Wednesday, December 31, 2008

a cat-free zone no longer

When I started this blog in the middle of the year, I made a secret pact with myself that it would remain a cat-free zone. I decided that facebook is the place for trivial pictures of my cat and other such fluff (iness). The blog would be all academic and thoughtful, filled with my stunning commentary about television and popular culture at all times(some readers may be laughing in a bemused fashion at this point). Anyway, the blog changed and mutated over that time. Sometimes it has been about my research. Rarely has it been about my day job(which is what I wanted, so good).Very often I find it becoming nostalgic and the place where I reminisce about the past, ponder the present and wonder about the future. And I'm thinking this is the way I like it, and surprisingly in some way this reflects the blog title (although this was unplanned when I chose it). As I imagine it, a spiralling shape can be anything you want it to be. It can morph and change as it will. And that's what I like about my blogging. Hopefully, as I continue I will get better at it. Ultimately, my blog is for me first. I know others use their blogs in other less personal ways, but that is the function it serves for me, in my life at this time.

All this is actually a fancy way of saying, that if I want to put a cat picture here from time to time I will.

So see above for the brave tiger, who every morning positions himself under the kitchen mat waiting to pounce on anyone who dares to approach the kitchen sink.

The New Year's lesson from ye olde rocke musick

Patience: Yes I know it's the name of a Guns and Roses classic.

But it is also my New Year's resolution. Except it's not so much of a resolution as it is a daily goal: to be more patient with myself and with others.

So maybe (in spite of the stupid name for their latest and apparently "long-awaited" album) Axl Rose was on to something way back in ye olden days of rocke musicking.

(Please be clear when I say "long-awaited" this does not apply to me)

Watch, Listen and Singalong: Part 5 What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

Joan Osborne's version of this classic is a belter. I first saw it when I watched the outstanding documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown and was pleasantly stunned and surprised (given that I had not been a fan of previous songs of hers that I had encountered). It's one of the few documentaries that I have watched more than once, particularly for the musical performances of so many great songs as well as the fascinating story of The Funk Brothers. The Jimmy Ruffin version is fabulous (and quite different to this cover) but there didn't seem to be a good clip of him singing it in its original form. (It does find itself on high rotation on my ipod though!). Anyway, this song is a strong, heartbreaking epic and a killer to sing along with (particularly if like me you've got a secret dream to be a backup singer!). However, if there are no places for singers I will happily learn to play the vibes. That looks like fun as well.

Monday, December 29, 2008

a little wireless happy dance

Well here's some excitement! For me anyway. I am sitting on the lounge with my laptop using the internet through my wireless connection. I know that anybody who's anybody is probably thinking "get with it Wendy, we've all been doing for, like, years" but I haven't.

So do a little wireless happy dance for me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wendy's Week of TV: Part 24 An Explanatory Christmas Edition

Due to well foreseen circumstances (i.e. Christmas) The Spiralling Shape's regularly scheduled post of Wendy's Week of TV was cancelled this week and will return to the so-called "blogosphere" next week. (Why a sphere I wonder? Is there something particularly spherical about blogging. What's wrong with a cube for instance?)

N.B. Wendy did watch TV this week, however, she also shopped, wrapped gifts, cooked food, napped, and generally organised Christmas which meant she didn't get around to writing her usual post. She also became a little obsessed with her other well known series of posts Watch Listen and Singalong and did a special Christmas series within a series. This took some time and a lot of puddling about on Youtube, leaving less time for writing about TV. However, some of the TV Wendy did watch included Iron Chef, Rockwiz Christmas Special, Top Gear, Father Ted, Father Ted Christmas Special, Carols from St Patrick's in Melbourne and the cricket. She is also watching her way through series one of Pie in the Sky on DVD and has read two TV autobiographies (Michael Parkinson (lots of name dropping) and Dawn French (very funny, sometimes sad and at one point made me laugh so much I cried). I recommend the latter.

(N.B. Wendy particularly avoided anything that involved pop or so called TV celebrities performing tortured versions of Christmas carols as she hates that kind of Christmas pap.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day random Beatles' references

"I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink"

Well it feels like that anyway. Perhaps Christmas was a little too much excitement for me. Thankfully there is now the nothingness of Boxing Day in which to recover. I intend to read a book whilst lying on the lounge with the airconditioning blasting. The cricket shall be on in the background so I can intermittently mock the commentators' poor grammar (Note to Channel 9: Please let Warnie and his strangulated vowels be on the panel).

I shall also place my cat-themed gifts (of which there were a suspiciously high number) around the house. Am I really turning into an eccentric, yet lovable, crazy-cat lady? (No need reply here).

