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17 May 2020 @ 01:04 pm
Hi Friends, LJ Users, Nigerian Scammers, Russian Bots and sundry others!
Thanks for taking a moment to read my sticky post on friending.

On the whole, there's no need to friend me if you just want to read my fics, since they are posted unlocked. In fact, most of my locked posts are me ranting about the state of the world (usually from a politics or media slant) or some such.

Generally, I am a ready friender. If you friend me and you have entries in your livejournal or have commented on some of my posts, you can usually expect to be friended back, unless:
* There are no entries in your LJ.
* I do not recall us ever having 'spoken' online (given how selective my memory is, you should probably assume this.)
* Your LJ is written wholly in a language I do not speak (pretty much anything that is not English, or French or Italian (both of which I speak poorly), or German, Spanish, Latin, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Welsh or Irish (all of which I have a smattering of and enough reference books to get the gist.) (Though if your journal is in actual Latin as opposed to Lorem Ipsum, I will probably immediately friend you on principle.)
* Your journal consists of several entries a day concerning My Little Pony, school and whether your hair looks better in plaits, pigtails, or with a fringe pouf. You are probably adorable, but should not be subjected to my occasional flocked rants.

SO, if you've friended me (thanks!) and I've not friended you back, just drop a brief line saying 'Excuse me, oh vague and neglectful one, could you friend me back please?'

I can't guarantee that I will ever have time to be a good lj friend, but I will try and provide you with amusing content and I always try to read my whole flist. Well, the stuff before the cut at any rate.
01 January 2020 @ 04:42 pm
For me to keep track of!Collapse )
21 July 2014 @ 12:54 am
I have a lot of complex analysis to offer on current world events, but most of it boils down to this classic sign:
In other news, we have a house! It's, er, odd. It's weatherboard, which will be a first for me, but it is large and light and has a massive covered deck at the back. Or, as I refer to it, my future tapdancing studio. It might be fabulous or we might be moving again in a year. I have an agreement that next house WILL be an Edwardian treasure. We move next week, I apologise in advance for the whining.

In other other news, HAPPY BIRTHDAY queerbychoice! I hope that this year is nothing like last year. May you be surrounded only by sane people and may all your plants thrive.

Happy birthday, too, to ellie_nor. I hope that all the present fairies are catching a cab to your place, too laden down to fly!
10 July 2014 @ 12:33 am
Happy Birthday, nenne! Your life always sounds so full of joy and love, and I hope that today is especially so! I hope that this year is splendid for you, you delightful human of insight and kindness!

You would be dying of laughter at me today: it is 12 degrees C and I am freezing. Oh, for a Scandinavian house with insulation and draughtproofing!

09 July 2014 @ 02:03 am
A far too quick for the pages of love she deserves Happy Birthday to oldenuf2nb! From the first time I met you, I was pleased to know you and that has naver changed. You are so talented, kind and brilliant. I hope this birthday is one of your best and heralds a year of things going exactly as you want them to or only enchantingly awry for you and those you love.

And now to bed. Two hours late. Because we noticed there were some new local houses listed, so we donned coats, gloves and beanies (it is actually cold in Sydney at the moment!), stealthed our way to a few nearby addresses, then enacted the ritual of me standing with one hand up at one end point of a structure, while Mr B stood at the other and shone the glowing red dot of a laser measuring device at my hand.

We had done this twice when I caught his eye and saw him starting to giggle. 'That's right,' I said. 'We are hardcore. Nighttime Ninja househunters!'

And then we had to run away before anyone thought we were either burglars or assassins. Or, more likely, he woke them with the cackling.

One prospective is 40m from here. We could finally move via handtrolley and cargo bike, which has been a lifelong dream of mine! Soon. Soon it will be done!
05 July 2014 @ 06:14 pm
We had plans to be in Canberra this weekend. Alas, househunting it was! But only three, because we had pre-culled our list of potentials.

The first place ticked a lot of boxes: quiet streets, four minutes from the train, three minutes from the bus, lovely big verandah to sit on at the front, sunny garden at back, front and side, plain but large rooms. The current tenants were still there and we had just started to chat with them about their magnificent dog when a plane went overhead. The house shook. We looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a peak in … no, hang on, with abject horror. Yes, that's the one.

Seeing our expression, he leaned forward and whispered, 'ALL DAY!' His partner checked to see the agent was well out of earshot and added, 'And the next-door neighbours shriek and stomp.'

