Monday, December 26, 2011

Tidals

Tidings?

Nothing much happening around here.  It's a perfect Devonport summer day, which means the temperature wont get above about 22 celcius.  Nice.

Much to my surprise, the factory owner decided to close the place down for the Christmas/New Year break, which means I have a holiday of about 11 days.  Wow.  This gives me time to finish my current project.

I'm making a mat out of plaited and coiled fabric.  Started out using strips of my old clothing and then remembered that I work in a clothing factory where there are many metres of off cuts from stuff we make.  There's one company that requires stuff made from 100% merino knit.  So now I'm using that to make the mat.  The only difficulty is that every time I start working on it, it ends up covered in cats.  Here's Cilla Black making herself comfortable.


The cat hasn't so much 'sat' on the mat as sprawled all over it.  Apparently cats are fond of wool.  Fortunately Dusty Springfield isn't quite so enamoured of the mat so I do sometimes get some work done.

Anyway, I'm spending my time gardening, cat caring and mat making.  How lovely and relaxing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Twilight Zone

I've had a weird experience.  The job I was interviewed for last week is done and dusted.  Didn't get it.  That's OK.

However, the people who interviewed me told me they'd contacted all three of my referees.  I've since contacted them and they say they weren't contacted.  So who's telling the truth?

My referees are all people I've worked with for years and whom I trust.  I've been volunteering at the other place for about three months and thought I trusted the people there.  I just can't understand why anyone would lie about this.

Frankly, my money is on my marvellous referees.

I don't understand dishonesty.  I'd much rather hear the truth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Second Hand Rose

Ah well.  I've come in second for yet another job.  Got to be truthful here, I probably couldn't have afforded to do it as it was only three days a week at a very low hourly rate.  They've pointed me in possibly more lucrative directions so I'll just have to do the old dusting oneself off, picking oneself up and starting all over again, again.

In the meantime, here are the girls having fun in our back yard and that of our neighbours.

Poseurs!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Puns

I'm a sucker for puns.  A man who has a repertoire of them has me ..  So here's my favourite from today...

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him ... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is Grumpy

I get paid $17 per hour.  I work 32 hours per week.  Work it out.  It's not much.

On Friday, I was interviewed for a job with Coles.  The person interviewing me looked a little embarrassed when she said the pay rate was $19 per hour.

Frankly, it's about time that I got my shite together and challenged my employer.  He's getting away with murder,. $17 per hour is criminal, and I'm one of the best paid people in the place.

So, do I challenge this and maybe get a better rate of pay?  Or do I challenge this and get everyone a better rate of pay?  Or do I just keep on taking the shit?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Travel Adventures, courtesy of QANTAS.

God I love flying, and the landscape and skyscapes were absolutely stunning all the way to Canberra.  Here's a shot taken between Melbourne and Canberra.


Everything was sooooo green.

So the trip went well and I had a fabulous time catching up with friends and going to galleries.  I stayed with friends who occupy a penthouse (still don't quite believe that I know people who live in  a penthouse).  The views were spectacular.  Here's one looking off to the West.


Everything was going swimmingly until I got back from a party on Saturday night to hear that QANTAS had grounded its fleet.  I was supposed to fly out on the Sunday morning.  I'm still gobsmacked that the management of QANTAS took such a radical step.  I hear they have the same legal advisors as Patrick Stevedores, so I suppose it shouldn't be all that surprising.

So... I got to spend an extra two days in Canberra, which, to be honest, wasn't that much of a trauma.  It meant that I had to buy a new ticket to get home on Tuesday and the boss was thoroughly unimpressed that I wasn't at work.  I'm not particularly happy about having to take more leave.

The wash up is that I'll get the money I paid for the extra tickets refunded, thank goodness.  This will make the  credit card look a little healthier.  Apparenly QANTAS is also giving away fares, including to New Zealand, so there may be another holiday on the cards.

Unfortunately there are lots of other costs that I can't get reimbursed. I had to pay for another 3 days of cat minding and also had to go to a doctor on a Sunday to get scripts as I'd only taken enough with me for the planned trip.  There's an extra couple of hundred I didn't have to spare.

Anyway, the cats were well cared for but very happy to see me back.  I was covered head to foot in cat hair within five minutes of arriving home.

When I go away the cats are locked inside.  Dusty is a bit of an escapologist and managed to break out of the cat door so she was outside when I got home.  I suppose this is OK as she doesn't go far and she can get back in when she wants to.

They were both very pleased to get access to the back yard again, particularly as there are baby sparrows around.  Here they are attempting to be surreptitious and stalking a baby bird - without success as they are both belled.


So the family is back together, I'm back at work and life continues.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Back at one of the homes

I'm going to Canberra tomorrow.  First time in two years and I'm pretty excited about seeing lots of people.

Have realised that I've swapped a crappy lifestyle and great job with a great lifestyle and a crappy job.  Hmmm.  You can't have everything.

In the mean time, I dobbed the employer in for unsafe work places.  The place was inspected the other day.  They phoned me on Monday to let me know that they didn't want to be too picky as it might lead to the owner closing the place down.  Frankly, this wouldn't bother me, but there are about 10 other people working there that probably need the job, so I wont push it.

