Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: Regrets...I've had a few

Oh dearie me what a week of TV it has been.
There was the usual starting from last Sunday night...Doctor Who, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, Glee etc. Of course, every night is the essential The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which, even in repeat, beat everything else that is on the other channels at the same time.

This week however I tried a few new things.

Community on GO. I've dipped into this a few times before but never managed to watch an entire episode. I would say an acquired taste but Chevy Chase is a delight as are the rest of the ensemble cast in this community college comedy. I recommend giving it a go. (geddit GO)

Chuck on GO. I've been hearing things about Chuck and finally remembered to watch it. I didn't mind it but I didn't adore it as much as I expected to. It all made sense however when in the credits I saw "Created by Josh Schwartz". As an early fan of The OC before it went all stupid (and some may argue that there was no such time) I wondered, must he write himself as the central character in every show he's involved with? Example 1: Seth Cohen. Example 2: Chuck. I have not watched Gossip Girl but now am keen to check it out. Internets here I come. Anyhow, it was a pleasant enough way to spend some TV time. I will probably watch it again and then in a few weeks you will find me raving here about its pure genius.

I also said goodbye to some unexpected favourites. These were two programs that I just started watching to pass the time and then they slowly became unmissable. Good work ABC2 for putting them on one after the other. Being Erica and LoveSoup both had poignantly frustrating final episodes. Where has Erica gone now that she has chosen a door? What will happen to Alice now she believes her one true love died before she could meet him in person. It seems that I, in my mid-30s, with a few regrets behind me, am spot-on in the demographic for these programs. Thank the gods of Canadian television that Being Erica has been picked up for a third season. I had to speak very sternly to myself in the ABC shop yesterday so as not to spend a lot of money on Series 1 on DVD.

And in case you have been living under a rock where there is no twitter, facebook or just general internet access it is the weekend of Eurovision. The best liveblogging in town as always can be found at Circulating Library (click the link on the right). I was able to post rather inane comments for semi-final 1, but have had to hold over semi-final 2 until today. I hope knowing who won won't make a difference to my viewing, but it does get me out of a tight TV dilemma. I don't need to sit through them all again but can watch the Doctor and Bones this evening a la normal Sunday evening procedure.

My favourite moment of the week was this. It made me laugh out loud several times. I hope it works. If not take yourself right now to The Daily Show website and watch it. That's an order.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Friday, May 28, 2010

I just don't know what to do with myself

Like the song says, I am feeling at a bit of a loose end. The teaching term finished this afternoon. Not a moment too soon I hear myself say. I am a leetle weary and jaded, happy to see our students finish the program, already planning for the new classes starting in Term 2.

I now have a five week break with no teaching and already I can see it being frittered away with preparation and planning. Next term, for the first time ever I am going to be teaching the academic writing subject that is central to our program. But Wendy, I hear you cry in amazement, don't you have a postgraduate degree and a few fringe journal articles published, some book reviews etc and so on and so forth. Why yes, I reply, but for some reason, until this moment apparently I have not been up to the task of teaching students about academic essay writing and research. Even though comparatively speaking, I have done quite a bit of it. But Wendy, I say to myself, don't sound all bitter and twisted about the whole thing. No, my dear girl, embrace the new opportunity ahead of you. Okay, I say, I shall embrace the opportunity.

I just thought I might have had a bit more time to start getting prepared before June 1, which as regular readers of The Spiralling Shape will realise is Research Fellowship Starting Day. It is also next Tuesday. In preparation, I have bought a cheapo laptop so I can Work Well From Home Or Anywhere I Care To Work From. I have also requested an office change to a Quieter Spot in our Building. Both of these things will be good. On June 1 I also officially become an Associate Supervisor for the First Time. This is exciting and I am really looking forward to it. The thesis is going to look at underground musical subcultures in Malaysia, so it crosses a few areas of interest for me. I plan to start on Research Fellowship Starting Day by developing a two year plan of attack. Of course, I already had to submit a plan of attack in my application, so I best dig that out first and have a look at what I said I was going to do. Then I will probably change it slightly. After conversations a while ago with Anne M, formerly of Bundaberg, now of Clayfield, I am thinking about starting an online journal. How do I do that? I have no freaking idea, but it sounds like fun.

