Thursday, December 31, 2009

Watching Listen and Singalong: Part 32: New Year's Eve

I went looking for songs about New Year's Eve. There aren't that many to choose from but this one has been covered by many people. It doesn't get much classier than Ella Fitzgerald though, so that's the one I've chosen for here at The Spiralling Shape (which as we all know is a tremendously classy blog).


New Year's whatever...

This appeared on the twitterstream thanks to @dramagirl. I have borrowed it for myself. I'm quite the equivalent of Scrooge on New Year's Eve so this is as festive as I am going to get about the New Year. However, other resolutions include

Less swearing except when absolutely necessary
Continued patience and tolerance towards myself and others

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Watching Listen and Singalong: Part 31 (I think): "Heathcliff"

You know on the same day I get my piano accordion my brother arrives to visit with his new ukelele which was a Christmas present from his wonderful wife. Here, we can all enjoy the pleasant strum of the ukelele as well as singing along. Shout it out - "Heathcliff".

There's not much better than that.

Dear unnamed electricity provider

Dear unnamed electricity provider

Thank you for you kind letter advising me how much I owe you by the 18 January. It's very timely, considering I have just finished spending myself stupid on Christmas gifts for others and myself. Never fear however, I will pay you on time.

However, if I may, I would like to point out a problem with the so called Davis Report you have thoughtfully provided for me, comparing my electricity usage with the average in my region. Firstly, it's very interesting to see I am using a humungus 2% more electricity than the household average in my area. Clearly these people don't know how to use electricity with the same zest that I do. Most of all I would like to thank you for your helpful tips for reducing my electricity usage. It may interest you to know that

1. I do not have a second fridge or a chest freezer so cannot save the estimated $300 a year by turning them off. Plus - wouldn't that make the food go bad in the freezer? Just wondering about the wisdom of this tip.

2. I do not have a dishwasher, therefore I am unable to set it to economy cycle and save your estimated $50 per year.

I make a point of turning off lights when I leave the room already, so any other thoughts you might have might be welcome, as long as they don't involve setting the airconditioning to 25 because quite frankly that doesn't cool anything down in the stinky, humid, Queensland summer.

Yours sincerely


Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Piano Accordion has arrived

There is now a piano accordion in my house. I am just a little bit excited. First out how to play it with the buttons. Second task...perhaps reread E.Annie Proulx's Accordion Crimes. I'm sure it's on the bookshelf somewhere.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day ennui

Usually, living here in the "sticks" Boxing Day is marginally less boring than Good Friday, because at least on Boxing Day you usually have a new book or movie to watch, lollies to eat, etc. I say this to remind those of you who live in our great cities, that normally no shops open on Boxing Day in the backwater of Bundaberg. But today, by some chance Christmas miracle to do with gazetted and non-gazetted public holidays the shops are open. Before Christmas I thought, hmm,sounds exciting, might go check out the sales. This morning upon awakening at 8am I can think of nothing worse than to venture anywhere near one of our fine shopping centres.

So here's some things I could today instead:
Washing and associated activities (Ironing, putting away clothes etc)
Weeding the Garden
Mowing the Lawn
Tidying up my music cupboard and music room.
Clean my venetian blinds
Other various household related activities

Here's why I won't be doing any of the above. They all require either
(a) effort
(b) manual labour
(c) going outside into the delightful hot day
(d)some or all of the above

Here are some things I may choose to do:
Listen to music
Read a book and/or books
Watch television and/or a DVD
Faff about on the Internet
Play the piano
Eat...lollies and normal food as well
Stare vacantly into space recovering from the exhaustion that was Christmas day

A much better list I'm sure you will all agree

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: And writes her letter to Santa

Dear Santa

I know it's been some time since I wrote you a letter so please forgive my tardiness. You'll just have to take my word for it that I have been good this year. I know you have a lot of children to keep on an eye on so I'm probably not first on your naughty or nice list. Anyway, take it from me, I'm very nice most of the time except when people drive stupidly in front of me, take a carpark that I was waiting for, brake suddenly, drive well below the speed limit, or make any sudden or unexpected moves that cause me to have to engage in defensive driving accompanied by some light swearing.