'Oh dear,' I said. 'We are a quiet people …'

'Us too,' they replied. 'That's why we're moving.'

So no to that house, but I would have loved to take the dog: Great Dane crossed with black laborador. Huge and huggy!

The next house was brilliant. Classic Edwardian with leadlight glass, mouldings and railings throughout. Good garden filled with epiphytes and woodland plants. Small kitchen and bathroom, but wholly usable, second lavatory, a glassed-in verandah at the front that would be perfect for the cats, a mad warren of rooms that would fit in all our bookshelves and allow for everyone to have space for everything – and every one had doors opening onto each adjacent door, so endless games of Find the Cats or Human. There was even a massive reception hall, which baffled Mr Brammers: 'Why is this room tiled?' 'It's a reception.' 'What do you do in a reception?' 'It, er, receives!' Now that I think on it, they are not an Australian 'thing'. But ample room for three or four bikes on top of everything else!

The one downside: transport. The nearest train station is a 17-minute walk, with the nearest shops a minute beforehand. I know this sounds like nothing to most people, but we don't have a car, and on days when my foot is bad, anything over 10 minutes at a time can be a bit of a struggle. Normally I would just ride, but it is on a very busy street, without straightforward alternatives.

I'm still on the fence about that one, though Mr Brammers has it as a no. But there were several couples with young children there who would adore growing up in such a crazy, wonderful home. If we decide against it, I hope it goes to one of them! Especially to the nice ones who clued us in to the presence of the Light Rail nearby.

Mr Brammers later took said Light Rail out to look at the outside of another house near that one. 'Let me know how it goes,' I said. 'Maybe it will mean the crazy house is possible?' He texted me shortly after. The tram he was on had broken down. Oops.

Today's third option was clearly designed for Oompa-Loompas, as the stairs were too small for even my feet. Easy no.

I have found the perfect place in theory, but it is yet to be shown and we have no details for its opening days. I am, therefore, acting as though there is no hope of us getting it. Obviously, I am still hoping like wild!

And now, off to pack a few more boxes. Oh my fascinating life!! (I am so sorry! I promise to write something interesting as soon as things are more sorted!)
I have remembered why we have spent the last 13 and 3/4 years not moving. If only I had spent the same amount of time not buying books!

I have packed four boxes, culled another box-ish of books I can let go of, and wrapped up all the kitchen pans we use rarely so they can be tossed into a box easily.

And looked at SO MANY HOUSES! As yet, there has been no perfect house. There was one that was rather good, but it is expensive, and the kitchen is frankly rubbish. The genuinely pleasant agent is  wooing us: they are redoing the kitchen and the rear decking, we should commit! But Mr B is balking at the price despite the fact I will cover most of it. Probably wise: my spare dollars should be spent on travel! (And possibly the occasional book.)

The places we are looking at this week are all further away from Erskineville, which makes me sad when it comes to my beloved village, but they have room for vegetable gardens and perennial borders! Which is one hell of a compensation!

Naturally, it is now that my snowdrops have all burst out in the front garden here. I wonder how they would cope with me digging them up and slapping them in a pot?

House-hunting does make you worry about your fellow human beings. There was the wonderfully converted old shop that had a magnificent bathroom that you reached by going into the main bedroom. It is a three-bedroom house.

'Sorry, guests, no weeing for you! We are shagging and while you will be protected from the view by a bit of wall, the sound effects will forever destroy our friendship.'

Then there was the one where every large room had been transected by a fresh wall. MORE ROOMS! With, er, less room in them. And a piano in one. Which is staying.

I admit, it was a tiny bit tempting.

The 'huge entertaining space' that would not have allowed for the kitten to be swung, let alone either of the cats.

The beautiful period masterpiece that had a splendid garden and sensitive renovations that integrated smoothly and was open to the idea of pets, but $100 a week more than even I could really think sensible. I really should have just rung around to find a regular freelance gig for that one.

The 'close to transport and shops' location, with 'inner city vibe' that is in the suburbs, and admittedly five minutes from the train or shops by motorway, but about half an hour by foot and 20 terrifying minutes by bike.

Anyway, we are in no rush and have several good prospects with no need to leave here before late September. Which gives me WEEKS to offload some more books.

And if you know anyone 5'10" in Sydney who wants to buy a late 1980s Miyata for around $300 (less for friends of friends), do send them my way!

