Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: A big television dilemma

It wasn't the busiest week in the world that is Wendy's Week of TV 2.0. The main reason for this was that from Sunday through Tuesday I was Brisbane and consequently didn't watch ANY TV AT ALL. How did I survive you may be wondering? Well I did view some other things that weren't television.

Sunday Afternoon: La Grand Cirque
These tickets were a Christmas present from my brother and sister-in-law. I came away a little bit inspired to work on my upperbody strength. The best part was by far the "Wheel of Death"...where although no-one died it was still pretty impressive in the balancing, up high while running on a giant wheel stakes.

Monday Afternoon: The Asia Pacific Triennal
I had really wanted to get to this exhibition and I wasn't disappointed. Anne M and I had a lovely couple of hours wandering about. We were there until closing time and still could have spent more time. I did take a few photos but they don't really do the scale of some of the pieces justice. Here's the giant nuclear mushroom cloud made of old brass though. Oh, and a friendly security guard told me I wasn't allowed to drink from my water bottle whilst inside? What's with that?

I do plan to go back when I'm back in Brisbane either in February for Avenue Q or March for The Pixies.

Monday Evening: Machomer.
Now I have to admit I had no knowledge of this one man show until my sister-in-law asked if I wanted to go along with them. I was glad I did. Two observations. To get it fully you needed to know both Macbeth and The Simpsons. If you were only familiar with The Simpsons much of it would have been lost on you (as was the case I think for the two young boys sitting next to me). Secondly, strange that his least convincing voice was Homer. Marge, Barney, Mr Burns, etc all pretty spot on. Oh, and a passing understanding of self-reflexivity would have been helpful as well.

And now, to television.
I have now watched two episodes of Breaking Bad (Friday nights ABC2). Bryan Cranston is excellent in the main role but I don't know how much more I can stand. It's just so freaking depressing. But I do believe it has me hooked so I will most likely watch it through to its conclusion. I could look up what happens "on the internet" but I will resist that naughty spoilerising temptation.

The IT Crowd (Wednesday ABC 9pm) is growing on me further, however I don't think I would bother recording it if I was going to be out or anything. It is a pleasant way to spend half an hour and it was a vast relief from the nightmare that is the tennis and "after the tennis". Both Tennis and ATT continued this week. I will watch Roger dodger play the final tonight but that is about all I could stand. I think the Channel Seven marketing and publicity for its 2010 lineup is even more insidious than in previous years. Those commentators must just about choke on their cliches when they have to discuss Cougartown or Grey's Anatomy.

I also continued with the Seven Ages of Rock (Thursday ABC 8:30pm) This week METAL not my favourite genre by a long way. There was too much Motley Crue for my liking, but the stuff about Metallica was interesting enough I guess.

However, fast becoming the highlight of my week is The Colbert Report (ABC2 every night at 7:30). I've gotten the hang of his character and into the bargain I am starting to understand something about American politics. This is one I will set to record if I think I'm going to miss it.

And then there was Torchwood on Friday evening (ABC2 8:30). Devastating. I decided that I couldn't cope with Breaking Bad straight afterwards so recorded for watching yesterday. It was a wise decision in retrospect.

Rockwiz last night cheered me up though. Thank goodness. And I have started watching Larkrise to Candleford on DVD. Pleasant, costume drama with Julia Sawalha and Dawn French. Light relief really. I think that might form a large part of my Sunday afternoon actually.

And now for the Biggest Question of them all. Do I begin with The Biggest Loser this evening? Hayley Lewis looks like a dreadful host but still those of you who have been readers of The Spiralling Shape for some time will remember that I was a BIG fan of the series last year.

A television dilemma.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: Before and After the Tennis

First a short rant about the tennis.

I think I might be suffering from a tennis overload. Not that I've particularly watched a great deal of tennis. It's just that the tennis is always there. Not only the tennis, but also "after the tennis". You know what Channel Seven I think I noted this last year, but I am already dreadfully tired of hearing how magically wonderful your television offerings are going to be "after the tennis". Because, you know I did watch some television during 2009 after that tennis. And, it wasn't all that different to "before the tennis". I don't want to watch Courtney Cox in CougarTown. I am not interested in who carks it on Grey's Anatomy. I've yet to watch an entire episode of that allegedly popular program so I don't think I'm going to start now. Also, I don't know how long the contract is that you've signed with Jim Courier, but if I have to listen to his endless blabbing with "J.A". for much longer I may starting poking small twigs in my ears. There were some fun years there when you managed to snavel John McEnroe on to your commentary team. Please, please, please try and get him back. Either that or get back Roy and H.G.