Anyhoo you're a busy fellow I'm sure on this day before Christmas so here's my list of things I want.

1. World Peace
2. To understand the Carbon trading scheme
3. To understand Middle East politics - both historical context and contemporary situation
4. And end to poverty in all worlds - First, Developing and Third
5. Autumnal weather the whole year round. Summer really gives me the pip. I'm guessing this is somehow related to global warming so if you could talk to the right people it would be much appreciated. It might just be the solution we are all looking for.
6. Tony Abbott never to become Prime Minister (not sure if you have this power but I thought I'd put it in anyway)

And now the things for myself
1. A Steinway grand piano
2. An extra big room on my house for the piano.
3. Not to have to go to work but still get paid.
4. Failing 3 - to win the lotto
5. A weekly reminder to enter the lotto
6. A totally painfree nose piercing. I'm guessing this isn't possible
7. New clothes whenever I want them
8. Free unlimited internet
9. A new Apple laptop
10. One of those speakery things for my iPhone
11. A new bed.
12. Pay TV that I don't have to pay for
13. The ability to draw/paint...well.
14. The ability to improvise music...and have it sound good.
15. Room for a microwave in my kitchen.
16. A new stovetop with all the plates working.
17. One of those fancy self-cleaning ovens I just heard about yesterday at work.
18. While you're at it a self cleaning shower would also be good.
19. Lawn that stays beautifully green but never needs mowing.
20. An prolific organic vegetable garden that never gets any weeds.

Failing any or all of the above, I'll just have the usual. Soaps, towels, clothes, books, DVDs, gift cards or any other nice surprises that my wonderful family might choose for me.

Best wishes for the big day


Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Bowie and Bing have a little sing

Here's something of a Christmas oddity (get it) that I just stumbled across on youtube. Enjoy the dialogue as well as the singing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Silent Night

What's a blog for if you can't post slightly dodgy DIY iPhone videos of yourself playing Christmas carols? Here I present for your enjoyment, amusement and perhaps slight bewilderment, me playing the violin and a long standing family friend playing the piano. I rarely play the violin these days because it has left me with a dodgy neck but this was fun. Listen out for the conversation between my father and sister who clearly didn't grasp the concept of the microphone.

Aaahh...Christmas...dontcha just love it.

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Earrings

For those very few of you who read The Spiralling Shape I'm sure you're eagerly awaiting the next fascinating instalment of "Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit". Well, brace yourselves, because today's episode is particularly interesting.

I am going to wear my 2 dollar Christmas earrings to work.

They are little gold Christmas trees. Not real gold I'm presuming. Because, you know, 2 dollars.

That is exciting isn't it. I wouldn't blame you if you needed a little sit down after reading this post. Just to recover yourselves.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Remembrance of Christmases Past

1. The year I heard sleigh bells outside. I was five. Give me a break. I still swear I heard them though to this day.

2. The year I got a Strawberry Shortcake Doll, was dragged to church in the stinking heat and had to leave to throw up outside in the garden. I might have been 8 or 9.

3. The year I got a porcelain doll (which my then baby sister later dropped on the floor and broke) AND a new music stand. That was a big Christmas. I might have been 10?

4. The year we ate Christmas dinner in our tent at the beach at Mon Repos in a howling northerly wind. I had a Mickey Mouse shirt which I thought was really cool. Somewhere there is a photo documenting both these events. It shall not be released to the public. I was probably about 12. The beginning of the awkward ugly teenage years.

5. The year my brother and I received the Mad Magazine Board Game. What larks. We played that game like MAD. (geddit!)

6. The years we would drive to Brisbane for Christmas with my Dad's family. That yellow Datsun 200B did quite a few miles. We would also take the dog ( a labrador) who sat in the front on the floor with my mother. Christmas would be downstairs in the louvred outdoor area near the pool and include every type of salad imaginable (bean, rice, coleslaw, etc) and many different types of meat. The highlight was the plum pudding with the money wrapped in alfoil. Oh, and the merciless teasing from my uncles. Merciless teasing is part of the Davis family gene pool. It continues through the generations to this day.