I've just remembered that I owe a great deal in the way of kitten posting …
28 June 2014 @ 01:25 am
We are house hunting.

Surely there is no sentence that evokes such a combination of life-enhancing hope and soul-destroying horror?

Sadly, this means that my life outside work is filled with viewings, and the subsequent gentle chastisement of agents: 'No, I am an editor. The word "spacious" definitely has a different meaning to the one you are giving it. Let us not speak of "affordable".'

But, pollymel and sinden, Summer Hill is on our list of possible/probables, so more regular ukulele dates could be a thing!

And I watched White Nights for the first time in about 28 years. I saw a video of a recent Mikhail Baryshnikov performance and he is still grippingly brilliant, but back then he was simply astonishing.

It occurs to me that of the best male dancers of the 20th century, he is the only one we were able to see really grow old. Nijinsky died far too young and Nureyev was not strong in the last years of his life. Misha onstage as a man in late middle age changes what you think a dancer should be, and expands our definitions. I need to hunt down the name of that filmed performance: it was less than four years old and contained a table and a wonderful mature ballerina. Sounds less than thrilling, I know, but I was spellbound.

Back to the packing. Stay well, you lot! 
09 June 2014 @ 12:47 am
Horse: Neeeeeiiiiiiigh! My friends have all left me! I am bereft! NEEEEEEIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHH!

Brammers: Hello, horse. I have been told by your owner that it's fine for me to come and pat and groom you, so here I am! Come over here and let me pat you! If we get on, I will find a brush and brush you!

Horse: Do you have an apple?

Brammers: No.

Horse: Carrot?

Brammers: Sorry.

Horse: You've got grass, haven't you?

Brammers: 'fraid so. But it comes with pats and chin scratches if you get close enough!

Horse: OK, I come closer. Yay, grass. Whoopee. Note my sarcasm.

Brammers: And now, patting!

Horse: Come closer to the fence, little human!

Brammers: Come closer to the fence, big horse!

Horse: Hee hee hee! I have my revenge planned for the grass! Come just a little closer to the fence! You will love it, little human. Heee!!!! Oooh, you can reach me. Ooooh, you have nails! And you have got that bit on my chin, and neck nuzzles, oooooohhhh … I am just going to come a little closer to you …

Brammers: And I will come a little closer to you …

Fence: ZAP!!!!!!

[Which went straight from my hip out my hand and into Mr Horse]

Brammers: Fuck! I cannot believe I fell for that!

Horse: I feel betrayed. Mostly by myself.

In happier news, I got to play with a hand-reared barn owl and barking owl. Barn owls are ridiculously like kittens, with soft everything and insatiable desire for pats!
07 June 2014 @ 09:12 pm
I am in the country, and typing on my phone, so this is the lamest birthday wish ever, but I hope you are having a thoroughly fabulous day!!!
04 June 2014 @ 11:04 pm
If you're not an Aussie or Kiwi, you may not know of Doc Neeson, lead singer of The Angels.  You've probably heard one of his songs, several of them have featured on famous soundtracks over the years.

He died today, as a result of brain cancer, at the age of 67. In interviews, he had said that he sometimes did appalling things, especially when drunk. But everyone who met him had positive stories about him, and I have two.

Years ago, one of my first Sydney jobs involved working in cultural heritage. One of our buildings was down at The Rocks, and had a little garden at the back, with a popular walkway going through it.

One day, Sophie, one of my coworkers, came running in to tell me there was a fire in the garden. I looked around quickly for the fire extinguisher: it wasn't where it was meant to be. So I grabbed a bucket and a mobile phone instead (in those days, they were precious enough that we shared one between three) and ran out after her. Sure enough, there was a little fire in the dry summer mulch that covered the garden, with a lot of smoke but only a medium set of flames leaping up so far. I ran back a few steps, to the tap on the side of the building, filled the bucket, then came back and threw it over the flames. It was enough to deal with most, but not all, so I gave Sophie the bucket and told her to refill it.

While she was off managing that, I walked in with my big, heavy size 4 work boots and started stomping out little flames, muttering about bloody smokers who threw away butts in droughts. A deep voice rumbled nearby, 'Want a hand?'

'Sure,' I replied, without looking up.

A size 12 boot started stomping with me. I looked up and saw a good-looking dark-haired man, grinning a little. I grinned back and we stomped out the fire together. Sophie re-appeared with the full bucket, and stood still, gaping.

