Contributing to I op therefore I am

For all of those peeps who love secondhand finds, I’ve started contributing to the Melbourne op shop blog I Op Therefore I am. I’ve been mapping out bicycle routes to the neighbourhood’s various op shops; the RSPCA op shops are the closest by far. After picking up some Asian groceries, I bought an old Peter and Wendy book and a hand embroidered tea cosie. The white suitcase I found for my doctor friend was too big to carry on the bike but the lady at the counter was nice enough to put it aside for me. RSPCA op shop volunteers are tops. You can drool over my finds here.

On a more literary note, I’ve finished reading Visible Ink: Lost and Found. Expect a review in the next couple of days. And don’t forget to pen those race-related* poems for open mic at Caffe Sospeso on Friday.

*’Race’ as in racism and not that Queen song.


Chinese is not my native language

Ohmidog, can someone please get me this T-shirt for my birthday?

'Chinese is not my native language' T-shirt courtesy of

'Chinese is not my native language' T-shirt courtesy of

I was born in Australia, and my parents are from Vietnam; there’s not a drop of Chinese blood in me, so stop saying ‘ni hao’ to me, dog-damnit!

Style Manuals and Textual Fantasies

While trawling through an Oakleigh op shop, I spotted a first edition Style Manual in the bargain bin outside:


First edition Style Manual (23/7/09)

First edition Style Manual (23/7/09)

Some of the pages were falling out, so I didn’t buy it, but because it was such a cool find, I had to take a photo. I also noticed an old imperial kitchen scale for $15, which would have easily gone for $60 at the Chapel Street Bazaar. 

Most op shops were closed on Saturday, so I spent my time sifting through people’s hard rubbish in Box Hill and Hawthorn, listening to Estelle and Maddie’s Textual Fantasies on SYN. I found some funky orange canisters and learnt from Jess Crouch that working in a bookstore is a legit career move if one wants to get into publishing. When it comes to getting the job you want, both guest speakers, Crouch and Ryan Paine, emphasised the importance of being persistent: get one foot in the door by working in a related field, show that you’re interested by doing some work experience.

Judging from last Saturday’s ‘how to’ on publishing, Textual Fantasies seems to be geared towards young and or emerging writers. With its review of The Lifted Brow and Ryan Paine’s validation of non-mainstream lit, the show would also appeal to indy fiction fetishists. If you fit into either category, tune in on Saturdays from 1-2pm and think of me being stuck with Old FM and doped-up druggies—

Bia Om Submissions

Just a quick update: The Lifted Brow is still accepting atlas-themed submissions for Issue Six, which will be published end of this year. As I can’t submit anything myself (damn), I’m looking for some Viet-lovin’, so please, please, please write about bia/karaoke om bars* and what not**. International contributors welcome!

Back to you Charlie.

'Charlie' looking hot in her bia om tee from 'Het Xay - awesome Vietnamese American apparel' (Photo courtesy of Het Xay)

*Note: ‘In Vietnam, bia om (literally ‘beer hug’) restaurants are places where men are entertained by scantily-clad women. They are more well-known for prostitution than fine dining.’ (Chao-Vietnam, 8/12/2008)

**Disclaimer: writing about bia/karaoke om bars does not guarantee you a spot in TLB6. Good writing, however, does.

Novel-ty mugs

Spotted some cool novelty mugs at Readings today:

Classic Penguin Mugs

Classic Penguin mugs and notebooks at Readings in the State Library

The mugs retailed for $24.95, and I couldn’t resist getting one. I desperately wanted a Pride and Prejudice, but Readings had none in stock, so I had to settle for The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf:


My brand spankin' new mug. Now all I have to do is actually read Virginia Woolf. Oops.

My brand spankin' new mug. Now all I have to do is actually read Virginia Woolf. Oops.

For those of you who can’t get to a Readings store or are frustrated by their incomplete range (WHERE’S MY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MUG?), the Penguin Classics range can be ordered from Readings Online or