People from school know me as being LOUD. I always used to be confident, talkative, flirtatious (ok well I’m still flirtatious) and out there. I would debate with people for the hell of it, I was totally open with my thoughts and opinions, I was comfortable talking with different people from all walks of life. So why the fuck am I so damned shy now!

I mean my yearbook comment (from Tors) was “leave it to Mim to be outrageous and proud of it – is that rope burn?” does that sound like the type of comment that would be written about a quiet reserved girl?

Even at the TPN dinner last year where I met most of my regular readers the general consensus was that I seemed to be much louder on my blog than I was in person. Actually as far as that’s concerned I want to put the record straight. The loud Miriam who was talking about pole-dancing nurses and Angelina Jolie. That was the normal Miriam, not a drunk Miriam. Half the reason why I was so quiet to start off with was that Cam intimidates the hell out of me, and there was a huge group of new people for me to meet.

Anyway I think the key to this change is Colin. I’ve always been a little shy. But I warmed to people so fast that they’d never believe that I was shy when I told them. Now I’ve become so accustomed to clinging onto Colin for dear life during the initial introduction that I’ve never come out of my shell properly.

So I guess what I really need to do is to try to fend for myself a bit next time we’re out. I don’t want to fold in on myself entirely!

The Things You Learn…

…When stuck in the middle of nowhere without Internet access.

Actually to be honest there was Internet access. I just wasn’t willing to pay $25 a day for the privilege; but, back to the point. When you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without Internet access you start finding other ways to entertain yourself. Like women’s magazines.

I really do recommend that any man who has a girlfriend/wife/mistress/all-of-the-above (you know who you are) makes sure he has a flick through of whichever magazines his various significant females read. I am convinced that 90% of strange female behaviour is caused by a lethal combination of spazzed out hormones and women’s magazines.

Anyway, this months issue of Marie Claire has a fascinating and very deep article on… ‘Sex and your stars… a six-month horoscope special’. Now I tend to view horoscopes with a certain level of amusement. They are, obviously a pile of garbage, but in terms of their personality descriptions they’ve got mine pretty much spot on, so its always amusing when they give their take on my sexual and or romantic tendencies.

So here is what I learned about myself from this months Marie Claire:

  1. the most important sexual organ is the brain… (of course it is… why didn’t I realise before)
  2. I am spontaneous, liberated, unpredictable, and love to experiment
  3. I give the impression of someone sexy, stimulating and erotically uninhibited
  4. I drive men crazy with my air of amused detachment and elitist demeanour

(this is the best bit)

You need to feel connected to a kindred mind so you can be mesmerised by someone brilliant and articulate who seems to have all the answers. You usually don’t discover until it’s too late that he’s all head and no heart… You also attract unfaithful types who take advantage of your trust.

The worrying thing is that I can think of a fair handful of people who fit that description perfectly.

So there you have it. Miriam according to Marie Claire.

And if you want my shiny piece of advice. If you’re going to start a relationship with someone who has a history of affairs and one-night stands then just be honest about it and make it an open relationship. Its not usually the sex that upsets people but the dishonesty.

The Music That Moves Me (Classical Edition)

