Friday, October 30, 2009
What you have to appreciate about Sara is her honesty, her refusal to do 'smiley-button-for-Jesus' music, her efforts to share her own reality in ways that encourage others. And so here is the video for one of her songs on the upcoming album that does just that:
Monday, October 26, 2009
My accompanying friends jokingly told me that their pictures weren't released to blogs or facebook, but fair enough (it's weird the way people's movements can be so public between the two, and nice to know that they don't have to be). And I'll wait to tell you more about the project we were working on, as it shall hopefully be published, and there is wisdom in not discussing things on the world wide web before they are. (It's also not my personal project, so not mine to divulge - and I am not a believer in breaking news that's not your own on blogs.) But stay tuned because I will make a big noise when it is!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
What I won was two nights accomodation in the White House (worth a look), which contains this library. Initially I wondered what I was going to do with two nights accomodation in one queensize room down in country Victoria, because it didn't include transport and I didn't really fancy going by myself. But it looked like a lovely place to go and write (if you clicked through to the website you will see why) so I decided to do something crazy and ask a little group of people I have been getting together with semi-regularly this year to work on a writing project of sorts, and see if I could pay extra for the use of the other rooms (there is this queer set-up where you have the house to yourself, but pay for the use of each bedroom). So I asked them and to my great delight they were all keen to come and even suggested driving down.
The house was booked out for weekends for the rest of the year and I thought we wouldn't actually do this for ages, but when I asked for available dates this week came up, and to my surprise again it worked with the others to go midweek, so off we went on a random little road trip.
Of course, all of this happened before I was aware of any sort of marketing campaign for Daylesford, or the advertisement that prompted this article by Phillip Jensen. It seems there are often two responses to such controversies: you either boycott something about it and never holiday in Daylesford in your life on principle, or you engage in "culturally relevant" research and go right in to be informed. We opted for the latter in this case (albeit unwittingly). If there is going to be a hoo-hah about a lovely little town in Victoria and somebody needs to go and see what all the fuss is about, then it might as well be us! :)
Over the next few days I might tell you more and post some photos of the trip, but for now I thought I would give you the opportunity to test your Bookshelf IQ and see if you can guess how many books there are in this library. (No digging back through facebook and cheating!)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
German designer Stefan Ulrich created a shape-changing object, not a pillow, using artificial muscle technology. The concept? To help relieve loneliness ...It actually moves and simulates breathing. You can watch a video of how it works at the site, which is a little odd.
(And this photo gives a new meaning to "a lump on the couch".)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
by Elizabeth Bishop
Oh, but it is dirty!
--this little filling station,
to a disturbing, over-all
Be careful with that match!
Father wears a dirty,
oil-soaked monkey suit
that cuts him under the arms,
and several quick and saucy
and greasy sons assist him
(it's a family filling station),
all quite thoroughly dirty.
Do they live in the station?
It has a cement porch
behind the pumps, and on it
a set of crushed and grease-
on the wicker sofa
a dirty dog, quite comfy.
Some comic books provide
the only note of color--
of certain color. They lie
upon a big dim doily
draping a taboret
(part of the set), beside
a big hirsute begonia.
Why the extraneous plant?
Why the taboret?
Why, oh why, the doily?
(Embroidered in daisy stitch
with marguerites, I think,
and heavy with gray crochet.)
Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:
to high-strung automobiles.
Somebody loves us all.
Picture from: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/nc/county/beaufort/
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
So then I had this brilliant idea that I could do some DIY cleaning, since a good clean out seems to be one answer (according to google) for your computer overheating. So I got out the vacuum and stuck it on the vent on the side of the computer for a while, thinking I might suck out some dust. Then I ran the vacuum cleaner over the keyboard and sucked out some fluff. But then there was that ominous-sounding clinking up the pipe and I discovered that I sucked up the O key. So then I had to go rummaging through the vacuum cleaner, in my own little dust storm, looking for my o. Then I couldn't get it back on properly - that is a delicate business and I sat there fiddling about with the tweezers in frustration, because all I really wanted to do was type something up to finish it.
So now I have a computer that works for about twenty minutes before it spontaneously shuts down and types an o about every third go. I think it's time ...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Also, Dr Laurel, wife of Justin, has written an article on the importance of the bible in understanding Shakespeare, which I haven't finished yet, but looks very interesting!
Anyway, once I remembered that I thought maybe I shouldn't just grit this out and went to the physio on Friday. Apparently one side of my pelvis is twisting off to the side and pulling my tail bone with it. I've always had a slight rotation of the pelvis (a physio told me that years ago) so I don't think this is a new thing, I just aggravated it all somehow. And apparently if your core structure is out but you have worked up the big muscles around it they start pulling on it every which way, which then gives you grief. Anyway, he told me not to run for a least 48 hours (boo hoo! - I feel like a fat, slobbish caged animal) and not to do stretches, yet. Instead I have to do this sophisticated exercise which amounts to little more than practising standing up straight. I do find going to the physio quite fascinating (and maybe this is more biological information than most people care about). Everytime I go for the next ten minutes I want to be a physiotherapist. He did something in my lower back and then rubbed furiously at a spot on the back of my calf muscle and I thought "ooh yeah! - how did he know that would be hurting?". But many of your lower limb nerves run through holes in your pelvis, which is why if that is messed up pain shoots down your legs - and everywhere.
