Sunday, July 29, 2012

sink fixed...I hope

The builder and plumber came in and fixed the sink on Friday. Yay! Apparently the original plumbing work was mega dodgy...there was a bloody hole in the pipe. No wonder water was gushing out and rotting the skirting boards. The plumber had to cut out the old pipe and install a new one. The smell that came out of the plumbing system was pretty nasty. The plumber reckons it's the worst he has ever smelt. Both he and the builder were speculating as to what the smell could be. "At least you know that shit smells like shit", the builder said.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

surprises under the kitchen sink

I've had dramas with my apartment ever since I bought the place back in 2005. In fact, it wasn't long after moving in that I first noticed a damp smell coming from the kitchen area. Because it was a new apartment complex, I got the builders to come in to check it out. At the time, they insisted it was just the pipes and that things would settle. It didn't. The skirting board started to expand indicating that there was a moisture problem under the kitchen bench. Because I was still covered by the builder's warranty, I got someone from the building company back to check it out earlier this year. He removed the worst of the skirting boards to reveal a microcosm of fungal diversity flourishing under my kitchen. He told me to let it dry out and that he would return in a couple of weeks to have another look. He came back six months later. This time, he removed a much larger piece of skirting board that had become rotten so that he could inspect the plumbing. The amount of construction debris/rubbish that was still sitting in the cavity was absolutely astounding. The guy ended up pulling out 2 bags of decaying pieces of wood, nails, tape and even an old cigarette box...all of this rubbish had been left in situ when the builders installed the kitchen. Is it standard practise for builders to entomb rubbish in wall cavities and under kitchen cabinets? It makes me wonder what other treasures lie hidden away in my apartment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

surely not...

According to the Angus and Robertson webpage, people who bought my book are also fans of Fifty Shades of Grey. Really?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

catching up with the boys

I caught up with two of my closest friends last night for dinner at an inner city Vietnamese restaurant. One of the friends just got back from overseas. I have known him since grade 4. He and his wife are expecting their first child, a boy. The other I met while at uni and is currently working on the manuscript for his second novel, which will be centered on a gay character. He has been quite heavily (and obsessively) researching the piece and I recently wrote about his visit to a sex-on-premises venue (quite brave given that he is both straight and has a girlfriend). Maybe it's the stage we are at in our lives but it does seem that we are now having very grown up conversations. We talk about my friend's baby. What will they call their son? (not sure yet, but it'll have to match the Spanish surname of his dad). Will the baby be circumcised (Don't know. Don't care. Got to ask the wife. Her background is Jewish). We turn to my other friend. Has he and his girlfriend started talking about babies yet (Yes....the plan is to have a baby within the next year and a half...women and their biological clocks...tick, tick, tick ). My turn. Will Nathan and I ever get married? Have kids? It's so far from my reality, I tell them, I haven't allow myself to think about marriage or kids. "Nathan and I are thinking about getting a dog though", I say.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I got to the National Gallery and bump into my friend's mum, his cousin, the cousin's wife and newborn baby. I go to the national museum and bump into my friend's husband and their two kids in the gift shop. I go to a cafe for afternoon tea and bump into my uncle, aunt, and three of my cousins. Everywhere I go in Canberra, I see familiar people. It's hard to sneak into town.

out in chinatown

I'm in Canberra for the week (too much annual leave). I arrived on Saturday and, after the obligatory visit to Costco (it is next to the airport and my folks are a fan), went for a family lunch in Dickson (Canberra's china town). The owner of the restaurant used to work for my parents. She is loud, nosy and inquisitive. And, like many chinese people, feel that it is perfectly acceptable to ask about your personal life. Sure enough, the moment I walked into the restaurant, she ambushes me (in cantonese) "When are we going to see you with a girl next to you?". I roll my eyes. She persists and speaks at a volume that is typical of cantonese-speakers (i.e. loud so that the entire restaurant can hear) "Do you have a girlfriend yet?" "No," I reply. "Why not?", she asks. I am silent and present her with a steely smile [how does one say 'homosexual' in cantonese?]. Sensing that she wasn't getting anywhere with me, she moves onto my married sister and brother-in-law. "When are you two going to have a child? Your parents want grandchildren" [ok, she is not only nosy, but psychic too]. Then she turns to my youngest sister. "Do you have a boyfriend yet? Aunty knows lots of people. Let me be your matchmaker." [nosy, psychic and relationships expert]. When she has finally had enough, she walks away. I whisper to the family "Let's not come here again."