Will spend the weekend going to parties and drinkies with mates.  So looking forward to it.  There are loads of people I love and miss in Canberra.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Honey Eaters

My next door neighbour's front gutter seems to have a blocked down-pipe.  This probably doesn't sound particularly exciting, but it is.  It means that the gutter is always full of water and hence full of birds having baths.  Here's a New Holland Honey Eater fresh out of the bath.


I love watching them.  About six pm is the best time and now that we have daylight savings I get to see lots of activity.

The next shot does, in fact, show the bird in the bath but it's a bit of a blur.  I've included it as the backdrop is the view across the river, which is nice.


So it's nice seeing a bit of the wildlife having some fun.

In the interim I am still applying for jobs left right and centre.  One day I'll get a job with a better outlook.

I took the risk by leaping down here.  Now it's nearly two years since the move.  I'm happy with everything bar the job, so that sounds like a success to me.  The garden (one of the main reasons for coming here) is spectacularly gorgeous and I'm enjoying seeing birds sitting in bushes and trees I planted less than two years ago.  What a privilege.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two things

My mate, Ampersand Duck, has a bit of a thing about typewriters.  So I thought I'd post this:


My brother gave me this years ago.  It's in its box and folds up all ready to carry around.  It's a beautiful piece of machinery.  I have no idea how old it is but it must be early twentieth century. 

In the mean time, I thought I'd treat myself and went to the garden place last weekend to get some veg for the season.  Someone there obviously had several trees/bushes which were producing gorgeous flowers.  They were selling bunches for $3 a pop. 


So I have fresh flowers in the house which is a bit unusual.  Fantastic to have a Waratah in the house.  And I'm very pleased that it matches the gorgeous quilt in the background made by my mother.

The table underneath belonged to my grandmother.  I didn't know her, but it's great to have a little bit of her life in mine.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saving Daylight

It'a always a bit of a shift when daylight savings starts.  It 'gets late early' as my mother says.

Today I was invited to a mega veg cooking class and lunch.  The food was fantastic.  I was invited by one of the women from work.  It's strange, but I see three of the people from work outside of work, but getting them all together in one place would be pretty difficult.  They are very different people.

In the mean time, here's an embroidery I did years ago.  It's based on Elizabethan costume and a weird etching I done done.  It was a combination of computer stuff, etchings, printings and embroidery.


And for a bit of novelty, here are some gorgeous creatures I picked up in Wagga a couple of years ago.
They're lovely.  Made of plastic and wire.  I think they were made in Africa.  The images behind them are from me, and the thing in the frame is a beautiful silverpoint drawing Ruth Hingston http://www.craftact.org.au/portfolios/artist.php?id=285 . She does gorgeous stuff.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gotta love spring

Life continues to surprise me.  I had no idea that high blood pressure made you feel like not doing anything.  I just thought I was a slack bastard. 

Anyway, these days I have loads more energy.  I've decided to make Fridays my giving back day.  I'm volunteering with a local arts organisation and really enjoying it.  Thought I'd make the next step and become a blood donor.  Ah well, it appears that my various health 'issues' need to be sorted out and approved before I give blood.    It's still possible, but I need to get the doctors approval before I do so.

In the mean time, the garden is f*n wonderful.  Mowed the lawn this afternoon and the place looks like a park.  One of the lovely things about gardening here is that we have bumblebees.  I'd never seen them before I moved here.  They are are pretty impressive.  Here's one fertilising my broad beans (which are just setting pods, whoopee).


Sorry about the quality of the photo, but it was moving too fast.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spring is utterly sprung

I used to think that spring was a bit too garish and overblown.  That came from living in Canberra where a lot of the year is brown.  Spring was just too much of a contrast.  Now I'm in Tas and there's lots of green around all the time, I'm really enjoying spring as it means blossoms and blossoms and blossoms and life.

Here's a little shot out of the lounge room window:


Don't look too closely as there are many cobwebs and weeds in the view.  Mind you, one of the things that sold me on this house is that window.  I love it.  And I can see most of Mount Roland out of it sometimes.  If only the house across the road wasn't there, I'd have a fantastic view.... 

I'm pretty lucky.  I can see the ocean from the kitchen window and can see the Spirit of Tasmania as she arrives and leaves.  There's something incredibly calming about that.

Best thing today is that I have my sewing machine back ($400 later!).  This means I can get going on the machine embroidery again.  I'm itching to get back to it.  I love doing work about windows and what can be seen in and out of them.  The above might be an inspiration.  In the interim,  here's an old one:

My new work arrangement of only doing four days a week is working out fabulously (although financially it's a bit of a disaster).  I have so much more energy.  Today I got heaps of stuff done and also volunteered for work with Tasmanian Regional Arts.  It's about time I made some connections.

