Friday, June 25, 2010


It's difficult to believe it's been nearly an entire week since I went to one of the concerts of my life. Months ago I was tremendously excited when I bought tickets to see Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. And then I sort of forgot about it because the concert was months away. Then it crept up on me and my mother and I were off to the QPAC Concert Hall. I was a little bit excited because when I checked the seating plan against my tickets it looked like we might be in the FRONT ROW. Yes, that's right the FRONT ROW. Who knew they began at GG? Wouldn't you think that AA would be the front? But no. Anyway, lucky me and my obsessive buying of tickets one minute after they went on sale. The man himself was maybe two metres away from us. I could see every move, every bead of sweat, the virtuosic performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto played with not just arms and fingers but every fibre of his being. I could see his foot stamp on important off and on beats. I could see him sniff in his subtle direction of the orchestra. I was also excited because, silly me, I hadn't realised that in directing the orchestra he would also play the Marriage of Figaro overture and then the Beethoven 4th Symphony in the second half. It was vital, energetic, and sonically beautiful playing. If I could make the sound of any modern violinist it would be Bell's.

(The other highlight of the night was the musical snobberatis sitting next to . I eavesdropped on their conversation which was mainly boasting about the concerts they had been to, combined with how musically talented their distant relatives were. The payoff was when they bought their program at interval and I heard them say "Oh! That was the Marriage of Figaro Overture. I wondered what that was". I'm ashamed to say I silently mocked them for not recognising what is a classical standard. Very naughty I know. Oh, and the women who combed the stage for Bell's discarded bowhair were a little bit unusual as well.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

rambling about politics

I am feeling conflicted, cynical and just a bit cranky. After a day of compulsively following twitter at work, I have arrived home to watch the events of today unfold in pictures. This afternoon I spoke briefly to a local reporter about our new female Prime Minister. The reporter wanted me to say things like, "yes, a female Prime Minister will bring a more feminist touch to the office of Prime Minister", "of course, she will be inspiring other women to aspire to great heights", "yes of course, PM Gillard will pave the way for other high profile appointments in industry and business". I couldn't say any of these things because I don't think they will happen. Instead I said that once the euphoria passes, the same problems facing the ALP yesterday will be facing them tomorrow. Julia Gillard is going to have to work hard, probably harder than a male, to prove herself as a leader. She will be judged not only on her intellect and ability (of which I believe she has plenty by the way) but also by her status as a modern woman. Let's not kid ourselves that Australia has progressed to a point where we don't judge a woman on her appearance, her hair, her clothes, her voice, her children or lack thereof, the contents of her fruitbowl or lack thereof. I have done so myself. But I like to think that I am equally judgemental of men as well. For instance Kevin Rudd's continual use of Biggles' style colloquialisms (balderdash, bunkum, and most recently blubbering) made me cringe and sometimes talk loudly at the television. Frequently I wonder aloud why John Faulkner persists with his Superman spectacles. I enjoy noticing when Anna Bligh is due to get her roots done, and am amazed by Paul Lucas' chin.

I hope you might forgive me if I'm not overwhelmed with the power of sisterhood in the fact that a woman has finally been elevated to such an office. She's there because the powerbrokers in the party have decided that she is acceptable, and less likely to lose than Kevin. They are driven by polls, spin and PR. They are not driven by policy, intelligence, creativity or true talent. Don't be fooled, the mysteries of the alliances are akin to Survivor. Why am I so cynical and jaded? Because today I saw Wayne Swan looking like the Cheshire Cat. More than that though I grew up watching the ALP at a local level. My mother worked for a number of years as an electorate officer for our local Federal member. She was in Canberra during the sitting when Keating first attempted to topple Hawke and missed out. She tells tales of the AWU, the NSW Right, the powerbrokers, the all night counting of the numbers. I have volunteered in many election campaigns stuffing letters in hundreds of envelopes. I have stood at school gates handing out how to votes. I used to be obsessed by following Australian politics. I think I saw too much to take anything we saw today at face value.

So she's female? I guess my other problem is that I wonder why this needs to be a big deal. We've watched the ALP lure and then spit out too many female politicians in the past for me to hold out great hope that our new Prime Minister will be exempt from the blokey culture of the ALP. Remember Ros Kelly, Cheryl Kernot, Carmen Lawrence...where is Maxine McKew...and look out Anna Bligh...even Bill Ludwig won't save you if your polls continue to dive.

