The Fun Theory

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Yes, I know this is just a blatant ad for a car company, but still, it makes me smile. Consider the following:

We believe that the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it the fun theory.

Now enjoy:

Aren’t they something!

So now it’s your turn. There is a competition being run to find the next thought, idea or invention that helps prove the fun theory. And there’s prizes too – the first prize being €2,500, which is a bit over $4,000 in Oz money (at the moment anyway). That’s definitely enough to get those thinking caps on.

And there’s still plenty of time – the competition doesn’t close till Sunday 15 November 2009. In between finishing uni, NaNoWriMo, the wedding invite, learning to crochet, and restumping the house, I might just give it a go.

Visit for more information. Check out the other entries for inspiration… I’m particularly liking the Connect Four Beer Crate.

(Incidentally, if Volkswagen wants to, like, send me a car or something, I wouldn’t say no.)

Potato Queen

Thursday 22 October 2009

So I’m at the Lord Roberts Hotel for Bears on Sunday and I’m sitting at a table with Andrew and some new faces. Apparently I’d met these people the week before but I was incredibly purposely drunk then – the word “maudlin” had been used – so I had no memory of meeting these people at all. When I explained to them the reason for my previous overly-liquoured state they were perfectly understanding. Now that I think about it I can’t remember either of their names now, and I’m still on my first bottle. Anyway…

One of them was a heavy set Latino type, quite handsome in that “I shall roll my R’s at you and over enunciate each syllable as I say them as that is the way we speak in my Country of Hot Passionate Lurve” kind of way. He drew back on his American bought Malboro then leant towards me and touched my arm. “I like your tan,” he said.

I gave a short laugh. “I think you mean lack of tan,” I flipped my arm back and forth to demonstrate the complete absence of any variation of skin colour.

“Well, I suppose that is hwhat I mean,” Latino smiled, “You see, I’m hwhat they call a Potato Queen.” He hwinked winked at me.

I had to think about this. Ok, I reasoned, if a Rice Queen is someone who is sexually attracted to Asians; a Potato Queen would be someone who is sexually attracted to… umm… Vegetarians? Carbohydrates? The Irish? I gave up.

“I’m sorry,” I said to my new admirer, “You’ve got me there.”

“Hwell,” he said. “What’s the colour of the inside of a potato?”

“… White?”

He nodded. “Hwhite. I’m attracted to hwhite skinned men.” He winked at me again. “And you are very handsome.”

As a tension breaker I took the jug of beer from the table and refilled my glass. “Thank you,” I said.

Latino sucked on his cigarette. “Don’t mention it,” he said. “The pleasure’s all mine.”

He got his friend to take a picture of us. Apparently I need to work on my smile.

$10 Steak

Monday 19 October 2009

Meeting up with Ashley last Friday night so, knowing how these nights usually end, thought it wise to eat something substantial first. What better than a $10 steak from Mansions Hotel, so around I go and order my usual – medium rare, pepper sauce, chips and salad (I can tell you it’s the best there is). I’ve half drunk my schooner by the time my meal arrives. Ravenous, I dig in.

Halfway through my steak I put down my knife and fork and lean back. As I wipe the juices from my chin I catch two people from two different tables watching me: a handsome goateed Spaniard at one, and a elderly lady with pencilled eyebrows at the other. Both of them then leant towards their dinner partners and whispered something.

Now, I can’t lip read but I know exactly what they said. They said something along the lines of:

My what a handsome young man that is sitting over there enjoying his meal. And what a darling impressive moustache! It makes him look soooo…. debonair… in an Hawaiian private investigator kind of way.

People have strange eating habits. Mine, with the $10 steak, is to first eat all the steak with the salad, then swivel the chips around in the remaining gravy and eat them last, sort of as a hearty dessert. So, meat gone, I put down my knife and stirred in my chips into the pepper sauce and bloody juices. With my spare hand I reached across and grabbed my beer.

As I looked up I noticed both the dining partners now looking at me. As before, both looked away as I saw them and both then whispered something across their tables.

I didn’t mind, I knew what they were both saying. The partner of the Spaniard was saying:

Yes, he is indeed a handsome man. and that moustache – so suave, so sophisticated. Pity to me and my unwhiskered upper lip!