Speaking of connections, last weekend I went out.  This is unusual for me as I can be a bit of a hermit. I was sitting in a pub waiting for people to arrive and feeling a bit strange sitting on my own, so I crashed a table.  It was fantastic.  Met a bunch of really interesting people - all Kiwis choosing to live in NW Tas.  I love that people from all over the world end up living on this little island and can understand why they choose to do so.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Murphy's Law

Had a fun day on Monday.  Went out to the back step to sit in the sun while I had my morning coffee only to discover a bit of a plumbing problem.  Seriously backed up sewerage.  So, I called work and said I wouldn't be in and waited for the plumbers to arrive.  They turned up and needed access to the back yard for their vehicle, so I moved my car into the street.  All good.  Half an hour later the drain was functioning again.  I decided to leave the car where it was as this is a pretty safe neighbourhood.

Later in the day after dark,  I was sitting in the studio and fartling around with the computer, as one does.  There was a knock at the door so I answered.  It was the neighbour from across the road.  Always good to see her.  Anyway, she told me that she had just backed into my car.  Oops.

We both went out to have a look at the car.  Couldn't see much damage but it was dark by this time, so I decided to go and get a bit more light to check out the damage.  Trotted off to the front door only to find the bloody thing was locked.  Oh bugger. 

Fortunately, my bedroom window was open so we broke in.  I had to get a leg up, which reminds me of how unfit I am and also of how insecure my house is.  Ah well.

On another topic, today I organised with the company owner to only work four days a week.  Will use my Fridays to do arty and hopefully dosh producing stuff.  It was driving me nuts to sit around for  eight and a half hours a day doing nothing.  This is better for the boss, but will be a struggle financially for me.  With a bit of luck, I'll find something else soon.

So today I'm fiddling in the garden sorting out the veg patch.  It is a fabulously beautiful spring day, so am enjoying it all.  Strange how it feels incredibly invigorating to not be at work on a week day.

Also dropped past the place where I narrowly missed out on my dream job.  It appears that the person they chose isn't quite working out.  Hmmmm.  Fingers crossed she'll move on and they'll call me.

In the mean time, the cats are keeping me amused.  And here they are:

I seriously want to come back as one of my own cats.  Golly I'm a good cat parent.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wodehouse

So, finally, today I got around to downloading some ebooks.

I've been meaning to read a bit of PG Wodehouse.  Have been told it's amusing and have seen one or two of the Fry and Laurie dramatisations, which were amusing.

So while I'm at work, with bugger all to do, I thought I'd at least find something occupying to do - rather than play solitaire for eight hours straight.

Must say that I enjoyed the experience.  The stuff I downloaded was free and legal (apparently).  And I got a few out loud laughs at the situations described.  LOL?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day by day

Here's a little shot out of the lounge room window


Not sure what type of bird it is, but there are a few of them around.  Might be a Silvereye.  

My neighbour's house is a little downhill from me so I get to see their gutter.  Fortunately for me, their gutters are ferked, which means water collects.  The birds love it, so I get to see them all having a bath.  There are New Holland Honey Eaters, Blackbirds and other mysteries.  Love it.

Still sitting on my bum doing much of nothing at all at work.  Last week I even asked the boss to sack me.  No response.  So today I'm applying for a job as a 'Funeral Arranger'.  Suppose that used to be known as a funeral director.  I think I could cope.  I found a friend dead once.  Not a pleasant experience, but I think it gives me an idea of what it's like to live with death.  I reckon I could do a good job at this...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Playing

I'm playing with bits and pieces. Here's a print I did years ago.


It features an embroidery hoop. Not sure what to do with it.  Will work on it.....  Might be fun to embellish...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Home again jigadijig

Went to Darwin last week for my father's 80th birthday.  Stayed with the parents in their new retirement village type home.  It's a nice place, but it's in Darwin.  The neighbours are about a metre away and everyone keeps their windows open.  Not that I have anything to hide, but I don't want to share THAT much.

On Sunday I went for a walk on Casuarina Beach, which was lovely.  Saw this while I was there:


It's the replica of the Endeavour.  Just a bit funny to see it off the coast in a place I always think of as quite behind in time.

Also while at the beach I saw people flying kites, fishing and tandem parachuting.  Not bad for a one hour visit.

The best thing about the beach was that I noticed the tide coming in.  I decided to sit on a rock and wait til the water got to my ankles.  This took about 3 minutes, so I changed my deadline.  Stayed there til it got to my knees.  The water was blood temperature and absolutely clear.  Golly I enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ya get what ya get.

Life is challenging, and this is a bit annoying.   It would be marvellous to just have everything land in my lap, but that isn't going to happen.

In the last few weeks I've had interviews for some wonderful jobs - and have come in second or third for all of them.  Unfortunately, there are no silver or bronze medals when it comes to jobs.  You get 'em or you don't.

In the mean time, I've discovered that I currently have a top level blood pressure reading of about 210.  210 over something else.  The doctor looked a bit frightened so I suppose this isn't a good thing.  He seemed to think I was about to drop over with a stroke.  Not fun for either of us.

So, I'm getting on with enjoying the company of cats.  One of whom is still watching Miniscule:


I've never had a cat who watched TV before, and had previously thought that she wasn't the sharpest knife in the kitchen, but she's proven me wrong.