Tennis rant concluded. For now. (Except to add that Todd Woodbridge could never convince me to buy a Kia).

Phew. What else did little Wendy watch this week.

Well Sunday saw The Big Bang Theory. Very funny as Sheldon had a meltdown in the face of a child prodigy threatening his territory and criticising his research. The boys all helped him out though and saved the day for Sheldon. I may have then watched Bones. Sources are yet to confirm this unusual incident.

Monday, Monday what did I watch on Monday. You know I think in the face of the aforementioned tennis (which I believe was a Nadal match) I basically faffed about on the internet. It wasn't that exciting.

Tuesday I was on the local regional news talking about our preparatory program. I refused to watch it but my parents told me "I spoke very nicely". And apparently my green tshirt looked quite good as well. Then I think I continued my engagement with Mr Colbert who I am warming to more and more.

Wednesday saw a further dalliance with Mr Colbert. Then I caught The IT Crowd which was one of the funnier episodes so far where the woman (I'm yet to learn their names properly) hosted a dinner party where she had to fall back on the guys as guests.
I started watching Carrie Fisher being interviewed by Pamela Stephenson but it was a little bit painful so I recorded it and finished it yesterday. Sure she has had a fascinatingly awful life, but I need to remember her as Princess Leia. I just didn't need to know the intricate details of her manic depression.

Thursday I persevered with The Seven Ages of Rock. This week was Punk. I hope I'm not the only person in the world who think The Sex Pistols were and are quite lame. If so, then so be it. Much more interesting was the stuff about Patti Smith. After seeing Richard Hell I thought for quite a while what a great surname that would be. Wendy Hell. Dr Hell. Ms Hell. Truly that would be awesome. Anyway apparently it's The Clash who emerge from the age of Punk with their reputations most intact. According to this somewhat British biased documentary. It was a pleasant enough way to spend an hour.

Friday saw Torchwood of course. The first time I watched Children of Earth it was a day long marathon so I didn't get a sense of the breaks between the episodes. But the final scene here was a corker. To add my two cents to some questions posed on Circulating Library, yes I think Alice's jeans were weirdly fitting, Gwen's hair I think is coloured and I do think Bridget is in love with Frobisher. But hey, what do I know?
And then I recorded Breaking Bad which I am yet to watch. I do love Bryan Cranston both because of his excellent work as the dad in Malcolm in the Middle as well as his recurring role in Seinfeld as dentist Dr Tim Whatley who converts to Judaism for the jokes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Due January 2010

Last August or so I blithely whacked together an abstract for a local journal run from the uni here. The issue is about supporting postgraduate students so I wrote an abstract entitled "Scribbling in the Margins: Negotiating the tensions and challenges of the regional research student". The due date for the paper was the end of January which seemed like years away. I then promptly put the abstract to one side. When I got the friendly reminder email earlier this week that the due date was nearly upon us, I quickly realised that I would have to start writing something. (I'm quite cluey like that!). So with all good intentions I pulled out the folder where I had stashed the abstract believing that of course I would have made some useful notes, written down some brilliant ideas and just generally got organised.

Here's what I found:

Here we can see some points I noted down. They all look a bit crap now so let's see what the day brings.

See how I've left a friendly reminder for myself of when the paper is due. That's nice.

All in all it should be an interesting day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Am I UnAustralian?

I found this list on The Second Half

I've highlighted the ones I've done. I can't be bothered counting if I passed 50. Perhaps I am unAustralian after all

1.Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. I'm hoping a school band counts here.
4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef.
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain. - not a very big mountain but still...
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning – you get the idea, you’ve been hundreds of metres about earth in a seemingly flimsy contraption. (Hell will freeze over first)
12. Visited Melbourne
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Worked with children.
16. Had food poisoning.