7. The last Christmas we had with my Grandpa. I found a photo of this on the weekend. It looked nice.

8. The year I convinced my mother to have the big dinner in the cool of the evening rather than the heat of the day.

9. The year I got some towels. Oh wait, that's nearly every year on record. Thank you grandparents.

10. The year we gorged ourselves on seafood.Oh wait, that never happens because my father is allergic to just about everything except fish.

11. The year we went to Hervey Bay, dragging my hungover brother with us (despite his claims that he was fine because he had a "fast metabolism". Yeah right). He spent most of the day asleep. The rest of us watched John English in The Pirates of Penzance on video. Wild times.

12. The year (not that long ago) my brother and I bought our parents a DVD player. They've never been so surprised. They've never looked back either. It's DVDs from morn til night.

13. The year my Mother actually got my Father to put up more than one string of fairy lights on the house. It was like a veritable fairyland (but still the lamest display in the street). Some people have a lot of time, and lights on their hands don't they. What about the environment?? (Cue false indignation)

14. The year I was Christmas shopping and heard Here Comes the Sun on the muzak in a shop without ever having heard it before. Unwittingly I had asked for Abbey Road for Christmas and BOOM there it was. That was one of the best musical moments of my life.

15. That's all I can think of although clearly there have been many more Christmases because I am older than 14. They tend to all blend into one after a while don't they.

16. Oh, I guess I should include the year we finally gave up on Santa Claus. That was a little bit sad really, even though my mother usually insists on still writing "To Wendy, from Santa" on at least one gift. I hope she remembers to do that this year.

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: John and Yoko

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wendy Gets into the Christmas Spirit: Red

The theme for the day is Red.

Red shirt
Red shiny bangle
Red sparkly thongs
Beads with red through them.

That's festive isn't it?

The Battle of the Music Quiz Shows Part 2: A Very Specky Christmas

Too much vaudeville and faffing about for me I'm afraid. Did Rockwiz book all the good Australian music guests first? Here are some questions I have:
1. Peter Garrett? - yes I know he is an Australian "music legend" but now he is a politician. Neither did he crack many good jokes and frequently looked a bit bored.
2. Jarvis Cocker - ? Not particularly funny, frequently looked like he didn't know why he had said yes to being on the show?
3.Denise "Ding Dong" Drysdale - Was this an attempt to attract an older demographic? She's mildly entertaining, but really.
4. Hamish Blake - I know he frequently appears to be a smug little bastard but he's very good value on the Spicks and Specks panel and here he was relegated to a bit part playing Jesus. He made the most of it but it wasn't enough for this viewer who has a slightly embarrassing TV crush on young Hamish.
5. Molly Meldrum as a Xmas tree? Nuff said.
6. Brian Mannix as a Gladiator? Nuff said. Except to say that are these ye olde Australian music celebrities so hard up for some publicity that will take 2 minutes on a Christmas special. Answer: It seems yes.
7.What was with the Nativity themed decor? I'm not religious but I liked Rockwiz's broader take on the Christmas theme in terms of audience appeal.
8.Throwing fruit is at celebrities is a game now? At least it wasn't as terrible they made guests throw televisions through a hole in the wall. (If my memory serves me correctly)
8. Why weren't the guy from Tripod and the guy from the Scared Weird Little guys allowed to be on the panel. They're actually musically talented and sometimes funny.
9. We Three Kings as the final song?
10. Why did I frequently have the impulse to change the channel and/or get up and check my emails/facebook/twitter etc? Because sadly for this quite loyal viewer of Spicks and Specks the Christmas special proved the Good News Week theory of television. That is, making a comedy panel program longer doesn't automatically lead to more funny. It can frequently lead to just more flapping about and filler which isn't that funny.