I do like to be mistaken.

Monday, June 20, 2011

White Cat

Well, I've actually done a little drawing tonight, and here she is:


Inspired by my not white cats.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Further

Further to yesterdays rave for MONA, I forgot to mention that there are dedicated rooms for Anselm Kiefer 

Here's the work they have: 


and to Brett Whiteley

Love Brett Whitely.  Fantastic use of blues and line.  Gorgeous.

All of this got me a bit excited.

The Kiefer room is a revelation.  It's at the end of a long dark tunnel and then all of a sudden you are in a light filled room with that piece.  Fabulous.

It's all left me quite artified and inspired.  No offence to the Devonport Regional Gallery, but I've been a bit starved of arty stuff for quite some time.  So it was wonderful to be totally immersed in the experience.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MONA

Had to go to Hobart for that marvellous girly thing, the boob squish.  Anyway, boob squishing turned out fine so I had a bit of time to go and check out MONA.  This is a gallery opened in January this year.  It's all funded by private (allegedly gambling) money and, frankly, it's bloody wonderful.

The stuff ranges from 3,000 year old pots (that are spectacularly beautiful) to stuff produced in the last year or two.

My favourite thing was a spectacularly beautiful installation made of dandelion seeds and a stuffed bird.  Sorry, can't quite work out how to post it and the photo from the gallery isn't quite right.  May not be possible.  I've just checked out her website and nothing really does the work justice.

But all that is a bit of fluff.  The place is incredible.  I wanted to see the rock wall that was left by digging out the space to build the gallery.  It's built into the side of a hill and there's very little to show for it above ground.  Being a bit of a gardening tragic, I was really impressed by the landscaping.  Hey, I've planted some of those things in my own miniscule garden.

The collection is really gob-smacking.  As a former archaeology student, I loved all of the ancient things, and they are really beautiful in their intricacy.  Some of the contemporary stuff is really gorgeous - but that is inadequate to describe it.  I don't think I can do it justice.

One of the really wonderful things about the museum is the way you get information about the artworks.  There are no plaques on the wall describing stuff.  When you enter the gallery, you're given an iPod.   When you are interested in detail about the work, you click buttons on the iPod and info comes up.  I really like that there are no descriptive things on the wall.  It looks much better.  Great for curators.  But it also means that you're not distracted by little plaques.

And then you can save your wander around the museum and they e-mail it to you and let you know which bits you missed!  I got an email with a moving map and all the deets of the things I'd seen, where I'd been and what I'd missed.  ORSUM!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is this art?

Time to get back to making arty things.

Here's a drawing that sold last year.


Can't help myself but I have to draw weird cat things.

I'm back to the easel tonight. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Step back in time

Sorry, Kylie, but I need to borrow the title.

Been feeling a bit sorry for myself of late because of missing out on the job and losing the kitten, but have realised that this means that I have merely gone back to my situation of about six weeks ago.

So..  Onward and upward. 

There's another job to apply for in the paper today.  After about 50 knockbacks it wont really matter if I get it or not.  However, I'm considering lying about the level of my 'Tasmanianness'.  Seems like I always lose out to a local.  Clearly I haven't been here long enough and nor do I know enough people.  Quals and experience seem to be a bit irrelevant so I may have to lie.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is a terrible mother

A few weeks ago I posted about getting a new kitten.  It was so exciting.  As I type this she's watching the script unroll across the screen.  The monitor is covered in kitten footprints as she's chased the curser and the text happening. 

Here she is:


Now I'm going to do something dreadful to her.

Right now I have three cats.  Two big 'uns and a little 'un.  They aren't getting on, so I've decided that little one needs a new home.ZZZZZZZZ  (Little cat just typed that.)  She is such a gorgeous little creature, but she spends most of her time avoiding the older cats as they bully her horribly.   When she interacts with me, she sits on my shoulder as I walk around the place and she purrs incredibly loudly.  But when the other cats are around she hides in the laundry and wont come out until they've gone elsewhere.

So I've posted on Freecycle and someone has responded.  She sounds really keen.  But I'm so nervous about giving a kitten away. (As I typed that the kitten chased the text and fell sideways.  She's a character.)  I really hope she's going to a good home, but I wont know.

Most people would say 'She's a cat'.  'Get over it', but I'm an enormous sook and want all little creatures to have a good life.

Oh, and I didn't get the job.  Need to have a major rethink about all sorts of stuff, not just the cat companions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Que Sera Sera

For the last few weeks I've been focused on a job that I really wanted.  Everything's been put on hold a bit while I waited to find out whether the job came through.

The advert for the job happened.  I got all of the info necessary and wrote my application.  The list of stuff they wanted could've been written to suit my quals and experience.

Last week, I was interviewed for the job.  It wasn't a good experience.  I think I was just too desperate.  They told me that there would be a result by today.  I've heard nothing, so I assume that I did not get the job.

I took an enormous leap to move here - mostly for the fact that I could (theoretically) own a house and garden. Of course this all depended on getting a job to pay the mortgage.  The job I have at the moment pays an amount that means that 50% of my income goes on the mortgage.  This wasn't what I expected.