There shall be eating of leftovers throughout the day.

There may also be eating of licorice all sorts.

I shall not, however, be "cursing Sir Walter Raleigh", in spite of him being deemed "a stupid git".

All is in place for Boxing Day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Watch, Listen and Singalong: The Christmas Edition 4

Well of course this is not technically a Christmas song, and I was looking for a version of Lennon's So this is Christmas etc, but couldn't find a good one. While some might look back and see the message of Imagine as naive and idealistic, I don't think it hurts to be reminded of the simple things in life. For without ideals and aspirations for peace and goodwill towards others, nothing will ever come to fruition in reality.

That's my little soapbox message for Christmas 2008.

Alternatively, ignore all that and marvel at the beautiful melodic and harmonic combination that, while simplicity itself, resonates with you for some time after listening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Watch, Listen and Singalong: The Christmas Edition 3

Here's a classic...the highest selling Christmas song of all time apparently. Enjoy Bing's whistling and the cute harmony. I wonder why so many of these Christmas songs are so melancholy and nostalgic? I think I prefer these though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Technological Tuesday

Friday afternoon my desktop threw a tantrum and got taken to the computer shop. I meant to ring them yesterday to find out what was going on but didn't get to it. So this morning I call and discover that they guy who had taken it there "only does contract work for them" and hadn't actually told them what was wrong with it or what might need doing. I sat on hold for five minutes while they located it in the shop. Hmmmm....I asked, "And I guess you're closing tomorrow until New Year? Any chance you could look at it today and tell me what's wrong?". Things weren't looking hopeful but a technological Christmas miracle occurred when they rang shortly after lunch to say it was right to go.

So the desktop has now been returned from the computer shop with more ram, and less viruses. So, good, I can use twitter again without shutting down the browser, but I am now using mozilla instead of internet explorer. I don't know if it's that we've used up our quota of downloads (more than likely!) but it doesn't seem that fast, and I am finding the look of it a little bit funny to get used to.

Fingers crossed all is well.

Watch, Listen and Singalong: The Christmas Edition 2

Aah...some 80s nostalgia, Christmas music with a message. How young and innocent they all were and now how many have been in trouble with the law? There are others who have taken up the lute and still others who have maintained the political rage. Others have simply faded into pop obscurity. I'll leave it for you to decide who is who.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Watch,Listen and Singalong: The Christmas Edition 1

What a treat. I have decided to post one of my favourite Christmas songs (excluding actual carols) everyday til Thursday. This is one of my all time favourites, particularly because it goes against the "ho ho ho,isn't everything jolly" trend of so many Christmas songs. From the classic Vincente Minnelli musical Meet Me in St Louis, you can appreciate the skill of Judy Garland in conveying the melancholy of the song (quite similar in tone to Over the Rainbow if you think about it). Anyway, any time I see it's on the TV I'll sit down and watch it, for this song and the other classics The Trolley Song and the title song.
Read more all about it here:

Enjoy, or if it's not your cuppa tea, simply marvel at whatever that is Judy is wearing on her head.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Oh what fun".....wrapping presents

I take ages to find the end of the sticky tape

I have poor estimating skills when it comes to the amount of paper needed for wrapping a gift. It's either too much or too little and then I end up doing some kind of weird patch up job.

The same problem occurs with ribbon. Either I cut off enough to go round twice or there's just enough to tie a weak little bow that looks like a shoelace.

Wendy's Week of TV: Part 23

Saturday: Iron Chef

After weeks of arguing with my parents as to whether Iron Chef is rigged because the challenger never wins.....FINALLY....a challenger won. See! See! See! (It was an egg battle). More entertaining would have been if they had just thrown them at each other in true egg-fight style.

Tuesday: Well of course it was all Father Ted all the time as evidenced by my previous post this week on the topic. I still finding myself humming " My lovely horse, running through the fields...." and so on. Even better was Ted and Dougal's actual performance at the Eurosong awards. Just as funny but in a whole different way.

Hamish Macbeth was his usual dour self, Isobel returned and Lachie Jnr found a girlfriend. All this mixed up with an inept Scottish mafia was quite entertaining.