'Tall, dark-haired stranger to the rescue!' I told her. 'Thanks, stranger. Excellent stomping!'

'Not a problem,' he said.

'You're, you're, you're …' Sophie said.

The man grinned, and the attractive woman who was walking with him rolled her eyes with affection.

'That's Doc Neeson!' Sophie told me.

'He's awesome!' I said and turned to him. 'Even if I have no idea who you are aside from being a fabulous helpful kind person. But I'm foreign.'

'So was I,' he said, laughing. 'And I will totally take fabulous.'

He stayed and chatted with Sophie and me for some minutes, and was a general delight. For all the rest of the time I knew her, Sophie never stopped telling me what an ignoramus I was about the important things.

Years later, a young journo friend of mine was off on an armed forces tour of Afghanistan covering the musicians. Doc had organised much of the tour, and had been incredibly helpful to Joey before they left. While on the tour, Joey found himself suffering from the triple stresses of first time in the desert, first time in a war zone, and having to really stretch himself as a writer. But when he came back, he was enthused and calm.

'How did you deal with it all so coolly?' we asked him.

'Doc,' he replied. 'Whenever I started to have a minor freakout, he was just so generally together and cool that I decided it would be embarrassing to not try and follow suit.'

There is a brilliant programme here called Australian Story, and Doc was its subject recently. One of the people interviewed was Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, former Head of Army. I'm simply going to C&P the relevant section from the transcript below, where he talks about Doc singing in East Timor after the Australian troops had been involved in significant peacekeeping actions there in the late 1990s, because it is another fave story relating to Doc.

VOICEOVER: Whenever Doc Neeson sang the words to the The Angels classic love song 'Am I ever gonna see your face again', back came the ingenious response: 'No way, get fucked, fuck off.'
DOC NEESON: The Australian audiences in their inimitable fashion added their own part to it which is what I call the chant or sometimes the response. And it suddenly became international in its own way. It now gets sung in pubs in England. I took a band to the Middle East, they were singing it there.
SIR PETER COSGROVE, COMMANDER INTERFET 1999: Bishop Belo lent forward and looked around Jose Ramos-Horta and said to me, he used to call me ‘Mr General,’ and he said ‘Mr General, what are they singing?’ and I said my Lord Bishop, I really can’t quite make it out. And then Ramos-Horta looked at me, and I could tell that he could make it out.

Sometimes famous people also make the world a better place in small or large ways. Doc was one of those, and I am sad that he is gone, while glad he is free from pain now. He put on an unforgetable show.
03 June 2014 @ 12:02 pm
I am in New Zealand and it is as staggeringly beautiful as ever. So far I have accidentally bought the world's cutest ukulele, fed pigs, rescued a calf, chased goats and helped with maths homework. I wanted to groom something, but the calves were skittish and the sheep wholly against the idea. 
17 May 2014 @ 02:48 am
I have a young friend who will be travelling to Sicily in six weeks. This is her first big trip, and I was hoping that someone on this list would have a passing familiarity with the trains, buses, etc and be able to give her some general advice. I am kicking myself for losing contact with every actual Sicilian I have ever met …

Fingers crossed, you can comment here or email me at, and thanks in advance!
15 May 2014 @ 11:44 pm
To Dear mummimamma, the happiest of days! You are my favourite fleet-footed Moomin!

I have no other news, save that I have nearly reached the end of work hell, and that my kitten is a genius escapologist.

The other morning I poked my head out of the window to say goodbye to the cats in the run. Rusketus's reply came from above me, and was a bit urgent.

He was on the roof. The nearly 5m-high roof.

Where he had jumped to from the top of the cat-run wall, which is in itself about 3m high.

After 45 minutes of woman-handling a giant ladder, which I did not go very far up as I was on my own, luring him to a lower part of the roof and trying to convince him that the Mynah birds were not new friends as they swooped and scolded him, I finally caught him and was able to lock the cats inside and head off for work. Late.

I knew how he had made it to the top of the run: he swarms up the mesh like a sailor on the Victory and then parades up and down the wooden frame. To get back down, he jumps onto the mesh hammocks that are slung in a stepped fashion below the living room window for the cats to enter and leave the cat run. But I had been convinced the nearly 2m vertical jump from the frame to the roof would be beyond him, and so it proved. Instead, he leapt diagonally onto the guttering for the lower roof section, about 1.2 horizontal metres (4 feet) and nearly as much vertically. All with a long drop to concrete below.