Given that the dream job doesn't appear to have materialised, it looks as though I have some big decisions coming up.  I can't afford to stay here if I don't get a better paid job.  That means selling up and finding somewhere else for the three cats and I.

One of the options is going to live in Darwin with my brother.  That would be rent free.  But I left Darwin 30 years ago because it was awful.  I know it's changed, but the climate sucks.  I find it hard to 'do' hot weather.

Anyway, all of this is a whinge and I really don't want to do that.  Just a bit sad that things aren't looking like working out and I'll need to make some further sacrifices.  Boo hoo.  It's a bugger being a middle aged single woman.

But having just watched the 'New Inventors' I understand that I'm bloody lucky not to need any of the inventions they just featured - wheelchair, specs and IV pole.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Always hoping for the best

Had an interview the other day for my dream job.  Not quite sure how it went.  Felt as though I ran off at the mouth a bit.  Who knows.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Press

I really, really, really want a table press.

I love monoprinting and would love to do lots of it. Here's a little bit of a play I did a few years ago:


I know it's not the Mona Lisa, but I really enjoyed the way the brush strokes came through.  Not actually representative of what I want to do.   I'm probably a bit more likely to do stuff that looks like other stuff. This was done with oil paints and some bits of plastic.  It was done in about five minutes to show a class how the technique works.

Would love to be able to do some work that I took a bit more time over.   Does anyone know someone with a spare press?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weird old cat lady

I've just done something very silly.  I went to the pet shop today to buy a new collar for Dusty and ended up acquiring a new cat - and here she is:


It was good of her to pose in front of one of my paintings.

The situation now is that there are two grown up cats at one end of the house, and a baby black cat at the other.  She's getting more relaxed and no longer flinching when I reach out to pat her.  Still no name, but there've been a couple of good suggestions.

It's always been my ambition to be a weird old cat lady and it looks as though I'll get there sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dusty and Miniscule

Just a quick post.

I'm really enjoying the time between 6.55 and 7.00pm at the moment.

This is when the ABC shows an animated series called 'Miniscule', and Dusty is addicted.  It's a show featuring animated insects with fun sound effects.  She comes in to the studio when the theme music starts.  She makes it pretty hard for me to see the show.  That's fine.  I enjoy watching her watching it.


She's also very fond of 'Meerkat Manor'.  (I prefer the version narrated by Bill Nighy, just because he's marvellous.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sorely tempted

My dream job might be advertised this weekend.  I know it's coming up and I'm crossing all appendages that I'll at least get an interview.

The job is ideal because it's about promoting art in the community.  I am really passionate about making art accessible to everyone.  Art should help to form the soul of communities.  In  fact it does just that.  People don't see how much they are exposed to art, design and general creativity in every day life.  All the computer design, streetscapes, shop windows, newspapers and magazines, house and street designs, everything on the internet, blah, blah, blah are the result of someone having an idea.  Admittedly the ideas aren't always good.

A while ago, I ran a small gallery in country New South Wales.  One of the goals I set for the place was to make art accessible to everyone.  It would be great if people understood that they can own good original art for about the same price as a print bought from Hardly Normal or a print shop.  I promoted the work of local artists in a street shopfront. 

Art should not be a means of separating people.  It should be a source of enjoyment and in some cases  unite people.  This doesn't mean it should never be confronting.  There's plenty of room for that.  I just believe that it should be a part of everyone's life and that it shouldn't be a part of any artificial barriers in class, money or anything else.  I believe that much of the art 'culture' has set up structures that divorce the community from the enjoyment to be gained from original art.

So there.  That's what I think.

In the mean time, here's a pic of one of the cat's and I.


We both have impressive dark eyebrows.

Oh. And the reason I am sorely tempted is that I spent most of the day rehearsing my resignation speech to the sweatshop owners.  If I am very, very lucky, I will be out of there some time in the next month.  It's tempting to quit and see what happens, but I have a mortgage and can't yet take that leap.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dream Job

Here's a drawing I did a couple of years ago:


It's one of a series of twelve done in pastel and based on ikat dying and swedish weave designs.  Done in hard pastels on a black pastel medium base.  Really liked the series and might get back to it.

In the mean time, my dream job is about to be advertised.  It's an education and publicity job for a local arts organisation.  My generally inept attempts at local arty networking seem to have paid off.  Will apply and hope for the best.

Oh! And here's another one of those drawings:


I do love playing with colour.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oddness of the blog

This blogging thing is a bit of a weird concept.  Basically, it's diaries that can be accessed by anyone.  It's quite odd to put down one's thoughts and expect anyone else to take an interest.  I suppose we all like stories.

My story for the week isn't remarkable. Same old completely shit job.  Probably worse this week.  Another job interview.  I was one of 4 chosen for interview from 30 applicants.  That's happened many times before.  I get an interview but don't get the job.  I'm obviously doing something wrong.  At least I know I write a good application...