17. Been to the Snowy Mountains.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Been backpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day.
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out.
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run. (We used to have to do these at school. They weren't fun)
28. Been on the Blue Mountain cableway.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, cricket.
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways.
33. Seen the Daintree.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bush walking.
40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.
41. Been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. (My Uncle takes his Bush Band...I don't think that counts)
42. Sunbaked at Bondi.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Broome.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests.
50.Had an altercation with a venomous Aussie snake or spider.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. (Xanadu if you're interested).
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Norfolk Island.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Eaten a pie floatie or even know what one is.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Read at least 5 books about Australian history.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy. (Lucy Long Legs...a doll my great grandma knitted for me. As the name suggests, she has long legs)
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Federation Square.
74. Been on the Murray River.
75. Lived in the outback.
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited Perth in WA.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Been to Darwin.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a pet.
95. Been to the site of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.
97. Been across the Nullarbor.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear Channel 7

Dear Channel 7

You seem to have been making quite a hullabaloo about your Australian Open coverage starting in the evenings at 7pm. Here in Queensland for years we have put up with you broadcasting everything an hour later than it has actually happened in Melbourne yet still pretending it is "live". Have you never heard of the internet. Most nights I would just follow the score on there so I could go to bed at a decent hour.

So I was a little bit excited to think you might actually broadcast tennis being played from 7. What is less interesting is that the game didn't start until 7:30 anyway and we had endure gabbling commentary about injuries, the Ozzy's chances against Nadal blah blah blah for half an hour. What I'm really trying to say is please just show us the tennis and forget about the crap. Oh, and make note, every time you take an ad break to broadcast something "starting in February" I'm changing the channel.

Kind Regards

"without them you're legally blind"

I couldn't find the clip I was looking for, which is where the gang all go with George to pick some new frames. Whilst there, Elaine is bitten by a dog so George is left to his own devices and ends up choosing a pair of ladies frames. This clip though is just as good and perhaps even more relevant.

For after wearing glasses for nearly 22 years I finally bothered to asked the optomotrist what my degree of vision was. "Well" he said very nicely, "when you're wearing your glasses it's 20/20", but "without them you're legally blind". Apparently blind enough to qualify for a blind pension. So, you know, it's good to know I have options! (Oh and I'm also unlikely to ever be considered for laser surgery because my cornea is so thin already it would most likely snap. I could however have contacts if I could be bothered. Which I can't).

I was a little hesitant to get my eyes tested even though it had been two years. The last time I tried an new place in town and it was an unmitigated disaster. Firstly, I fell in love with an ridiculously expensive pair of Gucci frames (which by themselves cost more than I paid in total today) and then they got the prescription wrong...twice. After the second time I went back to my old trusty OPSM and just had the old prescription put in the frames that should have been inlaid with gold.

So this time I was determined not to be swayed by brand names of any kind. I have chosen a nice pair of burgundy frames (although there were some very tempting green ones there as well...they were just a bit too rectangular) that are lighter on my face. Of course, it's sort of hard to tell what they look like when you are in fact legally blind. I'm sure the nice shop assistant goes home and has a good laugh about all the people who have to press their noses up to the mirror to get any idea of what they look like. Still, I'm trusting his judgement and the fact that he didn't try and sell me the really expensive frames.

10 days until a whole new face for me.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: GO Fail

The Big Bang Theory
- of course.
Question: Who can resist Sheldon beating Leonard at 3 dimensional chess, Sheldon's germophobia, Sheldon getting sick and behaving like a small child in his neediness, Sheldon making Penny rub vicks on his chest (counter-clockwise so as not to mat his chest hair) and singing the kitty song?
Answer: Not me that's for sure. (Even though it wasn't the strongest of episodes and nobody uttered "bazinga").

I watched some of the Doctor Who repeat. It was the Agatha Christic episode with the giant wasps. All good, especially jealous of Donna's lovely outfit. Less jealous of being attacked by giant alien wasp.

