Sunday, 12 February 2006
I went up to the shop just before and bought some eggs. I am down to my last fifteen dollars in the world, so when I saw the two dollar difference in price between the cage eggs and the free range organic variety, I wavered. I picked up the cage eggs and I thought about the terrible conditions that the hens would have endured, then I thought about Jeanette Winterson’s argument for paying higher prices for food. It’s really tough to think about the big picture of food production when your view has been reduced to a pixel by the worry of whether you might not be able to afford milk in a few days. I reasoned that the eggs were going to make me enough muffins to keep me in breakfast beyond the next four days, so from that perspective I could afford them. When I got to the counter, they didn’t scan and the shop assistant entered the price of the cage eggs, $1.95. I didn’t say anything. I refused the offer of a bag, welcoming the distraction from my dishonesty by indicating the fold-up one I had brought with me, and then I left. Now I’m feeling guilty that the small business owner probably couldn’t afford to lose the additional $1.90 I should have paid. It’s tough to think about the big picture of small business when your view has been reduced to a pixel by the worry of whether you might not be able to afford flour in a few days.
Monday, 13 February 2006
Some advice worth following concerns the consumption of muffins for breakfast while watching last night’s recording of the first instalment of David Attenborough’s Life In The Undergrowth. Unless you find slime conducive to stimulating your appetite, watching a velvet worm squirt a cricket with ‘glue’ in order to trap it and eat it will make you feel slightly queasy. Your stomach may also turn on your raspberry oat bran muffin when you see a centipede wrapped around a bat which it caught by dangling from the ceiling of a cave and catching it while it flew past. Does the description of leopard slugs having sex as ‘balletic’ make the presence of all that mucus any more palatable?
Tuesday, 14 February 2006
I have noticed that prolonged periods of intense concentration make me intensely hungry, as if my last meal was the day before, instead of three hours ago. One day at the University I arranged to meet a friend for a late afternoon coffee, but we ended up getting a glass of wine and because my stomach was grumbling, I knew the alcohol would go straight to my head, so we also ordered pizza at 4.30 in the afternoon. I felt a bit shocked at myself and not unlike a piglet, since I had eaten regular meals at regular times throughout the day. Just yesterday, after I ate muffins for breakfast, then a handful of nuts and dried fruit mid-morning, I sat down for lunch and took the first bite of some salmon and potato frittata and I felt my brain dilate in response, seizing on the fuel, again, as if it had been deprived. Having a hyper-appetite is not a good thing at the moment. Those scholarship payments had better kick in on Thursday or I’ll run out of food and my brain will refuse to work. It thinks it’s starving now?
Wednesday, 15 February 2006
I haven’t spoken much about my music preferences on this blog except to note that I’m not very fond of a heavy bass between the hours of 1am and 4am. Once, I didn’t think I could live without music; that was during the period when I was young enough to enjoy Triple J. It was the only time in my life that I’ve ever been a radio listener. But since that time I’ve twice filled out ACNeilsen Radio surveys and never made a single entry in the diary they provided. Without the radio as a guide to new music, I wondered how I would find out about must-listen music, but it wasn’t a question that occupied my interest for very long. I’m mentioning this, because I was given cause to reflect upon my musical tastes a couple of weeks ago when I decided to arrange my CDs into alphabetical order, according to the artist’s name. As I dusted CD covers and arranged alphabetical piles, I became aware that one letter was rapidly forming a tower high above all of the others. At least one quarter of my CDs are by artists whose names begin with B: Ben Harper, Ben Lee, Beth Orton, Billy Bragg, and Björk. What do these musical choices say about me? That I stopped listening to radio about eight years ago and my sister, V. is responsible for my Beth Orton obsession. As a consequence of my rearranging (from chaos to alphabetical) I have rediscovered Björk’s album, Medúlla, which is composed almost entirely of voices. There is a bit of piano on one track. It’s extraordinary. I’m listening to it now. The sounds are helping soothe my sore brain which has not fared well after another night of the mf neighbour’s antics.
Thursday, 16 February 2006
I am starting a campaign calling for an end to the use of the phrases ‘it’s all good’ and ‘at the end of the day’. There is perhaps no point in attempting to halt contemporary vernacular developments; I’m almost certainly sounding like one of those people who have spawned a whole industry by publishing their personal gripes about the evolution of the English language over the past 20 years. (For a broader perspective on the history of English, see Melvyn Bragg’s very excellent The Adventure of English). Anyway. I think what I particularly hate about these two phrases is that they seem to be expressed with the purpose of affecting the states of Zen and sagacity, respectively. Instead, their utterance reveals in the speaker a level of complacency about their own inarticulateness that should not be encouraged. The time of the first Australian Idol seemed to be the height of the ‘It’s all good’ phenomenon. If I heard Guy Sebastian say it one more time, along with ‘Awesome!’, in place of any coherent answer... well, I did scream. And then we had to live through it all over again when Kate D’Arugao was a contestant on the third season. Lately, I’ve noticed the use of ‘It’s all good’ has become less, especially after it started to be appropriated as a slogan in advertisements, but it seems to have been superseded by the equally irritating ‘At the end of the day’. If you use these sayings yourself, I implore you, please do some more reading, through which you will expand your vocabulary and soon have a whole range of new words to employ in your conversations and narratives.
Friday, 17 February 2006
In its quest to see Brisbane become an international city, the City Council seems to have hired the same architect responsible for Melbourne’s controversial Federation Square to design its new offices. In an effort to comply with the Council’s recycling policy, the developers rifled through their garbage and extracted the plans for the Melbourne site, after which they took out their crayons and coloured in a few squares before presenting them to the Council for approval.
In other developments, the mayor of Paris has contacted Interpol to report the desecration of the fountain at the Pompidou Centre. Interpol is investigating reported sightings of pieces from the Centre’s famous sculpture in downtown Brisbane. The owner of the Giant Lobster has also made an enquiry to Queensland police.