Monday, December 29, 2008

NYE, past & present

It's been nearly a year since these photos were taken, but hey I only recently acquired a scanner, and I'm currently going hogwild with it. These ones are taken with the lovely red holga that ben purchased for me last Christmas.

I love love love the beauty of film; that you have to wait several weeks before you can see a photo, and that by then you've forgotten that you ever even took it. I also love lomography a little more with every roll I have developed. Most of the time only about half is even worth looking at (which can be pretty damn disheartening), but those photos that do work out always feel so rich in life and atmosphere. EXAMPLE: the below photos for me perfectly capture the heady spirit of last year's new year's eve. I feel drunk just looking at them, but maybe that's just me.

More on that crazy night.
More on lomography.

In other news, I'm really struggling to design a pinwheel logo for this page. Everything I make ends up looking like a swastika - please don't judge me while I experiment. Consider swastikas in hinduism?

x magda

Sunday, December 28, 2008

all about running

After about ten weeks with the Couch-to-5k programme, I finally completed my first 30 minute jog tonight. It was a truly perfect experience. I ran as the sun was setting over Noranda, making sharp-edged black sillouhettes out of eucalyptus trees and power lines. I ran past bushes covered in freshly-blossomed bursts of bright red flowers, and past unassuming suburban homes with strings of coloured Christmas lights still twinkling over empty front porches. I listened to my special "you're officially a jogger now" playlist, with luscious tracks specifically chosen for their power to infuse ordinary environments with deep significance.

It reminded me of my first ever run, also at dusk, not so long ago (ten weeks ago?), when I jogged endless laps around the local park and watched dog walkers pass in and out of street lamp light. Back then I used to struggle to get from one lamp post to the next - and now it feels so natural, it is threatening to veer towards effortlessness.

Those who know me will know that this progress marks a mega-achievement in the history of my life. I've never undertaken any serious physical activity before, indeed I used to set my entire identity up in opposition to it! And now, ohgod ohgod, now I can jog for thirty minutes! AND YOUR MIND IS BLOWN! This post is pretty much simply to celebrate that achievement.


1. a lot of people run! When I began I figured I'd probably be hitting that asphalt all on my own, but invariably I run into at least three other joggers everytime I leave the house - and this is on suburban streets, not in any sort of jogging epicentre like Yokine Reserve. There's pleasure in this sense of community - now I'm starting to recognise faces and greet passers-by with a sense of casual familiarity.
2. there are a lot of lovely places near my house! I've spent a lot of my life complaining about how boring my suburb is, but it wasn't until I actually got out into the thick of it that I learned it had a lot to give. On the other side of Benara Rd there is a perfect little picnic spot, enclosed within a ring of bushland so it seems magically isolated. And Lightning Swamp Reserve further North is just a dream - you can look out over the shrubbery and fool yourself into thinking you're far from home. It's all picture-perfect bush and tranquil stream as far as the eyes can see, with the occasional rabbit/kangaroo/snake skirting across the path ahead. Now that's nature!
3. it is possible to think about other things while you jog! Today I planned this entry while I jogged! I guess you are wondering why it is so lame then, and my answer to that would be that I am not yet skilled enough to fully master creativity under the influence of exhaustion. I dream of one day writing brilliant prose in my head while my legs stay busy pounding the pavement.
4. i am a better person when i jog. It's not an old wives' tale - fitness genuinely makes me happier, and easier to live with. Also, it seems to heighten my connection with my body. I feel so much more aware of each movement, even when I'm just leaning down or sitting up. I feel that joyous entanglement of body and mind, that which Caro spoke of way back when. I think I almost feel more alive, in a sense, or at least more conscious of my corporeal existence, of the space that my body inhabits and of how my limbs move through the air.
5. someone in morley owns a full-size tardis! That's right: I kid you not. It sits on their front lawn looking all quirky during the day, and then it glows radiant blue after dark.

In short: jogging is amazing.
I recommend it, and I recommend this programme.

x magda

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a very wacky christmas

Well there's no doubt about it, this season truly has been a silly one, in the woz-woz house and beyond. Here are some images that to me represent the most memorable moments of christmas08:

TOP LEFT: work christmas party, tom & anna. i love this image because i think it captures the Anna/Tom dynamic so perfectly; Anna is hysterical, and Tom is quietly bemused.
TOP CENTRE: magda's desk, being crafty. this yr i decided to make some of my own Christmas cards. Most of them were awful, but the best thing about the whole experience was just that feeling of being absolutely saturated in cliched christmas 'elements.' I'd be at that desk for hours, and then emerge with glasses covered in glitter and hands covered in tiny little snowflake cut-outs.
TOP RIGHT: family wigilia, my sister kokulka. Being classically Polish, my family celebrates Christmas on the eve before the day, and we open the presents as soon as the first star becomes visible in the sky (Venus does not count).
MIDDLE LEFT: secret santa potluck, ro's shitty santa gift. My "friendship group" (as they have been dubbed by anna) celebrated Christmas with a delicious potluck dinner and two sets of gifts. There was the traditional secret santa, plus the additional "shitty santa." The requirements of the latter were three-fold: 1) that it not cost more than $2, 2) that it be humorous, and 3) that it be shit. The pictured gift went from Abby to Ro.
MIDDLE CENTRE: santa @ myer, tom, louisa, jono & magda. Our work Chirstmas lunch carried on into the night, with a crazy trip through King's Park in Arnold's rather crowded car, a stopover at the oak & ivy, and a skip through the late night shopping crowds of Perth's CBD.
MIDDLE RIGHT: gingerbread house failure, by magda & koko. Our dad thought it might be a cute idea to buy as this gingerbread house from IKEA - but of course, classic ikea, you had to build it yourself. The whole thing was a disaster from the start: i burned my finger on boiling sugar syrup, the icing was a drippy mess, our mother's decorative suggestions were not desirable (marshmellows as "snow") and by christmas morning the whole structure had collapsed anyway.
BOTTOM LEFT: secret santa potluck, vintage jenny. Here a very cute Jenny is holding part of Moriarty's contribution to the potluck. I brought a Greek salad, while Jenny brought a tiramisu which i ridiculed but really enjoyed in the end. Other highlights included: a delicious frittata from Sasha, and scrumptious chickpea soup-thing from Caro.
BOTTOM CENTRE: christmas lunch, desserts by magda. This year I was in charge of the desserts, yay! I delivered: berry choc cupcakes with alternating decorations (fondant christmas cut-outs for aesthetics vs. classic chocolate icing for taste), a baked lemon cheescake AND rasberry macademia 'blondies.'
BOTTOM RIGHT: family wigilia, kaku + hat. This is my grandfather, just chillaxin during the gift-giving proceedings. It was my mum's idea that every family member be forced to wear a hat. I think he pretty much enjoyed it.

I would like to share a postcard that we received from the boys down the road. The tiny cynical part of me thinks that maybe this was just drunken humour, but the greater part of me believes this was beautiful neighbourly christmas spirit. Boys, I may never actually meet you, but I appreciate the thought (and the photo, hoody hoo!).

(So I just told my mum I was posting this and she agreed, "it is the highlight of the year." I think maybe she meant "christmas," and not "year," but it's pretty hard to tell.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

the silly season is upon us once more

For my 22nd birthday, the beautiful Sasha gave me a gift voucher to Lotus in Mt Hawthorn, and as a result I am now the proud owner of a new cylindrical lamp covered in patterns of reindeers, dragonflies and red circles. It was not until I got the purchase home that I finally questioned: "WOAH, have i basically just purchased a christmas lamp that is not intended for general use?! how very awkward!!"

I concluded that this is not actually the case (PHEW), but still this thought has caused me to note how many of my 'general interests' tie in with the 'silly season'* - perhaps thus explaining why I extract so much pure enjoyment from this time of yr.

* - thank you, caro! now i cannot stop using this obnoxious/lovable phrase!

Here is a list of things that I love, in life as in christmas:

* fairy lights, candles and all sorts of dim lighting
* the colour RED, especially when accented with GOLD
* gift buying/giving/receiving, awww
* mulled wine
* deers and polar bears
* any excuse to plausibly hang wacky (read: fluffy) decorations in a public place
* GLITTER and SPARKLES in general
* dessert in excessive quantities
* bells that jingle
* the movie love actually, and especially the song "christmas is all around me" (& especially that bit "you gave your presents to me/and i gave mine to you")
* stars and snowflakes when used as decorative elements
* the idea of TALKING ANIMALS
* the songs, "silent night" and "away in a manger"
* peppermint flavouring!
* 'slippery santa'
* taking pictures of my cat (the lovely kita) in costume
* the 'christmas carol' story, but especially the muppets version
* snoozing in and rolling out
* the smell of pine trees
* gingerbread
* HOLIDAYS (i am pretty sure i am alone here)

basically, when i dress "festive" i wear my favourite dresses but feel free to accesorise with sickeningly cutesy elements such as jingly bracelets or tinsel headbands, which pretty much still suit me perfectly (in being: red, often glittered, always tacky).

so, QUESTION: do i love these things because i love christmas, or vice versa?! OR is it all just a rich tapestry, as a wise man once suggested? oh, it truly is a beautiful time. i hope all you readers out there (yes, all 3 of you) enjoy it!

x magda

wild 4 woody

Free from the constraints of early tuesday mornings (ah holidays, i love you!) i have finally been able to attend a Luna Movie Double in its entirety - and what a way to live the dream too, with a beautiful Woody Allen double, a delicious peppermint choc-top and some good people including caroline, mark & ro. Before I dive into snoozeville, I wanted to jot down my reactions to these films - & I’m not talking polished, retrospective criticism, but just my instantaneous emotional response.