The Musical Brain

My brain is a bit hazy, and even though last week I promised I would write a little bit of this post everyday so I didn't forget things, well, I didn't. Anyhoo, The Musical Brain was a very interesting looking documentary on SBS at 7.30 that purported to explore the way our brains are affected my music. Yes, see, it sounds really really interesting. However, they lost me in the first five minutes when the expert neuroscientist man said he was going to examine the brain of a "Master Musician" and then chose.....Sting. Now, I don't want to offend any big Sting fans out there, but surely there are other people you might place on the list of Master Musicians above Sting? Still, the patterns different music made on the brain scans were interesting, but all in all, it was a little fluffy and lightweight and I kept waiting for them to get to some kind of earth-shattering point which didn't really happen.

Well firstly, Beautiful People WAS NOT ON. Colour me annoyed (whatever colour that is - sort of alternating red and grey I think). However I did return for the IT Crowd at 9pm which was quite amusing again. Still, I'm yet to place it on my must-see, can't-miss-at-the-risk-of-ruining-my-whole-week, television. I then recorded Pamela Stephenson interviewing her husband Billy Connolly on ABC2. I have yet to watch it but I hold high hopes. Please nobody disillusion me.

The Seven Ages of Rock
continued into the 1970s. My minor misgivings about this documentary series were more fully realised this week. It's got a highly British focus, with a little bit of the USA thrown in as a token gesture. Clearly the Rest Of The World does not exist in the history of rock. Still, good to see David Bowie with long hair, and the footage of Andy Warhol with The Velvet Underground was interesting in an archival kind of way. Not must see viewing either, although it filled in an hour quite nicely and distracted me from the evil temptations of stupid facebook quizzes. Next week, Punk. It seems the Sex Pistols will feature largely. I doubt that The Saints will get a mention. Happy to be proven wrong though. Oh and Graham Norton was NOT ON. Once again get out your crayons and colour me annoyed.

I shall be watching Torchwood naturally. And perhaps an hour of Malcolm in the Middle at 7:30 if I'm not doing anything else. (a highly likely state of affairs).

I have been perservering with The Colbert Report most evenings if possible. It's growing on me but I'm sure you want to know what really annoys me about it. With the ABC cutting out the ad breaks it only runs for 20 mins. I do not feel as if I am getting value for my 8 cents per day. (By the way, does anyone know if it's still 8 cents...or has the ABC got more expensive?)

Oh...and GO fail. I retuned my television last Sunday in an attempt to pick up GO and managed to pick up every other HD free channel except that one. Not impressed Channel Nine. Way to have crap regional coverage. Unless of course I was being technologically challenged. I'm sure that's not the reason though.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spam or not?

I got this email today....spam or not?

Dear W. DAVIS,

It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion in the upcoming 2011 Edition of Who's Who in the World, which is scheduled for publication in November 2010.

From the publisher of Who's Who in America since 1899, Who's Who in the World is relied upon by business leaders, journalists, academics, and other professionals for its accuracy and currency of information. Distributed globally, it is found in the collections of many of the world's leading libraries and corporations.

As the Marquis Who's Who editors begin assembling the 2011 Edition of this historic publication, the original Who's Who in the World continues to be recognized internationally as the premier biographical data source of notable living individuals from every significant field of endeavor.

To be considered for inclusion as a biographee in this prestigious publication, you need only provide the requested information by completing the Biographical Data Form by February 15, 2010.

The information you provide will be evaluated according to the selection standards Marquis Who's Who has developed over 110 years as the world's premier biographical publisher. If you are selected for inclusion in the new 2011 Edition, we will contact you prior to the book's publication in November.

Inclusion in Who's Who in the World offers...
• More than just a personal achievement; being honored in a Marquis Who's Who publication offers prospective business contacts an authoritative, full representation of your credentials and accomplishments.
• A historical archive of your achievements, recorded for generations to refer to time and again.
• Exclusive offers that are available only to members of the Marquis Who's Who family.
I congratulate you on the achievements that have brought your name to the attention of our editorial committee. We look forward to hearing from you.


Fred Marks

P.S. Inclusion of your biography in Who's Who in the World, of course, carries neither cost nor obligation to you of any kind. Our goal with each new edition is to have full representation of noteworthy and accomplished men and women across all fields and industries.

Please Note: If you are prompted to enter a V.I.P. Code when accessing our online data form, please enter the following: WO28114EFG.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dear Tuesday......

