Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Graffiti- Eyesore or art?

Today has been just one of those days... it poured with rain, and I mean POURED!!! On my walk home from school, had I not ducked into a grocery store, I would have been drenched faster than if I were in my shower with the water on full blast. The gutters on King Street were flooding, giving rise to enormous waves of spray from cars speeding past. Of course this just happens to be the day after I hang my (only set of) sheets out to dry... groan. Worse, the forecast is not exactly conducive to them drying anytime soon.

I suppose that it could have been worse; for most of my time outside today it was only lightly spitting. Not that anyone wielding their huge pointy umbrellas whilst wading through the throngs of students walking across the bridge at uni would know or care. Heaven forbid they get one droplet of rain on themselves for the sake of not poking out everyone else's eyeballs.

And another thing. What is up with people having out of control conniptions in public??? Once again I was forced to nervously skirt around a couple engaged in some kind of flagrant domestic dispute outside the bank this afternoon. The one with the leg amputation was maniacally waving her crutch around in an apparent effort to emphasize whatever point she was making to her equally irate partner. This is only the latest example in a series of volatile public displays near where I live. Needless to say, Newtown is quite a 'lively' neighbourhood. For my readers in Toronto, I feel like it's Queen West meets College and Spadina: cool, trendy restaurants and stores, mixed with thrift shops, dive bars and some very 'eclectic' folk. There's also plenty of garbage and graffiti, which, while I concede has merit as a subcultural method of political commentary and artistic impression (the graffiti, not the garbage), it still takes some getting used to. While I'm trying to be open-minded, I can't help but see it as a symbol of a lack of presence of law enforcement, which is not the most comforting thing for a newcomer. Here are some photos of the park I walk through twice daily. What do you think?

On my daily commute to school (on foot) I walk through this pretty park.

It's a beautiful park during the day, but as with most inner city parks, a bit on the dodgy side at night time. 
The afternoon picnic is a regular weekend event for many groups of people in this park.

Hecs is the name of the Australian student loan scheme. I thought this was rather clever. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

To Market, To Market!

Sydney is known for its abundance of fabulous farmers markets, and the Eveleigh Market is no exception. My trip there this weekend was a completely and utterly fantastic study break! Sydneysiders love the fresh-from-the farm produce and gourmet delicacies available right from the artisans' kitchens. Although I stuck to my basic grocery list I did indulge in some liberal sampling! Delicious cheeses, fresh fish, refreshing, tangy juices, brilliantly coloured flowers and unusual Australian spices were just some of the sense-awakening offerings. I also found it was a great way to talk to some real local Aussies and peak into the vibrant farming culture. I also like that market shopping is a great way to support local farming practices, and the food is wonderfully delicious to boot! I am certain that it's not all in my head: the food actually tastes better. The fruit is sweeter and tangier, the veggies more flavourful, and the yogurt much more smooth and fresh-tasting than its mass-produced, grocery store counter-part. I've never tasted anything better! Topped with sliced fresh peaches and passion fruit- it's like a taste explosion in my mouth!

The array of fresh food was amazing! These lettuces (3 heads for $5- bargain!) were picked the previous evening. Sure beats veggies that have travelled on a truck and then sat in a warehouse for a few days.

mmmm cheese. It was so hard to resist this stand, but alas I satisfied myself with a morsel from the sample table. 

Loaded up with fresh fruits and veggies for the week. The gorgeous weather made the half an hour walk with the heavy bags a little more pleasant. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few Garage Sale Finds :)

Last Sunday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and people were having garage sales!!  Now on the whole I've managed to stay far far away from anywhere I might be tempted to spend money but I am in the market for a few essentials. I figured a garage sale might be a safe bet for scavenging a few necessities at a manageable pricepoint. Low and behold I found some great deals! Ordinarily I find yard sales to be hit and miss. Most of the time there's a reason why the hosts are getting rid of the stuff on sale; however, luckily the items at this particular sale were treasures! I wish I could have bought it all but alas I am on a tight budget. 

I couldn't resist this nightstand, it's a really nice glass top with and interesting metal base. An welcome departure from the standard, boring ikea "wood" nightstand I would have thought I'd end up with. The lamp too was a great deal as it had been an unwanted gift and was brand new. 

I know it seems strange that with all the reading I have for school I'd want another book but I sometimes find it difficult to "switch off" at the end of the day. I find reading a chapter of this book to be very soothing and soporific. I have to thank Anne over at the City Sage for her blogger book love series which mentioned this book. What a find!

So all in all a very productive trip to the garage sale, although I am still without a chair for my new desk. Hopefully my hosuemates don't mind my borrowing the dining table chair all the time!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Uninvited Houseguest

I always like to treat others as I'd like to be treated myself. Ergo, upon sighting a most unexpected visitor at 4am the other morning, I elected to trap and remove the creature rather than smack it with a very large object. Notwithstanding the fact that 4am corpse disposal was not be high on my list of welcome tasks, I still thought it was ultimately the most fair arrangement for both parties. Luckily since my assignment had  trumped room cleaning I had a selection of potential receptacles handy in the debris on my desk. An empty coffee cup did the trick and after some time and slight misfortune (see below) I successfully corralled the spider into the cup and granted it rather unceremonious egress out of my still open, but soon to be shut window. As the temperature has now crept back up to mid to high 20s (even at night!) I am struggling to reconcile my fear that it, or another family member might again seek to enter my room with the stifling heat of an unventilated bedroom.  
Result of tripping over a yet-to-be-assembled bed frame leaning up against the wall, and subsequently having it fall down onto my ankle during the trapping phase of the operation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Bed!

Apologies for being incommunicado of late. All of a sudden law school has turned into a lot of work. Imagine that! Most recently, I was forced into sequestering myself in my room for 4 days to write two, 2500 word essays. They were meant to be  a "take home exam" but would more accurately have been named "four days to work a miracle" because that's what the fact that I actually finished it was. We have now begun torts. I have a feeling there will be lots of bad jokes involving the word "tortuous" floating around. Stay tuned...

On a lighter and brighter note, here's a pic of my new bed! As some of you may know I endured quite the misadventure during my first attempt to secure appropriate sleeping facilities when I first moved into my house. I originally bought a second hand bed, a disastrous ordeal from start to finish. A good friend helped me pick it up from the seller's' apartment way out in Maroubra Beach (a suburb about 45 minutes away.) Well, unfortunately as we were trying to fit the bed frame into the hatchback it, being less than high-quality, Ikea particle board, snapped at the leg joint! Luckily, a friend's dad who is quite handy with tools, offered to repair it for me. Then, whilst attempting to sleep with the mattress on the floor, I was completely unable to sleep at all. I eventually gave up and slept on the couch. As that wasn't the sort of arrangement that would do permanently by any means, I decided enough was enough and purchased a new bed from the department store. It was bottom of the line, and on sale so didn't quite break the bank but I figured it was worth eating canned tuna for a few weeks. I have to say it's been absolutely divine compared to the horrendous experience of the first mattress. After some investigation, it turns out that  the couple who sold the mattress to me lied about it's age and value. At least all's well that ends well. Lesson learned.