Saturday, March 31, 2012

this is my life at the moment

I think it's time I stopped starting every blog post with an apology for my lack of regular posting. That's just how things are at the moment.

 Work is busy, full of restructure-induced change, angst, sadness at loss of quality staff, intermittent fury at what appears to be a lack of interest from senior management in assisting our unit into our "brave new world", beautiful students who bring great joy and enthusiasm into the classroom, and some amazing colleagues who inspire me on a daily basis. So you know, swings and roundabouts. I'm not going to write about it anymore here because (1) you wouldn't believe half the things I said because they are so ridiculous and (2) it just makes the stressing worse. It's time to accentuate the positive. (You can thank me later for the ear worm).

 I was devastated by the conclusion of Homeland last Sunday night. Claire Danes is simply amazing and I can't wait for Season 2. If you didn't watch it you missed out on one of the few quality dramas to come out of the US in the past little while. Yes I know, that's a big call, but it's my blog and I'll say what I like. Once again I was destroyed by the ending of the Donna Noble story on Doctor Who. I've continued to watch the repeats now that Matt Smith is in the Tardis but I'm really sorry everyone. I just prefer David Tennant and that's all there is to it.

 On the reading front, I finally finished Claire Tomalin's biography of Dickens. I thought it appropriate that I read something about Dickens given his birthday year and all. How would I sum him up? Contradictory. One word. That's all you need. Now I am reading 31 Songs by Nick Hornby. I'm only up to song 13 or 14 but it's really making me think about making my own list of songs that express my life, my values, my belief, how I see myself in the world. Music eh? Pretty amazing stuff.

 My piano students continue to visit me each week. These are hours of delight as I attempt to guide them to develop their skills, to think about music as a form of communication and expression, to build their confidence, to encourage them to enjoy playing the piano. If they go away happy, and are happy to return the following week then the basics of my job are done. Anything after that - exam results, eisteddfod performances, - are simply bonuses.

 And I'm studying. Studying. Writing assignments. Writing reports. Learning about libraries and information science. There is more about this on my other blog. I wish I had more time to devote to it. That would mean not working which is not really an option. Not if I want to eat, have clothes, and maintain a shelter. So, I work in bursts and plan ahead. This is my life at the moment. It's going to be a big year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday questions

What's this Wendy? Two blog posts in one week? Surely that has happened since around 2010? I seem to have a moment of peace and solitude for the first time in weeks. I know I am at work so it is probably a little bit naughty that I am blogging. Call it community engagement. That seems to be the buzzword of the moment. Just exactly what it means no one is quite sure but for now let's call it blogging. I feel like I have had no time for coherent thoughts lately other than the ones I have had to have for either work or study. I remember those long lost days when I used to write every morning about television. I'm really starting to wonder if I've grown past that. Don't get me wrong. I still love television. And I am very happy to read good academic work by wonderful people writing about it. It's just that I have a minimal amount of motivation to do it myself. And by minimal I probably really mean "no motivation at all". I don't know where it went. I'm not sure why it disappeared. It's just that when it comes tv studies at the moment my brain feels dulled. It all seems very obvious. Why would I bother saying something in 5000 highly referenced words when I could just send a tweet about how awesome Homeland is? Or why the writers of Doctor Who with David Tennant have him bemoaning the lack of an override switch/button/lever/system in nearly every episode? Or why I have suddenly pretty much lost interest in Bones? Or why I continue to enjoy the Big Bang Theory even though it portrays a character who in real life would sit somewhere on the autism/asperger's disorder as the butt of many jokes? Or why I am able to still enjoy Graham Norton on Channel Ten even though I had grave reservations about the shift from the ABC? Or why I can't stand Jonathan Ross? Or why I can't be bothered watching those Phryne Fisher murders even though everyone says they're fabulous? Or why I have never watched an episode of My Kitchen Rules and actually believe cooking shows to be quite boring? Did twitter ruin my blogging mojo? Maybe. It doesn't really worry me except for the fact that I have become a little concerned that I am incapable of writing anything longer than 140 characters. I think that's a small part of the attraction of returning to study. It forces me to write and think and think and write. These are things that I like doing. Perhaps, now I'm just doing them in more places than this blog. I guess it's good to diversity.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