Thursday saw the final two episodes of The Amazing Race. I was devastated when Toni and Dallas went out in the Moscow leg when Dallas left their passport and money in a taxi. Idiot! They really had a shot I think. In the end though it was Nick and Starr all the way, even though if the winners had been based on the how much one partner berated another throughout the whole process Ken and Tina would have won hands down. I couldn't help thinking Ken was making the mistake of his life when he brought out those wedding rings at the finish line. And a final word on Dan and Andrew, the bumbling frat boys. How I would have loved to see them win, but it was never going to happen. It must have taken them hours to get through the memory test (all of which I guess ended up on the cutting room floor). That could have been a whole episode in itself. I'll miss you Amazing Race.

of crochet, bad poetry and pumpkins

I'm now having some time to browse around my laptop (which until this week had sat unopened in the hall cupboard for nearly two years). So far I have found numerous terrible thesis chapter drafts which I think I shall delete, as well as some really awful poetry (embarrassing). I also found I had bookmarked the Crochet guild of America. I can't for the life of me remember why. I also discovered the first picture I ever took with my first digital camera. As you can see it's a mug. There was also a photo of a pumpkin, a plate of soup and lots of flowers. Odd choices really when I think about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

the trusty little laptop that could: 2

Things I am noticing about my Apple laptop.

1. The screen is very small
2. The keyboard is very compact
3. It's slow compared to my desktop (but I guess give it a break it's five years old)
4. I am having trouble getting used to the minimize,maximize, close down buttons being on the left instead of the right. I had the opposite problem when work insisted I get a pc.
5. It doesn't like anything to do with twitter
6. some of the blogging functions seems to missing - need to do some exploring to see if I can find them somewhere here.
7. I love the ribbon across the bottom of the screen
8. It's great having so much more room on my desk without the great hulking tower
9. The keys make a satisfactory clicking sound (as compared to my keyboard)
10. I must attach a mouse because I am hopeless at using the touchpad thingy and think it will give me RSI.
11. I can't get the airport to pick up because can't remember password. the solution is apparently something complicated about resetting the modem which I think I will leave for another day.
12. Luckily the ethernet (?) cable plugs into the side very nicely.
13. It's cute.

the trusty little laptop that could

It's been a crazy day of computers and other such technical things. As is my wont I started the morning with a healthy dose of laughs with I can haz cheezeburger and then.....da dum!!!! dramatic music....stupid internet explorer froze up. As the morning progressed I found it increasingly difficult to check emails and then open the internet at all. When it did open and didn't freeze up the screen immediately it wouldn't show any pictures of photos - just those annoying little icons. I suspected a deadly virus.

Luckily today was the day I finally got around to taking my five year old Mac laptop iBook G4 to the shop to get some more memory and an airport card installed. They told be it would be ready around Tuesday...but guess what I got it back this afternoon. Very fortunate indeed because my father in the meantime had sent the "computer man" round to my house to check out my desktop. Shane the computer man and I had a lovely chat while I was out shopping on my mobile as I explained in a very inarticulate fashion just what had gone wrong this morning. He has carted the tower away.

So now I am rediscovering the joys of my laptop - the trusty little machine that I wrote my entire thesis on. I have managed to set up my email, get back on to facebook and my blog, although for some reason it doesn't like it when I open twitter and shuts down safari immediately. They were only able to upgrade to OS 10.3.9 (not sure which big cat that is). I was excited that I might be able to use twitterific or some of the other applications but they all seem to require 10.4. Darn.

But at least I am not totally disconnected. Although I do still keep grabbing for my desktop mouse and wondering why the cursor doesn't move on the screen of the laptop. Duh.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Some things in life strike me as unnecessary.

Today, the winner is an impersonal Christmas email from Woolworths Everyday Rewards.

Is it impolite if I don't respond.?

WWII drain-like gurgling

According to the very helpful resources of the Internet, we did indeed laugh like drains at bookclub last night. We were both coarse and loud. Well I was anyway. I don't presume to speak for the others, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't me making all the noise. And I imagine there was some discomfort caused. Sincere apologies to Anne...but it was very funny.

Although I don't remember any WW2 drain-like gurgling. Perhaps next time....

"what's that about?"

Quote of the night from bookclub last night came when we were discussing what film we would see for our first meeting of next year. The conversation turned to Australia and there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm (and even some mild groaning I believe) from everyone in the room. It's only redeeming feature as a choice seemed to be "well at least it would make me go and see it". If you are made to see a film it's doubtful there's much excitement in the choice.

Then Jinx came up with the suggestion of Frost/Nixon. Everyone was keen except Anne who first wanted to know "What's that about?"

We all laughed like the proverbial drains.

Surely, the title is rather self's about Frost and Nixon.

We laughed like drains just a little bit more and then got back on track.

