dimanche 28 mars 2010

oh motherland

I finally developed my photos from China. They are few, but, in my opinion, quite representative of our routines.

I visited my cousin in Shanghai when I first got back to China. She was sharing an apartment with over 10 other people. The place had two levels, probably no more than 150 square metres combined, and the owners had split the original rooms into tiny 2x3's. There was a nice view from the balcony, my cousin was lucky enough to have the door of that balcony sectioned into her room, but that's about the only attraction. My aunt, my cousin's boyfriend and myself were all visiting in those few days, so the four of us literally filled just about every inch of space when we laid down for sleep. Since a lot of the young people living in Shanghai are from out of town, this sort of get-up isn't unusual. After realising that there were 5 doors to bedrooms on my cousin's floor alone, and each bedroom housing at least one tenant, it baffled me to imagine just how many kids are there altogether trying to make it in this city. Feeling insignificant seemed somewhat inevitable.

I forget to mention that her 4 months old puppy had also come to visit. After he dug a hole in the mattress while we weren't looking, we had no choice but to lock him in a cage during the night. Poor bubba, so cheerful to be let out the next morning!

Yawn and stretch.

My cousin decided to move out of that apartment before we went back to Nantong for winter break. She didn't want to have to deal with the contract and paper work though, so it was somewhat of a thrill to make an escape overnight in secret. We took all the boxes into her friend's neighbouring apartments by 1am and spent the rest of the night at a cheap Karaoke place. It was too dangerous to fall asleep since her boyfriend's train for Henan left at 6am. 

After the ordeal that is living in Shanghai, Nantong felt like a relief. Afternoons were predominantly spent in tea houses with our pharmacology student neighbour, the skinny girl in the above photo who had digestive problems and an incredible metabolism. 

On the 3rd day of the lunar new year, we always visit my grandfather's brother. I appreciate that unlike most of Nantong, his home is still the same as I remembered when I was 7. 

At night we waited at McDonalds for our neighbour to come so we could go out together.

We drank lemon tea under this strangely glossy lighting. 

As I'd mentioned before, we also went to Suzhou for a few days. 

Where ever we went we made sure we were well fed. 


We stayed at Guan Qian Jie, and whilst it was also a bustling area, it didn't have that threatening aura as Shanghai's shopping districts. 

Back in Nantong. Towards the end of the holidays, we grew less eager to dress well, and so the puffy jackets came out for an airing. 

These are taken by the riverbank. Nantong has one main river, and almost everywhere you go is next to the riverbank. 

A portrait of the usual gang before everyone went about their separate lives once the holidays ended.

The 'asian squat' deserves a double exposure.


This playground near our house is a frequent last stop for a smoke. Once there was a dog that looked like a wolf here, but the lighting was bad, and I'm pretty sure it was a husky.

Nantong and Suzhou both have a very slow rhythm of life. For young people especially, this is both a blessing and a curse. I guess this is why most people have left. 

Melbourne is slow too, but I have to act more purposefully here. The lighting from my window was quite rejuvenating the other Sunday.

mardi 23 mars 2010

the shades and shadows undulate in my perception

Eversince listening to Fiona Apple's "Never is a Promise", the word "undulate" has been one of my favourites.

Trypanosomes have undulating membranes.

beauty in the breakdown

I have a tendency to justify my vanity and superficiality by stressing that I am an artistic person. In this way, my propensity for reading fashion blogs, watching ANTM or even subscribing to Youtube make-up channels can all be categorised together with other less vacuous interests such as photography or painting. I just really like beautiful things. 

Speaking of which, Takeshi Kaneshiro as evidence supporting the argument that symmetry is beauty.Photobucket

(Astounding isn't it? The only difference between the first two images is the width of his jaw - and that comes down to the angle of the original photo). 

dimanche 21 mars 2010



I liked Kim Daul since stumbling upon her blog sometime in 2007 - she seemed so edgy and self-assured at only 18. No other model came close to her intelligence and imagination. I thought it was a hoax when she died last year on the day of my statistics exam; it didn't seem natural. Part of me is still convinced that she is actually still alive and simply hiding on a secluded Caribbean island to let her creative energy flow in private. I'm glad they re-opened her blog.