Between now and the end of next week I also have to read and write a book review. I have not started the book yet, although it looks very interesting.
I am also "reading" Shades of Grey (Jasper Fforde) Shantaram (which is fast turning into Ulysses and A Suitable Boy...i.e. destined to remain unfinished), and today bought that book about The Brain That Changes Itself...because you know, paperback and something or other extra percent off in Big W was irresistible.

So it seems I have plenty to do after all.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Every blog reader wins a prize

What to do, what to do, what to do? It's the regional show holiday here today. Last show holiday my parents and I did a garden makeover in my front yard. Today, I am feeling less energetic. Although I have been for my morning walk.

Here's some things I could and probably should do today
1. Clean out the fridge... properly
2. Tidy out the pantry...properly
3. Tidy up my wardrobe and shoes....properly
4. Do my washing
5. Put away my washing
6. Vacuum the house

Now these are all extremely worthy pursuits I'm sure you will agree. However, are they any way to spend a bonus public holiday? I think not.

So here is what I will probably do today
1. Shower
2. Dress
3. Read
4. Watch TV
5. Sleep

That's much better.

And because every blog reader wins a prize here's a picture of my cat, sitting waiting for me, as he does most mornings when I go for my walk. It's lovely and sunny on the cane chair inside the front door.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

With apologies to the Gershwin brothers

Today is Sunday - the traditional day of rest.

But not for me (apologies Gershwin brothers).

I shall be sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by portfolios of student work, marking something called The Group Oral Presentation. Oh yes. Nothing as interesting as an essay. The marking of the Group Oral Presentation has four parts. The Group, The Individual, Peer Review, Self Review. Each one has to be marked separately and then added together to find the student's overall mark. Some of it is very boring. For example - going through all the peer reviews for every group, typing up the comments their peers (the rest of the class) and then averaging out a mark out of five. The Group entails looking through the portfolio and reading group meeting notes (should you be able to find them) drafts, visuals, reference lists, class discussion ( I forgot the class discussion before) and magicking them into a mark. Of course I don't use real magick. I use academic marking magick. Is there a difference? I'm not sure. The Individual requires marking their delivery of the presentation, as well as their individual effort in researching the topic and putting it together. And this year, in someone's wisdom an extra criterion has been added where markers are supposed to assess the "value" of the student to the group. Again, I say to you, magick. The Self Review is the most interesting. Here the student has to reflect on the process of preparation etc through five guided questions. It can be very interesting. Mostly, they are very diplomatic and nice. Surprising.

Anyhoo, my fun filled weekend continues. In between times I need to do all my washing, (wash, dry, put away - if I can bothered), tidy this messy house and cook some kind of vegetable stew/soup concoction to freeze into lunch size portions. And of course I must check Facebook and Twitter regularly. And write a blog post. Oh, tick. Well done me. TV returns next week when the Term is Finished.
Until then I leave you with these TV thoughts: Glee, Big Bang Theory, Being Erica, Love Soup, Rockwiz.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rockwiz Live :.... to poorly paraphrase Patsy Stone

Let me tell you something. 3D television is sensational. I watched some last night for nearly three hours. Hugely entertaining and tremendously lifelike (much better than the 2D stuff we have been persevering with until now). That's right I saw a television show like it was really live.

Hang on just a minute. It was a television show that was really live. It was Rockwiz on its national tour, last stop Bundaberg's finest movie theatre, which was full to the brim (about 700-800 seats). As I remarked to the Jinxster, who accompanied me despite her roaring headcold, it's probably the most people that have been in there for a while. Usually when you go to a movie you might see between 5 and 40 people. I think once I was the only person there for a showing of something I can't remember.