There's a woman at work who takes great satisfaction out of finding imaginary errors in my work.  She is extremely fussy about the printing I do and takes great joy in bringing it back to me and telling me it is not up to scratch.  I told her today that I am not paid enough to care about the stuff I'm doing.  She can knock it back as many times as she likes.  I'll just do the job again.  Maybe she will approve it and maybe not.  The funny thing is that she is the most appalling person. 

Enough said. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ubelievable

Today I saved the owner of the factory's bacon.

I've managed to overprint over 70 shirts which had been printed in the wrong colour.  The owner had approved a colour which was simply wrong.

Over printing is bloody difficult.  I'd done 62 of 300 in the right colour and today over printed 70 of the 238 which were in the wrong colour.

The client wants 150 shirts early next week.  So I've now managed to get 139 in the state in which they should be.

I told the owner that the number was now 139 in the right colour.  He grunted at me.  Nothing like a 'thanks' coming from that direction.

Thoroughly appalling person.

The good news is that I have an interview for a job in a cultural institution on Monday.

And here's the requisite image:

Thank goodness for the company of the cats.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sensible decisions

When faced with a really tough financial situation - low income and big bills - what should the responsible person do?

I know!  Buy a ridiculously expensive Tassie Oak bookcase for the studio.  Here it is:


A couple of weeks ago I decided to re-arrange a couple of rooms.  These were the studio and the spare room.  The object of the exercise was to move as much stuff as possible into the spare room while still allowing room for the inflatable bed when visitors visit.  Anyway, I ended up with two disaster area rooms.  Sent me into a bit of a tizz.

Funny how this type of situation will give you an idea of how to solve the problem and this idea must be followed through.  I decided I needed a book case for the studio.  Went trolling around furniture shops in Devonport for something appropriate.  Thought I'd pick up something cheap, but it turns out that in order to have adjustable shelves in a book case, one must spend top dollar.  All the cheap stuff had really tiny shelves and I needed space for arty books, which are very often very large.

So there we have it.  I now have a new Tassie Oak book case which both smells and looks gorgeous.  It's locally made out of local products so I can pat myself on the back about supporting the local industry.  Just hope the materials didn't come from high conservation value forests.  (Bugger.  Didn't think of that earlier.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh Dear

The challenge of doing a blue collar job with the resultant wage is making life quite difficult.

Once again, I have been seriously contemplating moving back to my home town of Darwin.

I could live there without paying rent and at a really nice place.

So I went outside to have a fag and a cogitate, and this is what I saw:


Wow. I think I'm going to be here for a bit longer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feral Rabbotts

Just found myself shrieking 'You Liar!' at the the TV as I saw Tony Abbott talking about government advertising.  This is not something I do on a regular basis.  In fact this behaviour is extremely rare.  He was suggesting that the current Australian government spends too much on advertising and that it would probably start a campaign relating to the carbon tax.  I was so shocked that I didn't even swear!

This got my goat because the Howard government, where Abbott was a minister, spent more than any other government on advertising its policies.  Anyone remember 'Unchain my heart'.   And then there was 'Work Choices'.

Fucking Hypocrite.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bowel cancer

It's been interesting to learn that one of the owners of the factory has bowel cancer.  She's the grumpiest and rudest one and she went under the knife today.  The owners told me about this and I'm not sure whether anyone else in the factory knows.  I'm sure we've all been told and have also been told not to tell anyone. Funny situation.

My response was to be very sympathetic to her parents.  They are peculiar people, but I'm sure they are worried sick about their daughter.

The three people I've known who've had this disease have all died in short order.  One was my uncle.  I'd had nothing to do with him for a long time and so regretted his death for my parents.  One was a woman who I looked up to.  We'd parted on difficult terms.  I'd written her a long e-mail thanking her for her support and admiring her abilities.  Unfortunately, my connection was stuffed at the time and it dropped off the face of the planet.  I never got to say thanks.  The third was a really good friend.  He died last year.  When I heard he was sick, I phoned and had a really good chat with him.  I think we both knew it was a goodbye chat.  I really miss him.

So I suppose that I don't expect anything good from a diagnosis of bowel cancer.

Fingers crossed for her.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New things

I've just finished my first Tasmanian commission.  Here it is:


It's a banner for a stall at an upcoming market - hanging on the washing line to dry the paint.

I was a bit naughty about this.  The client originally came in to work asking for this to be done as a screen print.  Unfortunately, the technology at the factory doesn't go beyond A4, which was obviously not going to do the trick.  I muttered, under my breath and with my back towards the owners, that I could hand paint it for her.

It's funny doing this sort of stuff.  I'm never entirely happy with the results.  I'd like to take it back and be a bit more creative and accurate with the artwork.  The context isn't important.  I'm a mega sceptic, so it's funny to be doing a banner for this type of thing.  But the client was lovely and it's nice to deal with good people.

Long story short, it's great to get back to doing this sort of thing.  It's about fifteen years since I took on commissions. I used to print hundreds of banners for festivals, and also helped to construct and paint massive (15 x 20 metres) banners for some Sydney Olympic events.  I also made bespoke wedding dresses.  In the interim, I've had a proper and well paid job and haven't needed to get out there and do this sort of thing.