Annie Hall was up first, and, yes, I loved it. I found the story rich, relatable, and memorable, and the central relationship compelling in its genuine chemistry. As I drove home I replayed some favoured moments in my mind and found myself smiling, remembering Anne’s awkwardly misplaced laughter, that silly juxtaposition between their two families (Alvy’s family, like mine, is zany and obnoxious), and that bit where Alvy describes relationships as sharks (they must constantly "move forward, or die"). Still, even though I laughed a lot during this film, I wouldn’t describe it as a major lol-fest; rather, it’s a case of finding the humour touching (or ‘eerie’ even) in its accuracy. In the end, I’d describe the film as joyous, as a loving tribute to a complicated relationship. I’m excited about watching it again.

Conversely, Manhattan troubled me. Yes I found it interesting, but I had some major issues with the female characters. To me they seemed to devolve into vacuous passivity, becoming mere facilitators or ciphers (I guess mainly I am talking about the Tracy character here). I felt as if Woody too had lost a bit of his charm (though maybe that’s the effect of the double bill?) becoming at best a little annoying, and at worst a little misogynistic. Knowing about his personal life also made the relationship with Tracy a little problematic. I’ve heard so many great things about the film, though, I’ve heard it described a romantic triumph (plus Mark's a fan, and I'm a fan of Mark?), and so I wonder if this is classic me, "destroying love with over-analysis." This was Koko’s argument anyway, when I came home and tried to share the view with her, but of course she would say that (because she's a butt). Also, I think Annie Hall would obviously be more of an 'instant pleaser': so perhaps Manhatten is the fine wine of the film world?! ANYWAY, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on this one.

My wonderful friend Liz has an amazing blog worth checking out! It is over-flowing with inspirational creativity – watch out for the “daydream project” in particular, through which she transforms some mental wanderings into something very beautiful. Yay for Liz! Gosh, I know some pretty amazing people, it is true!

x magda

Monday, December 15, 2008

the corrections

so today i finally finished reading jonathan franzen's the corrections. i started reading it ages ago for an english unit, then got distracted and only picked it up again recently. this time, however, i was well 'suckered' into the story and encountered that classic sitch of "oh god i hope this novel NEVER ENDS!" luckily, at 600 pages, a relatively long period of time was able to pass before i reached the novel's finale.

i am SO happy with the book's conclusion! it is so appropriately understated; assuredly anti-climactic without being disappointing. in a sense the whole novel is like that, i guess. every chapter, every paragraph even, seems to draw frenetically upwards towards some grand culmination that never eventuates. in the end, that sense of 'build-up' is actually marked as some sort of never-ending buzz of everyday life - and you come to enjoy its continuation, rather than anticipate its conclusion.

i really wanted to find a quote to illustrate that sensation, but i can't find an appropriate one, because this book is more than the sum of its parts and all that. its effect hits you cumilatively as you push through, and is impossible to gauge through a detached passage. still, much of the narrative seems to be grinding slowly towards to christmas; christmas time facilitating that rough "tying of loose ends" that i guess could be described as the book's 'finale.' i thought i might include a quote about christmas in suburbia, just because it's "topical", and also because i have a personal love for suburbs transformed by festivity. this is from the perspective of enid, the midwestern mother who finds happiness in notions of home, family and simple pleasures - i.e. all the notions that her children have come to resist or resent.

"By night the park was Christmasland. Enid drew breath sharply as the Olds crept up a hill of light and across a landscape made luminous. Just as the beasts were said to speak on Christmas Eve, so the natural order of the suburbs seemed overturned here, the ordinarily dark land alive with light, the ordinarily lively road dark with crawling traffic. The mild gradients of Waindell's slopes and the intimacy of its ridgelines' relations with the sky were midwestern. So, it seemed to Enid, were the hush and patience of the drivers; so were the isolated close-knit frontier communities of oaks and maples. She'd spent the last eight Christmases exiled in the alien East, and now, at last, she felt at home. She imagined being buried in this landscape. She was happy to think of her bones resting on a hillside such as this... The spectacle was nothing more than lights in the darkness, but Enid was speechless. So often credulity was asked of you, so seldom was she able to summon it absolutely, but here at Waindell Park she could. Somebody had set out to delight all comers, and Enid was delighted."

