Sunday, November 29, 2009


Lottie keeps eating Christmas Beetles. Does this bode negatively for Christmas??? She sort of tortures them before she eats them, clever little puppy.


I really want to tell everyone how special Hospice by The Antlers and Forget the Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad are. Like, shout it from rooftops and let off fireworks.

But they keep taking my breath away, and then I get so light headed that anything I write is more rubbish than usual, and climbing the stairs to the roof is out of the question.


at work today i
-buggered up the registers so many times i nearly cried
-wished people merry christmas even though its not december yet
-had a great talk with a girl about how sucky pearl jam are
-had a weird talk with a hipster boy about Mick Jagger's version of Ned Kelly
-arranged our Doctor Who DVDs in proper order, because I was sick of them being too high up and not in proper chronological order.


Its too hot for coherence.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the great bathers quest

The last pair of bathers I owned were gleefully tossed into a dumpster in Reykjavik at 4 am one rainy September morning. I remember this because I was so sick of these bathers, I'd had them for 4 years. I then avoided buying a new pair until last Sunday. I'm not big on swimming, mostly in some sort of Freudian reaction to my mother, who adores swimming. She petitioned, campaigned, downright whined for about 7 years until we relented and said, yes, OK, you can have a pool. Stop pouting. When summer hits, my mother goes out and buys herself new swimsuits. Gleefully. I have never met a woman who loves swimwear shopping as much as my mum. She's a wonder.

Part of the reason I think most women (women that I know, anyway) hate swimwear shopping is because its just so revealing - and that's just in the change room. When I went bathers shopping on Sunday (the hottest day EVER. UGH), I tried on TWELVE pairs of swimmers. I had to remind myself that they're supposed to be tight.

I didn't go near any of the bikinis. They're dangerous. For several reasons
  1. There's just not enough fabric to protect me from skin cancer. I am PALE. I am Snow Maddie. I am not about to put my skin in danger. In fact, if I go swimming during the hottest period of the day (11am-3pm) then I am in rash shirt and boardies and 9L of 30+ sunscreen. Having grown up with a cancer specialist for a father, I cannot impress upon people how dangerous over exposure is in the sun. I am the girl who got sunburned in the Cotswold's DURING A FIVE MINUTE BREAK IN A THUNDERSTORM.
  2. There's just not enough fabric to protect me from over exposing myself. Look, I get that the human body is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately, I (like alot of other lovely ladies) have very poor self esteem, as I am not all that thin. I don't have limbs you can snap. Also, I am very flaily with my limbs - expressive is a nicer word, I guess. Put me in something that is held together with two knots and is roughly the size of a tea saucer and we might run into some problems. You might see more than you wanted. And then I would run away and never come back.
  3. They're boring. Like, really. All the patterns are boring. This season.
  4. Why should I pay the same price for a bikini as I do a one piece???? That's just stupid
So with all that in mind, I decided on a one piece - yes, I know, you can get tankinis, but I don't like the word tank. Or that my tummy tends to escape. I trekked into DJ's and moseyed around the swimwear section. And found 12 one pieces to try on. Out of the twelve I tried

ONE of them had a neckline that perhaps should have been called A BELLYBUTTON LINE.
ONE of them I couldn't work out how to get into for a good 10 minutes.
ONE of them had a very unflattering red flower that emerged from ones rear.
TWO of them had weird cutout bits that I hadn't noticed when they were on the hanger
THREE of them had this sort of skirt thing that in theory was great, but in reality made me look five (the pink one) or eighty (the blue and navy ones)
FOUR of them were too high cut in the thigh.

I was beginning to think that I would just go and make myself a pair of swimmers that looked like this
from here

And then I tried on the last one piece I had found. To be honest, when I saw these on the rack, I'd sort of decided that they'd be the ones. Cut nicely on the thigh, with a little retro look to them. They looked swish, as long as I didn't look at my pasty thighs or belly. They weren't in danger of falling off. They would do, if only to ensure that I could go into the pool in the 40 degree heat that was Sunday.

from here

Obviously I look nothing like the girl in the picture. Which is the problem with swimsuits, and most fashion. They only cater for the beautiful. The rest of us have to work hard, the rest of us try stupid diets, or worry that perhaps they can't go out in public. It's sad. I mean, good on the beautiful women that meet the grade, but speaking as someone who rarely meets the grade when it comes to clothing size (because I am petite, but I am chubby! Who knew!) it can be very demoralising. The lights in change rooms don't help, nor all the mirrors. What does help is that all my friends are lovely, and when we were splashing about in the pool, trying to recover from the disgusting 40degree heat, they told me my bathers were nice. And then splashed me.