  1. Elgar, Cello Concerto in E Minor – Jacqueline Du Pre.
    I started to play the cello when I was seven, and from the first moment I picked it up I had a love/hate relationship with it. I’d wanted to play the violin but when I walked into the Canberra School of Music with my mother to speak to the violin teacher she took one look at my hands and said “No, fingers are too long. Cello”
    However, I found that when I sat down to play the cello every bit of energy and passion I had to give poured out through the cello. I had a startling talent, but as with everything it doesn’t amount for much when you don’t put work into it and it was the first thing that I would push aside during my depressive stages. So now, at 20, I’m all talent, no skill. The cello is like an extension of my body, my playing is instinctual, I can move without effort, but I can’t dance.Jacqueline Du Pre, was arguably the greatest cellist of all time. She was a passionate woman and you can hear that passion in every note she plays. Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor is possibly her best, certainly her most famous recording. I challenge you to listen to it without falling in love with the cello. I can barely listen to it without crying.
  2. Vivaldi, “L’estro armonico” No. 10 (Concerto for Four Violins and a Cello)
    This is a piece which never fails to cheer me up. Its such a vibrant and exciting work. I had the pleasure of performing this during my HSC year with my string quartet and a couple of borrowed additional violinists. It’s truly inspiring and should be on everyone’s ‘music for thinking’ playlists.
  3. Corelli, Concerto Grosso in G minor (Christmas Concerto)
    Again from my string quartet days. This was my favorite piece to perform. It has a fun and prominent cello part. I loved the fact that I got a chance to shine rather than just playing walking basses all the time. It brings back great memories; in fact, when I listen to it I usually end up closing my eyes and playing it in my head.
  4. Chopin, Nocturne in E Minor, Op 72
    One of my favorite pieces to play on the piano. I don’t have a piano in Melbourne and its the first time in my life that I’ve been without one. I miss it a lot. It was always the best outlet for any frustrations or sadness. I’ve been known to play an mp3 of this, close my eyes and play the imaginary piano on my desk… sad, I know!
  5. Rachmaninoff, Prelude in C sharp Minor
    When I was a kid, after I’d go to bed my dad would play the piano. This was my favorite piece that he played. I’d often creep into the corridor to listen to it better. Dad’s not really one to show his emotions but he plays the piano with passion and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minor is a very passionate work.
  6. Widor, Toccata from Organ Symphony no 5
    I’ve always loved the drama and grandiosity of the organ and this is the piece of music I most wanted to play. I learned the organ for a couple of years but I never got anywhere near good enough to play it. It’s still my favorite organ work.
  7. Satie, Gymnopedie 1
    The first piece I learned to play on the piano was Satie’s Gymnopedie 1. Dad always used to play it and when I was around twelve I sat down at the piano and thought “I’ll give it a go”. When mum came home from work I proudly played her the first half of it. She called up to arrange piano lessons the next day.
  8. Allegri, Miserere
    I have a long history with this work. I first learned the soprano solo for the Allegri Miserere when I was ten as an audition piece for Gondwana Voices, a choir comprised of 50 young singers from around Australia. Later, I sang it in a concert put together for a friend of my mother’s who was dying of cancer, and then performed it at his funeral. It is an amazing work, the kind of music that sends shivers down your spine every time you listen to it.
  9. Purcell, Funeral Music for Queen Mary
    If you haven’t heard Purcell’s, Funeral Music for Queen Mary, and in particular the march, then I recommend that you stop reading now and get yourself a copy. I’ve performed this a couple of times and having the brass section just in front of me playing the funeral march is just spectacular. When I first heard it I immediately thought that I wanted it to be played at my funeral. I now realize that its probably a little over the top for someone like me but I love it nevertheless.
  10. Purcell, Dido and Aeneas
    I had the honor of playing Dido in a school production of Dido and Aeneas and it is a fantastic work. Originally written for a girls school of ballet and the performing arts, its based on the Aeneid and has all the drama you would expect from a work with such heritage.

I was going to try to put these in some kind of order but I can’t find one. Jacqueline Du Pre’s recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor is definitely number one though. So I guess this is mostly a personalized idiots guide to classical music. A handful of classical works to check out that have my own personal seal of approval, whatever that’s worth 🙂

My Bookshelf

On the basis that you can learn a lot about someone from their bookshelf I thought to myself: why not put together a couple of annotated photo’s of my bookshelf to share with anyone who cares to look?


So from the top shelf…

  1. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and the Places that Scare You both gifts from my mother, both books that I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to it.
  2. The Path to Enlightenment by Geshe Loden. Given to me by Geshe Loden. It and the previous two Buddhist texts are kept on the top shelf out of respect.
  3. The sheet music I’ve gotten around to bringing down from sydney: Half cello, half guitar. My piano music and complete works of The Beatles are still in sydney because I don’t have a piano (which is, incidentally, driving me crazy).
  4. A whole bunch of diet books because I’m great at reading diet books and useless at following them.
  5. The Coming Plague a really cool book which chronicles the worst diseases in recent human history and how they came about.
  6. Biological Psychology. A very cool textbook which talks about the neurological side of psychology.
  7. Clinical Medicine. A medical textbook I devoured a couple of years ago when I wanted to study medicine.
  8. My Harry Potter books in French. I’ve only read the first one the whole way through. I need to brush up on my french a little bit and get back to reading them. Its a good mental exercise.
  9. Suicide Girls. Birthday present from Colin.
  10. My uni textbooks

Obviously there are other books on the shelf but if you want to stickybeak further you’ll just have to look at the larger photo and figure out what they are 🙂

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Disturbing Dreams

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a bunch of dreams moving from bizarre to disturbing.

Cam had a starring role in the first one. It was about a strange form of TPN Christmas party clearly held in the northern hemisphere as evidenced by all the snow and during the gift-giving part of the evening a serving plate (gift for Cam) turned into a gravy boat whilst I simultaneously discovered that I was naked. I then procured some clothing and we got chatting about moleskines and productivity… as you do!