Anyway, apart from that moment of humiliation for Anne, it was fun night as we discussed The Eyre Affair. Lorraine was the only one of us who had read any kind of science fiction in any detail before...she was questioning of some of the time travel paradoxes but agreed it was a greatly entertaining read. And Jan had found herself having to scurry to secondary sources to get all the literary references. But Anne and I had really enjoyed it and have since bought the rest of the series to share between us. Most wonderful of all was Jinx, a self-admitted non-reader, who found it an entertaining and hilarious book, frequently laughing out loud and finishing it in a day. She's now keen to read the second one. Thus, we deemed the choice a great success for the end of the year.

We also ate Christmas goodies and had a nice all round chat and laugh about many things...not least of all what that mysteriously titled Frost/Nixon might be about.

(A big thanks to the folk at Circulating Library for first alerting me to the existence of the book, of which I was previously ignorant.)

Now I'm wondering where the phrase of "laughing like a drain" comes from....would it be the gurgling noise drains sometimes make? Hmmm...there's my project for the day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sleigh bells in the night

I'm feeling a little crankification seeping into the leadup to Christmas today. It's an accumulation of a number of things. I really dislike summer, so the hot weather we've been having hasn't been helping my attitude towards thinking about Christmas day. Our family has a cold lunch but we still have it in the middle of the day. So from now until the day we become obsessed with the weather report and whether it's going to be stinkingly hot, or just pleasantly warm with a nice breeze. I start to worry that I've made all the wrong choices for presents, even though I was pleased with them to start with. Not that I want to go back to the beginning and start the present buying again. And the socialising with relatives can be more than a little wearying.

I remember once when I was very young (probably four or five) I went to bed on Christmas Eve and to this day I swear I heard sleigh bells during the night. Now that was some Christmas excitement (combined with a vivid imagination). How to recapture that joyful anticipation some 30 years later, I'm just not sure. There's got to be a way though.

Suggestions more than welcome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My lovely horse

Appreciate the genius that is Father Ted (a little preview of this week of TV). Unfortunately it's only a link as the clip didn't allow embedding (except in another version on youtube which was of very poor quality).

(And apologies to my facebook friends for cross posting...but you can't have too much of a good thing).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Watch, listen and singalong: Part 4 "He ain't heavy"

Keeping with what seems to be my current old time vibe of watch, listen and singalong here's something you can karaoke to as you read. (I'm on holidays today so I've got plenty of time for browsing youtube!) This is a classic ballad and I actually didn't realise it was by The Hollies until Anne and I were discussing live concerts whilst walking on Saturday. The first one she went to was The Hollies at Festival Hall in Brisbane. What's notable here I think is the terrifically slow tempo and that opening where the first line jumps so high, so suddenly in the singer's range. That takes skill (and if you go to youtube you'll see a 1988 version of them singing it on Top of the Pops where time has taken its toll on his vocal agility. They also up the tempo slightly). I like the slower speed. It requires listening patience and asks of us time to appreciate the soaring melody and beautiful harmonies - time that we don't find often required in popular music today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Watch, Listen and Singalong: Part 3 "God only knows"

The muzak Christmas police were obviously having a doze this afternoon in Big W. Unless, I was dreaming, there was a moment of respite from the Christmas carol extravaganza and I found myself singing along with this whilst looking for bargains in the women's clothing. (This montage was the best I could find on youtube). Is it a Christmas song and I've never realised it? Whatever, it lightened my weary feet and made the bags of purchases just that little bit easier to carry. Most of all, it's a beautiful, classic song.

Selfish Christmas Shopping Sunday

It's been a weekend of Christmas shopping with more to come this afternoon. Yes, metropolitan readers of this blog, the shops are actually open here on a Sunday. It's wonderful, because it seems many residents of my fine city can't actually break the habit of no shopping on a Sunday, so you can actually meander round quite peacefully looking at stuff and getting distracted by things you either hadn't thought of, or really don't need.