At the other table, the lady eating with Pencilled Eyebrows said:

I see what you mean. What stylish confidence that young man has. With a moustache like that, he is perfect epitome of the “Man About Town”.

Chips gone I sat back and enjoyed the rest of my beer. Two men had taken the table next to me. One went to the counter to order.

“Philip!” Counter called. “Philip! What sauce do you want?”

“What they got?” cried back Philip.

“Mushroom, peppercorn or Diane,”

“Ooh,” said Philip, “I’ll have the Princess thanks.”

Counter paused, then: “What?”

Philip rolled his eyes. “The Princess! Princess Di… Diane!” Counter made the order.

Back at the table Counter apologised. “I had no idea what you were talking about.”

Again Philip rolled his eyes. “Gees, call yourself a queen…”

It was at this time I left and went to Coles to buy some clothes washing powder and iSnack2.0.

I Heart Kings Cross

Tuesday 13 October 2009

A photo essay of sorts today.

As I was walking to the train station the other day I noticed that a number of street poles had been “graffitied” with woollen socks. How delightful! Just the thing to brighten the day: completely harmless, yet radical, street art.

A friend of mine Andrew had blogged about this sort of thing happening in the Newtown area. There was also the impressive wool graffiting of the old toilet block at Taylor Square, which has now been sadly taken down (The wool graffiti, not the toilet block which I understand is Heritage listed. I know it holds many a dear memory for many an old queen who claims it as the place in the where they lost their virginity. Considering the Darlinghurst Court House is right next door you were always guaranteed to see a judge unrobed.). I’d also read about a Brooklyn based group called Knitta Please that perform renegade knit graffiti (see a vid about them here). When I saw the pieces along the street poles of Kings Cross I thought I might have stumbled across the local chapter.

So Saturday, as a procrastination tool to avoid uni work, I pulled out the camera and started snapping along Darlinghurst Street, starting at the Kings Cross train station and heading north.




As I took this picture a woman trying to light the remains of a fag end came up to me. “That’s a god idea that, hey?” she said. “So you don’t scratch your bike. I had a bike and I had a chain, one of those metal ones, but – nah, hang on, that one got stolen, but my next bike, I had the metal chain lock, right, and I covered it with plastic tubing so that way the bike wouldn’t get scratched.” “What a sensible thing to do,” I said, and began to walk slowly away, hoping she wouldn’t breathe on me.



As I was crossing the road a little kid, waiting to cross, was joyfully hugging the woollen pole. She had been pulled across the road by her mother by the time I got my camera ready.

Lo my eyes when I got to Fitrzoy Gardens, and Market Day, and saw that the knitted graffiti was everywhere.



Everyone was taking pictures, portable telephones held high. Mark Trevorrow (aka Bob Downe) was there. We nodded to each other. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” I said. “It’s so camp,” he replied.





Always bothers me this signpost. I haven’t consulted an atlas lately but I do remember Rome, Athens and Paris being all roughly in the same direction. Likewise to Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.



Look at that great panel: I Heart Kings Cross. The cross is made up of two knitting needles!

Notice how, in the top right photo, the pigeon is not standing on the the wool but next to it on the bark. Poor pigeons; must feel horrible for them under their little feet. No one ever thinks about the pigeons.


I love how the knittings around the cop house are all shades of blue.



A nice bit of web-work on the completely confusing “Angled Wheels of Fortune” sculpture. According to BC’s edition of Time Out Sydney, the work was made by Polish sculpture Dennis Wolanski to honour the invention of the wheel and the prosperity it has brought to the world. Ohhhhh, I thought when I read this, but it didn’t make its meaning any clearer to me.

The other side was all tied together with a large pom pom. Looked très sweet.



For some reason no one would sit on this seat, not even me. I suppose it’s part of the “art is to be admired from a distance” argument. I will go back and sit on it though, enjoy the feel of the wooly fabric under my legs.


This wonderful art piece was right between the store that does the best bacon and egg rolls in the world and the cute guy who sells gozlemes. I used to be friendly with Brigitte who runs the bakery stand across from the cute guy (her pastry is to die for). She told me once that the cute guy had a just as cute baby. Bugger, I thought.



From the other side of Macleay Street, looking towards the Gardens.





One of the last remaining pom pom trees in public gardens.



