetables with flavour!  Repeat the process, minus any parboiling, on the higher rack for lamb shanks.  Have stroke of genius and add a hefty glug of wine.

Baste!  BASTE!

Baste! BASTE!

Wait for an hour and a half, mostly because that’s what the man in the youtube video did, and you could just tell that he’s someone’s wacky dad.  Then wait some more – just in case – because you’re mildly paranoid about meat being undercooked.  (While you are waiting, allow the delicious smell to remind you of dinner at your Nanna’s, and hope smugly that your neighbours can smell it in the corridor and are jealous.) Make some super lazy instant gravy, because Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know?

3. Serving

Eat your dinner.

Yay!

Yay!  (I am not sure why everything looks so yellow.  I was going to fiddle with the camera settings but then I decided that my dinner needed eating.)

It’s delicious, and you are a culinary mastermind and you don’t know why you were nervous about cooking lamb shanks.  Pop the leftovers in the excellent Disney Princess non-Tupperware you got for Christmas and think smugly what a cool dude Future Amy will think you are when she has them for lunch tomorrow.  (The leftovers.  Not the Disney Princesses.)

Wonder where the hell your piemaker is. Consider purchasing a cake pop maker.



Resolved
December 26, 2012, 10:07 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

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I haven’t even taken down the Christmas tree yet, but I’ve had Auld Lang Syne in my head all afternoon.  This has gotten me thinking about the new year.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  Hmm.

Anyway!  I do like a good new year’s resolution.  Yes, yes, I know that grand gestures made on the first of January are often doomed to failure.  If I’d kept every resolution I’d ever made I would probably be Queen of Earth right now.  I am not.  Still, I do love the idea of a clean slate, and I think there’s something charming about a good chunk of the population deciding to try to  better themselves at the same time.  With that in mind: I have two.  They are fairly simple.

1.  I am going to try to eat three meals a day like a proper human.  It seems obvious, doesn’t it?  Thing is, I’m not always very good at eating like a proper human.  Working odd hours, living alone, being a bit lazy with cooking and having a crippling addiction to sodium-based snacks brings out the worst in me when it comes to the preparation of meals.  It seems almost selfish to cook proper dinners when I’m going to be the only one eating them.  Add to that my constant cries of woe about the size of my arse, and you’ve got a fairly unfortunate situation for someone with a history of disordered eating.  I WANT to resolve to go on a big diet – but believe you me, that’s asking for trouble.  I’ve noticed in the past that when I’m feeding myself like a proper damn human, my food obsession – yeah, I’d go so far as to use that word – subsides.  Therefore: I am going to try to make the preparation and consumption of Normal Person Meals a formal and important goal.

2.  Don’t worry.  This one is much less OH NO FEELINGS AND ISSUES-based.  I am a sloucher.  My terrible slouchy ways give me a sore back and the tendency to poke my neck out at my computer screen like a suspicious chicken.  In order to prevent me turning into a complete hunchback, I intend to watch my posture.  (This will probably involve lots of post-its reading SIT UP STRAIGHT.)  To try to get my back muscles a bit stronger, I’m also looking forward to starting to do a bit of non-occasional-but-not-too-regimented swimming again, and was delighted with some Christmas presents to this end (underwater mp3 player!).  2013 will be the year of excellent posture.

So, yeah.  I’m trying to make these goals feel achievable.  I tend to set the bar too high, and then run away angrily kicking rocks when I don’t manage things on the first go.  Hopefully, these are both specific and non-threatening enough that I won’t feel the need to abandon them as a lost cause after an inevitable setback – or, if I do, to try again.

A belated Merry Christmas, readers, and an early Happy New Year.  Do you have any resolutions?

(PS:  This blog has gotten awfully Oprah-y lately.  Note to self: write a post about the best kind of ugly cats or something.)



A wee bit ‘o sentimental reflection
December 17, 2012, 6:51 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

In a few months, I will move to the other side of the world.  I’d tell you the date, but I don’t know it.  I had a decisively one-way ticket booked for January 16 – less than a month from now! – but then life and awesome performance stuff and the need for dentistry and a lack of frugal living happened, so now I’m waiting until May.  Late May.  Maybe early June.  There’s this comedy festival thing.  Oh, and then there’s this play that might be going ahead that I’d have a role in. Also, Impro Mafia’s doing some really, really exciting yet-to-be-announced stuff next year that that may or may not involve another city…

Ahrg.  My point is: sometimes I really don’t want to go away.  I like my life here a lot.  I have friends and family, an apartment of which I am extremely fond and a really excellent fish.  I have the opportunity to regularly flail my limbs and do silly voices.  Doors open for me, sometimes, slightly, in the realm of performance.  I tend to stick my head inside and have a look around before letting them creak shut again, but I think if I wedged my foot in the doorway and refused to budge, I might be able to get in there to stay.  I actually really enjoy my day (night) job most of the time.  I chip away at the degree that I haven’t quite managed to finish in awkward fits and starts.  I’m feeling pretty strong in the old brainpain, and I haven’t always felt that way.  In short: there is scope for expansion of my happiness, but I am happy.

I am moving to Scotland.  I cannot decide between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Well, that’s a lie.  I’m absolutely, positively sure it’ll be Edinburgh, but then I felt exactly the same way about Glasgow a few weeks ago.  I’ve visited both, and think both could suit me, in different ways.  Thing is, the life I’d like to have over there is basically the life I have here, albeit with accents and cobblestones.  It would start with me sitting alone in a flat on the other side of the world, and I would have to piece it together from scratch.  That is scary.  It can definitely be done, but it is daunting.  I also can’t help but think that after all that effort, all that building, I’d be gone in a few years.  Home again, I presume.  On my return, the life I had in Brisbane would still be standing, but it would not be in good repair.  I’d have some work to do to make it fit again.  Perhaps this makes me a terrible adventurer: but is it worth it?

