Friday, November 26, 2010

Takeaway Coffee 2.0: The deception of froth

Longtime readers of The Spiralling Shape may remember my battles to get a decent takeaway coffee. This task is made more difficult by the fact that I have switched to decaf in order to stop jittering. Some places Don't Even Have Decaf. Can you believe it? What kind of world are we living in. Anyway, a while ago I wrote some rants about The Coffee Club and their disproportionate froth to coffee ratio (n.b. I have most likely used those mathy type terms incorrectly). I resolved never to go there again. And I have stuck to my oath. The trouble is, if I want the best takeaway decaf in town I need to drive 15 mins into town and then all the way back to the edge of town where the uni is situated. Is it worth it? Some days - yes. Most days - no. So this year I started making my own coffee at home and taking it with me to work. Impressed by my frugality? I sure was. However, times change. I am still struggling postop to get organised in the morning. There is no leaping out of bed, charging through the shower to start the day with vim and vigour and a coffee in my hand as I head out the door, eyes shining in anticipation with what the day may bring. Instead I sort of quietly get up, slowly eat my breakfast, shower, dress, throw together a crappy kind of lunch and make it to work around 9. What about the coffee I hear you crying? (That is if you have persevered this far in reading my post). Well, there is now a Muffin Break at Sugarland which is On the Way to work and they do a fairly respectable decaf takeaway. The muffins are okay as well. I have switched to flat whites so as not to get caught out with the froth deception. But so far have had three quite acceptable coffees from there. You do have to stand there and wait for them to call your name, which I am not fond of, but still, if everything was perfect what would I write about here?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well that was much better, in terms of weeks and their relative goodness. In fact there were moments when we may have been close to excellent. This week at work we began assessment for students for our 2011 program. This requires them to attend the campus to complete a literacy and numeracy test. They then have to return to be interviewed by yours truly. I spent all of Thursday and Friday interviewing prospective students. The majority of them were tremendously excited about the change, the big step they were making in their lives to return to their education. Many of them have inspiring stories and their joy at being accepted into the program knew no bounds for many. This is the part of my job that I enjoy. Despite the fact that we are in the middle of being "restructured" for the umpteenth time, budgets have been cut and the understanding from upper management of what we actually do seems to be negligible, I know that education does make a different to peoples' lives, in many and varied ways. Offering adults the opportunity to return to education in a free program that supports and encourages them all the way through is a privilege and one that I hope is not lost in the new age of tertiary education which every day seems to lose sight of what its "core business" actually is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I am now a social media expert

This unscheduled break in my writing an article about We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High is brought to you by the need to explain the silence of The Spiralling Shape over the last week. Let's have a look at the days of last week shall we and see what transpired:

Monday: Copies of book arrived. Much joy, relief, happiness. Went to choir and bashed out notes for Christmas concert. Came home. Got the "it's not you it's me, I've changed how I feel, don't wait for me anymore" on flipping facebook chat. (Realised later that I can probably claim to be a "social media expert now"). Went to bed sad. Slept briefly.

Tuesday: Woke up at 4am. Still sad. Got out of bed at 8. Couldn't speak for crying so took a sick day. Stayed home. Wrote a fb message. Realised heart was breaking. Not a pleasant feeling. Started to feel better by the afternoon thanks to wonderful friends. Went to bed and slept much better.

Wednesday: Woke up. Not so sad now as a little bit mad. At myself. Kept this to myself and my journal. Will not share it here. Attempted to write what I am now discovering to be slightly gibberish. Had lunch with Jinxster. Excellent times hearing of travels in Vietnam and Cambodia. Went to work in the afternoon. Came home. Taught the piano. Talked with sensible adult piano student. Felt stronger. Resolved that no more contact would be best course of action for some time. Watched Glee and wondered how it had got to be so crap. Watched IT Crowd and was quite disappointed with it.

Thursday: Wrote some more in the morning even though concentration was extremely poor. Went to work in the afternoon. Started smiling and laughing. Pleased with own resolve and strength.