Love the way life changes and moves.  I wonder what will come next.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bubbly stuff

I've mentioned before that I've been brewing beers.  So far I've done two batches of ginger beer, one of pale ale and one of stout.  Each batch gets a name and a label based on this:


The ginger beer is 'Red Cat' 1 and 2.  The stout is 'Black Cat' and the pale ale is 'White Cat'.

So far, I haven't consumed much of the stuff, but thought I'd give it a go the other day.  I've been lovingly storing it all in cartons in the garden shed (which is damp and has lots of holes). Well, I went in to get a few brews only to find that snails have eaten most of the labels.  So now I don't know what is what.  I think it will be easy to pick the stout, but I'm not sure about the others.  I've put the latest batch in the spare room away from the snails to avoid future disasters of this kind.  (Note to self, get a job that will pay me enough to build a proper shed in the back yard.)

As for the quality of the brews, I did find a couple that had enough of the label left to identify them.  I've had a few of the ginger beers before and they are quite lovely (and a little lethal).  I tried the stout when it was very young and it tasted a lot like Vegemite.  Haven't given it another go yet.  Hopefully it has improved after sitting and brewing for a few months.

Yesterday I tried the pale ale.  It was absolutely disgusting.  I'm going to have to turf the lot.  I think it must've picked up a bug or something.  Normally, when the brew is in the vat, you can smell the air coming out of it through the air lock.  It's nice to have the ginger or whatever scent in the laundry.  I should've been alerted to the possibility of a problem with the pale ale by the fact that the air coming out of it smelled a lot like poo.  The smell improved by the time it was bottled, but I didn't do a sample of the flavour.  I now know better.  Early on, there was a suggestion that I should call the brews 'cat piss' and this would be truly appropriate for the pale ale.

The current brew is a cerveza (should that be thervetha?).  It's bubbling away very happily right now and the air coming out of it smells great.  Phew!  I'm working on a name and welcome suggestions.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Positive Reframe

The positive reframe and epiphany seem to have worked.  I'm really happy at the moment. (This is a very weird experience for me.) Work is still robotic, but it's only a third of my time.........

One of the things I have in my life at the moment is this:


I know what is inside this box.  I've had it for a couple of years now, but haven't had a use for the contents.  I'm just enjoying owning a brown paper package tied up with string.

Otherwise, I've had a plant spring up in the garden which wasn't there last year.  Here it is:


Gorgeous ginger, I think.  Got Ruby Suby in the background.  That's what I love about gardening.  Plants will always surprise you.  There are a few things in the garden currently surprising me. Must be all the rain that is getting them to sproing up.

Had some marvellous friends stay last night.  They're down here for a week to try to find a place to live.  I hope they find somewhere close to me.

It was lovely having drinkies and lovely local food with them.  Hope I've talked them into Devonport...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Considerations

Someone asked me other day whether the move to Tasmania had worked out for me.  I had to think about this for a moment and then came up with the answer that I had moved here because it was a place where I could afford to buy (with a mortgage) a house and garden.  I moved from this:

This was on a property outside of Canberra and I rented it for $140 per week.  Not much to look at, but the views were spectacular and I got to create the garden.

I realised that I had achieved my goal.  I'm very happy with this little house and am working on the garden and enjoying such mundane things as keeping the lawn mown.  Here it is a few months ago:


The climate here is fantastic.  It never gets really hot or really cold.  This is a distinct difference to Canberra, where I spent the previous 30 years.  It's also far more liveable than Darwin, where I came from originally.

Oddly enough, for someone born in Darwin, I have always wanted to live in Tasmania, and am very happy that I'm here.  The food is fantastic and the place is beautiful.  The cats and I are really enjoying the place.

The only caveat is the job.  I didn't expect to be working in a factory for minimum wage.  A bit naively, I didn't know such places still existed.  I assumed all workplaces kept up with the times.  You know what I mean.  Things like industrial relations, people using things like e-mail to communicate, facilities for staff, being civil to one another and treating everyone in the workplace with respect.  I like most of the people there, but it is a very strange place.

I'm sure I'll get a proper job eventually.  I have a day off on Friday and intend to spend it nagging people at the local TAFE to give me some teaching work.  I have to find something else soon as I'm currently paying half of my salary on the mortgage.  This is more an indicator of appalling rates of pay than a massive mortgage.  It's not a sustainable situation.

In the mean time, I'm establishing connections in the local arty community and keep on applying for work. 

Something will turn up.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Robotic Times

I'm still working in the factory.  As I've said before, I'm trying to do a positive reframe, and, at the moment, this is working.

Having a job is a good thing when I also have a mortgage.  I'd love to spend all of my time growing things, but this isn't what is happening for me at the moment.

My sh*t stirring with the awards etc can only lead to my being harder to sack.