Monday, July 2, 2012

reconciling receipts

I spent the day trying to reconcile my work credit card statement with the huge pile of invoices and receipts I have accumulated in the last few months. Our uni just switched to an online system. Previously, we had to staple all our tax invoices onto a sheet. Now, we just have to scan everything in. Thanks to the photo booth function on my mac...I have been taking photos of my receipts instead...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

digit ratio

In light of the comments to my last post from Andrew and Victor, I decided to do some further research and it seems that the evidence for 2D:4D ratio differences between straight and gay men is not as clear cut as what I had originally thought. While some studies have reported statistically significant differences, others have not. So Andrew and Victor can breath easy. Intriguingly, according to a study published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour in 2003, digit ratio does appear to relate to erotic role preferences in gay men.

signs of gayness

I recently saw a video of myself giving a public lecture. It's an interesting experience, watching yourself talk. There is the voice that is not immediately recognisable as my own. And there are idiosyncratic physical gestures too...the smile, the posture, the tilt of the head, and...the flamboyant hand movements. Man, am I really that gay? Scientists have shown that there are, indeed, behavioural differences between gay and straight men in the way that we gesture. I guess non-scientists who pick up on those cues call it gaydar. There are important morphological differences as well. The most intriguing is the difference in the so called 'second-to-fourth-digit' ratio between gay and straight men. Imagine my horror a few years back (when I was not yet out of the closet) when a colleague asked to see my hand. After inspecting it thoughtfully, she declared "you're gay". Don't believe that a man's hand can reveal his sexuality? If you're a bloke, do the test yourself. Lay your hand on a flat surface with the fingers close together. Which is longer? The second digit (i.e. index finger) or the fourth? Compared to a straight man, the index finger on a gay man should be longer than the fourth digit. Not quite sure how this would work for men that sit somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale.


This is my most recent art acquisition – a collection of 30 bones wrapped in red velvet. The artist, who is from Western Australia, scours the country side for road kill. She takes the animals, boils them down and extracts their bones. She then sews them up individually in velvet. I think they are beautiful. Nathan reckons they are creepy (as, I suspect, will most of my readers). In fact, Nathan initially refused to have them in the apartment and suggested I bring them into work and hang them in the office instead. However, when he finally saw them, he conceded that they were not as bad as what he had originally the bones are now hanging in a discreet location behind the stairs to the bedroom.

return to sender

I am having postal issues. It seems that our postie doesn't give a shit or is simply incompetent. For a few months now, I've been finding other people's mail in my mail box and vice versa. And I don't think it's because I'm living in an apartment complex (where one might expect the odd mix up with unit numbers) because I've been getting mail that is not even addressed to the right street name. More recently, mum had sent me something from Canberra that ended up being returned to her even though the address on the envelope was correct. My experiences with Australia Post in the last few months is a far cry from my parents' experience back in Canberra. They've had the same postie delivering their mail for decades. I remember a few years ago, a bloke with an impressive moustache walking into the family restaurant for take away. After placing his order he asked me if I knew who he was. I said "No". He then pressed both hands against his cheek (to simulate the look of someone wearing a motorcycle helmet) and proudly declared "I'm your postie".

early morning blogging

I am awake and cannot get back to sleep...a perfect opportunity to post a few blog entries. Nathan had to wake up super early this morning to catch a flight to Perth. He is visiting his friend Penny to celebrate her son's first birthday. Penny got impregnated by an Indian chef when she was living in Melbourne (we think she has a thing for black men). Penny decided to head back to WA to raise the baby on her own because the father of the child isn't interested in being in the baby's life (and hasn't even bothered to tell his family). It's his loss really because the baby is absolutely adorable. The baby's a boy and his name is Alex. He has beautiful long eye lashes and will no doubt grow up to be an extremely handsome adult. Pity he won't really get to know his Indian roots.