It’s that time of the week again.

The Book

  • I’m actually going to stop writing this, as although I know very few people read this blog, I’m finding it a little stressful. Stupid, I know.  But as I was finishing The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla, I started panicking a little about what book I would read next.  I knew I wanted to take a break from the series, but suddenly started worrying about what people would think of the next book I choose to read.

Someone once said to me that when we worry about people judging us for something, it’s because we judge other people for the same reason.  Maybe I’m a book snob and don’t want people to know I read some trash as well (okay, I confess, I read all the Sookie Stackhouse books in a month and a half last year.  Are they trash?  You tell me.  I really enjoyed them).  I don’t panic about books so much as I do about music.  I find music snobs incredibly intimidating and showing one of them what I’m listening to on my iPod is enough to induce a small panic attack.

I don’t think I’m worried so much as I don’t want my book choice to be influenced by what I think other people will think of me by what I read.  That being said, if you’re interested in what I’m reading (who wouldn’t be?!) feel free to ask.  And if I’m reading a particularly interesting book, I’ll post about it.

For those who want to know, I have recently been reading Call for the Dead, the first book by John le Carre, and the first book introducing George Smiley, the protagonist in the recent film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (excellent film, I highly recommend it). I finished that in two nights and am now reading The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susanah.


  • Another confession, I am a Brangelina fan.  But seriously, is anyone surprised? Some time last year I came across this photo shoot by the couple.  I quite like it except for a few strange photos that seem to be depicting some violence.  I don’t really get that.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, here is a photo gallery on American poverty from The New Yorker.
  • The Obama Memos in The New Yorker outline why I never want to be the leader of any country.
  • The Guardian on the overuse of the word literally.
Blog/site of the week
  • Tiny Vices is an online gallery.  I haven’t gotten past the home page yet.  It’s mesmerising watching the photos change every few seconds.

I’ve spent a bit of time in the village this week, so there are many photos of The Vine Retreat where I now stay when I’m in the village. The running water and electricity was a little too tempting. The photos of where I used to stay can be found here.

The view from the balcony.


This is Titi. I remember when he was such a cute little puppy. I wish they stayed puppies.


The Vine Retreat from the back.

The swimming pool.


Time for the second round of what I’m reading. This is already becoming difficult as I started this post on Tuesday, the day after posting the first in this series, and I already had four articles to share. I will try to limit the number of articles posted here, those who want to see more of what I’m reading can follow me on Twitter, where I frequently share the articles I enjoy. This past week has included…

The book

  • This has been quite a busy week, so I’m still on the same book as last week, ‘The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla’.  It’s getting to that exciting part where I have to force myself to put it down so I can get some sleep.


  • My flatmate alerted me to this beautiful article from Poetry Magazine about the Island of Lampedusa, which many African asylum seekers travel to, by boat, as a way into Europe. The author manages to represent the perspectives and positions of all involved in a very honest and respectful manner. Also, the author references The Leopard, one of my favourite books, several times, as well as Dr Who, one of my favourite shows! It is quite a long article, but I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
  • This is an interesting post by author Jennifer Weiner on whether or not the New York Times book reviewers are sexist.  Here is a response on
  • Can you be feminist and care about fashion? Ms Magazine explores.
  • Beautiful illustrations of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on The Guardian (sample shown above).
  • Add some spice to your cooking with some help from Monica Bhide. I have tried any of these yet, but have every intention of doing so some time in the next year.
  • And here is an article from last year by my favourite Guardian angry man, Charlie Brooker, on aspect ratio.  As he says ‘There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who don’t have any problem with watching things that are randomly stretched or squashed, and decent human beings who still have standards’.

Blog/site of the week

  • A little while ago I discovered the work of photographer Joel Robison. It’s a lot of fun and very creative. Check out his work on Flickr.
  • Downtown from behind is a tumblr with a fabulous photographic series of cyclists from behind on various New York streets.

Towards the end of 2011 I made a bold declaration, I am going to be a sports fan.  I decided that this sport would be football (soccer to all Americans and Americanised Australians). This, apart from field hockey, is the only sport I’ve felt drawn in by. I was super excited! I decided that the best way to approach my new found passion would be to pick a team in the British Premier League (yes, I know it’s not actually called that, but I dislike calling things by their sponsor’s name, it cheapens it and takes away the sense of community and history). I happened to be in a bar in Siem Reap with my friends Elysse and Ally at the time of the great revelation. The bar tender, a friend of theirs, was a Brit and a Premier League fan. I asked him to help me pick a team.

Although new to the world of sports fandom, I do have opinions about it. Having grown up in Newcastle I had attended many Newcastle Knights games and cheered along, drawn in by the energy of the crowd, rather than the game itself (I remember the first time I saw a union game, I remember thinking ‘oh, that’s what the scrum is for’). The players had the status of minor deities, and I remember taking Paul Harragon’s ticket at the Glendale Cinemas when he went to see The Nutty Professor 2 (rugby players, I suppose all the brain injury makes stupid movies enjoyable). I also remember the time we went to Scratchleys and every time we called my brother by name, Matty Johns, who was sitting right behind him, would turn around in response. This is not a post about whether or not sports stars should be revered so highly (I don’t think they should), but what I’m trying to say, is that growing up in a city (not a town, stupid Sydney people) like Newcastle instilled in me a strong sense that one should support the team where one is from.

