Friday, April 28, 2006
Now I will make a list of things to do, and later I'll tell you whether I've done them or not
Take paperwork to new workplace
Write a review of the new Church album
Assemble the wheelbarrow (this is not a metaphor)
Check PO box
Do some washing (of various household clothing/bedding items)
Do some washing (of two filthy beagles)
Clean out the fridge
Pick Mia up from airport
Submit some invoices
Submit some essay marks
Make some bread
Do the other things that have to be done which I've forgotten already
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The Da Vinci Code is a book I had long wanted to read because it has obviously had such an impact on everybody, including whoever it was who wrote the article about American Christianity in Saturday’s Age A2 section (well actually it was Friday’s A2 section, because they put the section back a day for Easter). It is, I have to say, a page turner full of great twists and no-one is really who they say they are or think they are, in fact I think everyone does the twist at some point.
I know it’s sour grapes to say I don’t think it’s massively well written, because I couldn’t write a book like that, and if I could I think I probably would, even if it wasn’t a million seller; I’d just like to write a gripping fictional narrative. But I do think that the lack of realism of the whole thing, I mean in terms of dialogue rather than action, is a bit of a let down. For instance, the scenes where reporters and tv interviewers go in for obtuse interviews and react to everything said, which never happens on tv. I hate that stuff. One thing I do like about it is the way that almost all the action takes place ‘in real time’ so to speak. There’s no break until the last 50 pages or so, even then there may not be a break, it’s hard to tell. As for the central ancient mystery, I am pretty cool on it; I don’t greatly care about the Mary Magdalene stuff except in the abstract. I think Brown falls down on the question of the importance of the MM element. He mentions that it has implications for the perception of Jesus as holy or more than human but as with so many of these things I always feel that if you’re going to have faith you must surely believe that God can make anything happen; the ins and outs of Mary Magdalene are surely a side-story to the central issue.
My airport novel on the way back is going to be Christos Tsiolkas’ Dead
I love staying at Mia’s parents’ house, for many reasons including the fact that I really like them, and also the fact that they feed us very well and make us very welcome, and give us a lot of wine and so on, including the very nice South Australian one I’m drinking right now. They have a great house. It’s about twenty five years old, and on at least three levels – the front entrance is a long way down from the road, and there’s a kitchen/dining room. Then there’s another level, with a kind of sitting room arrangement. Then there’s a level below that, with a study. All of these levels are under the one ceiling. There are verandahs to one side and you can see
We have spent four days at
For my birthday I was given the first four books of the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. My sister lent me the first of these some time ago and I read it quickly but never got round to reading any of the others, so I was very up for it and in fact am close to finishing the fourth. Excellent holiday reading. I don’t know what I am going to do when I finish it but I suppose there won’t be much more holiday anyway, so that’s OK. Back to the grind which includes shepherding a few sleepy and miserable students along to the dawn service on Anzac Day at sparrow fart, myself having had four hours’ sleep. I am sincerely not looking forward to this.
I am such a fan of WA. I don’t know if I would be as much of a fan if I lived here rather than came every year or so but I do really love being here. There is a lot to complain about I suppose not least the ghastly attitudes to race, etc one encounters all the time but you could hardly say that Victoria was exempt from that or anywhere else in the world. In that regard I suppose WA gets a bad rap and in fact got one from me just a few sentences ago. I love the way WA looks, the guppy spark attitude which needs a special word which doesn’t exist, the way you sometimes feel like you’re in another country, and so on. I am right into it.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Millie's older half sister. Is undergoing chemo, hence the hairloss on the back. I keep sticking little talks balloons onto the screen to make it look like she is saying witty things but I can't seem to get them into cyberspace.
We all know people who seem to have scored a rough deal in life. You know, chance and circumstance have left them with that slightly less rewarding career, or other aggravations that they just don’t need at the moment. Heck, sometimes you feel these people have a guardian angel who’s just a little distracted, or perhaps took their case on as a second job…
That’s what Charlie’s like. She’s always getting into trouble, with Millie or us or someone else in the park. Being told off, talked about, dissed. It’s not like she wants to be naughty, it just seems to happen.
Like when, as soon as we arrived in Perth, on being introduced to Millie’s half-sister Shadow, she somehow got into a vicious snarling altercation, and while she certainly didn’t mean Shadow’s claw to get stuck in her collar, it happened, and in fact the claw came right off. So this was probably not contrived as far as Charlie was concerned but I daresay she got some kind of satisfaction out of the whole thing.