So I'll stay off jogging for a spell (till I start climbing the walls) but it's all on the mend and I am thankful I haven't done anything more drastic. (I'm also getting some long-term solutions from the physio which might help towards the underlying problems that have always been there, but don't usually bother me - stuff like standing up straight, which is a good thing.) I have a new appreciation for people who live with chronic pain, because it's horrid - though perhaps they do something more about it than the occasional aspirin.
Anyhow, the moral of this story, folks, is don't just go leaping off high things, and be careful with your lifting.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
So, when it comes to the Kindle, I'm with Glen Hansard. (I do have something of a crush on Glen Hansard - but hey, I have a male friend who has a "mancrush" on Glen Hansard, and it's his first mancrush, so he's in a worse place than I am. If you don't have any sort of crush on Glen Hansard you should cultivate one - he's good crush fodder.) This is what he says, when he is waxing lyrical about compilation tapes in comparison to iPod play lists while introducing a song at a concert:
The problem I have with modern technology is that you can't see it, you can't tear it out and rip it up. It's not tactile enough. Letters, emails - letters are beautiful, because they're licked and touched, they're signed, they're real. You know, you'll never be able to - I don't mean to be sort of revisionist - but you'll never be able to better that. When you get a letter and it says something deep to you you can tear it up, or you can frame it, or you can put it under your pillow, or you can smell it or you can kiss it. It's something. You can't kiss emails, no matter how beautiful they are. You know, you'll get an electric shock on your lips. So ... where, what was my point?, compilation tapes ...Maybe there's a way you can make margin notes on a Kindle, or underline the moving bits, then photocopy them and stick them on the wall, or lend your thumbed copy to someone else with a note about which part they might especially like. I don't know. But it's not the same. And your library with the spiral staircase going up to a reading loft won't smell of old books and look so inviting.
I'm a technological fossil anyway. If I do get a Kindle it will be about 20 years after everybody else gets one. But you never know, I might end up as one of those kindle converts in the article, the "book lovers who went from shunning to embracing digital works" (it's just not looking likely).
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
So I have now started Monkey Grip, by Helen Garner (which is a Popular Penguin for $9.95 - I love it that you can buy a book for scarcely more than the cost of hiring a DVD). It's another one of those books I hesitate to mention, because once again I couldn't finish chapter one without having to read about s*x and the language makes me wince. But I decided to press on with this one, because it's about a junkie who can't quit and the woman who loves him despite herself, so I'm hoping to glean something in the way of understanding that might be useful for Overcomer's Outreach (I've had a number of conversations lately with the partners of addicts - it's no fun - though they are usually married to them, which is a different scenario to voluntarily dating a known "junkie"). I think this sort of "modern fiction" is, however, to be taken in small doses.
Then I had a very pleasant, relaxing long weekend, and even dug out the leads to see if I could remember how to draw (I think I got the shape of things mostly right, but my technique is rubbish). On Monday afternoon I went to help some friends pack for moving and inherited some nice plants: five of them off their verandah, which I am quite excited about. They were a bit cumbersome, but only one of them was heavy, being the only one in a terracotta pot, so I didn't think anything of wrenching them out of the car (where the big, strong guy at the other end had put them) and lugging them upstairs and didn't notice that anything hurt. But, Tuesday morning, it was all I could do to get out of bed, and yesterday probably goes down as the most physically excruciating day of my life, in a pain that was just everywhere but seemed to be coming from somewhere on my left. I got through the day at work on Asprin, and today is a little better - and I have been trying to do some stretches since that I should have been more diligent about for the last ten years. I couldn't be sure I can blame it on the plants, but anyway, I am going to appreciate them when putting my shoes on doesn't make my eyes water. They need a little TLC (like a stake for the one that completely flops over) and I might even take a trip to Bunnings this weekend. I like going to Bunnings and feeling all "handy".
That's about all (for now) folks. Apologies for the lack of updates around here, but I quite like that I can let this blog be more "occasional", when I need/want it to be more occasional.
Monday, October 05, 2009
by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Picture from http://thelostshoeproject.com
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Also curious, is the line that “Since our brains haven't evolved further in response to the modern environment…”. What reason does anybody have for that? Why do we think evolution has been happening for millions of years, but all of a sudden it’s stopped?
Then we have the weird conclusion that our better-educated, more reflective selves can actually over-ride natural selection (and yet that wouldn't be a result of our brains having evolved, because they haven't). Baffling.