After enjoying a bacon and egg roll (you have to try one) I walked the block home. Imagine my surprise / joy when I got to my front door and saw this across the road:


More knit graffiti! You see, I rarely ever use the front door, preferring to come and go via the laneway instead. Look at what I’ve been missing!




A little lesson for me this: by only ever coming and going via the bins and the laneway, I’ve missed the beauty of the path out the front.

It was about now (and 180 photos later) that I started to question the renegade notion of the knit graffiti. They was simply too much of it – wouldn’t someone have noticed? Then I remembered it’s Art & About in Sydney at the moment – a month long festival of street art. All the banners are flying Aboriginal themed works. In Hyde Park hangs a giant photo exhibition. I wasn’t surprised, then, to discover that all this knitting was part of the month long festivities, an installation called I Heart Kings Cross developed by a collective called Reef Knot. Go and read more about Reef Knot, they have done some pretty fantastic things

So if you have the chance come to the Cross and see the work, it’s on all of October. If you come on a Saturday don’t forget to let me know – I’ll join you for a bacon and egg roll.

Newc at Sleaze

Wednesday 7 October 2009

As promised, here is the get up I wore to Sleaze Ball:


Boy, there’s nothing sexier than a fat squinting red head coming at you with a plastic tennis racket while standing in front of a magnet for Video Ezy and a set of purple fairy wings. If that doesn’t shriek “butch” I don’t know what does.

(If you look closely you’ll see photos of my niece and nephew. Aren’t they peaches? Truth be told with the sort of stuff that happens in that living room I should turn the picture frame towards the wall.)

Like the hair? I think it’s a bit of a success and am trying to find reasons to wear it again. I’ve spent the week wearing it around the house and looking at myself in the mirror practising my head flicks. All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my Pantene commercial. I even played rock and/or roll music so I could head bang along. On Sleaze night I was determined to keep it on all night but ended up taking it off after only a few hours when, even though it was still feeling comfortable, I figured I’d made the point. Talking to Mark the next night, who has much experience with wigs, he wasn’t surprised.

Like the mo? I’ve become quite attached to it (well, duh!) and have continued to wear proudly but with the bars trimmed up a little. BC and I went to a recovery party the next night and I had no less than three people come up to me and comment on my mo, and they said nice things too, like “Nice mo you’ve got there, man.” One young feller, a friend of a friend but we don’t know each other well enough to simply call him a friend right out, did come straight out and say that my revised length mo was exactly the perfect length for what he thinks is the most sexy. I simply blushed (which is very hard to do with a mo) and said thanks.

Like the gut? Yes, well the less said about that the better, though I might just mention when I did put all the pieces of the costume on for the first time (there were also a set of mirror sunnies and a tracky top that I’d picked up at the markets for 10 bucks that said AUST on one side of the zip and RALIA on the other) BC said I looked exactly like a chubby John Newcombe. I thanked him, and I know he meant well, but that offhand “chubby” really hurt.

Anyway, BC and I had a great weekend and were quite tired by the end. We left the events a couple of hours before stumps both times, though I’m not sure if that’s a sign of age or a sign of can-no-longer-be-buggered. You decide.

Less Sleaze – Week 0

Saturday 3 October 2009

A quick theological lesson. Genesis, Chapters 2 and 3:

Chapter 2

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it as a day to put your feet up and to take easy, and to perhaps go have a beer in the afternoon to rest from all his work which he created and made.

4 And then God realised he was talking to himself and felt silly, and so the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

5 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

6 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; and the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.

7 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden and commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

8 But of the tree of the knowledge, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

9 And Adam said unto the LORD God, Why not, they look pretty yummy, what are they, apples?

10 And the LORD God said unto Adam, Look bud, I’m the boss around here and I just said thou shalt not eatest, so don’t, you got it? Or you’re out on your ear.

11 And Adam said unto the LORD God, All right, all right, keep your robe on. Gees, are you always like this?

12 And the LORD God said unto Adam, Wait till we get to the bit about Gomorrah, And Adam was then silent.

13 And the LORD God was pleased and said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.

14 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

15 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help to meet for his extra special needs, if you get my drift, though he had been eyeing off the goat.

16 And the LORD God from Adam took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

17 And Adam said, Ow, that hurt.

18 And the LORD God said, Oh, don’t be such a baby.

19 And Adam put his hands on his hips and said, Well, I wouldst not think that was hardly surprising considering you only invented me, what, twenty minutes ago.