Dear Tuesday

Firstly, hopefully this letter will not come as too much of a shock to you. I know it is usually Monday that I am writing to and the other days of the week rarely get a look in. So, feel special.

Just a note to say, that if there is to be a fire at an electricity substation putting power off in 13000 houses round the town, a little bit of warning would be helpful. For instance, I would have ironed some clothes last night. I might also have boiled some water and left it in a thermos so I could make my morning tea and/or coffee.

Also, my hair looks like crap now as who knew that hairdryers and straighteners relied so heavily on electricity.

Perhaps it's not your fault Tuesday. Maybe we could blame climate change, or Kevin Rudd, or Tony Abbott, or whatever that was that went on in Copenhagen. Whatever the cause of this bad start to the day, it happened on your watch Tuesday so if you could keep your nose clean in the future I would appreciate it. It's bad enough having Monday once every seven days.

Yours sincerely


Monday, January 11, 2010

Not the worst Monday ever...but still...bring on Tuesday

Here's some things that happened today.

I woke up feeling really really hungry. I also woke up way too early which was annoying. Too early to get out of bed, but too late to go back to sleep because then I would have really been late. So I lay there for a while, reading my iPhone horoscope and twitter and then got up. I was still ready half an hour earlier than normal, because I had actually managed to begin Week 2 of the lunchmaking the evening before. This means I have to make some effort rather than grabbing two pieces of bread out of the freezer and throwing some biscuits in a plastic bag, perhaps adding a banana (because you know, five fruit, two veg etc). Instead, now I dutifully cut up a very boring salad at night, throw in a tin of tuna, get fruit and biscuits, as well as some brazil nuts and cashews ready the night before. It's all very pious and dull.

Anyway....I decided I would go to work early instead of my usual faffing about on the internet...meaning I could perhaps leave early this afternoon. That was fine, except the panadols I had taken before bed had failed to take effect so I still had a headache when I arrived. My mood was not substantially improved by work, however, the headache surprisingly was. Oh, I also have started making my coffee at home, instead of buying a takeaway on the way (which isn't really on the way. In fact it's quite out of the way, but very nice coffee) in order to try and save some money. We'll see how long that lasts. Not long, I'm predicting.

Work. I performed some fascinating tasks including, answering the phone, filling out inquiry forms, doing some phone interviews, opening the mail, date-stamping, setting up mailing lists with the help of IT requests, chit-chatting, photocopying, jamming the photocopier, failing miserably to find the jammed paper, walking away and let someone else find it. Actually, that's not quite true. I did send an email to everyone telling them the big snazzy photocopier thingo was jammed so they should use the crappy one in the meantime. That was helpful. I also set up a term's worth of staff meetings using outlook, as well as send some annoying little emails of my own.

Oh, and then while I was eating my dreadfully healthy lunch I discovered my plastic purply ring that I loved and had bought in Tasmania had snapped. Really, for 5 dollars you'd think it would last longer than three months. Very disappointing. Very.

So all in all, not the worst Monday ever, but definitely not the best.

PS. Dear ABC2 - Why was the Colbert Report a repeat? I'm only just hanging in there by the skin of my teeth. That may have been the second or third last straw.

Bring on Tuesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: The Return of Wendy

As I mentioned in the post below I seem to have lost the ability to write anything more than pithy status updates and 140 characters tweets. I also find myself a little uninspired to write anything at all. So in the interests in trying to revive my writerliness (yes I know that's not a "real" word) I am resurrecting a Spiralling Shape original "Wendy's Week of TV" in the hope that the weekly imperative to write something/anything about what I have been watching on the telly might help me out. Usually, I would write a little bit every day and then publish the post on a Saturday or Sunday. I didn't do that this week so you'll have to put up with a little vagueness.