So right now I'm watching Prime Minister Gillard chit chat with Kerry O'Brien. She's doing a wonderful job of avoiding direct questions and giving direct answers. She's learned the rules of the game well and no doubt will now do her best to play them. That's the saddest thing about politics. Once they make it into office, most politicians very quickly forget that their work is about people, not egos. The power goes to their heads and they become dizzy with it. Repeating phrases like "working families" ad infinitum doesn't endear them to me. Telling folk tales about hard working parents, and working class backgrounds is cliched and predictable. Give us something real, vital, truthful and authentic and I might take an increased interest. Sadly, I just don't think that is possible anymore.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

just a little tweeting every so often

This is my first officially sanctioned working from day. How exciting. I have delighted in the lack of phone calls, email tinging, people arriving at my office door unexpectedly and so on. I have also delighted in the amount of work I got through this morning...some things had been sitting waiting for a spare moment at work for months. I barely even procrastinated...just a little tweeting every so often and the odd facebook check for a minute or two. I can listen to whatever music I like, the kettle is really close by for cups of tea and coffee and if I want to I can wear my slippers.

Now, however I arrive at the real challenge - to work through my nana nap time. Surely, looking at the grammar module for the course I am teaching next term will keep me alert and alive.

We shall see....

Monday, June 14, 2010

it's a holiday apparently

So it's a holiday apparently. Here in little old Bundaberg it's grey and drizzly at the moment which puts paid to any outside activities. (not that I had any planned). Instead I have to finally finish a book without falling asleep after ten pages. This is necessary because a review of it then needs to written and sent away by tomorrow at the very latest. I have been extremely slack and it is late. I shall also be doing all my washing and....*gasp*...using the clothes dryer. That's exciting isn't it. I might then have a little nap this afternoon and/or watch some television. A work colleague loaned me the DVD of Avatar. Is that how I want to spend a bonus holiday? I am yet to decide.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

the new arrivals

There have been two new arrivals in the house this week. Here they are. Have some fun guessing which one I will enjoy more. For instance this is the first official blog post from the first picture. My lovely and more technically clever brother is visiting this weekend. He set up my laptop properly, expressed his disgust at my mess of a desk and set up my old desktop monitor so I have two screens to play with at home. I hadn't thought of doing that. He also managed to export my iTunes library from the desktop to the lap via my external hard drive.

The second item is an addition to the New Regime. My parents have been hiring it and now they are kindly loaning it to me. It is located in the lounge room because there is no way in the world I will use it unless I can watch TV at the same time. It is expected to be a temporary addition to my decor.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

the sun hit the sky

My walking buddies, otherwise known as my mother and father, were five minutes early this morning. At first, I cursed silently because I wasn't ready to roll, but then when I walked outside and saw the sky it made me happy. It was a beautiful chilly start to the day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: I dreamed a dream

I realised this morning that in my prescription drug induced haze yesterday I forgot to write my Wendy's Week of TV 2.0. I'm sure none of you could sleep last night in the anticipation that I might remember and write it today. No? Oh well. I can but dream.

Still, it was a pretty good week of TV watching last week. The Doctor, Bones, Big Bang, Community, Chuck (growing on me), Glee, the realisation that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart were off repeats ( This only dawned on my on Friday. Luckily I have it set to record every night just in case so I could do a catch-up session).

But really it was all about Glee. Glee and slight disappointment. Now....let's get this in the correct order. I was very excited when I heard that Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie Howser MD, aka Barney from How I Met Your Mother) was going to guest star on Glee. I was even more excited when on Thursday evening I realised that this was the night when Mr Harris (or is that Mr Patrick Harris) was guest starring. Things started well. Good character name - Brian Ryan. Nice flashback to olden days of Glee with NPH singing Daydream Believer in a beautifully hokey fashion complete with mullet hair. But then it all got a little boring. Sue Sylvester relegated to two minor scenes. OCD Emma and unrequited love of Will's life one paltry scene with Artie. Blah blah...the dream theme went on and on. I did not think it was Glee's finest hour. And I say that as a mid-level Gleek. However, then all was forgiven and forgetten with Rachael's I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis. Call me soppy, call me a musical nerd, but I got many goosebumps watching that.

More please.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Operation Sinus Clearing: Slightly annoyed and sleepy

So today I decided I had truly had enough of the crackling ears and the snuffly sinuses. I have been using a super strength nose spray for almost two years to not much effect. The only time they really cleared was last year when before the flight to Hobart the doctor prescribed me the proper Demazin (i.e. the stuff with the pseudoephedrine in it) and they miraculously dried up after two days. It didn't last though and this year I have had two sinus infections requiring monster sized antibiotics and regular sinus headaches. Finally last week I was sick of it and decided to ask for the Demazin again.

I took one this morning and all seemed well until at about 10 when I sat down to read a book and suddenly could not for all the will in the world stay awake. I slept for a solid two hours and woke up feeling groggy. I thought pseudoephedrine was supposed to keep you awake. So I checked the box. May cause drowsiness and/or sleeplessness. Drowsiness my behind. More like a total and complete inability to keep one's eyes open combined with a slight grogginess and desire to return to the couch for the rest of the day. And I'm supposed to take FOUR per day. I don't think so Sonny Jim. I am considering either taking the child's dose or just plain giving up. This didn't happen last time.