20 And the LORD God said, Look, I haven’t got time for this, Here, I’ve made you something, go argue with that. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

22 And Woman said: Have you taken the bins out yet? And Adam realised he had been told off by his wife, and though were not ashamed, he was more than a little annoyed.

Chapter 3

1 Now the serpent was more clever than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath ye eaten of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, God hath said, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but not of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden.

3 And the serpent said unto the woman, Well, that’s pretty silly, don’t you think, for that is an apple tree and apples are really good for you.

4 And the woman said unto the serpent, You don’t say? Please, tell me more.

5 And the serpent said, Well, for starters apples are an excellent source of fibre. They are also high in antioxidants, in fact, gram for gram, apples have higher antioxidant capacity than red grapes, strawberries and oranges.

6 And the woman said, Really? I did not knowst that, do go on.

7 And the serpent said, Recent studies have suggested that apples can help lower the risk of heart disease, control weight gain, and even fight cancer.

8 And the woman said unto the serpent, Sorry, did you say control weight gain?

9 And the serpent said, Oh yeah, apples are great for that. The skin is good roughage, and being high in fibre eating apples acts as an appetite suppressant as they help fill you up.

10 And the woman said unto the serpent, Oh, that is just so totally what I need, And the woman took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

11 And the eyes of them both were opened, and at once they knew how healthy apples were for you; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons and filled their pockets with more apples from the tree.

12 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, What’s that you got there?

13 And he said, It’s an apple from that tree, you know, the one in the midst of the garden.

14 And the LORD God said, Hang on, didn’t I tell you not to eat of that tree? I’m sure I recall I specifically commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat of that tree.

15 And the man said, It was the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, And the woman said, Yeah, great one dobber.

16 And the LORD God rubbed his temples and said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, I had askst the serpent Dost this fig leaf make my bum lookst big? And the snake suggested I include apples as part of my daily diet.

17 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Tony, why dost thou go and do that? You know I told them not to eat of that tree.

18 And the snake said unto the LORD God, Gees Man, what’s your problem? Apples are good for them. They’re healthy, easy to transport and easy to store. What’s the big deal?

19 And the LORD God said, Yeah but.

20 And the snake interrupted unto the LORD God, Yeah but nothing. And the best thing is that they are the ideal weight loss tool. An apple every couple of hours throughout the day and whammo no more cravings for chocolate and potato chips. They are Nature’s answer to the Milky Way bar.

21 And the LORD God looked testy and said unto the snake, Look, you just don’t get it, do you? How am I supposed to keep in charge around here if I don’t go and set a few ground rules? And the more pointless the rule the more they have to go along with it out of faith. You get it now?

22 And the serpent said unto the LORD God, Oh, I see your point now, sorry that I said anything, Carry on, just pretend I’m not here.

23 And the LORD God said, Thank you. Now if you will excuse me I have to go punish those other two. And the LORD God did rub his hands together with glee.

24 And the snake said, Gees God you can be a real prick sometimes, But he didst not say it very loud.


One last time: 84.2

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Sleaze
87.3 86.3 85.2 85.8 86.0 85.0 86.0 86.5 85.2 87.3 86.7
-1.0 -1.1 +0.6 +0.2 -1.0 +1.0 +0.5 -1.3 +2.1 -0.6
-1.0 -2.1 -1.5 -1.3 -2.3 -1.3 -0.8 -2.1 -0.6

Well, there you go then; at least I ended up less that what I started. And what lessons did I learn from this exercise? Two things:

  1. That documenting attempts at weight loss can be really tedious, no matter what Magda Szubanski says.
  2. Apples are good for you.

(That’s all he learnt?)

Anyway, it’s a typical Sleaze day outside – windy, overcast, and occasionally raining. Death, taxes and a wet Sleaze night. I’ve now got all the pieces for my costume including a cheap tennis racket, which I’m particularly happy with to give that perfect finishing touch. I’ve still to shave and shower and all that sort of thing, but it’s not even noon and BC and I won’t be going till at least 10. And don’t worry, there will be photos.

What to do till then? Wedding invite? University script? Nah. Think I’ll go watch How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and have a nap instead.