So Shadow had to have her paw bandaged up, and Millie and Charlie had to be banished outside (poor Millie must feel she is being forever punished for the shit Charlie does to people, but the fact is Charlie goes spare if she is split up from Millie for instance if Millie comes in the house and Charlie is left outside, which happens very occasionally eg bath day, so what can you do) and Shadow banished inside. The paw bled profusely and it had to be put inside a plastic bag so Shadow (who cheered up almost immediately) had to prance around with a blood bag on her front left foot. Shadow has been undergoing chemo, etc and has a tumour in her neck and has lost a lot of fur on her back, so it’s only understandable that Charlie, being a child of the new millennium, would want to attack her violently.Rohan, who is Mia’s sister Kerstin’s 10 month old son with her husband Andy, is a successful person who can already walk and say things, which is very impressive, he can also hold a saucer in one hand and bang it with a spoon and walk and eat simultaneously, which I believe is more than Gerald Ford could do at any age (is Gerald Ford still alive? I don’t care). He can also wave. I thought children were born and then just lay there for a couple of years and one day got up, so I was shocked that he was doing all of this so young.
Rohan is very attracted to remote controls and the like, so there has been comment on his technological abilities, I suppose in part something to do with being a child of the new millennium. I said something to Rohan along the lines of how he had such an active day, getting given toys and meeting new people and so on, and that I was looking forward to reading his blog (ho ho what a jolly uncle). Andy said, ‘a blog, what’s that?’ and I said ‘you’ll have to wait for Rohan to tell you.’ And Andy said, ‘is it like a diary you keep on line?’ and I said yes. And Andy said ‘H’mm. I’ve never heard of that before.’ Which makes you wonder where he’s coming from.This morning we just pushed Shadow out into the back yard (she had pulled her bandage off and ‘cleaned up’ the wound as Mia’s mother put it) and although there was a bit of a barking thing, it all seemed fine. Mia and her father and I went shopping and apparently when we were away Shadow pushed Charlie on her (Charlie’s) back and stood on her, which would be enough for anyone I would imagine. Later in the evening we had more dog conflagration as Shadow attacked Charlie for showing too much attitude. Millie (surprisingly) took Charlie’s side, I assume once again because it is deemed world’s best practice amongst dogs to attack the weakened, sick one. Mia’s father intervened and got bitten on the hand for his trouble. I, never one to learn from either what I see or what I experience, also intervened and whisked Charlie out of the way and fortunately was not bitten. Charlie barked until .
Dog world aside, we went on three great driving trips. One was a shopping trip, as mentioned above. One trip was to Pickering Brook where Mia’s father keeps his Alfa Giulia alongside the broken and skeletal bodies of various other Alfas. Some are being harvested for parts and others are one day to rise again as proud Alfas. Mia saw her first car there, in a state of decrepitude.
The other trip was a meandering one ultimately to Mundaring but we went to
Friday, April 14, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
In other news the amount of essays I am churning through is making me quite light-headed. I very nearly responded to a student's email with the words 'cool bananas'. Of course I stopped in time and amended it to 'fuckin' A'.
Monday, April 10, 2006
For a very quiet, very suburban street we have a lot of things going on out there. Why people drive down Lorraine Crescent at all is beyond me as it is basically a crescent so all you do is lose a minute of your life you'll never get back which you could have used more constructively if you'd kept driving down Johnstone St. But then again life's all about the journey, that's a philosophy I subscribe to, and it is a pretty attractive street, as long as there are no nappies in it, which I concede there sometimes have been.
I am drinking some nice Margaret River wine and thinking I really should go to bed, as I have an early start tomorrow. But (this is a revolting term but it does seem appropriate) we have broken the back of first semester, and speaking of breaking we have Easter coming up which means a week off, which for sessionals like myself also means not as much money, but fortunately I committed to marking every essay written at the Uni this semester and even though I only get a farthing for each it all adds up dunnit.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
I know I'm not unique in this but it does amaze me how a phrase - not even a spoken phrase but I thought one - will trigger the memory of a song. Is this some distant cousin to synaesthesia?