It was disgusting yesterday. So I of course, made a sort of invented pecan pie. Which was awesome. Sometimes my desire to vist the Americas is purely food based. Except for Tex-Mex. Ew.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

T-O-M (or, spelling mishaps)

There's a scene in one of my favourite movies, Being Julia where Julia (Annette Benning) asks young gentleman how to spell his name. He replies "T-O-M...Tom" and they're all terribly embarrassed by the faux pas, as you would be in 1930s London.

I suppose not knowing someones name means you're allowed to ask how to spell it. That doesn't really enrage me (surprised?) but what does irritate me is when people who have known me for years, or people who have no connection to me (doctors, stores, UNIVERSITY) spell my name wrong and act offended when I correct them. The attitude seems to be "what's in a name?"

Well. A lot. I'm a Madeleine. That's M-A-D-E-L-E-I-N-E. You can bring nominative determinism into if you like - MAD by name, mad by nature. The three E's are VERY VERY important. And so is there placement. I have been a Madeline. A Madelein. A Madeliene. Look, they're all perfectly acceptable. But they aren't me.

I can't quite work out why I get so annoyed about it. Does this happen to anyone else, or is it just my fault being beset by parents who like to over complicate things?

Sometimes, I wish they'd stuck with the name they had for me when I was in utereo.

They used to call me Og.

Even then, I'd probably be asked how many 'g's.


Gosh, what a wonderful day today was - found out that my health has drastically improved (!), found a decent translation of Notre Dame de Paris (!!), went to the KIT Christmas launch (!!!) where they gave me and Claudia 20 Cupcakes (!!!!) came home to a bouncing puppy (!!!!!), watched Being Julia (!!!!!!) and will go to sleep on CLEAN SHEETS (!!!!!!!!!) (sleeping on clean sheets = brilliance. pure brilliance)

Monday, November 16, 2009

arrivée de toujours, qui t'en iras partout

from here
One of my heroes - no, one of my kin is the French poet/anti-poet Arthur Rimbaud. I say kin because he would have hated being a hero. I discovered him when I was about 12, absolutely friendless in highschool, and devoured his Saison d'Enfer. He joined other French loves of mine - Alexandre Dumas and his d'Artangan, Victor Hugo and Quasimodo, Dumal, Foucault, Francoise Sagan, and the Americans in Paris - Fitzgerald, Stein, Hemingway. It's possible that I should have spent more of my teenage years outside instead of reading. When we (by we I mean me, my books and occasionally my friend Jason) used to smoke too much and drink even more, Rimbaud was always on my mind, as a sort of decadent god who watched us, both dearly and depreciatingly.

It wasn''t until I was in Paris last year that I got my hands on a biography of Rimbaud, by Graham Robb. I devoured this book by the Seine, and then again on various trains. It wasn't that Rimbaud was a shining light, but rather that he was so very clever, so very cunning and so very orchestrated. Rimbaud constructed himself, deconstructed and reconstructed in ways that weren't very common back in the 1800s. He wanted to be a celebrity, a god. He wanted adventure. His poems are the beginnings of punk rock, a reaction against the mathematics of poetry - but they are also an exploitation of the same.

The feverish anger in Saison d'Enfer is tempered by the beauty of Illuminations, the music in Drunken Boat, the depravity in First Communion. There's godlessness, there's sunlit mornings. Often excused as the squealing brat of French poetry, Rimbaud's lyricism is something very special.

And that he stopped writing completely at 21, became a traveler, a trader, an explorer in Africa, makes me feel slightly more hopeful about days when the words don't come out right.

from Illuminations:

To A Version Of Reason

One tap of your finger on the drum releases every timbre
and founds the new harmony.
You take a step and new men materialize; they march out.
You turn your head away: the new love! You turn back: the
new love!
'Alter our destiny' you hear the children sing. 'Stamp out
plagues! Stamp out Time, for a start!' Everyone begs you: 'Raise
the substance of our fortunes, our desires, wherever you can.'
You - fresh out of forever. Making for everywhere.

i needed cheering up this monday morning, so excuse the entirely wanky self induglence of this post.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

rounded up

The hype surrounding the Melbourne Cup, aka "the race that stops the nation" has never really made that much sense to me. While I like watching horses race (there's something powerful about it), I'm not really that invested in the gambling/drinking/dressing up side of things. Which is odd, considering that I love getting dressed up, very rarely say no to champagne and should probably take any chance I can to double my finances. Also, I don't really like the concept of racing. It doesn't have a point. I feel it would be more interesting if contestants (runners, cyclists, horses etc) had to run away from something. Like a dragon.