While I have bought a great many of my Christmas presents and am feeling just a little bit smug that I have very little left to get for others, I have also enjoyed rather too much random present buying for myself. That's the real joy of Christmas shopping....buying yourself presents.
So far I have bought:
  • A linen top...which I am wearing today. It is very, very cool (temperature wise that is)
  • Some red glittery thongs (so as to take advantage of 50% off second pair really I was forced to buy them to help out my mother with her present buying of shoes for someone else)
  • Three head scarves (two of which are too small for my large head and have now been given to my sister....see, I am in the spirit of giving)
  • Twenty four tea light candles (how come you just can't buy one tea light candle in Target?) to go in the the boat tea light candle holder I won for my choir secret santa. However, seeing as that only uses up three, I also then bought a Santa tea light candle holder (which uses up one more). If anyone is running short of tea light candles, I'm your girl.
  • Underwear - five pairs. In my defence it's 20% off at Target this week. In the opposite of my defence, I fell for the strange marketing scam of "aloe vera infused underwear". I have no idea what this means, but it was cheaper than the other brands. I have previously fallen for the marketing scam of Target's "organic" underwear. And no, I don't know what the difference was there either.
  • Two bras...which are neither aloe vera infused or organic as far as I am aware. Also 20% off. Bargain.
  • The Graham Kennedy book by Mike McColl Jones. Further to my defence it was 50 % off. Don't know that there's much reading in there but there are nice photos etc. Perhaps I can claim that one off my tax for research purposes.
  • Coffee and cake at Indulge before the buying frenzy. Absolutely essential to build up strength and mental agility for making difficult present decisions.
What excitement awaits me this afternoon when I go to Hinkler Place?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wendy's Week of TV Part 22

Part 22? Let's just say Part 22 was not a wonderful week of TV.
I missed Andrew Denton interviewing Ben Stiller because we had our Choir Christmas party. The party was pretty good but there was no blue steel and neither did we sing Wake me up before you go go. Still, ho ho ho.

Tuesday: Father Ted - up to its usual high standard and excellent as usual, especially with the cuteness of Dougal befriending the young rebel priest from the next parish, leaving Ted to picnic on his own. I particularly enjoyed Mrs Doyle's pile of egg sandwiches and the accompanying exchange between Ted and her.
Hamish Macbeth: I got bored halfway through, sad to say and wandered off. I think the quality of this show did diminish as the series progressed. I do like that Lachie Jnr moved into the funeral directing profession, but the rest of it certainly didn't have me glued to the lounge.

Wednesday: I don't think I watched anything on Wednesday...oh yes wait...Long Way Down (not memorable). I perservered because of Ewan McGregor, but I am just not finding this series that fascinating, even though for some reason I feel should. Charley Boorman lighting his fart was a low point. Maybe when they get into Africa it will become more interesting in a real boy's own adventure style. I don't know that I will last that long.

Thursday: The Amazing Race was the highlight of my viewing week. For once Nick and Starr were in last place for much of the leg. Starr was throwing a tantrum...It would have been great to have more footage of this! Tina's eyebrows are scaring me now. It's like they're malnourished. And Dandrew buying new shoes in Kazakstan airport was a lovely moment, especially later when they had to barter with their Moscow taxi driver because they had no money left. I'm not sure what Dan (or was it Andrew) handed over in exchange for the bill. It was hard to see - maybe a mobile phone? And then yay - Toni and Dallas got to the pit stop first after the hellish flour-carting challenge. Needless to say, the bumbling Dandrew came last, but lucky for them it was a non-elimination round. I can't wait for next week...2 hour finale. Get excited everyone!

That was it for the week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thai Takeaway Thursday

The days of the week posts continue so I just couldn't resist a post with this title.
It was yummy. I ate too much. Not much else to say really.

Watch listen and singalong 2: Better be home soon

I did consider following up Birdhouse in your Soul with some later They Might Be Giants, but decided to go for something different. This song is an absolute gem from Crowded House, a band I came to appreciate ridiculously late in my musical life. It's impossible for me to pick a favourite Crowded house song but this is one that I have some strong memories of. In high school my brother and I used to set the video (that's right the VHS) to record the final three hours of Rage on the weekends. We would then spend a fair portion of Saturday watching the video and fast forwarding through the songs we didn't like, or thought were boring etc. This one always got the fast forward and it seemed to be in the charts for ages, so I've watched it in fast forward a lot and didn't listen to it properly until a lot later. The other Crowded House memory I have is of sitting in Year 10 history class listening to a passionate debate between two classmates on which was the better band - The Cure or Crowded House. It was fairly heated and The Cure fan won out, not by virtue of any well constructed argument but because he was talking the loudest. This was also 1988 which would have been the year this song was released I imagine. I'm not sure what The Cure was releasing in 1988? But I look back now and wish I'd jumped in to support the Crowded House fan. It was only when I got to uni that I began to appreciate the absolute perfect simplicity of Neil Finn's songwriting, his beautiful melodies and harmonies, and what I like to think of as the melancholy contentment that infuses so many of his wonderful ballads. (It's also fun when I get out my Crowded house songbook and play and singalong at the piano. Fun for me anyway, not sure about anyone else!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