x magda

Sunday, December 14, 2008

down south!

a couple of weeks ago i went away down south with my gentleman-friend "ben." now that life is full of pre-christmas frenzy on both the work and home fronts, and i'm suffering from that old conundrum of "too much stuff argh! too little time argh!", i find it soothing to return to the memories of this trip.

i understand that my conception of "the country" is extremely limited. i realise that my experience of "the country" extends only as far as the tourist trail. my vision of small town life eerily echoes the representation of pearl bay in seachange. i have had the privilege of staying only in charming, log-fired cottages - never in an actual farm house or (arrgh arrgh no!) a caravan! further, what i mean when i say "country" is "south-western wa" where big trees reach upwards and crowd the sky and it's all about idyllic clear water. i'm not actually referring to dusty shacks in the middle of the nullabor, or large cattle droving plains as featured in that "quintessentially australian film," australia.

nonetheless though, i like to think there's a core of something... real? in amongst all that mediated experience. whenever i begin to doubt that, i like to remember the story of our good friend mary-rose from denmark, who went away to ireland for three months and did not even bother to lock her front door. "what's going to happen?" i remember her asking, "there's no one around here that i don't know and trust!" the moment she said these words, i drafted a mental plan to move to denmark after i finished uni. i was going to buy a little forest-surrounded "studio," despite the fact that i actually did not really know what a "studio" was (i was 10 at the time, and it sounded so romantic; all paint and books and magazines and pillar candles dripping thick wax over their holders).

times have changed since then, but every time i return to the country, i remember this feeling of dreamy idealism. for me then, being down south is not so much a matter of "time stopping," as it has so often been described, but of time compacting. i remember the delicate feel of every past country moment; staring out over rocks towards the horizon, sitting on wooden verandahs feeding bread crumbs to enthusiastic blue wrens, lying on my back to watch as tall karri trees sway perilously in the wind, listening to pounding didgeridoo music as we coast down scenic roads (my dad describes this music as "exhilarating" and insists on it for all longer drives). and at the same time, there's a feeling of inifinite possibility, of everything that the country has yet to offer me. it's a return to that feeling of a potential country future; i basically can't go down south without remembering my past vision of a forest studio and yearning for it anew, albeit in a modified form.

x magda


so, despite the fact that i said i probably would not post my own stuff, i'm going to post a couple of the pictures i took down south. they are nothing special, and probably evoke more within me than they could in anyone else - but still, i'm happy with the use of focus.

"birds: the essence of country?"
(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


hello beautiful world!

recently my lovely friend caroline "buttface" dale kick-started a shiny new blog, and what can i say? i'm a sheep in cat's clothing! truth be told: watching caroline slowly accumulate entries, i began to feel as if i also wanted some more internet turf to call my own, and so this zany site was born.

the idea here is that i am going to post about things that have INSPIRED me in some way. this is a broad category because i am talking about any kind of "thing" (book, garden, animal!) and any kind of "inspiration" (towards passion, anger or jealousy - but hopefully mostly towards LOVE!). essentially, i hope that this will serve as a sort of makeshift collection of "stuff" that i think is worth remembering. maybe occasionally i'll post some of my own work, but i'm pretty shy like that so maybe not.

i suppose that for starters i should discuss the blogs that have inspired me. nb: i don't read many blogs, even though i am a communication studies student and so i probably should. maybe there are some blogs you'd like to recommend?

natalija creates : i first met nat on the set of the sculptor, where i was working as a production runner earlier this year (making coffee, sweeping millipedes, feeling glamorous). even before we were formally introduced i was already regularly lurking around her blog (something that i initially denied & then later confessed to out of misguided drunken sincerity). the thing that i love most about nat is that she makes things happen. while the rest of us sit around dreaming of dream careers, she's off teaching photography in minngenew and making dolls in south africa, and documenting all that in her blog. reading about her adventures makes them feel more tangible to me, more attainable and therefore all the more worth dreaming about! i also love observing the way in which she seems to inject creativity into her everyday activities, transforming it into a sort of "way of life" if you will. what's more, her pictures are pretttty!

rode out as a lion : for starters, i love this blog because i love caroline, that's a pretty simple factor. what i find most inspiring about this blog, though, is how it documents caroline's concentrated attempt to transform sporadic creativity into routine. i think that anyone who thinks that creativity can be sustained without discipline is naive. sure, inspiration can strike at any time, but for this to grow or evolve into anything greater conscious effort is required. also, reading about others' creative endeavours inspires you to pursue your own (creativity via virtual osmosis!). that applies to nat's blog also.

ok phew, some beautiful words from me today.
"that'll do, pig, that'll do"

x magda