I must seem full of doubt.  Well, I am, but I’m going anyway.  I’ve been mentally glossing over my misgivings, but they’re quite real, and I think it’s helpful to look them square in the eye.  I will probably feel lonely when I am there.  I will want to come home sometimes.  That’s cool.  I’ll find a new impro troupe and make new friends. I’ll slip in the frost on some cobblestones and post a picture of the bruise on Facebook.  I’ll become at least 27% more Australian.  I’ll pop over to Slovenia (I really want to go to Slovenia).  I’ll see the name Currie everywhere and it won’t sound slightly silly like it does here.  I will delight in the strange brands in the supermarket (well, you know: globalisation and all that, but I’m sure there will be some).  I will go on a train journey into the highlands.  I’ll be in a bit of local community theatre.  I’ll toil in a Scottish law mine.  I’ll have a new apartment of which I can be extremely fond.  The taps will probably drip there, too.  Maybe I will have a Scottish fish.

I have a secret weapon, you know.  I know what not to do.  A few years ago, I lived overseas.  There were so, so very many wonderful things about it, but I was extremely naive and thought it would be easy.  I didn’t know that I’d have to work at building a life, and when one didn’t fall into my lap, I grew depressed.  I had support and help and the best intentions in the world, but it wasn’t enough.  I had assumed things would be perfect, and I couldn’t understand why everything hadn’t clicked into place.  I failed.  Despite some of the most amazing experiences of my life, this journey into the great wide somewhere did not end well.  When I returned home, my previous life was gone, too.  I’d discarded it, you see.  I didn’t think I’d need it any more.

Not this time.  I’ve constructed my life here, and it is who I am – but if I can take that me on grand adventures, well, that’s wonderful, and just what I would like to do.  Maybe I’ll get some wisdom.  Maybe I’ll change.  Maybe Scotland and I will get along so well that I’ll never want to come home.  Maybe I’ll be home in six months.  I’m working hard on reminding myself that all of these things are okay, and that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth doing.  At the risk of getting all Pixar, I don’t want to have NOT done it.

Besides…do you even KNOW how many dudes with Scottish accents there are in Scotland?  Damn.



An Open Letter To Julie Andrews
September 25, 2012, 5:59 PM
Filed under: Miscellanea

Dear Julie Andrews

Hi.  How are you?  I am fine.  Enough pleasantries.  I have a bone to pick with you.

For many years now, Julie Andrews, I have had a wish.  I have wished it upon a star.  I have wished it upon those fluffy spore plant things who – many thousands of years ago – lucked onto superstition as an excellent way to expand their empire.  I have even wished it upon the ever-elusive doubled-over potato chip.  The wish has not come true.

I have wished, Julie Andrews, that you would come to my flat and be my nanny.  I don’t care which nanny you’d like to be.  Either would have its perks.  Fraulein Maria would be a bit more fun, I think, but Mary Poppins would Get Shit Done.  Occasionally you could be a non-nanny, if you wanted.  I’d recommend that you stick to your other typecast role, Queen of a fictitious country, on those occasions.  However, I digress.

Julie Andrews, I think I need a nanny, and you’re the only person who could do it.  I trust you and your soothing tones.  You could sleep in the little built-in cupboard thing in my flat.  It’s pretty small, but depending on which nanny you’re being at the time, you’d have either magic or God on your side.  I imagine either could render it comfortable.

We would have a wonderful time.  You’d tell me the mess just wouldn’t do, but that cleaning up wasn’t anything to fear!  There’d be a cool stop-motion sequence in which we cleaned up all the empty cans of sugarfree Red Bull and torn stocking footlets with holes in them.  You’d talk me through my fear of the tiny hairs that stick to your skin after haircuts.  You’d probably cut my hair yourself.  I don’t know how you’d do it, but there wouldn’t be any tiny hairs.  We’d wash every single textile in the whole place, and then you’d get out your guitar and teach me some songs.  They’d be lovely songs, like ‘Big Girls of 29 Can Easily Tackle Visa Applications’, ‘Finish Your Degree (Yodelayeehoo!)’, ‘Another Beer Is Always Nice, But Perhaps Another Option Would Be To Just Go Home’ and ‘Stop Calling Your Mother To Get Her To Drive You Places, Darling’.  I would display natural aptitude.

We could go for a walk to the nearby botanic gardens.  There would not be any edelweiss, but we could look.  You’d suggest we climb trees, or levitate, or dance with animated critters.  I would not even notice I was exercising.  You could come to my impro shows, and because you were there, I would not swear at all or make any jokes about nipples.

Eventually, it’d be dinner time.  You’d fix my oven so that we could actually correctly set the temperature, and make a delightful game of going through my fridge and freezer discarding anything that was no longer fresh.  You would not let me wear my VEGETARIANS HAVE MORE FUN tshirt whilst eating steak, because it is not as funny as I think it is.  We would eat fruit for dessert and I wouldn’t even complain.

I’d have to go to bed early, probably, but if you were there I would own flannel pajamas instead of stained tshirts and I wouldn’t have bought a mattress topper that tends to sort of slide off the bed unless you constantly tuck it in.  You could tell me the story of The Lady Who Didn’t Have A Second Chest Of Drawers Full Of Clothes That No Longer Fit Just In Case She Woke Up Thin, and I would find it wise.  Then I’d get a solid eight hours whilst you went off to remove all those extra home shopping channels I can’t seem to delete from my set top box.

Oh, Julie Andrews.  You’d smell like talcum powder and apple strudel and boot polish.  Please hurry.  I am beginning to suspect I might be almost – ALMOST – too old to be nannied.

Desperately,

Amy