The Big Bang Theory: Well technically I watched this on Monday because I recorded it on Sunday night while I was watching something else (which my addled brain can't certainly must have been stunning though). Now, I know many will be quietly scoffing to themselves, "Wendy, TBBT is made by the same so called genius who inflicted Channel Nine's very own Simpsons-like filler Two and Half Men on the world". Yes I know that, thank you for your concern. But I just find there is something attractive about the sometimes comic tales of four graduate students and their waitress friend who lives across the hall. I find myself on a crusade to insert Sheldon's "bazinga" catchphrase into the common vernacular. For it is Sheldon who is my favourite character. I know he's a stereotyped version of an obsessive perfectionist, who also would probably sit somewhere within boundaries of Austism Spectrum Disorder. But he's clever, and witty, and they write him some beautifully nerdy lines. So, if you find yourself at a loss this evening with nothing to watch at 8pm take the plunge and change the channel to Nine.

Lilies: Yes I know it was a costume drama summer filler in the "serious" 8:30pm ABC1 timeslot, but I found myself caught up in the story of the three sisters, their father and the people in postwar Britain. It's finished now so you can't watch it anymore unless it is being iViewed. And it wasn't that fantastic that I would bother to do that.

Doctor Who/ Make Em Laugh: Stupid stupid stupid stupid. I started watching this repeat of the Doctor, forgetting that I had been watching the very interesting documentary series about American comedy that follows Lilies. I remembered halfway through which was very annoying. I recorded the rest of the comedy thingo. And I now have it on order from Amazon, because I also missed the first few episodes.

I finished watching the last half hour of Make Em Laugh which was very interesting because it was about the beginnings of Mad Magazine and a lot of historical footage of Mel Brooks. Again, it seems I was destined not to watch it because my recording cut out before the end as they were discussing Saturday Night Live, In Living Colour etc. I think for the rest of the evening I watched cut up youtube clips of Ricky Gervais interviewing Larry David. It's in six parts. They are my heroes and if they are yours as well then I highly recommend. If they aren't then don't bother.

Beautiful People:
I adore this British series about two awkward music and fashion loving teenagers growing up in late 90s Britain. It's got attitude, style and Meera Syal. I can't explain it any better than that, except to say that the characters frequently burst into song and dance numbers which being a musical tragic I Love. If you're not into that though you might just find it annoying. Still, the family dynamics are imaginative and entertaining and the whole cast is divine in their respective roles.
The IT Crowd: I know there are a lot of people who are fanatical about the IT Crowd so I have decided to see what the fuss is about. It's growing on me slowly after two episodes. Judgement reserved until I have seen some more.

Seven Ages of Rock:
Again summer filler stuff about the beginning of Rock (that's with a capital R). All very interesting but nothing you won't have seen before if you've watched a few music documentaries. Nice to see Keith Richards playing Satisfaction on an acoustic guitar. That was probably the highlight. Oh and Mick Jagger certainly was a beautiful boy. How sad they are all so old now.
The Graham Norton Show: I love the Graham Norton Show. He's naughty and nice and this week the guest was Robert Downey Jnr. Sadly Mr Jnr seemed all a bit uncomfortable but nevertheless it's better than much of the talkshow swill we get elsewhere.

of course. Children of Earth. For comprehensive analysis I direct you to the always excellent and insightful Circulating Library. They are coming back. Strap yourselves to your sofas next Friday evening at 8:30 if you missed this week. You'll be able to catch up. I think.

What else have I been watching? Well last weekend I impulsively bought 30 Rock Series 3 and watched the lot over two days. Excellent as usual with some amazing guest stars who don't mind the show making fun of them. Oprah Winfrey I'm looking at you. I also watched The Invention of Lying. Now I say this as a long standing Ricky Gervais fan, but it was a little bit disappointing - relatively speaking that is. It's better than 99% of the Hollywood crappy romantic comedies you might see, but by Office standards it lacked something. I also watched a few episodes of The Colbert Report on ABC2. Good work I guess ABC2 but really I would have preferred The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with Malcolm in the Middle on Ten at 6:30 although that will quickly disappear as soon as Nay-boors everybody needs good Nay-booooors returns I imagine. You know it's a sad Saturday evening when you find yourself contemplating Iron Chef. At least though Rockwiz follows so you can pretend you're out with some cool people in Melbourne having a fun music quiz kinda time.

hmmmm...I wrote more than I thought I would.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