Had a moment with the owner the other day.  Apparently, one of the people from a school didn't like the colour I'd printed the logo on their shirts (high fashion. They clearly need to be treated with the greatest respect and absolute accuracy.).  They wanted the colour 'bottle'.  I used the jar of ink marked 'bottle'.  Thought this should do the trick.  Apparently not.  The owner came in to tell me that my work wasn't up to scratch.  I showed him the jar of ink I'd used - labelled 'Bottle' (btw that probably isn't an actual colour.)

Funny really that everyone is an expert when it comes to colour.  I use the tubs of ink that are labelled a particular colour, but am often told that this is not what is required.  Sadly, I spent four years getting a degree in art, and then another ten teaching art and design.  This is not sufficient for working as a robot in a clothing factory. 

Unfortunately, I didn't develop my psychic skills to understand what random people might understand by the names for random colours.  So now I'm writing a guide for the person who takes over my job, so that they might avoid these problems.

Bottom line is that I am trying to do a good job, but the environment doesn't allow this to happen.

In the mean time, here's a lovely cat picture.  (I've decided that I cannot post without an image.)


I'm very grateful for the company of my cats.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Raggin'

Ah.  Couldn't help myself.

Was confronted by the owner the other day with a shirt that I had printed.  'Are you happy with this?' he said.  I replied 'Not particularly'.  Then I explained about the defficiencies of the mesh and the requirements of the ink.  High cover inks need 43T mesh, not 70T.  Screen printers will know what this means.  He walked away after telling me they'd done it effectively for 20 years and my work was not up to scratch.  Then he and his wife packed up all the shirts to send to the school.  They obviously weren't that bad.

Hennyway.. This gave me the irrits.  So the next day,  I took documents to work.  I took the National Employment Standards, the Award, the document supposed to be given to everyone within weeks of starting work  (which I'd never seen before) and the current pay scales for our industry.  I left them all on the table in the 'tea' room.  These are all required (by law) to be provided, but haven't been. So I've actually done the owner a favour and kept him within the law by providing the information.

One of my colleagues came to tell me later that she had been told by the owner that there were no longer levels for pay in the award.  The stuff I provided clearly showed that this was complete rubbish.

Most hilariously, one of the owners went into the tea room and took the pay scale page.  This was achieved by folding up the page and stuffing it up her jumper.  The page was later returned.

In the mean time, I have discovered that many of my work mates are being paid even less than I am.  I can't survive on my salary.  I don't know how they cope.  I know some of them have other jobs.  This is just wrong.

After the owners found my contribution, there was much slamming of doors and grumbling and checking of my work.  I thought (hoped!) that I would be sacked.

I'll deviate here and just say that I've come to understand that people expect from others that which they assume for themselves.  Dishonest people assume everyone else is dishonest.  Mean people assume everyone else is mean.  Idiots like me assume everyone else has everyone else's best interests at heart.  Man!  I try to be a bit aware, but I just assume kindness.  And it isn't there.

Thank Ceiling Cat (thanks Car) for the moon:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Terrible stuff for the Queenslanders

Those poor people in Queensland.  How awful to see it coming.  I know they've got years of stuff to go through before life gets back to something approaching normal.

I've put in a photo here because I know what it's like to live through a natural disaster.


This is what my family's house looked like after Cyclone Tracy.  The house was on top of the piers.  The big blocky thing on the right is the kitchen sink.  That's me in the flairs.  I'm standing in the lounge room.  And yes, I know there are no walls.  You can see a big hole in the wall of the shed under the house which was where someone else's roof came through.  It broke my brother's arm and my hand.

It always breaks my heart to hear about other people going through this type of thing.   It's hard to know what to say.

Oh.  And here's what it looked like before the cyclone.  That's dad downstairs.


Amazing how quickly things can change.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sweat shopping

It's really funny that my friends all refer to my workplace as 'The Sweatshop'.  I suppose that's what it is, but I've decided to do a positive reframe (pardon the 1980's jingo).  I'm very pleased that I have a job, even if it does pay less than what I need to pay my mortgage and to also feed myself and the cats.

In order to help ends meet, I'm brewing my own alcoholic beverages.  Just put on a new brew of Coopers Ginger Beer.  The first lot is just about ready to drink as it's been sitting in its bottles for about three months now.  Must start consuming it, but I'm a bit worried about the possibly excessive alcohol content.  Ah well.  As my mother says "Suck it and see". This is marginally funny in this context as she is a teetotaller.  I'm sure she never had home brew in mind when she said this.

Today has been absolutely gorgeous.  Cat's and I have enjoyed a bit of outside time.  The best news is that there was only a little bit of madness from the dog next door. She still goes nuts at me every now and then but I can cope.  By going nuts, I don't mean the occasional bark.  I mean roaring, growling and snarling.  She would probably be a good guard dog if she had anything other than me to look at.  Unfortunately, I'm the only thing she sees.  Her owners don't spend a lot of time with her, so I suppose she's a bit bored and needs something to do.

Anyway, there is a distinct improvement in the ambience of my back yard.  Even got to mow today without too much fuss, but I'm still a little nervous about going to the compost heap.  Bloody tragic.

So here's a little bit of the back yard activity of late:

Dusty on the fence
Back to work tomorrow and I hope there is lots to do.