twinkling, fairy light Christmas etiquette

I got my first Christmas card in the post today. And it wasn't from someone that I would ever think to send one to. I'm organised with little treats for the people I work with (but I see them everyday and I think they deserve some reward for putting up with me). Usually I alternate with my feelings about sending Christmas cards. Some years I take a stand and send none. Other years, everyone and their respective pet gets one. I had sort of decided that this would be a non-Christmas card year. Sure, like everyone else I'll be continuing to annoy people on facebook with christmassy good cheer. That's fun, in a cute, time-wasting kind of way. But, now it seems like the Australia Post ball has started rolling. Do I now just send one to people who send one to me? Or do I take control, do a basic list of the usual suspects, and cross my fingers that no more unexpected cards arrive the day before Christmas (making me look like Scrooge because I haven't remembered to send them one).
What is the twinkling, fairy light Christmas etiquette here?
I'm all confused.

fear not (as if)

It's been a little while since I posted an update on the book. Fear not, good people, this does not mean there has been no progress. In fact I managed to stick to my thirty or so pages a day in editing and actually finished getting through the whole thing yesterday. As with all writing, I could keep changing it forever with minor tweaking, but forced myself to leave as much of it alone as I could stand, just changing and revising parts that really annoyed me. So it was a relatively pleasant experience, surprisingly.

The task ahead now is to rewrite entirely the introduction and conclusion, which at the moment stand as detailed "thesis" style documents. I have decided with the Conclusion to make it more of a postscript, incorporating a discussion of We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High (instead of boring chapter summaries which I am going to delete - oh so bold!). Because then the last section of the Conclusion, which I read for the first time in some time yesterday, I actually quite liked and will leave it as the ending. The Introduction needs vastly reworking also, with the main aim of making it less boring. I think it can be a lot sharper than it is right now. That will be next - probably the job for January.

It's funny...I am finally starting to think of it more as a book now, rather than a thesis. I know I was supposed to think of it as a book all the way along but that never really happened for me. Finally, also, after eighteen months I am able to read it in an objective way, perhaps finally separating from the emotional and weighty task of completion, which was such a milestone. The telling moment was when I found myself actually enjoying reading it, and thinking, "this might be interesting after all!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things I don't understand Tuesday

The logic of rock paper scissors

Deal or no Deal

Why the plant in my office is still gets no sun and very little water

The political nuances of the Middle East (or the basics actually if I'm being realistic)

Why people listen to Mahler

Australia's Funniest Home Videos


the ABC Finance report in the 7pm news

why I forgot my usb and book today

anything beyond the basics of Maths (eg. mysterious terms like sin, cos, tan etc)

My growing fascination with naming days of the week

If anyone has any explanations that will help me feel free to chime in.

Monday, December 8, 2008

four thousand holes in blackburn, lancashire

Following John's helpful comment on the previous post reminding me of "Dragged a comb across my head" , I turned to everyone's favourite resource (the internet) to check the rest of the lyrics. Sergeant Pepper's was one of the first albums I ever bought on an LP, well one of the first albums I ever bought. I was at high school and I found it in Target and I think it was like a 20th edition special re-release. In terms of first albums ever bought, let's not count the compilation tape 88 Kix On that included among other things Michael Bolton singing Sittin On the dock of the Bay. We'll leave that in the past shall we? We'll also pretend that I always had wonderful taste in music and never ever went to a John Farnham/ Daryl Braithwaite double bill at the Bundaberg showgrounds while still at school. (In my defence, Bundaberg was a much smaller town back then with limited opportunities for musical entertainments of any kind).

Anyway, even though I listened to Sergeant Pepper's many, many times as a younger person, I discovered now I had remembered A Day in the Life wrongly. It's "Woke up, got out of bed"..not "Got up" as I had thought yesterday during my post on the secret santa buying frenzy. You may not think it makes any difference, but I think it's the small details of lyrics that make the difference between good and great. Anyway, it's a fantastic song (especially with the huge orchestral crescendo bridgey thing) from a fantastic album, so here are the lyrics for your enjoyment. Imagine me singing, or sing along yourself as you read if you like.

I read the news today oh, boy

About a lucky man who made the grade

And though the news was rather sad

Well, i just had to laugh

I saw the photograph

He blew his mind out in a car

He didn't notice that the lights had changed

A crowd of people stood and stared

They'd seen his face before

Nobody was really sure if he was from the house of lords

I saw a film today oh, boy

The english army had just won the war

A crowd of people turned away

But i just had to look

Having read the book

I'd love to turn you on.