nothing very interesting really

Nothing much of great consequence has been happening. Work is still slightly over the top although things are slowly settling down. It has been great to start actually teaching. I have a lovely bunch of students on campus and some great ones studying by distance as well. The week seemed to go by in a flash. I am definitely back into a routine. Monday work and choir. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday work and piano teaching. Friday work and collapsing in front of the telly. Saturday and Sunday a mixture of work, study and shopping. Then - whaddya know - it's Monday all over again. I am attempting to be more organised this year. I am diligently using my diary and writing daily to-do lists. I am also attempting to keep my desks under control - both at home and at work. So far so good. My biggest achievement is with my email inbox at work. Usually, it stretches on for miles but this year I set up a workable system of folders and every day I spend a few minutes filing the completed emails away so all that is left in front of me are the flagged ones that still need my attention. It's so much easier and lessens the usual looming magnitude of the email considerably. The other thing that I have managed to change is my diet. Less carbs by probably more than half (which breaks my heart as I love bread and pasta) and lots more fruit and veges. I make a salad nearly every day for work. Next step is to start doing some exercise but I am going to wait for the weather to cool down a bit. I am not fond of exercise and I have no idea where I am going to fit it in but it needs to be done. Gradually, I am getting my life in order. After last year it just had to be done.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let's go fly a kite

A couple of weekends ago I made the trek to Brisbane to see Mary Poppins. Not in person obviously. She's a fictional character. Rather, this was the musical. Much lauded. Much praised. I had been told by many people that I would "love" it. So I was looking forward to seeing it but I was also a little hesitant. You know when Margaret and David give a movie five stars and then you and see it and think "meh...3 and a half from me actually". What I'm saying is that when someone tells me I'm going to love something I always start to worry. WHAT IF I DON'T LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I'M SUPPOSED TO? WHAT ABOUT THAT? So, what did I think about the Poppinses? Well, spectacular chorus numbers. Excellent and impressive special effects. The set was wonderful. The leads were good. I was particularly impressed that the guy from So You think You Can Dance who played Bert actually could dance...Really Well! I even got a lump in my throat when Mary Poppins "flew" out across the audience at the end. Shush...that's not a spoiler...we all know she leaves. So it was very good. But there were things that weren't quite right. For one, the balance between the orchestra and the singers was a little out. Brass...I'm were too loud. And the girl playing Jane got a bit shrieky at times in her microphone. And I just didn't love Simon Burke as Mr Banks. Perhaps it was the part? I'm not sure. And I didn't love the "new" songs. As a child my parents had a limited record collection. One of the LPs (showing my age here) was the original cast recording from the Disney movie with Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. Now I know his accent still remains unforgivable as the cockney Bert but I loved the suffragette songs of Mrs Banks. Why was she suddenly made into a wannabe actress in the stage version? Are we not able to cope with a little bit of lightweight feminism in a musical? I found this a strange choice. Also, the letter that Jane and Michael sing before Mary Poppins arrive was way too fast. I like it slower and more thoughtful as in the film. Now, I understand that translating a film to the stage means there will be differences, certain things are not possible (dancing animated penguins for instance) but for the life of me the thing that bugged me the most was that they didn't finish with Let's Go Fly a Kite. It's my favourite moment in the film. It's the perfect ending as the family go out into the street and everyone lives happily ever after even without Mary Poppins. Why chuck it in the middle in some half-hearted fashion? It just wasn't quite right either. And then I realised...because I had listened to the original soundtrack so often, because I have watched the film so many times, perhaps it's not possible for me to fully embrace the stage show in the same way as say, a young child today who hasn't had the original version ingrained into their brain. That's okay. I still liked it. I just didn't LOVE it.