Rockwiz you win this year. Bring on 2010.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Battle of the Music Quiz Shows Part 1: Rockwiz

Now for all of you out there who like myself have no life and sat at home last night, I hope you were fortunate enough to catch the Rockwiz Christmas Special. Julia Zemiro was her usual rock-glamorous self. She's got quite the knack of improvising with the guests and I find her to be quite witty. And I always like Brian Nankervis in his role of rock overseer. The Rockwiz Orchestra were augmented by a few more players and singers which was nice, and the special singing guests got into the rock-Christmas spirit. With Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers instructing the little drummer boy to get his act together, he wouldn't dare not. Nice harmony Tim. You actually impressed me and I haven't been a fan in the past. What I like about Rockwiz is the way it gets the audience members into the show. Unlike Spicks and Specks, it's music first, comedy second. What I mean is, it's not trying too hard to be funny, it focuses on the music and from that comes both a joy of music as well as laughs and all round amusement. It's fast paced (where SandS can sometimes get bogged down in trying to be funny...I offer for your consideration the game of celebrities playing the mini keyboard). Rockwiz also had the added bonus of Paul Gray with his tinsel covered keytar (or as Flight of the Conchords would say..his "guitboard"). Win.

But we shall see how The Very Specky Christmas stacks up tonight at 7:30. In the meantime, enjoy this, which was a cracking final number sung by Joe Camillieri (spelling...sorry if it's wrong) and his pink saxophone. What a great choice of song for a Christmas special. Sadly, it doesn't look like anyone has uploaded it to youtube yet. You'll have to make do with Elvis.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: I Saw Three Ships

This is another classic favourite for me. Let's face it - who wouldn't love to see three ships sailing by?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: The Sussex Carol

Now just to classic things up a little bit here at the shape - The Sussex carol. We've sung this at choir...not as well as this though. Listen for the rolled rrrrrs in Christmas and I like the jaunty rhythm.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: with The Beach Boys and Santa

In my music nerd-dom I adore The Beach Boys and their close harmonies. I can't help it. I can't also help but wonder who the arranger was who thought that snippets of crazy cartoon music and pop goes the weasel would be appropriate here.

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: They Might Giants Sing about Santa

It's time for me to going a-searching for Christmas songs. This is a Spiralling Shape tradition, if indeed doing it once before can be classed as a tradition. Traditions have to start somewhere don't they?
Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Describe yourself in one word.....

That was the challenge set for my this evening by one of my facebook friends after I did a kind of viral status update that asked my fb friends to think of one word to describe me. Well of course both challenges are virtually impossible. How to narrow down the complexity of our human natures and temperaments to a single word? How to encompass our varieties of mood that wax and wane from the day to day, hour to hour, sometimes minute to minute? So I decided to make a list of words that I think describe me. Here's what I came up with in a short time.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: X-terminate-mas

Look!!!! For those of you following my Tardis stakeout adventure it continues....
Now the Dalek has emerged from the garage to form a delightful Doctor Who themed Christmas tableau.(should there be an "x" on the end of that? I'm too lazy to look it up).

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Cheap Commercialised Fashion

In my bid to further get into the Christmas spirit I did what every good consumer should do in the weeks leading up to Christmas. That's right, I went to Supre and bought some cheap as chips, poorly made, Christmas themed T shirts. I braved the terrorist interrogation chic fluorescent lighting, and the loud techno tunes blasting through the sound system. I ignored the fact that I was the oldest person in the store by a good 15 years (that is until I saw some lovely old dears checking out the sundresses on my way out). I picked through the racks and racks of crap in search of an XL (which I do believe is the equivalent of an M in other normal stores) and picked my new tees. I was pretty chuffed because last week when I looked at them they were 12 dollars or so. This week they were On Special for 7.50 - thus the buying of two.

One says "Dear Santa, Define Good" - hilarious, no?
The other has a picture of a little angel saying "I'll be good next year". Cute, yes?

I feel these are very appropriate work wear and shall be wearing them as much as possible between now and Christmas Eve so I get my full 7.50 worth before they become redundant on Boxing Day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Tardis Stakeout

Ok, so it's a really bad photo because like a secret crimefighter on a stakeout I had to glide by this house in my car and quickly snap an iPhone picture, but here is a family with true commitment to the Christmas spirit. For weeks I have been driving past watching them build this life size Tardis and an excellent Dalek in their garage. Sadly, everytime I did drive by they were either working on it, or out in the yard, so I didn't want to stop like a scary Doctor Who stalker and take a picture. But this evening on my way home from my parents' place, the Tardis was out on the trailer and there was no-one around. So TA-DA!
I don't think I'm Torchwood material however. The stress of taking this photo undetected was quite enough for me. Fighting aliens I shall leave to the experts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wendy gets into the Christmas Spirit: Lights

With minimal effort I have transformed my loungeroom into a Winter Wonderland. Here's a few simple steps you can follow for yourself.