So, when I was choosing a team with the help of the bar tender, I specified that it should be a North London team, as that is where I lived when I was in London. There were two options, Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur. I chose Tottenham over Arsenal, as Arsenal has a canon as part of their symbol (or whatever you call those things). The bar tender was delighted, he was a Tottenham supporter. I promptly announced my new found allegiance on Facebook, which of course made it real, and prepared to stay up at all hours to watch every game of my beloved team.

I failed. Miserably. I’ve seen one game, and that was a rerun about a week after the actual match (are they called matches?).

Why does this matter to me? Well, it actually doesn’t really, not in a day to day sense. It’s bigger than that. I felt I had covered all of my cultural bases. I can discuss film (obviously not of the Nutty Professor variety), music, politics, religion, ethics, and other things that I can’t think of right now. But I have nothing to contribute when the conversation turns to sport. And I really want to.

Sports fans seem like they have so much fun! I want to be willing to wake up at 2am, watch two teams kick around a ball, cry with joy when my team wins, sob in anguish when they lose. I want to understand the off-side rule and scream at the ref when he gives one of my beloved boys a red card. I want to call them ‘my boys’. I want to hug sweaty, stinky, drunk strangers and share a camaraderie with people I wouldn’t look twice at in another context. I feel I’m missing out on something beautiful. But I just never seem find the motivation to start.

Okay, sorry for those who read this post before I changed it, but I was writing a second post with links, and thought it best to include the previous post about Jessica Stanley’s blog in this one.

I have decided to start a new weekly post called what I’m reading (boring title, I know, any suggestions for something more interesting). Yes, the idea has come from the Read. Look. Think. posts in the above mentioned blog. I’ll just mention the book I’m currently reading, and provide links to articles and sites I’ve found interesting over the previous week. This post will include older articles, as it’s the first one.

The links are a little hard to see sorry. There is a dotted line under the words that link to the relevant pages.

The book

I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and started the fifth book ‘Wolves of the Calla’ earlier this week. My brother has been trying to get me to read this series for a while as it’s one of his favourites. I finally started when I discovered they were turning it into a movie staring either Christian Bale or Javier Bardem. Now, while those who know me know that Christian Bale is, in my opinion, perfect (we’ll ignore the incident), Javier Bardem’s not far behind, so that was a win win situation for me. According to IMDB Javier Bardem will now play the role. Movie aside, I am thoroughly enjoying the books.


I really enjoyed this article, The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?, particularly as I am a feminist and a knitter.

I have written before on the perils of voluntourism, here is someone else’s take in the Sydney Morning Herald

And for something fun from Jezebel, science explains hipsters!

Favourite blog of the week

The afore mentioned blog of Jessica Stanley. A Melbournian living in London taking beautiful photos.

My good friend over at Mummy In Progress tagged me in this game, and because I always like a bit of distraction (and talking about myself) I’ll play along.

First Things First, The Rules:
You must post the rules.
Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
Tag eleven people and link them on your post
Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Eleven fun facts about me (in no particular order):

  1. I wear bifocals for lectures and when I’m knitting in front of the TV.
  2. I knit.
  3. Throughout high school I was known by my close friends as Fred, or Fred of the Outback.
  4. I was an annoying goodie two shoes in high school. Ask anyone I went to high school with, they’ll  agree.
  5. I kind of still am a goodie two shoes, but hopefully not as annoying.
  6. I like beards, maybe not on women though, but I am open minded.
  7. I believe that every self respecting woman should own a pair of red flats. I am currently not a self respecting woman, however I do own a pair of red chuck taylors. Do they count?
  8. My pet hate is people who say ‘would of’ instead of ‘would have’. I hate it so so so so so so so so so so much.
  9. I’m considering getting some tattoos, but am pretty sure I’ll chicken out.
  10. I have lived in four different countries in my nearly 29 years.
  11. I turn 29 tomorrow.

Okay, now for Mummy in Progress’ questions:

1. Cat person or dog person?
Dogs, but I actually really want a pet pig.

2. Who is your hero, and why?
Anyone who knows me will know that I have a bit of an obsession with Audrey Hepburn. Why? She’s fabulous. But you could add Katherine Hepburn too. Why? She’s fabulous.

3. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Probably tarantula or crickets, but I no longer consider those weird.

4. What’s your favourite book?
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. You could also include anything by Margaret Atwood, who is my favourite author.

5. If you could have 6 people, living or dead, over for a dinner party at your place, who would you invite?
Hmm, Slavov Zizek, Zach Galifianakis, Kate Winslet, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry, and Christian Bale (of course).  I am not confident about this list.

6. What is your favourite song?
La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf.

7. What language/s do you speak?
I speak English, basic French, and basic Khmer. I used to speak Solomon Pidgin and Roviana (a dialect in my village in the Solomon Islands), but alas, no longer.

8. What is the number one thing on your “bucket list”?
See the Northern Lights.

9. How do you like your coffee?
I drink espressos.  But if I want to curl up with a cup of coffee, I take it black with a tiny dash of milk. If the coffee’s a little weak, I’ll add one sugar.

10. Who would play you in a biopic of your life?
Leeana Walsman. She had short hair when I did and I fancied we looked alike.

11. Which animal would you steal from the zoo, and how would you get it out of there?
I’d steal elephants from bad zoos and take them to the elephant refuge in northern Cambodia. I have a plan, but I need to acquire some super powers first.

I’m tagging:

I only know two people that would even think about doing this, and one of them tagged me, so you’re it Thought and Musing.

My questions:

Yes, I’m going to be that person and revert to the ones Mummy in Progress asked me.