Slightly annoyed and sleepy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday shopping and other things

So today was Saturday. Hurrah. I slept in until 6:45 and then jumped out of bed, raced through the shower, dressed, drove to pick up my mum and sister and by 7:30 we were relaxing for breakfast downtown at Indulge. Mmmmm. Poached eggs. Coffee.

Then it was straight back to parents' place to drop my sister home again as she is not a fan of grocery shopping, a quick pit stop to get petrol and then forward ho to Hinkler Place (yes that is the name of one of our shopping centres for non-Bundabergian readers) and into Woolworths. I have long since given up on Woolworths fulfilling their promise of being the fresh food people. Those slowly defrosting mandarins I bought a couple of weeks ago put paid to that. What was frustrating today was I wanted to buy a new toothbrush. Just one toothbrush. For me. It seems suddenly it is impossible to buy a single toothbrush. I had to buy a pack of three because that is all there was to choose from. And I guess when I say "choose from" it wasn't really a choice. Oh and they were out of the only cat food that my cat eats. Luckily there is still some in the pantry.

A short sojourn around the shopping centre followed where I a found a dark red courdouroy skirt for half price. Excellent. By then it was around 10 so we made our way to Sugarland (yes I kid you not non-Bundabergians that is the name of our other shopping centre). Here I got some prescriptions, Mum and I split a two for cheaper offer at Rockmans (I now have a black long sleeved shirt) and I checked out the junk jewellery at Equip. It was even too junky for me to want to pay 3 dollars for anything so that is saying something.

A quick stop at home after dropping off my mother. I made a lame and token effort at putting away my groceries (i.e. I got them out the bags but left them on the bench for later). Then I drove back uptown to meet the Emster for lunch at Rosiblu. Mmmmmm. Some good conversation and minestrone soup. And coffee.

A quick drive back home to pick up my phone which I had somehow LEFT THE HOUSE WITHOUT. EEEEEEEK. And then we rendevoused (not sure if that is a word but whatever) at a house on the way to Bargara with some other choir members to discuss the New Choir Uniform. An hour and a half and a cup of tea later it was time to drive home, do some internet faffing and then go to meditation. Before I got home I stopped at Target and bought some rather stylish new jarmies, one pair of which I am wearing now. They were on special. Bargains. I refused to pay 10cents for a plastic bag as I find that objectionable, preferring instead to walk back to my car with what looked like an armful of washing.

So in all in all a good Saturday.

No nanna nap though. I shall remedy that tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

they are not one and the same

What did I achieve this week?
1. Moved office. Knick knacks are now all in place. Everything tidied and put away.
2. Finally after months of trying to get to it I sent out some letters for the local oral history project Anne and I are in the middle of. When I say "in the middle of" I really mean, " a thing we started probably 18 months ago and on which we still have a huge amount of work to do". Still, no progress should be sneezed at, coughed on or even met with a surreptitious clearing of the throat.
3. Chatted with another colleague about the paper we are "writing" together. When I say "writing together" I mean that last year the paper got to a certain point and then we kept setting meetings and cancelling them because I hadn't found any time to look at it any further. It is now at the top of my to do list.
4. Made a "To do" list ready for Monday. Actually I made two "To do" lists. One is for teaching things and one is for research things. I'll let you decide which one is more attractive and which one will probably take first priority. I'll give you a hint. They are not one and the same.
5. Felt like I was starting to clear a little bit of head space for thinking about research. This ephiphanous moment (is that a word?) occurred when I was talking to a friend's daughter about her assignment on television that she is completing today at what will remain an unnamed Brisbane university. Suddenly I realised how much I missed talking to other people about TV. I hope I didn't frighten her. She's only in her second year. I may have got a little carried away.

So it's not much but it's a start. In between I spent a lot of time doing my other work, much of which seems to consist of sending and receiving emails.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

sun moon sky clouds

Yes I am still dragging myself from my nice warm bed to go walking in the morning. For evidence see the selection above.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A distinct lack of trumpet fanfare

Well today finally the first of June arrived. It was a lovely day weather wise, although distinctly underwhelming in many other ways. There were the usual pernickety emails, the students - prospective, past and current - wanting various forms of assistance. For Day One of the Research Fellowship there was no trumpet fanfare, procession, cake, or any either kind of sign that something new was beginning. There was just me, myself and a really messy office that needed tidying and moving up a floor. By 3pm I managed to muster up some enthusiasm and made a start with all my bits and pieces. Tomorrow the nice men from building and grounds, and ITD will move my filing cabinets, books, extra desks, computer and printer. It always takes some time to feel at home in a new office but once I have my knick knacks in place and have worked out how to fix what seems a totally borked vertical blind I'm sure I will settle in. One of first tasks is to come up with a list of readings for my PhD student (oooer that sounds a bit grand don't it!). I then have a call for papers that I need to get started on, a network to begin networking (whatever the heck that actually means) and a plan of attack to plan and then attack.

So you know, it's not like I've got nothing to do. Still, a trumpet or two would have heralded the day in nicely.