I have been marking essays all day, with a short detour to Shane and Olivia's housewarming. The same old crap keeps turning up. I tried to explain to my second years (and I think I succeeded) a few days ago that there are weird mistakes that flow through essays each semester in waves. At the moment it's the word 'countries' for 'country's'. A few years ago it was the word 'intern' for 'in turn'. Somewhere in there it was the word 'apart' for 'a part'. These last two infuriating errors still show up but less so. Right now it's countries for country's. It probably doesn't look that horrible when you only see it a couple of times. Try seeing it a hundred times. Try getting to the last page of an otherwise pretty seamless and intelligent exploration and there it is three times in the last two paragraphs. Go on, try.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Now I love the Flinders St kiosks as much as anyone else, including you who practically runs a fan club for them. But you have to admit they stink of rancid old oil and when you walk past them you often feel ill. I know I shouldn't complain about things I can't change but these things smell terrible and I don't even have a good sense of smell.
Technical information: Picture was taken through a train window purely for the purpose of reducing glare. Camera was a Motorola V620 on darkest setting. Scratches were caused not by me scraping ineffectually at the air in front of me as I try so hard to show my displeasure but by... something else.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Not really, although I did get pretty soaked in a .3 km stroll from a classroom. It's been so long since it last rained it is quite a shock.
Speaking of shocks Channel 10 showed Neighbours at 6 pm on Monday. This must have been the first Neighbours schedule change for about half my lifetime. It was disturbing. I thought it was the beginning of the end. Turns out that yes, it probably was, but it was only one night, so they could schedule a one-hour The Biggest Loser. I am very confused about Bree's parenthood now, as I have missed about three episodes in a row. Most unusual.
Monday, April 03, 2006
In other recent news, Bela got inside an Oxfam bag. Mia and I watched most of the first season of The Sopranos and I made a pretty good looking loaf of bread. Oh, and Saturday night.
First was Debbie's exhibition of drawings at that gallery over the road from the Standard in Fitzroy. The drawings were incredible! I remember a while ago she said she was doing some drawings for an exhibition and I kind of had nothing to say as I had no awareness of her artistic bent (I was sure she had one, but I had no idea of its type). Most of the drawings were like picture book illustrations in a picture book where you'd say, too bad even if I do know someone whose birthday is coming up, I'm buying this book for myself. There were some great drawings of axlotls and also some really nice ones of the big animal face sign (as you can see I am vague on the detail though I believe Wayne D has written about this before) in Elizabeth St. And also some animals looking through holes in walls. And Mia brought a terriffic fox one which Shane rather ludicrously described as being a bandicoot. Then we went to Peta and Greg's. Greg has a toothache, Peta made some pumpkin seeds baked (?) in soy sauce which were excellent and Paul and Karla came round and I bored Paul talking about Paul Fussell and Ern Malley (did you know they went out?) and then we went to Shane and Olivia's I'm not sure why but it gave me a chance to present Shane with Kirstie Alley's book How to Lose Your Ass blah blah blah which he seemed to respond too positively to so I took it back. Then we went to Colin's 40th. We gave him a present, Barbara Dane's album I Hate the Capitalist System, mainly for the title, because Colin does hate the capitalist system. So do I actually, but it was his birthday. The party was at the Trades Hall and there was 80s music and a big video screen, and I had a fairly detailed discussion with someone who I won't name we were talking about Broadmeadows station precinct as an activity centre because she was involved in a competition design for the future of B'meadows station area and I was saying how I thought it was a great idea to do a land swap to get a visual connection between Broady central and our open space and how great our space was and that it had a wetlands and she said 'how hard is it to make a wetland? You just let everything get wet'. And turned around and started talking to someone else. Funny. Then we went to a party at 6Hope St, in the house Mia lived in 10 years before, chiefly to have a look around. The theme of the party was The Jungle and there was someone who looked about 10 dressed as a big banana and I was sitting on the arm of a couch and some person with plastic adders in his hair kept banging me on the back with his snake heads. Mia said the carpet used to be orange. The living room had a huge range (the house was probably about 1920) that stretched the length of the wall and contained an old stove at one end, a cupboard in the middle that must once have been something else, and a fireplace at the other end. Very unusual.
Anyway considering I have a massive amount of marking to do I have got quite a bit of that done and more besides.
It was exciting to see that someone out of Troyka are starting a Troyka site (see other comment on previous entry) though there's not much there at the moment, just some pictures/handbills/reviews that take a long time to load if you have dialup.