- illustration by Andrea Marshall

vendredi 19 mars 2010


Medicine is so serious. In my art history class, all the aspiring art history majors, of whom I am very spiteful of, pretend to be serious, but really, how could they be? Nothing is detrimental to a goal like their's, nothing except an innate insensibility to the humanities. In which case, no amount of seriousness is going to save you. Medicine on the other hand is built on seriousness. Each step towards it is like a systematic process of elimination. Everything is detrimental. Preparing for the pre-med exam is making me realise how incompatible I am with the system. I am not a serious person. 

-Ryan McGinley

dimanche 14 mars 2010


Why does all of my sleep-clothes smell musky? It is so difficult to tell whether a stained, pilled old t-shirt is clean or not without the advantage of smell. I should really just toss them all into the washing machine so that I don't get scabies from wearing dirty laundry. I did get scabies once in grade 5 though (not from dirty laundry, I hope). It was the second most embarrassing diagnosis I've received from a doctor.

samedi 13 mars 2010

days of summer

I will try to do this chronologically but it has been three months since I first had these developed so the events present themselves as 'very hazy'. At the time we were in the middle of moving and without internet connection, so I had no way of blogging about anything. And then I was in China, and you know the deal there. But at long last I can post the final dregs of my summer photos and tick that off my to-do list. 

They continue from a roll I took at my friend's beach house. 

It was something of a photography camp, I've managed to lead most of my friends onto the righteous path of analogue. 

We drank milkshakes on a hot day, and I felt generally very Californian. 

This birdie was photographed about 100 times. 

We found a new dumpling place that didn't have a greasy residue on every surface. 



Anni is so sweet and so is her home. Everything is well compartmentalised and just quaint enough without being pretentious. Her backyard reminds me of Japan in that it is compact and functional, without compromising aesthetics nor ambience. 

For dinner we made sweet potato gnocchi and salad with vegetables from her garden. We also made bread and butter pudding, a first for me as I am not so big on British food unlike a surprising number of my friends, and I am sorry to say that I was not a fan.  

I don't remember this occasion.... 

This was the window display of a toy store on Brunswick St. It was a game: there was a list of different toys which you were asked to find in the display. Michelle and I were in the middle of finding the giraffe when the store owner came out to close for the day. If memory serves me right he had his son with him and they were getting their bikes ready. I remember them as being sweet but I can't recall why. 

On one Saturday in early December we moved out of our old house. This was the last photo that I took of my bedroom. Currently we are living at a friend's house as we wait for our settlement date.

A few days later it was my birthday. I distinctly recall complaining to my mum about the fact that I am spending my first day as a 19 year old sharing a room with my parents. To make myself feel better I had a picnic with friends at the botanical gardens, and although I look really disgruntled in the above picture, I was actually really happy and thought the wrapping paper on that particular present was really neat. I baked macarons, scones and red-velvet cupcakes, which were really neat too.


Jayne bought me a new red lipstick, and oh look, I got my braces off! On the day of my birthday in fact.

It was something like 40 degrees celsius that day and we eventually started playing with ice from the esky.




Aurora's dress was so pretty.

On Christmas Eve I hung out with my friend Yue who was home from Oxford. Her neighbours had a monstrous cactus plant that had flowered.

We baked, I quote the recipe here, a "yellow cake". Essentially a butter cake with only egg yolks. I hate separating eggs since the unused half is sometimes wasted, so we made some meringue cookies too. Then we arranged all the food around the couch and watched Paranormal Activity. It was disappointing after all the hype I had built around it. 

After Christmas, I had another bake day with Maddy. We had seen this recipe on a blog and I think it was originally from Martha Stewart. Something like 2kg of cream cheese was used in this...

The film I used was shitty but that's actually an Oreo you see there. We made Oreo cupcheesecakes! We'd been itching to trial them for months but I think in the end it was a case of "too much of a good thing". 

And then it was New Year's Eve! I never give up on taking photos of fireworks on film but each time they turn out like this.

Even a double exposure can't salvage them.

There was a thunderstorm that night and lightning was streaking through the sky horizontally, if you can imagine.

We were all drenched.

But still pretty excited! The lit up billboard in the back was an ad for Avatar by the way.

I had breakfast with Jayne one last time before I went away. 

Her YSL ring is beeaaauuutiful. So was the grilled mushroom I ate.

Speaking of one last times, my Korean student went back to Korea. I took her on a picnic, in fact at the exact same spot that I'd spent my birthday, and we shared a punnet of strawberries and macarons. I can't remember what we talked about, she is so quiet so we probably didn't talk about much. I hope she comes back one day, or maybe I can go visit.  

I told her to take the last shot in the roll.