Friday: Struggled to write anything proper. Faffed about on internet. Went to work in the afternoon. Actually did some tasks that needed completing. Progress good.

Saturday: Went to breakfast at Indulge. Bought groceries. Tidied whole of messy house. Did all washing. Had a three hour nap. Feeling calm and peaceful. Watched news of Burma only to be interrupted to by very unusual, confused, fb chat. This time did not feel sad or mad or anything. Just wondered what the point of that had been. Went to bed.

Sunday: Went to markets and bought some six dollar earrings. Went to beach for coffee in the afternoon and stopped at the lavender farm with Jinxster. Came home. Booked tickets to Tasmania for January. Caught up on Burn Notice, Ashes to Ashes, watched Big Bang Theory, Bones. Went to bed. Realised that some weeks are crappier than others and that one had been a doozy.

Monday: Woke up resolved to have a better week this week.
Am doing so.

The end.

Monday, November 8, 2010

something for the shelf

Here is the real thing. I have held it in my hand. First thought...what a relief. Second's shinier and a bit bigger than I imagined. Third thought...I am scared to look inside in case I find a mistake. I think I shall just put it on the shelf for a while.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The book

Tremendous excitement and relief today as I got word that my book is now printed and available for purchase. This book, Event TV, is basically what my PhD thesis was all about. I am thrilled that it is in print. The publisher is PostPressed, an small, committed academic press in Brisbane, who distribute their publications online through e-content management. I am delighted that there is a student price which is ten dollars cheaper than the RRP. I am also just basically delighted that they agreed to publish something that most likely will never sell 10000 copies, that they believe in publishing academic work from young researchers in small volumes. John Knight, the editor has a strong belief in the traditional values of academia and for that PostPressed should be celebrated. If you are interested the link is here.

(For some reason blogger won't do the link properly so you'll have to copy and paste if interested) There is a table of contents as well as the reviews/comments that appear on the back cover. I am extremely grateful to Geoff Danaher, Jennifer Elsden-Clifton and Jason Jacobs for writing such lovely things about my work and letting me use them. Apparently, now I need to organise a book launch. Who knows about such things? Not me, but I think I am going to have to find out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hats, sweeps and Foucault

Such excitement what with hats, and sweeps and new books finally arriving in the post. I shall let these pictures paint 1000 words.

Monday, November 1, 2010

of writing, aging, music and other things

I feel I should post something but not sure what so here we go. I am not doing the novel writing in November thingo that so many people seem to be having a go with. It's enough to keep drafting a paper, blogging, tweeting and facebooking without a novel looming over me as well. Good for them though. I hope they make a million dollars. Well not really, but you get the idea..good writing wishes and all that.

I am now officially "working from home" most of the time on my research fellowship. Finally. It's only taken since June to get this happening. I'll tell you why. 1. Teaching. 2. Operation. At last, my teaching, student duties have died down after the end of term and I don't feel the need to run into uni every morning. It's much nicer to get up in a leisurely fashion, breakfast, shower, meditate etc, and write for the morning. At this stage it's all very drafty, and as always after having a long break from writing "proper" stuff, I seem to have forgotten how to do it but surely that's all part of the fun? Isn't it?

And yes, I did take my brave pills and attend a 20 year school reunion on Saturday night. hmmmm. 20 years is a long time, but what this confirmed for me was that essentially people don't really change, they just become taller, fatter, louder, quieter, more or less intense versions of themselves. It was all very interesting. Best bit...chatting with the two guys who I had been right through primary school with as well.

Anything else? Well I am off to Brisbane again on Friday. This time to see Leonard Cohen on Saturday night. I am flying as way back in June Qantas conveniently had a instead of the usual 200 dollars or so it usually costs (ONE WAY...THAT'S RIGHT) I am there and back for 140 bucks. An hour in a plane or 4-5 hours in a car. Decision was made.