The second was somewhat less strange and more disturbing. Basically there were two guys tasing me. I can’t remember much more than fear and pain.

The third had me waking in a cold sweat shaking. To explain why it was so disturbing for me I’ll have to give you a little history but I’ll get to that later. The dream was simple and I don’t remember any details but someone was standing over me with a sharp blade making long, shallow cuts in my skin.

Now for the history.
I used to cut. I don’t remember when self-harm started, I’d been doing it since I was a child but the first time I actually used a blade and made a long, shallow cut down my arm was a turning point for me. It was when I was around 13 and thats when it became an irresistible urge. Cutting is an addiction like any other. Like many alcoholics drowning their sorrows with whatever spirit is on hand I did it so I didn’t have to feel. When life got too painful to bear I would lock myself in my room and drag a blade across my skin until the blood carried my pain away.

I’ve stopped that now. When Colin met me he told me never to do that again. I stopped for a while, a good few months. Then one argument with a teacher at school pushed me over and I cut deeper than I ever had on my upper thigh. I probably should have had stitches there was no way I was going into hospital. Colin did what he could to treat the wounds and to calm me down and I finally felt safe and realised that I didn’t need to cut any more and I haven’t since. Thats not to say that I haven’t wanted to, but I’ve resisted it.

So to dream about someone cutting me is like a recovering heroin junkie dreaming about someone forcing them to take a hit. Shook me up a little.

Anyways enough of my self-indulgent rambling.

You may be curious as to why I group these three dreams together. They’re the only dreams I’ve had in the past month. So its strange that they should all be about vulnerability.

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My Desk

Given I’ve just finished setting up my desk in the new place and I haven’t messed anything up yet I decided to give you, the lovely readers, a little tour of my desk.
Note the contrast between this and the last photo I put up of my desk.


  1. A small notepad for jotting things down
  2. A photo of my grandmother when she was at school. It was given to me when I was 11 because I looked a lot like her.
  3. A photo of me and my (late) grandfather at Christmas last year. Given to me by my mother a couple of months ago after his death.
  4. My notebook which I carry around with me everywhere (well theoretically anyway) I intend to replace it with a Moleskine because I like pretty stationary.
  5. Coffee, pens, pencils, post-it notes and other paraphernalia.
  6. My GTD flowchart adapted from the one linked in a previous post to suit my particular contexts etc.
  7. Calculator and PDA
  8. My notebook – full of study notes. Look! only one project on the desk at a time! How good am I??
  9. My Fender Strat. For those who are interested its a Mexican Fender which I have been reliably informed sits between American and Jap Japanese in quality/value.
  10. A sub woofer.
  11. (Not pictured but between the chest of drawers and the desk) A Marshall Amp.

Edited: I received a rather colourful comment which I won’t publish here from someone decided to be offended by my use of ‘Jap’ in reference to a guitar. It went on to imply that only [insert racial slur against Jewish people] would use the word ‘Jap’ and asked me if I was a [insert racial slur]. Firstly I’m not Jewish so if you’re going to try to offend me you’ll have to try a little harder. Secondly the last time I heard ‘Jap’ used as a racial slur rather than an abbreviation along the lines of ‘Aussie’ was so long ago that I forgot that in some overly PC countries it is still considered one. So I’m sorry if I offended anyone

Diary of a Tattoo

Weekend before last I got my first tattoo…
A barcode on the back of the neck

So, in the spirit of sharing. Here’s a photo essay of sorts 🙂

But, before I start

  1. No it didn’t hurt – Felt like a cross between a sharp scratch with, say, a pine needle, and when you get too close to a sparkler.
  2. I got a barcode because I wanted to
  3. Yes the numbers do mean something, bonus points if you can guess the significance.
  4. I dont know whether it will scan yet, I havent tried. Although its not UPC so it wouldnt scan on normal scanners anyway.

So now that 4 of the 5 standard questions have been answered (the first seems to be is it real?)

Diary of A Tattoo – A Story in Photos by Miriam Parkinson
Can you tell I’ve had too much caffeine today??

The Naked NeckFirst the design was transferred onto my neck.

The Printed Transfer

The process finally begins

The first touch of the needle

Halfway done… I’ll admit it hurt a little bit more on the nobbly bits… And when he went over the thicker lines to fill them out.

Halfway done

Immediately after it was finished… Kinda blurry because Colin took it with a camera phone and they dont really do close up.

Finished Product - Immediately after

It felt like a bad sunburn by now… And its all 3d like when you scratch yourself on something and get that raised red bit. Also excess ink is coming out.

Red and Sore. First Night

And the Final Product…

The finished Tattoo