I digress. Rockwiz live was slick, funny, witty, chock a block full of music trivia and actual music. Brian Nankervis ran the first half where he whittled 24 audience hopefuls down to 4. That was fun. And we all got to join in. He wouldn't be out of place in a vaudeville show as the wickedly commanding MC. And then for the second half we got the show with Julia Zemiro wearing a stunning pair of red high heels and special guests Vika Bull and....wait for it...Steve Kilbey. I took a very dodgy iPhone video of him singing Under the Milky Way. What a treat. And Henry Wagons made a cameo appearance as the half time entertainment, returning at the end for the finale. Nice. We laughed, we guffawed, we answered questions quietly to ourselves throughout (ok that might have just been me but whatevah!).

A great time was had by all.

And naturally I bought a tshirt. Grey marle with tasteful Rockwiz logo. It's not like I have a lot of tshirts already. Well it is. But you can never have enough tshirts, bags, gloves and hats (to poorly paraphrase Patsy Stone).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just resting

Once again I break my self-imposed rule of "no cat pictures on the blog" to show you this.

It's wrong to be jealous of my cat isn't it?

Isn't it?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: A list.....

One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, there will again be a week where I have the time and mental energy to write a decent Wendy's Week of TV post. Unfortunately, this has not been that week. There are two weeks left in the term. I have a pile of unpleasant and tedious marking, with more yet to arrive. I have a student sitting her Grade 8 Piano exam and Grade 5 Theory exam this week, which has meant extra lessons and many practice theory papers to mark. I have been catching up at work. I have been falling asleep on the lounge at inopportune moments. None of this makes for intelligent television viewing. So today I am providing you with a list. Make of it what you will.

What I have watched since last week:
Doctor Who
The Big Bang Theory
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
The Graham Norton Show
Being Erica
Hairspray (last hour)
A program about a doctor moving from Scotland to Kalgoorlie (I fell asleep in this one)
Video killed the Radio Star - all about music videos by Russell Mulcahy

That's all there has been time for.

And now I return, fairly unenthused, to my marking.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's not complicated

I am just home from our post-Eisteddfod debriefing meeting. It was all very lovely with food and drinks, if a little chilly sitting outside in our President's outdoor area. I am currently debating with myself if I will continue to coordinate the music eisteddfod through to 2011. When I first started in that role I was working casually and doing my PhD. My time was pretty much my own. I had few other responsibilities that couldn't wait for a week while I lived and breathed music eisteddfod. Nearly 10 years later, I am working full time, in a position of responsibility for the well-being of mature age students. It is difficult to take a week out of my job without taking about three weeks to catch up - on the mini staff and student crises, not to mention the load of email and associated tasks that it brings with it.

I believe in community cultural events like the eisteddfod. I grew up participating in them and believe I am a better person for having done so. I believe in their value for young people to learn about performance, goal setting, nerves, winning and losing gracefully and many other vital skills that seem to be disappearing from our culture. I also believe in the beauty of music and the transformational quality a growing appreciation of it can have on the whole of one's life, if it is studied from an early age. I too, have benefited immensely from that.

However, there are a few things I am less interested in, particularly when it comes to Eisteddfod meetings.
1. Talking about money and how much we do or don't have
2. Talking about tickets.....for years on end - how, why, and when we should sell them.
3. Talking about how much adjudicators cost - in travel, accommodation and expenses. You can't have an eisteddfod without one ( as I have pointed out many a time) so let's move on shall we.
4. Talking about anything to do with constitutions, rules, by-laws, risk management, insurance and the like.

What I am interested in is the following:
1. Giving Music Students An Opportunity to Perform in Public and Receive some Constructive Comments From an Expert.

It's not complicated.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gnarly Bark

I know. I know. You're absolutely bowled over by the wittiness of this title of this blog post. I got a little smug when I came up with it because I am h-o-p-e-l-e-s-s at clever titles (unlike my friend 2paw who has an amazing knack for them).