That night we spent three hours 'kitten-proofing' the run. He managed to lock us out while we were at it by dint of running up and down the back screen door wailing until he kicked the latch into 'lock'. Happily, we were able to sort it from outside.

The next morning, we let them out into the run, impressed by our handiwork. He swarmed up the wall of the run and met our barrier and was stopped. We congratulated each other. He came back down and sat there investigating it for 15 minutes.

Just as I finished my hair, I heard a familiar miaow. Sure enough, when I popped my head out, there he was, on the roof.

Luckily, Mr B was still home and he is a foot taller than me, so the catching part of the story went far more smoothly, but suffice to say, no cat is going outside until we can fix it on the weekend. The older two have been showing their displeasure in vomit.

I cannot believe that with a combined age of 92, we are being out-thought by a kitten! The shame!
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12 May 2014 @ 12:01 am
By dint of spending the day outdoors and watching only broadcast news on the channel that hosts Eurovision here and so knows all about spoilers, I DO NOT KNOW WHO WON!

Unfortunately this also means that I have failed to see treacle_tartlet's messages asking whether or not we have our standard Eurodate for live chatting, so I am hoping she appears at some point. Sorry, Treacs! I was at Bunnings buying replacement laundry lighting. OH the wild and exciting life I lead!

Explosive laughter moment at the ninja flag bearers wending their way to the stadium: no matter how rogue and wild their mode of transport, not a single one crossed into the cycle lanes. I love you, Denmark. Ooh, Treacs is coming. Hurrah! Right, we descend into text speak for the traditional Brammers and Treacs do Eurovision by GChat post.
And this makes no more sense than the actual showCollapse )
10 May 2014 @ 11:16 pm
That is not a metaphor. In the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney, where many of my favourite people live, a light plane got into terrible trouble this afternoon and started spiralling towards the ground. And then it deployed its parachute. And it floated to the ground with no serious injuries and only a fence and the plane's tail as casualties.

My favourite part of the story is a quote regarding a chap at the Sydney Flying Club who was describing how the chutes are deployed and what the pilot would have done: He said it was most likely that Saturday afternoon would have been the first time this pilot would have ever used this system.

I think that is simply brilliant.

10 May 2014 @ 10:33 pm
My kitten is very unimpressed that I have the laptop in my lap and would like to know where he is meant to sit. 'Silly kitty,' I tell him. 'It's Eurovision weekend! Normal service is suspended! Crazy cakes are the order of the weekend!' Claw in my thigh for my troubles.

We open with Danish interpretive dance and light shows, and then it's straight into the contest!

15 acts, two hours of my life …Collapse )
10 May 2014 @ 08:30 pm
Yes, kids, it's that time of year again, and this is late because the telecast is delayed in Australia, and also because last night was Mr Brammers's birthday and we had guests. Who I introduced to Eurovision. They loved it. He called it one of his more surreal birthdays.

Anyway, on with the recap!

All the crazy.Collapse )

The finals will be screened in a few hours in Europe, while I am asleep. PLEASE put your posts behind a cut, because it's better to not be spoiled and there is no way I am going to get my act together to watch it online before the Aussie telecast. But I'll understand if you don't and just swear quietly at you under my breath.
03 May 2014 @ 03:57 pm
Still working like a maniac for a few more days. Had a lovely meeting where I was able to say 'WHY????!!!!' And even better, good support from the ad manager, so there is some hope.

However, Harry Potter fandom. Lovely bunch of people with some sterling writing. And some bright young spark has come up with this treat:

Which looks like a fun, friendly, low-stress and high-probability of great reads fest! Yay! I am going to try to organise my life enough to join in, because with a 500 word minimum, that's a 45 minute commitment :-)
30 April 2014 @ 11:57 pm
Today I started work at 9am, ate lunch al desko with the whole team (we had a meeting table picnic) and finished at 11.40pm.

That is all you need to know about:
a. where I have been lately;
b. my mood at this precise moment; and
c. advertising departments who sell massive ad supplements and then fail to deliver any materials in a timely fashion.

Some innocent invited me to the ad sales meeting tomorrow morning. I have a three minute window in my day, so I will spend it walking in, lecturing, and punching anyone who interrupts me. Sure, a lot of them are bigger than me, but I am fuelled by rage, righteousness and an unholy amount of dark chocolate.

See you soon. Miss you all!