Mostly its the orange fake tans, the dresses that make you look like you're a bursting sausage, the bogan boys and the vomiting (It is possible to have a drink or two and not get trashfaced) which makes the Races just seem particularly trashy to me, for reasons that make me sound like a prudish old fuddy-duddy. Which I'm not, am I?

This year, I decided to inject a little bit of class to the whole affair. With cupcakes.

I baked 24 "Almost Coconut Cupcakes" from The Whisk Kid's recipe. I am never ever using any other cupcake recipe except this. The coconut milk gives the cupcakes a softness that lasts for days, as well as a lovely summery taste.

When the cupcakes were out of the oven, and I had dislodged Lottie from my lap (more on that later) I set about icing each cupcake according to the jersey that each jockey would be wearing in the race - there were supposed to be 24 horses racing, but Changing of the Guard was (somewhat controversially) scratched, leaving me with 23 cupcakes to make.

Of course, the cupcake that I was least happy with turned out to be the horse that won the cup. It's name was Shocking (it's the orange/black and red one), and later that night, Libby would eat it with aplomb. The other horse that was difficult was Daffodil, whose jersey had a horse on it. That's the white cupcake with six green smarties on it. I find it hard not to use smarties in all my food decorating.

Libby, Emma and Lizz came over for pink sparkling wine, nachos and cupcakes. Very stylish. It was forty degrees Celsius, which is ridiculous, so Libby got in the pool, and took poor Lottie with her. Lottie will do anything for treats, and demonstrated that she may turn into a water dog.

Mostly though, Lottie is very good at three things: Eating, Bouncing and Sleeping. The eating isn't really a problem (although she ate a cupcake wrapper and spewed it up) but the Bouncing is truly terrifying. She's about 6 kgs at the moment, and just over a foot long (not counting tail), but when she bounces towards you, its hard to know whether you're going to be licked or nipped or both. The Bouncing lasts for about half an hour, then is followed by a long nap, which lead several members of my family and friends to comment that Lottie and I have similar sleeping skills - we can nap anywhere, anytime.

For proof:
Lottie, napping in her bed, which she is now sort of too big for!

Lottie and I, napping on the kitchen floor at 6am. Excuse my ludicrous pjs and hair. I have gotten a haircut recently, and no longer look like a gothic haystack.

Lottie, napping next to my leg. The flash woke her up for all of 30seconds.

Lottie, napping on my mother's lap and doing her best kangaroo impression.

Lottie, napping on my legs. After she slid off my lap, she stayed like this for half an hour.

Lottie, napping on mum's lap, distrupting year 10 marking. She likes to have her head higher than her body when she naps.
I think its because it makes her snore.

Lottie, napping on mum's lap, side view. See how much bigger she is???

In other news, it turns out that Editors have contributed the song "No Sound But The Wind" to the New Moon (sequel to twilight) Soundtrack. I generally support soundtracks, but this just makes me cranky. It looks like its going to be worse than the last movie. But the main thing upsetting me is that Tom Smith wrote this song after reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, not some wretched vampire story. Pah. I thought Death Cab for Cutie were bad enough, turns out The Killers are involved too. See ?? Is it just me, or does this reek of something rotten?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

november is for parties

J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" opens with a discussion about the habits of Hobbits, particularly concerning their birthdays. For Hobbits it is tradition to give presents on one's birthday instead of receiving them. My friend Bre does that with mixtapes quite often, I try to do the same with cake, and now the Amazing Amanda Atkins is doing the same, but in a very big way.

To celebrate her upcoming November birthday, as well as the fact that it's November, and we've all practically made it through a year, Amanda is doing a portraiture give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog, Amanda Atkins in a Canary Forest, put a post up on your blog, and she might end up painting a portrait of you!

I've touted Amanda's artwork before - I love the vintage circus modern feel, the celebration of women, the whimsy, but especially (admittedly this is coming on the back of a very disappointing trip to the MCA) I love the fact that her artworks are genuinely beautiful and pleasing to the eye. They are obviously created with a great deal of love and care.

I hope I don't sound like I'm sucking up, but Amanda has been really lovely to "know" in the blogging world - I get a bit nervous about leaving comments sometimes, but she's always been friendly and helpful (she's provided the first lot of books on my reading list!).

Amanda also has a store you can purchase prints from, which can be found here.