1. Light the candles you already own but never light any other month of the year. Here are the nice handpainted tealight holders I bought in Hobart. They look Christmassy.

2. The same as for step 1, except this time light the tealights you bought at Wheel and Barrow at Robina Shoppingtown in September. Lighting them in December means they are for Christmas.

3. Turn on the fairylights that have been strung on your bookcase since last December but not turned on all year. This defines them as your "Christmas lights".

4. Sit back and admire your Christmas lighting handiwork.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Confounding things many of which I am oblivious to and/or don't understand

Lady Gaga
The Paranormal Romance section in Dymocks in Bundaberg
Chai Lattes
The Jonas Brothers
Google Wave
anything connected to Twilight and vampires generally
Daniel Radcliffe's eyebrows
Tony Abbott
Butterfly (as in swimming)
Will Ferrell
Farmville and why people keep losing cows...tsk tsk
Empire of the Sun
How to banish ants from my kitchen
Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time
How to cook eggplant and artichoke
Why people rave about seafood especially at Christmas
What I did for procrastination before the Internet

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I went.
I saw.
I chose a theme which shall not be revealed here because some people who are receiving gifts may be reading.
I did 80 percent of my gift buying in the one shop.
I bought auxiliary impulse presents for myself.
I watched the neverending line for Santa photos never end.
I dodged trolleys, old people, bogans, small children trying to escape from their parents, parents screaming at their children, and people having long detailed conversations in the middle of the mall oblivious to the fact that some of us might be trying to walk through.
I waited for the teenage checkout girl in Woolworths to have a five minute conversation with her friends who were in front of me buying few items yet taking forever to do so.
I said "Fine thanks" when aforementioned checkout girl asked me how I was. I patiently waited as she very slowly scanned all my items. I did not shout HURRY UP YOU SLOW EMO TEENAGER. Except in my head of course. Not out loud.
I came home.
I am now going to eat lunch and have a little recovery nanna nap.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear working week

Dear Working Week

I know it's been a while since we met but I don't remember you being quite so intrusive into my actual life. The thing is I have quite a pile of books in various shapes and sizes that I would like to be reading rather than the infinite email trail you supply to me each morning. I also have a lot of quite nice music that I would like to listen to properly. By properly I mean I would like to listen to it clearly and loudly, rather than having to play it quietly in the background, turning it off when I answer the phone or missing bits when I go out of my office.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if you realise but five full days in a row is quite a long time to concentrate. For example, I would quite like it if it was Saturday today. Any chance you could do some kind of restructure to your organisation and put say, two days on two days off in place. I'm sure others would appreciate that. As you know restructures are all the rage these days, and making a few days redundant wouldn't be that big of a deal. The other thing you might like to think about is making your days reapply for their positions. Monday, for example, has been performing unsatisfactorily for some time now. In private industry they would have had at least had to complete a performance review and improve themselves by now. This doesn't seem to happen in a public organisation such as yours.

Anyway, working week, these are just some thoughts from one who has had a month to distance themselves from your operations, and now returns bright eyed, fresh faced and full of enthusiasm to make work a better place for everyone.

Kind regards


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the path to twig destruction is strewn with antique blue shards of glass

Once again lulled into a false sense of complacency I left my bedroom door open where the highly appealing to cats Christmas arrangement of baubly twigs is located up very high on my bookcase. For months, it has gone seemingly unnoticed by cat-like eyes.

Needless to say, I am an idiot and my cat got the better of me. However, this time it did not destroy the cheap twiggy Christmas decorations. Oh no! In its path to twig destruction was a lovely blue antique glass vase given to me by my grandmother.

If anyone is mosaicing a sky I have plenty of shards of broken glass to give away.

I have also had to get the vacuum cleaner out IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK.

I also have a plump grey cat who may or may not get dinner tonight. I will reserve my decision on that for later in the evening.

Bedroom door now closed.