I have exhausted the sunrise possibilities for the moment I think. I am moving on to street lights and bark. It was also a little cooler this morning. I actually had to put on a coat.

(*waits for chorus of "my how fascinating Wendy"*)....perhaps in vain.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

morning is breaking

Cue Grieg/ Cat Stevens....or other appropriate morning toons. This is the second week of the New Regime. The New Regime (in case you missed it) involves me dragging myself from my nice warm bed and staggering outside to go for a walk as the sun is coming up. To make it more interesting I stop everyone five minutes or so and click a photo. Here are the best of the most recent for your perusal. I didn't realise I had the ye olde Kodak film on my hipstamatic this morning but what a nice surprise.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wendy's Week of TV 2.0: I kept falling asleep

It wasn't the most auspicious week of TV for Wendy simply because in my post Eisteddfod exhaustion I kept falling asleep at inopportune the last ten minutes of The Colbert Report, or during the mildly interesting documentary on music videos that I chanced upon on ABC2. Still, I did manage to get some viewing in by the end of the week where I did manage to stay awake through entire programs. Let's have a little look see shall we?

Sunday I fell asleep during Doctor Who. Normally this would be a disaster but going by the highly informed commentary at Circulating Library I didn't miss too much. Phew. Strangely I did stay awake through Bones. Why could that be I wonder?

Monday was of course everybody's favourite geek, nerd, academic sitcom The Big Bang Theory. I don't care what anyone says I like it. So. There.

Tuesday I slept through The Colbert Report as mentioned above and then attempted to watch The IT Crowd Season One on DVD but fell asleep so took myself to bed. Because if there's one thing you don't want to do, it's fall asleep during The IT Crowd.

Wednesday was for a little while the highlight of my viewing week with Beautiful People. It has been replaced by Psychoville which I turned off after 10 minutes because quite frankly it was slow, boring, dire and worst of all...Not Funny. I still maintain my self-imposed boycott of Spicks and Specks and refuse to watch The Lowdown because it too is mediocrity televisionified.

Thursday however was television GOLD. Glee. I admit it. I am a Gleek. This Madonna themed episode motivated me to look up the original music video to Like a Prayer which when I was a wee young thing in high school I remember dominating Rage for quite some time, as well causing a bit of a ruckus religion wise. Embedding is disabled by request thank you youtube, but I'm sure you can trundle off there of your own accord and watch it if your heart so desires.

And then, The Graham Norton Show...adoration from me to Graham. Plus this week's guests were John Cleese, Martin Clunes and some other guy who was quite witty. And then they hauled on Jane Turner for the last few minutes.

No TV on Friday night because we had a choir concert at a retirement village down at Bargara and the Jinxster, the Emma-ster and the Bevan-ster and I went for pizza. So I missed Being Eric and LoveSoup. No great loss. These are not complex programs. I'm sure I'll manage to catch up.

I want.....

I want.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Footy, writing, posting, hope

One of the venues where we hold the Eisteddfod is at the local independent theatre - the Playhouse. In lieu of words here are some pictures I took on our final night there while I hung about backstage moving kids, music stands and pianos on and off the stage.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I could barely even be bothered watching TV

I am making it through the week in a post-Eisteddfod haze. Let's all thank our lucky stars that Monday was a holiday because I was incapable of doing anything on the weekend past sitting on the lounge and staring into space. I could barely even be bothered watching TV as it took too much concentration of which I had none left. The eisteddfod did run smoothly and was a great week but now I am exhaustipated. Last night I fell asleep in front of The Colbert Report and spilled chamomile tea over myself and the lounge. Tonight I made it through until 8:20 before succumbing to dreamland. Luckily I had finished my tea by then. I have just now managed to stagger through the shower and will be ready for bed very soon.

All this blathering on about being tired and sleeping is simply a way of saying that normal Spiralling Shape activity will resume in a few more days. Until then I remain Weary, Slightly Cranky, and not all that Interesting To Be Around.