Woke up, got out of bed

Dragged a comb across my head

Found my way downstairs and drank a cup

And looking up, i noticed i was late

Found my coat and grabbed my hat

Made the bus in seconds flat

Found my way upstairs and had a smoke

Somebody spoke and i went into a dream


I read the news today oh, boy

Four thousand holes in blackburn, lancashire

And though the holes were rather small

They had to count them all

Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall

I'd love to turn you on

This may just be the starting point for a Beatles revival marathon. I haven't done that for a while.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Secret Santa Sunday

Let's see, what did I do today? Sunday is perhaps the oddest day of the can be insanely busy or you can find yourself staring into space for hours on end with nothing to do.

Got up, got out of bed....(Beatles fans feel free to keep singing along here..I can't actually remember the next line)
Hung out washing that had very cleverly washed last night so I could get it on the line early before it got so insanely hot that I didn't want to walk outside. I allowed myself a few moments of being very impressed with my highly organised domesticatedness.
Shower...followed by once a week beauty routine...exfoliating...that's they key people!
Started to worry about stupid secret santa gifts for choir christmas breakup tomorrow night. Because we are going to Baltimore (a restaurant situated at the port) there is a nautical theme. What this has to do with Christmas I'm not sure but it sounds like it has potential for fun.
Racked brain for something under 5 dollars that would be a nautical gift. Decided to go back to Sam's Warehouse (previously The warehouse, previously Silly Solly's) to get three more of these and call them ship's cats. HAHAHAHA...very pleased with own imaginativeness re the nautical theme. Then started to worry that they would have none left, it being a week since I bought mine and knowing that who in their right mind could resist such a cute and tasteless piece of Christmas paraphernalia.
Jumped in car with mother and drove to aforementioned warehouse and like a sniffer dog tracked down what I think might have been the last three in the shop. In the manner of all discount shopping then bought some other bits of cheap junk we really didn't need. Well I bought gift tags which I did need, but mum bought a little wooden Christmas train ornament. I'm not sure they she really needed this, but it was cute in a pinocchio-esque kind of way and was only about 2 dollars.
Pleased with ourselves then we made our way downtown to Indulge which was open on a Sunday for Christmas. Nabbed a table and ate a big piece of citrus cake each (we could have easily shared..but hey, whatever) and coffee. Met Anne and her daughters. Wondered if Target would be open. Apparently not, because here in the regions we have not yet become so enlightenned to have seven day a week shopping all year round. Yes, I know, it's stupid.
Went home.
Turned on air conditioner full bore and wrapped up the secret santas. General tidy up round the house.
By then it was lunch time (peanut paste sandwich and an orange if you must know). Mum and I spent this time loading family photos onto a usb stick as for Christmas grandparents are getting a digital photo frame. Fab idea for a present. We think so!
And lunch nap til now.
Woken by thunder...raced outside to get washing off the line. Some big spots of rain but I made it just in time.
Drinking coffee and thinking I better practice songs for the concert tonight.

It's a full life.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wendy's Week of TV: Part 21

Saturday: I watched the Mountain program again with Griff Rhys-Jones. He has a slightly annoying habit of trailing his sentences off into a whisper, so to hear what was going I had to keep turning up the volume. I was impressed that he climbed a sheer rock face, but still if you had something else to do on a Saturday evening (and by that I mean anything), your time would be better spent. Sadly, I did not, emphasised by the fact that I then followed it up with Iron Chef.

Tuesday: Father Ted didn't disappoint, although it was a toss up whether to watch the return of Ugly Betty. I'm pretty sure I made the right decision. The bishops' visit was a delight. Best line (perhaps slightly misquoted because my memory is shot this evening) "That's what so great about Catholicism. It's so vague and no-one really understands what it's about".

Hamish Macbeth: Alright, Hamish enough with the moping and the guilts. I don't like this episode, with the artifice of Hamish running into the lady on the beach who can't move because she's standing on a landmine. Let's just get on with our lives shall we? The comic storyline was a nice one though with TV John leading Macbeth's replacement up the garden path. I particularly enjoyed the McLopez's request for paella (you need to have watched it to appreciate this).

Wednesday: Long Way Down with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. I haven't watched Long Way Round but I did expect that maybe they'd be on the road before the end of the first hour. We spent an immense amount of time watching the background preparation and logistics being sorted out. Not really the most fascinating television, although when Ewan broke his leg that was a little bit of drama. They have an easy and entertaining rapport, so in the absence of any more Wednesday night Andre Rieu marathons I guess I might watch episode two next week.

Thursday: The Amazing Race
OK, so the Kazakhstan challenges weren't really the most interesting. I think they're scraping the bottom of the barrel when one of the choices is dressing in a cow costume and searching for the meat market. Still I was glad to see the back of Terence and Sarah. Poor Terence trying to choke down the meat during the fast forward. Nick and Starr win again. Ho hum.