2009 was the year I became caught up in the whirl that some people have named "social media" (like media wasn't social before the invention of the computer). That aside, I've been feeling lately like I've been neglecting The Spiralling Shape in favour of facebook status updates, twittering, and youtube. Where once I would put everything on to the blog, now I have started favouriting videos on my youtube channel rather than posting them here. And I feel incapable of writing my thoughts in more than 140 characters thanks to the live action of the twitter stream which keeps me amused throughout the working day. Facebook also worked some evil magic on me during 2009. For a while there I became obsessed with completing the quizzes to find out just what my star sign meant, what animal I was, was I true nerd, what 2009 movie and/or song I was, and which Simpsons character was most like me (Lisa if you're interested). My attention span, already destroyed by a lifetime of watching television, became even shorter. I seem incapable of concentrating on any one thing for longer than 5 minutes.

It's a technologically induced distraction. The first thing I do when I get to work in the morning is open my email, twitter, facebook, the university homepage, windows live messenger, and then anything else that takes my fancy. I also have the iPhone close by so I can periodically check my home email. Now I realise this is probably a mild case of distraction compared to what others might get through in the day. In one sense it's valuable in a multitasking sort of fashion. In another, it's hopeless because when I really do have to concentrate I seem to have forgotten how.

So my aim for this year is to reclaim the blog if possible. Starting my research secondment in June means I need to find some writing skills again. And the only way to do that is to write. This doesn't mean I won't tweet or update my facebook status, and I'll certainly continue my vanity project of playing the piano and sometimes singing, recording it on my iPhone and forcing my few friends to suffer through the viewing of the videos. However, it's time to return to thinking and writing the tremendously substantial and thoughtful content that readers of the Spiralling Shape have come to know and adore.

(Yes I know, I did go too far with "adore". Sorry)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let's look through the arched window

Hmmmm I thinks to myself as I sit in my lovely cool airconditioned loungeroom slash computer room slash dining room slash kitchen (my home is open area in case that's confusing!). Anyway, hmmmm, I wonders what I was thinking about this time last year.

Let's have a look through the arched window (my personal Playschool favourite window which they never chose often enough for my liking) and see what The Spiralling Shape was wittering on about a year ago.

Books it seems by the look of the post for Saturday January 3. Looking at that pile of books it strikes me I have read none of them in the year that has passed. However, let's now look again through the arched window (because you can never have enough of the arched window) and see what I am reading at the moment.

First, let's just point out that I had grand grand plans to read lots of books during this ten day break between Christmas and returning to work tomorrow. These grand plans have resulted in my lying on the lounge for ten minutes and then promptly falling asleep for 1-2 hours every afternoon. Nana napping I believe it's called. Still, I have managed to finish How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. I bought it on the bargain table at Fuller's in Hobart. I don't think Proust is going to change my life particularly. However, I did learn a lot about Proust's own strange life which was quite interesting. (*My what insightful commentary I hear my few blog readers gasping in astonishment*).

I also finished The Wild Thing by Dave Eggers. It too was Tasmanian in purchase origin, from the Hobart airport bookshop no less. It has a lovely hard cover and is beautifully written, fleshing out both Where the Wild Things Are the children's book and the film with a great deal of integrity and thought. I enjoyed it a lot and I think thoughtful imaginative children and adults would as well. I read it after seeing the movie and appreciated it all the more for doing so I think.

This inspired me to buy Zeitoun also by Dave Eggers which I very surprisingly found at Angus and Robertson here in good ole Bundaberg's Hinkler Place Shopping Centre. It's a work of non-fiction telling the story of one family's experience of Hurricane Katrina. So far, so good although I am not very far into it, he also seems to be managing to weave into the story themes of America today, religion, politics, work etc etc. I'm looking forward to finishing it. It has also inspired me to pick up once more his What is the What which I couldn't get started with the first time. Only when this one is finished though. And I think I need to get my own copy of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius which I adored the first time I read it.

Finally, we come to Shantaram. It's huge. I might be one-thirtieth of the way into it. It's got a cracking pace and fascinating characters but so far it has found itself to be the nana napping book. Everyone tells me it's wonderful so I am determined to press on even if it takes me until January 3 2011.

(*Cue Warren ( I think that was his name) from the olden days of Playschool playing the piano music which brings back out of the arched window and back into the studio set with John and Noni*)