Friday: Miss Congeniality

I went to bed before the end. Enough said really.

All in all, the television week didn't really cover itself in glory I have to say. But sometimes there are some hidden gems amongst the summer programming. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Watch, listen and singalong 1: Birdhouse in your Soul

After the earlier Ratcat and Hummingbirds posts earlier in the week I have decided to start a new occasional series of posts called Watch, listen and singalong. Here I will show you my fantastic taste in music (read that sarcastically if you want to! I'm writing it that way), lots of it from the olden days. I know I have posted this link before but here is the whole video. This changed my entire view of the music and pop music in particular when I accidentally caught it on the short lived ABC Countdown Revolution, while growing up in little old Bundaberg.

Two things you must know about me and my fandom of They Might Be Giants:

1. Never ever describe them as "quirky" in my presence (real or virtual)

2. Always appreciate the songwriting genius that is John Flansburgh and John Linnell.

The end.

too much triple j was clearly enough

Methinks this is not so good. I will be happy to be proven wrong.
Was it the money?

This was my exciting morning

Disclaimer; Many people who read this will not think it's exciting.

It's funny how things in life connect.

When I left school I went to USQ in Toowoomba and completed a music degree majoring in piano. There I met and was good friends with a double bass player called Murray Gay who had come from Hervey Bay. This was in the days before everyone was facebooking, myspacing, emailing etc so as I result of me being a poor letter writer I lost touch with most people I studied with. I took a detour to UQ and completed a BA in English. At the completion of these two degrees and a large HECS debt later, I found myself jobless and fairly unemployable. So I left Brisbane and moved to Hervey Bay where I taught the piano and strings for three years at an Anglican College. While I was there, I would read the local paper and Murray's father - a local historian, radio man etc was often mentioned in the paper. I would think to myself, I should get in touch with them, seeing as I went to uni with their son. I never did.

Tiring of teaching unwilling year 4 students to hold a violin bow, I left my job and returned to Bundaberg where there was now a university campus, and started an honours degree in cultural studies. I wrote a little dissertation on postmodernity and satire on Australian television. All the while I continued to teach the piano and violin, as I was still fairly unemployable in the real world. I then completed a Phd which eventually ended up being about (amongst other things) selected examples from Australian television comedy from Graham Kennedy through to Kath and Kim.

Then a week or so ago I see the front of the Australian running a story about a Hervey Bay retiree, Henry Gay and some "lost letters" of Graham Kennedy. Hmmmm, I think to myself there is something strange about this story. It sounds like Graham Blundell has found a huge archive of letters and prised them away from Mr Gay. I had some other uncharitable thoughts about this (based on a previous experience) but let them go.

Then this morning as I was diligently working my way through my thesis to book editing I was in the middle of the chapter about Kennedy and these uncharitable thoughts came back to me. I wanted to find out what really happened to all this correspondence, hoping that it was still in the hands of its owner, Mr Gay. So I got out the local phone book and rang them up. Henry wasn't home, but I had a lovely chat to his wife Maureen. To my relief, they have taken good care and protection of the letters and other archival material. They are also slightly suspicious of journalists. I am going to ring back tomorrow to chat further, being very interested to find out not so much about Kennedy's personal life, but if he ever commented on his television work in the same glowing terms as so many commentators, or what he really thought of it.

So, now I'm sitting here at my desk thinking how strange the connections are we are that we make in life. I went to uni many years ago and met someone whose father had a stock of letters from a famous Australian television personality, who 15 years later I would want to contact and talk to because I had written about said personality in my thesis.

And what I also wonder is how this present might be different if I had made that contact all those years ago in Hervey Bay.

But we cannot return to the past, nor should we live our life regretting it. Maybe this is how it was meant to turn out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


just because...

I might still be reliving my youth following the ratcat memories earlier this week

(this might become an ongoing series...we shall see)

electronic meowing and yowling

I'm the first to admire people with exquisitely beautiful Christmas decor, with matching and expensive hand-painted decorations and twinkly lights. But part of me thinks that the best Christmas decorations are the somewhat less tasteful ones. Like this cute 3 dollar cat that when you press its tummy as directed, it meows "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" an an electronic yowl. It's so cute, and if you hurry to Sam's Warehouse (here in bundy at least) you can get one too. (They also had pigs and dogs). It never ceases to be funny. Although I guess there are still some days to Christmas and perhaps the novelty will wear off by then. I doubt it though!